Thirty years of putting your “Hand On Your Heart”!

by Christopher Smith

And so another milestone is reached: thirty years have now passed since Kylie Minogue embarked on a new era in her career. 1988 had seen her crowned the most successful female artist in the world with five smash hit singles and a multi-million selling debut album. As she entered 1989, all eyes focused on what would be next, new music and that difficult second album. Would the successes of 1988 diminish or even evaporate completely or could Kylie buck the trend and firmly establish herself as an artist to be reckoned with?

The first taster of new music came on 23rd April 1989 with the release of a brand new single “Hand On Your Heart”. Kylie had begun the year at number one with “Especially For You” so hopes and expectations were high for a follow up and something new. “Hand On Your Heart” is certainly bubblegum pop that we had already become accustomed to, but it had a more of an edge this time. Certainly the drum programming feels more obvious and perhaps Stock Aitken Waterman were aware of the change in music styles from 80’s pop into more house/dance that would close the decade.

There are moments that “Hand On Your Heart” feels like a Whitney Houston song from her second album. This is no “I Should Be So Lucky”, this is much fresher and solid with more grown up keyboarding throughout its many verses and bridges until we get to that explosive and infectious chorus. Kylie’s voice, although still being recorded using the Clarec Soundfield microphone, sounds more alive and stronger than with her previous album and recordings. She’s clearly having a ball with all those “ooooh” and “woooooooooooh”‘s as well as her intimate calling to “put your hand on your heart, hand on your heart” at the very end of each chorus.

Overlooking the cheap and now very dated video made for “Hand On Your Heart” (personal opinion!) with Kylie rollicking around in a studio filled with mirrors, dressed in red, blue and yellow heart dresses, the final overall impression of this new Kylie for 1989 is very positive and hopeful, considering that this time around she had the return of Madonna to contend with, something Kylie had no competition with the previous year. Madonna had topped both the singles and album charts with “Like A Prayer” in March and “Hand On Your Heart” would follow just four weeks later. Was this a wise move by PWL?

Well, “Hand On Your Heart” wasted no time at all in anchoring itself at the top of the charts as April turned into May. Entering the UK chart at number two, just under The Bangles “Eternal Flame” in their fourth week at number one, the song evicted the latter the following week to claim a third chart topper for Kylie. The following week, however, the SAW produced charity single “Ferry Across The Mersey” in aid of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, displaced “Heart” from the top, but sales were so buoyant that it would remain in the number two position for the next two weeks.

For chart geeks, its UK chart positions were: 2-1-2-2-4-11-18-29-35, a total of nine weeks spent in the top 40.

To date the single has sold over 480,000 copies in the UK, at the time, her third biggest seller behind “Lucky” and “Especially For You“. Elsewhere the song peaked at No.4 in Australia and gained a Gold certification. It also topped the chart in Ireland and reached the top ten in Finland, France, Spain and Switzerland as well as reaching No.3 on the European hot 100 singles chart.

“Hand On Your Heart” became and remains a firm fan favourite, being wheeled out for Kylie’s 2004/05 Showgirl tour and the 2014 Kiss Me Once world tour to enormous delight. The song was followed in the Summer of 1989 with a second new track, the even hipper “Wouldn’t Change A Thing”, prior to the release of her second album “Enjoy Yourself“, and that we cover in a separate article!

For now though, join Kylie by putting your hand on your heart, thirty times perhaps, one for every year that it’s been with us all and long may it continue to do so!

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Written by aylshamchris

i L O V E music