26 June 2020

Week commencing 26 June 1989

Using a marketing gimmick to sell your product can help to break a single on the chart.  At other times, it spectacularly backfires.  Among this week's new entries, we have: a track that sounds like it was a contender for a Bond movie, a song based on a sample of a fantasy sitcom theme, and a song that was used in a Coca-Cola ad (overseas, anyway).  None of these gimmicks helped the songs in question to become hits in the land of sweeping plains.  Do the songs stack up on their own merits without the associated gimmicks?  Let's take a look at this week's new entries, and see what you think...

Swing Out Sister: Wig-out, sister! How Corinne Drewery from Swing Out Sister reacted when she saw the peak for her band's new single.

Top 150 debuts:

Number 114 "You on my Mind" by Swing Out Sister
Peak: number 114
Peak date: 26 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks

In 1987, Swing Out Sister belatedly burst onto the Australian chart with their breakout hit, "Breakout".  I say 'belatedly', because the single did not reach its peak of number 12 in Australia until late July 1987, despite being released locally in mid-February 1987, and peaking in the UK in November 1986.  Seeming like they might become the next big thing, Swing Out Sister only placed one other single in the top 100 down under - that being follow-up release "Surrender", which peaked at number 78.  Roll on to 1989, and this track, the lead single from the album Kaleidoscope World, sounding and looking a little bit like a Bond theme, stalled outside the top 100.  "You on my Mind" fared better in the UK, where it peaked at number 28; though its chart performance must have still been a disappointment for the group, given that it was the lead single from a new album.  Swing Out Sister will join us again in a couple of months.


Number 131 "O Salvation" by The Celibate Rifles
Peak: number 123
Peak date: 3 July 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks

We first met The Celibate Rifles back in March, and here they are, bubbling down under again in June, with another track from their Blind Ear album.  The group never scored a top 100 single, but this was the second of five singles that peaked within the 101-150 region of the charts between 1989 and 1992, which must count for something.  The Celibate Rifles will next join us in May 1990.

Number 142 "Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Peak: number 142
Peak date: 26 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

When it comes to rap crossing over to the charts, Australia was very behind the times.  This track peaked at number 21 in the UK in October 1986, and must have had a late or re-issued release in the US, where it peaked at number 57 on the Hot 100 in December 1988.  Skip ahead to July 1989, and Australia was finally ready for this track.  Well, kind of.  Following up "Parents Just Don't Understand", their number 48 minor 'hit' from November 1988, "Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble" barely registered on the chart, spending one week inside the top 150.  I remember seeing this one on Countdown Revolution, and thinking what a novel idea it was to sample the theme from I Dream of Jeannie (I was 10, OK?).  Dimples D, of course, would have much greater success on our chart when trying the same thing in 1991.
"Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble" appeared on the debut DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince album Rock the House.  However, their second album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper (number 140, May 1989), crept into the ARIA top 150 albums chart around the time of this single.
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince will pay the 101-150 region of the chart another visit in 1992.

Number 148 "First Time" by Robin Beck
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 26 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

Another song we got late in Australia was this one, which spent three weeks at number one in the UK in November 1988.  Despite being released locally in February 1989 and debuting at number 157 on the 27th of that month, it took four months for this to nudge the lower end of the top 150.  An American artist, Robin Beck's UK chart success was largely due to the song being featured in a TV commercial for Coca-Cola.  "First Time" also topped the charts in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, the Flanders region of Belgium, and Norway.  Had the song had the same level of exposure in Australia, no doubt it would have charted better.

Number 150 "Praying to a New God" by Wang Chung
Peak: number 127
Peak date: 24 July 1989
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks

Between 1984 and 1987, Wang Chung notched up four top 100 singles in Australia, with the biggest two of those, "Dance Hall Days" and "Everybody Have Fun Tonight", reaching numbers 7 and 8, respectively.  Failing to chart in their native UK, where they had never placed a single higher than number 21, "Praying to a New God" peaked at number 63 on the US Billboard Hot 100.  Owing to the band's greater success in the US, it looks like they tried to change their sound and image to a rockier one for this release, which backfired (as it often seems to).  Despite only peaking at number 127 in Australia, "Praying to a New God" spent 10 weeks in the top 150 region of the chart.  This won't actually be the last we see of Wang Chung - they will bubble WAY down under in 1997!

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 154 "What Does It Take?" by Then Jerico
Peak: number 154
Peak date: 26 June 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Then Jerico's previous single, "Big Area", peaked at number 99 in early June 1989.  "What Does It Take?" peaked at number 33 in the UK in April 1989.  This would be the group's last single to register on the Australian charts.

Next week (3 July): Six new entries, including a single that spent more weeks on the chart than any other peaking within the 101-150 region in 1989.  We also see the arrival of a new diva, and the return of an artist who only ever bubbled under following their top 30 hit from earlier in the year.  Also, there is another bubbling WAY down under entry.  Remember, you can also follow my posts on facebook.

< Previous week: 19 June 1989                                           Next week: 3 July 1989 >

19 June 2020

Week commencing 19 June 1989

A common thread among this week's three new entries - not counting the five bubbling WAY down under debuts - is that they're all twinged with country music.  Or so I think.  Who knew that a mini country music 'trend' was happening in Australia in 1989?  I sure didn't.

Before Billy Ray Cyrus and Shania Twain conquered the charts, there was... Hank Williams, Jr.

Top 150 debuts:

Number 131 "Angel Eyes" by The Jeff Healey Band
Peak: number 115
Peak date: 23 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 12 weeks

Fifteen years later, Australian Idol first season also-ran Paulini would take her cover of this song to number one, but in 1989, the original version by Canada's The Jeff Healey Band had to settle for bubbling outside the top 100 with "Angel Eyes".  The single performed better on the Australian Music Report chart, where it peaked at number 79.  Lead singer, Jeff Healey, died in 2007, aged 41.  We will see The Jeff Healey Band again later in the year, and again in 1990.

Number 143 "Raindance" by Steve Hoy
Peak: number 107
Peak date: 14 August 1989
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks

Another single that performed better on the Australian Music Report chart (number 92) is this one from Australia's Steve Hoy.  We will see Steve again in 1990.

Number 146 "There's a Tear in My Beer" by Hank Williams, Jr.
Peak: number 118
Peak date: 3 July 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

Oh dear.  I don't know what to say about this one (which I'd never heard of before), other than I assume it must have some sort of cult appeal, as it has over 5 million views on YouTube, since 2014.  Wikipedia informs me that this track peaked at number 7 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 159 "Nothin (That Compares 2 U)" by The Jacksons
Peak: number 153
Peak date: 3 July 1989
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks

Almost a year before SinĂ©ad O'Connor's mega-hit "Nothing Compares 2 U", The Jacksons bubbled under with this, similarly-titled ditty.  Again, this one charted better on the Australian Music Report chart, where it peaked at number 89.  The Jacksons last scored a (number 32) hit down under with "Torture", in 1984.  This would turn out to be the last charting single in Australia for the group.  Parent album 2300 Jackson Street peaked at number 99 on the ARIA Albums Chart in July 1989.

Number 161 "And More" by X
Peak: number 161 
Peak date: 19 June 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

X were an Australian band.  This was their only charting release.  It is awful.  The single peaked highest in Western Australia, reaching number 129.  Moving on...

Number 166 "Honky Tonk Women (Nomen Est Woman)" by Z'Zi Labor
Peak: number 166
Peak date: 19 June 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Z'Zi Labor were a Hungarian band.  This is a cover version of The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" from 1969, and the subtitle "Nomen Est Woman" says, according to Google Translate, "I am woman" in Latin.  The publishing date on this single says 1986.  That's all I know.  Why a three year-old song from a Hungarian band I've never heard of charted in Australia in 1989 - your guess is as good as mine.

Number 169 "When Will I Be Loved" by Little River Band
Peak: number 169
Peak date: 19 June 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Little River Band managed a career resurgence in 1988, when "Love Is a Bridge" reached the top 10; their first top 40 hit since 1983's "The Other Guy".  The comeback chart success wasn't to last, however, with no subsequent single peaking higher than number 70.  We will see LRB again in 1990.

Number 171 "Giving You the Best That I Got" by Anita Baker
Peak: number 171
Peak date: 19 June 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

American singer Anita Baker had much greater success in her homeland that in Australia, where she only notched up one top 100 single.

"Giving You the Best That I Got" was Anita's second chart entry in Australia, and curiously debuted on the chart eight months after its release in October 1988.

In the US, "Giving You the Best That I Got" peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1988, becoming her biggest hit there.  The album it is lifted from, Giving You the Best That I Got (number 47, December 1988), also topped the US Billboard 200 albums chart.
Elsewhere, "Giving You the Best That I Got" peaked at number 55 in the UK in October 1988, and number 25 in New Zealand in January 1989.

We will next see Anita in 1990.

Next week (26 June): Five new entries, including the return of two groups we haven't seen on the chart since 1987, and the first charting song (that I am aware of) to sample the I Dream of Jeannie theme.  Plus, there is another bubbling WAY down under entry.  You can also follow my posts on facebook.

< Previous post: 12 June 1989                                          Next post: 26 June 1989 > 

12 June 2020

Week commencing 12 June 1989

Last week, I mentioned that four of that week's six new entries were singles that did not chart in any other country, and this week, it is four of out eight!  Granted, two of those exclusive chart 'hits' are by Australian artists, this time.  It is always interesting, to me, to uncover a chart position for something that didn't chart anywhere else... even if that peak happens to be outside the top 100.

Living Colour: Mishap with hair clippers during lockdown? Just shave half of it off, like Corey Glover from Living Colour.

Top 150 debuts:

Number 125 "Birthday Suit" by Johnny Kemp
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 19 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

Johnny was a Bahamian-American singer; I say 'was', because he tragically died in a drowning accident in 2015, aged 55.  "Birthday Suit" reached number 36 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in April 1989, but failed to chart anywhere else, from what I can see.  Johnny scored a number 79 'hit' here in early October 1988 with "Just Got Paid", which was a number 10 hit for him in America.

Number 137 "Who's in the House" by The Beatmasters with Merlin
Peak: number 137
Peak date: 12 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

The Beatmasters, who seemed to feature a different vocalist with every release, scored a number 37 hit in Australia with "Rok Da House" in May 1988, with Cookie Crew on vocals.  We also saw them bubble WAY down under, with P.P. Arnold, in February 1989.
Merlin, real name Justin Mark Boreland, was the nephew of UK reggae singer Smiley Culture.  "Who's In the House" peaked at number 8 in the UK in April 1989.
On the ARIA state charts, "Who's in the House" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 102.
The Beatmasters later went on to score a number 88 hit down under with Betty Boo, and will bubble down under again, with another featured artist, in 1990.

Number 144 "Sinful Me" by Sunnyboys
Peak: number 105
Peak date: 3 July 1989
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks

Australian group Sunnyboys scored five top 50 hits between 1981 and 1984, with "Happy Man" being the highest-peaking of those, reaching number 26 in 1981.  Earlier in 1989, the group had a number 87 'hit' with "Too Young to Despair".  Both tracks were lifted from their Wildcat album, which reached number 63 in August 1989.

Number 148 "Open Letter (To a Landlord)" by Living Colour
Peak: number 116
Peak date: 26 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks

Living Colour had a slow start on the Australian charts, with "Cult of Personality" peaking at number 54 in April 1989.  Issued as the second single from their debut album Vivid in Australia, "Open Letter (To a Landlord)" stalled outside the top 100.  It wouldn't be until 1991 that the group would achieve their breakthrough hit down under.  Before that hit, Living Colour will bubble down under again in 1990.

Number 149 "Western World" by Scary Bill
Peak: number 106
Peak date: 10 July 1989
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks

Australian band Scary Bill formed in St. Kilda in 1987, although half of the band's members were from Adelaide.  "Western World" was their only single to dent the ARIA top 150.  Their self-titled debut album, from which this track is taken, peaked at number 107 in August 1989.  This single performed much better on the Australian Music Report chart, where it peaked at number 74.  "Western World" was most popular in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 40 on the ARIA state chart.
We will see Scary Bill again in October 1989.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 161 "Hold an Old Friend's Hand" by Tiffany
Peak: number 161
Peak date: 12 June 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Tiff's time as a chart star was pretty much over by this point.  The third single lifted from the album of the same name, "Hold an Old Friend's Hand" failed to chart anywhere else, other than on the US Adult Contemporary chart (which, as I've mentioned before, doesn't really count in my book).  Tiffany will join us again in 1990 and 1993!

Number 165 "Cry Little Sister" by Charlie Sexton
Peak: number 165
Peak date: 12 June 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Charlie scored two top 40 hits in Australia in 1986, and a further two top 100 entries; the most-recent of which was "Don't Look Back", peaking at number 82 in February 1989.  Both "Don't Look Back" and "Cry Little Sister" were taken from Charlie's self-titled album, which peaked at number 84 in Australia in March 1989.  "Cry Little Sister" did not chart anywhere else.  Charlie will bubble down under again in 1990.

Number 167 "All the Myths on Sunday" by Diesel Park West
Peak: number 167
Peak date: 12 June 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

British band Diesel Park West formed in Leicester in 1980, although their first recorded work was not released until 1987.

Despite never landing a top 40 single in their home country, Diesel Park West landed seven top 75 singles in the UK between 1989 and 1992.  "All the Myths on Sunday" was the first of these, reaching number 66 in the UK in February 1989, the only other place it charted.

"All the Myths on Sunday" was the only Diesel Park West release to chart in Australia.  The single was most popular in Western Australia, where it reached number 125.

Next week (19 June): A mere three new top 150 debuts, including the original version of a song that would go on to top the ARIA singles chart in 2004.  Also, five more singles bubbling WAY down under debut.  Remember, you can follow my posts on facebook too.

< Previous post: 5 June 1989                                            Next post: 19 June 1989 >

05 June 2020

Week commencing 5 June 1989

Four of this week's six new entries (including one bubbling WAY down under) are songs that did not register on any other 'real', sales-based chart, to my knowledge.  That's quite a feat, considering that only one of those four acts is Australian.  The other theme rippling through this week's entries is 'veteran' (as in, they'd been around for at least five years, which is a long time in chart years) acts giving it another go, or a new go as a solo act.  Let's take a look at what was bubbling down under this week in 1989:

Dusty Springfield: Having no hits for almost two decades does not always "prove" your career is over.

Top 150 debuts:

Number 144 "Tears Run Rings" by Marc Almond
Peak: number 128
Peak date: 19 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks

Hot off the heels of his recent number 24 duet with Gene Pitney, "Tears Run Rings" became Marc's first truly solo chart 'hit' in Australia.  He had, of course, had a major hit in 1981-2 as one half of Soft Cell - and a newly-recorded version of that would give Marc a number 93 'hit' in 1991, though credited to Soft Cell/Marc Almond.  Marc also scored a number 34 hit with Bronski Beat in 1985, on a cover version medley of "I Feel Love", which has been dubbed "the gayest record ever made".  But this was as good as it got for Marc in his own right down under.  He had more success with this track in the UK, where it peaked at number 26 in September 1988.
"Tears Run Rings" was lifted from the album The Stars We Are (number 123, May 1989).  Another single from the album, "Only the Moment", was released in Australia in August 1989, but failed to chart.
We will next week Marc in 1991.


Number 145 "Nothing Has Been Proved" by Dusty Springfield
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 5 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks

Dusty, real name Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien (phew!), had major chart success in the 1960s, including in Australia.  Her chart fortunes had all but dried up by the early 70s, though, and her last solo top 40 hit in Australia was 1970's "What Good Is I Love You?"  That all changed in 1987, however, when Pet Shop Boys rescued her from obscurity, with an unlikely pairing on the number 22 hit (number 2 in both the UK and US) "What Have I Done To Deserve This?"  Continuing the partnership, Pet Shop Boys produced half of Dusty's 1990 album Reputation, from which this track was eventually lifted.  While generally not a movie fan, to my ears, "Nothing Has Been Proved" sounds like it could have been a Bond theme; and my impression wasn't too far off the mark, as the song was recorded for and played over the closing credits of the 1989 British film Scandal, about a political scandal involving the Conservative Party in 1963.  The single had more success in the UK, where it peaked at number 16, and gave Dusty her first solo top 40 single since 1970.  We will see Dusty bubbling down under again in 1990.  Of course, Dusty sadly passed away from cancer in 1999, aged 59.

Number 148 "I'm On To You" by  Hurricane
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 5 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Perhaps one factor leading to heavy metal's decline in the early 1990s was that the market was fairly saturated with similar acts by this point.  Enter Hurricane into the fray, with their first Australian chart 'hit', with a song that failed to register on any other chart (real chart, I mean) as far as I can tell, including the Billboard Hot 100 in the group's homeland.  Parent album, Over the Edge, fared slightly better on the Billboard 200, reaching number 92.  It's not something I would normally listen to, but I have to admit that the "na na na na na na" hook is catchy.  Hurricane will visit us again in 1991.

Number 149 "No Matter What" by Swingshift
Peak: number 126
Peak dates: 26 June 1989 and 24 July 1989
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks

Swingshift were an Australian band, and this single - their only release listed on discogs.com - appears to have been issued on a small independent record label, Top Shelf Recordings.  Only one other title, from another band, is currently listed on the Top Shelf Recordings record label page on the site.

Despite being issued on an independent label, "No Matter What" was promoted though a TV advertising campaign, as evident on the embedded video below.

Unfortunately, nobody has uploaded the music video for the song, or the full audio for the track, so the snippet in the ad below is all you can hear of the song.  I have no recollection of hearing "No Matter What" before.
Swingshift started out as a Cold Chisel covers band, and Dave Leslie from the group went on to later join the group Baby Animals.

Number 150 "Everything That Comes Around" by Mick Jones
Peak: number 150
Peak date: 5 June 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Mick is (not was!) the guitarist in Foreigner, and remains the band's only remaining founding member.  Oddly, this track didn't chart (at least, not within the top 100) in his native UK, or anywhere else, for that matter, as far as I am aware.  To date, this song's parent album, the imaginatively-titled Mick Jones, remains his only solo release.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 158 "Romance (Love Theme From Sing)" by Paul Carrack & Terri Nunn
Peak: number 158
Peak date: 5 June 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Another track that didn't chart anywhere else on a 'real' chart (no, the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart does not count in this instance!) is this 'love theme' (doncha love how 80s that expression is?) duet between Paul Carrack and Terri Nunn.  Paul had been somewhat of a chameleon on the Australian charts, with his first taste of chart success coming as lead vocalist of Ace with 1975's "How Long" (number 63), a song that went on to be covered by many artists.  Paul then went on to have four of his own solo hits during the 1980s, with 1987's "When You Walk in the Room" reaching number seven.  More-recently, Paul had just scored a number one single in Australia singing lead on Mike + The Mechanics' "The Living Years".  Phew!  Terri Nunn was the lead singer in synth-pop band Berlin, who had scored four top 40 hits in Australia between 1984 and 1987, with Top Gun soundtrack hit "Take My Breath Away" easily being the biggest of those, peaking at number two.  We will see Paul bubble under again a couple of times over the next year, but this would be Terri's only solo Australian chart 'hit' as far as I am aware.

Next week (12 June): five debuts within the top 150, plus three bubbling WAY down under entries.  As always, you can also follow my posts on facebook.

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