Thursday, 5 January 2017

Number 2 Hits On The Australian Charts - The 80s part 1

JUMP TO: 1980-1984 II 1985-1989 


What do "Yesterday" by The Beatles, Skyhooks' "Ego Is Not A Dirty Word", "I Was Made For Lovin' You" by KISS, "You" by Marcia Hines and The Sweet's "The Ballroom Blitz" all have in common? Possibly many things, but for the purposes of this post, they're all songs that reached number 2 in Australia.

They accrued four chart-topping albums but The Police stalled at number 2 on the singles chart - twice

They all also did so before 1980, which is when I'm commencing my trip back through chart runners-up. In two special posts before my weekly flashbacks resume, I'm looking at songs that almost achieved the ultimate in top 50 glory but were denied the number 1 position by one or more singles. 

Between 1980 and 1984 alone there were 40 songs that peaked at number 2 on the Australian singles chart. And almost as many between 1985 and 1989 - I'll tackle those in Part 2.


1980
"Dreaming My Dreams With You" by Colleen Hewett
Date reached number 2: March 2, 1980
Weeks at number 2: Five
Kept off number 1 by: "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen
We kick things off with a woman whose only other major hit, "Day By Day" from Godspell, was also a number 2 single in the early '70s. Singer and actress Colleen Hewett repeated the chart feat with this cover of the 1975 Waylon Jennings ballad.




"Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)" by Pink Floyd
Date reached number 2: April 6, 1980
Weeks at number 2: Five (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen for one week and "I Got You" by Split Enz for four weeks
The biggest hit single by albums act Pink Floyd was the second part of a three-song series included on double album The Wall"Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)" went one better in the UK, where it was the final number 1 of the '70s (and the first number 1 of the '80s since it remained on top there for five weeks).




"Brass In Pocket" by The Pretenders
Date reached number 2: May 18, 1980
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "I Got You" by Split Enz
Next up, the first new number 1 of the '80s in the UK. "Brass In Pocket" knocked Pink Floyd off the top spot in Britain, while in Australia, the breakthrough single for The Pretenders replaced "Another Brick..." in second place behind Split Enz's first (and only) number 1 single.




"Coming Up" by Paul McCartney
Date reached number 2: June 15, 1980
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Tired Of Toeing The Line" by Rocky Burnette for one week and "Turning Japanese" by The Vapors for one week
His first solo album had yielded chart-topping single "Another Day", but this was as close as Paul McCartney would get to number 1 for a very long time as he resumed his solo career following the demise of Wings. Years before Phil Collins and OutKast repeated the trick, Paul played multiple parts in the music video, which there's a link to in the song title above.




"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by Long John Baldry / Kathi McDonald
Date reached number 2: August 3, 1980
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Can't Stop The Music" by Village People
The Righteous Brothers took it to number 5 in 1965. Cilla Black reached number 15 with her remake the same year. In 1969, Dionne Warwick's cover version only got to number 26. Then, 14 years after he'd initially recorded it for his 1966 album, Looking At Long John, Long John Baldry released a new version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" with fellow blues performer Kathi McDonald and took the song to a new chart high in Australia.




"What I Like About You" by The Romantics
Date reached number 2: September 7, 1980
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Moscow" by Genghis Khan
Despite only just making the US top 50, this lead single from The Romantics' self-titled debut album almost topped the Australian chart. "What I Like About You" was sung by one of the band's two lead vocalists: drummer Jimmy Marinos.




"Xanadu" by Olivia Newton-John / Electric Light Orchestra
Date reached number 2: September 21, 1980
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Moscow" by Genghis Khan
If you'd asked me before now, I'd have guessed "Xanadu" had been a number 1 single in Australia. Not so, with the theme song from ONJ's second big feature film held off the top by a timely one-hit wonder




"Babooshka" by Kate Bush
Date reached number 2: November 2, 1980
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "More Than I Can Say" by Leo Sayer for two weeks and "Woman In Love" by Barbra Streisand for one week
She'd opened her career with chart-topping single "Wuthering Heights" in 1978, but couldn't quite get there again with this tragic tale of a paranoid wife setting a trap for the husband she believes will cheat on her. "Babooshka" appeared on Kate's third album in as many years, "Never For Ever".




"Master Blaster (Jammin')" by Stevie Wonder
Date reached number 2: November 23, 1980
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Woman In Love" by Barbra Streisand
He'd been appearing on the Australian singles chart since 1963 and in all that time only reached the top 10 once with 1973's "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life". "Master Blaster (Jammin')" remedied that, but it'd take another four years for Stevie Wonder to finally land a number 1 hit




1981
"Stop The Cavalry" by Jona Lewie
Date reached number 2: March 1, 1981
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Duncan" by Slim Dusty for one week and "Counting The Beat" by The Swingers for one week
This deceptively perky ditty - it's an anti-war song - had been a Christmas hit in the UK. Australia followed suit a few months later, giving the artist born John Lewis a much bigger single than his previous best, the number 21 peak of "You'll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties".




"Angel Of The Morning" by Juice Newton
Date reached number 2: May 17, 1981
Weeks at number 2: Four
Kept off number 1 by: "Jealous Guy" by Roxy Music
Years before Taylor Swift and Shania Twain went pop, country stars like Dolly Parton and Juice Newton scored big hits with more mainstream records. This version of the much covered "Angel Of The Morning" was one of two top 10 hits for Juice in Australia in 1981.




"Who Can It Be Now?" by Men At Work
Date reached number 2: August 9, 1981
Weeks at number 2: Three (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Stars On 45" by Stars On 45 for two weeks and "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield for one week
Not a bad start to their major label career. Men At Work's debut single on Columbia Records did one better in America, becoming their first of two US number 1 singles. By the time that happened, they'd already spent a considerable amount of time on top of the Australian singles chart with "Down Under", which in turn was responsible for keeping two songs we'll see shortly stuck at number 2.




"Louise (We Get It Right)" by Jona Lewie
Date reached number 2: October 4, 1981
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "You Drive Me Crazy" by Shakin' Stevens
Here he is again, this time without the brass band. This new wave classic gave Jona back-to-back number 2s in Australia, but surprisingly flopped in the UK.




"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police
Date reached number 2: December 13, 1981
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John
As I captioned at the start of this post, The Police had no trouble reaching number 1 on the albums chart. Reggatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta, Ghost In The Machine and Synchronicity all did it. Try and get them to top the singles chart - and, as the Americans say, no dice. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" became their fifth and biggest top 10 hit up until this point.




"Wired For Sound" by Cliff Richard
Date reached number 2: December 20, 1981
Weeks at number 2: Six
Kept off number 1 by: "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John for one week and "Down Under" by Men At Work for five weeks
If he cared about these kinds of things, Cliff Richard must have wondered just what it was going to take for him to manage a number 1 single in Australia. He'd had two number 2 hits before - 1960's "Please Don't Tease" and "When The Girl In Your Arms Is The Girl In Your Heart" from the following year. Then, for six long weeks, one of the best songs of his career fell just short of being the highest-selling single in Australia. His time at the top would come, but not without a little help. 




1982
"Our Lips Are Sealed" by The Go-Go's
Date reached number 2: January 31, 1982
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "Down Under" by Men At Work for one week and "Trouble" by Lindsey Buckingham for two weeks
This pop gem was far and away the girl band's biggest hit in Australia. Follow-up "We Got The Beat" only got to number 29 - a reversal of the two songs' fortunes in the US.   




"Believe It Or Not" by Joey Scarbury
Date reached number 2: May 2, 1982
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "What About Me" by Moving Pictures
Meanwhile, this awesome theme song from TV's The Greatest American Hero was also a number 2 hit in the US. In America, Joey sneaked into the top 50 a second time, but he was a one-hit wonder in Australia. "Believe It Or Not" was co-written by Mike Post, who reached number 44 locally with "The Theme From Hill Street Blues" - just one of the many other TV series for which he composed music.




"Ebony And Ivory" by Paul McCartney / Stevie Wonder
Date reached number 2: May 23, 1982
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
We've seen both of them separately already, but even the combined might of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder wasn't enough to dethrone Joan Jett. The tune about racial harmony was written by Paul and appeared on his third solo album, Tug Of War.  




"Key Largo" by Bertie Higgins
Date reached number 2: July 4, 1982
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "I've Never Been To Me" by Charlene
It might not have reached number 1, but "Key Largo" hung around the chart long enough to wind up as the fifth biggest single for 1982 in Australia. Bertie Higgins was kept from the top on two separate occasions by fellow one-hit wonder Charlene, who spent six weeks at number 1, but still somehow managed to only place at number 11 on the year-end chart.




"Six Months In A Leaky Boat" by Split Enz
Date reached number 2: July 11, 1982
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "I've Never Been To Me" by Charlene
In between Bertie Higgins's two stints at number 2, Split Enz spent a couple of weeks in the runner-up spot behind Charlene with this jaunty nautically themed number. "Six Months In A Leaky Boat" might've become a second hit for them in the UK following "I Got You" had the BBC, finding one of the most tenuous reasons ever to ban a song, opted not to give it airplay during the Falklands War. 




"If You Want My Love" by Cheap Trick
Date reached number 2: October 10, 1982
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor
Here's another song that performed way better in Australia than it did in the US (number 45) or the US (number 57). For many years, it seemed that "If You Want My Love" would also be Cheap Trick's crowning glory on our charts, with nothing from the band's subsequent three albums entering the top 100. Then, "The Flame" happened.   




"Shy Boy" by Bananarama
Date reached number 2: October 24, 1982
Weeks at number 2: Three (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor for one week and "Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners for two weeks
Pre-"Venus", Bananarama had a run of six UK top 10 hits. In Australia, they had just the one - this infectious pop nugget, which was their first single written and produced by Jolley & Swain, the girl group's main pre-Stock Aitken Waterman producers.




1983
"Heartbreaker" by Dionne Warwick
Date reached number 2: February 13, 1983
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Gloria" by Laura Branigan
It's hard to believe, but before 1983, Dionne Warwick had never seen the inside of the Australian top 10, coming closest with "Anyone Who Had A Heart", her first local hit, which reached number 11 in 1964. And she may not have if she'd followed her own judgement and not recorded "Heartbreaker" - a song she didn't like. But she's not one to look a Bee Gees gift horse in the mouth.




"Twisting By The Pool" by Dire Straits
Date reached number 2: February 27, 1983
Weeks at number 2: Six (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Gloria" by Laura Branigan for four weeks and "Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker / Jennifer Warnes for two weeks
Easily the poppiest thing Dire Straits ever released, "Twisting By The Pool" also fell victim to the longevity of "Gloria". Then, just when Laura Branigan's hit lost steam, the theme from An Officer And A Gentleman rudely barged "Twisting By The Pool" out of the way as it moved up to number 1.




"Let's Dance" by David Bowie
Date reached number 2: April 24, 1983
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson
David Bowie was as big as ever in the early '80s - and then he went and became even more massive with the Let's Dance album. The title track is his only single to top both the UK and US charts.
Read more about "Let's Dance" here 




"1999" by Prince
Date reached number 2: May 15, 1983
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson
Next up, another one of 2016's casualties with his breakthrough Australian hit. Besides its original run in 1983, "1999" has returned to the ARIA top 50 for a single week on two separate occasions - once at number 47 in early 1999 and again at number 28 in May last year.
Read more about "1999" here 


"Beat It" by Michael Jackson
Date reached number 2: June 12, 1983
Weeks at number 2: Four
Kept off number 1 by: "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by Bonnie Tyler
In a case of what goes around comes around, having denied both David Bowie and Prince a number 1 hit, Michael Jackson was blocked from the top spot himself when "Beat It" couldn't dislodge Bonnie Tyler's power ballad for a month.
Read more about "Beat It" here 




"Every Breath You Take" by The Police
Date reached number 2: July 31, 1983
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "Flashdance... What A Feeling" by Irene Cara
The first of three songs to be prevented from reaching number 1 by the theme to Flashdance is the second single by The Police. Stalker anthem "Every Breath You Take" did provide the basis for a chart-topper: "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112 in 1997.
Read more about "Every Breath You Take" here 




"Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant
Date reached number 2: August 28, 1983
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Flashdance... What A Feeling" by Irene Cara
Eddy Grant has the state of Victoria to thank for his number 2 hit. Because "Australiana" by Austen Tayshus was banned there, the comedy record fell from number 1 to number 7 nationally, allowing reggae smash "Electric Avenue" to move a spot higher than it otherwise would have.
Read more about "Electric Avenue" here 




"Maniac" by Michael Sembello
Date reached number 2: September 4, 1983
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Flashdance... What A Feeling" by Irene Cara
This soundtrack hit also benefitted from the ban on "Australiana". Michael Sembello replaced Eddy Grant at number 2, slotting in behind Irene Cara for an all-Flashdance top 2. The following week, the ban was lifted, spoiling everyone's fun.
Read more about "Maniac" here 




"Rain" by Dragon
Date reached number 2: October 2, 1983
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Australiana" by Austen Tayshus
The stand-up comic behind 1983's biggest single also put paid to Dragon's hopes for a second number 1 to go with their 1978 hit "Are You Old Enough". Still, a number 2 record for a band making a comeback isn't so bad.
Read more about "Rain" here 




"Bop Girl" by Pat Wilson
Date reached number 2: October 9, 1983
Weeks at number 2: Three (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Australiana" by Austen Tayshus for two weeks and "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club for one week
Austen Tayshus isn't entirely to blame for Mrs Ross Wilson not reaching the top with one of 1983's catchiest tracks. Just mostly. 
Read more about "Bop Girl" here 




"Red Red Wine" by UB40
Date reached number 2: December 11, 1983
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel
Neil Diamond is such a fan of this reggae cover version of his 1968 single that he routinely performs it live using the UB40 arrangement. 
Read more about "Red Red Wine" here




1984
"Come Said The Boy" by Mondo Rock
Date reached number 2: February 12, 1984
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Original Sin" by INXS for one week and "Love Is A Battlefield" by Pat Benatar for one week
Not to be outdone by his wife, Mondo Rock's Ross Wilson quickly followed "Bop Girl", which he wrote, with his own number 2 single. Of course, Ross did have a number 1 single to his name - well, credited to Daddy Cool, anyway.
Read more about "Come Said The Boy" here




"Radio Ga Ga" by Queen
Date reached number 2: March 18, 1984
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Love Is A Battlefield" by Pat Benatar
"Radio Ga Ga" might not have reached number 1 - Queen already had two, anyway - but it and follow-up "I Want To Break Free" did give the band back-to-back top 10 hits for the first time in their career, so that's something.




"Jump" by Van Halen
Date reached number 2: March 25, 1984
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper
Van Halen, meanwhile, had been around almost as long as Queen and only visited the Australian top 50 once previously - with "You Really Got Me" (number 12 in 1978). A change in sound made all the difference as the synth-heavy "Jump" shot almost to the very top.




"Heaven (Must Be There)" by Eurogliders
Date reached number 2: July 15, 1984
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "It's Just Not Cricket" by The Twelfth Man for one week and "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham! for one week
Perth's Eurogliders had progressed no further than number 34 (1982's "Without You") before they released "Heaven (Must Be There)", which not only really broke them nationally, but made inroads in North America.




"Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr
Date reached number 2: September 30, 1984
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Careless Whisper" by George Michael
Among its many achievements around the world, this soundtrack mega-hit was inside the ARIA top 10 for a monstrous 21 weeks - no wonder Huey Lewis sued (alleging plagiarism of his track "I Want A New Drug"). Interestingly, part of Huey and Ray Parker Jr's settlement was a confidentiality agreement, which Huey broke when he discussed the legal dispute on VH1's Behind The Music. It was Ray's turn to sue after that.
Read more about "Ghostbusters" here 




"The War Song" by Culture Club
Date reached number 2: Nov 18, 1984
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder
I'm genuinely surprised "The War Song" was as big as it was. Yes, it was the lead single from a new Culture Club album, 1984's Waking Up With The House On Fire, but it's also "The War Song" - a single even Boy George admits wasn't that great.
Read more about "The War Song" here 




"Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)" by Billy Ocean
Date reached number 2: December 23
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Like A Virgin" by Madonna
Billy Ocean doesn't get anywhere near enough credit these days. Besides this near miss, he succeeded in topping the ARIA chart twice, reached number 3 with 1976's "Love Really Hurts Without You" and enjoyed two further top 10 hits. That's some chart legacy.
Read more about "Caribbean Queen..." here




In Part 2: another 38 number 2 hits from the second half of the '80s, including the longest-running runner-up of the decade, a song that was kept from the top spot by three different singles and a single that debuted on the chart at number 2 but couldn't manage to progress one more place.


2 comments:

  1. In your "Two Hit Wonders of the 80s" feature, you said that What I Like About You got to #1. What's all that about?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just a typo, which I've now amended. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! Want a job as a sub editor?

      Delete