Thursday, 24 January 2013

25 Years Ago This Week: January 24, 1988

There we were, a full month after Christmas and the majority of the week's new entries on the Australian top 50 were songs that had been kicking around since early to mid December.

Belinda Carlisle scored her biggest solo hit in 1988

These days, most songs have a much quicker trajectory into the upper portion of the top 100, but it was normal 25 years ago for a single to make a steady climb before bursting into the printed top 50. This week in 1988, there was one exception: a track which only made its top 100 debut in January, and, not surprisingly, would end up as the biggest hit out of this week's seven new entries.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending January 24, 1988

Speaking of big hits, Rick Astley finally surrendered his seven-week stranglehold of the number 1 position, making way for George Michael, who leapfrogged a patiently waiting George Harrison to spend a week at the top with "Faith".


New Entries
Number 50 "Don't Shed A Tear" by Paul Carrack
Peak: number 33
The problem with having a wildly successful (at least in Australia) cover version is that often your original material won't be as big - and so it was for Paul, who'd taken "When You Walk In The Room" into the top 10 in 1987, but lucked out with this follow-up, which I preferred. In the States, it was quite a different story, with "Don't Shed A Tear" (which charted first there) reaching number 9 while "When You Walk..." struggled to number 90. In his home of the UK, neither were hits.





Number 47 "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" by Belinda Carlisle
Peak: number 2
It had been released in the US back in September 1987, and, finally, Australia got in on the act with this slice of pop perfection, which would zoom all the way up to number 2, before spending many weeks stuck at numbers 2 and 3 behind "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" and "I Should Be So Lucky". Although her debut solo album, Belinda, had only resulted in one hit, 1986's "Mad About You", this was the first of a trio of big worldwide singles. Australia pretty much lost interest after "Heaven Is A Place On Earth", however, and it wasn't until the Runaway Horses album in 1989-1990 that the Go-Go's frontwoman maintained a more consistent strike rate.




Number 46 "Put Down That Weapon" by Midnight Oil
Peak: number 32
"Beds Are Burning" had been Midnight Oil's biggest single - both locally and around the world - so following it up was always going to be tough. Add to that the fact Oils fans had already snapped up the LP, Diesel And Dust, sending it to number 1 and keeping Michael Jackson's Bad from the top, and it's little surprise "Put Down That Weapon" peaked where it did. I haven't listened to it in years and actually quite like the verses, but the song loses me in the chorus, especially the way Peter Garrett sings the song's title.




Number 41 "Tunnel Of Love" by Bruce Springsteen
Peak: number 41
The second single and title track from the Boss' 1987 album peaked at this very position, a big drop from the number 17 peak of "Brilliant Disguise". The performance of both songs fell somewhat short of that achieved by the singles from his previous studio album, Born In The USA, which included Australia's biggest single of 1984, "Dancing In The Dark" (a track which, interestingly, never got higher than number 5). I don't know if it's just because I'm a lot older now, but I don't dislike this song as much as I would have back in 1988.




Number 38 "Say You Will" by Mick Jagger
Peak: number 21
Given how enormously successful The Rolling Stones were, it's always interested me how unsuccessful their singer's solo career has been. Unlike many singers, who strike while the iron is hot and launch a solo album when their band is at its peak, Mick waited until 1985 to release his first LP on his own. It was a long time after the band's '60s and '70s heyday, and four years since their last massive hit, 1981's "Start Me Up". 1987's Primitive Cool had already delivered one minor hit in "Let's Work" and although this song did slightly better, it's not a song that's stood the test of time. In fact, I couldn't even remember how it went until I watched the clip below. My verdict: besides the music in the chorus sounding a little bit like Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days", it's largely forgettable. Besides, there was another song called "Say You Will" to get more excited about that week...




Number 35 "Say You Will" by Foreigner
Peak: number 6
Three places higher than Mick was a US band who'd struck platinum on their previous album with globe-conquering power-ballad "I Want To Know What Love Is". "Say You Will" was the lead single from Inside Information, which also followed singer Lou Gramm's first successful foray into a solo career (see, striking while the iron was hot!) with "Midnight Blue". Foreigner's "Say You Will" performed much better than Mick Jagger's, hitting the top 10 in Australia. I've always been quite partial to a bit of Foreigner and this was one of my favourites of the time as well.




Number 34 "Rip It Up" by James Reyne
Peak: number 34
Here's another former frontman for a rock band who launched a solo career a lot closer to his group's period of greatest success. And, up until this point, James Reyne had been rewarded with two big singles: "Fall Of Rome" and "Hammerhead". With "Rip It Up" making the highest debut of the week, things looked promising, but this was actually as high as the song got and by the end of February, it had disappeared from the top 50. 
"Rip It Up" is another song I haven't listened to in years - in fact, I completely forgot it existed. I can see why it faltered, since it's nowhere near as good as James's previous hits. Fourth single "Heaven On A Stick" might well have been a better choice - but by the time that came out, it couldn't even crack the top 50. It wasn't over for the ex-Australian Crawl singer, however. He'd return later in the year with one of his biggest solo hits, "Motor's Too Fast".




Next week, there's only a handful of new entries so I'll also flip the chart over and take a look at what was happening on the albums side of things. Before that: the conclusion to my 1990 countdown.


Back to: Jan 17, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 31, 1988


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