One thing this week's new entries have in common is that I heard precisely zero of them in 1989. I would hear one of them a couple of years later, but the rest remain brand new to me as I listen to them to write this post. Perhaps you'd like to join me for the ride... or the trip, as may be more fitting for this week, as you'll soon see.
25 September 2020
18 September 2020
A loose lyrical theme running through this week's debuts is being free with your 'love'. Whether that's busting moves at your best friend's wedding, being flippant about the name of the person you're writing a love song about, or stating explicitly (in quite a literal sense!) what you want to do to your 'lover', it's all here this week. Let's take a look...
Released as the third single from Sam's debut album Stop! in Europe, "This Feeling" stalled at number 91 in the UK in August 1988. The single had greater, albeit moderate, success in the Dutch-speaking Flanders region of Belgium, and the Netherlands, where it peaked at numbers 23 and 32, respectively, in November 1988. Sam then scored her biggest hit with the re-issue issue of "Stop!" in early 1989.
In Australia, "This Feeling" was Sam's fourth single, following "Walking Back to Me" (released April 1988, failed to chart), "Stop!" (number 4, May 1989) and "Can I Get a Witness?" (number 17, August 1989). The track features a guitar solo from David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.
I remember seeing the "This Feeling" single in the shops, but never heard the song or caught the video anywhere at the time; so, presumably, its success was hindered by a lack of promotion. It's a shame, as "This Feeling" is actually my favourite Sam Brown song, and I think it deserved a lot better. "This Feeling" performed strongest on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart, where it peaked at number 86. Sam will pay us another visit in 1990.
I know some of you reading this might be thinking, "Isn't this blog supposed to be about flops
that missed the top 100?" Well, yes, that is its raison d'être, but I will also write about
singles that flopped upon their initial release (or later re-release, after once being a hit),
such as this one from Young MC.
"Bust a Move" was the second release for Young MC (real name Marvin Young) in Australia, following the 12" vinyl-only release of "Know How" in May 1989. Issued locally in early July 1989, "Bust a Move" took just over two months to dent the top 150. Despite the initial lack of success, Young MC had co-written both of Tone Lōc's 1989 hits, "Wild Thing" (number 15, May 1989) and "Funky Cold Medina" (number 8, August 1989). "Bust a Move" had greater success in the US, where it peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1989.
I caught the "Bust a Move" music video at least twice on Countdown Revolution in 1989, and
even recall someone at school reciting the "she's dressed in yellow, she says hello" couplet at
the time, so I am not sure why "Bust a Move" flopped the first time around - other than
because, as I have previously written, rap generally didn't do that well on the Australian
singles chart during its 1980s heyday. Of course, "Bust a Move" would go on to top the ARIA
singles chart in October 1990, after being re-released. Young MC will join us again in 1991.
Another rap track that didn't crossover into the mainstream in 1989, but did a little bit better in 1990, was "Hump Music" by No Face. Although, in this instance, it's understandable why this didn't become a major chart hit (or is it?), given the more... overtly sexual nature of the lyrics, with lines such as "Girl, I'll f**k you, give me p*ssy now", "suck my d*ck all night long" and "I'll f*ck you, I'll dump you, I'll suck you". Ooh er Missus! Nevertheless, "Hump Music" got a second lease of life on the ARIA chart, where it re-entered in March 1990, and peaked at number 64 at the end of April 1990.
Like most Australians, I'd never heard of Extreme until their breakthrough hit, "More Than
Words" (number 2, August 1991); an acoustic ballad that was nothing like their typical
sound. Released as the band's second single in the US, but their first in Australia, the glam
metal "Kid Ego" peaked at number 39 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart
(which doesn't count as a real chart in my book), and appears to have not charted anywhere
else other than New Zealand, where it peaked at number 13 in August 1989. Lifted from the
album Extreme (number 97, August 1989), "Kid Ego" performed better on the Australian
Music Report chart, where it peaked at number 93. On the state charts, "Kid Ego" performed
strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it peaked at number 79. We will next
see Extreme in 1993.
On the state charts, "Song for Whoever" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it
peaked at number 114. We shall see The Beautiful South again in 1990.
Despite having name recognition, Chaka Khan only had two solo top 100-charting singles in
Australia - those being the original version of "I'm Every Woman" (number 27, March 1979),
and "I Feel for You" (number 4, December 1984). Even with her group Rufus, they only
managed to score one Australian top 100 'hit' - "Tell Me Something Good" (number 64,
November 1974). Despite Chaka's relative lack of success, this 1989 remix of "I'm Every
Woman", lifted from the remix album Life Is a Dance - The Remix Album (number 143, July
1989), managed to register on our chart - albeit in the lower reaches of the top 150. This
version of "I'm Every Woman" performed much better in the UK, where it peaked at number 8
for two weeks in May 1989.
Before getting hold of these charts, I had never heard of Marshall Crenshaw, who hails from
the US. Marshall had previously placed one single in the Australian top 100, "Someday,
Someway" (number 57, December 1982). "Some Hearts" was written by Diane Warren, and
was originally offered to Belinda Carlisle, who recorded a demo for her 1987 Heaven on Earth
album, but it did not evolve beyond the demo stage. Interestingly, this song did not chart
Bubbling WAY down under:
Now here's someone I had heard of before... unknowingly, as the voice of Tommy Pickles on
the Nickelodeon cartoon Rugrats - a show I used to sometimes watch in 1996 to wind down
from a day of my final year of high school. But long before then, E.G. (real name: Elizabeth
Ann Guttman) had a brush with fame playing 'Patti', the 17 year-old teenage runaway who
later gave birth to a 10 lb. baby boy, in Rod Stewart's "Young Turks" (number 3, March 1982)
music video. In between being a dancer in music videos and a voiceover actress, E.G. tried
her hand at being a pop star. While she never achieved massive success in her recording
career, E.G. did score a top 20 hit in Belgium, the Netherlands and New Zealand, with "Say It,
Say It" in 1986.
Elizabeth also recorded a track with Stock Aitken Waterman, "Mind Over Matter", released overseas in 1987 to promote the film Summer School. In Australia, "Mind Over Matter" had a belated release in July 1988, and whilst it peaked at number 44 on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart in September 1988, it did not chart nationally on the ARIA chart (probably because the chart ended at number 100 in 1988). "Mind Over Matter" did, however, reach number 84 on the Australian Music Report chart. Interestingly, Stock Aitken Waterman originally recorded "Mind Over Matter" with Deborah Harry, but it was shelved, and remains unreleased to this day.
After that long introduction, let's take a look at the track at hand. "Some People" was
released as the lead single from the album Lace Around the World. While it reached number
33 on the US Dance chart (not a real chart, according to me), the single failed to chart
Next week (25 September): Another six new top 150 entries, and two bubbling WAY down
under debuts. Among them, we have the first charting song about the drug ecstasy, and the
last chart entry from a duo who were nudging the top of the charts earlier in the year. You
can also follow my posts on facebook and instagram.
11 September 2020
Fast forward to 1989, and "Let the Day Begin" was the lead single and title track from the album of the same name - the band's sixth, which peaked at number 138 in Australia, in October 1989. "Let the Day Begin" peaked at number 51 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in August 1989, and number 42 in the UK in October 1989. In Australia, it couldn't give the band a belated, second top 100 entry, although it did manage to perform better on the Australian Music Report chart, where it peaked at number 74 (though didn't enter the top 100 until November). Despite its lower peak on the ARIA chart, "Let the Day Begin" did manage to spend a decent amount of time on the chart... for a single peaking outside the top 100. That's got to count for something, right?
Sadly, lead singer Michael Been, who is the father of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's (the group) frontman, passed away in 2010, aged 60.
Another group formed in California, this time in Los Angeles - in 1977, are Great White, who made their sole appearance on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1989 with "Once Bitten Twice Shy". The track was originally performed by Ian Hunter in 1975, and peaked at number 29 (though spent 30 weeks in the top 100) in Australia in September of that year. A cover version by Australian band The Angels became a number 43 hit locally in February 1992.
Great White's version of "Once Bitten Twice Shy" gave the song a rockier edge, but it was less successful down under, barely reaching the top 150. This version had much greater success in the band's homeland, however, where it peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1989. Their version also also peaked at number 83 in the UK in August 1989. Great White will pay us another visit in 1991.
Bubbling WAY down under:
I wasn't aware of Starship releasing anything new after their 1987 smash hit, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (number 3 for 6 weeks in June-July 1987). Listening to "It's Not Enough" for the first time as I write this post, it sounds quite similar to the Def Leppard/Bryan Adams soft rock sound of the late 80s/early 90s. I was sure that Mutt Lang must have produced it, but no, it was produced by Mike Shipley and Larry Klein. One thing immediately evident is that Grace Slick is no longer in the group. Indeed, this track was lifted from Starship's first post-Slick album, Love Among the Cannibals. "It's Not Enough" fared better in the US, where it peaked at number 12 in October 1989 (I must have tuned out of American Top 40 to have not heard it), and number 19 in Canada. "It's Not Enough" was the last charting single for the group in Australia.
Next week (18 September): A bumper edition with 9 new top 150-peaking debuts, and two bubbling WAY down under entries! Among the new entries next week we will see someone who became better-known for providing the voice of a cartoon character than singing, the initial chart run for a single that would go on to much bigger things in 1990, a remix of a late 70s disco track, and the first Australian chart 'hit' for an artist from Iceland! Remember, you can also follow my posts on facebook and instagram.
< Previous week: 4 September 1989 Next week: 18 September 1989 >
04 September 2020
Two of my favourite ABC singles missed the top 100 altogether down under: "How to Be a Millionaire"
(though it came close, placing second on a list of 'singles receiving
significant sales reports beyond the top 100' in March 1985), and "King Without a Crown" (released locally in January 1988).
Roll on to 1989, ABC were now just Martin and Mark, and "One Better World" was the lead single from their fifth album, Up (number 132, December 1989). "One Better World" was a modest number 32 hit in the UK in June 1989, becoming the group's final top 40 single in their homeland. A second single lifted from the album, "The Real Thing", peaked at number 68 in the UK in September 1989, but failed to chart in Australia, where it was released in late November 1989.
Despite the lack of success, ABC will join us for one last time in 1990.
Based in Hamburg but met-in-London London Boys were Edem Ephraim and Dennis Fuller, whose act incorporated dancing, gymnastics, backflips and... going by the videos, silly dress-ups. Written and produced by Ralf René Maué (who also wrote flop singles for Sinitta and Samantha Fox), "Requiem" stalled at number 59 in the UK in December 1988 upon initial release, before being beefed up a little bit by Pete Hammond (from the Stock Aitken Waterman Hit Factory), and rebounding to number 4 on the UK chart in May 1989. Parent album The Twelve Commandments of Dance was also a success in Britain, peaking at number 2 on the albums charts. In Australia, it was a different story, where this single barely scraped the top 150, and the album peaked at number 137 in August 1989.
Tragically, the London Boys were both killed in a car accident in the Austrian Alps in January 1996, aged 36. Ephraim's wife and a DJ friend, who were passengers, and the driver of the other vehicle, were also killed in the crash. Both London Boys were survived by children.
On a brighter note, although they never landed a top 100 hit in Australia, London Boys will visit us twice more in the coming years, with the next occasion being in December 1989.
Next week (11 September): Three new top 150 debuts, including the original version of a minor hit from 1992; plus a bubbling WAY down under entry, from an act who had a couple of big hits in the mid-1980s. You can also follow my posts on facebook and instagram.
< Previous week: 28 August 1989 Next week: 11 September 1989 >