28 August 2020

Week commencing 28 August 1989

Before I start this week's post, I want to highlight that you can now follow my posts on instagram at the embedded link.

One thing all of this week's debuting acts have in common is that they had patchy success on the Australian charts.  A couple of big hits a decade apart, a one-hit wonder with (much) greater success in movies, an artist who had more success as a jingle writer, and a relic from the 1950's - we've got 'em all this week.  So let's take a look...

The B-52's morph into The CFC-52's with this track... though I wonder how many CFC's were released with all that hairspray?

Debuts:

Number 114 "Warrior" by Public Image Ltd 
Peak: number 114
Peak date: 28 August 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks

One thing that annoys me is when a band name is not consistent across their releases.  Sometimes a band name has a The at the front of it; other times it doesn't.  Or, even worse, the sleeve artwork says one thing, but the disc says another.  Consistency, please!  Here, case in point, we have Public Image Limited - or Public Image Ltd, P.I.L, or PiL - take your pick!  On this release, the band - fronted by former Sex Pistol John Lydon a.k.a. Johnny Rotten - are billed as Public Image Ltd... on the sleeve, but P.I.L. on the vinyl label and CD.  Do you see why I find this so infuriating?  Now, onto the music in question, up until now, P.I.L. (or whatever you want to call them) had placed two singles on the Australian chart, the biggest of those being "This is Not a Love Song" (number 17, January 1984).  "Warrior" was the second single lifted from the album 9 (number 57, August 1989), and peaked at number 89 in the group's native UK.  Public Image Ltd will join us again in 1990, though under the name Public Image Limited.  See what I mean?

 
 
Number 133 "Raising Heaven (In Hell Tonight)" by Patrick Swayze 
Peak: number 131
Peak dates: 11 September 1989, 18 September 1989 and 25 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

Patrick Swayze hit the big time as an actor towards the end of 1987, with the phenomenal success of the movie Dirty Dancing and its accompanying soundtrack.  Patrick also tried his hand at singing, and scored a top 10 hit with "She's Like the Wind" (number 6, April 1988).  While Patrick is generally thought of as being a one-hit wonder when it comes to the charts, it didn't matter so much, as music was not his raison d'être - in fact, he never released an album.  It may then surprise some readers to know that he scored a second 'hit' - of sorts - on the Australian charts with this track, another movie tie-in, from the Road House soundtrack (number 43, July 1989).  "Raising Heaven (In Hell Tonight)" also registered on the Swiss charts, where it peaked at number 30 in August 1989.  Patrick, of course, passed away in 2009, aged 57.



Number 146 "Channel Z" by The B-52's 
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 4 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks

The B-52's scored two decent-sized hits in Australia in 1980 with "Rock Lobster" (number 3, May 1980) and "Private Idaho" (number 11, September 1980); but no other single they had released up until now had peaked higher than number 43 on the Australian charts.  Their last charting single down under was "Summer of Love" (number 90, December 1986), and they hadn't troubled the top 40 locally since 1980.  Fast forward to 1989, the group had since lost guitarist Ricky Wilson to AIDS in 1985, and their previous fun-loving, party image had been replaced by a more 'serious', politically conscious one... at least for this single.  Somewhat prophetic, "Channel Z" touched upon the brainwashing nature of dedicated 24-hour TV news channels (which weren't a thing in Australia until 2009), getting all of your 'news' from one source, and the looming environmental catastrophe. Thirty-one years later, we seem to be in a much worse state with these things.

The lead single from their Cosmic Thing album, "Channel Z" didn't exactly set the charts alight.  The only other place it charted in 1989 was in the Flanders region of Belgium, where it peaked at number 43 in September 1989.  In Australia, "Channel Z" performed strongest on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart, where it peaked at number 78.  This pattern of doing best in South Australia/Northern Territory was evident across all of the singles issued from Cosmic Thing - perhaps most strikingly when "Love Shack" debuted at number 101 nationally, but at number 7 on the SA/NT state chart!  Cosmic Thing also topped the SA/NT state chart in December 1989; a month before it reached number 1 nationally.

"Channel Z" was re-issued in 1990 in several countries, including Australia (in September 1990), after the success of "Love Shack" (number 1, December 1989), "Roam" (number 11, March 1990), and... er, "Deadbeat Club" (number 73, April 1990), but did not re-enter the top 150 again.  The 1990 release of the single registered on the UK charts, however, peaking there at number 61 in August of that year.  "Channel Z"'s lack of success surprises me, as it seemed to get the group back on the radar - I caught the video on Countdown Revolution several times, and songs about the environment seemed to be topical in 1989.  Nevertheless, the single propelled Cosmic Thing to number 62 on the ARIA albums chart in September 1989, before its ascent to number 1 in January 1990, following the success of "Love Shack".

In a way, "Channel Z" was perhaps one of the first 'buzz release' singles - used primarily to generate interest in the group again before 'attacking' with the sure-fire hit sledgehammer that was "Love Shack".  As it turns out, "Channel Z" was recycled as the B-side on "Love Shack".  The B-52's will visit us again in 1992.

 
 
Number 150 "Great Balls of Fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis 
Peak: number 101
Peak date: 11 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

I have previously written about this one, in my special post on singles peaking at number 101.  OK, you may be asking 'why is a song from 1957 on this list?'  Well, "Great Balls of Fire" was re-recorded to coincide with the release of the biopic film about Jerry Lee Lewis, Great Balls of Fire!, where Dennis Quaid plays the leading role.  This issue of the single performed particularly well in New Zealand, where it peaked at number 8 in September 1989.  For once, I think us Aussies showed better taste in not making it a hit again.



Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 161 "When the Day Is Done" by Stephen Cummings 
Peak: number 161
Peak date: 28 August 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

This track was the third and final single lifted from Stephen's A New Kind of Blue album (number 53, March 1989).  Stephen was technically the first artist I saw live in concert, as the support act on the Australian leg of Tori Amos' Under the Pink tour, in December 1994.  To date, Stephen had only landed two solo top 40 hits since The Sports disbanded in 1981; and the last of those was in 1984.  Stephen, of course, had notable success as a jingle-writer for TV commercials, such as this Medibank Private one, which still occasionally pops into my head, 30 years later...  If only some of Stephen's jingles had been singles!  We will see Stephen again numerous times in the coming years, with his next visit being in 1991.



Next week (4 September): Next week there are just two new top 150 debuts, and that's all!  You can also follow my posts on facebook and instagram.

< Previous week: 21 August 1989                                          Next week: 4 September 1989 >

21 August 2020

Week commencing 21 August 1989

Like last week, one thing the majority (4 out of 6) of this week's new entries have in common is that they registered on the Australian Music Report top 100 singles chart.  Let's take a look at them.

Beastie Boys: You gotta fight for your right to have a hit Down Under!

Debuts:

Number 121 "This One" by Paul McCartney
Peak: number 113
Peak date: 28 August 1989 
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks

"This One" was the second single lifted from Paul's Flowers in the Dirt album, following "My Brave Face" (number 30, June 1989).  I don't recall hearing 'this one' at the time.  The single performed better in the UK, where it peaked at number 18, and on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 94.  On the state charts, "This One" performed best in Queensland, where it peaked at number 62.  Macca will join us again in 1990.



Number 142 "Hey Baby" by Henry Lee Summer
Peak: number 142
Peak date: 21 August 1989 
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

Henry Lee Summer scored a number 39 hit in Australia in September 1988 with "I Wish I Had a Girl".   This track was the lead single from his I've Got Everything album, and became his second and last US top 20 hit, peaking at number 18 in August 1989.  "Hey Baby" peaked much higher on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 76.

 
 
Number 147 "Gatecrashing" by Living in a Box
Peak: number 104
Peak date: 18 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
Weeks on chart: 13 weeks

Living in a Box's self-titled single from 1987 had, to date, been their only entry on the Australian singles chart (number 49, August 1987).  "Gatecrashing" was actually the second single lifted from the album of the same name in the group's native UK, but was the first single off it released in Australia.  "Gatecrashing" performed strongest on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart, where it peaked at number 55; it also peaked higher on the Australian Music Report singles chart, at number 95.  Living in a Box will join us again in November.


 
Number 150 "Hey Ladies" by Beastie Boys
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 4 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks

Prior to the late 1990s, Beastie Boys (no 'The') had a surprising lack of success on the Australian charts.  Their only charting single to date had been 1987's "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)", which peaked at number 37 in April of that year, and they wouldn't score another top 40 single again until 1998 - that being "Intergalactic".  "Hey Ladies" was the lead single from their Paul's Boutique album (number 65, October 1989), and peaked at number 36 in the group's native US in September 1989.



Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 160 "My One Temptation" by Mica Paris
Peak: number 153
Peak date: 4 September 1989
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks

In Mica's (pronounced "mee-sha") native UK, "My One Temptation" was her first single release, way back in April 1988, where it peaked at number 7 in June of that year.  In Australia, "My One Temptation" was first released in late June 1988, but failed to chart.  Her debut solo album, So Good, however, managed to peak at number 127 on the ARIA albums chart in January 1989.  Before the June 1989 re-release of "My One Temptation", Mica had two other non-charting singles released locally: "Like Dreamers Do" (featuring Courtney Pine), and "Where Is the Love" featuring Will Downing.  Other than scraping number 100 with this single on the Australian Music Report chart, Mica would never score a top 100 hit in Australia on the ARIA chart, though she would come close in 1995.  "My One Temptation" performed the strongest on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart, where it peaked at number 105.  We will next see Mica in 1991.


Number 165 "Licence to Kill" by Gladys Knight
Peak: number 154
Peak date: 28 August 1989
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
As someone with next to zero interest in movies, even I knew that Licence to Kill was the name of a Bond flick... and this just happens to be the theme song from that particular one.
 
Gladys Knight & The Pips, her band, placed six singles on the Australian top 100 chart between 1971 and 1976.  The biggest of those, "So Sad the Song" (number 13, February 1977), was the last time Gladys had visited our charts.
 
"Licence to Kill" gave Gladys a top 5 hit across Europe, and a number 6 hit in the UK, but she barely registered a blip on the ARIA chart.
 
Gladys will score another bubbling WAY down under 'hit' in 1996.



Next week (28 August): Four new top 150 debuts, and another bubbling WAY down under entry.  Among them, we have the understated return of a band who made a big splash at the start of the decade, and would again soon.  You can also follow my posts on facebook

< Previous week: 14 August 1989                                     Next week: 28 August 1989 >

14 August 2020

Week commencing 14 August 1989

One thing you can say about this week's bunch of new entries is that they're a diverse lot.  Among them we have a rockabilly Elvis cover version, a song with twinges of country music, an Andrew Lloyd Webber number, and a groundbreaking release that is one of the first pop singles to feature guest rappers!  One thing each of this week's top 150 debuts have in common is that they all performed better on the rival Australian Music Report chart, reaching the top 100.  Let's take a look...

Jody Watley: Having a little help from her 'friends' couldn't help Jody score a hit Down Under.

Debuts:

Number 124  "She Ain't No Woman" by Priscilla's Nightmare
Peak: number 111
Peak date: 11 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks

Sounding rather unlike front man Scott Carne's previous group Kids in the Kitchen, Priscilla's Nightmare, as you might have guessed from the name, were an Elvis tribute band.  Also in the group was musician Chris Wilson, who passed away in January 2019.  The rockabilly "She Ain't No Woman" was the first and only single released by group, taken from their Priscilla's Nightmare mini-album, which peaked at number 73 on the albums chart in August 1989.  Despite the relative lack of success, a recent digital release of the mini-album spawned an online music news article.  "She Ain't No Woman" had its greatest success on the Victoria & Tasmania state chart, where it peaked at number 83.  The single also performed better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 94.  Scott would try his hand at a solo career in 1990, and we will see him bubble under again in 1991.

 
 
Number 134 "I Just Wanted to See You So Bad" by Lucinda Williams
Peak: number 122
Peak date: 25 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks

American Lucinda Williams had been releasing music since 1979, but this was her first foray onto the Australian singles chart.  Peaking higher (number 100) on the Australian Music Report singles chart, "I Just Wanted to See You So Bad" performed much stronger on the South Australia & Northern Territory state chart, where it peaked at number 46.  The track's parent album Lucinda Williams spent 32 weeks on the ARIA albums chart, despite its peak of number 117.  Lucinda will join us again in October.

 
 
Number 145 "Love Changes Everything" by Michael Ball
Peak: number 123 
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

Not a cover of the similarly-titled 1988 Climie Fisher hit, "Love Changes Everything" was instead an Andrew Lloyd Webber composition, taken from the musical Aspects of Love.  This was yet another single that performed better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 88.  The single also peaked at number 2 in the UK in February 1989.

 
 
Number 146 "Friends" by Jody Watley with Eric B. & Rakim
Peak: number 146
Peak date: 14 August 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks

And here we are, folks - one of the first 'pop' hits (well, it reached number 9 in the US) to feature guest rap artists: namely, Eric B. & Rakim; and one of the first music videos to incorporate vogueing - almost a year before Madonna's "Vogue".  Jody scored a number 13 hit in Australia in 1987 with "Looking for a New Love", but, unfortunately, never again troubled the top 50.  "Friends" was the second single lifted from Jody's Larger Than Life LP, which peaked at number 96 in Australia in May 1989.  I'm not sure why the excellent singles from Jody's second album (or most of those from her first, for that matter) didn't connect with the Australian record-buying public; it seemed to me that both "Friends" and previous single "Real Love" (number 78 in May 1989) received a fair amount of exposure on radio and TV.  Plus, who can't relate to the lyrics of this song?  "Have you ever been stabbed in the back by someone you thought was really cool?" and "when you need them most, where are your friends?"  Preach it, sistah!  One small consolation is that "Friends" performed better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 80.  If you like this track, it's also worth checking out the longer video for the extended version of "Friends".  We will see Jody again in 1990.



Number 147 "Gravitate to Me" by The The
Peak: number 147
Peak date: 14 August 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
The The, who were essentially lead singer Matt Johnson plus whoever else he chose to work with, had placed four singles on the Australian top 100 since 1983, with the biggest of those being "Infected" (number 24, March 1987) - the only one to make the top 40.  "Gravitate to Me" was the second single from their third album, Mind Bomb (number 32, June 1989), following their third and final top 50 hit, "The Beat(en) Generation" (number 50, May 1989).  This single peaked at number 63 in the UK, where The The hail from, in August 1989, and performed strongest in New Zealand, where it peaked at number 27 in the same month.  We will next hear from The The in 1993.
 


Number 149 "Love Made Me" by Vixen
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 14 August 1993
Weeks in top 150: 1 week 
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Vixen bubbled down under back in March, and returned to the top 150 with this follow-up, the third single released from their Vixen album (number 102, May 1989).  Oddly, this didn't chart in the band's native US.  It did, however, chart in the UK, where it peaked at number 36 in June 1989.  I wasn't expecting to like this track, given I am generally not a huge 'metal' fan, but I think it's actually quite pleasant.  This would be Vixen's last single to chart in Australia, but they had another charting album, Rev It Up, which peaked at number 142 in November 1990.
 

 

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 157 "Can You Keep a Secret?" by Brother Beyond
Peak: number 157
Peak date: 14 August 1989
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

Brother Beyond released four singles (two in Australia) between late 1986 and early 1988, one of which was the original release of "Can You Keep a Secret?"  None of these singles peaked higher than number 56 in the band's native UK, and neither single released in Australia ("How Many Times" and "Chain-Gang Smile" - my favourite) charted.  Although this single was produced by PWL B-team Harding/Curnow, the group did not work directly with Stock Aitken Waterman until their record label won a charity auction for their services, to produce two singles, in 1988.  Their SAW-produced singles "The Harder I Try" (number 78 in Australia, May 1989) and "He Ain't No Competition" (number 53 in Australia, July 1989) fared much better on the charts, both reaching the top 10 in the UK.  Parent album Get Even was subsequently re-released with the new SAW tracks on it, and peaked at number 89 on the ARIA albums chart in July 1989.  Australia skipped "Be My Twin" and went with the 1989 remix of "Can You Keep a Secret?" (with new video to boot), which peaked at number 22 in the UK in April 1989, as the next single.  This would be Brother Beyond's final entry on the Australian chart, although the group's second album Trust, and three singles from it (my favourite of which is "Drive On"), were released locally.

 
 
Number 168 "Where in the World?" by Swing Out Sister
Peak: number 168
Peak date: 14 August 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Another UK group struggling to replicate their homeland success Down Under was Swing Out Sister.  We saw the group a mere seven weeks ago, with the lead single from their second album Kaleidoscope World (number 106, July 1989) stalling outside the top 100.  "Where in the World?" fared even worse, peaking at number 168 locally, and number 47 in the UK.  But all was not quite over for the group on the Australian singles chart - they will visit us again twice more, the next time being in early 1993.



Next week (21 August): Another four new top 150 entries, and two bubbling WAY down under entries.  Among them is a surprise flop from a rap group who had much less success on the Australian charts than you might expect.  You can also follow my posts on facebook.

< Previous week: 7 August 1989                                              Next week: 21 August 1989 >

07 August 2020

Week commencing 7 August 1989

This week, I have five new debuts to talk about, so let's jump straight in:
Bananarama's Jacquie O'Sullivan: since she was effectively left off her own record this week, I thought it only fair for her to represent this week's post.

Debuts:

Number 123 "Raindrops" by Kool & The Gang
Peak: number 123
Peak date: 7 August 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

Despite releasing material since the late 1960s, American group Kool & The Gang waited until 1981 for their first taste of chart success in Australia.  Between 1981 and 1987, the group placed 7 singles in the Australian top 100 singles chart, with the biggest of these being "Cherish", reaching number 8 in November 1985.  Surprisingly, their version (the original) of "Celebration" only peaked at number 33 in Australia in August 1981.  Fast forward to 1989, and "Raindrops" had minor chart success in Germany (number 42) and nowhere else.  Sweat, the album it was listed from, also failed to achieve significant chart success, peaking at number 28 in Germany, and number 103 on the Australian albums chart.  The group even visited Australia for a promotional visit around this time, performing "Celebration" on the then-new program, Countdown Revolution (with live vocals to boot!), rather than this single.

 
Number 140 "Crazy About Her" by Rod Stewart
Peak: number 130
Peak date: 21 August 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

We saw Rod bubble WAY down under back in February with the third single from his 1988 Out of Touch album, and here was the fourth.  While "Crazy About Her" failed to chart in the UK, it peaked at number 11 in the US, and hit the top 10 in the Netherlands and the Flanders region of Belgium (Belgium has separate charts for the Dutch and French-speaking regions).  We will see Rod next in 1992.


 
 
Number 148 "I'm That Type of Guy" by L.L. Cool J
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 7 August 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

The lead single from his third album Walking with a Panther (number 85, September 1989), "I'm That Type of Guy" was L.L. Cool J's first release to make the Australian charts.  Up until this point, rap had enjoyed little commercial success on the Australian singles chart, with most of the exceptions being either novelty (Morris Minor and The Majors) or novelty-like (Tone Lōc) tracks.  While that would change in 1990, L.L. Cool J would have to wait until 1996 for his first major hit on the Australian chart.  Across the ditch, New Zealand appreciated this track more, with it reaching number 11 there.  In the US, "I'm That Type of Guy" peaked at number 15 in May 1989.

 
Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 158 "Cruel Summer '89" by Bananarama
Peak: number 158
Peak: 7 August 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Bananarama were on a roll on the Australian charts in 1988, with back-to-back top 5 singles, and even a number 1 album.  But since then, none of their singles had peaked higher than number 25.  Touring Australia (or anywhere, really) for the first time in April 1989 didn't seem to revive the group's popularity, with their tour-coinciding single "Nathan Jones" peaking at only number 59 in March.  Fast forward a few months to August, and this new version of their number 32 hit from February 1985 landed outside the top 100 - their first Australian single to miss the top 100 since "Do Not Disturb" in 1985.

The original version of "Cruel Summer" was released locally in November 1983, but failed to chart, despite being a number 8 hit in August 1983 in their native UK.  The song went on to peak at number 9 in the US in September 1984, after being used in The Karate Kid; this no doubt prompted the Australian record company to give it another shot.  "Cruel Summer '89" was meant to be the lead single from a greatest hits-type remix album, but plans for that were scrapped after this single barely scraped into the top 20 in the UK (number 19, June 1989).

Two interesting things you probably didn't know about "Cruel Summer '89" are:

1. It's technically the first 'duo' Bananarama single!  Rather than re-record the vocals with then new-ish band member Jacquie O'Sullivan, vocals from a 1983 demo (not the original released recording), where each 'Nana's vocals were captured separately, were used, so they could eliminate ex-group member Siobhan Fahey's vocals from the mix.  Not bothering to add Jacquie's vocals in Siobhan's place was really quite a shady thing to do!  Poor Jacquie - whose face also wasn't included on the art-work for their late 1988 The Greatest Hits Collection album - has revealed in more-recent years that she was effectively treated as a paid employee, rather than an equal member, during her relatively brief (1988-1991) tenure with the group.  Jacquie elaborates on this further in an interesting podcast interview posted in March this year.

2. It contains an extra verse that wasn't on the original!  The "who can I find when I'm trapped here inside these four walls?" lyrics appear on the demo used, but were not included in the final version of the 1983 release.

Bananarama will join us again in 1991 - with Jacquie in tow!



Number 180 "Never" by The House of Love"
Peak: number 165
Peak date: 28 August 1989
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
Hailing from England, "Never" was the first single released from The House of Love's second of two albums titled The House of Love (number 134, May 1990).  Yes, you read that correctly: the band released two albums with the same name!

"Never" was also the first of two consecutive singles for the band to peak at number 41 in the UK, where it reached this peak in April 1989.

We will see The House of Love again in 1990.


Next week (14 August): Six new top 150 debuts, and another two bubbling WAY down under entries.  Among them is a song credited as being the first instance of a pop song with a featured rapper and one of the first (pre-Madonna) music videos to incorporate vogueing!  You can also follow my posts on facebook.

< Previous week: 31 July 1989                                               Next week: 14 August 1989 >