28 January 2020

A journey through flop

This blog will be covering singles that peaked below #100 on the Australian (ARIA) singles chart, starting with the first chart survey that extended beyond #100, on 30 January 1989.  This chart corresponds with the printed ARIA top 50 chart dated week ending 5 February 1989.

I started following the Australian charts in 1988, listening to the Barry Bissell-hosted Take 40 Australia radio show, and quickly noticed that many of my favourite songs and artists didn't do so well on the charts.  Not long after that, I noticed that rage aired the top 50 chart on Saturday mornings, and soon enough ditched Take 40 as my chart source, finding it more interesting to see what was lurking outside the top 40.

But even that wasn't quite enough for me, once I learnt that there were chart positions below #50.  Even though it used a different chart to that used by rage, Video Hits started airing selections from the lower half of the top 100 on their Saturday morning program, some time in the second half of 1989.  Again, I noticed that many of the songs I liked that were shown couldn't quite - or at least hadn't yet - nudge their way into the top 50.

Countdown Revolution, which used the ARIA chart, sometimes mentioned positions outside the top 50 when discussing Chartbusters (the highest-climbing singles) of the week.  I wanted to know where I could get hold of the full top 100 chart, to no avail for many years.

ARIA started publishing the full top 100 chart in The ARIA Report in January 1990, but I - a chart freak - was somehow not aware of this until the early-mid 2000s, by which time I had lost interest in the current chart.  That "for detailed chart information, send $100 for a 6-month subscription to The ARIA Report..." blurb at the bottom of the top 50 charts available in record stores didn't quite make it obvious enough what was on offer.  Had I known, I would have signed up, even though it would have gobbled up most of my annual pocket money allowance to subscribe for a full year.

So... you can imagine my excitement when I learnt a few years ago that there were even more chart positions beyond #100 that were calculated!  Yes!  Finally I could find out answers to questions I've always wanted answered, like... Did Young M.C.'s 'Bust a Move', which had been shown a couple of times on Countdown Revolution and Video Hits in 1989, chart when it was first released - a whole year before it reached #1?

I now have the answer to such questions, and aim to share some of the fruits of my quest to discover that knowledge with you, via this blog.

I also owe a debt to Gavin Scott, who writes the Chart Beats blog, which you have no doubt encountered if you're a fan of retro Australian music charts from the 1980s and 1990s, for planting the 'write about old ARIA charts' blog seed in my noggin.  Only, I will be writing about the flops that missed the top 100 chart altogether.  This will be, if I may be bold enough to declare, a companion-blog of sorts, though I must stress that any opinions expressed herein are all my own.

Stay tuned for the first (proper) instalment of this blog on 30 January 2020, a Thursday, commemorating the 31st anniversary of the first ARIA singles chart that extended beyond the top 100.  Singles debuting that peaked within the 101-150 region of the chart will be discussed each week thereafter, if all goes to plan.  Being the first chart that extended beyond the top 100, the 30 January 1989 chart is a bumper issue, with no less than 23 new entries to discuss.

So if you're a chart freak or you just love flops, more-obscure music, or merely discovering new 'old' music you missed the first time around, this blog is for you!

                                                                                    Next post: 30 January 1989 Part 1 >


  1. Good to see you've started a retro chart music blog, Nathan. Your comments on Gavin's blog indicate a wealth of knowledge, so it'll be good to see some writings of your own -- and I like that the blog format takes its cue from Chart Beats. Got yourself a regular reader!

  2. Hi Nathan, I am very impressed by your new blog. It is certainly not easy finding songs that charted above 100. But I must admit going over some of the videos and songs that you have posted, I have found quite good and am quite surprised why some of these didn't chart at all. Fantastic effort mate!

  3. Dude, this is like Christmas all over again for this list-oriented chart nerd. I have long harboured a weird fascination for "what's charting from #51 down" (first aware of existence of more than top 50 with Countdown show in 1984 showing a song on "chartbusters" moving up from #95!)Didn't know about any beyond #100 until a casual mention of a song bombing at #122 in Who weekly in the early 90s (?!?) Looking forward to seeing more of this :-)

    1. Do you by any chance remember what the song in question bombing at #122 was?

    2. yeah, the song was "no regrets" by noeline, the wife from circa 1994 australian reality tv show Sylvania Waters. Who weekly's comment i remember was along the lines of "unfortunately everyone forgot to buy a copy, so the song stalled at #122" (or similar number in the hundreds). Unless of course Who weekly just made up the chart placing...

    3. Thanks! I don't yet have the below #100 info for '93, so that one is new to me.

      I wasn't aware of it at the time, but there was an article published in the Sydney Morning-Herald from 21 December 1990 that mentions two outside the top 100 peaks - Adamski 'Killer' and Mr. Lee 'Get Busy' - which I've uploaded here: https://i.imgur.com/X4PdoA7.jpg . I'm not sure in what format such information was available to 'industry' at the time, but clearly it was.


Your comment will be published after it has been approved. If you have asked a question, please check back here for replies.