13 November 2020

Week commencing 13 November 1989

One thing all four 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
 
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
 
Barbra Streisand 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.
 

 
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
 
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 reach the top 150.
 

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