Sunday, 8 January 2017

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

JUMP TO: 1980-1984 II 1985-1989 


We're halfway through a look at every song that peaked at number 2 on the Australian singles chart during the 1980s. Part 1, which covered the first half of the decade, is here.

Three music legends, five classic number 2 hit singles during the second half of the '80s

In this second part, we'll see plenty of acts that reached number 1 on other occasions. We'll also come across quite a few number 2 singles that ended up selling more copies overall than some chart-toppers. We have 38 tracks to get through, so best we make a start...


1985
"Born In The U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen
Date reached number 2: March 3, 1985
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "I Want To Know What Love Is" by Foreigner
We kick off Part 2 with a singer who knows all about having big hits without reaching number 1 in Australia. "Dancing In The Dark", the lead single from Born In The U.S.A., had been the biggest single of 1984 despite not getting higher than number 5. This title track was number 16 for 1985, which placed it higher than chart-toppers "We Don't Need Another Hero", and "The Power Of Love" by both Jennifer Rush and Huey Lewis And The News on the year-end chart.
Read more about "Born In The U.S.A." here




"Ti Amo" by Laura Branigan
Date reached number 2: March 10, 1985
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "I Want To Know What Love Is" by Foreigner
"Gloria" had denied two singles a number 1 spot, and in 1985 it was Laura Branigan's turn to miss out as "Ti Amo" was blocked from the top by another epic power ballad.
Read more about "Ti Amo" here 




"Barbados" by Models
Date reached number 2: May 5, 1985
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "We Are The World" by USA For Africa
Here's the first of four songs prevented from reach number 1 by 1985's biggest single, charity anthem "We Are The World". "Barbados" was Models' first massive hit and would be followed by their second, chart-topper "Out Of Mind Out Of Sight"
Read more about "Barbados" here 




"The Heat Is On" by Glenn Frey
Date reached number 2: May 12, 1985
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "We Are The World" by USA For Africa
One of three top 10 hits from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, "The Heat Is On" was also the highest-charting solo single in Australia by any of the members of Eagles.
Read more about "The Heat Is On" here 




"One More Night" by Phil Collins
Date reached number 2: May 19, 1985
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "We Are The World" by USA For Africa
The good news: after three number 3 hits, Phil Collins went one better in 1985 with this three-week number 2 from No Jacket Required. The bad news: is still to come...
Read more about "One More Night" here 




"Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears For Fears
Date reached number 2: June 9, 1985
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "We Are The World" by USA For Africa
The last casualty of USA For Africa's nine-week chart reign was the follow-up to Tears For Fears' own number 1, "Shout"
Read more about "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" here 




"Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon
Date reached number 2: June 16
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Would I Lie To You?" by Eurythmics
Like Phil Collins, REO Speedwagon improved on a previous chart high of number 3, the position reached by their other big power ballad, "Keep On Loving You", in 1981.
Read more about "Can't Fight This Feeling" here 




"Live It Up" by Mental As Anything
Date reached number 2: July 7, 1985
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "Angel / Into The Groove" by Madonna
It was unfortunate timing for Mental As Anything to go up against Madonna in mid-1985. The Aussie band's biggest single was unable to budge the Queen Of Pop for three weeks. In fact, the only person who could dethrone Madonna was Madonna - with "Crazy For You" ultimately replacing "Angel / Into The Groove" at number 1.
Read more about "Live It Up" here 




"What You Need" by INXS
Date reached number 2: September 22, 1985
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Out Of Mind Out Of Sight" by Models for one week and "The Power Of Love" by Huey Lewis And The News for one week
Models had their revenge on the singles chart when they achieved their sole number 1 single, but in the process they were partially responsible for preventing fellow Australian band INXS from gaining their second chart-topper (after "Original Sin"). INXS could console themselves with the fact that "What You Need" became their first US top 5 hit. 
Read more about "What You Need" here 




1986
"Concrete And Clay" by Martin Plaza
Date reached number 2: March 30, 1986
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" by Billy Ocean
As part of Mental As Anything, he'd been blocked from the top for three weeks in 1985, and Martin Plaza experienced that all over again with his first - and biggest - solo hit. 
Read more about "Concrete And Clay" here 




"How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston
Date reached number 2: April 20, 1986
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" by Billy Ocean
Whitney Houston would go on to rack up three number 1 singles in Australia ("Greatest Love Of All", "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" and "I Will Always Love You") but in early 1986 she had to be content with finally turning "How Will I Know" into a hit after its initial chart failure.
Read more about "How Will I Know" here 




"Kiss" by Prince & The Revolution
Date reached number 2: May 11, 1986
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Chain Reaction" by Diana Ross
Number 2 number two for Prince, who'd last been in the runner-up slot with "1999". Since then, he'd topped the chart for a week in 1984 with "When Doves Cry". Before his next number 1 in 1994, he'd have a couple more near misses - one of which we'll see before the end of this post.
Read more about "Kiss" here 




"Stimulation" by Wa Wa Nee
Date reached number 2: July 27, 1986
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" by Samantha Fox
During its lengthy, up-and-down run inside the top 10, the debut single by Australian synthpop band Wa Wa Nee spent time at every chart position between number 2 and number 7, just not at number 1. 
Read more about "Stimulation" here 




"The Edge Of Heaven" by Wham!
Date reached number 2: August 3, 1986
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" by Samantha Fox
You'd have thought this would've been a dead cert to reach number 1 - being Wham!'s (theoretical) farewell single, but not even George and Andrew could compete with music's other biggest pair in 1986.
Read more about "The Edge Of Heaven" here 




"Dancing On The Ceiling" by Lionel Richie
Date reached number 2: September 21, 1986
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Venus" by Bananarama
The comeback of a singer with four number 1 hits under his belt would've had great odds for topping the chart, but Lionel Richie had to settle for the next best thing. "Dancing On The Ceiling" also stalled at number 2 in the US, blocked by the next two singles on this list.
Read more about "Dancing On The Ceiling" here




"Take My Breath Away" by Berlin
Date reached number 2: October 5, 1986
Weeks at number 2: Four (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Venus" by Bananarama
Try as Berlin might, they just couldn't dislodge the all-conquering "Venus", which was actually the style of song you might've expected synthpop band Berlin to release rather than soundtrack power ballad "Take My Breath Away".
Read more about "Take My Breath Away" here 




"Stuck With You" by Huey Lewis And The News
Date reached number 2: October 26, 1986
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Venus" by Bananarama
The Bananarama remake also put paid to Huey Lewis And The News's hopes for back-to-back number 1s. "Stuck With You" fell one place short of the peak of "The Power Of Love", but does Huey look like he minds?
Read more about "Stuck With You" here 




"You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon
Date reached number 2: November 9, 1986
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "You're The Voice" by John Farnham
"Venus" would eventually be toppled from number 1 by the comeback of John Farnham, a man who'd also prove difficult to budge from the top. Both Paul Simon and the song we'll see next took turns trying their luck, switching places at number 2 over a four-week period.
Read more about "You Can Call Me Al" here 




"Don't Leave Me This Way" by Communards
Date reached number 2: November 16, 1986
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "You're The Voice" by John Farnham
It ended 1986 as the highest-selling single of the year in the UK, but Communards' remake of a song that'd already been an international hit twice was no match for "You're The Voice" in Australia.
Read more about "Don't Leave Me This Way" here 




"The Lady In Red" by Chris De Burgh
Date reached number 2: December 7, 1986
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "You're The Voice" by John Farnham
The last single to unsuccessfully have a go at taking down "You're The Voice" was also one of 1986's sappiest records, something of a musical departure for Chris De Burgh.
Read more about "The Lady In Red" here 




1987
"Good Times" by INXS / Jimmy Barnes
Date reached number 2: January 18, 1987
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Funky Town" by Pseudo Eco
Another release that on paper would've seemed like a guaranteed chart-topper, this Aussie rock collaboration (before such superstar duets were standard) was bested by a synthrock cover version of a disco classic. I, for one, was not complaining.
Read more about "Good Times" here 




"The Final Countdown" by Europe
Date reached number 2: April 19, 1987
Weeks at number 2: Four
Kept off number 1 by: "Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room)" Paul Lekakis
Hair metal was exploding in early 1987 - literally, thanks to all those pyrotechnics. Even so, a club track by an unknown model/singer that didn't even have a proper music video stood in the way of Europe's breakthrough single. In this case, sex sold more than big drums and synth hooks.
Read more about "The Final Countdown" here 




"I Want Your Sex" by George Michael
Date reached number 2: August 9, 1987
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "He's Gonna Step On You Again" by The Party Boys
Speaking of... George Michael used his sex appeal and a racy little tune to propel himself up the chart with this lead single from his debut solo album. TV and radio bans placed on "I Want Your Sex" did nothing to stop it becoming a hit, but might it have reached number 1 if it had more airplay?
Read more about "I Want Your Sex" here 




"Suddenly" by Angry Anderson
Date reached number 2: August 30, 1987
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "Locomotion" by Kylie Minogue
What Kylie giveth, she taketh away... Rock ballad "Suddenly" had received an enormous boost from its use in Neighbours during Scott and Charlene's wedding, and then was held in second place on the chart by Kylie Minogue's debut single
Read more about "Suddenly" here 




1988
"Heaven Is A Place On Earth" by Belinda Carlisle
Date reached number 2: February 21, 1988
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" by Bill Medley / Jennifer Warnes
Her biggest single with The Go-Go's had been a number 2 hit and so it would be for Belinda Carlisle's solo career, with "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" ending up as the highest-charting of her four top 10 singles on the ARIA chart.
Read more about "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" here 




"Stutter Rap (No Sleep Til Bedtime)" by Morris Minor & The Majors
Date reached number 2: May 8, 1988
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" by Billy Ocean
Up until the release of "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer, this novelty record by a British comedian was the most successful rap single in Australian chart history. 
Read more about "Stutter Rap (No Sleep Til Bedtime)" here 




"Better Be Home Soon" by Crowded House
Date reached number 2: July 17, 1988
Weeks at number 2: Four (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Got To Be Certain" by Kylie Minogue for two weeks and "Age Of Reason" by John Farnham for two weeks
One of only three top 10 singles (compared to five number 1 and two number 2 albums) achieved by Crowded House during their career, "Better Be Home Soon" was the most successful on the ARIA chart. The ballad wound up as the 10th biggest record for 1988 - eight places above "Got To Be Certain" (and one below "Age Of Reason").
Read more about "Better Be Home Soon" here 




"Doctorin' The Tardis" by The Timelords
Date reached number 2: October 2, 1988
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Simply Irresistible" by Robert Palmer
The KLF are due to return in 2017, but before the duo of Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond were successful in that guise, they had a huge one-off hit with this Doctor Who theme-sampling dance track. Not huge enough, unfortunately, to dispense with Robert Palmer and his gyrating backing band.
Read more about "Doctorin' The Tardis" here 




"All Fired Up" by Pat Benatar
Date reached number 2: October 9, 1988
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Simply Irresistible" by Robert Palmer
Also unable to usurp "Simply Irresistible" was this last hurrah for former chart-topper Pat Benatar. Her recording of a little known Australian rock track became her final hit locally.
Read more about "All Fired Up" here 




"The Only Way Is Up" by Yazz & The Plastic Population
Date reached number 2: October 30, 1988
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Desire" by U2
I'm pretty sure "The Only Way Is Up" would still be massive if it was released today. Yes, it is steeped in the burgeoning house sound of the late '80s, but there's also something timeless about it. The cover version was a five-week number 1 in the UK and the year's second biggest single there.
Read more about "The Only Way Is Up" here 




"A Groovy Kind Of Love" by Phil Collins
Date reached number 2: November 6, 1988
Weeks at number 2: Seven
Kept off number 1 by: "Desire" by U2 for one week and "Don't Worry Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin for six weeks
Here's the bad news for Phil Collins - he never was able to achieve a number 1 single in Australia, spending an incredibly frustrating seven-week stretch at number 2 with this song from the soundtrack to Buster, in which he starred. The failure of Phil's remake of "A Groovy Kind Of Love" to take that final step on the chart was all the more irritating because it was stuck behind the abysmal "Don't Worry Be Happy"
Read more about "A Groovy Kind Of Love" here 




1989
"Especially For You" by Kylie Minogue / Jason Donovan
Date reached number 2: January 8, 1989
Weeks at number 2: Five
Kept off number 1 by: "Kokomo" by The Beach Boys
Another song I despised was responsible for the much-anticipated duet between on- and offscreen lovers Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan being relegated to the runner-up spot. When it had impressively debuted on the chart at number 2, "Especially For You" seemed sure to move one place higher, but it would remain stuck in that same position for five long weeks. 
Read more about "Especially For You" here 




"Teardrops" by Womack & Womack
Date reached number 2: February 5, 1989
Weeks at number 2: Four
Kept off number 1 by: "Kokomo" by The Beach Boys for two weeks and "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers for two weeks
What's worse than being trapped at number 2 behind one awful song? Ask Womack & Womack, who played second fiddle to both The Beach Boys and The Proclaimers for a month in early 1989. By this stage, the ARIA chart employed its own chart calculations instead of the Australian Music Report (which had been used from mid-1983 to mid-1988) and so "Teardrops" is one of those songs that was an ARIA chart number 2, but an AMR number 1.
Read more about "Teardrops" here




"Tucker's Daughter" by Ian Moss
Date reached number 2: March 5, 1989
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers
Here's another track that the AMR listed as a number 1 record, but which never achieved that position on the ARIA chart. And once again, The Proclaimers are to blame for the Cold Chisel guitarist being unable to match his band-mate Jimmy Barnes by reaching number 1 on the singles chart as a solo performer.
Read more about "Tucker's Daughter" here 




"Bedroom Eyes" by Kate Ceberano
Date reached number 2: June 4
Weeks at number 2: Six (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler for one week, "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles for one week and "The Look" by Roxette for four weeks
The number 1 spot was a revolving door for the first half of 1989, with songs coming and going and then coming back to the top spot. Despite all that, no one was willing to let Kate Ceberano have a turn, with three different songs standing in her way and the top 10 chart run of "Bedroom Eyes" looking like this: 2-3-3-2-2-2-2-2-4-5-7-8.
Read more about "Bedroom Eyes" here 




"Batdance" by Prince
Date reached number 2: August 27, 1989
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" by New Kids On The Block
Prince's third chart runner-up of the decade was easily his worst, with "Batdance" propelled up the chart due to his popularity and the hype around Batman rather than the fact that the song was any good. Surely it's no coincidence that "Batdance" hasn't appeared on any Prince career retrospective until the recently released 4Ever.  
Read more about "Batdance" here 




"All I Want Is You" by U2
Date reached number 2: September 24, 1989
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx
Despite being the fourth single from Rattle And Hum, ballad "All I Want Is You" became the second most successful single from the album. Its chart fortunes were helped in no small part by the inclusion of U2's cover of "Everlasting Love" as a bonus track - eventually on all formats released.
Read more about "All I Want Is You" here 




"We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel
Date reached number 2: December 3, 1989
Weeks at number 2: Six
Kept off number 1 by: "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher for three weeks and "Love Shack" by The B-52's for three weeks
The final number 2 hit of the '80s was also the first number 2 hit of the '90s. What I like to call Billy Joel's angry history lesson stayed put in second place into the New Year as The B-52's took over from Cher at number 1.
Read more about "We Didn't Start The Fire" here 




Longest runs at number 2 in the '80s (* = non-consecutive weeks)
Seven weeks: "A Groovy Kind Of Love" by Phil Collins

Six weeks: "Wired For Sound" by Cliff Richard, "Twisting By The Pool" by Dire Straits*, "Bedroom Eyes" by Kate Ceberano*, "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel

Five weeks: "Dreaming My Dreams With You" by Colleen Hewett, "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)" by Pink Floyd*, "Especially For You" by Kylie Minogue / Jason Donovan

Four weeks: "Angel Of The Morning" by Juice Newton, "Beat It" by Michael Jackson, "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin*, "The Final Countdown" by Europe, "Better Be Home Soon" by Crowded House*, "Teardrops" by Womack & Womack


The biggest number 2 hit of each year of the '80s
1980: "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)" by Pink Floyd (number 4 for the year)
1981: "Who Can It Be Now?" by Men At Work (number 9)
1982: "Key Largo" by Bertie Higgins (number 5)
1983: "Beat It" by Michael Jackson (number 9)
1984: "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr (number 3)
1985: "Live It Up" by Mental As Anything (number 4)
1986: "Stimulation" by Wa Wa Nee (number 5)
1987: "The Final Countdown" by Europe (number 10)
1988: "Better Be Home Soon" by Crowded House (number 10)
1989: "Bedroom Eyes" by Kate Ceberano (number 7)


I guess it's inevitable, now I've started this, that I'll carry on recapping all the number 2 hits on the ARIA chart for the '90s, '00s and '10s at some point. When? Your guess is as good as mine, but probably not until mid-year, when I finish recapping the first half of 1987 and have one less weekly post to do.


3 comments:

  1. It's a pity 'We Are the World' stopped several decent singles from reaching #1. There really should be a separate 'charity records' chart, given the incentive to buy them isn't entirely because you like the music.

    I don't know about timeless (the production on 'The Only Way Is Up' seems very dated now), but I was pleasantly surprised to see Yazz's 'Wanted' album get an expanded re-issue last year.

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    1. I think with a tweak to the production to bring it up to date, The Only Way Is Up would still work today. It's definitely a product of its time, but given how much 80s-influenced stuff there is around today, I don't think it'd take much to refresh it.

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  2. All these #1 and #2 hits are memorable and scream classic. I would hate to see the write up post 2000.

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