16 October 2020

Week commencing 16 October 1989

A loose theme tying this week's new entries together is second chances... that don't amount to much.  Whether that be a re-issued single (currently or in the future), a new musical venture, or having your 15 minutes (seconds in this instance?) of 'fame' still being written about years later, you can't knock this week's artists for giving it another go.  Let's take a look.
Jesus Loves You: If it was good enough for Kiss to ditch (most of) the make-up...
Top 150 debuts:
Number 143 "Sit Down" by James
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 30 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks
Weeks on chart: 13 weeks 

I first became acquainted with James - who, for those unfamiliar, are a Mancunian group and not a mononymous solo artist - in 1992, via their number 28 hit in May of that year, "Sound".  Although it was not their highest-peaking single, I assume their most well-known song down under would be "Laid" (number 40, June 1994), which spent 26 weeks on the chart.  Prior to both of those hits, James bubbled under with "Sit Down"- their debut single locally, but they had been releasing material as far back as 1983 in their homeland.

Although "Sit Down" went on to become a number 2 hit for the group in the UK in April 1991, one thing I didn't realise until now is that this original 1989 release was a different recording to the 1991 re-issue, and that it also had a different music video (embedded below).  Oddly, the 1991 music video is not currently on James' official Vevo YouTube channel.  The 1989 release of "Sit Down" peaked at number 77 in the UK in July 1989.  The re-recorded version of "Sit Down" appears on the group's Gold Mother album (number 174, August 1991).
As the ARIA database usually conflates separate releases of the same title into one entity, and the 1991 re-issue of "Sit Down" (issued locally in June 1991) failed to reach the top 150, I cannot give you an Australian peak for its 1991 release.  I can tell you, however, that some of "Sit Down"'s 13 weeks on the chart are from 1991, as it peaked on the Queensland state chart in July of that year.  Also, interestingly, "Sit Down" performed much better on the Western Australian state chart than in other states, where it peaked at number 38 in October 1989.  "Sit Down" also performed stronger on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it registered at number 88.

We will next see James in 1992.
Number 146 "Tell Him I'm Your Man" by Marcus Montana
Peak: number 146
Peak date: 16 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

I'm pretty sure I've never heard of Marcus Montana before, but some quick research reveals that he hails from Sydney.  In quite a stroke of luck, some kind soul uploaded a video of the 7" vinyl single playing just the other week - without which I would not be able to hear the song or embed a video for it into this post.  It sounds, to my ears, like a throwback to an earlier era, a la Shakin' Stevens' rockabilly-'inspired' hits from earlier in the decade.
Somehow, despite having no hits, Marcus has a wikipedia page, from which we can glean the following 'facts': this single was launched with a poster campaign proclaiming "Marcus is here!", which apparently didn't go down well with music journos; that he promoted the single's release with a number of live performances, including at Westfield (did they exist then?) shopping centres; and that he is "long remembered" after this one single, and was still being written about years later in the Sydney press (I guess you have to be from there).  Make of that what you will.

Number 148 "The Downtown Lights" by The Blue Nile
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 16 October 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week 

Another act I didn't hear of at the time, but have become acquainted with in recent years, is The Blue Nile.  Hailing from Glasgow, The Blue Nile seem - to me, anyway - to be one of those acts who are under-appreciated at the time, but maintain a loyal, devoted fan-base and are viewed favourably by critics in retrospect.  Although the group had three singles, plus a re-issue of one of those ("Stay"), released locally in between May 1984 and April 1985, "The Downtown Lights" was their first single to register a chart placing in Australia.
The Blue Nile had greater, albeit modest, success on the UK singles chart, where this track peaked at number 67 in September 1989; but they managed to notch up three top 20 albums there.  This track was lifted from the album Hats, which peaked at number 12 in the UK in October 1989, and number 101 in Australia in November 1989.
Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 160: "After the Love" by Jesus Loves You
Peak: number 160
Peak date: 16 October 1989
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks
Jesus Loves You were an act I had heard of at the time, but didn't hear any of their music until this track appeared on a various artists VHS compilation I bought in 2006.  Until then, I had wrongly assumed that the music would be religious in nature, owing to the band's name - although a later single, which will bubble down under in 1991, has a Hare Krishna theme.
Jesus Loves You, fronted by Boy George under the pseudonym of 'Angela Dust', was formed in the aftermath of the commercial failure George's two most-recent albums, Tense Nervous Headache (number 145, February 1989) and High Hat (number 126, June 1989).  Jesus Loves You's releases were issued on George's More Protein label (on which the recent E-Zee Possee bubbling under 'hit' was released), and the music was not primarily focused on making the charts.  Just as well, really, as "After the Love" peaked at number 68 in the UK in November 1989, and almost 100 places lower in Australia.  Despite not being a huge commercial success, the song was an artistic triumph in my view, with serious lyrics and an intense, brooding mood.  George wrote the song with former partner and Culture Club bandmate Jon Moss, who also appears briefly in the music video.
Oddly, "After the Love" appears to have been released in Australia (11 September 1989) before it was issued in the UK, and also entered our chart a couple of weeks before it did there.  I'm not sure why, but "After the Love" was re-issued in Australia in November 1991.  The track was lifted from the group's only studio album, The Martyr Mantras (number 136, June 1991).  We will see Jesus Loves You next in 1990.

Next week (23 October): Three new top 150 debuts, including an Australian-only single from a soundtrack album that was big in 1989, and one bubbling WAY down under entry.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
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  1. >>> including at Westfield (did they exist then?) shopping centres; <<<

    Westfield shopping centres — often known as Westfield Shoppingtown back in the day — have been around since the 70s

    1. Thanks for clarifying that. Westfield didn't come to the regional city I grew up in (at least as far as I am aware) until much later.

  2. The Marcus Montana song i remember, not for actually hearing it but hearing ABOUT it at the time. Remember a few bemused/outright nasty articles in the music press along the lines of "who??" or using it as an example of trying to hype up a hit out of zero talent (not an unusual thing in the music industry, but i digress...) I thought the coolest thing was when this song was thrown in with a batch of singles that Roxette (in oz for a promo tour) were reviewing for Smash Hits (why was i still reading Smash Hits in my early 20s?? Whatever). They were actually relatively kind about it, and said it reminded them of their early muso days when they supposedly self-funded a single or two to get record companies' attention

    1. Ah... thanks for the info. I probably bought and read that edition of Smash Hits (I was still 10-11) with Roxette reviewing the singles, but don't remember the Marcus Montana song being reviewed. I have no recollection of the song at all.


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