Released today in 1985: System Addict

1230

Tent PB40515

The release of System Addict provided evidence that Romford’s answer to the Jackson Five weren’t just inspired by Michael Jackson’s music, his vocal techniques and his dance moves, they were inspired by his commercial strategies too. It was the seventh single from their album Luxury Of Life; Jackson had taken the same number from his most recent album Thriller in America. His British record company only chanced six of those as singles here, so Five Star had actually gone one step further Jackson with their seven, and he was promoting the biggest selling album of the 1980s. One of the advantages of having your own label, I suppose, which with Tent, Five Star had.

Jackson’s sister Janet equalled Five Star’s effort by the end of 1987 when her record company, A&M, took a seventh single from her album Control in the UK. (In the US, they stopped at six.) But eighteen months later, Jackson himself set a new record: he took eight of the ten songs on Bad (nine of eleven songs, if you had the CD version) as singles. It took two years to release those nine singles, the resultant publicity keeping the album in the chart for 108 consecutive weeks. As there was more profit to made in the sale of an album, keeping that album in the news via a string of hit singles was a shrewd business move, but of course this could only be done if there were sufficient radio-friendly tracks on the album to lift from it as singles in the first place. Few other albums in the eighties were plundered for quite so many singles. Other albums containing six UK singles during the decade included

  • George Michael’s Faith (Epic, November 1987) – it took eighteen months to release all six singles, and the album remained in the chart for all but a handful of weeks in that time;
  • Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl (Siren, October 1988) – it took over two years to release the singles, with some being issued more than once in that period due to disappointing sales the first time around. The album only charted for a few weeks at a time when the singles were selling;
  • Whitney Houston’s Whitney Houston (Arista, August 1985) – the album, a classic of sorts, failed to chart in the UK when first released as its early singles weren’t hits: it started to sell when Saving All My Love For You made #1 at the end of 1985. The last of the six singles was released a few months later (it took just a year to release all of them), but the LP remained on the album chart long after the last single exited the chart in June 1986;
  • Def Leppard’s Hysteria (Bludgeon Riffola, August 1987) – eighteen months to release the singles, but again the album continued to sell steadily after radio airplay had died down;

and Five Star (again), with their second album Silk And Steel. The singles they took from Silk And Steel did much better than those from Luxury Of Life, with five of them making the Top 10. Only one of the singles from Luxury Of Life made the Top 10, and somewhat surprisingly – given it was the last of them – that was System Addict. It remains one of their best-known songs, and was re-mixed for re-issue in 2005.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Dec. 30
1983
SINITTA I Could Be (Midas MID4)
1985
EURYTHMICS It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) (RCA PB40375)
FIVE STAR System Addict (Tent PB40515)
KING (Paul King) Torture (CBS A6761)
SADE (Sade Adu) Is It A Crime (Epic A6742)

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