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
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  1. Hello - would it be possible to get the debut date and debut number for Chaka Khan's "Life Is a Dance - The Remix Album"? Thank you.

    1. Hi, yes. The album debuted (and peaked) on the ARIA albums chart on 10 July 1989. It spent two weeks on chart, though I am not sure when the second week was, as I can only access full charts for the top 150. Having said that, the albums chart ended at number 141, 146, and 146 for the following three weeks (it ended at number 149 the week the album debuted).

      You may also be interested to know that Chaka's 'C.K.' album peaked at number 115 on the ARIA albums chart on 27 February 1989 (it debuted on 30 January 1989 at number 140). However, no singles from 'C.K.' charted in Australia.


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