|Nothing like a subtle marketing message|
This week in 1989, a British singer registered his 100th single - a big event in his home country but one which passed most Australians by, despite the fact he'd been incredibly successful locally over the years - and had last hit the top 10 as recently as 1987.
|ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending August 13, 1989|
Meanwhile, a boy band that has now been around for decades - three of them, in fact - wrestled the number 1 spot away from Roxette this week 25 years ago. I'm talking, of course, about New Kids On The Block, who hit the top with "You Got It (The Right Stuff)". More on them later...
"The Best Of Me" by Cliff Richard
Peak: number 59
Here he is, the Peter Pan of pop, who'd released his debut single, "Move It" (with The Drifters), way back in August 1958. That song was a number 2 hit in the UK, while in Australia, it wound up at the other extreme of the chart, spending a single week at number 100 in early 1959. Cliff would make up for it, scoring his first (of many) Australian top 10 hits with the original version of "Living Doll" later in 1959 - and now, 30 years later, was celebrating his 100th single.
Although there is some debate about whether "The Best Of Me" was actually his 100th single, the ballad was marketed as such and took Cliff back to the exact same position as "Move It" in the UK - his 10th (and second last) time in the runners-up slot. Once again, Australia was unconvinced and it would be another decade before we'd see him back in the ARIA top 50 - just in time for the new millennium.
Number 45 "Stand Back" by Roxus
Peak: number 44
Australia might have excelled at just about every type of rock music known to man, but when it came to American-style hair metal, our local versions of Bon Jovi, Poison and Mötley Crüe hadn't exactly set the charts alight. And, with their debut single, "Stand Back", Melbourne band Roxus joined Kings Of The Sun as top 50 also-rans despite the band taking a leaf out of Bon Jovi's book and being (almost) named after lead singer Juno Roxas. Bigger things were to come for the band that'd signed to Molly Meldrum's Melodian label - but not until they released an obligatory rock power ballad a couple of years later.
Number 23 "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" by New Kids On The Block
Peak: number 4
Speaking of ballads... With this sickly sweet follow-up to the reigning number 1 single, New Kids On The Block established the rule that no boy band is ever too cool for a slushy song. For me, "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" has always been basically unlistenable, but in 1989, their largely teenage girl fanbase thought otherwise, sending the track to number 1 in the States and solidifying their position as the year's biggest new pop act in Australia.
Although still several months behind America, where "I'll Be..." had hit the top in June, Australia was starting to catch up thanks to a rapid release strategy which saw this single enter the top 50 before "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" had even spent a dozen weeks on the chart. The two songs would spend a number of weeks in the top 10 together, and by October, Jordan, Jon, Danny, Donnie and Joey would have three simultaneous top 50 hits.
Next week: Australia's favourite singer takes on drug abuse, and, just when The Reynolds Girls made it look like it was all over for Stock Aitken Waterman, they teamed up with a disco legend for some of their best work. Plus, the world's favourite mime act breaks into the ARIA top 50.
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