The Eighties was the decade that the Australian Pop scene lost some of it's quirkiness, and the charts started to reflect more closely what was big in the States and Britain.
But that was certainly not apparent back in 1980, with No.1 hits for acts as diverse as The Village People (by then ignored in the States due to the Disco backlash) and Devo (eccentric New Wavers). Perhaps passing mention should be made of the "Kiss Phenomenon", as around 1979-1980 Kiss were hyped up in Australia to be the "next Beatles". Apparently there was a "Kiss Army", but they must have been more interested in spending their pocket money on the face paint rather than the actual records, as Kiss managed to spend a grand total of one week at No.1 on just one of the charts ('I Was Made For Lovin' You' reached No.1 on the Top 40 Research charts in late 1979). Having said that, Kiss did have a successful tour in early 1980, and the 'Shandi' single and 'Unmasked' album were both Top 10 hits, which was much better than their American chart performance at this time.
It was also the decade Australian and New Zealand acts found significant success in the wider world. In the early Eighties, Air Supply had a string of Top 5 ballads in the States, and of course Men At Work managed to achieve the Trans-Atlantic Double (No.1 Single and Album in the US and the UK - 'Down Under' and 'Business As Usual'). Both the single and album had already topped the Australian charts almost a year before their unexpected international success.
Kiwi New Wave band Split Enz scored big in 1980 with 'I Got You', and the Finn Brothers went on to further success with solo careers and Crowded House,
eventually cracking the American market with 'Don't Dream It's Over' in 1986.
InXs were another of the New Wave acts, and eventually found success first in the States and then in Britain. Having first topped the Australian charts with 'Original Sin' in 1984, a few years later 'I Need You Tonight' managed to reach No. 1 in the US and No.2 in the UK. InXs was a part of the thriving 'pub circuit' of the early Eighties, which tended to produce bands with a tight live sound and a no-nonsense attitude. Bands such as Cold Chisel and Midnight Oil typified this scene, although their sound was perhaps less "accessable" to the outside world. Midnight Oil did acheive some success internationally with the 1987 hit 'Beds Are Burning' however, and Cold Chisel lead singer Jimmy Barnes went on to a successful solo career in Australia.
It's worth mentioning at this stage that the Extended Play single continued to be a fairly popular medium in Australia, and sometimes local acts had considerable success with it. Midnight Oil's 'Species Deceases' EP (featuring 'Hercules') and Australian Crawl's 'Semantics' EP (featuring 'Reckless') both reached No.1.
Of course the novelty hits were still there, mostly comedy numbers, such as 'Shaddap You Face' in late 1980 by American-Australian Joe Dolce, which, as we all know and regret, became an international hit. This was - I think - at the time the biggest selling local single ever, with sales of 300,000.
A few years later, in 1983, a local stand-up comedian called Austen Tayshus had a huge spoken-word hit with 'Australiana', and another comedy act, The Twelfth Man, started a long and successful career with a send-up of the cricket commentators, 'It's Just Not Cricket', in 1984. As it combined sport and comedy, how could it fail ? It was a No.1 single and spawned a series of follow-up No.1 albums. Speaking of sport, German act Genghis Khan had a huge hit in Australia in 1980 with 'Moscow', as an accompaniment to the Olympic Games in Moscow that year. Although it was the English version of 'Moscow' that became a hit, when another German act, Nena, scored big with '99 Luftbalons', it was actually the German version that became the hit. It does actually sound much better than the English version, there's more 'bite' to it.
Due to their emphasis on live proficiency and their generally anti-fashion stance, Aussie acts found the American market more receptive than the British, but that situation was completely reversed for one Kylie Minogue when British Dance Music hitmakers Stock, Aitken & Waterman started writing and producing hits for her. Before that, Kylie had topped the Australian charts with her cover of 'The Locomotion' (which curiously became her one and only significant hit in the States, reaching No.3 there), and then SAW got to work churning out the hits for her. As it is possible to do in the UK, she had a long string of hits that either reached No.1 or No.2, seemingly regardless of their quality, and her UK success eventually surpassed her local success.
My God, it's full of Beatles albums !