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.

Debuts: 
 
Number 126 "Streets of Forbes" by Weddings, Parties, Anything
Peak: number 113
Peak date: 2 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 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
 
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.



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 one bubbling WAY down under entry.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.

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