Together: Thirty years and all the love we have for “Especially For You”
Today, thirty years ago, PWL Records released “Especially For You”, the duet between teen heartthrob Jason Donovan and his Neighbours co-star Kylie Minogue. PWL24 (the records issue code) came as Kylie was completing a momentous years in music, having released four chart topping singles and the year’s best selling album and Jason had launched his music career with “Nothing Can Divide Us” only three months earlier.
What was not widely known at the time was that Jason and Kylie were actually dating one another and so the affection they afforded each other in the video and appearances on TV shows was actually genuine! 1988 had already been the most successful year year for hit songwriters and producers Stock Aitken Waterman with hits from Sinitta, Bananarama, Rick Astley and Hazell Dean as well as Kylie’s run of global chart hits and the success of her debut album, and the cherry on top of the pie came that Christmas with Jason and Kylie’s duet. It was PWL’s chance to claim the top spot on Christmas day, having come close the previous year with Rick Astley’s version of Nat ‘King’ Cole’s classic “When I Fall In Love”.
It didn’t happen for them, sadly, but copies of “Especially For You” flew off the shelves in record shops no sooner than it was put out. In the UK it entered the chart at No.2 and stayed there for four weeks throughout December, held off the top on Christmas day by Cliff Richard’s “Mistletoe And Wine”. However, with Christmas out of the way, support for Cliff’s yuletide anthem diminished rapidly and the first chart of 1989 saw Kylie and Jason take the top spot. They would remain there for three weeks before descending ‘gracefully’, spending a total of twelve weeks on the UK top 40 and selling, at the time, just over 900,000 copies. It became the 7th biggest seller of 1988 and the 29th biggest seller of 1989. On 12th December 2014 sales hit the one million mark and to date it is edging close to 1.1 million copies there, by far Jason’s biggest selling single and one of only two, million plus sellers for Kylie.
For chart fans, Its UK top 40 chart positions were:
Across the other side of the world, “Especially For You” peaked at No.2 in Australia and New Zealand, the 17th and 14th biggest selling single of 1989 in those respective counties. It made the top ten in a further eleven countries across Europe including a chart topping placing in Ireland and on the Euro top 100 singles chart. To date “Especially For You” has sold well over three million copies globally.
It’s appeal and endurance was such that in 1998, TV presenters Johnny Vaughan and Denise Van Outen, together with Steps, recorded the song for the BBC’s Children In Need charity and took it back into the charts reaching No.3 in the UK that November. And then there’s Kylie’s rendition of the song at this year’s Radio 2 festival of music in Hyde Park, London when Kylie performed the opening of the song, only to be joined on stage by Jason Donovan for an emotionally charged finale in front of a crowd of over 50,000 people, thirty years on and looking no different with the passage of events and time. They sang “together, together, I wanna show you my heart is oh-so true”. The crowd sang “and all the love we have is especially for you”! Timeless.
…and if you don’t like ballads, there’s always the B side, “All I Wanna Do Is Make You Mine”!
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