Monday, 10 February 2014

One-Hit Wonders On The Australian Charts - The 80s part 3

JUMP TO: Part 1 II Part 2 II Part 3 II Part 4


Ready for more one-hit wonders? This next batch are from the second half of the '80s and follow the same guidelines as the ones from 1980 to 1984 featured in Part 2 - each act had only one Australian top 10 single and never returned to the top 50 (or sometimes even the top 100) again.

A massive hit with the only single he ever released -
nicely played, Patrick Swayze

There weren't quite as many one-hit wonders as in the first half of the decade, but with 35 in total, there's more than enough to keep us busy for a little while. The only song not included on this list came from another charity ensemble: Artists United Against Apartheid's "Sun City" reached number 4 in 1986.


"Love And Pride" by King
Entered the Australian chart: April 1, 1985
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Won't You Hold My Hand Now" (number 86 in 1985)
After his band and then his subsequent solo career ran out of steam, big-haired Paul King ended up on British MTV and VH1 as a VJ. He would've been quite justified keeping himself off any one-hit wonder programs in the UK since King managed more hits than this debut single there - although none of them succeeded in Australia. The music video keeps getting yanked off YouTube, so you'll have to make do with this live TV performance.




"Rhythm Of The Night" by DeBarge
Entered the Australian chart: May 20, 1985
Peak position: number 5
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Who's Holding Donna Now" (number 57 in 1985)
A few years after The Jacksons moved from Motown to CBS, their original label found a new sibling group to add to their roster. Like the Jacksons, DeBarge started off with five siblings and kept a spare waiting in the wings, but a point of difference was sister Bunny in the line-up. "Rhythm Of The Night" was one of the earliest hits for songwriter Diane Warren.




"19" by Paul Hardcastle
Entered the Australian chart: May 27, 1985
Peak position: number 10
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Don't Waste My Time" (number 66 in 1986)
A decade after the Vietnam War ended, British producer Paul Hardcastle took this topical dance track to the top of the UK chart, into the Australian top 10 and even to number 15 in the US. Also in 1985, parody track "N-N-Nineteen Not Out" by The Commentators hit the UK top 20 and was about an equally significant social issue - the British cricket team's sub-standard performance in the previous year's test series.




"Life In A Northern Town" by The Dream Academy
Entered the Australian chart: July 8, 1985
Peak position: number 4
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "The Love Parade" (number 76 in 1985)
This British trio managed three albums and contributed a cover of The Smiths' "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" to the Ferris Bueller's Day Off soundtrack, but it's this debut single for which they're mostly known. Younger music fans will more likely recall the Dario G track "Sunchyme", which sampled vocals from "Life In A Northern Town" to great effect.




"Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer
Entered the Australian chart: July 8, 1985
Peak position: number 6
No other top 100 entries
Before Crazy Frog got their hands on it, this instrumental track from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack was the ultimate in '80s synthpop brilliance. German producer Harold also supplied a track for the Top Gun soundtrack.




"St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" by John Parr
Entered the Australian chart: September 30, 1985
Peak position: number 4
No other top 100 entries
Speaking of soundtracks, songs from '80s films don't get much better than this power ballad by the British (I always thought he was American) singer. Mullet-loving John wrote the track with producer David Foster (who was also behind St Elmo's Fire's instrumental theme). The "Man In Motion" subtitle comes from the inspiration for the song: Canadian paralympian Rick Hansen, who toured the world by wheelchair in 1985. He wasn't in the film.




"Say I'm Your Number One" by Princess
Entered the Australian chart: December 2, 1985
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "After The Love Has Gone" (number 57 in 1986)
Desiree Heslop had to settle for number eight instead with her debut single, which was given the Midas touch by Stock Aitken Waterman. Princess was one of a handful of credible British artists produced by the Hit Factory before they turned their attentions to soap stars and gay boy bands towards the end of the decade.




"See The Day" by Dee C Lee
Entered the Australian chart: January 13, 1986
Peak position: number 5
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Come Hell Or Waters High" (number 69 in 1986)
The future Mrs Paul Weller stepped away from her job as The Style Council's backing singer to release this solo effort, a dramatic ballad covered by Girls Aloud two decades later.




"Face The Face" by Pete Townshend
Entered the Australian chart: January 13, 1986
Peak position: number 9
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Give Blood" (number 77 in 1986)
Like Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham (from Part 1) and ABBA's Frida (from Part 2), Pete was a chart regular as a member of The Who but only struck gold once in his own right on the Australian singles chart.




"You're A Friend Of Mine" by Clarence Clemons & Jackson Browne
Entered the Australian chart: February 3, 1986
Peak position: number 9
No other top 100 entries
This song's on this list since it was the only hit for E Street (Bruce Springsteen's band, not the Aussie soap) saxophonist Clarence. Jackson had other hits, although none of those featured his then-girlfriend Daryl Hannah, who provided backing vocals and appeared in the clip for "You're A Friend Of Mine". Taken from Clarence's album Hero, it's the type of feel-good track that could only have come out in the '80s. Shortly before his death in 2011, Clarence's instrumental skills were heard on Lady Gaga's "The Edge Of Glory".




"Concrete And Clay" by Martin Plaza
Entered the Australian chart: February 24, 1986
Peak position: number 2
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Best Foot Forward" (number 51 in 1986)
Our fourth song in a row from someone better known (and more regularly successful) as part of a group, this remake of the Unit 4+2 British chart-topper from 1965 was the only hit for Mental As Anything co-frontman Martin. Still, it's more hits than Greedy Smith's managed.




"Eloise" by The Damned
Entered the Australian chart: March 31, 1986
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Is It A Dream" (number 69 in 1985)
Time for another update of a 1960s hit, this time a 1968 single by Barry Ryan (a number 1 in Australia) which gave goth rockers The Damned their first major hit since forming a decade earlier. Singer Dave Vanian was a former gravedigger who dressed as a vampire.




"I Wanna Be A Cowboy" by Boys Don't Cry
Entered the Australian chart: June 16, 1986
Peak position: number 4
No other top 100 entries
The singles chart was a pretty camp place in the mid-'80s, what with all the gender benders, innuendo-loaded lyrics and Wham!'s short shorts - so this Western-themed dance track fit right in. Surprisingly, it was a complete flop back home in the UK.




"Spirit In The Sky" by Doctor And The Medics
Entered the Australian chart: June 30, 1986
Peak position: number 3
No other top 100 entries
There really were a lot of cover versions in the '80s, weren't there? An update of the 1970 Australian and UK number 1 by Norman Greenbaum, "Spirit In The Sky" briefly thrust The Doctor (aka Clive Jackson) and his psychedelic-loving friends into the spotlight. Even a later cover of ABBA's "Waterloo" couldn't sustain the public's interest.




"(I Just) Died In Your Arms" by Cutting Crew
Entered the Australian chart: October 6, 1986
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "One For The Mockingbird" (number 96 in 1987)
Hands up if you thought Cutting Crew were American? Yep, me too - but the group led by singer Nick van Eede hailed from the UK. They did enjoy their greatest success in the States, however, with this debut single hitting number 1 and another single, "I've Been In Love Before", reaching the top 10 in 1987.




"Emotion In Motion" by Ric Ocasek
Entered the Australian chart: October 13, 1986
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "True To You" (number 100 in 1987)
Yep, it's time for another round of "But my band had plenty of hits!" - and it's another singer who shared lead vocal duties with a band-mate. Ric might've only had one hit in Australia, but that's one more than The Cars' other vocalist, Benjamin Orr, who also released a solo album in 1986 featuring US top 30 single "Stay The Night".




"Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)" by Glass Tiger
Entered the Australian chart: October 27, 1986
Peak position: number 9
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Thin Red Line" (number 91 in 1987)
Canadian music is a bit like Australian music - locally, there's a thriving scene and every once in a while a band will break internationally. In 1986, that band was Glass Tiger, who roped in the other famous Canadian of the time, Bryan Adams, for backing vocals on this debut single.




"Word Up!" by Cameo
Entered the Australian chart: December 22, 1986
Peak position: number 6
No other top 100 entries
Codpiece. OK, now I've got that out of the way, the other comment to make about Cameo's biggest hit is how often it's been covered - and in a variety of genres. Gun and Korn have taken it in a rock direction, while Mel G (Mel B's brief foray into married initialdom) and Little Mix have given it a pop twist. 




"Male Stripper" Man 2 Man Meet Man Parrish
Entered the Australian chart: March 23, 1987
Peak position: number 3
No other top 100 entries
Remember what I was saying about how camp the '80s were? Here's another case in point - a collaboration between high energy group Man 2 Man and remixer Man Parrish on this ode to a ladies' night Adonis, a modern day Jack, a jock with an act. Apparently built like a truck.




"Lean On Me" by Club Nouveau
Entered the Australian chart: April 20, 1987
Peak position: number 5
No other top 100 entries
One of the most covered songs of all time - and that's just in American Idol auditions. Originally recorded by Bill Withers in 1972, "Lean On Me" was given a funky makeover by Club Nouveau, who actually release five studio albums. Original members Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy only stuck around for one before going on to launch En Vogue.




"Ship Of Fools" by World Party
Entered the Australian chart: April 20, 1987
Peak position: number 4
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Is It Like Today?" (number 62 in 1993)
It wasn't much of a party, actually. Former Waterboys member Karl Wallinger is the only member of this act, who were actually more successful in Australia than the UK - although a World Party song, "She's The One", would be taken to the top spot of the British chart by Robbie Williams in 1999.




"Love And Devotion" by Michael Bow
Entered the Australian chart: May 11, 1987
Peak position: number 9
No other top 100 entries
Eurodisco flooded the chart in early 1987, with Michael Bow joining Man 2 Man Meet Man Parrish and Paul Lekakis in the Australian top 10 despite no one knowing a single thing about any one of them. Michael remains a bit of a mystery, but if you do a bit of internet searching, you'll discover that "Love And Devotion" wasn't his only single




"Right On Track" by Breakfast Club
Entered the Australian chart: May 25, 1987
Peak position: number 4
No other top 100 entries
Here's the band that featured a former boyfriend of Madonna's as well as one of her main songwriting partners - and at one time included Ms Ciccone in its line-up as drummer. Great song, great video, end of story.




"(Glad I'm) Not A Kennedy" by Shona Laing
Entered the Australian chart: May 25, 1987
Peak position: number 9
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Drive Baby Drive" (number 65 in 1987)
She'd been famous in her native New Zealand for a decade and a half before anyone this side of the Tasman took any notice - and only then because of this tune about one of the world's most ill-fated families.




"Wild Horses" by Gino Vannelli
Entered the Australian chart: July 13, 1987
Peak position: number 9
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "I Just Wanna Stop" (number 59 in 1978)
Another artist who'd been going since the early '70s, Gino's big 1978 hit (number 1 in Canada, number 4 in the US) didn't do the business in Australia, but "Wild Horses" and the Big Dreamers Never Sleep album made it a case of better late than never.




"Star Trekkin'" by The Firm
Entered the Australian chart: August 17, 1987
Peak position: number 3
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Arthur Daley (E's Alright)" (number 78 in 1982)
One of the things I've realised from doing my weekly look back at the ARIA charts from 25 years ago is just how many novelty hits there were in Australia in the late '80s - and here's one of the biggest. It wouldn't be the only sci-fi classic to be turned into a hit record.




"Hold Me Now" by Johnny Logan
Entered the Australian chart: August 24, 1987
Peak position: number 4
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "I'm Not In Love" (number 75 in 1988)
He may have triumphed at Eurovision twice, but Australia was only interested in the second of his two winning tunes, 1987's "Hold Me Now". Both it and 1980's "What's Another Year" (a UK number 1) won the competition for Ireland, but Johnny was actually born here.




"Pump Up The Volume" by M/A/R/R/S
Entered the Australian chart: December 14, 1987
Peak position: number 6
No other top 100 entries

It's not hard to be a one-hit wonder when you only ever release one record, which was the case with this one-off collaboration between groups A.R. Kane and Colourbox (neither of whom had other hits locally). And just like that, house music came to the Australian charts.




"Don't Tell Me The Time" by Martha Davis
Entered the Australian chart: February 15, 1988
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Tell It To The Moon" (number 65 in 1988)
These singers really should stick with their more successful groups, shouldn't they? Here's the vocalist for early '80s soft rock band The Motels with her one and only solo hit, which didn't do anything elsewhere in the world.
 





"Wonderful Life" by Black
Entered the Australian chart: February 29, 1988
Peak position: number 7
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Sweetest Smile" (number 87 in 1987)

Like World Party, Black was the alter ego of a single performer - British singer Colin Vearncombe, who was almost a no-hit wonder since this track flopped when first released in 1985. The song was a hit in Australia again in 2005 for Tina Cousins.




"She's Like The Wind" by Patrick Swayze
Entered the Australian chart: March 21, 1988
Peak position: number 6
No other top 100 entries

Despite the efforts of Don Johnson, Bruce Willis and Michael Damian in the '80s, the Dirty Dancing star proved that not all singles by actors had to be terrible. Australia showed great taste in rewarding Patrick with a top 10 hit and refusing to entertain the notion of the other three as music stars.




"Oh Yeah" by Yello
Entered the Australian chart: July 18, 1988
Peak position: number 9
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "The Race" (number 59 in 1988)

Like "Wonderful Life", this quirky synthpop classic had originally been released in 1985, but after the exposure gained through its use in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, "Oh Yeah" slowly found its way onto the Australian chart.




"Doctorin' The Tardis" by The Timelords
Entered the Australian chart: August 8, 1988
Peak position: number 2
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Gary In The Tardis" (number 92 in 1988)

They might have gone on to have a brief string of big singles as The KLF, but this Doctor Who meets Gary Glitter mash-up is the one and only hit by Bill Drummond and Bill Cauty in their guise as The Timelords. And, since they were already recording as The KLF at the time, I'm counting this as a separate entity.





"So Excellent / I Go, I Go" by Kylie Mole
Entered the Australian chart: October 31, 1988
Peak position: number 8
No other top 100 entries
The Comedy Company has a lot to answer for when it comes to the invasion of the singles chart by its characters - but this bubblegum pop novelty hit was the lesser of two evils. Far worse was the Con the Fruiterer song.





"Talk It Over" by Grayson Hugh
Entered the Australian chart: August 14, 1989
Peak position: number 4
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Bring It All Back" (number 88 in 1990)
The only one-hit wonder from 1989 is this track, which had been recorded and released the previous year by Olivia Newton-John. When her version, "Can't We Talk It Over In Bed", flopped, the song's arranger had a go with it - and hit the Australian top 10 and US top 20.





That brings us to the end of the list of '80s one-hit wonders on the Australian singles chart. Sure, there's an argument to be made that an artist with an enduring top 20 single and no other hits could be classed as a one-hit wonder. But, in the same way that I've insisted on the people on this list only having one appearance in the top 50 to their name, you've got to draw the line somewhere - and I've drawn it at the top 10.

The term "one-hit wonder" stops meaning anything if you start bandying it around willy-nilly. All it takes is a little bit of research - something music channel programmers and compilation compilers could do a bit more of - and it's easily determined whether the terms applies or not. Rant over.

At some point in the next couple of weeks, I'll post my promised two-hit wonders list. Until then, see you Wednesday for a look back at this week's ARIA chart from 1989!
 


7 comments:

  1. Well done. It's about time someone pointed out to the music channels the folly of their ways. I've lost count the number of times I've switched on to see another one hit wonder countdown full of two (or even more) hit wonders. I just switch off when I see a OHW countdown now.

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  2. Martha Davis' song was a topten hit in South Africa as well.

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  3. Good on you Gavin. It is One Hit Wonder Day next week (25th Sept according to the global calendar) so I have made up a playlist accordingly. I think that I am missing maybe 5-10 of the songs so it's pretty comprehensive. Can't wait!
    Any plans to make a 70's one? Or are there just too many disco songs which could possibly drive anyone completely crazy?

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. This blog only goes back as far as 1979 (one of my very first posts covers that year) so I won't be doing a 70s 1HWs list - but I have done the 90s as well.

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  4. Is that Motorhead's Lemmy in the Boy Don't Cry video?

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