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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...

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 >

7 comments:

  1. like the Swing Out Sister track, they had quite a few decent sunken singles over the years. Really deserved better than their one hit wonder status in Australia.

    Interesting to see Jody Watley & Michael Ball managed at least a token charting. Remember Jody getting so-so video airplay at the time. And recall hearing Michael Ball's track about 3am when i was working a nursing night shift around the time the song was current! Not a track i would have thought radio programmers would have bothered much with, was an ok song though

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    1. I agree that Swing Out Sister should have done much better than having one-hit wonder status in Australia. The non-'Breakout' singles seemed to get very little exposure, though. I never heard 'Where in the World' at the time, and only caught the 'You on My Mind' video on TV once, at 5:30 a.m. on rage.

      I am surprised that 'Friends' peaked so low. I saw the video on Countdown Revolution - more than once, I am pretty sure, and heard the song on the radio (the top 8 at 8 hosted by John Peters, on Triple M) several times.

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  2. Love, love LOVE Jody Watley! I am surprised and disappointed her popularity here in Australia was so bleak! Although she had a Top 20 hit back in '87, it wasn't until 1989 when i became a fan of her sophomore album and sort out her 5 singles from her debut self-titled album. I always kept an eye out for her video clips in Australia, but i either missed them or were never played. I first saw the clip to Friends when RuPaul chose it when he was a guest on Rage in the late 90's.

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    1. I missed that RuPaul rage guest programming, it sounds it was a good one! (I know that he also chose Bananarama's 'Nathan Jones') An archived copy of the rage website, with the list of guest programmers going back to 1990 (before they were removed in an update of the site a year or two ago), indicates that RuPaul guest programmed in September 1994.

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  3. Wow, what a difference with Jody's single - #144 on ARIA chart and #80 in AMR! Did the latter incorporate radio play? Can't imagine sales being so different...

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    1. The Kent/AMR chart was sales-based. There were occasionally large differences between both charts - I assume due to surveying different retail outlets. I've read that the AMR chart had a greater emphasis on regional and rural stores than ARIA, but I'm not sure how accurate that is. The ARIA chart was based entirely on electronic point-of-sale data from late March 1997, so was definitely the more accurate chart of the two by then (and AMR ceased publication in January 1998). If you're interested, you can view lists of all of the singles that made the AMR top 100 but not the ARIA top 100 here - 1980s: https://www.top100singles.net/2019/02/every-unique-amr-top-100-single-of-1980s.html#show ; 1990s: https://www.top100singles.net/2017/07/every-unique-amr-top-100-single-of-1993.html#show .

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