27 March 2020

Week commencing 27 March 1989

Half of this week's six debuts peaked exactly at the same position where they entered, so the only way is not always up!  I didn't know any of this week's new entries at the time, so let's see what I think of them now...

  Paul Rutherford: The way to 'get real' in the late 80s was apparently to frolic around in the desert.

Debuts:
 
Number 132 "Get Real" by Paul Rutherford
Peak: number 132
Peak date: 27 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Ex-Frankie Goes to Hollywood member Paul Rutherford launched his solo "career" with this track.  I say "career" in inverted commas as it didn't really take off.  This track peaked at number 47 in the UK back in October 1988, which is as good it got for solo Paul Rutherford on the chart.  I am rather partial to the even less-successful follow-up (as is often the case for me) - a cover version of Chic's "I Want Your Love", which did not chart at all in Australia, sadly.  Both tracks were produced by Mark White and Martin Fry, who were the sole remaining members of ABC by this point.  Paul's more vocally-gifted former band mate Holly Johnson, of course performed much better with his solo debut, although his solo career was also short-lived.


Number 136 "Wholly Humble Heart" by Martin Stephenson & The Daintees
Peak: number 136
Peak date: 27 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

Like Paul Rutherford, this single flopped in the UK in 1988 - peaking at number 81 in August 1988.  Ah, the days when it took six months for something to finally get released in Australia... The album did better in the UK, though, peaking at number 39.  While not exactly immediate, this song has a rather pleasant vibe, I think.

 
Number 142 "Cryin'" by Vixen
Peak: number 111
Peak dates: 15 May 1989 and 22 May 1989
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks

Serving this week's most 80s hair-dos, Vixen's biggest hit (number 22) in their native America had to settle for a peak outside the top 100 in Australia; although it peaked at number 76 on the rival Australian Music Report chart (what's 45 positions' difference here or there, eh?).  Vixen will join us again in August.

 
Number 145 "Honey Be Good" by The Bible
Peak: number 144
Peak date: 8 May 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks

Another one that performed much better on the Australian Music Report singles chart is this one, which peaked at number 87 on it, while number 144 is all it could muster on the ARIA chart.  Despite that, it did spend four non-consecutive weeks hovering between numbers 144 and 147, with one week apiece spent at 144, 145, 146 and 147!  Oddly, this one did not enter the band's native UK chart until August 1989, where it peaked at number 54.  Quite a nice, if not spectacular, song.


Number 149 "Blueprint" by Rainbirds
Peak: number 149
Peak dates: 27 March 1989, 17 April 1989 and 1 May 1989
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks

Now here's a spectacular song - or so I think.  I discovered this one last year, via a 'song contest' (where you submit a song that didn't chart so well, if at all, by an obscure-ish artist) on a pop forum.    Rainbirds are a German band, and this single peaked at number 7 in their homeland in February 1988.  It also performed much better on the Australian Music Report chart, where it peaked at number 96.  On the ARIA chart, the single interestingly spent three non-consecutive weeks at number 149!


Number 150 "The Big Picture" by The Pony
Peak: number 125
Peak date: 1 May 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

The Pony were a short-lived Australian band, going by their brief bio on discogs.com.  This song is pleasant with a catchy chorus, though is not what I'd normally listen to.  It sounds like it might have done better if released in about 1993.



Next week (3 April): A mere four new entries, including... some Christian metal and a duet with a (then) recently-deceased singer.  Don't forget, you can also follow my posts on facebook.

< Previous post: 20 March 1989                                     Next Post: 3 April 1989 >

20 March 2020

Week commencing 20 March 1989

There are a mere three debuts peaking within the 101-150 section of the chart this week, with no real common thread between them, other than (once we include the bubbling WAY down under entry) we have both a fading teen star and a new one on the rise.

Tiffany: Tiff was rocking the double denim, if not the Australian charts, in 1989.

Debuts:
 
Number 125 "All This Time" by Tiffany
Peak: number 120
Peak date: 3 April 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks

Tiffany's Australian chart career started on a high, with three consecutive top 15 hits.  But single number four bombed, and the lead single from her second album (at least in Europe and Australasia) Hold an Old Friend's Hand stalled at number 65.  Tiffany's Oz chart trajectory continued its steep decline with this, the second single (though first in the US) from the album, "All This Time".  Is it just me, or does Tiff sound like she has a cold on this track?  I also thought the same thing about her vocals on "Radio Romance".

If you thought this would be Tiffany's last foray into the Australian charts, you would surprisingly be wrong.  She has a bubbling WAY down under 'hit' coming up later in the year, and will be seen again in 1990 and 1993!  Who knew?!

 

 
Number 145 "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" by The Pogues
Peak: number 111
Peak date: 3 April 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

This single was the Pogues' first appearance on the Australian singles chart, although an earlier-released single dueting with Kirsty MacColl would more-recently nudge the top 50.  I assume the "I love your breasts, I love your thighs" lyrics are not referencing KFC...   The Pogues join us again in 1990.


Number 146 "Hiwire Girl" by Catfish
Peak: number 146
Peak date: 20 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Before the term 'catfish' meant someone trying to trick you into an online relationship by using somebody else's pics, it was the name of an Australian band, who scored a number 72 'hit' in Australia in late 1988 with "The Early Hours".  This follow-up didn't do quite as well.  While it's not the sort of thing I'd normally listen to, I think this track is pretty decent.  Catfish will join us again in 1991.



Bubbling WAY down under:

Some readers may have known that before "Toy Soldiers" became an international smash hit for Martika, she had some more-subdued success with her debut single, "More Than You Know", which peaked at number 18 in the US in April 1989.  While the single would go on to peak at number 32 in Australia when re-issued in January 1990, upon its initial release, "More Than You Know" debuted at number 160 this week on the Australian singles chart.



Next week (27 March): we have six new entries, including an ex-member of Frankie Goes to Hollywood - though it's not who you might think.

< Previous Post: 13 March 1989                                        Next Post: 27 March 1989 >

13 March 2020

Week commencing 13 March 1989

A big ten new entries this week, from a varied bunch of artists.  Let's take a look at them:

2 Brave: Looking sultry and wearing silly hats didn't seem to help this Scandinavian duo score a hit down under.
 
 
Debuts:
 
Number 117 "Windows of the World" by Pretenders 
Peak: number 117
Peak dates: 13 March 1989 and 20 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks

Somewhat surprisingly, the Australian top 100 singles charts were a hit-free zone for Pretenders for almost 7 years, book-ended by two top ten hits - those being 1987's "Hymn to Her", and 1994's "I'll Stand by You".  They did managed to 'bubble under' with this track, though, and with two more singles released in 1990.  "Windows of the World" was recorded for the 1969 soundtrack.

 

Number 124 "She's Got a New Spell" by Billy Bragg
Peak: number 116
Peak date: 20 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

This single was Billy's first foray into the Australian singles chart... kind of.  He'd reach the top 100 in 1991 with "Sexuality".



Number 141 "Loco in Acapulco" by The Four Tops
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 13 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

This track is lifted from the Busted soundtrack, and was written by Phil Collins and Lamont Dozier.  I remember seeing the video for this one on rage while waiting for the top 50 chart countdown to begin, early on a Saturday morning. This was the group's first Australian singles chart entry since "When She Was My Girl" peaked at number 54 in early 1982.



Number 143 "When I'm With You" by Sheriff
Peak: number 117
Peak date:  10 April 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks

The first and only Australian singles chart entry for this Canadian rock band has a rather interesting back-story.  The song was originally released as a single in 1983 - although I can find no evidence of it being released locally then.  The band split in 1985, and after a radio station in the US began playing the song in late 1988, it was re-issued there (after having peaked at number 61 in 1983).  It then went on to top the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 1989, despite having no music video.  Another claim made about this song is that the note held at the end of it is the longest (19.3 second) note held by a male pop singer on record.  Phew!  As if all of that wasn't enough, two of the band's members went on to form part of Alias, who would score a hit in 1991 with "More Than Words Can Say".


Number 146 "Follow Your Heart" by The Party Boys
Peak: number 107
Peak date: 10 April 1989
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks

Australia's Party Boys scored a big number one hit in 1987 with their version of "He's Gonna Step on You Again", but would have to settle for bubbling under the top 100 with this release, less than two years later.  While it's not the sort of thing I normally listen to, I concede that the chorus is catchy.  Despite peaking at number 107, this single spent 11 weeks in the 101-150 section of the chart.

 

 
Number 147 "Stop That Girl" by 2 Brave
Peak: number 142
Peak date: 20 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

A certain Scandinavian duo hailing from Sweden would conquer the Australian charts in 1989, but this duo, originating in Norway, couldn't manage to crack the top 140.  It's a shame, really, as this is quite a good slice of infectious pop music that I hadn't heard before.  I wonder who knew about it locally to snap up sufficient copies of it to dent the top 150?  The duo had greater success in their homeland, where this reached number 4.



Number 148 "Johnny" by The Celibate Rifles
Peak: number 128
Peak date: 10 April 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

Despite forming in 1979, this was actually the Australian band's first taste of chart 'success'; albeit, at a rather modest level.  They'll go on to visit the 101-150 section of the singles chart on no fewer than three other occasions in the coming three years.

 
Number 149 "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad" by Buckwheat Zydeco
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 10 April 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

This is another one I'd never heard of before.  Buckwheat, born Stanley Dural, Jr., was an American accordionist.  I say 'was', because he sadly passed in 2016.  This track is a cover of a track by Eric Clapton's band Derek & The Dominoes, from 1970.  Oddly, this version by Buckwheat Zydeco does not appear to have charted elsewhere - I've no idea why it 'charted' in Australia.

 

Number 150 "Back to the Track" by Shane Howard
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 3 April 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

Another track I'd never heard before, though I was familiar with Shane via his massive hit with Goanna, 1982's "Solid Rock", and the handful of minor top 50 hits he had locally in 1990-1991.  This release appears to have been his first solo single, and did not appear on his 1990 album, River.


 
 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 164 "Little Liar" by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
Peak: number 164
Peak date: 13 March 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week 
 
Having not listened to this track until writing this post, I am surprised by how similar the music and chord progressions are to Cher's "I Found Someone" (originally recorded by Laura Branigan in 1985).  "Little Liar" was released as the second single from Up Your Alley, following "I Hate Myself for Loving You" - both of which failed to chart in Australia, to my surprise.  This track had greater success in the US, where it peaked at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1989.

We will next see Joan and the gang in 1994.



 Next week (20 March): just 3 new entries - among them is a young star from 1988 whose 15 minutes looked like they were already up; and a bubbling WAY down under debut from another teen artist who would go on to be massive later on in the year.


< Previous Post: 6 March 1989                           Next Post: 20 March 1989 >

06 March 2020

Week commencing 6 March 1989

Sometimes, a new act looks like they're going to become the next big thing.  Other times, an act who looks like they're destined to become a one-hit-wonder turn out to have a more-enduring career, even if the immediate follow-ups aren't as successful.  'Success' is a relative term, and this week we see both types of acts among the new entries, as well as one act tempting fate by naming their single 'Success', and another titling their flop single 'The Big One'.  Oh, the irony!  We also see a future recording star who went on to considerable success getting her first break as a back-up dancer... in one of this week's new entries!

Black: looking more like 'White'.
 
Debuts:

Number 113 "Get Up Everybody (Get Up)"/"Twist and Shout" by Salt 'N' Pepa
Peak: number 111
Peak date: 13 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks

This double A-side single became Salt 'N' Pepa's second top five hit in the UK, but in Australia, it became their first release to miss the top 100.  It seemed, to me, as though Salt 'N' Pepa were destined to become one-hit wonders in Australia, with "Push It" - of course, that was proved wrong in 1991.  I caught their cover of "Twist and Shout" on rage a couple of times in early 1989, while waiting for the top 50 chart rundown to begin, but didn't hear the other A-side until the early 2010s.  Anastacia, who would go on to have her own recording career, got an early break as one of the female backing dancer ensemble in the video - you'll be able to spot her with her trademark glasses on.

On the state charts, "Get Up Everybody (Get Up)"/"Twist and Shout" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 75.

We will see Salt 'N' Pepa again in 1990.


 
Number 123 "The Big One" by Black
Peak: number 123
Peak dates: 6 March 1989 and 27 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks

Colin Vearncombe, aka Black, scored a decent-sized, belated hit in Australia in 1988 with "Wonderful Life" (number 7, May 1988).  Other, earlier-released overseas singles "Sweetest Smile" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses" failed to give Black a second hit down under when issued after the success of "Wonderful Life".

This track, the lead single from Black's second album, Comedy, peaked outside the top 50 in the UK, and was another to miss the top 100 in Australia.  A 'big one' it wasn't.

Colin was sadly killed in a car accident in Cork, Ireland in January 2016, aged 53.

Black will join us again in 1993.

 

Number 144 "Baby Baby" by Eighth Wonder
Peak: number 113
Peak date: 27 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks

Eighth Wonder returned to the top 150 with their third single, after we saw the second debut back in January.  This track was another Pete Hammond production for PWL, the record label owned by Pete Waterman of Stock Aitken Waterman.  Unlike the first two singles, which reached the top 15 in the UK, this one stalled at number 65 in the band's homeland... and that was pretty much it for Patsy Kensit's singing career.

 

Number 145 "Success" by Sigue Sigue Sputnik
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 20 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

Speaking of Stock Aitken Waterman, this track saw the unlikely pairing of the trio with the punk-looking Sigue Sigue Sputnik.  The single sleeve jovially changed the band's name to Sputnik Aitken Waterman.  Several SAW-produced acts, such as Kylie and Rick Astley, and non-SAW acts, such as Bros and... Gary Glitter make cameos in the video.  Not that any of this helped the band score a hit, really, as the single stalled at number 31 in the group's native UK, and just scraped into the top 150 locally.


Number 146 "Shout (Parts 1 & 2)" by Johnny O'Keefe
Peak: number 146
Peak date: 6 March 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week (in 1989)

Someone reading this may know, but I'm not entirely sure why this 30 year-old track re-charted in 1989.

Update: A reader has kindly reminded me that Channel 9 had a station promo running around this time that featured a re-recorded version of 'Shout'.  That's presumably why this was re-issued and re-charted... which seems a very 'British' thing to have happen!



Bubbling WAY down under:

It's not a single peaking outside the top 150, but I'm sure that most people would be shocked know that Madonna's new single, "Like a Prayer" debuted at number 164 this week, before climbing to number 3 the following week and then going on to reach number one.  I can only assume that the low debut is due to the single being available in limited retail outlets, for one day of sales, before the survey this week's chart was based on closed.



Next week (13 March): A bumper edition, with nine new entries peaking within the 101-150 region of the chart, and one bubbling WAY down under debut.

< Previous Post: 27 February 1989                          Next Post: 13 March 1989 >