25 September 2020

Week commencing 25 September 1989

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.

E-Zee Possee: Planet Ecstasy doesn't look like all it was cracked up to be, going by this picture.

Top 150 debuts: 
Number 126 "Streets of Forbes" by Weddings, Parties, Anything
Peak: number 113
Peak date: 2 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
Weddings, Parties, Anything were an Australian band I had somehow heard of, but wasn't familiar with any of their music, until they finally hit the top 50 in 1992 with "Father's Day" (number 29, May 1992).  Like Yothu Yindi, who I wrote about back in May, I think I first became acquainted with Weddings, Parties, Anything via their name being mentioned in a TV commercial for an Australia Day live concert (or something along those lines).  This was the band's second single to chart in Australia, following "Away Away" (number 92, May 1987).  "Streets of Forbes" was the first single lifted from their The Big Don't Argue album (number 58, October 1989).  We will see Weddings, Parties, Anything again in 1990.

Number 127 "Everything Begins with an 'E'" by E-Zee Possee
Peak: number 120
Peak date: 9 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks

This ode to the then relatively-new street drug MDMA, aka ecstasy, was released on Boy George's More Protein label, and featured MC Kinky (who later performed the 'rap' on Erasure's 1992 ABBA-esque cover of "Take a Chance on Me") 'toasting' (rapping in a Jamaican accent) on vocals.  An interesting song for several reasons, its alternative 1990 re-release title, "Everything Starts with an 'E'", is sampled from a McDonald's (yes, the fast-food restaurant) cassette aimed at helping children learn to spell.  The song takes this theme to another level, listing a bunch of words that start with the letter E, and ecstasy just happens to be one of those!

"Everything Begins with an 'E'" didn't quite 'start' upon its initial release, peaking at number 69 in the UK in August 1989.  However, when re-titled and re-issued there in 1990, it peaked at number 15 in March.
In Australia, the single was only released once in its original form, peaking at number 120 nationally.  On the ARIA state charts, "Everything Begins with an 'E'" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 95.
The track would get another lease of life, however, when a 1996 remix was released (complete with a trippy animated video to boot) - though that went largely unnoticed, peaking at just number 128 in the UK in February 1996, and failing to chart in Australia.

While I read about "Everything Begins/Starts with an 'E'", and how naughty it was, in UK pop magazine Number One in 1990, I didn't actually hear the song until it aired as a random throwback video on the excellent (if you liked dance music) SBS weekend afternoon music video program M.C. TeeVee in 1991.
The 1989 release of "Everything Begins with an 'E'" was E-Zee Possee's only chart entry in Australia.  Subsequent singles "Love on Love" (released locally in April 1990) and "The Sun Machine" (July 1990), with different singers on each, failed to chart.
While we won't see E-Zee Possee on the Australian charts again, Eve Gallagher, who sings the "What planet are you on?  Planet Ecstasy" chorus, will pay us a visit in 1995.

Number 133 "Ace of Hearts" by Richard Clapton
Peak: number 122
Peak date: 16 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks

We last saw Richard bubbling down under in July, and here he was again with, as the rear sleeve of the 7" single states, "an edited version of the live recording from the WEA album The Best Years of Our Lives".  Despite being a live track, this one had a music video filmed for it.  Richard will pay us another visit in 1990.

Number 139 "Friday on My Mind" by Elliot Goblet
Peak: number 119
Peak date: 9 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Comedy records are always a bit hit and miss.  Potentially funny, if you're familiar with the comedian and enjoy their work; particularly annoying if you don't.  But regardless - does anyone actually listen to comedy records more than a few times?  Jack Levi's deadpan-delivery comedy character Elliot Goblet appeared numerous times on TV shows like Hey Hey It's Saturday, The Midday Show, The Footy Show and even a 1994 episode of Neighbours. So, naturally, the next obvious step was to release a single.  This track is, of course, a cover version of The Easybeats' number one smash from 1966.  Looking at the music video below, it is obvious that it was shot in much more-recent times.  Elliot's version of "Friday on My Mind" performed better on the Australian Music Report chart, where it peaked at number 94.

Number 145 "Let's Have a Party" by Wanda Jackson
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 25 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
"Let's Have a Party" was originally recorded by Elvis Presley in 1957.  Wanda Jackson recorded her version in 1958,  and it was released as a single in 1960, reaching the lower reaches of the top 40 in both the UK and the US.  You may be wondering why it was charting again in Australia in 1989... the answer to that question seems to be that it was featured in the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society, and was subsequently re-issued as a result.  Wanda will be celebrating her 83rd birthday in October 2020.

Number 149 "Paradise" by Diana Ross
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 9 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
I assume like most Australians, I was completely unaware that Diana Ross was releasing new material in 1989.  She seemed to just disappear off the face of the earth, after her smash number one hit from 1986, "Chain Reaction", which turned out to be her final top 50 single in Australia.  In the UK, it was a different story, where Diana continued to enjoy occasional solo top 10 hits as late as 1999, and a duet with Westlife peaked at number 2 there in 2005.  "Paradise", lifted from her Workin' Overtime album (number 101, August 1989), however, only peaked at number 61 in the UK, in July 1989.  In the US, where she hails from, Diana's hit-making days were effectively over after 1984, and "Chain Reaction" barely scraped the top 100 there.

At this point, Diana was 45 years old, and while there were numerous 'older' (for a pop star) acts having hit singles around this time, Diana perhaps seemed too closely tied to her enduring 1960s hits with The Supremes.  Diana was someone your mum listened to, not teenagers.  Diana had modernised her sound for this release, but it probably wasn't what her audience who had grown up with her wanted, and it wouldn't have appealed to younger record buyers either.

Diana will next join us in 1993.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 158 "MPB (Missin' Persons Bureau)" by Womack & Womack
Peak: number 158
Peak date: 25 September 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Back in January 1989, husband and wife team Cecil and Linda Womack hit number 2 on the ARIA singles chart for four consecutive weeks with "Teardrops".  Despite hitting number 1 on the two most populous states' state charts in the same week, it couldn't wrest the top position away from The Beach Boys or The Proclaimers.  The law of diminishing returns was in effect for their subsequent releases, as follow-up single (third release from Conscience in their native UK) "Celebrate the World" peaked at number 37 in April 1989, and third release (second in the UK) "Life's Just a Ballgame" stalled outside the top 100 in June 1989.

Now onto the fourth and final single released from Conscience (number 11, February 1989), "MPB (Missin' Persons Bureau)" peaked at number 92 in the UK in July 1989.  The track had been remixed from the album version for its single release, with a more 1989-sounding beat added.

This would be Womack & Womack's final appearance on the Australian singles chart.  A new single, "Uptown", was released locally in March 1991, from new album Family Spirit, but failed to chart.

Number 164 "Need a Little Taste of Love" by The Doobie Brothers
Peak: number 164
Peak date: 25 September 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Since 1972, The Doobie Brothers had placed 10 singles within the Australian top 100 singles chart.  Surprisingly, only four of these made the top 40, with their biggest hit locally being "What a Fool Believes" (number 12, May 1979).  Even more surprisingly, two of their 'signature' songs - "Listen to the Music" (number 50, 1972) and "Long Train Runnin'" (number 58, 1973) - missed our top 40.  The group's last chart hit in Australia had been "Real Love" (number 53, October 1980), until a recent semi-revival with "The Doctor" (number 38, July 1989).  Both that song and "Need a Little Taste of Love" were lifted from the group's Cycles album (number 44, July 1989).  "Need a Little Taste of Love" peaked at number 45 in the group's native US in September 1989.  We shall see The Doobie Brothers again in 1991.

Next week (2 October): A meager two new top 150 debuts, and two bubbling WAY down under entries.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.

< Previous week: 18 September 1989                               Next week: 2 October 1989 >

18 September 2020

Week commencing 18 September 1989

This week in 1989 there were nine new entries peaking between number 101 and number 150.  This would hold the record for the largest number of debuts for any week of 1989, if not for the first top 150 singles chart ever produced, on 30 January 1989, which saw 23 new entries.

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...

Young MC was not quite 'bustin'' on the ARIA chart in 1989.

Top 150 debuts:

Number 119 "This Feeling" by Sam Brown 
Peak: number 115
Peak date: 25 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks

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.

Number 127 "Be Free with Your Love" by Spandau Ballet 
Peak: number 110
Peak date: 25 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
In Australia, Spandau Ballet's greatest success came in 1983, where they scored back-to-back
top 10 hits with "True" (number 4, September 1983) and "Gold" (number 9, November 1983).
In total, the group amassed ten top 40 hits in Australia between 1981 and 1986, with their
final top 100 chart entry being "Raw" (number 79, October 1988). "Be Free with Your Love"
was the belated follow-up to "Raw", and was the second single lifted from their Heart Like a
Sky album (number 115, October 1989). The single had greater, albeit modest, success in
their native UK, where it peaked at number 42 in September 1989. I don't recall hearing this
one before, but I like it.
Spandau Ballet will join us again in 1991.

Number 139 "Bust a Move" by Young MC 
Peak: number 139 (in 1989); number 1 (in 1990)
Peak dates: 18 September 1989 (1989 chart run); 22 October 1990 (1990 chart run)
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks (in 1989); 29 weeks (1989 and 1990-1991 chart runs combined)
Weeks on chart: 33 weeks (1989 and 1990-1991 chart runs combined)

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.

Number 141 "Regina" by The Sugarcubes 
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 18 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks

The Sugarcubes were a group I remember hearing and reading about at the time, but wasn't aware of them until taking note of lead singer Björk's solo career in 1993. Somehow, the group's non-charting single "Birthday" (released in Australia in September 1988) had filtered its way through to me, but I never knew what the song was called or who it was by at the time. The lead single from their Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week! album (number 105, October 1989), "Regina", conversely, completely passed me by. Listening to it now, "Regina" doesn't seem particularly chart-friendly, and indeed, the only other major chart it registered on was in the UK, where it peaked at number 55 in September 1989. The only other charting single The Sugarcubes had in Australia was "Hit" (number 76, March 1992).

Number 142 "Hump Music" by No Face 
Peak: number 132 (in 1989); number 64 (in 1990)
Peak dates: 2 October 1989 (1989 chart run); 30 April 1990 (1990 chart run)
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks (in 1989); 13 weeks (1989 and 1990 chart runs combined)

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.

Number 143 "Kid Ego" by Extreme 
Peak: number 138
Peak date: 25 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks

Like most Australians, I'd never heard of Extreme until their breakthrough hit, "More Than
(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.

Number 145 "Song for Whoever" by The Beautiful South 
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 18 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks

The Beautiful South were a band I remember reading about in UK Smash Hits-rival magazine Number One, which I read regularly in 1989 and 1990 (before my local newsagent stopped stocking it). I never heard any of their music though until "A Little Time" became a minor hit locally (number 72, May 1991) - and, in fact, their only top 100 single in Australia. Formed from the remnants of The Housemartins, whose biggest and only real hit in Australia was their version of "Caravan of Love" (number 24, June 1987), "Song for Whoever" was The Beautiful South's debut single. The track, lifted from their Welcome to the Beautiful South album, peaked at number 2 in the group's native UK in July 1989.
I didn't hear this track until 2007, when it became one of my favourite 'new' music discoveries that year. Known as the "music man" with a stash of music at the ready at a former job, someone once asked me to put some music on when a 'colleague' announced that she eloped on an overseas holiday during a staff meeting. The nearest thing I could grab was a CD-R (how quaint) with this on it as track 1. I'm not sure how well lines like "I love you from the bottom of my pencil case" fit the occasion, but it's not like anyone was really listening. Still, I think it was a more-fitting song than the one the requester had suggested - Billy Idol's "White Wedding" (do people not listen to the lyrics?!).

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.

Number 147 "I'm Every Woman (Remix)" by Chaka Khan 
Peak: number 147
Peak date: 18 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 1 week

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.

We will next see Chaka in 1992.

Number 150 "Some Hearts" by Marshall Crenshaw 
Peak: number 140
Peak date: 16 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks

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,
(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
, but it did not evolve beyond the demo stage. Interestingly, this song did not chart
anywhere else.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 152 "Some People" by E.G. Daily 
Peak: number 152
Peak date: 18 September 1989
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks

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
anywhere else.

Number 153 "Thing Called Love" by Bonnie Raitt
Peak: number 153
Peak date: 18 September 1989
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
American Bonnie Raitt had been releasing albums since 1971, but "Thing Called Love", from her tenth studio album Nick of Time (number 58, April 1990), was her first single to register on the Australian chart.
The Nick of Time album was also Bonnie's major commercial breakthrough in the US, where it topped the chart and was certified quintuple platinum.  That being said, "Thing Called Love" did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, despite later singles from the album doing so.

Elsewhere, "Thing Called Love" peaked at number 86 in the UK in June 1990, and number 66 in the Netherlands in September 1990.
On the ARIA state charts, "Thing Called Love" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it peaked at number 125.

Listening to "Thing Called Love" as I write this, I can't help but think that it might have been a much bigger hit if it had've been released a couple of years later, when the popularity of blues-twinged music seemed to take off in Australia.  The song is certainly catchy.
Bonnie will break into the ARIA top 150 single chart in May 1990, twice!

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.

< Previous week: 11 September 1989                            Next week: 25 September 1989 >

11 September 2020

Week commencing 11 September 1989

Once again, I am at a loss to find a common thread among this week's new entries, so let's just dive straight in...

The Call: It's probably not that surprising that one of these guys fathered the leader of the Black Rebel Motorcyle Club.

Top 150 debuts:

Number 134 "Let the Day Begin" by The Call 
Peak: number 111
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks

The Call were an American band, hailing from California and formed in 1980.  They scored a solitary hit down under in 1983 with "The Walls Came Down", which spent three non-consecutive weeks at its peak of number 21 in July and August of that year.  In fact, "The Walls Came Down" was a much bigger hit in Australia than anywhere else - it only peaked at number 74 in their homeland, and didn't chart anywhere else, as far as I am aware.

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.

Number 144 "Once Bitten Twice Shy" by Great White
Peak: number 144
Peak date: 11 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

Another group formed in California, this time in Los Angeles - in 1977, are Great White, who made their first 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.

Number 145 "Stakker Humanoid" by Humanoid 
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 11 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

And now for something more modern-sounding, if not exactly tuneful... "Stakker Humanoid" peaked in the act's native UK at number 17, in December 1988.  The track also peaked at number 23 in the Netherlands in January 1989.  As typical at the time, Australia was months behind with catching on to anything futuristic-sounding, like this; although, oddly, the single took more than four months to dent the top 150, having been released in Australia in late April 1989.  The Guardian have described the track as "the first truly credible UK acid techno record to break into the mainstream."  Make of that what you will... although I think surely New Order's "Fine Time" counts (though, granted, it was released two weeks after "Stakker Humanoid" in the UK, despite charting in Australia before it, in January 1989).

Bubbling WAY down under:  

Number 160 "The Second Summer of Love" by Danny Wilson
Peak: number 151
Peak date: 30 October 1989
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks
Despite the name, Danny Wilson was actually a band, not a solo artist, originating from Dundee in Scotland.

The group landed one single on the Australian top 100, "Mary's Prayer", which peaked at number 64 in February 1988, though spent 19 weeks on chart.

Unusually, "Mary's Prayer" became a hit in the US, reaching number 23 in September 1987, before it became a hit in the UK, peaking at number 3 there in April 1988 in its third chart run.

"The Second Summer of Love" was the lead single from Danny Wilson's second album Bebop Moptop.  The single peaked at number 23 in the UK in July 1989, and number 52 in Germany in October 1989.

Domestically, "The Second Summer of Love" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 124.

This track was the band's last single to be released in Australia.  The group released an EP in 1991 before splitting, and lead singer Gary Clark then launched a solo career, landing a minor (number 34) hit in the UK in 1993 with "We Sail on the Stormy Waters".

Number 163 "It's Not Enough" by Starship 
Peak: number 163
Peak date: 11 September 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

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

Week commencing 4 September 1989

This week, there are a measly two new top 150 debuts.  One thing they have in common is that they're both by duos - except one of the duos was once a four-piece group.  Let's take a look...

London Boys: What you might get if Zorro, the Village People and the Umbilical Brothers had a child.

Top 150 debuts:

Number 123 "One Better World" by ABC 
Peak: number 122
Peak date: 11 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks

ABC burst onto the Australian charts in 1982 with back-to-back top 10 hits "Poison Arrow" (number 4, August 1982) and "The Look of Love" (number 7, October 1982).  Since then, it was all downhill for them in terms of commercial success, with only two further top 30-peaking hits - the last of which was "When Smokey Sings" (number 25, October 1987).  The group of originally four members quickly disintegrated, leaving only lead singer Martin Fry and Mark White, joined by new member 'Eden' (whose voice wasn't actually used on recordings) for their third album, released in 1984.  In between their third and fourth albums, Martin Fry underwent successful treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, which had reportedly reached a life-threatening stage.

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.

Number 149 "Requiem" by London Boys 
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 4 September 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

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 two bubbling WAY down under entries.  You can also follow my posts on facebook and instagram.

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