Today in 1986: American #1s that didn’t chart in Britain

TwitterIf You Were There’s article about the influence of UK artists on the US charts in the 1980s stated that the “second British invasion” ended in the autumn of 1986, and Peter Cetera’s The Next Time I Fall (duet with Amy Grant) is evidence of this. American artists were dominant in their domestic charts again, and the type of AOR music that had a strong following there was back to selling best. Cetera’s single, the Billboard #1 for the week ending 6 December 1986, wasn’t even a hit here. Meanwhile at #14 in the same week was Boston’s former #1 Amanda (it topped the Billboard chart for the week ending 8 November 1986), which was another that had failed to make the British Top 75.

Before the 1980s, a US #1 failing to chart in the UK was not unusual. But from the start of the decade until the autumn of 1986, it happened just once: Air Supply’s The One That You Love was the US #1 for the week ending 25 July 1981 but it flopped here. After that, the next 105 consecutive US #1 singles were also hits in the UK, right up until Boston broke the run, with Cetera following a month later. Both these singles almost made it here (Boston made #84, Cetera made #78), but these placings weren’t high enough for them to be considered hits. Following them were a further eleven US #1s that weren’t hits in the UK:

Billy Vera and The Beaters At This Moment (#1, w/e 24 January 1987) – no hits
Veteran singer with several bands since the early 1960s, whose song writing talent has subsidized lean periods in his own recording career when he has given away songs to others. By the 1970s, he was living in LA and had formed a backing band named The Beaters. At This Moment was on a 1981 album of theirs and was a minor hit single. When it featured several times in the US television show ‘Family Ties’ (starring Michael J Fox) in the mid-80s, it was re-issued.

Huey Lewis and The News Jacob’s Ladder (#1, w/e 14 March 1987)
The album that this single was taken from – Fore! – yielded plenty of hit singles in the UK. The British edition of the album even included a bonus hit not on the American track listing – The Power Of Love, from the ‘Back To The Future’ (Michael J Fox again) movie soundtrack, by far their biggest seller here. Jacob’s Ladder was extremely unusual in that the British record company chose not to issue it as a single here, despite it topping the Billboard charts. Instead, it turned up as a B-side.

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam Head To Toe (#1, w/e 20 June 1987)
This group were produced by R&B/funk collective Full Force and was one of a pair of US #1s, Head To Toe being the first. The other, Lost In Emotion, was a hit for Lisa Lisa here. Full Force also had hits here with Samantha Fox, but their own single Alice I Want You Just For Me! made the Top 10 in 1986 – neither with Lisa Lisa nor Fox was their work as successful.

Bob Seger Shakedown (#1, w/e 1 August 1987)
Another rock veteran, playing with various bands from the early 60s onwards. This was a solo offering, made famous by its inclusion in the soundtrack to the movie ‘Beverley Hills Cop II’.

Expose Seasons Change (#1, w/e 20 February 1988)
See the article about tips for the top from Smash Hits on 19 December for details about this group.

Cheap Trick The Flame (#1, w/e 9 July 1988)
Rock band formed in the early 1970s; three of the current four members have been with the band continuously since 1974, one took a break in the early 1980s but was back in time for this hit. They were signed to Epic in the UK from the late 70s to the 80s, and they had a handful of minor hits.

Richard Marx Hold On To The Nights (#1, w/e 23 July 1988)
Marx was on regular on the US charts from 1987 until 1994. His first seven singles all reached the Top 4, including among them three consecutive #1s of which this was the first. Most of his singles were minor hits here (and a couple were big hits: 1992’s Hazard was a bigger hit here than in America), although this was one that got away. He has written and/or produced numerous hits for other artists, but has had only occasional appearances in the charts with his own recordings in the past twenty years. Last year’s album <Beautiful Goodbye returned him to the US Top 40.

The Escape Club Wild Wild West (reached #1, w/e 12 November 1988)
Highly unusual – this was a British band with a US #1 single that flopped in their home country. In fact, they never had a hit single here.

Chicago Look Away (reached #1, w/e 10 December 1988)
Band originating in the 1960s with many years of American hits, but only a handful here. Peter Cetera was lead singer on their UK #1, If You Leave Me Now and remained with them until starting his solo career in 1985. Personnel on Look Away included guitarist Dawayne Bailey of Bob Seger’s former Silver Bullet Band.

Sheriff When I’m With You (reached #1, w/e 4 February 1989)
Canadian band who released one self-titled album in 1982, on which this track appeared. It was a minor hit when first released as a single, the band split up soon afterwards, and it looked like that was the end of the story. When it became popular with New York DJs in 1988 and other radio stations started following suit, the record company reissued it.

Michael Damian Rock On (reached #1, w/e 3 June 1989)
Born 1962, a soap opera actor (‘The Young And The Restless’), movie script writer and director, and singer and songwriter. His fame in America in the 80s and 90s was probably equivalent to that of Jason Donovan in the UK; in 1993, he took the role of Joseph in the musical Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and appeared on Broadway with it. He had made nearly a dozen albums and last appeared in ‘The Young And The Restless’ two years ago.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Dec. 6
No release scheduled for this date.


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