Ten Hits From 1985 You’d Probably Forgotten About

Ten Hits From 1985 You’d Probably Forgotten About

go west 1985
Go West, 1985 (Photo by Mike Prior/Getty Images)

It has to be said: 1985 was a huge year in pop music, with many of the decade’s best and biggest songs hitting the Australian chart. So it’s understandable not every top 20 single from that year remains on high rotation on retro stations’ playlists, with many tunes fading into obscurity in the decades since.

Let’s fix that, shall we?

“The Old Man Down The Road” by John Fogerty

Peak: number 10

Eight years after his last solo release, the former Creedence Clearwater Revival singer scored easily the biggest hit of his career following the break-up of the band with this lead single from Centerfield. He also faced legal action from the owners of the CCR catalogue, who claimed “The Old Man Down The Road” plagiarised “Run Through The Jungle”. John won the case and, in a landmark decision, was also awarded costs.

"Just Another Night" by Mick Jagger

Peak: number 13

The Rolling Stones frontman also picked up with his solo career in 1985 and released his first full album, She’s The Boss. Like John Fogerty, Mick Jagger faced legal action over the album’s lead single, “Just Another Night”, but was ultimately successful in the court proceedings. The song, which featured musical input from Jeff Beck and Sly & Robbie, remains Mick’s highest-charting solo effort in Australia (although he reached number 1 alongside David Bowie on “Dancing In The Street” later in 1985).

“Love & Pride” by King

Peak: number 8

First released in Britain in early 1984, King’s debut single had flopped first time around. Re-released in 1985, it fell just short of topping the UK chart and reached the ARIA top 10. “Love & Pride” would be the only hit in Australia for the band, who ended up landing five top 30 singles in 12 months in the UK before splitting just as quickly.

“Gotta Be Wrong (Way To Love)” by Dynamic Hepnotics

Peak: number 20

Top 5 smash “Soul Kind Of Feeling” is one of those songs that still pops up every now and then, but follow-up “Gotta Be Wrong (Way To Love)” was also a success for the Sydney soul and funk band, even if you don't hear it anymore. Dynamic Hepnotics never troubled the top 50 again and had broken up by 1986.

“You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” by Billy Joel

Peak: number 6

The 1980s were a particularly fertile time for Billy Joel on the Australian singles chart, and this previously unreleased track from Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II was one of eight top 20 hits he enjoyed during the decade. Falling between his run of hits from An Innocent Man and 1986’s “A Matter Of Trust”, “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” dealt with the topic of teen suicide, with Billy telling listeners not to be so hard on themselves or dwell on their mistakes.

“Like A Surgeon” by “Weird Al” Yankovic

Peak: number 19

His two Michael Jackson parodies, “Eat It” and “Fat”, were bigger hits, but the musical satirist also reached the top 20 with his take on Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”. Unlike most of the comedian’s songs, “Like A Surgeon” originated as an idea from the original performer, with Madonna coming up with the title for the parody and the concept eventually finding its way to “Weird Al”, who ran with it.

“Oh Sheila” by Ready For The World

Peak: number 14

Sounding like Prince and often misattributed to being about Sheila E, this breakthrough single for the US funk group had been a US number 1 before giving the six-piece their only chart action in Australia. There actually was no Sheila who inspired the song, with several girls’ names tried out by lead singer Melvin RIley before he settled on Sheila.

“Call Me” by Go West

Peak: number 12

Everyone remembers their 1990 Pretty Woman single, “King Of Wishful Thinking”, and their debut single, “We Close Our Eyes”, also rates a mention these days, but what about Go West’s other top 20 single? The duo’s second release, “Call Me”, remains overshadowed by their two bigger hits.

“I Was Born To Love You” by Freddie Mercury

Peak: number 19

Released between Queen albums The Works and A Kind Of Magic, singer Freddie Mercury’s debut solo album, Mr Bad Guy, yielded just the one hit in Australia: the dance-pop “I Was Born To Love You”. In fact, it was Freddie’s only top 50 appearance in Australia away from his band-mates until “Barcelona”, his duet with opera singer Montserrat Caballé, charted in 1992 to coincide with that year’s Olympics – five years after it had first been released.

“Lover Come Back To Me” by Dead Or Alive

Peak: number 13

“You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” gets all the glory and is still a pop culture phenomenon, but Dead Or Alive’s follow-up was one of 10 more top 50 hits they had in Australia during the 1980s – a tally that also included “Something In My House” (number 19), “Brand New Lover” (number 21) and “Turn Around And Count 2 Ten” (number 30).

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