I think that I’ve said before, but because I am always keen to find out more about 80s pop music, I thought that I would check out what was on the singles chart in various other English-speaking countries, including America and Australia, to see if there were any hits that didn’t get big over here, and also to discover how successful British acts were abroad.
In the 70s and 80s, the main pop music show in Australia was Countdown. Plenty of Top Tens from this show have been put online, so I thought I would take a look at some, to discover the musical tastes of the people in a land down under, when they weren’t chundering into their vegemite sandwiches (probably). One of the hosts was “Molly” Meldrum, if he thought that your album was great, then you’d go far!
This was how I discovered I’m Talking, an Australian group who were featured in this series recently. I was watching a Top Ten from October 1983 when a song jumped out at me. It was only a short clip, so I decided to find this in full, and it was just one of those things really. It was so catchy I couldn’t get it out of my head and wanted to discover more about the singer, so here’s the story.
Pat Wilson is an Australian-born singer (no relation to Rebel) who was a writer for a pop music magazine in the early-70s. By the early-80s, she had teamed up with her musician husband Ross, and in September 1983 the single “Bop Girl” was released. This slowly climbed up the chart, and eventually reached no. 2, only being beaten by “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club to the top place.
This lead to a few TV appearances, including the Countdown Christmas special, where a group of children excitedly clapped along to this. It seems that this was also released in a few other countries, making the Top Ten in New Zealand. But in the UK, this wasn’t a hit, and in America, this narrowly missed the Top 100. There’s also some great trivia about “Bop Girl”.
Firstly, this won Pat an award for Best Debut Single. Also, one of the producers was Stig O’Hara from The Rutles. And this was the 11th biggest-selling single of 1983 in Australia (the things you can find out online, remarkable). But the main thing that this is remembered for now is the video which features an early appearance by future Best Actress Oscar winner (and also UK chart-topping singer) Nicole Kidman.
After this, the mini-album “Strong Love” was released (featuring “Bop Girl Goes Surfing”). In May 1984, the follow-up single, also called “Strong Love”, and a duet with her husband Ross, was released but missed the Top 20, and she wouldn’t make the chart again. Pat is still around though, and there are some videos of her performing “Bop Girl” on stage as recently as a few years ago.