Tuesday, 20 October 2015

30 Years Ago This Week: October 20, 1985

Unlike songs themselves, song titles are not protected by copyright, which is why we've seen multiple songs called "Heaven", "Around The World" and "Temptation" - to name just a few - over the years. In 1985 alone, three different songs with the same title charted in Australia - and the third one arrived exactly 30 years ago this week.

What she lacked in originality, Jennifer Rush made up for with power ballad pipes

One of the songs had charted just before Christmas 1984 and remained on the first chart of 1985. The second had recently surrendered the number 1 spot. And the third song would also hit number 1 - and on two separate occasions: once in 1985 by its original performer and again almost a decade later in a version by a different singer.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending October 20, 1985

The number 1 single this week in 1985 was still "Dancing In The Street" by David Bowie and Mick Jagger. The duet spent its second and final week at the top.


Off The Chart
As well as the two songs below that entered the top 100 but didn't reach the top 50, this week saw a re-entry from "Memory" by Barbra Streisand, which had spent one week on the chart at number 97 in 1982. In the wake of the success of Elaine Paige's version of the Cats song, Babs' rendition reached a new peak of number 59.

Number 81 "Don't Stop The Dance" by Bryan Ferry
Peak: number 68
Yes, it's not as good as "Slave To Love", but this stylish second single from Boys And Girls deserved better - even if just for its Jean-Baptiste Mondino music video.

Number 79 "Pop Life" by Prince & The Revolution
Peak: number 67
For once, the fact that Prince's videos aren't on YouTube isn't the reason there's no link for this third single from Around The World In A Day - no clip was shot for "Pop Life". 


New Entries
Number 50 "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)" by Simply Red
Peak: number 21
Last week, we saw the arrival of Fine Young Cannibals on the ARIA top 50 and seven days later, another British pop/soul band who'd go on top the chart in 1989 debuted with their first single. Like their future chart-topper, "If You Don't Know Me By Now", this debut single by Simply Red was a cover version - of a song by American R&B group The Valentine Brothers. With its references to Ronald Reagan's economic reforms, "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)" had obvious trans-Atlantic appeal and the track became the first of several British and American hits for the band fronted by Mick Hucknall, after whose ginger locks Simply Red was named. In Australia, the track was one of a string of mid-table hits leading up to their number 1 hit, and would eventually be used as the theme tune for long-running financial advice series Money




Number 45 "Face To Face" by Real Life
Peak: number 32
I'd previously assumed Australian synthpop exponents Real Life were two-hit wonders - thanks to their dual top 10 singles, "Send Me An Angel" and "Catch Me I'm Falling". But, I'd overlooked this lead release from second album Flame - a song I don't believe I've heard until now. It's not a bad track in its own way (and I might just download it on iTunes), but it does pale in comparison to those two earlier hits and its number 32 placing seems about right. Following "Face To Face", the band would endure a string of flop singles before resorting to remixing "Send Me An Angel" in 1989.




Number 43 "Don't Mess With Doctor Dream" by Thompson Twins
Peak: number 17
After the drawn-out saga surrounding previous single "Lay Your Hands On Me" and the Here's To Future Days album (which involved the single being remixed and re-released, producers being swapped for the album and singer Tom Bailey collapsing from exhaustion), Thompson Twins had settled back into the business of releasing pop hits. In Australia, the trio achieved their highest-charting release since "Doctor! Doctor!" with "Don't Mess With Doctor Dream". This time, though, the doctor in question wasn't a medical practitioner capable of healing "burning burning". Instead, Doctor Dream was a reference to drugs - as in, "don't do them, kids".




Number 40 "The Power Of Love" by Jennifer Rush
Peak: number 1
At the start of 1985, Frankie Goes To Hollywood hit the ARIA top 10 with their third single, "The Power Of Love". In September, Huey Lewis And The News went one better and reached number 1 with a completely different song called "The Power Of Love". Clearly the year's most popular song title, "The Power Of Love" was also the name of the breakthrough hit for American-born, German-based singer Jennifer Rush. 
First released in Germany at the same time as the FGTH single came out (late 1984), Jennifer's "The Power Of Love" took its time to make a mark, eventually reaching the top of the British chart in mid-October after a 17-week climb up the top 100 there. It'd be the year's highest-selling single in the UK as well as the best-selling single by a female artist ever... until 1992. It did pretty well in Australia, too - spending two non-consecutive weeks at the top in December.
The hyper-emotional power ballad wasted no time achieving similar chart success around the world, except in the US, where it stalled at number 57. Nine years later, Celine Dion's remake of the song did what so many other versions - including covers by Air Supply and Laura Branigan - couldn't and topped the US chart.
"The Power Of Love" was far and away the biggest hit of Jennifer's career, which began in 1979 with her debut album under her real name of Heidi Stern. She did continue to enjoy success throughout the rest of the decade in mainland Europe, but her only other top 50 appearance in Australia was on the excellent "Flames Of Paradise" - a duet with Elton John in 1987.




Number 33 "And We Danced" by The Hooters
Peak: number 6
Time for one of my favourite pop/rock songs of the 1980s - the second and final Australian hit for American band The Hooters. Like predecessor "All You Zombies", "And We Danced" hit the ARIA top 10, but musically, it couldn't have been more different. A feel-good party track as opposed to the heavier "All You Zombies", "And We Danced" never fails to perk me up. I've been waiting for someone to give the song an Eric Prydz-style makeover for years.




Next week: a duet by two music legends that I didn't even know existed (the song, not the legends), plus two of the biggest groups of the early '80s struggle with their latest releases.


Back to: Oct 13, 1985 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 27, 1985


1 comment:

  1. Years ago, I read somewhere that 'Crazy' was the most frequently-used song title; though it may have just been based on chart entries of songs with that title.

    I only heard 'Don't Stop the Dance' for the first time a few years ago. Good song that deserved better than #68.

    I don't know 'Pop Life'. Wonder if it was the inspiration for the Bananarama album title, speaking of re-used titles.

    I saw that the Simply Red song was stylised Money$ in some territories, but not others, when looking up the 'correct' title for my DVD list. Hadn't heard the original until now. Funky bassline.

    I didn't know 'Face to Face' either.

    I wonder if any of the anti-drug songs have ever actually stopped someone taking them up? The most sadly ironic one of all has to be Whitney's contribution to 'Stop the Madness'; a flop charity single from just before her career took off.

    I didn't know what the Jennifer Rush song was called (I assumed it might have been 'I Am Your Lady') until reading about it in a re-cap of the 80's in Number One. Ten years doesn't seem like that long to wait to cover a #1 smash now, so I'm surprised people were equally enthusiastic for the Celine version. Heidi Stern doesn't sound like a great pop-star name. She must be one of few artists who've released albums under both their real name and a stage name (Diesel is the only other example I can think of).

    I like 'And We Danced' but prefer 'All You Zombies'. Yes, it's like they're by almost two completely different bands. It's rather unusual for a two-hit wonder act to feature two different singers on their hits.

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