30 January 2020

Week commencing 30 January 1989 - part 2

In part one , I covered new entries peaking between 101 and 150, up to number 133.  Part two covers the remaining new entries for the first week that the Australian singles chart was calculated beyond number 100.

Cheery Tanita Tikaram must have been ecstatic to learn that she had two singles in the lower reaches of the top 150.
 

Debuts continued:

Number 135 "I Believe" by BB Steal
Peak: number 128
Peak date: 13 February 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks

I have no recollection of this one.  An Australian melodic metal band, they remind me a little of Roxus.  BB Steal will pay us another visit in 1992.


Number 139 "Acting This Way" by The Robert Cray Band
Peak: number 136
Peak date: 6 February 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

This one is new to me, too, but I quite like it.  I only previously knew their 1988 single 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark', which peaked at number 44 three months prior.  'Acting This Way' does not appear to have charted anywhere else.


Number 142 "Good Tradition" by Tanita Tikaram
Peak: number 142
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

In Australia, Tanita is best-known for her arresting but somewhat morose-sounding 'Twist in My Sobriety'.  So, it seems a little jarring to hear (and see, in the video below) her performing an upbeat, lighthearted number, with 'Good Tradition'.  Funnily enough, it was this single that was Tanita's biggest hit in the UK, peaking at number 10, while 'Twist...' could only manage number 22.  Released more than five months' prior in Australia, 'Good Tradition' may have been boosted on the chart due to 'Twist in my Sobriety' debuting this week at number 140.  'Good Tradition' was most popular in Western Australia, where it reached number 69, failing to hit the top 100 on any other state chart.  Tanita will be back in a few months' time with another top 150 smash.


Number 143 "Liar, Liar" by Debbie Harry
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 6 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks

She would undergo a name-change later in the year, but for now, Debbie Harry was back with a new single, from the movie Married to the Mob.  I remember catching this one on (Australian) MTV as a new release.  Poor Deb couldn't seem to gain much momentum with her solo releases, with Australia affording her just one hit per album/era, though that would change (slightly) in 1990 - and we were probably her biggest market.  This in-between release, which didn't chart anywhere else, barely registered a blip.  We will next see Debbie, as Deborah, in 1990.


Number 144 "Wasted Country" by Gail Ann Dorsey
Peak: number 109
Peak date: 27 February 1989
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks

I didn't know this one at the time.  I can't tell you much about Gail, other than she's American, and was in David Bowie's band for the last 20 years of his life.  This song was biggest on the Vic/Tas state chart, where it reached number 69.   It also peaked at number 76 in the UK.


Number 146 "Forever Now" by The Reels
Peak: number 135
Peak date: 6 February 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

Released in early October 1988, this cover version of an Aussie FM radio staple by Cold Chisel was still bubbling under the top 100 almost four months later.  To my ears, this sounds like a bad, cheap, country muzak version of the original, but I'm sure some people like it.  The Reels' last hit, in 1986, was also a cover version.  They will be troubling the top 150 again in 1991.


Number 147 "Happy Ever After" by Julia Fordham
Peak: number 147
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Now this one was released way back on 11 July 1988, according to the weekly lists of new release titles that the Australian Music Report published at the time (before the advent of The ARIA Report).  Somehow, it was still hanging around six months later.  This single peaked at number 27 in the UK.


Number 148 "Memory in the Making" by John Kilzer
Peak: number 114
Peak date: 27 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks

Another one I was unfamiliar with, this sounds like the kind of thing late 80s Australian radio would lap up.  Vocally, he reminds me of a huskier Bryan Adams.  Sadly, John died in March 2019.  John will visit us again in 1992.


Number 149 "Peek-a-boo" by Siouxsie & The Banshees
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Siouxsie was last on the Australian charts in 1984, with "Dear Prudence" (number 44, January 1984).  She'd have to wait until 1991 to score another (just) top 40 hit here.   This one was released at the end of October 1988, so wasn't doing too badly to still be lingering around three months later.  Siouxsie and her gang will join us again in 1991.


Bubbling WAY down under:

The Wee Papa Girl Rappers were not exactly heating things up on the Australian charts.


Occasionally, I will mention singles peaking outside the top 150 that I am aware of; but it will be by no means a comprehensive list.  From what I can gather, the Australian singles chart was calculated down to at least the low 180's some weeks in 1989, though I'm not sure how low it went, and it would have varied week by week.  In November 1990, there's even one week where the singles chart stops at number 140.
 

Number 151 "Heat It Up" by The Wee Papa Girl Rappers featuring 2 Men and a Drum Machine
Peak: number 151
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Fraternal twin sisters T.Y. Tim and Total S (real names: Sandra and Samantha) released this slice of acid house meets rap-with-British-accents back in June 1988 in the UK, where it peaked at number 21.  In Australia, we got the single in early November.  I remember seeing this a couple of times on rage, waiting for the top 50 segment to begin.  As one of the YouTube commenters says, "Australia was stupid to ignore this."  Indeed.  Follow-up single "Wee Rule" gave them a top 10 hit in the UK, but did nothing locally.


Next week (6 February): a more sedate affair, with only seven new entries to talk about; one of which later went on to become the B-side of a massive number one single across the globe!

< Previous Post: 30 January 1989 Part 1                             Next Post: 6 February 1989 >

29 January 2020

Week commencing 30 January 1989 - part 1

Welcome to the first weekly post recapping the new entries on the Australian singles chart that peaked between numbers 101 and 150.  Occasionally, I will also be listing some singles with known peaks outside the top 150.

If you're wondering why I'm not covering new entries within the top 100, there's a whole separate blog devoted to that.

As this was the first singles chart that extended beyond number 100, there are quite a few new entries.  Because it's such a long post, I shall be splitting it into two parts.

Despite it now being late January in 1989, many of the singles below had been released months earlier - some as early as July 1988 - without ever denting the lofty heights of the top 100.

  Eighth Wonder: Ah Patsy... never mind the rock star husbands, she could have been a pop icon herself!

Debuts:

Number 113 "Love Is All That Matters" by The Human League
Peak: number 113
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

Released in Australia in mid-November 1988 to promote their Greatest Hits album, The Human League's first 'charting' single since 1986's "Human", this one stalled at number 113.  Given that the single had been out for over two months by this point, you have to wonder if it might have peaked nearer to 100 in the interim... but we'll never know.  Interestingly, the song was lifted from their 1986 studio album Crash, rather than being a new recording.  I remember seeing this release reviewed in (the Australian edition of) Smash Hits, and even spotting the cassingle in my local Myer, but never actually hearing the song until 2008.


 
Number 114 "I'm Gonna Be Strong" by Bill Medley
Peak: number 114
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

I've never actually heard this one before.  It's a cover version of a 1963 song recorded by Frankie Laine, and also covered by Cyndi Lauper in both 1980 (with her band Blue Angel) and 1994.


Number 116 "Cross My Heart" by Eighth Wonder
Peak: number 116
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 1 week

After a string of flop releases, child actor-turned-adult actor-turned pop star (for a short while, anyway) Patsy Kensit and her band Eighth Wonder scored two UK top 15 hits in 1988, with the Pet Shop Boys-penned "I'm Not Scared", and this... a Michael Jay (the man behind Martika's debut album, among other things) written track produced by Phil Harding of PWL (the label owned by Pete Waterman of Stock Aitken Waterman).  With that pedigree, something was bound to give Eighth Wonder a hit eventually - just not Down Under, sadly.

Martika also recorded her own version of this track for her aforementioned debut.  Although Martika technically has a stronger voice, I find something about Patsy's paper-thin vocals really endearing.

This single was released in Oz back in September 1988.  It fared better on the state charts, where it peaked as high as number 56 in New South Wales/ACT in November, and number 58 in South Australia/Northern Territory in December.  That makes me think that it probably would have peaked higher than number 116 on the national chart had it extended beyond number 100 earlier.

I actually read Patsy's autobiography a while back, as I thought she was someone who'd likely had an interesting life (and that's before we get to the numerous rock-star husbands).  In it, she seems a little embarrassed of her pop star phase, never feeling too confident in her singing ability.  It's a shame, as she made a great pop star, I thought.

But this song wasn't all for Patsy and... er, the others on the Australian charts.  They will be back soon enough with another top 150 smash!


Number 117 "Rubber Love" by Bigstorm
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks

I haven't actually heard this one before.  Vocally, it reminds me of Alice Cooper in parts.  The group don't currently have a wikipedia page, so I can't tell you much about them.  Their discogs.com page does not reveal much either... although only an Australian pressing is listed for this single.


Number 120 "High on You" by Iggy Pop
Peak: number 114
Peak date: 6 February 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

Before now, you might have gotten the impression that singles peaking outside the top 100 always peaked where they debuted, but this one actually rose another 6 places to reach its eventual peak of number 114.  Iggy will join us next in 1990.



Number 123 "Finish What Ya Started" by Van Halen
Peak: number 123
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

Another one I was unfamiliar with.  It sounds a bit more easy-listening to me than their earlier hits.  Van Halen will next join us in 1991.


Number 124 "Long and Lasting Love (Once in a Lifetime)" by Glenn Medeiros
Peak: number 113
Peak date: 20 February 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

A two-hit wonder in Australia, Glenn also scored a couple of more-minor 'hits'... such as this one, from his curiously-titled Not Me album, which I hadn't heard before either.  Before Glenn's "harder" makeover in 1990, this is more of the same lovey-dovey stuff as you might expect, based on "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You".  The music video is just about the most 80s thing ever.  Glenn will visit us again in 1990.


Number 125 "A Little Further North" by Graeme Connors
Peak: number 125
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Not being well-versed in country music, particularly of the Australian variety, I had never heard of Graeme Connors before.  Graeme has had several top 100-charting albums in Australia, but only one single, 1975's "Dakota", made a dent in the top 100 singles chart, peaking at number 78.  I don't actually mind "A Little Further North".


Number 126 "Spanish Eyes" by Willie Nelson with Julio Iglesias
Peak: number 121
Peak date: 6 February 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

More country music.  Not my thing.


Number 128 "Shake for the Sheik" by The Escape Club
Peak: number 114
Peak date: 6 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks

Almost bordering on novelty status it was so catchy, it seemed like The Escape Club would have a difficult time following up their 1988 top 10 smash "Wild Wild West" with something as successful.  And this follow-up doesn't sound anywhere as near immediate as its predecessor.  I thought I had seen this once at the time, on either Video Hits or The Factory, but had no recollection of how the song went, which kind of says it all.

 
 
Number 129 "This Is Me" by Climie Fisher
Peak: number 128
Peak date: 6 February 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

Another act having a hard time following up their big 1988 hit - in Australia, anyway - was Climie Fisher.  This was another track I wasn't aware of at the time.  The British duo would be back very soon with another top 150-peaking entry.

 
Number 131 "The Promise" by When in Rome
Peak: number 103
Peak date: 27 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 14 weeks
Weeks on chart: 15 weeks

When is a flop a sort-of hit?  Despite peaking at only number 103, this single spent 14 weeks in the top 150.  In fact, only one single peaking within the 101-150 range in 1989 spent more weeks on the chart - we'll get to that in July.  This song was particularly popular in Western Australia, reaching number 20 on the state chart, despite not entering any of the other state top 100 charts.  It's funny how tastes could vary so significantly in various regions of Australia at the time.

I probably heard this song on American Top 40, but had no recollection of it when rediscovering it in 2008.  Although the group appear to be a duo, it seems that there is some focus-on-the-more-conventionally-attractive*-band-member-who-isn't-actually-singing going on during the chorus (*though give me a shaved/bald head over Fabio-style locks any day), though he does seem to sing the verses, as I can hear two distinct voices on the track.

Quite a pleasant-sounding track, with a relaxing garden/looking through windows music video to boot.


Number 132 "Birth of the Beat" by Masters Apprentices
Peak: number 132
Peak date: 30 January 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks

Released as the follow-up to their top 30 re-recording of "Because I Love You" in 1988, from what I can gather, this was a newly-recorded song.  The reduced price of $1.99 for the single (as evident from the video below) didn't seem to help its chart fortunes much.


Number 133 "Reason to Try" by Eric Carmen
Peak: number 133
Peak dates: 30 January 1989, 6 February 1989 and 13 February 1989
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks

Eric's career had a resurgence in 1988 following his inclusion on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and a successful follow-up single.  It was a different story for "Reason to Try", though, which stalled at number 87 in the US, and peaked even lower here.

Perhaps of interest to avid chart-watchers, this single spent three consecutive weeks at number 133, which is surely an unusual feat.


Stay tuned for part 2 later this week, which will include entries from a rather famous blonde singer, a cover version of an Aussie 'classic', and a younger artist known for one 'serious'-sounding hit scores with an uncharacteristically upbeat number.

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28 January 2020

A journey through flop

This blog will be covering singles that peaked below #100 on the Australian (ARIA) singles chart, starting with the first chart survey that extended beyond #100, on 30 January 1989.  This chart corresponds with the printed ARIA top 50 chart dated week ending 5 February 1989.

I started following the Australian charts in 1988, listening to the Barry Bissell-hosted Take 40 Australia radio show, and quickly noticed that many of my favourite songs and artists didn't do so well on the charts.  Not long after that, I noticed that rage aired the top 50 chart on Saturday mornings, and soon enough ditched Take 40 as my chart source, finding it more interesting to see what was lurking outside the top 40.

But even that wasn't quite enough for me, once I learnt that there were chart positions below #50.  Even though it used a different chart to that used by rage, Video Hits started airing selections from the lower half of the top 100 on their Saturday morning program, some time in the second half of 1989.  Again, I noticed that many of the songs I liked that were shown couldn't quite - or at least hadn't yet - nudge their way into the top 50.

Countdown Revolution, which used the ARIA chart, sometimes mentioned positions outside the top 50 when discussing Chartbusters (the highest-climbing singles) of the week.  I wanted to know where I could get hold of the full top 100 chart, to no avail for many years.

ARIA started publishing the full top 100 chart in The ARIA Report in January 1990, but I - a chart freak - was somehow not aware of this until the early-mid 2000s, by which time I had lost interest in the current chart.  That "for detailed chart information, send $100 for a 6-month subscription to The ARIA Report..." blurb at the bottom of the top 50 charts available in record stores didn't quite make it obvious enough what was on offer.  Had I known, I would have signed up, even though it would have gobbled up most of my annual pocket money allowance to subscribe for a full year.

So... you can imagine my excitement when I learnt a few years ago that there were even more chart positions beyond #100 that were calculated!  Yes!  Finally I could find out answers to questions I've always wanted answered, like... Did Young M.C.'s 'Bust a Move', which had been shown a couple of times on Countdown Revolution and Video Hits in 1989, chart when it was first released - a whole year before it reached #1?

I now have the answer to such questions, and aim to share some of the fruits of my quest to discover that knowledge with you, via this blog.

I also owe a debt to Gavin Scott, who writes the Chart Beats blog, which you have no doubt encountered if you're a fan of retro Australian music charts from the 1980s and 1990s, for planting the 'write about old ARIA charts' blog seed in my noggin.  Only, I will be writing about the flops that missed the top 100 chart altogether.  This will be, if I may be bold enough to declare, a companion-blog of sorts, though I must stress that any opinions expressed herein are all my own.

Stay tuned for the first (proper) instalment of this blog on 30 January 2020, a Thursday, commemorating the 31st anniversary of the first ARIA singles chart that extended beyond the top 100.  Singles debuting that peaked within the 101-150 region of the chart will be discussed each week thereafter, if all goes to plan.  Being the first chart that extended beyond the top 100, the 30 January 1989 chart is a bumper issue, with no less than 23 new entries to discuss.

So if you're a chart freak or you just love flops, more-obscure music, or merely discovering new 'old' music you missed the first time around, this blog is for you!

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