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29 May 2020

Week commencing 29 May 1989

What a mixed bag this week's new entries are.  Among them we have: two Stock Aitken Waterman-related tracks, a 1986 single re-charting, a remix of a 1975 track, some actors from Neighbours become backing singers, and a KLF side project of sorts!  Let's recap:

They hadn't stopped dad-dancing yet.

Debuts:

Number 130 "All I Ask of You" by Cliff Richard & Sarah Brightman
Peak: number 130
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

This 1986 Andrew Lloyd-Webber production originally peaked at number 24 in Australia in March 1987.  I guess The Phantom of the Opera, from which it is lifted, must have been on tour in Australia around this time in 1989, leading to the single re-charting.



Number 136 "Sky High (Remix)" by Jigsaw UK
Peak: number 101
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks

I have previously written about this track in my special post on singles peaking at number 101.  The original version of this track peaked at number 3 in Australia in November 1975.  This version was remixed by Pete Hammond, from the PWL (Pete Waterman of Stock Aitken Waterman's label) stable.  The remixed version didn't fare much better in the UK, where it peaked at number 92 in April 1989.



Number 146 "Secrets" by Andy Pawlak
Peak: number 141
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

I'm pretty sure I was not aware of this song at the time.  It sounds like just the sort of thing radio would have lapped up in 1989, slotting nicely into that Deacon Blue, Prefab Sprout, Hue and Cry, Love and Money kind of sophistipop genre.  Despite that, and Andy hailing from England, it missed the UK top 100 chart, and only managed to scrape into the top 150 locally.  It's quite a nice track, I think, and deserved to do much better.



Number 149 "Hey Ciao" by Albie Wilde & The Dayglos
Peak: number 101
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

Here's another one I have already written about, in my special post on singles peaking at number 101.  Jane (Annie Jones) and Gail (Fiona Corke) from Neighbours join a band!  ...and don't seem to do much in it, really.  But this still makes for a fun song, with a colourful video to boot.  It seemed at this point that half of the Neighbours cast was releasing records, and we would even be 'treated' to offerings from Stefan Dennis and... er, Madge & Harold later in the year.  It's a shame we never got a single from Nell Mangel.



Number 150 "I Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet" by Pat & Mick
Peak: number 130
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks

Speaking of Stock Aitken Waterman, here they are again with two UK radio personalities, Pat Sharp (the one with the mullet) and Mick Brown, covering the Gonzalez song, which peaked at number 30 in Australia in July 1979.  During the late 80s and early 90s, Pat & Mick would record and release a SAW-produced track what seemed like once a year, all in the name of charity.  As far as I am aware, this is the only one that crossed over to the Australian charts.  Interestingly, the mulleted one looks uncannily like a younger version of my maths teacher from high school, Mr. Robinson, who taught me in years 8, 10, and 12; though he also wore (seriously) Coke bottle glasses.



Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 151 "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" by Disco 2000
Peak: number 151
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

With yet another Stock Aitken Waterman-connection among this week's new entries, June Montana, one half of Disco 2000, was the lead vocalist in the SAW-produced Brilliant, who released several decent but flop singles in 1985 and 1986.  The other half of the duo, Cressida Bowyer, was none other than the (now ex-)wife of Jimmy Cauty - who was one half of The KLF and also in Brilliant with June.  Phew!  With that pedigree, you would expect this track - a cover version of a Motown Stevie Wonder track from 1965 - would be a hit; but it wasn't to be.  Since I won't otherwise get the opportunity to talk about it here, I thought I'd mention that June also had a very decent track, "I Need Your Love", out around the same time, which is well worth checking out.



Number 162 "Free World" by Kirsty MacColl
Peak: number 162
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

Despite her 1987 duet with The Pogues belatedly becoming a Christmas 'hit' of sorts, and even denting the lower end of our top 50 in 2019, this was Kirsty's first chart 'hit' in Australia.  Despite having sporadic decent-sized hit singles in the UK throughout the 80s in her native UK, none of Kirsty's singles really crossed over here.  Her biggest solo success would come in 1991, with the number 58-peaking "Walking Down Madison".  Kirsty tragically died in December 2000, after being hit by a speedboat while surfacing from a dive in Mexico.  Kirsty will bubble down under again several times in the coming years.




Number 169 "Don't Take My Mind on a Trip" by Boy George
Peak: number 162
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks

Boy George's solo career started out with a number 5-peaking single in 1987, but no subsequent single to date had peaked higher than number 77.  This very 'American'-sounding number didn't turn his fortunes around.  In fact, he would only score one other top 40 hit during his career, in 1993 with "The Crying Game".



Next week (5 June): Five new entries plus another bubbling WAY down under.  Among them is a 1960s singer who scored a hit a couple of years ago after an unlikely pairing with a current pop group.  You can follow all of my posts on facebook, too.

< Previous post: 22 May 1989                                                    Next post: 5 June 1989 >

22 May 2020

Week commencing 22 May 1989

I can't find a common thread among this week's new entries, other than none of them made the top 100, which is... the entire point of this blog.  So let's take a look at them:

Did you know this woman is a number 162-hit wonder Down Under?

Debuts:

Number 127 "Tempers Fire" by The Mad Turks
Peak: number 127
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks

The Mad Turks' bio on discog.com informs me that they formed in Adelaide in 1984, and were previously known as Mad Turks From Istanbul.  The group scored a number 85 'hit' at the end of 1987 with "Holding My Breath" (as Mad Turks From Istanbul), but didn't score any other charting hits.



Number 136 "Life's Just a Ballgame" by Womack & Womack
Peak: number 126
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks

This single was released as the follow-up to mega-hit "Teardrops" in the UK, where it stalled at number 32 in November 1988.  Presumably its under-performance there was the reason we went with "Celebrate the World" instead as the second release from Conscience.  I remember seeing this single in the shops, but never heard or saw (assuming a music video exists) the song at the time.  One thing you may not have been aware of is that Cecil Womack, the male half of the duo, died in South Africa in 2013.


Number 141 "Tracie" by Level 42
Peak: number 134
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks

We saw Level 42 bubble under back in February, and here they are again...  "Tracie" peaked at number 25 for the group in their native UK.  This single spent 7 weeks in the top 150, which is fairly decent given it only peaked at number 134.
 


Number 147 "Break 4 Love" by Raze
Peak: number 147
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Debuting on the UK chart in May 1988, this track eventually peaked at number 28 there in February 1989.  It also topped the US Billboard dance chart in November 1988.  In Australia, "Break 4 Love" fared (much) less well, spending a solitary week in the top 150 at number 147.  The percussion from the track would end up being recycled on a Sydney Youngblood song that will bubble under towards the end of 1989.




Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 159 "Family Man" by Roachford
Peak: number 157
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks

While Roachford had a fairly successful period in Australia in 1994-5, in 1989 they struggled to break through locally, with nothing charting higher than number 73 until "Only to Be With You" gave them a top 20 hit in 1994.  This track gave the group a number 25 hit in the UK.



Number 160 "Time and Tide" by Basia
Peak: number 158
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

Sophistipop singer Basia, real name Barbara StanisÅ‚awa Trzetrzelewska (try saying that!), scored a number 69 'hit' in Australia, which peaked a mere week before this track debuted.  The title track from her number 50-peaking album Time and Tide, this single barely registered a blip on our chart, peaking at a lowly number 158.  Basia, unfortunately, wouldn't see the inside of the top 150 singles chart again, but she will bubble WAY down under again - not once, but twice, in 1990!




Number 162 "Crazy in Love" by Kim Carnes
Peak: number 162
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Often thought of as being a one-hit wonder, Kim actually scored four top 40 hits in Australia; although the best-charting non-"Bette Davis Eyes" one of them, "Crazy in the Night (Barking at Airplanes)", peaked at number 21, in 1985.  That was the last time Kim ventured into our singles chart, prior to now.  Having not heard "Crazy in Love" before, I wasn't expecting it to be an understated ballad.  From what I can see, this track didn't chart on a 'real' chart (Billboard's Adult Contemporary & Country charts do not count for me) anywhere else.



Next week (29 May): five new entries - although two of them are old tracks, and another is a cover of a 70s disco track; plus another three bubbling WAY down under tracks.  Remember, you can also follow my posts on facebook.

< Previous post: 15 May 1989                                           Next post: 29 May 1989 >

15 May 2020

Week commencing 15 May 1989

The most obvious common thread among this week's seven new entries and one bubbling WAY down under entry is that I didn't know any of these songs at the time; although one of them would become a proper hit when covered by another artist a year and a half later.

Only a chosen few can rise to the top 100.


Debuts:

Number 123 "Rise" by Chosen Few
Peak: number 120
Peak date: 12 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

Before unearthing the 101-150 segment of the charts, I had no idea that the Daryl Braithwaite version of this song, which became a top 30 hit a mere 18 months later, was a cover version.  Chosen Few were an Australian band, formed in 1985.  They only released one album, Friends, Foes & Firewood, which I can exclusively reveal peaked at number 128 on the albums chart in July 1990.  This track is lifted from that album.  Chosen Few will bubble under again on the singles chart in 1990 and 1991; unfortunately, they never cracked the top 100.



Number 126 "My Spark and Me" by Robyne Dunn
Peak: number 122
Peak date: 22 May 1989
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks

Another track by an Australian artist I was unaware of at the time, Robyn Dunn has a Wikipedia page, despite not ever cracking the top 100.  Her notability for warranting her own article (yes, I moonlight as a Wikipedia editor) was presumably established due to being nominated for an ARIA Award for Best Female Artist in 1990, for parent album Labour of Liberty.  Only a snippet of the music video, screened on a 2019 rage Retro Month repeat of a 1989 episode of The Factory, is used in the video below.

 
 
Number 131 "Ordinary Lives" by Bee Gees
Peak: number 131
Peak date: 15 May 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks

Bee Gees (no 'The') made their first of three Bubbling Down Under appearances in 1989 with this track; another one I was unfamiliar with in 1989.  As mentioned in my special post on singles peaking at number 101 between 1989 and 1991, Bee Gees were absent from the Australian top 100 singles chart for almost a decade, between January 1988 and June 1997.  The trio fared marginally better in the UK, where this track peaked at number 54.



Number 138 "Walk Away" by Del Shannon
Peak: number 124
Peak dates: 22 May 1989 and 5 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

Without having access to the relevant chart book/s to verify the chart positions are accurate for myself, Del's Wikipedia article lists that he had numerous charting singles in Australia during the 1960s, including three number ones.  Since the 60s, however, (I can verify that) he only scored one top 100 'hit' in Australia, with "Tell Her No" in 1975 (peaking at number 90).  While this track just scraped into the Australian Music Report top 100 at number 99, it peaked 25 places lower on the ARIA chart.  Tragically, Del died due to suicide less than a year later in February 1990, aged 55.


Number 145 "Me and Mrs Jones" by Ten Wedge
Peak: number 127
Peak date: 5 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

I was expecting this group to hail from the US, given the smooth r&b sound; but it appears that they were Australian.  A cover version of the Billy Paul song about an extramarital affair, Ten Wedge's version didn't quite take off.  We'll hear from them again in 1990.



Number 148 "Rough Night in Jericho" by Dreams So Real
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 15 May 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

An American band, Dreams So Real dented the lower end of the Australian Music Report top 100 singles chart with this (at number 97), but peaked 51 places lower on the ARIA chart.  Wikipedia tells me that this track peaked at number 28 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks (now Alternative Songs) chart - but because the Billboard website is so... how shall we say, crap, I can't actually verify whether this information is correct.  The group released three studio albums between 1986 and 1990 before being dropped by their record label.


Number 150 "Highway to Hell" by Tiny Tim
Peak: number 150
Peak date: 15 May 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Now this, readers, is truly bizarre.  Tiny Tim, real name Herbert Butros Khaury, was a ukelele player (yes, you read that right), best known for his falsetto version of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips".  So... just the kind of person you'd expect to release a cover version of an AC/DC song, right?  Sang in a much lower register, you would never guess this was the same person who sang "Tiptoe Through the Tulips".



Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 153 "Fading Away" by Will to Power
Peak: number 153
Peak date: 15 May 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Will to Power are best known in Australia for their cover version medley of "Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley", which peaked at number 20 locally, and topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.  That song, however, was not typical of the duo's sound; they instead were more of a dance (in that late 80s US kinda-way 'dance') act.  "Fading Away" didn't perform nearly as well on the chart as its predecessor, peaking at number 65 in the US, and outside the top 150 locally.  It would take another cover version ballad for the group to score a second, and final, hit in early 1991.



Next week (22 May): only four new entries, including a flop from an act responsible for one of the bigger hits of 1989.  You can follow my posts on facebook.

< Previous post: 8 May 1989                                             Next post: 22 May 1989 >

08 May 2020

Week commencing 8 May 1989

One unusual thing about this week's new entries is that each one peaked where it debuted on the chart, unable to climb any higher.  Another thing they all have in common is that the lead vocals are sung by men.  With those earth-shattering insights out of the way, let's delve into this week's debuts...

This 'Page' boy scored his first of three non-hits on the chart this week in 1989.

Debuts:

Number 134 "Got It Made" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Peak: number 134
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks

One thing that really stands out about the charts in 1989 - to me, anyway - is that, among all of the 'teeny-bopper' stuff, you still had the odd track like this that appealed to your mum... or your dad, in this instance.  Not that my dad listened to this group specifically; Gipsy Kings, Traveling Wilburys, Texas and Simply Red were more his thing in 1989.   Are there such wider-appeal acts in the singles charts these days?  I'm guessing not, as none of it appeals to me, at the ripe old age of 41.  Back onto the artists in question, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young rode a wave of relative success for them on the Australian chart, off the back of number 53 'hit' "American Dream" from earlier in 1989, with this follow-up release. While not as instantly catchy, I prefer this song to its predecessor.





Number 145 "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" by Cinderella
Peak: number 145
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks

Here's another song I didn't know at the time, but have become more-recently acquainted with, thanks to the excellent Monday night (technically Tuesday morning, usually) 'vault' episodes of the music video program rage.  It seemed obligatory for every metal act in the mid-late 80s to have a lighters-in-the-air big ballad release, and this was Cinderella's.  It was also the group's first foray onto the Australian singles chart.  We will hear from them again in July.  The band finally cracked the top 100 singles chart in 1991 with "Shelter Me", though couldn't climb higher than number 48.




Number 146 "Nightmares" by Violent Femmes
Peak: number 146
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

In 1986, Violent Femmes scored a number 54 hit locally with their version of  "Children of the Revolution", but had not, until now, made a return visit to our singles chart.  The group would score two top 100 singles during the 90s, but none would climb higher than number 62.  It seems that Violent Femmes fans were more inclined to buy their albums, which had greater success.  Violent Femmes will bubble down under again in 1991.




Number 149 "A Shoulder to Cry On" by Tommy Page
Peak: number 149
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

I first became acquainted with Tommy Page via another single that would bubble down under in 1990.  Poor Tommy couldn't dent the ARIA top 100, but bubbled under three times between 1989 and 1991!  Maybe he would have had more success if the record company had ditched the slick, American-sounding overproduced ballads and instead released the Harding & Curnow (the Stock Aitken Waterman 'B-team') remixed version of "A Zillion Kisses" as a single.  Sadly, Tommy took his own life in 2017, aged 49.





Number 150 "Walk on the Wild Side" by Jeff Duff
Peak: number 150
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

I'm not entirely sure why this 1981 cover version of the well-known Lou Reed song (which, bizarrely, only peaked at number 100 in 1973) charted in Australian in 1989.  Does anyone reading this know?  Pressings of a remixed version with 1987 as the year are listed on discogs.com, but even that was two years before this.



Next week (15 May): Seven new entries, plus one bubbling WAY down under.  Among them is the original version of a song that would become a hit when covered by another artist in 1990, and a rather bizarre cover of an AC/DC song.

< Previous post: 1 May 1989                                             Next Post: 15 May 1989 >

01 May 2020

Week commencing 1 May 1989

Sometimes, a big name in popular music releases a flop, while an act who've yet to register a top 100 hit already has a following and some name recognition.  We see both kinds of acts appearing in the list of new entries peaking outside the top 100 this week in 1989.  Also, all but one of this week's seven new entries is by an Australian act.

Mainstream Australia wasn't quite ready for Yothu Yindi in 1989.


Debuts:


Number 134 "I Don't Wanna Go To Work"  by The Happening Thang
Peak: number 134
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Before checking, I could just tell - from the video still and the way this track sounds - that The Happening Thang were an Australian act.  Their discogs page reveals that the group were nominated for an ARIA Award - ah, back in the days when acts like this you'd never heard of would get nominated, but less 'credible' pop acts like Kylie Minogue would continually get snubbed.  I can't say I'm a fan of this track, if you hadn't already guessed...



Number 138 "We're No Angels" by John Farnham
Peak: number 108
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks

As big as John Farnham was in Australia in the mid-late 1980s, one thing I find surprising when looking at his chart history is how the third and fourth singles from Whispering Jack and Age of Reason didn't fare so well on our chart.  Third Whispering Jack single, "A Touch of Paradise", didn't do too badly on the chart (peaking at number 24), but fourth single "Reasons" bombed at number 60.  Given how frequently radio was plugging these songs, you could be forgiven for thinking they were both top 10 hits; I guess people were buying the album instead.  Third Age of Reason single, "Beyond the Call", barely scraped the top 40, and fourth single, "We're No Angels", missed the top 100 altogether.  The success of "We're No Angels" may well have been hindered by the lack of a music video; something shared with fourth Whispering Jack single "Reasons".  I often wonder why record companies didn't invest in videos for every single release during the 1980s - especially for an artist of John Farnham's stature.  The 80s were, after all, the golden era of the music video!  If "We're No Angels" had taken off, surely they would have made a video for it.  I don't think I was aware this track was a single until I saw it in Brashs, so lack of promotion was probably another factor that
led to its floppage.  I didn't know this until now, but "We're No Angels" was a cover version of a Mondo Rock song.





Number 139 "Maybe Midnight" by Rose Bygrave
Peak: number 139
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

Rose Bygrave, aka Roslyn Bygrave, was the female voice in Goanna, they of "Solid Rock" fame.  Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about this release - as I don't know the song, and can't find a video of it uploaded anywhere online.  The single is not currently even listed on discogs...  But I did manage to find a (generic sleeve) copy of the 7" single on eBay:

December 2020 update: Finally, some kind soul has uploaded the audio for this track, which can now be viewed on the embedded video below:




Number 140 "Drive My Car" by David Crosby
Peak: number 137
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks

Hot on the heels of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's number 53 'hit' "American Dream" from January, David Crosby struck out on his own for this track... which, while I wouldn't say I liked, I enjoyed more than I expected to.  It turns out that this was David's first - and only, unless I can uncover later below the top 100-peaking singles of his - solo hit on the Australian singles chart.  Believe it or not, David will be joining us again next week, with another group effort.



Number 146 "Calm and Crystal Clear" by Neil Murray
Peak: number 107
Weeks in top 150: 12 weeks

Another track I enjoyed more than I expected to (I'm a sucker for a minor chord progression!) is this one, from Neil Murray, who was a founding member of the predominantly Indigenous Australian act, Warumpi Band.  "Calm and Crystal Clear" peaked significantly higher on the Australian Music Report chart, at number 61.  The album this track is lifted from, also titled Calm and Crystal Clear, narrowly missed the ARIA top 100, peaking at number 106 in June 1989.  Neil unfortunately did not enjoy any top 100 ARIA chart success.



Number 147 "Mainstream" by Yothu Yindi
Peak: number 115
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks

Speaking of Indigenous Australian bands, Yothu Yindi scored their first chart entry with "Mainstream" this week in 1989.  They would have to wait another two years before actually hitting the 'mainstream', with the Filthy Lucre Remix of "Treaty".  I think I first became aware of Yothu Yindi when they were mentioned (and a snippet of them performing was shown) during a TV commercial for some kind of (possibly Australian music month) event in 1990.  I was definitely aware of their existence before "Treaty" broke.




Number 148 "What Really Hurts" by The Zimmermen
Peak: number 148
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Unfortunately, this is another (Australian, of course) act I can't find a video of the song for online... and I don't know the song, so can't tell you anything about it.  I did, however, find a 2016 article mentioning that it was one of the tracks included on a compilation of Aussie pub rock tracks that had never before been available on CD.  I was also able to find a copy of the single sleeve:



Next week (8 May): Five new entries, all with male vocals.  You can also follow my posts on facebook.

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