19 October 2021

Kent Music Report beyond the top 100: 19 October 1981

This week 40 years ago, we have another mixed bag of artists bubbling under the Australian top 100.  Among them, we have a veteran singer-songwriter from the 1960s, the second single from a new pop band who appealed largely to teenage girls at this point in their career, and an obscure New Zealand band who only recorded one album.  Let's take a look.
Art Garfunkel: how could only one of his solo releases burn so brightly in Australia?
Beyond the top 100:
Position 38 "Don't Wanna Go Home" by Tigers
Highest rank: 21st
Peak date: 9 November 1981
Weeks on below list: 4 weeks
Tigers were a New Zealand band, formed in 1979 and splitting in 1983.   The band released only one album, Tigers, which was recorded in Australia.  During its tenure, the group released five singles, of which "Don't Wanna Go Home" was the only one to (almost) register on the Australian chart.  Nothing Tigers released charted in their home country.

The performance clip of "Don't Wanna Go Home" below was lifted from the iconic Australian music TV show Countdown.  It seems that, from time to time, Countdown aired some more-underground stuff, rather than just the chart hits, like this - at least in the early 1980s.

Position 39 "Careless Memories" by Duran Duran
Highest rank: 2nd  (single peaked at number 60 in 1982)
Peak date: 16 November 1981
Weeks on below list: 6 weeks
"Careless Memories" was Duran Duran's second single, following "Planet Earth" (number 8, August 1981).  Interestingly, "Planet Earth" peaked higher in Australia than it did in the band's native UK, where it only reached number 12 in March 1981.

"Careless Memories", however, was more or less a flop in both countries, peaking at number 37 in the UK in May 1981.  While "Careless Memories" would eventually reach a peak of number 60 in Australia in May 1982, upon its initial release, it narrowly missed the top 100.  It was only after "Girls on Film" (number 11, February 1982), "My Own Way" (number 10, May 1982) and an Australian tour in April 1982 that "Careless Memories" finally hit the top 100.

I'm not sure why "Careless Memories" was not a bigger hit for Duran Duran.  My only guess is that it lacks a big chorus, and as it was only their second single, they had not yet established a devoted fan-base.  "Careless Memories" was the only Duran Duran single to miss the top 20 in the UK until 1987, and their only single to miss the top 30 there until late 1989.

Duran Duran will next bubble under in 1987.
Position 42 "A Heart in New York" by Art Garfunkel
Highest rank: 20th
Peak date: 9 November 1981
Weeks on below list: 4 weeks
Art Garfunkel is best known as one-half of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, with Paul Simon.  Between 1965 and 1970, the pair landed six top 10 singles in Australia, including "The Sound of Silence", "Mrs. Robinson" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water".  1970's "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" topped the Australian singles chart.

Art embarked on a solo career in 1973.  While he placed seven singles on the Australian top 100 between 1973 and 1985, Art only had one major solo hit in Australia, with "Bright Eyes" (number 2, July 1979).

"A Heart in New York" was the lead single from Art's fifth studio album Scissors Cut (number 70, October 1981).  To my surprise, I actually knew this song already - though I've no idea how, as I was not yet 3 years old when it was released, and it wasn't a hit.

Internationally, "A Heart in New York" peaked at number 66 in the US, number 39 in the Netherlands , and number 37 in the Flanders region of Belgium - all in September 1981.

Art would score one final top 100 entry on the Australian singles chart, with "Sometimes When I'm Dreaming" (number 96, June 1985).  Art's former bandmate Paul Simon landed his biggest solo hit in Australia with the inescapable "You Can Call Me Al" (number 2, November 1986) the following year.

Next week (26 October): Two singles bubbling beyond the top 100.

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