Wednesday, 22 October 2014

25 Years Ago This Week: October 22, 1989

I'm sure someone has a record of how many times this happened in the pre-digital age, but I'd imagine it was a fairly uncommon occurrence for two different artists to have three separate entries among the top 50 singles on the ARIA chart. But, that's exactly what happened 25 years ago this week, when new entries from New Kids On The Block and Roxette debuted on the chart.


It wasn't unusual for acts to make two appearances on any given ARIA top 50 in the '80s (this week, Prince and Transvision Vamp both manage that feat). That was due to a combination of the slow-moving state of the Australian chart and the tendency by local record companies to release subsequent singles quite quickly once an initial hit was in the bag. But, for two artists to so dominate the chart - all three entries for both NKOTB and Roxette actually rank inside the top 40 - meant they were both pretty damn popular at that point.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending October 22, 1989

Also popular this week in 1989 - much to my consternation - was "Swing The Mood" by Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers, which rudely barged aside Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" to set up shop at number 1. 


Breakers
"Crossroads" by Tracy Chapman
Peak: number 58
Last week, we saw Crossroads debut on the albums chart, and now the title track from Tracy Chapman's second LP appears as a breaker, destined to be yet another single by the singer/songwriter to fail to hit the dizzy heights achieved by her breakthrough hit, "Fast Car". I know a lot of people worship at the altar of Tracy Chapman, but I've never been a convert - and had never heard "Crossroads" before. Although it's one of her more interesting singles (albeit slightly repetitive), I won't be rushing to listen to it again.




New entries
Number 48 "Love In An Elevator" by Aerosmith
Peak: number 33
It's hard to believe, but until this single, enduring rockers Aerosmith had never appeared in the Australian top 50. Not even with "Walk This Way"? Nope, the original version of the song peaked at number 85 locally in 1977. What about the Run DMC remake (which reached number 9)? Well, Aerosmith don't seem to have received an artist's credit on that - and besides, only vocalist Steve Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry were involved anyway. But, 10 albums in, and the band that'd been releasing records since 1973 finally cracked the top 50 with this lead single from Pump. It wasn't a massive hit - for some reason, I thought it'd been more successful - but bigger things were just around the corner for the band.




Number 47 "Boogie With M'Baby" by John Williamson
Peak: number 42
This is turning into my nightmare week... At least "Rip Rip Woodchip" had a positive social message, but I'm struggling to find a redeeming feature for this follow-up, the second single from John's number 1 album, Warragul. Pretty much a novelty record, it sees John in comic storyteller mode... but I just don't get the joke.




Number 42 "Partyman" by Prince
Peak: number 38

Now, this just baffles me. The hodge-podge that was "Batdance" almost hit number 1, while this far superior follow-up, the second single from Prince's Batman soundtrack album, barely dented the top 40. Guess there's no accounting for taste sometimes. "Partyman" was one of the few tracks on the album to appear prominently in the film, featuring in the scene where Jack Nicholson's Joker ransacks Gotham's Art Museum.


Number 36 "Listen To Your Heart" by Roxette
Peak: number 10

Here is one of the two acts to register three singles inside the top 40 this week in 1989 - Sweden's Roxette with their first ballad hit in Australia. "Listen To Your Heart" joined "The Look" (one place below at number 37) and "Dressed For Success" (which fell out of the top 10 to number 11). The ultra-commercial band would score their third consecutive top 10 placing with "Listen To Your Heart" - part of a string of seven top 10 hits between 1989 and 1991. 






Number 29 "Hangin' Tough" by New Kids On The Block
Peak: number 8

Next, our second hat-trick performers - the boy band who, incidentally, were kept from the top of the US charts with their next single, "Cover Girl", by Roxette's "Listen To Your Heart". At this point, Australia was still slightly behind the States when it came to all things New Kids On The Block and we were only up to "Hangin' Tough", the title track from their second album, which joined former number 1 "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" (number 38 this week) and "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" (number 12) on the chart - incidentally, each one place lower than Roxette's other two songs.





Obviously, on today's top 50, artists can rack up several appearances in any given week thanks to a) 
the proliferation of collaborations and b) albums tracks being eligible for the singles chart - but it was a much more impressive feat back in 1989.


Next week: a bunch of historical events and figures get crammed into one single, plus one of the dirtiest bands in rock history achieve their biggest Australian hit to date. All that and a third chart appearance from Australia's lyrca-sporting so-called one-hit wonder.




Back to: Oct 15, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 29, 1989


2 comments:

  1. I didn't think I'd heard Tracy Chapman's 'Crossroads' before, but playing the video now, it does sound familiar, and it's not bad. I remember the album appearing on the chart, though. I like this, 'Fast Car' and 'Talking 'Bout a Revolution', but didn't care for 'Give Me One Reason' at all. It's hard to imagine a 'serious' artist like Tracy having a big hit single now.

    A guy I was friends with at school told me years later that he thought 'Love In an Elevator' was 'Livin' It Up, La Vita', which still makes me laugh/I prefer to sing those lyrics to the song. I knew of 'Rag Doll' from American Top 40 the year before, but hadn't heard (or heard of) this one when it entered the top 50 on rage. I don't mind it now, but I remember it seemed the song/video went on for ages, back then.

    Embarrassingly now, I was nearly going to buy the 'Boogie With M'Baby' cassingle! I picked it up from the shelf in Myer, but thankfully I saw reason and decided against it. I thought the song was funny, the way he sang 'm'babeh', but now I don't see it. This is the first time I've seen the video though - I didn't know one existed. Rage just played the song title over one of their interludes when it was in the top 50.

    I don't really know why, but I bought the 'Partyman' cassingle. I thought the song was alright, but it wasn't a favourite. I did like the typical Prince, suggestive lyrics b-side, 'Feel U Up' more though.

    I thought 'Listen To Your Heart' was the best Roxette single from their 'Look Sharp!' album. I didn't notice though until a few years ago that it really does sound a lot like Heart's 'What About Love' and 'Alone'. Almost like 'Listen To Your Heart (records)'!

    I was well and truly over NKOTB by the time 'Hangin' Tough' was released as a single. One thing I noticed then was so many of their songs (well 3 of the hits from this album) had a variation of an 'oh-oh-oh' "lyric" either in the chorus or as the 'hook', and this was one of them.

    This is the second consecutive week that the 'single of the week' has been replaced with a Coca-Cola Top 20 (whatever that was) ad... I wonder what the deal was there.

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    1. Oh yeah - spoiler alert - the single of the week isn't back until December.

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