24 August 2022

Kent Music Report beyond the top 100: 24 August 1981

The absence of new entries bubbling under the top 100 last week is certainly made up for this week in 1981, with seven new ones.  Shall we take a look?
Janis Ian flew too low on the Australian chart this week in 1981.
Beyond the top 100:
Position 14 "The Cube" by Mike Brady and The Cubettes
Highest rank: 3rd
Peak date: 14 September 1981
Weeks on below list: 6 weeks
English-born Australian singer-songwriter Mike Brady is most famous for writing the Australian (or Victorian, as it was then known) Football League anthem "Up There Cazaly" (number 1, August 1979), which he recorded with Peter Sullivan as one half of the imaginatively-titled The Two-Man Band.

When it came to Mike's own solo career, his biggest 'hit' was "You're Here to Win", which peaked at number 49 in October 1982 and was another sporting song, written for the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

Unlike those two songs, "The Cube" is not a sporting song, but is instead a song about... the Rubik's Cube.  Originally known as the Magic Cube, Rubik's Cube was invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and architect ErnÅ‘ Rubik.  The 'cube' was a popular child's toy in the early 1980s, and I had one, though never learnt how to solve it.

Position 16 "Me No Pop I" by Kid Creole & The Coconuts present Coati Mundi
Highest rank: 15th
Peak date: 31 August 1981
Weeks on below list: 2 weeks
We saw American band Kid Creole and The Coconuts bubble under in 1990.
"Me No Pop I" was a non-album track.  Internationally, the single peaked at number 32 in the UK in July 1981, number 48 in the Netherlands in August 1981, and number 37 in the Flanders region of Belgium in September 1981.

Position 25 "Under the Covers" by Janis Ian
Highest rank: 4th
Peak dates: 5 October 1981 and 12 October 1981
Weeks on below list: 9 weeks
Between 1975 and 1980, American singer-songwriter Janis Ian placed four singles on the Australian top 100 chart, with "Fly Too High" (number 7, April 1980) being the biggest of those.  Curiously, the disco-tinged "Fly Too High" was a bigger hit in Australia than most other countries, and did not even chart in Janis' homeland.  Janis' second-biggest hit in Australia, "At Seventeen" (number 23, September 1975) had more of an acoustic sound, in contrast to "Fly Too High".

"Under the Covers" was the lead single from Janis' twelfth studio album Restless Eyes (number 57, August 1981), and on it, she returned to a more easy-listening sound.
"Under the Covers" peaked at number 71 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in July 1981.  The single would be Janis' last to (almost) chart in Australia.

Position 30 "Just Like Belgium" by Elton John
Highest rank: 15th
Peak dates: 14 September 1981 and 21 September 1981
Weeks on below list: 5 weeks
At this point in 1981, English singer-songwriter Elton John had placed 31 singles on the Australian top 100, in the space of just ten years.  Elton's duet with Kiki Dee, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", was the biggest of the lot, going all the way to number one, for one week, in August 1976.

"Just Like Belgium" was the second single lifted from Elton's fifteenth studio album The Fox (number 2, July 1981), following "Nobody Wins" (number 46, July 1981).
Despite peaking at number two in Australia, The Fox was a relative flop era in Elton's career, with none of the album's singles making the top 40 in the UK.  "Just Like Belgium" did not even chart in the UK, or anywhere else that I can ascertain.
Growing up in the 80s, Elton John's music was all over the radio - at least in Australia, where it was literally inescapable.  It is quite surprising to me, then, that he had such a massive flop.
We will next see Elton in 1993.

Position 32 "Jericho" by The Numbers
Highest rank: 9th
Peak dates: 7 September 1981, 21 September 1981 and 28 September 1981
Weeks on below list: 8 weeks
Australian band The Numbers were formed by siblings Annalisse and Chris Morrow in Sydney in 1978.  The group placed two singles on the Australian top 100 chart in 1980, "The Modern Song" (number 47, June 1980) and "A Five Letter Word" (number 40, November 1980).  Their debut album The Numbers peaked at number 29 in October 1980.

Credited as just 'Numbers' on the single sleeve, "Jericho" was the lead single from the band's second - and final - studio album 39-51 (number 94, June 1982), on which they were also credited as just 'Numbers'.
Annalise and Chris would go on to form the band Maybe Dolls, who landed a couple of moderate hits in the early 90s.  We will see Maybe Dolls bubble under in 1992.
Position 34 "I Can't Sing Very Well" by Mother Goose
Highest rank: 21st
Peak date: 14 September 1981
Weeks on below list: 4 weeks
New Zealand band Mother Goose formed in Dunedin in 1975.  During their tenure, the band placed two singles on the Australian top 100, with "Baked Beans" (number 29, October 1977) being their biggest hit.
The aptly-titled "I Can't Sing Very Well" was a non-album single.  It failed to chart elsewhere.
Position 37 "Julia" by The Rick Wakeman Band
Highest rank: 17th
Peak date: 14 September 1981
Weeks on below list: 4 weeks
Rick Wakeman is best known as the keyboard player in English progressive rock band Yes, who landed a top 20 hit in Australia with "Owner of a Lonely Heart" (number 14, February 1984) - though Rick had temporarily left the band before that track was released.
"Julia", co-written with Tim Rice, is lifted from Rick's concept album 1984 (number 10, August 1981), which was inspired by George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Vocals on the track are performed by Chaka Khan.

I cannot find evidence of "Julia" charting elsewhere.  This was Rick's only single to (almost) chart in Australia.

We will see Chaka Khan again in 1989.
Next week (31 August): Only one new entry bubbling under the top 100.  On Tuesday (30 August), my 1982 chart recaps will begin.
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