January 28, 2014

Top Ten Flashback: January 28, 1989

Today I look back once again at the top 10 Australian singles chart from this date 25 years ago, and it's one of the earliest charts I remember watching on Rage, having first watched ABC's mammoth music video show in late 1988 or thereabouts. As the final year of the 1980s got under way, some long-established artists were enjoying their final waning moments of popularity (chart-wise). So, who comprised our top ten in the week ending Saturday, January 28, 1989?

10.  Transvision Vamp – "I Want Your Love"
This is what 'the kidz' were listening to in the '80s – a bit of raucous rawk n' rawl from England. We all know who Wendy James is (well, those of us who were there at the time), but look at that dude on the left there – I didn't know Sid Vicious was also in this band!*

*I'm joking, of course. You don't need to comment on that.

9.  Robert Palmer – "She Makes My Day"
I'll bet she does, pal. She's probably one of those models in your other video. And what's with that scrawly writing on the sleeve? All very Phil Collins, isn't it.

8.  Yazz – "The Only Way Is Up"
I have an issue of Select magazine from 1994 in which Yazz's One By One is reviewed and the reviewer, one Clark Collis, writes "No one who admits to collecting cushions as a hobby should ever be allowed inside a recording studio". Amazing. I have since scoured the internet (i.e. 28 seconds peering at Google search results) trying to determine if Yazz actually does collect cushions ([citation needed], after all) but have drawn a blank. Anyway, this late-'80s acid house tune has grown on me and I quite like it, even though the vocals are in a register a bit too high for my liking.

7.  The Proclaimers – "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
How I wished they'd spelt the title "I'm Gonnae Be" in keeping with their Scots lingo, but still, this is one of the best songs of the '80s, for me. They really rocked it out when they played it at Live 8, it was ace. It proves that so many people still love the song and can belt out every word. 500 miles is 804 kilometres, by the way.

6.  Mental As Anything – "Rock And Roll Music"
Ah, Young Einstein. I couldn't really recall the song (or the movie come to think of it), but the thing I really liked about this band was their name. Not much else to day, let's move on.

5.  1927 – "If I Could"
If I could, I would. I would if I could, but I can't. You get the idea. This song is a classic, and I'll see anyone outside who disagrees. To be honest the production could do with a bit of a 21st century remaster, but this is a song from 1988, and its impact lies in its simplicity. Whether you pay attention to Eric Weideman's lyrics about the male half of a couple always feeling like they can't do enough, or you just like the melody, it's a standout Australian '80s track. Its peak position was number 4, the biggest hit for 1927.

4.  The Traveling Wilburys – "Handle With Care"
Somebody get this song away from my ear'oles quick smart. It's not the quality of the musicianship, because obviously there are some accomplished artists here. It's because I cannot stand Roy bloody Orbison. His singing sounds like he has a particularly urgent case of diarrhoea, and if his vocals were removed from this song (and every other song he recorded for that matter) I'd be much happier.

3.  Womack & Womack – "Teardrops"
That naked baby on the sleeve cover is beyond tacky – not something you want to look at while lying back in a hammock in a wooden-floored room filled with potted plants with a turntable next to you and this record sleeve in your hand – but I do like the song, and a lot more than I did 25 years ago. I didn't like it much back then, as I wasn't much of a fan of understated grooves. Sadly denied a number 1 placing by a bunch of old hippies (see below).

2.  Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan – "Especially For You"
Yeesh! The infamous Neighbours duet that even one of the song's producers didn't like (Pete Waterman, if'n ya must know). I'm ambivalent about the song – don't like it, don't hate it – but that cheeseballeriffic part towards the end of the video of them embracing while a collage of photos scrolls past in the background is somehow rather endearing. Again, denied a number 1 placing by aforementioned hippies (below).

1.  The Beach Boys – "Kokomo"
I don't mind this song, but it took a few listens before I realized how inane the lyrics are. The tune itself isn't bad, and also the harmonies, but still it's not a song I fondly recall listening to. I just remember it well, that's all. Its ubiquity in 1988-89 probably means I'm in the same boat as plenty of other people. And that boat is sailing away to Aruba. Or Jamaica...aargh! I'll stop now.

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