Before I wrap up this series of reviews on 1980s compilations of the pre-CD era, I’m going global. First stop is Down Under. Inspired by rival Ronco’s Raiders Of The Pop Charts, K-Tel released their own edition almost 12 months later. The album made its debut at #14 on the Countdown ARIA album charts of 25 December 1983. The cassette version was a stocking filler for many Australian teenagers – as evidenced by the number that appear on internet searches. Fact: K-Tel initially traded as Majestic in that part of the world.
The Australian Raiders Of The Pop Charts is a real monster; 34 tracks spread across two LPs in a gatefold sleeve. 10 of these have already been covered on the following reviews:
Breakout: Toto Coelo – I Eat Cannibals, Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger, Yazoo – Don’t Go, Cheap Trick – If You Want My Love, Boys Town Gang – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.
Chart Attack: Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five – The Message.
Chart Hits ’82: Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra, Toto – Rosanna, Trio – Da Da Da
Hotline: Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing.
Local band feel: Avion were heavily influenced by US AOR and built up a reasonable cult following in their native land. I Need You is a breezy hard rocker that fits in well between Survivor and Toto. Also in that arena were Canadian group Loverboy whose Working For The Weekend became a call to arms for car-owning youths. Even now: “Why do I have this sudden urge to buy a Loverboy cassette and blare it cruising down the road in a Fiero?”
And lifted from Jump Up!, Elton John’s melancholy Blue Eyes. Its video was filmed on Sydney’s famous Bondi to Bronte walk and dedicated to Elizabeth Taylor. Elsewhere there’s Sharon O’Neill’s tortured Maybe, a key moment in the New Zealand singer’s career. And filed under offbeat new wave plus sax, Men At Work’s urgent Who Can It Be Now?
Sydney ska is represented by The Allniters’ Hold On, an affectionate punchy number. Things get moody, noir style with Bertie Higgins’ smoky Key Largo, a maudlin Bogart and Bacall inspired ballad. Meanwhile Shakin’ Stevens cuts loose on the cajun flavoured Oh Julie, a UK #1 in early ’82. Following the dissolution of Adam and the Ants in early 1982, Adam Ant pursued a solo career. His solo debut Goody Two Shoes was written by himself and Marco Pirroni and produced by them and Chris Hughes. The song details Ant’s deep frustration with press intrusion, which was reinforced by his clean cut image. Signing off part 1 are Dr Hook with the smooth ‘n’ smarmy Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk.
“When we’d first get calls at 2 or 3 in the morning, my husband would answer the phone. He can’t hear too well. They’d ask for Jenny, and he’d say ‘Jimmy doesn’t live here any more.’ (…) Tommy Tutone was the one who had the record. I’d like to get hold of his neck and choke him.”
(Mrs. Lorene Burns, an Alabama householder formerly at +1-205-867-5309; she changed her number in 1982)
Tommy Tutone’s power pop for the ages, 8675309 / Jenny. Such a wonderful song. Lead singer Tommy Heath became a computer analyst and software engineer and moved to Portland, Oregon. Next, Roxy Music’s last stand, the smoothest farewell of Avalon’s title track. Ideal CD player demonstration material. And it was all over for The Jam in 1983 too, Town Called Malice – an ode to Weller’s teenage years in Woking – being the first in a line of last lap 45s. Next: Earth, Wind and Fire’s ultra catchy Let’s Groove, a post-disco, pop and funk song which includes instrumentation of synthesisers and keyboards along with live electric guitars. But there’s only a bunch of rotten tomatoes for Christopher Atkins with his sickly Pirate Movie number How Can I Live With You.
Rock on: The Angels’ spiky Stand Up, a hard rock delight. Step back to Off The Wall while Michael Jackson’s seminal Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough. There’s beauty and the beat on The Go-Gos driving Our Lips Are Sealed while The Quick drop the blinding new wave brass fills of Rhythm Of The Jungle complete with funky edge. Recorded in L.A., Mark Holden’s eponymous fourth album contained the slamming Cars meets Hall and Oates number, Who Do You Love? Rare. And there’s more – Frida’s paranoid tale of infidelity, the dramatic I Know There’s Something Going On plus the mutant disco of Sylvester’s Do You Wanna Funk and Tina Cross’ Losing My Touch. Meanwhile Dan Fogelberg drops the affecting Missing You to promote his Greatest Hits. To sum up: the Australian Raiders Of The Pop Chart is a great chocolate box of Aussie and international gems.
“Jenny, I got your number
I need to make you mine
Jenny, don’t change your number
Men At Work – Who Can It Be Now?
Sharon O’Neill – Maybe
Mark Holden – Who Do You Love?
Tommy Tutone – 8675309 / Jenny
Lest we forget
The Quick – The Rhythm Of The Jungle