Tuesday, 13 October 2015

30 Years Ago This Week: October 13, 1985

It's very rare that I like every new entry on any given ARIA top 50 singles chart, but that was the case this week in 1985 - and it's even more remarkable given there were seven songs debuting that week.

The Madonna single that time forgot

From debut hits to comeback singles to the latest in a long line of releases by Madonna, the chart had everything 30 years ago this week. There were so many new hits that there wasn't room on the top 50 for another six singles, including the latest songs by a trio of proven hitmakers, which had to make do with top 100 positions.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending October 13, 1985

We also had a new number 1 single this week in 1985, as David Bowie and Mick Jagger's charity duet, "Dancing In The Street", edged out Huey Lewis & The News for the first of two weeks at the top of the chart.


Off The Chart
Number 100 "Find A Way" by Amy Grant
Peak: number 98
It'd be another six years before Australia awarded her a pop hit, but Amy Grant's crossover from the Christian market to the mainstream began with this song - her first US top 30 hit.

Number 99 "A Love Until The End Of Time" by Placido Domingo & Maureen McGovern
Peak: number 54
Here's another artist who'd achieve a massive crossover hit in the early '90s - opera star Placido Domingo, who duetted with Broadway performer Maureen McGovern on this slush-fest.

Number 95 "Rainy Day" by Geisha
Peak: number 95
It'd get another lease of life in 1986, but this second single must've been a disappointment for the Melbourne band who also released their debut album in October 1985.

Number 94 "Lovin' Every Minute Of It" by Loverboy
Peak: number 77
The clip for this lead single from the album of the same name features a cheeky version of "Working For The Weekend". But not even referencing their last Australian hit could help the Canadian rockers achieve a chart revival.

Number 81 "Sister Fate" by Sheila E
Peak: number 81
For her second album, Romance 1600, Sheila E was still working with Prince - not that he was credited under his real name for this lead single, which was also a flop in the US.

Number 76 "The Love Parade" by The Dream Academy
Peak: number 76
The British trio broke their one-hit wonder status in the US when this pleasant follow-up to "Life In A Northern Town" reached the top 40 there. In Australia, they couldn't avoid the 1HW tag.


New Entries
Number 48 "St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" by John Parr
Peak: number 4
In the US, this soundtrack hit was the song to knock Huey Lews & The News from the number 1 spot, but in Australia, the St Elmo's Fire theme tune (not to be confused with "Love Theme From St Elmo's Fire", which we'll see in the coming weeks) had to settle for a top 5 berth. The song was actually written about multiple medal-winning Canadian Paralympian Rick Hansen, who'd embarked on an international trek in March 1985 called Man In Motion to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries. Nevertheless, it found its way into the classic Brat Pack film and the stars of the movie weren't yet so famous that they didn't mind turning up to help film the music video with John, whose only other major single was US top 30 hit "Naughty Naughty"




Number 47 "Cherish" by Kool & The Gang
Peak: number 8
Throughout the 1970s, they'd released more than two dozen singles from a range of musical genres, but it wasn't until 1980's "Celebration" that Kool & The Gang finally breached the Australian chart - and even then, they only reached number 33. Despite following that up with another string of (mostly excellent) singles that maintained their new pop sensibility, it would take a big cheesy ballad for the (at this stage) nine-piece band to finally land a decent-sized hit locally. Accompanied by a music video that would provide the template for karaoke clips for decades to come, "Cherish" was the third single from Kool & The Gang's 16th - and most successful - studio album, Emergency




Number 45 "Johnny Come Home" by Fine Young Cannibals
Peak: number 14
Their members came from two ska bands that hadn't made any impact in Australia and they were named after an obscure film from 1960 starring Natalie Wood, but Fine Young Cannibals would become a chart force to be reckoned with in the second half of the '80s. Comprised of Andy Cox and David Steele from The British Beat (biggest hit: "Too Nice To Talk To", number 73 in 1981) and singer Roland Gift from the even less-successful Akrylykz, the trio wouldn't actually release very much music in their lifespan, but they got things off to a fine start with "Johnny Come Home". One of those songs that once heard is never forgotten, the track has endured in the public consciousness more than a number 14 peak would generally warrant. In between Roland's distinctive vocal and the chorus' quotable refrain (generally to anyone named John), the tale of a young runaway was one of 1985's most memorable debuts.




Number 41 "In Between Days" by The Cure
Peak: number 16
They'd been moving in a more commercial direction for a while (either that, or music had moved in a more alternative direction), and The Cure maintained their more accessible sound with this lead single from The Head On The Door. At just under three minutes, it's a perfect burst of pop energy - and one that convinced me The Cure might be worth more of my attention. I'd heard their darker songs played by my elder sister, and shown a passing interest in tracks like "The Love Cats" and "Let's Go To Bed", but "In Between Days" was one of my favourite tracks of 1985. The good news was, I'd like more and more singles by the band in the years to come, proving just how much their sound (or my taste) had shifted.




Number 38 "Invincible" by Pat Benatar
Peak: number 23
By now, we'd come to rely on Pat for regular doses of power pop/rock and she didn't disappoint with this lead single from her confusingly titled sixth album, Seven The Hard Way. Once again penned by "Love Is A Battlefield" co-writer Holly Knight (with future Climie Fisher member Simon Climie), "Invincible" was another soundtrack hit. The song appeared in The Legend Of Billie Jean, which starred Supergirl's Helen Slater and, in his debut film role, Christian Slater as sister and brother - although, despite their shared surname, they aren't related in real life.  




Number 21 "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush
Peak: number 6
It would've been interesting to see what might have happened had this lead single from Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love album been released under its original title, "A Deal With God". Changed to "Running Up That Hill" due to fears from Kate's record company that the song wouldn't receive airplay if it had the word "God" in the title, it duly became her third top 10 hit in Australia - her first in five years. As well as being one of her biggest hits since her debut with "Wuthering Heights" in 1978, "Running Up That Hill" also featured another memorable - but significantly more stylised - dance routine in the music video. In fact, the clip was spurned by MTV in America since it didn't feature Kate just standing there singing. 




Number 17 "Gambler" by Madonna
Peak: number 10
Her previous single, "Dress You Up", was still climbing in only its fourth week on the chart but that's no reason for Madonna not to release another single, right? In all fairness, two different record companies were responsible for the deluge of Madonna tracks during 1985 - her regular label, WEA, and CBS, who held the rights to the soundtrack to Crazy For You (aka Vision Quest). In the States, Madonna's label blocked the release of "Gambler" as a stand-alone single, believing it would interfere with the success of "Dress You Up" - but that didn't seem to be a problem in Australia or the UK, with the two tracks reaching the top 10 in both countries. Produced by Jellybean, "Gambler" was written by Madonna - her last single to be entirely self-penned for more than two decades. It's also one of her most over-looked releases, having never appeared on a Madonna album (studio or compilation) and not been performed live since 1985.




Next week: another five new entries (and another five songs I liked!) including the latest chart single called "The Power Of Love", the debut appearance by another British band that, like Fine Young Cannibals, would reach number 1 in 1989 and the second hit from a two-hit wonder.


Back to: Oct 6, 1985 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 20, 1985


4 comments:

  1. Never knew Amy Grant had a top 100 'hit' here in '85, or that Placido Domingo had a charting single here.

    The chorus of the Geisha track sounds vaguely familiar.

    Hadn't heard the Dream Academy song before.

    I never knew what 'St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)' was called, or who it was by, until about 10 years ago.

    'Cherish' sounds like it could have been a late 70s or early 80s track to my ears.

    'Johnny Come Home' is a classic. I was waiting to hear the story about it being sung to your teacher named John.

    'In Between Days' sounds like it was the template for The Cure's 'Just Like Heaven'. I can't decide which one I like more. I bought their 'Galore' best-of covering 'Why Can't I Be You' to 'Wrong Number', and it sounds like 'In Between Days' should have been on it, musically.

    I didn't know (or had forgotten) Simon Climie co-wrote 'Invincible'.

    Although I like 'Running Up That Hill', it's one of those songs that sounded better in my head than when I actually heard it again for the first time in nearly 10 years, when I got 'The Whole Story' in late '95. The production, namely the percussion, makes it sound more dated than it is. But otherwise a top song. There was a snippet of an interview played on Triple J's 'The J-Files' on her in '96, where she lists a few countries that she was told wouldn't play 'Running Up That Hill' if it had've been titled 'A Deal With God', and Australia is one of them. I don't think that would have been the case, but definitely so for America. A fellow music video collector and I once made the same observation that so many 'US version' videos from this era (and even into the 90s) just feature the artist or band performing the song with a band. I wonder what was up with that. I think MTV played a TOTP performance in its place, with Kate lip-syncing the lyrics.

    I know 'Gambler' had a relatively brief chart run, but I didn't actually know the song until about 3 years ago when I downloaded it out of curiosity, despite its top 10 peak. It's one of my favourite Madonna songs, no doubt helped by not being overplayed like most of her other stuff from this era.

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    1. Re Johnny Come Home - that's pretty much the extent of the story! His name was John and the smart arse kids in my class used to sing "Johnny, we're sorry" at him.

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  2. Seven The Hard Way was Pat Benatar's 7th LP. The other 6 were:
    1. In The Heat of the Night
    2. Crimes of Passion
    3. Precious Time
    4. Get Nervous
    5. Live From Earth
    6. Tropico

    Live From Earth was basically a live LP with 2 new studio songs, Love is a Battlefield and Lipstick Lies

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    Replies
    1. Ah, that would explain it. Seventh album over all, sixth studio album.

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