Wednesday, 13 August 2014

25 Years Ago This Week: August 13, 1989

Not many artists can lay claim to releasing 100 singles in their career - a feat that generally takes decades to achieve. Mind you, if Rihanna keeps up her rate of releasing music (she's already amassed around half that figure if you include the singles by other acts on which she's featured), she could join that exclusive club before long.

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...


Breaker
"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.




New entries
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.


Back to: Aug 6, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 20, 1989


6 comments:

  1. I didn't think I'd heard 'The Best of Me' at the time, but the chorus sounds familiar. I remember seeing the single sleeve though (probably in 'Number One') with the 100th single info on it.

    Roxus's 'Stand Back' still gets the occasional airing in the Summer Bay diner jukebox on Home and Away (the early years repeats on 7TWO), even though it's now up to March 1993. I've always found it odd that they often play old tunes well past their sell by date. James Freud's 'Hurricane' and Ian Moss's 'Tucker's Daughter' have also been (re-)aired recently.

    'I'll Be Loving You (Forever)' is where I started to go off NKOTB in a big way, after only one single. It sounds like it should have been released in 1986 at the latest, with its dated production. I didn't like any of their following singles at the time, though in retrospect 'Step By Step' was quite decent.

    Two outside-the-top-50 positions I noted down this week (or rather, the following week when they became Chartbusters) from Countdown Revolution were:

    #64 This Time I Know It's For Real - Donna Summer
    #98 Baby Don't Forget My Number - Milli Vanilli

    Given their peak positions, it looks like Real Life were at 51, Paul Kelly & The Messengers were at 53, Don Henley was at 54, and Michael Damian was at 55 this week.

    This is the second week since ARIA began producing the chart in-house that all 5 Breakers failed to crack the top 50. I thought it would have been the first time this occurred, but after checking, see that it also happened on 3/7/1988. Combined with the lack of new entries in the top 50, and only 3 bullets, the chart seems to have been rather stagnant this week.

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  2. Oh, and I see ARIA forgot to put the date on this chart again.

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  3. Geez, I thought "Stand Back" went Top 30???? Love the song as it has grown on me over the years - a great rock track. I remember when Juno went solo in the early or mid 90's and released a cover of Billy Thorpe's "It's Almost Summer". Didn't do too well. Maybe Peter Andre stole his thunder around this time? LoL. I also remember seeing him in an aussie movie with Nadine Gardner? You know those random aussie movies that come on TV on
    late Saturday night - would've been the early 90's.

    NKOTB follow up was awful. I remember how much i hated this song when it came on all the video shows on Saturday mornings. I just wanted to smash the TV, but had to settle with abusing Jordan and his high pitch voice while changing the channel. LoL.

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    1. Well I'm glad the NKOTB ballad is something everybody can agree on.

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  4. I too didn't think I had heard the Cliff Richard song before. He's not that popular here in Canada. I googled it and found why it sounded so familiar to me. The version I remember is the David Foster and Olivia Newton-John version. It was released here in 1986. Radio broadcasting Con-can rules made sure that this was in heavy rotation here. Interestingly, it was co-written with Richard Marx before he hit it big in 1987.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG7vbs7wPTk

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    1. Thanks for the info - I didn't know any of that about the song. Must say it's not one of my favourites of his. I much preferred his Stock Aitken Waterman-produced song, "I Just Don't Have The Heart", from 1989.

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