Thursday, 4 October 2012

25 Years Ago This Week: October 4, 1987

The good thing about charts is that even if there's a bad week (like last week's abysmal offering), there's a new chart just seven days away. And the ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart from 25 years ago this week was much better. 

It was a good and a Bad week for Michael Jackson 25 years ago

There was such an interesting influx of new tracks, in fact, that many of them have become quite obscure - and videos on YouTube aren't always of the best standard.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending October 4, 1987

But we'll press on as best we can - even if it means making do with performance clips from Hey Hey It's Saturday.

"These Times Are Hard For Lovers" by John Waite
Peak: number 59
Before we get to the new entries, we have a couple of breakers to remember - the first from the English singer who'd struck gold in 1984 with the worldwide hit, "Missing You" (number 5 in Australia). That was the only time John hit it big as a solo artist, whereas this first (and, might I say, excellent) single from his fourth album, Rover's Return, missed the top 50 in Australia. It wouldn't be until 1990 that John would return to the Australian top 5, when his band, Bad English, reached number 4 with "When I See You Smile".

"Peter Motley" by Gary Burrows
Peak: number 54
AFL songs. They creep their way into the chart every so often - and this one had a great cause behind it, since the star player about whom musician Gary Burrows was singing was involved in a car accident which ended his AFL (or VFL, as it then was) career. The song's appeal was limited to true sports fans, it seems. Unfortunately, I can't find a proper version of the track - but instead, enjoy this weird karaoke clip...

New entries
Number 50 "Love Somebody" by Noiseworks
Peak: number 50
Entering at the position where it would peak, the third single by the Aussie band had a bit of a disappointing performance after the top 10 success of "Take Me Back" earlier in the year. Two more singles ("Welcome To The World" and "Burning Feeling") would be taken from the group's self-titled debut album, but they'd also fail to take off, despite all three being solid pop/rock tracks. The video doesn't seem to be online, so here's a Hey Hey performance.

Number 48 "Pretty Flamingo" by Huxton Creepers
Peak: number 33
Here's another long-forgotten Aussie single - a cover of the 1966 Manfred Mann hit by Melbourne band Huxton Creepers. The song ended up on one of those various artists collections (Summer '88), which a cousin of mine owned - and so it was a song I listened to at the time (when I borrowed the tape... semi-permanently), promptly forgot about and then tracked down online years later. The film clip below is pretty bad quality, but worth a look if only to check out Neighbours star Annie Jones.

Number 46 "What Have I Done To Deserve This" by Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield
Peak: number  22
Another big worldwide hit from a band whose music it is easy to find on YouTube - this duet with the singing legend missed the top 20 locally, but reached number 2 in both the UK and US. By all accounts, it took some convincing for the collaboration to happen in the first place, but PSB would go on to have a happy working relationship with the singing legend for the next few years, producing half of her Reputation album in 1990.

Number 45 "Do To You" by Machinations
Peak: number 15
This first single from the Sydney synthpop group's Uptown album was one of their biggest chart hits - and after being absent for some time, the video has finally been added to YouTube. I'm quite a fan of Machinations and enjoyed their musical output throughout the '80s, with another great single, "Intimacy", following "Do To You" in 1988.

Number 44 "Let's Work" by Mick Jagger
Peak: number  24
If you've read this blog before, you'll likely know that, Motown aside, I really don't care about any music before 1979. So I wasn't very excited when The Rolling Stones frontman released a solo album in 1987. And although this track did reasonably well in Australia, neither it nor Primtive Cool, the album it was lifted from, really made that much of an impact here or overseas. Watching the clip again all these years later, I'm reminded just how much I disliked the song and all that jumping around in the video.

Number 40 "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)" by The Cockroaches
Peak: number 32
Were it not for the lyrics about having a hangover, this song wouldn't sound that out of place on a Wiggles album. Back in the '60s, those lyrics resulted in The Swingin' Medallions version of "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)" being banned by some radio stations in the States. In 1987, no one batted an eyelid. Perhaps a bit of controversy might have helped The Cockroaches, who scored their second successive number 32 single with their remake of the track originally recorded by Dick Holler & The Holidays. It was all downhill from here, with subsequent singles charting even lower - but then, had the band been more successful, their transformation into the biggest children's music act in the world may never have happened.

Number 9 "Bad" by Michael Jackson
Peak: number 4
Blasting into the top 10 in its first week, "Bad" achieved the highest debut position by a single all year, beating the number 10 debut of "Locomotion" back in August. "Bad" was the second single (first with a music video) from the album of the same name, and would make its way up into the top 5 in the weeks to come.
It's recently been given a horrible remix for the 25th anniversary edition of the album featuring a terrible rap by Pitbull, so track that down at your own peril. As a song, "Bad" is, well, not bad. It's not by any means the best track on the album, but, together with its lengthy music video, was a great repositioning statement for the singer who would dominate the charts with single releases from Bad until the end of the decade.

Next week, some songs which aren't that difficult to track down enter the chart and before then, it's onto 1986 in my yearly recaps.

Back to: Sep 27, 1987 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 11, 1987


  1. If MJ (Jagger) didn't bounce around in his video clips, he'd having nothing else to do (aka Let's Work / Dancing in the St), and The Cockroaches song is a cover of the 1966 (non-Oz-hit) by The Swingin' Medallians (US #17 hit).


    1. I wouldn't mind Mick having nothing to do... especially when it came to his solo efforts.

      Thanks for the tip on Double Shot - have amended my write-up since it's more interesting with that extra info!