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 five of the six 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...

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

Top 150 debuts:

Number 134 "Got It Made" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Peak: number 134
Peak date: 8 May 1989
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
Peak date: 8 May 1989
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
Peak date: 8 May 1989
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
Peak date: 8 May 1989
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
Peak date: 8 May 1989
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.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 172 "Saved by Love" by Amy Grant
Peak: number 172
Peak date: 8 May 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week
American Christian singer Amy Grant first came to my attention (though I didn't know who she was at the time) via a 'Christian' television commercial that made its way to Australia in the 1980s, singing the song "Angels", which I don't actually mind, despite being an atheist and its silly lyrics.
Amy made some minor ripples on the Australian chart in the mid 1980s, when "Find a Way" (number 98, October 1985) and her duet with Peter Cetera "The Next Time I Fall" (number 90, January 1987) made their way into the lower end of the top 100. 

"Saved by Love" was the second single released in Australia from Amy's seventh studio album Lead Me On, which failed to chart nationally (when the chart ended at number 100), but registered on the South Australia/Northern Territory state albums chart, where it reached number 46 in August 1988.  It followed the title track, which similarly failed to chart nationally, but reached number 86 on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart in September 1988.

Amy made her crossover into the pop charts in 1991 with the album Heart in Motion (number 14, September 1991), and the hit singles "Baby Baby" (number 5, June 1991) and "Every Heartbeat" (number 17, September 1991).

We shall next see Amy in 1994.

Number 175 "When the Children Cry" by White Lion
Peak: number 175
Peak date: 8 May 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Hailing from New York City, White Lion formed in 1983.  "When the Children Cry", their first single to chart in Australia, was lifted from the band's second album Pride (number 149, March 1989).

"When the Children Cry" reached number 3 in the US, number 2 in Canada in February 1989, number 88 in the UK in March 1989, and number 7 in Sweden in May 1989.
Locally, "When the Children Cry" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 133.

Although the band never landed a top 100 single or album in Australia, we will see them bubble under on a few more occasions, with their next visit to this region of the chart coming in July 1989.

Next week (15 May): Seven new entries, plus two bubbling WAY down under debuts.  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.

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