I must confess that this is not my idea; having recently come across Tom Breihan’s ‘The Number Ones’ column for Stereogum, and in turn, Tom Ewing’s ‘Popular’ column for Freaky Trigger, I felt inspired to approach the format from my own geographical perspective; that is, review every single to reach number 1 on the ARIA Charts/Kent Report, and assign a numerical grade from 1-10. In the interest of brevity (and some pertinence), the column shall begin from July 1974, the date in which the initial Kent Report was first published commercially, and work forwards from there. Dependent upon time constraints and general interest, publishing of these articles will, similar to Ewing and Breihan’s columns, be daily. And now…
6 January – 20 January 1975 (3 Weeks).
Perhaps one of the most underrated delights of exploring a history of Australian pop music is that I can accord some attention to songwriters that have either had a minimal presence in the US and the UK, or just plainly didn’t make much of an international dent to begin with. Daryl Braithwaite is one of those performers; having fronted Sherbet, he produced some of Australia’s biggest anthems including “Summer Love” and “Howzat,” whilst topping the charts in his own right with “One Summer” and “The Horses.” As an inductee to the ARIA Hall of Fame, he’s a national treasure; to those North of the equator, he’s Daryl Braithwaite.
It’s only fitting that Braithwaite’s first of many entries into the charts is “You’re My World,” a cover of a Cilia Black song that appeared on the inaugural episode of Countdown, Australia’s long-running chart program. A ballad expressing love in the most Italian and melodramatic way imaginable, Braithwaite’s voice renders the song as a sort of piano thumping cry for love. Stripped away from Sherbet, his famously awkward and hobbled song arrangements, and his late-’80s passion for slathers of synth, it’s also one of his weaker efforts, made weaker when compared to Cilia Black’s infinitely smoother, more histrionic performance. Braithwaite’s effort isn’t poor, but when I speak about the excitement of being able to bring attention to him, this maudlin, weepy, and trite piano diddling isn’t what I’m talking about. With the source material already so stirring and sensational, the only place anybody could have taken it is into the depths of humourless parody, and that’s where Braithwaite takes this standard, despite better efforts.
Certainly, the man’s competency is unmatchable, and as a choice of song, it’s only a sensible choice for an Australian pop music program and an Australian popstar, simulating everything that American and British pop music programs and pop musicians do, for better or worse. It’s also somewhat forgotten in the shuffle of a million “You’re My World” covers; when stripped of contextual importance, it’s hard to become too excited or bothered about this near-hit. 5.