Thursday, 27 September 2012

25 Years Ago This Week: September 27, 1987

Not every week is a good week on the chart. That was especially true in, say, 1993, but we finally reach a dud week from 1987. Yep, 25 years ago this week was a pretty boring week on the ARIA chart with only two new entries - and they were both big, soppy ballads (one good, one not so good).

Remember the bar singer from Ally McBeal? She hit the chart in 1987.

Obviously, the other 48 songs on the top 50 were mostly brilliant - Kylie was still at number 1, and Icehouse, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Madonna and Mel & Kim (to name a few acts) were all still charting well, so there was a lot to like.


ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending September 27, 1987

But for the purposes of this weekly update, it's a quiet week. Anyway, let's get to those ballads...


New entries
Number 50 "Hold Me Now" by Johnny Logan
Peak: number 4
This was the Eurovision-winning song of 1987 and was the second time the Irish singer had won the international singing contest - he also took home the prize in 1980 with "What's Another Year". Johnny was actually born in Australia, but unlike Gina G (who represented the UK in 1996), he left these shores at a very young age. Interestingly, Eurovision had been held back in May, so this chart entry some four months later might seem quite delayed - but then in those days, singles did take a long time to be released and/or gain traction in Australia. "Hold Me Now" is the good ballad of this week's two entries, and I wasn't the only one who thought so - the song hit the top 5 and spent over 30 weeks in the top 100. I can't see the music video on YouTube, but the Eurovision performance is below.




Number 44 "Can't We Try" by Dan Hill with Vonda Shepard
Peak: number 41
The week's other big ballad was a duet between the man whose biggest hit is inappropriately used at weddings (listen to the lyrics of "Sometimes When We Touch") and the woman who would go on to play piano in the bar frequented by Cage & Fish employees in Ally McBeal. "Can't We Try" is everything an '80s power ballad should be - there are stirring strings, big crashing drums and a dramatic modulation towards the end, but the melody's just a little bit dull, which could explain why it didn't get much further. By the way, Vonda's surname is spelt incorrectly on the chart (and on the single itself).




Albums chart
With so few songs to talk about this week, I thought it might be a good opportunity to check out what was happening on the albums chart 25 years ago this week...

ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart - week ending September 27, 1987

In the upper reaches, Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet and John Farnham's Whispering Jack refused to budge from their top 5 berths, while more recent entries from Midnight Oil and Michael Jackson were battling it out for the number 1 spot.





Diesel And Dust would end up keeping Bad from reaching the top, spending six weeks at number 1 and only dislodged by Icehouse's Man Of Colours album. Elsewhere in the top 10, James Reyne scored his first top 10 solo album, while an act I'd completely forgotten about spent a 30th week on the chart...





Robert Cray had been releasing music since the start of the decade, but his 1986 album, Strong Persuader, broke through in a big way - and in Australia, it reached number 6 in 1987. The blues artist would never be as successful again.





Movie soundtracks continued to be popular in 1987, with six of them appearing in the top 50 - two from The Big Chill. The other films to have a successful spin-off album were Who's That Girl, Beverly Hills Cop 2, La Bamba and Crossroads.




Retro artists weren't just turning up on soundtracks, with The Doors, The Beatles and Elvis Presley all registering in the top 50 that week. In fact, many of the artists on the chart were rather long in the tooth, with everyone from Kiri Te Kanawa to Fleetwood Mac, Roger Waters to John Williamson keeping oldies happy.




Thank goodness, then, for Mel & Kim, Whitney Houston, The Cure and three albums from Bon Jovi, which all provided a much-needed touch of youth to the chart.


The bad news is that's the end of our trip back in time for this week. The good news is that next week's ARIA chart recap has seven (count 'em!) new entries to look back at, four of them from young Australian bands. And before that, I'll conclude my trip through my favourite songs from 1985.


Back to: Sep 20, 1987 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 4, 1987


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