18 December 2020

Week commencing 18 December 1989

This week's chart was the last chart survey conducted by ARIA for 1989, and the final chart of the 1980s decade.  Owing to the two-week Christmas break in compiling the chart, this week's chart was repeated on 25 December 1989 and 1 December 1990, although it only reflects sales for the week of 11-17 December 1989.
Since 30 January 1989, we have seen 242 singles peak within the number 101 to 150 region of the chart, and a further (at the time of writing) 55 singles peak outside the top 150 - and I've now written about all of them!  Hopefully you've discovered or re-discovered some songs you liked during this nostalgic journey.

This week we have six new top 150 debuts and, for the first time since 23 October 1989, no bubbling WAY down under entries to look at.

Before delving into this week's chart, there are a couple of earlier posts from 1989 that I have recently updated, after additional bubbling WAY down under entries have been uncovered.  These posts are:

- 13 March 1989, with a new bubbling WAY down under debut from Joan Jett and The Blackhearts;
- 10 April 1989, with a new bubbling WAY down under debut from Karyn White;
- 10 July 1989, with new bubbling WAY down under debuts from Pseudo Echo and Big Country.

Finally, as no new chart was produced for the following two weeks, my next chart recap will be published in three weeks' time, on 8 January 2021.  I hope to see you then!

Michelle Shocked: what Karens looked like in 1989.


Number 129 "The Angels" by Melissa Etheridge
Peak: number 116
Peak date: 5 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Melissa's fifth single in Australia, this second release from her Brave and Crazy album (number 9, October 1989) was her first to miss the top 40.  I thought I didn't know this one, but the chorus rings a bell.  FM radio in Melbourne loved Melissa Etheridge during this period, and I no doubt heard it played on the radio several times.
Unfortunately, the ARIA database conflates this single with Melissa's similarly-titled "Angels Would Fall" from 1999, due to the way the database is set up - apparently, each title is assigned an eight-letter code, using the first four letters of the artist's name, and the first four characters of the song title.  This occasionally leads to errors.  In this instance, "The Angels" would have been listed as "Angels, The", and therefore would share the same code with Melissa's "Angels Come Down".  I am therefore unable to tell you exactly how this single performed on the state charts, but can report that it appeared to do much better on the South Australia/Northern Territory chart, where it debuted at number 54, than in other states.

Melissa will pay us another visit in 1990.

Number 136 "Head On" by The Jesus and Mary Chain
Peak: number 102
Peak date: 22 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks

Another one I probably heard at the time (and, I think, saw on Countdown Revolution), but had no recollection of... until I caught it on rage again in the late 2000s, is this one from The Jesus and Mary Chain.  "Head On" is quite a poppy effort from the Scottish band - still not quite 'pop', but about as catchy and anthemic as they get, and, dare I say this, not entirely unlike Transvision Vamp if they had a male singer.  I could also picture the song being used as music on Home and Away during a 'young lovers' trip to the fairground' scene.  I probably would have enjoyed the song at the time had I been a little bit older (I was 11).

The more-commercial sound connected with the record-buying public... well, relatively, giving the band their first charting single in Australia.  Lifted from the album Automatic (number 89, February 1990), "Head On" peaked at number 57 in the band's native UK in November 1989.  "Head On" performed stronger on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 92.

We will see The Jesus and Mary Chain again in 1990.

Number 141 Very Metal Noise Pollution E.P. by Pop Will Eat Itself
Peak: Number 121
Peak date: 15 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks

If any Pop Will Eat Itself single charted in Australia, I would have guessed that it would be "Wise Up! Sucker".  I caught the video for that track several times on TV, and even on a TV screen in the music department at my local K-Mart!  The English band even performed it 'live' on Countdown Revolution!  But, somehow, that single did not chart at all.  Instead, this extended play - that is, E.P. for short - which I had never heard of before, did...

I assume that the first track on the E.P., "PWEI-zation", which I have embedded below, was the one promoted as the 'single', but I could be wrong.  A music video was made for track 3 from the EP, "Def Con One", which I have also embedded below.  This latter track samples The Twilight Zone theme music, and also nicks the hook from Lipps, Inc.'s "Funkytown" (number 1, August 1980).
Very Metal Noise Pollution was an in-between albums release, and peaked at number 45 in the UK in September 1989.

Pop Will Eat Itself will join us again in 1992.

Number 144 "On the Greener Side" by Michelle Shocked
Peak: number 118
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks

We first saw Michelle Shocked, real name Karen Michelle Johnston, bubble down under back in April 1989, and here she was again - this time with the lead single from her second album, Captain Swing (number 58, January 1990).  "On the Greener Side" does not appear to have charted on any other 'real' (sales-based) chart, though it did peak at number 19 on the US Billboard 'Alternative Airplay' chart... whatever that means, in January 1990.  While Karen, sorry, Michelle will just scrape into the top 100 singles chart in 1992 with "Come a Long Way" (number 100, July 1992), this will be the last time we see her bubble down under.
Due to the apparent absence of this song on YouTube, I can only assume that Karen Michelle wants to speak to the manager whenever her videos or songs are uploaded.  But, thankfully, she doesn't seem to mind having them on Vimeo - assuming the 'Michelle Shocked' account responsible for uploading the video I have embedded below is actually her.  The music video, if I am not mistaken, loosely attempts to subvert the Robert Palmer 'pouting models' music video formula, showcasing a bunch of men in suits cavorting behind her nonchalantly while strumming guitars, before being revealed in Speedos, swimming goggles and not much else flexing their muscles.  Enjoy.

Number 145 "You've Got It" by Simply Red
Peak: number 127
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks

Just a few months ago, Simply Red topped the ARIA singles chart with their rendition of "If You Don't Know Me by Now" (number 1, August 1989).  Two single releases later, they were just scraping into the top 130, with the fourth and final single release from their A New Flame album (number 2, August 1989).  If not for my dad owning the album on cassette (and being subjected to it on the car tape deck), I would not have heard this song before; so a lack of promotion was probably a factor in its poor chart showing.  The single performed better in the band's native UK, though still flopped, peaking at number 46 in November 1989.  "You've Got It" peaked at number 14 in Ireland in October 1989, but was not a hit anywhere else.  Simply Red front man Mick Hucknall co-wrote the song with Lamont Dozier, one third of Motown's songwriting and production powerhouse Holland-Dozier-Holland - not that it helped save "You've Got It" from being rather dull and unexciting.

"You've Got It" performed strongest on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart, where it peaked at number 92.  The single also peaked higher, at number 80, on the Australian Music Report singles chart.

We shall next see Simply Red in 1992.

Number 146 "Heading West" by Cyndi Lauper
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 15 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks

Poor Cyndi had not had much chart success with the post-"I Drove All Night" singles from her A Night to Remember album.  On a rosier note, at least "Heading West" - the fourth and final single released from the album - peaked 28 places higher than the last one.  Like Simply Red, I never heard this one at the time - though remember seeing it in the shops, so lack of promotion probably hindered its success.
"Heading West" missed the top 100 on all of the state charts, though performed strongest on the Victoria/Tasmania chart, where it peaked at number 103.  Internationally, "Heading West" didn't do much better on any major chart, though peaked at number 68 in the UK in December 1989.  It seemed that, from this point onwards, Cyndi would struggle to achieve significant chart success, and would unfairly be relegated to being a relic of the 1980s.

Cyndi will join us next in 1992.

Next chart (8 January): After the Christmas/New Year's break, the ARIA chart resumes on 8 January, kicking off the 1990s with four new top 150 debuts.  In 1990, we will see 272 singles peaking in the 101 to number 150 region of the chart, and (at the time of writing this) a further 29 singles debuting and peaking outside the top 150.  That's at least 301 songs I have to listen to and write about next year...
Thank you for reading my posts throughout the year, and I hope you have a safe and pleasant holiday season!  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 11 December 1989                               Next chart: 8 January 1990 >

11 December 2020

Week commencing 11 December 1989

Welcome to the second last chart for 1989.  This week, there are three top 150 debuts, and one bubbling WAY down under entry.  Let's take a look:
Skid Row: If the rock star thing didn't work out for Sebastian Bach, a promising career in shampoo commercials beckoned.
Number 133 "18 & Life" by Skid Row
Peak: number 126 
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
We saw Skid Row back in July with their debut single, and here they were again with the second release from their Skid Row album (number 12, May 1990).  Debuting at number 156 on 9 October 1989, "18 & Life" took nearly two months to crack the top 150, and would take almost another month to reach its peak, on 8 January 1990.  The single also had a minor resurgence following the success of the band's third single, "I Remember You" (number 12, May 1990), re-entering the chart in June 1990 and climbing back to number 144.  None of "18 & Life"'s five weeks in the top 150 were consecutive, and the single was still charting in late July 1990.  Despite all of this, "18 & Life" only managed to notch up eight weeks on the chart.

"18 & Life" had much greater success in the band's native America, where it reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1989, becoming their first major hit.  In the UK, the single peaked at number 12 in February 1990.

"18 & Life" tells the tale of wayward teen 'Ricky', who is sentenced to life imprisonment after accidentally killing another teen with a firearm while in a drug/alcohol-induced haze.

We shall see Skid Row again in 1991.

Number 135 "Comment Te Dire Adieu" by Jimmy Somerville featuring June Miles Kingston
Peak: number 122
Peak date: 22 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks 

Jimmy Somerville was the falsetto-voiced singer in Bronski Beat (biggest hit during his tenure with the group: "Smalltown Boy" - number 8, August 1984) and The Communards (biggest hit: "Don't Leave Me This Way" - number 2, November 1986).  His solo career yielded much less success on the Australian chart, with his biggest hit locally being "Dark Sky", which peaked at number 62 in February 1998.

"Comment Te Dire Adieu" (French translation: how to say goodbye to you) was Jimmy's first solo release... well, if you ignore that it was a duet with June Miles Kingston, who was the drummer in The Communards.  The single was a French-translated cover version of the Margaret Whiting song "It Hurts to Say Goodbye", and was originally recorded by Françoise Hardy in 1968.  The track was lifted from Jimmy's Read My Lips album (number 114, January 1990).
"Comment Te Dire Adieu" was a success in Jimmy's native UK, where it peaked at number 14 in December 1989.  The single also peaked at number 3 in Ireland and France.

We will next see Jimmy in 1991.

Number 144 "Name and Number" by Curiosity Killed the Cat
Peak: number 131
Peak date: 29 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
While Curiosity Killed the Cat (later known as just Curiosity) had reasonable success in the UK, where they racked up three top 10 hits between 1986 and 1992, they never quite took off in Australia.  In fact, only two of their singles dented the top 100, and the biggest of those, "Down to Earth", peaked at number 88 in June 1987.  "Name and Number" was the lead single from the band's Getahead album (number 136, April 1990), and peaked at number 14 on the UK singles chart in October 1989.

While you may not be familiar with this track, you've no doubt heard the "Hey, how you doin'?" chorus before, which was recycled on De La Soul's "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)" (number 4, July 1991) after some slight tweaking of the lyrics.

This track would be the band's final charting single in Australia.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 163 "Superheroes" by The Firm
Peak: number 163
Peak date: 11 December 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week 
The Firm scored a novelty hit in 1987 with "Star Trekkin'", which reached number 1 in the UK in June 1987, and number 3 in Australia in October of the same year.  "Superheroes" was released as the follow-up - at least in the UK - where it flopped, peaking at number 99 in September 1987.  In Australia, "Superheroes" was not released as a single until November 1989.  I am not sure why it took more than two years for the single to receive a release locally, but I am guessing that perhaps the record company were hesitant to release it in 1987 after it's poor chart performance in the UK, and felt now was the right time to release it, given the general popularity of the Batman movie in 1989.  Batman does get a mention in this song.

Like "Star Trekkin'", the music video for "Superheroes" is another clay animation production.  Both tracks were lifted from the album Serious Fun (number 81, March 1988), which - surprisingly, given it charted here - missed the top 100 in the UK.

Next week (18 December): The final chart for 1989, and the decade.  There are six top 150 debuts - among them is a band who scored a number 1 single only a few months ago, and an 80s icon who seemed to be struggling with her most-recent releases.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 4 December 1989                                   Next week: 18 December 1989 >

04 December 2020

Week commencing 4 December 1989

Now in the final month of 1989, the chart year is drawing to a close, with this week's chart being the third-last one for the year.  Unusually, of the ten songs I write about this week, I only knew two of them at the time - and they are both from the bubbling WAY down under section.  At least one of this week's new entries does not have a music video, and two of the songs I write about were not even on YouTube until creating this post!  Shall we take a look?
Olivia Newon-John: The charts weren't the only thing she was on the 'fringe' of in 1989.
Number 108 "The Arms of Orion" by Prince with Sheena Easton
Peak: number 108
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks
Prince, under the pseudonym Alexander Nevermind, first collaborated with Sheena Easton through writing the infamous "Sugar Walls" (number 87, June 1985), recorded for her A Private Heaven album (number 88, March 1985).  The pair then recorded a duet, "U Got the Look" (number 90, October 1987) for Prince's Sign "☮︎" the Times album (number 20, May 1987).  While neither of these collaborations had much chart success in Australia, both reached the top 10 of the US Billboard Hot 100.

"The Arms of Orion" was released as the third single from Prince's Batman soundtrack (number 4, July 1989), without an accompanying music video, which probably hindered its chart success.  The single performed stronger on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 88.  "The Arms of Orion" also peaked at number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1989, and number 27 in the UK during the same month.
While I saw this single in the shops, I never heard the song until looking it up on YouTube out of curiosity a few years ago.  That is, unless it is featured in the 1989 Batman movie, which I saw at the cinema, but can barely remember anything about (was there actually a plot?).

Sheena will pay us another visit in 1991, and Prince will join us again in 1996.
Number 114 "The Time Warp (PWL Remix)" by Damian
Peak: number 114 
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150:  7 weeks
The original version of "The Time Warp", by The Rocky Horror Picture Show Original Cast, like the 1975 film that spawned it, had a 'rocky' start, eventually peaking at number 3 in December 1980, spending 15 weeks in the Australian top 10.  Damian, hailing from Manchester in the UK, in a similar fashion, kept re-releasing his version of the track until it became a hit - well, in the UK, anyway.  Originally peaking at number 94 in the UK in September 1986 (after debuting on the chart in March of the same year), it was re-recorded and re-released as "The Time Warp II" - having two separate chart runs between December 1987 and September 1988, peaking at number 51 there in January 1988.  Finally, Damian's version of "The Time Warp" was remixed by Pete Hammond at PWL (home of hit-makers extraordinare Stock Aitken Waterman), and his Midas touch propelled the single to number 7 in the UK, for two weeks in September 1989.  Phew!

In Australia, we got "The Time Warp II", released in November 1988.  The PWL remix of "The Time Warp" was released locally in early November 1989.  Judging by the embedded music video, Damian moonlighted as a clown/stilts walker.   Sadly, he died from cancer in 2017, aged 52.

Number 123 "Our Children's World" by Oz Art for Ozone
Peak: number 123 
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
This track was (obviously) a charity record, by an ensemble of Australian artists - presumably to raise funds for environmental causes.  Artists participating in this project included: Andy McLean (21 Guns), Brian Canham (Pseudo Echo), David Janz (Janz), Grace Knight (Eurogliders), Jim Keays (Masters Apprentices), John Swan (Swanee), Juno Roxas (Roxus), Lisa Edwards, Lisa Schouw (Girl Overboard), Matthew De La Hunty (Tall Tales & True), and Wendy Stapleton (Wendy & The Rocketts).  I have no recollection of hearing this track before, so lack of exposure/promotion might have been a problem.  Like almost all charity records, it kind of... sucks.

Going by the rear sleeve used as an image still for the (audio-only) video below, there was a music video filmed for this one - but no-one has yet uploaded it to YouTube.
Number 133 "Pretending" by Eric Clapton
Peak: number 106 
Peak dates: 18 December 1989 (chart repeated 25 December 1989 and 1 January 1990) and 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks 

Up until now, Eric had placed eight singles within the top 100 on the Australian singles chart, with the biggest of those being "I Shot the Sheriff" (number 11, November 1974).  "Pretending" was the lead single from his Journeyman album (number 27, December 1989).  "Pretending" performed better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 85.  "Pretending" peaked at number 55 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in December 1989, and at number 96 in Eric's native UK in July 1990.  Eric will join us again in 1990.
Number 134 "Good Love" by Zan
Peak: number 134 
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks

Zan, real name Suzanne Abeyratne, was co-lead vocalist in the Australian band I'm Talking, who placed five singles in the Australian top 40 between 1985 and 1986, with the biggest of those being "Do You Wanna Be?" (number 8, June 1986).  Of the singles the band released, Zan only sang lead on one of them, "Holy Word", which peaked at number 9 in September 1986.
I'm Talking bubbled under on the Kent Music Report's list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100 with "How Can It Be", which reached fifth place on the list in November 1986.
I'm Talking disbanded in 1987, prompting both of its vocalists - Zan and Kate Ceberano - to launch solo careers.  Zan's debut single, "It's Your Move", peaked at number 82 in April 1989, and this was its follow up.  On the state charts, "Good Love" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 104.
Zan released one further solo single, "Nobody Else", in January 1991, but it failed to chart.

As this song was not previously on YouTube, I've had to resort to uploading the video below, which is just the audio of the 12" mix - the only version I was able to source.

Number 141 "Radar Love" by White Lion
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks

A cover version of the Golden Earring classic (number 10, September 1974), "Radar Love" was released as the second single from the Danish/American band's third album, Big Game (number 119, August 1989).  White Lion's version of the track peaked at number 59 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and followed their Australian top 150 single from July 1989, "Little Fighter".
Number 142 "Guitar Concierto de Aranjuez" by Tommy Emmanuel
Peak: number 138
Peak date: 18 December 1989 (chart repeated 25 December 1989 and 1 January 1990)
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Guitar maestro Tommy Emmanuel's first foray onto the Australian charts came in 1988, when the album Up from Down Under peaked at number 48 in July 1988.  "Guitar Concierto de Aranjuez" was a version of "Concierto de Aranjuez", composed in 1939 by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo, and lifted from Tommy's Dare to Be Different album (number 13, August 1990).  Tommy will join us again in 1990.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 155 "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty
Peak: number 155 (in 1989); number 59 in 2017
Peak dates: 4 December 1989 (1989 chart run); 9 October 2017 (2017 chart run)
Weeks on chart: 40 weeks (1989 and 2017 chart runs combined)
Sometimes, some of an artist's most well-known songs are not their biggest chart hits, and here we have a prime example of that, with Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'".  Despite peaking at number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1990, becoming his biggest hit there, "Free Fallin'" stalled outside the top 150 in Australia in 1989.  Tom's biggest chart hits in Australia had been "I Won't Back Down" (number 16, July 1989), and, with The Heartbreakers, "Refugee" (number 24, May 1980) and their duet with Stevie Nicks, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" (number 10, September 1981).
"Free Fallin'" was lifted as the third single from Tom's Full Moon Fever album (number 13, June 1989), following "I Won't Back Down" and "Runnin' Down a Dream" (number 68, September 1989).

Following Tom's death in October 2017, "Free Fallin'" re-entered the ARIA singles chart, and peaked at number 59 during the same month.  "Free Fallin'" was Tom's highest-peaking single to re-enter the ARIA chart in the week following his death, placing higher than "I Won't Back Down" at number 78 in the same week.  This would suggest that "Free Fallin'" could now be regarded as being Tom's 'signature' track in Australia, despite its low peak of number 155 in 1989.

Number 165 "London Nights" by London Boys
Peak: number 165
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week 

London Boys nudged the lower end of the top 150 back in September, and here they were with the second single lifted from their The Twelve Commandments of Dance album (number 137, August 1989) in Australia.  "London Nights" fared much better in the UK, where it became the duo's highest-charting single, peaking at number 2 in July 1989.  London Boys will visit us again in 1992.
Number 178 "Reach Out for Me" by Olivia Newton-John
Peak: number 153 
Peak date: 15 January 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

Here's one I hadn't heard before.  As Olivia explains during the spoken intro to the embedded music video, this one was written for her daughter, Chloe, who was almost 4 years old at this point.  Olivia recorded an album of children's songs, Warm and Tender (number 109, February 1990), from which this track is lifted.  "Reach Out for Me"'s two weeks on the chart were non-consecutive, with the single re-entering and reaching its peak in mid-January 1990.  Disregarding the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart (which I don't consider a 'real' chart), Australia was the only place this single charted.

Olivia will next visit us in 1992.

Next week (11 December): a quieter week, with three new top 150 entries, and one bubbling WAY down under debut.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 27 November 1989                               Next week: 11 December 1989 >

27 November 2020

Week commencing 27 November 1989

This week, each of the debuting singles is from a veteran artist. All but one of the new entries is from an artist who first charted in Australia prior to 1980!  The 'newest' act of the lot is a band that formed in 1976, and scored their first charting single in Australia in 1982.  Let's take a look at them.

 Grace Jones: Killer kiss and a killer stare.
Number 121 "Love on Top of Love (Killer Kiss)" by Grace Jones
Peak: number 121
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks
Between 1981 and 1986, Grace Jones placed four singles in the top 100 Australian singles chart.  Only two of those dented the top 40: "Nipple to the Bottle" (number 33, February 1983) and "Slave to the Rhythm" (number 20, January 1986).  "Pull Up to the Bumper", probably her best-known song, was surprisingly not one of them, peaking at number 67 in September 1981.  Grace had greater success on the Australian albums chart, where she scored eight charting albums between 1978 and 1986, with the biggest of those being the compilation Island Life (number 9, March 1986).  Grace last nudged the top 100 down under when "I'm Not Perfect (But I'm Perfect for You)" appeared on the Kent Music Report list of 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' for four non-consecutive weeks between December 1986 and February 1987, reaching the top of this 'bubbling under' list for one week in January 1987.

Roll on to 1989, and Grace would again 'bubble under' with this track, the lead single from her Bulletproof Heart album (number 108, January 1990).  Despite Grace's relative lack of chart success in Australia, the only other national chart I am able to verify this single charted on is in the Netherlands, where it peaked at number 47 in November 1989.
The opening lines of this song always remind me of the Christmas carol "O Come All Ye Faithful".  Does anyone else hear that?
While Grace would release the occasional one-off single in the interim years, Bulletproof Heart was her last studio album until 2008's Hurricane, which remains her last album to date.

Grace will 'grace' us with her presence again in 1994.

Number 127 "The Last Worthless Evening" by Don Henley
Peak: number 120
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
For some ridiculous reason, at the time of writing this, the studio version for "The Last Worthless Evening" appears to be blocked on YouTube.  So, instead, I've had to resort to embedding a live version below...
Don Henley's solo career separate from The Eagles had spawned five top 100 singles in Australia to date, with the biggest of those being "The Boys of Summer"  (number 3, March 1985).  "The Last Worthless Evening" was the second single lifted from Don's The End of the Innocence album (number 40, August 1989); the title track peaked at number 54 in August 1989.  "The Last Worthless Evening" garnered greater success in North America, where it peaked at number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in September 1989, and number 5 in Canada.
Don will pay us another visit in 1990.

Number 138 "Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2
Peak: number 138 (in 1989); number 27 in 1987
Peak dates: 27 November 1989 (1989 chart run); 26 October 1987 (1987 chart run)
Weeks in top 150: 1 week (in 1989); 13 weeks in the top 100 in 1987
"Where the Streets Have No Name" was released as a single in Australia in September 1987, and peaked at number 27 the following month.  Quite why it randomly re-charted in the top 150 for one week more than two years later, I have no idea.  However, it is listed as a double A-side single, with non-album B-side "Sweetest Thing" (the same song they would later re-record and score a number 6 hit with in November 1998) receiving top billing, on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 70 in December 1989.  I cannot find any evidence of there being a special 1989 pressing of this single in Australia online.
Are you a U2 fan?  Do you know why this single re-entered the Australian chart in 1989?  Please let me know if so.
Number 148 "Planes" by Jefferson Airplane
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week 

When I saw Jefferson Airplane on these charts, I expected it to be an old song that had charted perhaps due to its use in a move or something.  But no, this was a new track from the veteran 60s act, who had evolved (or devolved, depending on your musical preferences) into Jefferson Starship in 1974, and Starship in 1984.  The latter formation, of course, had three top 10 singles in Australia between 1985 and 1987, with "We Built This City" going all the way to number 1 in January 1986.  Only a few short months ago, we saw Starship bubble WAY down under.

Grace Slick, the female vocalist, left Starship in 1988 and joined the 1966-1970 line-up of Jefferson Airplane, minus drummer Spencer Drydon, for a reunion tour and a new album, the imaginatively-titled Jefferson Airplane - the band's eighth and final studio album, from which this is lifted.  As Wikipedia puts it, the album achieved "modest sales but the accompanying tour was considered a success," providing the blueprint for current heritage acts such as Madonna and Kylie with their latest releases (OK, that last bit I added myself).  To be more-precise, the album peaked at number 85 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart in September 1989, while this single failed to chart in the band's native US (no, the Mainstream Rock Songs chart does not count)... or anywhere else.

Number 150 "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)" by Robert Palmer
Peak: number 106
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
Another old song returning this week is this one, which originally peaked at number 13 in October 1979.  This release, however, was a remixed version, released to promote Robert's Addictions Volume 1 compilation album (number 10, December 1989), and also changes the title slightly from the original "Bad Case of Lovin' You (Doctor, Doctor)" (pedants, take note!).  The remix is similarly subtle, and seems to have a new drum track with some extra, beefed-up guitars, a couple of additional synths and not much more.  The video, embedded below, adds footage from Robert's other videos.

The kids I lived next door to at the time's dad owned the Addictions Volume 1 CD, but I don't remember it, or this track, gaining much traction, despite the big success of Robert's most-recent studio album Heavy Nova (number 2, February 1989).  It seemed to me, at the time, that it was a mistake to release this best of album this soon after the Heavy Nova era; we saw Robert only last week with the final single from that album.  I guess the record company rush-released this, in time for the Christmas market.  Releasing a greatest hits compilation often seems to spell the end of an artist's hit-making era, and Robert would only score one major hit single in Australia after this.

Interestingly, "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)" made the top 100 on four of the five state charts, but couldn't reach this milestone nationally, due to the state chart peaks occurring at different times.  The single performed best on the Western Australian state chart, where it reached number 68 in this, its opening week.

We will next see Robert Palmer in 1991.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 158 "Scandal" by Queen
Peak: number 158
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week
Like previous single "The Invisible Man", I remember seeing this one in the shops, but have never heard it or seen the video until writing it about it now.  Released as the fourth of five singles from The Miracle (number 4, June 1989), "Scandal" peaked at number 25 in the group's native UK in October 1989.  It seems that there was next to zero promotion or airplay for Queen's singles from the album in Australia, after second single "Breakthru" (number 45, August 1989).
As stated on the Wikipedia page for this song, the video is notable for lead singer Freddie Mercury's "gaunt" appearance - I'm glad it's not just me who noticed it.  Clearly, in retrospect, Freddie's health was deteriorating by this point, but he still manages to give an energetic performance in the video - it seems, for the last time, as future videos from the band featuring Freddie in them would be more-sedate affairs.

Queen will join us again in 1990.

Next week (4 December): Another bumper week, with seven new top 150 debuts, and three bubbling WAY down under entries.  Among them is a song that would have greater success on the Australian singles chart following the singer's death almost 30 years later, and another flop charity single.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 20 November 1989                                 Next week: 4 December 1989 >

20 November 2020

Week commencing 20 November 1989

After a few quieter weeks with singles peaking outside the top 100, this week we have a whopping 10 new entries to take a look at.  Let's dive in!
 S'Express: This singer looks like she's being chased by... COVID-89?
Number 131 "Angel Dove" by Joe Camilleri
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
I must have heard this being played on FM radio at the time, when the target demographic seemed to be your parents - and music that teens, tweens and younger (or even 20-somethings, for that matter) enjoyed was all but ignored by the radio programmers of the day... but I have no recollection of this song, whatsoever.
Joe Camilleri racked up 12 top 100 singles under the guise of Jo Jo Zep, with or without The Falcons, between 1976 and 1983, with the biggest two of those being "Hit and Run" (number 12, September 1979) and "Taxi Mary" (number 11, November 1982).  More-recently, The Black Sorrows, fronted by Joe, scored a number 9 hit with "Chained to the Wheel" in May 1989.

"Angel Dove" was recorded to raise funds for Amnesty International - well, as many funds as can be raised with a number 129-peaking single (I'd love to know the actual figure).  From around the 2 minute mark in the video, there are profiles of several children who've become victims of war brutality.  Joe was back to releasing material as part of The Black Sorrows after this, and they will bubble under in 1993.

This track sadly (and I say that without the slightest hint of irony...) won't be the first charity single to completely bomb on the Aussie charts.

Number 137 "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming" by Robert Palmer
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks
Another song I never heard at the time is this one, by the perpetually-suited Mr. Palmer.   In Australia, "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming" was the fifth and final single from Robert's 10-track Heavy Nova (number 2, February 1989) album, and the only one of the lot to miss the top 40.  The track was a cover version of Jermaine Jackson's 1984 single "Tell Me I'm Not Dreamin' (Too Good to Be True)", which also featured his more-famous brother, Michael Jackson.  Robert performed the track as a duet with B.J. Nelson, for whom he also produced her 1989 self-titled album.  Robert's version of "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming" was only released as a commercial single in North America and Australia, and it peaked at number 60 in the US in August 1989.
Spoiler alert: in a Bubbling Down Under first, Robert Palmer had back-to-back debuts, and will be joining us again next week with a different track!

Number 143 "Mantra for a State of Mind" by S'Express
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks
S'Express, sometimes stylised as S-Express and S'Xpress, burst onto the chart in 1988 with "Theme from S-Express" (number 11, September 1988), and followed it up with "Superfly Guy" (number 35, October 1988) and "Hey Music Lover" (number 53, May 1989).  Released as the fourth and final single from their Original Soundtrack album (number 69, May 1989), the video for "Mantra for a State of Mind" featured some of the best use of vacuuming in a music video since Queen's "I Want to Break Free" in 1984, as well as some inflatable spiky balls that bear a loose resemblance to the COVID-19 virus.

I was an S'Express 'fan' of sorts (despite not actually buying any of their music until the album re-issue in the early 2010s), but I never heard "Mantra...", in full, at the time.  I say "in full", as that rather nifty vocal hook used during the intro and throughout was sampled/re-created as part of Rococo's "Italo House Mix" (even though this song is not really 'Italo'), which peaked at number 13 in February 1990.  I did, however, manage to finally hear/see the S'Express original when catching the video on rage a year after its release, randomly screened one week before the top 60 started in November or December 1990.  A lack of promotion locally therefore must have been a factor in the single's floppage down under. In contrast, "Mantra..." was a moderate hit in the UK, where it peaked at number 21 in October 1989, and also peaked at number 12 in Ireland a month prior.

S'Express will pay us another visit in 1992.

Number 144 "If Only I Could" by Sydney Youngblood
Peak: number 122 (original release); number 71 (1990 triple A-side re-issue)
Peak dates: 29 January 1990 (original release); 16 July 1990 (1990 triple A-side re-issue)
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks (original release); 17 weeks (original + 1990 re-issue chart runs combined)
Weeks on chart: 14 weeks (original release); 27 weeks (original + 1990 re-issue chart runs combined)

"If Only I Could" was American-based-in-Germany Sydney Youngblood's (real name: Sydney Ford) third single in Europe, following a cover version of "Ain't No Sunshine" (check out the music video with an annoying fly buzzing throughout!) and the rather Milli Vanilli-esque "Congratulations" in 1988.  In Australia, this was Sydney's debut single.  While it didn't have a lot of success locally, it registered in the top 10 in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Swizterland, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.  Of course, you may recall that Canadian-but-claimed-by-Australia Wendy Matthews scored a number 41 'hit' with a cover version of this track in May 1993.
Sydney's version of "If Only I Could" would also get another go - of sorts - on the Australian chart in July 1990, when it was re-issued with subsequent singles "Sit and Wait" (number 59, April 1990) and "I'd Rather Go Blind" as a triple A-side release.  This 3-in-1 single peaked at number 71 in July 1990.  All three of these tracks appeared on Sydney's debut album, Feeling Free (number 59, March 1990).  On its initial release, "If Only I Could" took awhile to reach its peak of number 122, peaking towards the end of January 1990.  All four of its weeks in the top 150 were non-consecutive.

Sydney can still sing this song pretty well, going by this 2019 performance at Cologne Pride (it's the first song performed).

Sydney will next visit us in 1991.

Number 146 "All You Need Is a Friend" by Ice Tiger
Peak: number 146 
Peak date: 20 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
A mere six weeks after they first graced the top 150, Australian band Ice Tiger returned with their second and final top 150 singles chart 'hit'.  Like the previous single, "All I Need Is a Friend" performed much better on the Australian Music Report chart, where it peaked at number 98.  If you like rock ballads, this might be your thing.
Number 149 "Pet Sematary" by Ramones
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 20 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Despite having name (and image) recognition, Ramones (no The) surprisingly only ever scored one top 100 single down under - "Rock 'n' Roll High School" (number 41, September 1980).  "Pet Sematary" was written for the 1989 Stephen King film of the same name, and also appeared on the band's Brain Drain (number 130, November 1989) album.  The music video for this song - ironically in retrospect - shows the band being lowered into a grave towards the end.  Three of the four members of Ramones at this point died between 2001 and 2004, with only drummer Marcy Ramone surviving.  The band's original drummer, Tommy Ramone, who quit the group in 1978, died in 2014, meaning that all four of the founding members of Ramones are now deceased.  Yikes.

We shall see Ramones again in 1993.

Number 150 "Say No Go" De La Soul
Peak: number 143
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
The group's fourth single in their native US, "Say No Go" was De La Soul's first single to be released in Australia.  As I have previously mentioned, a few notable exceptions aside, rap generally didn't do well on the Australian singles chart during the 1980s.  De La Soul's breed of rap was a bit different, though - not that it mattered to the Australian record-buying public... yet.  Lifted from the album 3 Feet High and Rising (number 129, October 1989), "Say No Go" was a top 20 hit in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, and New Zealand.  On this side of the ditch, we weren't yet sold on the idea, and De La Soul would have to wait until 1991 to score their first (and really, only) decent-sized hit in Australia, with "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)" (number 4, July 1991).  "Say No Go" took its time to peak on the ARIA charts, reaching number 143 in February 1990.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 160 "Love Pains" by Hazell Dean
Peak: number 157
Peak date: 26 February 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Hazell Dean (real name Hazel, but she added the extra L after a numerologist told her it would bring her luck) is strongly associated with being part of the Stock Aitken Waterman stable, although her biggest hit in Australia, "Searchin' (I Gotta Find a Man)" (number 17, December 1984) was produced by Ian Anthony Stephens.  Hazell was, however, responsible for giving Stock Aitken Waterman their first top 10 hit in the UK, with "Whatever I Do (Whatever I Go)" in August 1984.  That single, in contrast, peaked at just number 74 in Australia in February 1985, and would become Hazell's final top 100 hit down under.

"Love Pains", a cover of a song originally recorded by Yvonne Elliman, was not produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, but instead by their 'B'-team, Phil Harding and Ian Curnow.  Coincidentally, Liza Minnelli also recorded a version of "Love Pains" for her Results (number 94, January 1990) album; and, although it was released as a single in Australia in April 1990, it failed to chart.

Hazell's version of "Love Pains" did not peak on the ARIA chart until late February 1990, and would be Hazell's final chart entry in Australia.

Since this will be the only occasion I have to write about Hazell in relation to the Australian charts, I may as well link a few of my favourite flop singles of hers, if you feel inclined to check them out - "They Say It's Gonna Rain" (a South African number 1 in 1985), "Stand Up" (UK number 79, September 1986), and "Always Doesn't Mean Forever" (UK number 91, June 1987).

Number 168 "Everybody's a Star" by Paul Simpson featuring Terri Jeffries
Peak: number 168
Peak date: 20 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week
Unfortunately, I can't tell you much about this one, other than Paul scored a hit with Adeva earlier in 1989 in the UK - but I won't say too much about that, as it's a song I will be writing about in a couple of months' time.  I can tell you, however, that "Everybody's a Star" peaked at number 88 in the UK in October 1989.  Within Australia, this single performed strongest on the Western Australian state chart, where it peaked at number 125.  Paul will join us again, with another featured artist, in January 1990.

Number 170 "Let's Get It On" by James Freud
Peak: number 170
Peak date: 20 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Released as the third and final single from his Step into the Heat (number 26, June 1989) album, "Let's Get It On" peaked more than 100 places lower than the previous two singles, "Hurricane" (number 20, June 1989) and "One Fine Day" (number 68, July 1989).  To add insult to injury, James' Wikipedia article states that Step into the Heat was, up until that point, the most-expensive album to produce that Mushroom Records had released.  Oops.

James' next musical venture would be with Beatfish, whom we shall see in 1992.

Next week (27 November): five new top 150 debuts, and another bubbling WAY down under entry.  Among them, we have a top 30 hit from 1987 that curiously returns.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 13 November 1989                              Next week: 27 November 1989 >

13 November 2020

Week commencing 13 November 1989

One thing all four of the songs I write about this week have in common is that I didn't know any of them in 1989.  Perhaps they are new to you, too?  Although I think you'll probably know one of them - but not this particular version.   Let's take a look.

Babs Streisand: she's not makin' hits anymore
Number 122 "We're Not Makin' Love Anymore" by Barbra Streisand
Peak: number 111
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks
Barbra Streisand was a name I knew, though I wasn't familiar with very much of her music, as a just-turned-11 year-old in November 1989.  My impression of her was - it's sappy ballad music for your mother.  I don't think I've heard this one before.  Checking its Wikipedia page, I am not surprised that it's the work of Diane Warren, who I recently dubbed 'beige songwriter extraordinaire'; though Michael Bolton also had a hand at inflicting this upon the world... er, sorry, writing this.  In fact, Michael recorded his own version of the song for his 1991 album, Time, Love & Tenderness.  It sounds, to me, like Barbra's version would have made a nice soundtrack for the closing scenes of a 1980s made-for-TV movie.

"We're Not Makin' Love Anymore" was released as a single to promote Babs' latest 'hits' compilation album, A Collection: Greatest Hits... and More (number 22, December 1989).  Despite its songwriting pedigree, "We're Not Makin' Love Anymore" failed to set the charts alight anywhere, peaking at number 85 in the UK in November 1989, and at number 89 in the Netherlands in the same month.  While making number 10 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart (not a real chart, IMO), it failed to enter the Hot 100.

Number 140 "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" by Pandora's Box
Peak: number 133
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
Just a fortnight ago, I wrote about a song that was later turned into a hit (though not so much in Australia) by Céline Dion, and here we are again with another flop that Céline would add her Midas touch to in 1996, when her version peaked at number 8 in November of that year.

Written by Jim Steinman, who penned big hits for Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler, Pandora's Box - a female quartet plus Jim on keyboards - performed the original recording of "It's All Coming Back to Me Now".  Meat Loaf wanted to record the song, but Jim felt it was better-suited to a female vocal.  The dispute over recording the song between the two even led to a lawsuit, preventing Meat Loaf from recording it... for the time being, at least.  Meat eventually released his own version as a duet with Marion Raven in 2006.
The Pandora's Box version, which peaked at number 51 in the UK in October 1989, was accompanied by a rather... bombastic music video, complete with what looks like an s&m-themed orgy and medical resuscitation scenes.  Skip to 0:58 on the embedded link below if you want to skip the spoken word part, which I'd not heard until now.  Video aside, I think I prefer this version of the song, without Céline's vocal histrionics.  While parent 'concept' album Original Sin (number 127, December 1989) was a flop (except in South Africa - I am reliably informed by the Wikipedia article), it is notable for containing the original version of this song, as well as others that were later recorded by Meat Loaf and even Taylor Dayne.
Pandora's Box released one further single in Australia, "Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)" in February 1990, but it failed to reach the top 150.

Number 146 "I Live by the Groove" by Paul Carrack
Peak: number 105
Peak date: 18 December 1989 (chart repeated 25 December 1989 and 1 January 1990)
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks
Weeks on chart: 12 weeks
Paul Carrack scored a trio of solo top 40 hits in Australia in 1987-1988, with the biggest of those being "When You Walk in the Room" (number 7, September 1987).  We also saw him bubble WAY down under in June 1989, on a duet with Terri Nunn.  Released as the lead single from Paul's fourth studio album Groove Approved (number 116, January 1990), "I Live by the Groove" just fell short of the top 100 on the ARIA chart, though it peaked at number 90 on the Australian Music Report singles chart.  On the state charts, "I Live by the Groove" performed much stronger in South Australia/Northern Territory and Western Australia, where it peaked at numbers 48 and 57 respectively.  In Paul's native UK, this song failed to chart, though it entered the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 31 in December 1989.  We shall see Paul again next year.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 166 "Blow the House Down" by Living in a Box
Peak: number 166
Peak date: 13 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Living in a Box were an act I remember reading about in UK pop magazine Number One, but don't recall hearing any of their music at the time.  "Blow the House Down" was the second of three UK top 10 singles for the group, reaching number 10 in March 1989.  It was the group's final charting single in Australia.

Next week (20 November): Seven new top 150 entries, including the understated arrival of a new hip-hop group, and two bubbling WAY down under debuts.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 6 November 1989                                      Next week: 20 November 1989 >