27 November 2020

Week commencing 27 November 1989

This week, each of the debuting singles is from a veteran artist. All but one of the new entries is from an artist who first charted in Australia prior to 1980!  The 'newest' act of the lot is a band that formed in 1976, and scored their first charting single in Australia in 1982.  Let's take a look at them.

 Grace Jones: Killer kiss and a killer stare.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 121 "Love on Top of Love (Killer Kiss)" by Grace Jones
Peak: number 121
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks
Between 1981 and 1986, Grace Jones placed four singles in the top 100 Australian singles chart.  Only two of those dented the top 40: "Nipple to the Bottle" (number 33, February 1983) and "Slave to the Rhythm" (number 20, January 1986).  "Pull Up to the Bumper", probably her best-known song, was surprisingly not one of them, peaking at number 67 in September 1981.  Grace had greater success on the Australian albums chart, where she scored eight charting albums between 1978 and 1986, with the biggest of those being the compilation Island Life (number 9, March 1986).  Grace last nudged the top 100 down under when "I'm Not Perfect (But I'm Perfect for You)" appeared on the Kent Music Report list of 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' for four non-consecutive weeks between December 1986 and February 1987, reaching the top of this 'bubbling under' list for one week in January 1987.

Roll on to 1989, and Grace would again 'bubble under' with this track, the lead single from her Bulletproof Heart album (number 108, January 1990).  Despite Grace's relative lack of chart success in Australia, the only other national chart I am able to verify this single charted on is in the Netherlands, where it peaked at number 47 in November 1989.
The opening lines of this song always remind me of the Christmas carol "O Come All Ye Faithful".  Does anyone else hear that?
While Grace would release the occasional one-off single in the interim years, Bulletproof Heart was her last studio album until 2008's Hurricane, which remains her last album to date.

Grace will 'grace' us with her presence again in 1994.

Number 127 "The Last Worthless Evening" by Don Henley
Peak: number 120
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 13 weeks
For some ridiculous reason, at the time of writing this, the studio version for "The Last Worthless Evening" appears to be blocked on YouTube.  So, instead, I've had to resort to embedding a live version below...
Don Henley's solo career separate from The Eagles had spawned five top 100 singles in Australia to date, with the biggest of those being "The Boys of Summer"  (number 3, March 1985).  "The Last Worthless Evening" was the second single lifted from Don's The End of the Innocence album (number 40, August 1989); the title track peaked at number 54 in August 1989.  "The Last Worthless Evening" garnered greater success in North America, where it peaked at number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in September 1989, and number 5 in Canada.

On the ARIA state charts, "The Last Worthless Evening" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 76.
Don will pay us another visit in 1990.

Number 138 "Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2
Peak: number 138 (in 1989); number 27 in 1987
Peak dates: 27 November 1989 (1989 chart run); 26 October 1987 (1987 chart run)
Weeks in top 150: 1 week (in 1989); 13 weeks in the top 100 in 1987
"Where the Streets Have No Name" was released as a single in Australia in September 1987, and peaked at number 27 the following month.  Quite why it randomly re-charted in the top 150 for one week more than two years later, I have no idea.  However, it is listed as a double A-side single, with non-album B-side "Sweetest Thing" (the same song they would later re-record and score a number 6 hit with in November 1998) receiving top billing, on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 70 in December 1989.  I cannot find any evidence of there being a special 1989 pressing of this single in Australia online.
Are you a U2 fan?  Do you know why this single re-entered the Australian chart in 1989?  Please let me know if so.
Number 148 "Planes" by Jefferson Airplane
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week 

When I saw Jefferson Airplane on these charts, I expected it to be an old song that had charted perhaps due to its use in a move or something.  But no, this was a new track from the veteran 60s act, who had evolved (or devolved, depending on your musical preferences) into Jefferson Starship in 1974, and Starship in 1984.  The latter formation, of course, had three top 10 singles in Australia between 1985 and 1987, with "We Built This City" going all the way to number 1 in January 1986.  Only a few short months ago, we saw Starship bubble WAY down under.

Grace Slick, the female vocalist, left Starship in 1988 and joined the 1966-1970 line-up of Jefferson Airplane, minus drummer Spencer Drydon, for a reunion tour and a new album, the imaginatively-titled Jefferson Airplane - the band's eighth and final studio album, from which this is lifted.  As Wikipedia puts it, the album achieved "modest sales but the accompanying tour was considered a success," providing the blueprint for current heritage acts such as Madonna and Kylie with their latest releases (OK, that last bit I added myself).  To be more-precise, the album peaked at number 85 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart in September 1989, while this single failed to chart in the band's native US (no, the Mainstream Rock Songs chart does not count)... or anywhere else.

Number 150 "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)" by Robert Palmer
Peak: number 106
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
Another old song returning this week is this one, which originally peaked at number 13 in October 1979.  This release, however, was a remixed version, released to promote Robert's Addictions Volume 1 compilation album (number 10, December 1989), and also changes the title slightly from the original "Bad Case of Lovin' You (Doctor, Doctor)" (pedants, take note!).  The remix is similarly subtle, and seems to have a new drum track with some extra, beefed-up guitars, a couple of additional synths and not much more.  The video, embedded below, adds footage from Robert's other videos.

The kids I lived next door to at the time's dad owned the Addictions Volume 1 CD, but I don't remember it, or this track, gaining much traction, despite the big success of Robert's most-recent studio album Heavy Nova (number 2, February 1989).  It seemed to me, at the time, that it was a mistake to release this best of album this soon after the Heavy Nova era; we saw Robert only last week with the final single from that album.  I guess the record company rush-released this, in time for the Christmas market.  Releasing a greatest hits compilation often seems to spell the end of an artist's hit-making era, and Robert would only score one major hit single in Australia after this.

Interestingly, "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)" made the top 100 on four of the five state charts, but couldn't reach this milestone nationally, due to the state chart peaks occurring at different times.  The single performed best on the Western Australian state chart, where it reached number 68 in this, its opening week.

We will next see Robert Palmer in 1991.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 154 "Don't Take It Personal" by Jermaine Jackson
Peak: number 154
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week
Being a non-Michael member of the Jackson family can both help and hinder your chances of having a successful solo career.  When it comes to Jermaine, the scale probably tipped more in favour of hinder.
Between 1973 and 1985, Jermaine placed five solo singles on the Australian chart, with "Let's Get Serious" (number 24, September 1980) being the biggest of those.  Of course, Jermaine achieved greater success as one of The Jackson 5/The Jacksons.  We saw Jermaine bubble WAY down under as part of The Jacksons earlier in 1989.

"Don't Take It Personal" was the lead single and title track from Jermaine's Don't Take It Personal album.  Internationally, the single peaked at number 69 in the UK in October 1989, and number 64 in the US in January 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "Don't Take It Personal" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 140.

This would be Jermaine's final charting solo release in Australia.

Number 158 "Scandal" by Queen
Peak: number 158
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week
Like previous single "The Invisible Man", I remember seeing this one in the shops, but have never heard it or seen the video until writing it about it now.  Released as the fourth of five singles from The Miracle (number 4, June 1989), "Scandal" peaked at number 25 in the group's native UK in October 1989.  It seems that there was next to zero promotion or airplay for Queen's singles from the album in Australia, after second single "Breakthru" (number 45, August 1989).
As stated on the Wikipedia page for this song, the video is notable for lead singer Freddie Mercury's "gaunt" appearance - I'm glad it's not just me who noticed it.  Clearly, in retrospect, Freddie's health was deteriorating by this point, but he still manages to give an energetic performance in the video - it seems, for the last time, as future videos from the band featuring Freddie in them would be more-sedate affairs.

Queen will join us again in 1990.

Next week (4 December): Another bumper week, with seven new top 150 debuts, and three bubbling WAY down under entries.  Among them is a song that would have greater success on the Australian singles chart following the singer's death almost 30 years later, and another flop charity single.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 20 November 1989                                 Next week: 4 December 1989 >

20 November 2020

Week commencing 20 November 1989

After a few quieter weeks with singles peaking outside the top 100, this week we have a whopping 12 new entries to take a look at.  Let's dive in!
 S'Express: This singer looks like she's being chased by... COVID-89?
Top 150 debuts:
Number 131 "Angel Dove" by Joe Camilleri
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
I must have heard this being played on FM radio at the time, when the target demographic seemed to be your parents - and music that teens, tweens and younger (or even 20-somethings, for that matter) enjoyed was all but ignored by the radio programmers of the day... but I have no recollection of this song, whatsoever.
Joe Camilleri racked up 12 top 100 singles under the guise of Jo Jo Zep, with or without The Falcons, between 1976 and 1983, with the biggest two of those being "Hit and Run" (number 12, September 1979) and "Taxi Mary" (number 11, November 1982).  More-recently, The Black Sorrows, fronted by Joe, scored a number 9 hit with "Chained to the Wheel" in May 1989.

"Angel Dove" was recorded to raise funds for Amnesty International - well, as many funds as can be raised with a number 129-peaking single (I'd love to know the actual figure).  From around the 2 minute mark in the video, there are profiles of several children who've become victims of war brutality.  Joe was back to releasing material as part of The Black Sorrows after this, and they will bubble under in 1993.

This track sadly (and I say that without the slightest hint of irony...) won't be the first charity single to completely bomb on the Aussie charts.

Number 137 "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming" by Robert Palmer
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks
Another song I never heard at the time is this one, by the perpetually-suited Mr. Palmer.   In Australia, "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming" was the fifth and final single from Robert's 10-track Heavy Nova (number 2, February 1989) album, and the only one of the lot to miss the top 40.  The track was a cover version of Jermaine Jackson's 1984 single "Tell Me I'm Not Dreamin' (Too Good to Be True)", which also featured his more-famous brother, Michael Jackson.  Robert performed the track as a duet with B.J. Nelson, for whom he also produced her 1989 self-titled album.  Robert's version of "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming" was only released as a commercial single in North America and Australia, and it peaked at number 60 in the US in August 1989.
Spoiler alert: in a Bubbling Down Under first, Robert Palmer had back-to-back debuts, and will be joining us again next week with a different track!

Number 143 "Mantra for a State of Mind" by S'Express
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks
S'Express, sometimes stylised as S-Express and S'Xpress, burst onto the chart in 1988 with "Theme from S-Express" (number 11, September 1988), and followed it up with "Superfly Guy" (number 35, October 1988) and "Hey Music Lover" (number 53, May 1989).  Released as the fourth and final single from their Original Soundtrack album (number 69, May 1989), the video for "Mantra for a State of Mind" featured some of the best use of vacuuming in a music video since Queen's "I Want to Break Free" in 1984, as well as some inflatable spiky balls that bear a loose resemblance to the COVID-19 virus.

I was an S'Express 'fan' of sorts (despite not actually buying any of their music until the album re-issue in the early 2010s), but I never heard "Mantra...", in full, at the time.  I say "in full", as that rather nifty vocal hook used during the intro and throughout was sampled/re-created as part of Rococo's "Italo House Mix" (even though this song is not really 'Italo'), which peaked at number 13 in February 1990.  I did, however, manage to finally hear/see the S'Express original when catching the video on rage a year after its release, randomly screened one week before the top 60 started in November or December 1990.  A lack of promotion locally therefore must have been a factor in the single's floppage down under. In contrast, "Mantra..." was a moderate hit in the UK, where it peaked at number 21 in October 1989, and also peaked at number 12 in Ireland a month prior.

S'Express will pay us another visit in 1992.

Number 144 "If Only I Could" by Sydney Youngblood
Peak: number 122 (original release); number 71 (1990 triple A-side re-issue)
Peak dates: 29 January 1990 (original release); 16 July 1990 (1990 triple A-side re-issue)
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks (original release); 17 weeks (original + 1990 re-issue chart runs combined)
Weeks on chart: 14 weeks (original release); 27 weeks (original + 1990 re-issue chart runs combined)

"If Only I Could" was American-based-in-Germany Sydney Youngblood's (real name: Sydney Ford) third single in Europe, following a cover version of "Ain't No Sunshine" (check out the music video with an annoying fly buzzing throughout!) and the rather Milli Vanilli-esque "Congratulations" in 1988.  In Australia, this was Sydney's debut single.  While it didn't have a lot of success locally, it registered in the top 10 in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Swizterland, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.  Of course, you may recall that Canadian-but-claimed-by-Australia Wendy Matthews scored a number 41 'hit' with a cover version of this track in May 1993.
Sydney's version of "If Only I Could" would also get another go - of sorts - on the Australian chart in July 1990, when it was re-issued with subsequent singles "Sit and Wait" (number 59, April 1990) and "I'd Rather Go Blind" as a triple A-side release.  This 3-in-1 single peaked at number 71 in July 1990.  All three of these tracks appeared on Sydney's debut album, Feeling Free (number 59, March 1990).  On its initial release, "If Only I Could" took awhile to reach its peak of number 122, peaking towards the end of January 1990.  All four of its weeks in the top 150 were non-consecutive.

Sydney can still sing this song pretty well, going by this 2019 performance at Cologne Pride (it's the first song performed).

Sydney will next visit us in 1991.

Number 146 "All You Need Is a Friend" by Ice Tiger
Peak: number 146 
Peak date: 20 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
A mere six weeks after they first graced the top 150, Australian band Ice Tiger returned with their second and final top 150 singles chart 'hit'.  Like the previous single, "All I Need Is a Friend" performed much better on the Australian Music Report chart, where it peaked at number 98.  If you like rock ballads, this might be your thing.
Number 149 "Pet Sematary" by Ramones
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 20 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Despite having name (and image) recognition, Ramones (no The) surprisingly only ever scored one top 100 single down under - "Rock 'n' Roll High School" (number 41, September 1980).  "Pet Sematary" was written for the 1989 Stephen King film of the same name, and also appeared on the band's Brain Drain (number 130, November 1989) album.  The music video for this song - ironically in retrospect - shows the band being lowered into a grave towards the end.  Three of the four members of Ramones at this point died between 2001 and 2004, with only drummer Marcy Ramone surviving.  The band's original drummer, Tommy Ramone, who quit the group in 1978, died in 2014, meaning that all four of the founding members of Ramones are now deceased.  Yikes.

We shall see Ramones again in 1993.

Number 150 "Say No Go" De La Soul
Peak: number 143
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
The group's fourth single in their native US, "Say No Go" was De La Soul's first single to be released in Australia.  As I have previously mentioned, a few notable exceptions aside, rap generally didn't do well on the Australian singles chart during the 1980s.  De La Soul's breed of rap was a bit different, though - not that it mattered to the Australian record-buying public... yet.  Lifted from the album 3 Feet High and Rising (number 129, October 1989), "Say No Go" was a top 20 hit in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, and New Zealand.  On this side of the ditch, we weren't yet sold on the idea, and De La Soul would have to wait until 1991 to score their first (and really, only) decent-sized hit in Australia, with "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)" (number 4, July 1991).  "Say No Go" took its time to peak on the ARIA charts, reaching number 143 in February 1990.
On the state charts, "Say No Go" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 111.

We will next see De La Soul in 1994.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 160 "Love Pains" by Hazell Dean
Peak: number 157
Peak date: 26 February 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Hazell Dean (real name Hazel, but she added the extra L after a numerologist told her it would bring her luck) is strongly associated with being part of the Stock Aitken Waterman stable, although her biggest hit in Australia, "Searchin' (I Gotta Find a Man)" (number 17, December 1984) was produced by Ian Anthony Stephens.  Hazell was, however, responsible for giving Stock Aitken Waterman their first top 10 hit in the UK, with "Whatever I Do (Whatever I Go)" in August 1984.  That single, in contrast, peaked at just number 74 in Australia in February 1985, and would become Hazell's final top 100 hit down under.

"Love Pains", a cover of a song originally recorded by Yvonne Elliman, was not produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, but instead by their 'B'-team, Phil Harding and Ian Curnow.  Coincidentally, Liza Minnelli also recorded a version of "Love Pains" for her Results (number 94, January 1990) album; and, although it was released as a single in Australia in April 1990, it failed to chart.

Hazell's version of "Love Pains" did not peak on the ARIA chart until late February 1990, and would be Hazell's final chart entry in Australia.

Since this will be the only occasion I have to write about Hazell in relation to the Australian charts, I may as well link a few of my favourite flop singles of hers, if you feel inclined to check them out - "They Say It's Gonna Rain" (a South African number 1 in 1985), "Stand Up" (UK number 79, September 1986), and "Always Doesn't Mean Forever" (UK number 91, June 1987).

Number 163 "Lethal Weapon" by Ice-T
Peak: number 161
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

"Lethal Weapon" was Ice-T's, real name Tracy Marrow, first single to chart in Australia, although he had earlier hit the ARIA albums chart with his second album Power (number 65, May 1989).
"Lethal Weapon" was the lead single from Ice-T's third studio album The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech... Just Watch What You Say! (number 81, February 1990).

Elsewhere, "Lethal Weapon" peaked at number 98 in the UK in September 1989, and number 22 in New Zealand (always ahead of the game it seems) in November 1989.

On the ARIA state charts, "Lethal Weapon" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 135.

We will next see Ice-T in 1990.

Number 168 "Everybody's a Star" by Paul Simpson featuring Terri Jeffries
Peak: number 168
Peak date: 20 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week
Unfortunately, I can't tell you much about this one, other than Paul scored a hit with Adeva earlier in 1989 in the UK - but I won't say too much about that, as it's a song I will be writing about in a couple of months' time.  I can tell you, however, that "Everybody's a Star" peaked at number 88 in the UK in October 1989.  Within Australia, this single performed strongest on the Western Australian state chart, where it peaked at number 125.  Paul will join us again, with another featured artist, in January 1990.

Number 170 "Let's Get It On" by James Freud
Peak: number 170
Peak date: 20 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Released as the third and final single from his Step into the Heat (number 26, June 1989) album, "Let's Get It On" peaked more than 100 places lower than the previous two singles, "Hurricane" (number 20, June 1989) and "One Fine Day" (number 68, July 1989).  To add insult to injury, James' Wikipedia article states that Step into the Heat was, up until that point, the most-expensive album to produce that Mushroom Records had released.  Oops.

James' next musical venture would be with Beatfish, whom we shall see in 1992.

Number 173 "Puss N' Boots/These Boots (Are Made for Walkin')" by Kon Kan
Peak: number 173 
Peak date: 20 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

We saw Kon Kan bubble WAY down under in August 1989, and here they are in the same region of the chart again, with the third single from their debut album Move to Move.

As you probably guessed from the song title (the slash does not indicate a double A-side), this track uses the chorus from Nancy Sinatra's classic "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", which topped the Australian chart in 1966.

"Puss N' Boots..." peaked at number 61 in Kon Kan's native Canada, and also reached number 58 in the US in September 1989, and number 11 in New Zealand in October 1989.

Kon Kan will join us once again in 1991.

Next week (27 November): five new top 150 debuts, and two bubbling WAY down under entries.  Among them, we have a top 30 hit from 1987 that curiously returns.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 13 November 1989                              Next week: 27 November 1989 >

13 November 2020

Week commencing 13 November 1989

One thing all five of the songs I write about this week have in common is that I didn't know any of them in 1989.  Perhaps they are new to you, too?  Although I think you'll probably know one of them - but not this particular version.   Let's take a look.

Babs Streisand: she's not makin' hits anymore
Top 150 debuts:
Number 122 "We're Not Makin' Love Anymore" by Barbra Streisand
Peak: number 111
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks
Barbra Streisand, whom we saw bubble under in February 1989, was a name I knew, though I wasn't familiar with very much of her music, as a just-turned-11 year-old in November 1989.  My impression of her was - it's sappy ballad music for your mother.  I don't think I've heard this one before.  Checking its Wikipedia page, I am not surprised that it's the work of Diane Warren, who I recently dubbed 'beige songwriter extraordinaire'; though Michael Bolton also had a hand at inflicting this upon the world... er, sorry, writing this.  In fact, Michael recorded his own version of the song for his 1991 album, Time, Love & Tenderness.  It sounds, to me, like Barbra's version would have made a nice soundtrack for the closing scenes of a 1980s made-for-TV movie.

"We're Not Makin' Love Anymore" was released as a single to promote Babs' latest 'hits' compilation album, A Collection: Greatest Hits... and More (number 22, December 1989).  Despite its songwriting pedigree, "We're Not Makin' Love Anymore" failed to set the charts alight anywhere, peaking at number 85 in the UK in November 1989, and at number 89 in the Netherlands in the same month.  While making number 10 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart (not a real chart, IMO), it failed to enter the Hot 100.

On the ARIA state charts, "We're Not Makin' Love Anymore" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 74.

Babs will next join us in 1992.

Number 140 "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" by Pandora's Box
Peak: number 133
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks
Just a fortnight ago, I wrote about a song that was later turned into a hit (though not so much in Australia) by Céline Dion, and here we are again with another flop that Céline would add her Midas touch to in 1996, when her version peaked at number 8 in November of that year.

Written by Jim Steinman, who penned big hits for Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler, Pandora's Box - a female quartet plus Jim on keyboards - performed the original recording of "It's All Coming Back to Me Now".  Meat Loaf wanted to record the song, but Jim felt it was better-suited to a female vocal.  The dispute over recording the song between the two even led to a lawsuit, preventing Meat Loaf from recording it... for the time being, at least.  Meat eventually released his own version as a duet with Marion Raven in 2006.
The Pandora's Box version, which peaked at number 51 in the UK in October 1989, was accompanied by a rather... bombastic music video, complete with what looks like an s&m-themed orgy and medical resuscitation scenes.  Skip to 0:58 on the embedded link below if you want to skip the spoken word part, which I'd not heard until now.  Video aside, I think I prefer this version of the song, without Céline's vocal histrionics.  While parent 'concept' album Original Sin (number 127, December 1989) was a flop (except in South Africa - I am reliably informed by the Wikipedia article), it is notable for containing the original version of this song, as well as others that were later recorded by Meat Loaf and even Taylor Dayne.
Pandora's Box released one further single in Australia, "Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)" in February 1990, but it failed to chart in Australia.

Number 146 "I Live by the Groove" by Paul Carrack
Peak: number 105
Peak date: 18 December 1989 (chart repeated 25 December 1989 and 1 January 1990)
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks
Weeks on chart: 12 weeks
Paul Carrack scored a trio of solo top 40 hits in Australia in 1987-1988, with the biggest of those being "When You Walk in the Room" (number 7, September 1987).  We also saw him bubble WAY down under in June 1989, on a duet with Terri Nunn.  Released as the lead single from Paul's fourth studio album Groove Approved (number 116, January 1990), "I Live by the Groove" just fell short of the top 100 on the ARIA chart, though it peaked at number 90 on the Australian Music Report singles chart.  On the state charts, "I Live by the Groove" performed much stronger in South Australia/Northern Territory and Western Australia, where it peaked at numbers 48 and 57 respectively.  In Paul's native UK, this song failed to chart, though it entered the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 31 in December 1989.  We shall see Paul again next year.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 156 "Call of the Wild" by Guy Pearce
Peak: number 156
Peak date: 13 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week
Actor Guy Pearce is probably best known (to me, anyway) as 'Mike' from long-running (and long past its use-by date if you ask me) Australian soap opera Neighbours.  While Neighbours launched successful pop careers for many of its 'stars', such as Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce would not have such luck with his foray into music.
"Call of the Wild", which I remember seeing in the record stores but never heard or saw the video (assuming one exists) anywhere at the time, performed equally-strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia, where it reached number 139.  The song was recorded for the 1990 Australian movie Heaven Tonight, which Guy also starred in.

Guy would only have one other charting release in Australia, with "Storm" (number 817, September 2014).

Number 166 "Blow the House Down" by Living in a Box
Peak: number 166
Peak date: 13 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Living in a Box were an act I remember reading about in UK pop magazine Number One, but don't recall hearing any of their music at the time.  "Blow the House Down" was the second of three UK top 10 singles for the group, reaching number 10 in March 1989.  It was the group's final charting single in Australia.

Next week (20 November): Seven new top 150 entries, including the understated arrival of a new hip-hop group, and five bubbling WAY down under debuts.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 6 November 1989                                      Next week: 20 November 1989 >

06 November 2020

Week commencing 6 November 1989

Two of this week's four new top 150 entries are side projects or one-off collaborations - one is the sole release of the artist's discography, and the other is one of many releases from a group who majorly underperformed on the Australian charts.  Shall we take a look?
Steve Stevens: Atomic Playboys?  Or just boys who like to lick their fingers and stick them in power sockets?
Top 150 debuts:
Number 129 "Oh Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison and Friends
Peak: number 112
Peak date: 27 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks
Roy Orbison's music - whether part of Traveling Wilburys (no The) or solo - was seemingly inescapable in 1989, following his untimely death in December 1988, and the success of his posthumous Mystery Girl album (number 1, February 1989).  "Oh Pretty Woman", a song I'm sure most people would assume was just titled "Pretty Woman" with no "Oh", was one of those songs you just absorbed through cultural osmosis, and was certainly one I knew from an early age, despite being born 14 years after it topped the chart in 1964.

Following the increased interest in Roy's music following his death, naturally it seemed logical to issue this live recording, from September 1987, that Roy performed together with 'friends' including Bruce Springsteen, k.d. lang, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jennifer Warnes, and others.  An album of the live set, A Black & White Night Live (number 28, November 1989), was also released.  Despite peaking outside the top 100 in Australia, somehow this track made its way onto the various artists compilation album Hits of 1990 Volume 1.  That makes me wonder if these below number 100 charts - or at least, the relevant placings from them - were made available to record companies, at the time.
On the state charts, "Oh Pretty Woman" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 74.

Roy will bubble down under again in 1992.
Number 138 Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys "Atomic Playboys"
Peak: number 138
Peak date: 6 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week 
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Steve Stevens (real name Steven Bruce Schneider) was best known for being Billy Idol's guitarist and songwriting collaborator, with prominent roles in his music videos such as "Rebel Yell" (number 7, April 1984).  He also famously played guitar on Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana" (number 26, June 1988).  This track was Steve's first foray with his group, Atomic Playboys.  As far as I am aware, the single did not chart anywhere else, and the group's only album, Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys, peaked at number 67 in Australia in October 1989, and number 119 in the US.  When asked in a 2001 interview whether there was any possibility of the group reforming, Steve replied: "Absolutely not. That group was a very expensive hobby."
"Atomic Playboys" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 99.
We will see Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys again in February 1990.
Number 150 "Casanova Baby" by Dora D
Peak: number 150
Peak date: 6 November 1989
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Now here's one I had never heard of before.  Going by the artist name and song title, I assumed that Dora D might be Dora D-Cup, and the song might be a tacky but brilliant Sabrina-esque pastiche.  Listening to it now, while it doesn't quite live up to those expectations, it is fairly pleasant.  Dora D also appears to be an Australian artist, with the music video uploaded to the YouTube channel VisionlinkAustralia.  Having listened to this track twice now, I hear synths during the intro that are rather similar to those used during the intro of the single version of Kylie Minogue's "Shocked" - although that was out nearly two years after this.  Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anything else about Dora D, other than the track was mixed by Mike Duffy (who produced the original, pre-Stock Aitken Waterman version of Kylie's "Locomotion"), and this appears to have been her only release.  Shame about that.
Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 164 "Drama!" by Erasure
Peak: number 157
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks
Things started out relatively promisingly for Erasure on the Australian singles chart, when "Oh L'amour" peaked at number 13 in September 1986, and became the 75th biggest hit of the year.  In contrast, "Oh L'amour" peaked at just number 85 in the group's native UK, in May 1986, where it was released as their third single.  Interestingly, Australia was the second country to give Erasure a top 40 hit, when "Oh L'amour" crept into the top 40 in August 1986, only being beaten by Sweden in June of that year.  In contrast, the group did not enter the top 40 in the UK until November 1986.

Despite this auspicious start, the group only ever scored one other top 40 single down under: 1992's ABBA-esque EP, which, led by "Take a Chance on Me", also peaked at number 13, in August 1992.  Their top 100 Australian singles chart tally wasn't much better, notching up a meagre five entries.  The group did, however, place a string of singles outside the top 100 in Australia, with this one being the first of 12 between 1989 and 2000.

Exclamation marks were obviously in vogue for the group, with "Drama!" being the first single lifted from the album Wild! (number 107, January 1990).  Within Australia, "Drama!" performed strongest on the Western Australia state chart, where it reached number 101.  In the UK, "Drama!" performed much better, peaking at number 4 in October 1989.
Erasure will next visit us in May 1990.

Number 168 "When I Looked at Him" by Exposé
Peak: number 168 
Peak date: 6 November 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week

American Latin freestyle group Exposé scored their sole ARIA top 100 single earlier in the year with "What You Don't Know" (number 65, October 1989), and here they are, just over 100 places lower, with the follow-up release.  Both tracks are lifted from their What You Don't Know album (number 117, November 1989).

I can see why this single didn't perform as well as the last one, though it's not that bad.  "When I Looked at Him" performed much better in the US, becoming the sixth of eight Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hits for the group.
Exposé scored another semi-'hit' in Australia with "Seasons Change", which was ranked seventh on the Australian Music Report's list of 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' for one week in March 1988.

One earlier single from the group I like that you should check out if you don't know it already is "Point of No Return", which was issued locally in August 1987 but failed to chart.  It peaked at number 5 in the US in July 1987, however.

We shall see Exposé again in 1990.

Next week (13 November): another three new top 150 debuts, including the original version of a track that would become a big hit in 1996, and two bubbling WAY down under entries.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
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