Tuesday, 13 January 2015

30 Years Ago This Week: January 13, 1985

For the past couple of years, I've been taking a look back 25 years to what was happening on the ARIA top 50 singles chart - and I've reached 1990 with those posts. But, this year marks three decades since one of the most important times in music history. Spurred on by the overwhelming success of the highest new entry on the chart this week in 1985, the music industry pulled together like never before in the name of charity.

Band Aid changed the face of music as 1985 began

So it only seemed right to revisit 1985 with a new weekly update - the imaginatively titled 30 Years Ago This Week. I wasn't collecting the ARIA chart myself at that stage (that wouldn't happen until 1987), but I have managed to get my hands on every top 50 from that year. If you want to know what I was doing and listening to that year, you can check out my favourite songs from 1985 here 

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - three weeks ending January 13, 1985

Before we get on with our first look back at what Australia was listening to 30 years ago, a couple of points to note. This first ARIA top 50 is for the three weeks ending January 13, 1985 and reflects record sales prior to December 23, 1984 - which explains some of the festive tunes in the upper reaches of the chart. For this week only, I'll take a quick look at all the songs in the top 50 and pay particular attention to the new entries. Then, from next week, I'll follow the same format as my 25 Years Ago... posts and focus mainly on the debuts.

Number 50 "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" by U2
Peak: number 4
Until 1988, this was the Irish group's biggest hit of the decade in Australia - and this marked its final week in the top 50.

Number 49 "What About Me?" by Kenny Rogers with Kim Carnes & James Ingram
Peak: number 49
In 2015, a collaboration like this would be nothing new - but in 1985, it was pretty unusual for three singers to perform on a track together. The lead single from country crossover star Kenny Rogers' album of the same name, "What About Me?" saw him reunite with Kim Carnes (who he'd duetted with on 1980's number 38 "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer) and also team up with soul star James Ingram - the third choice after Lionel Richie and Jeffrey Osborne pulled out. Kim, meanwhile, became involved after Barbra Streisand and Olivia Newton-John were unavailable. A love story told from three perspectives, the song was written by Kenny with hitmaker David Foster and a then-unknown Richard Marx. Not a massive hit in Australia - it'd fall out of the top 50 the following week - "What About Me?" performed better in the States, where it reached number 15.

Number 48 "I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister
Peak: number 43
It was always going to be hard following up "We're Not Gonna Take It" (which was making its way down the chart from its top 10 peak), but "I Wanna Rock" was a valiant effort by Twisted Sister to avoid becoming a novelty one-hit wonder and is a better song (if you like that sort of thing) than its lowly chart peak suggests. Again, much of the appeal of the single came from its music video, which featured two of the stars of National Lampoon's Animal House and felt like the climax of a teen comedy film. Despite the effort, "I Wanna Rock" ended up a minor hit both here and in the US, and Twisted Sister puttered out a couple of years later with only one further Billboard Hot 100 entry - a cover of The Shangri-Las' "Leader Of The Pack" - to their name.

Number 47 "Phantom Shuffle" by Austen Tayshus
Peak: number 16
No "Australiana", this parody of comic strip character The Phantom (aka The Ghost Who Walks) had more of a niche appeal.

Number 46 "Apocalypso (Wiping The Smile Off Santa's Face)" by Mental As Anything
Peak: number 37
Another comic record - this stand-alone festive single kept the Mentals in the chart until they were ready to release Fundamental

Number 45 "Like To Get To Know You Well" by Howard Jones
Peak: number 16
Amazingly, "What Is Love" had stalled at number 31, but Howard made up for it with this, his first top 20 hit in Australia - which was on its way off the chart.

Number 44 "Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)" by Eurythmics
Peak: number 5
Sneaking into the top 50 just as the year after it is named came to an end, this brand-new single by Eurythmics was taken from the soundtrack to Nineteen Eighty-Four, the film adaptation of the George Orwell novel (in which the concept of Big Brother was created). Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart recorded the entire soundtrack album, which was only a modest hit (it reached number 22) after two consecutive top 5 albums. But, there was nothing modest about the success of "Sexcrime...", which became the duo's biggest hit in Australia up until that point, beating the number 6 peak of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" by one spot. An even bigger song was just around the corner for the pair - and no, I'm not talking about "Julia", the second single from the soundtrack, which may not even have been released in Australia.

Number 43 "Moonlight Lady" by Julio Iglesias
Peak: number 43
Decades before his son told listeners in no uncertain terms what he was going to do to them, Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias took a more subtle approach to wooing the fairer sex. The smooth-as-silk "Moonlight Lady" was the latest single from Julio's smash album 1100 Bel Air Place, which was firmly ensconced in the albums top 10 and featured previous hits "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" (with Willie Nelson) and "All Of You" (with Diana Ross). Written by the songwriting team of Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager (who'd also penned Leo Sayer's "When I Need You"), "Moonlight Lady" was, like the Kenny Rogers song, another brief chart hit and would be Julio's last appearance on the top 50 for over three years.

Number 42 "Dancing In Berlin" by Berlin
Peak: number 39
I love a song that features the band name in its title (see also: "Living In A Box", "Talk Talk"). I also like Berlin's synthpop singles, like this and "No More Words" (number 23 in 1984).

Number 41 "No Say In It" by Machinations
Peak: number 14
Local synthpop now, with the biggest and best single by Sydney-based Machinations, whose first two albums are just about to get the deluxe reissue treatment

Number 40 "Guardian Angel" by Masquerade
Peak: number 27
Completing a trio of international synthpop is this track by German duo Masquerade, which came out in Europe in late 1983 and would finally reach its Australian peak in February 1985.

Number 39 "Hard Habit To Break" by Chicago
Peak: number 20
The last time MOR kings Chicago were on the top 50 it was with another "Hard..." single: "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" (number 4 in 1982). "Hard Habit To Break" wasn't as big and would be the band's final top 20 hit in Australia.

Number 38 "Agadoo" by Black Lace
Peak: number 16
The chart run of "Agadoo" was torturous, but thank heaven for small mercies - Australia was spared other party favourites like "Hokey Cokey" and "Do The Conga" reaching our top 50, as they had in the UK.

Number 37 "Searchin' (I Gotta Find A Man)" by Hazell Dean
Peak: number 17
Gay classic time - with the first of a high-energy double play. First, it's future Stock Aitken Waterman artist Hazell Dean with this track, covered over two decades later by Young Divas.

Number 36 "Why?" by Bronski Beat
Peak: number 10
Next, it's a song with an anti-homophobic message from the politically charged trio Bronski Beat, who enjoyed a second top 10 hit with this powerful single.

Number 35 "Dancing In The Dark" by Bruce Springsteen
Peak: number 5
The highest-selling single in Australia for 1984 didn't even hit number 1, but it did spend 64 weeks in the top 100 (11 in the top 10) - and was about halfway through that run at this point.

Number 34 "Private Dancer" by Tina Turner
Peak: number 21
The title track from her comeback album gave Tina a fourth chart hit in 1984, the biggest of which had been chart-topper "What's Love Got To Do With It".

Number 33 "Power Of Love" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Peak: number 4
As we'll see, Christmas of 1984 will go down in history as one of the biggest years for festive hit singles - and this third release from FGTH came complete with a nativity-themed video.

Number 32 "Big On Love" by Models
Peak: number 24
A Models single I'd forgotten about until the last couple of years - partly because it was left off the best of I have and partly because it was overshadowed by the band's next two singles.

Number 31 "All Through The Night" by Cyndi Lauper
Peak: number 17
Another song that gets a little overlooked - the fact it didn't have an official video doesn't help - is this fourth hit by 1985's Grammy Award-winning new artist.

Number 30 "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister
Peak: number 6
Fun fact: Twisted Sister's big hit was taken from the album Stay Hungry. The band revisited the LP two decades later in a revamped version they called Still Hungry

Number 29 "The Glamorous Life" by Sheila E
Peak: number 11
One of the many female artists to benefit from the songwriting and production prowess of Prince during the '80s was singer/percussionist Sheila E. This was her debut single. 

Number 28 "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" by Paul Young
Peak: number 25
His breakthrough hit, "Wherever I Lay My Hay (That's My Home)", was a cover of on obscure soul track, and so was this lead single from second album The Secret Of Association - but this was nowhere near as big.

Number 27 "Left In The Dark" by Barbra Streisand
Peak: number 27
Another under-performing lead single was this epic Jim Steinman-penned and produced ballad from Babs' Emotion album. Never heard it before, don't care to again.

Number 26 "Careless Whisper" by George Michael
Peak: number 1
The first of four entries to feature the vocals of Georgios Panayiotou, "Careless Whisper" was his debut effort as a solo artist - and the fourth highest-selling single of 1984 in Australia.

Number 25 "No More Lonely Nights" by Paul McCartney
Peak: number 9
Ah, the vanity movie project, so beloved of music stars in the '80s (see also: Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson). This single was taken from the flop film Give My Regards To Broad Street.

Number 24 "All Cried Out" by Alison Moyet
Peak: number 21
The glut of ballads continues with this second single from the former Yazoo single - a song that's better than the last three entries combined.

Number 23 "If This Is It" by Huey Lewis & The News
Peak: number 20
Another middling chart position for the band who sued the man at number 7 over plagiarism claims. The matter was settled out of court, while Huey and pals finally achieved chart glory themselves in 1985.

Number 22 "The Warrior" by Scandal featuring Patty Smyth
Peak: number 6
One of three songs on this chart by genuine one-hit wonders, "The Warrior" was co-written by Nick Gilder, who hit number 18 in 1978 with "Hot Child In The City". 

Number 21 "The War Song" by Culture Club
Peak: number 2
After their two number 1 hits ("Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" and "Karma Chameleon"), this polarising release was the next highest placing single for Boy George and the other three.

Number 20 "Smooth Operator" by Sade
Peak: number 20
Interestingly, this fourth single by Sade and debut single "Your Love Is King" had both entered the top 100 in the same week. "Smooth Operator" peaked 44 positions higher.

Number 19 "Christmas Countdown" by Frank Kelly
Peak: number 16
Famous for playing Father Jack in British sitcom Father Ted, actor Frank Kelly performed this comic spin on "The 12 Days Of Christmas" - the number 1 song in NSW this week in 1985. 

Number 18 "We Belong" by Pat Benatar
Peak: number 7
A year after hitting the chart with chart-topper "Love Is A Battlefield", Pat returned to the top 10 (along with a kiddy choir) with this lead single from sixth album Tropico.  

Number 17 "I'm Tuff" by George Smilovici
Peak: number 10
A second one-hit wonder and another comedy record to feature on this top 50 from the Cuban-born comedian who still does stand-up today (see his website for upcoming dates).

Number 16 "Shout To The Top!" by The Style Council
Peak: number 8
He didn't manage a top 10 placing with The Jam (biggest hit: "Town Called Malice/Precious", number 15 in 1982), but Paul Weller's latest band did achieve that.

Number 15 "Sea Of Love" by The Honeydrippers
Peak: number 5
Our third one-hit wonder was a supergroup comprised of musicians who were otherwise no strangers to chart success - including Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Nile Rodgers.

Number 14 "Too Late For Goodbyes" by Julian Lennon
Peak: number 13
Four years after the death of his father shocked the world, Julian Lennon emerged as a music star in his own right with this hit debut single.

Number 13 "Together In Electric Dreams" by Giorgio Moroder/Phil Oakey
Peak: number 5
My favourite single for 1984, "Together In Electric Dreams" was another case of a soundtrack recording (in this case, the theme to Electric Dreams) being far better than the movie itself.

Number 12 "Soul Kind Of Feeling" by Dynamic Hypnotics
Peak: number 5
One of my least favourite hits from 1984, "Soul Kind Of Feeling" was one of those songs that was impossible to escape... and then get out of your head. Don't say I didn't warn you if you click the link above.

Number 11 "Out Of Touch" by Hall & Oates
Peak: number 11
The last of six US number 1s for Daryl Hall and John Oates, "Out Of Touch" would also be their final top 50 appearance in Australia - and is my favourite of their many hits.

Number 10 "Freedom" by Wham!
Peak: number 3
While "Careless Whisper" had been credited to Wham! featuring George Michael in some countries, this was the official follow-up to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" - and one of two Wham! songs in the top 10.

Number 9 "I Am Only Shooting Love" by Time Bandits
Peak: number 9
The first of a pair of top 10 hits from the Dutch two-hit wonders - the other being 1985's "Endless Road". In between those two hits, Time Bandits flopped with number 53 single "Listen To The Man With The Golden Voice". 

Number 8 "The Wild Boys" by Duran Duran
Peak: number 3
Their last three top 10 singles had all peaked at number 4, and Duran Duran went one better with this song, which achieved the band's highest ever chart position in Australia. Probably a good thing given the cost of the music video.

Number 7 "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr
Peak: number 2
George Michael kept him off number 1, but Ray Parker Jr had the last laugh, with "Ghostbusters" finishing 1984 as the year's third biggest single (one place above "Careless Whisper"). 

Number 6 "I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder
Peak: number 1
Another enduring hit - this song from The Woman In Red topped the chart for eight weeks from mid-October to mid-December and wouldn't leave the top 50 for good until May. 

Number 5 "Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)" by Billy Ocean
Peak: number 2
I'd forgotten how big this song was - as well as its ARIA chart achievements, it topped the US top 100 and won a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. 

Number 4 "I Feel For You" by Chaka Khan
Peak: number 4
Like "The Glamorous Life", "I Feel For You" was written by Prince - but in this case was also originally recorded by him, appearing on his self-titled second album in 1979. Before Chaka released it, versions were also recorded by The Pointer Sisters and eldest Jackson sibling Rebbie.

Number 3 "Last Christmas" by Wham!
Peak: number 3
Wham!'s other big single this week in 1985 was a special festive release that clocked up eight weeks at number 3. It would've taken the coveted UK Christmas number 1 spot were it not for the song below (although "Last Christmas" did end up as the highest-selling UK number 2 of all time).

Number 2 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid
Peak: number 1
Recorded on November 24, 1984 and in record stores in the UK by December 3 (and Australia shortly after), "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was a rapid-fire response to a serious problem: the famine in Ethiopia. The story behind the single is well known, with The Boomtown Rats' Bob Geldof and Ultravox's Midge Ure scrambling to write the song and assemble a group of (mostly) British musicians to perform it. 
The result was an instant number 1 in the UK - and for many years the highest-selling single of all time in Britain, with over three million copies sold by this point in 1985. In Australia, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" wouldn't reach number 1 for another week (reflecting sales from across the festive season) - and would stay there well after Christmas was a distant memory, registering four weeks at the top.

Number 1 "Like A Virgin" by Madonna
Peak: number 1
A fifth and final week at number 1 for the lead single from Madonna's second album. She'd return to the top twice more during 1985, as well as landing three other top 10 hits.

Next week: two of the biggest ballad hits of the year debut, as does the theme to a classic '80s movie - I know, that doesn't really narrow it down given it's 1985 we're talking about. And tomorrow, it's back to 1990 as I look back at the ARIA top 50 from this week 25 years ago.

                                                                     GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 20, 1985


  1. I'd been living in New Zealand for a few months when this chart was published. I wasn’t following the charts yet, but it's interesting to see what was charting in Oz while I was away.

    I remember hearing the Band Aid song just before Xmas '84. Many of the same songs charting in Oz were on heavy rotation in NZ ('I Feel For You', 'I Just Called To Say I Love You', 'Caribbean Queen', 'Out of Touch', 'Sea of Love', 'The War Song', 'We're Not Gonna Take It'). Although it's a few months since its release, Alison Moyet's 'Love Resurrection' was a song I associate with living in NZ, as it received a LOT of airplay.

    I wasn't really aware Howard Jones at the time, but discovered 'What Is Love' a few years ago. Surprised to see it stalled at #31 here.

    I don’t recall hearing 'Sexcrime...' until 2 years later when listening to it on a hits compilation tape my sister had, despite it also going top 10 in NZ. Maybe radio didn't play it due to the racy title? It seems odd that 'Julia' wasn't released locally (a Eurythmics collector friend confirmed that it didn't get a local release), despite it flopping in the UK and not being the most obvious single choice.

    Shame 'Dancing In Berlin' wasn't a bigger hit. It sounds like top 5 material to my ears.

    I don't recall hearing 'Guardian Angel' before. Looking at its NZ chart run, it charted there just after I left.

    My older sister's class performed a routine to 'Agadoo' during the Xmas concert at my NZ school, ha ha. I remember thinking 'what does Agadoo mean?'

    I have wondered whether the Kent Report era year-end charts were based on chart-runs rather than sales, as it seems odd to me that 'Dancing In the Dark' - despite its mammoth stay in the top 50 - would end up #1 for the year with a peak of #5 and only 11 weeks in the top 10. I know a similar thing happened with 'November Rain' in '92 (placed higher on the chart of the year than its actual peak), but that spent much longer in the top 10.

    I assumed Patty Smyth was the lead singer of Scandal... so it's odd to see her as a 'featured' artist.

    The sometimes large differences in the state top 10 charts are interesting. I'm surprised to see that the #1 single in NSW could only reach #19 nationally this week. Perhaps a 'local' hit with limited appeal to other states?

    I've found the site www.unhearit.com useful for those earworms you can't shake (based around the idea of replacing one earworm with another).

    It's interesting that several different variations of 'Caribbean Queen' were recorded by Billy Ocean - 'European Queen' and 'African Queen'. There's also apparently a 'Japanese Queen', but no 'Australian Queen'.

    1. Yes, I checked with David Kent and his year-end charts were chart performance based (weeks at peak position etc) rather than sales based. So Dancing In The Dark wasn't necessarily the highest-selling single for 1984 but it must have done pretty well given it charted for so long. Would be very interested to see year-end sales-based charts for 1980-1988.

  2. Glad you've started this new section, on my favourite year in music.
    I llike almost everything in the chart this week, with the exception of the "comedy" releases (of which The Phantom Shuffle is the worst due to not actually being funny). Best of the bunch for me " The Warrior, All Cried Out, We Belong, both Prince-written songs, Out Of Touch, Together In Electric Dreams, Private Dancer... oh there's too many. I even think The War Song, The Wild Boys and Freedom are their respective artists' best songs, which I'm sure is not a common opinion. Best new entry was the Eurythmics one.

  3. Andy - troubled 80s teen16 January 2015 at 04:42

    Thanks for starting this new weekly review, really looking forward to it. As I didn't start following the charts until February 1988, I'm expecting many surprising peak positions, as my perception of the songs' popularities is only based on the radio airplay they received (and even then, only for whatever radio station in Sydney my father had playing while he washed the car - mostly 2Day-FM or 2UW (which became MIX 106.5 and, as I discovered on my first Australian visit in years during the past month, is now KIIS-FM)).

  4. Great stuff! I've just discovered this site, I'd been looking for some old charts to build a few playlists out of and from what I've seen so far, the amount of effort you've put into this is really impressive. Keep it up!

    1. Thanks for reading! Glad you're enjoying it.