Like Sands Through The Hour Glass

Like Sands Through The Hour Glass


Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in a scene from the film 'Grease', 1978. (Photo by Paramount/Getty Images)

What was happening this month in the charts this week 20 years ago, 30 years ago and 40 years ago? Let's find out! 


Starting in 1978, in June of that year there was only one song on the lips of every man, woman and child.

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta – You’re The One That I Want

It was massive, next level huge. You know it from Grease the movie, our very own ONJ and JT performed it, and it went on to be one of the best-selling singles of ALL TIME, going to #1 in thirteen countries.

Boney M. – Rivers Of Babylon

In 1970, the Melodians released this Rastafarian tune, but it became best known due to the cover performed by Boney M. in 1978. It’s one of very few pop songs which lyrics come directly from the bible. Although there’s a fair chance that most didn’t know, and still don’t know that it’s lamenting Jewish people in exile following the Babylonian Conquest of Jerusalem in 586BC. Hey, I had no idea either, it’s just a tune that was catchy when I was extremely young and all I was hearing was rhythm. It sold over 2 million copies in the UK and peaked at #1 here in Australia.

Village People – Macho Man

In June of 1978, months after the eponymous album was released, "Macho Man" hits the charts as a single. This was somewhat of a breakthrough hit for the band that paved the way for their next single, "Y.M.C.A." (released in November of ’78 and went to be #1 in 14 countries). When "Macho Man" was released, things really started to move fast, as ‘Cowboy’ Randy Jones remembers  "The Monday after Thanksgiving (1977), we signed contracts and the Tuesday after, we were in studio recording "Macho Man," with Victor Willis' (lead singer) handwritten lyrics that were written in the morning with egg stains and coffee rings on it. Everything was happening that quickly.”


As we jump forward a decade, the musical landscape, and tastes, took a GIANT leap. The 80’s had been a whirlwind of success, and excess, fluoro was king, crimped hair was fashionable, and by June 1988, these were topping the ARIA charts.

Cheap Trick – The Flame

Power ballads really came into their own in the 80’s. Rock bands were spittin' em out left right and centre, and they were a great idea to grow the audience, showing potential listeners that they could be sensitive and loving people and weren’t just flat out sex drugs ‘n’ rock & roll ALL the time. I’m sure you know someone who loved a power ballad and had no idea that it was THAT band. "The Flame" spent 3 weeks at number one here in Australia. Prior to that, the band had been in a slump, and it took this song, not written by them, to get them out of it. This is despite Rick Nielsen disliking the song so much that he initially ripped it from the cassette player and ground it under his foot.

Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World

Originally recorded by Louis in 1967, in 1988 the song featured in Good Morning, Vietnam. This was despite the movie being set in 1965, two years prior to its release. But it was re-released as a single and sat in the #1 spot on the ARIA charts for two weeks. This live version is simply perfect and impossible not to smile to.

Kylie Minogue – Got To Be Certain

Yet another Stock, Aitken and Waterman MONSTER hit for the singing budgie from her debut album Kylie of 1988. This was the follow up to "Locomotion" and "I Should Be So Lucky" and when you sing those choruses back in your head, you’ll hear how similar they actually were. Riding on her popularity from Neighbours, Kylie could do no wrong, especially in the UK where fans ate this up with cream on top, but it also saw Kylie top the charts in Belgium and Finland along with here in Australia. If there’s an artist that SCREAMS 1988, it’s Kylie Minogue.


Another decade passes, and so much happens it’s hard to keep up. The rise and fall of the ‘grunge’ genre, lead predominantly by Nirvana, and now the onset of nu-metal approached. The 90’s were another insanely diverse decade of music, and here’s a few that were sitting atop the charts in June of 1998. Hold on, things got weird.

Steps – 5,6,7,8

This monstrosity that mangled dance beats with a boot-scooting hoe-down and horse sound effects was utterly confusing, but for this UK group, it proved to be quite the success and even had its own dance moves. The tradition of every dance clip in the 90’s looking like an aerobics class continued. Yep, this was number 1 here in Australia in June of 1998... for only one week, thankfully!

K-Ci & Jo Jo – All My Life

R&B ballads were massive in the late 90’s and a sure-fire hit for all and sundry, so when brothers K-Ci and Jo Jo dropped this one dripping with harmonies. passion, thanks to God and praying, well, the world ate it up. It spent a week at number one here in Australia in June of 1998, going platinum, and swam around in the top ten of 10 more countries around the globe.

Ricky Martin – The Cup Of Life

Hands down the number one monster hit of 1998 due to being used as the official song of the 1998 soccer world cup. Which means, if you were following the cup on TV, you would hear it every…single…. day…for..weeks..on…end. I was living in Bali at the time, and it was truly blasting out of every bar, pub and music shop due to their love of the world game. It would become one of Ricky Martin’s biggest hits, hitting number 1 in NINE countries including Australia (for SIX WEEKS).

Seriously, if you don’t remember soccer fans embracing this and losing their minds, you weren’t there.

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