Billboard #1’s for the Week Ending August 1, 1981

This week’s Time Capsule!

Chart Song Act Weeks
Hot 100 Jessie’s Girl Rick Springfield 1
R & B Double Dutch Bus Frankie Smith 3
Country Dixie On My Mind Hank Williams, Jr. 1
Adult Contemporary I Don’t Need You Kenny Rogers 4
Rock Urgent Foreigner 2
Album Logn Distance Voyager The Moody Blues 2

This week sees the first (and so far only) time that one Australian act replaced another at #1 on the Hot 100. Climbing the chart slowly but surely, Rick Springfield tops the chart with his first major hit, Jessie’s Girl, in its 19th week. This bumps Air Supply’s fourth straight top five hit from its one week at the top. (They would go on to set a record of seven consecutive top fives starting with a debut which held for over a decade.) Curiously, despite being fixtures of the first half of the 80s neither act ever topped the charts again.

Both acts were part of a mini-invasion of Australian acts on the U.S. charts. All told, seven acts have hit #1 on the Hot 100 with 15 songs.

Olivia Newton-John (15 Top 10, 29 Top 40) – the most successful Australian act on the Billboard charts

  • Physical (10 weeks) – the biggest Australian chart-topper on the Hot 100
  • Magic (4 weeks)
  • I Honestly Love You (2 weeks)
  • Have You Never Been Mellow (1 week)
  • You’re the One That I Want (1 week) – with John Travolta

Helen Reddy (six Top 10, 15 Top 40)

  • I Am Woman (1 week) – the first Australian #1 on the Billboard charts
  • Delta Dawn (1 week)
  • Angie Baby (1 week)

Men At Work (four Top 10, five Top 40)

  • Down Under (4 weeks)
  • Who Can It Be Now? (1 week)

Savage Garden (three Top 10, seven Top 40)

  • I Knew I Loved You (4 weeks) – also achieving 17 weeks at the top of the Adult Contemporary charts
  • Truly Madly Deeply (1 week)

Rick Springfield (five Top 10, 17 Top 40)

  • Jessie’s Girl (2 weeks)

Air Supply (eight Top 10, 11 Top 40)

  • The One That You Love (1 week)

INXS (seven Top 10, 11 Top 40)

  • Need You Tonight (1 week)

The biggest Australian act that never hit #1 was Little River Band, with six Top 10 and 13 Top 40 hits. Their biggest hit was Reminiscing, which spent two weeks at #3 in the fall of 1978.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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