18 December 2020

Week commencing 18 December 1989

This week's chart was the last chart survey conducted by ARIA for 1989, and the final chart of the 1980s decade.  Owing to the two-week Christmas break in compiling the chart, this week's chart was repeated on 25 December 1989 and 1 December 1990, although it only reflects sales for the week of 11-17 December 1989.
Since 30 January 1989, we have seen 242 singles peak within the number 101 to 150 region of the chart, and a further (at the time of writing) 55 singles peak outside the top 150 - and I've now written about all of them!  Hopefully you've discovered or re-discovered some songs you liked during this nostalgic journey.

This week we have six new top 150 debuts and, for the first time since 23 October 1989, no bubbling WAY down under entries to look at.

Before delving into this week's chart, there are a couple of earlier posts from 1989 that I have recently updated, after additional bubbling WAY down under entries have been uncovered.  These posts are:

- 13 March 1989, with a new bubbling WAY down under debut from Joan Jett and The Blackhearts;
- 10 April 1989, with a new bubbling WAY down under debut from Karyn White;
- 10 July 1989, with new bubbling WAY down under debuts from Pseudo Echo and Big Country.

Finally, as no new chart was produced for the following two weeks, my next chart recap will be published in three weeks' time, on 8 January 2021.  I hope to see you then!

Michelle Shocked: what Karens looked like in 1989.

Top 150 debuts:

Number 129 "The Angels" by Melissa Etheridge
Peak: number 116
Peak date: 5 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Melissa's fifth single in Australia, this second release from her Brave and Crazy album (number 9, October 1989) was her first to miss the top 40.  I thought I didn't know this one, but the chorus rings a bell.  FM radio in Melbourne loved Melissa Etheridge during this period, and I no doubt heard it played on the radio several times.
Unfortunately, the ARIA database conflates this single with Melissa's similarly-titled "Angels Would Fall" from 1999, due to the way the database is set up - apparently, each title is assigned an eight-letter code, using the first four letters of the artist's name, and the first four characters of the song title.  This occasionally leads to errors.  In this instance, "The Angels" would have been listed as "Angels, The", and therefore would share the same code with Melissa's "Angels Come Down".  I am therefore unable to tell you exactly how this single performed on the state charts, but can report that it appeared to do much better on the South Australia/Northern Territory chart, where it debuted at number 54, than in other states.

Melissa will pay us another visit in 1990.

Number 136 "Head On" by The Jesus and Mary Chain
Peak: number 102
Peak date: 22 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks

Another one I probably heard at the time (and, I think, saw on Countdown Revolution), but had no recollection of... until I caught it on rage again in the late 2000s, is this one from The Jesus and Mary Chain.  "Head On" is quite a poppy effort from the Scottish band - still not quite 'pop', but about as catchy and anthemic as they get, and, dare I say this, not entirely unlike Transvision Vamp if they had a male singer.  I could also picture the song being used as music on Home and Away during a 'young lovers' trip to the fairground' scene.  I probably would have enjoyed the song at the time had I been a little bit older (I was 11).

The more-commercial sound connected with the record-buying public... well, relatively, giving the band their first charting single in Australia.  Lifted from the album Automatic (number 89, February 1990), "Head On" peaked at number 57 in the band's native UK in November 1989.  "Head On" performed stronger on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 92.

We will see The Jesus and Mary Chain again in 1990.

Number 141 Very Metal Noise Pollution E.P. by Pop Will Eat Itself
Peak: Number 121
Peak date: 15 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks

If any Pop Will Eat Itself single charted in Australia, I would have guessed that it would be "Wise Up! Sucker".  I caught the video for that track several times on TV, and even on a TV screen in the music department at my local K-Mart!  The English band even performed it 'live' on Countdown Revolution!  But, somehow, that single did not chart at all.  Instead, this extended play - that is, E.P. for short - which I had never heard of before, did...

I assume that the first track on the E.P., "PWEI-zation", which I have embedded below, was the one promoted as the 'single', but I could be wrong.  A music video was made for track 3 from the EP, "Def Con One", which I have also embedded below.  This latter track samples The Twilight Zone theme music, and also nicks the hook from Lipps, Inc.'s "Funkytown" (number 1, August 1980).
Very Metal Noise Pollution was an in-between albums release, and peaked at number 45 in the UK in September 1989.  In Australia, the EP performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 106.

Pop Will Eat Itself also registered their first charting album in Australia with This Is the Day... This Is the Hour... This Is This! (number 128, November 1989).

Pop Will Eat Itself will join us next in 1990.

Number 144 "On the Greener Side" by Michelle Shocked
Peak: number 118
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks

We first saw Michelle Shocked, real name Karen Michelle Johnston, bubble down under back in April 1989, and here she was again - this time with the lead single from her second album, Captain Swing (number 58, January 1990).  "On the Greener Side" does not appear to have charted on any other 'real' (sales-based) chart, though it did peak at number 19 on the US Billboard 'Alternative Airplay' chart... whatever that means, in January 1990.  While Karen, sorry, Michelle will just scrape into the top 100 singles chart in 1992 with "Come a Long Way" (number 100, July 1992), this will be the last time we see her bubble down under.
Due to the apparent absence of this song on YouTube, I can only assume that Karen Michelle wants to speak to the manager whenever her videos or songs are uploaded.  But, thankfully, she doesn't seem to mind having them on Vimeo - assuming the 'Michelle Shocked' account responsible for uploading the video I have embedded below is actually her.  The music video, if I am not mistaken, loosely attempts to subvert the Robert Palmer 'pouting models' music video formula, showcasing a bunch of men in suits cavorting behind her nonchalantly while strumming guitars, before being revealed in Speedos, swimming goggles and not much else flexing their muscles.  Enjoy.

Number 145 "You've Got It" by Simply Red
Peak: number 127
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks

Just a few months ago, Simply Red topped the ARIA singles chart with their rendition of "If You Don't Know Me by Now" (number 1, August 1989).  Two single releases later, they were just scraping into the top 130, with the fourth and final single release from their A New Flame album (number 2, August 1989).  If not for my dad owning the album on cassette (and being subjected to it on the car tape deck), I would not have heard this song before; so a lack of promotion was probably a factor in its poor chart showing.  The single performed better in the band's native UK, though still flopped, peaking at number 46 in November 1989.  "You've Got It" peaked at number 14 in Ireland in October 1989, but was not a hit anywhere else.  Simply Red front man Mick Hucknall co-wrote the song with Lamont Dozier, one third of Motown's songwriting and production powerhouse Holland-Dozier-Holland - not that it helped save "You've Got It" from being rather dull and unexciting.

"You've Got It" performed strongest on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart, where it peaked at number 92.  The single also peaked higher, at number 80, on the Australian Music Report singles chart.

We shall next see Simply Red in 1992.

Number 146 "Heading West" by Cyndi Lauper
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 15 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks

Poor Cyndi had not had much chart success with the post-"I Drove All Night" singles from her A Night to Remember album.  On a rosier note, at least "Heading West" - the fourth and final single released from the album - peaked 28 places higher than the last one.  Like Simply Red, I never heard this one at the time - though remember seeing it in the shops, so lack of promotion probably hindered its success.
"Heading West" missed the top 100 on all of the state charts, though performed strongest on the Victoria/Tasmania chart, where it peaked at number 103.  Internationally, "Heading West" didn't do much better on any major chart, though peaked at number 68 in the UK in December 1989.  It seemed that, from this point onwards, Cyndi would struggle to achieve significant chart success, and would unfairly be relegated to being a relic of the 1980s.

Cyndi will join us next in 1992.

Next chart (8 January): After the Christmas/New Year's break, the ARIA chart resumes on 8 January, kicking off the 1990s with four new top 150 debuts and one bubbling WAY down under entry.  In 1990, we will see 272 singles peaking in the 101 to number 150 region of the chart, and (at the time of writing this) a further 29 singles debuting and peaking outside the top 150.  That's at least 301 songs I have to listen to and write about next year...
Thank you for reading my posts throughout the year, and I hope you have a safe and pleasant holiday season!  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 11 December 1989                               Next chart: 8 January 1990 >

11 December 2020

Week commencing 11 December 1989

Welcome to the second last chart for 1989.  This week, there are three top 150 debuts, and one bubbling WAY down under entry.  Let's take a look:
Skid Row: If the rock star thing didn't work out for Sebastian Bach, a promising career in shampoo commercials beckoned.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 133 "18 & Life" by Skid Row
Peak: number 126 
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
We saw Skid Row back in July with their debut single, and here they were again with the second release from their Skid Row album (number 12, May 1990).  Debuting at number 156 on 9 October 1989, "18 & Life" took nearly two months to crack the top 150, and would take almost another month to reach its peak, on 8 January 1990.  The single also had a minor resurgence following the success of the band's third single, "I Remember You" (number 12, May 1990), re-entering the chart in June 1990 and climbing back to number 144.  None of "18 & Life"'s five weeks in the top 150 were consecutive, and the single was still charting in late July 1990.  Despite all of this, "18 & Life" only managed to notch up eight weeks on the chart.

"18 & Life" had much greater success in the band's native America, where it reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1989, becoming their first major hit.  In the UK, the single peaked at number 12 in February 1990.

"18 & Life" tells the tale of wayward teen 'Ricky', who is sentenced to life imprisonment after accidentally killing another teen with a firearm while in a drug/alcohol-induced haze.

We shall see Skid Row again in 1991.

Number 135 "Comment Te Dire Adieu" by Jimmy Somerville featuring June Miles Kingston
Peak: number 122
Peak date: 22 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks

Jimmy Somerville was the falsetto-voiced singer in Bronski Beat (biggest hit during his tenure with the group: "Smalltown Boy" - number 8, August 1984) and The Communards (biggest hit: "Don't Leave Me This Way" - number 2, November 1986).  His solo career yielded much less success on the Australian chart, with his biggest hit locally being "Dark Sky", which peaked at number 62 in February 1998.

"Comment Te Dire Adieu" (French translation: how to say goodbye to you) was Jimmy's first solo release... well, if you ignore that it was a duet with June Miles Kingston, who was the drummer in The Communards.  The single was a French-translated cover version of the Margaret Whiting song "It Hurts to Say Goodbye", and was originally recorded by Fran├žoise Hardy in 1968.  The track was lifted from Jimmy's Read My Lips album (number 114, January 1990).
"Comment Te Dire Adieu" was a success in Jimmy's native UK, where it peaked at number 14 in December 1989.  The single also peaked at number 3 in Ireland and France.
On the ARIA state charts, "Comment Te Dire Adieu" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 89.

We will next see Jimmy in 1991.

Number 144 "Name and Number" by Curiosity Killed the Cat
Peak: number 131
Peak date: 29 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
While Curiosity Killed the Cat (later known as just Curiosity) had reasonable success in the UK, where they racked up three top 10 hits between 1986 and 1992, they never quite took off in Australia.  In fact, only two of their singles dented the top 100, and the biggest of those, "Down to Earth", peaked at number 88 in June 1987.  "Name and Number" was the lead single from the band's Getahead album (number 136, April 1990), and peaked at number 14 on the UK singles chart in October 1989.

While you may not be familiar with this track, you've no doubt heard the "Hey, how you doin'?" chorus before, which was recycled on De La Soul's "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)" (number 4, July 1991) after some slight tweaking of the lyrics.

We shall see Curiosity Killed the Cat again in 1992, albeit under a different name.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 163 "Superheroes" by The Firm
Peak: number 163
Peak date: 11 December 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week 
The Firm scored a novelty hit in 1987 with "Star Trekkin'", which reached number 1 in the UK in June 1987, and number 3 in Australia in October of the same year.  "Superheroes" was released as the follow-up - at least in the UK - where it flopped, peaking at number 99 in September 1987.  In Australia, "Superheroes" was not released as a single until November 1989.  I am not sure why it took more than two years for the single to receive a release locally, but I am guessing that perhaps the record company were hesitant to release it in 1987 after it's poor chart performance in the UK, and felt now was the right time to release it, given the general popularity of the Batman movie in 1989.  Batman does get a mention in this song.

Like "Star Trekkin'", the music video for "Superheroes" is another clay animation production.  Both tracks were lifted from the album Serious Fun (number 81, March 1988), which - surprisingly, given it charted here - missed the top 100 in the UK.

Next week (18 December): The final chart for 1989, and the decade.  There are six top 150 debuts - among them is a band who scored a number 1 single only a few months ago, and an 80s icon who seemed to be struggling with her most-recent releases.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 4 December 1989                                   Next week: 18 December 1989 >

04 December 2020

Week commencing 4 December 1989

Now in the final month of 1989, the chart year is drawing to a close, with this week's chart being the third-last one for the year.  Unusually, of the ten songs I write about this week, I only knew two of them at the time - and they are both from the bubbling WAY down under section.  At least one of this week's new entries does not have a music video, and two of the songs I write about were not even on YouTube until creating this post!  Shall we take a look?
Olivia Newon-John: The charts weren't the only thing she was on the 'fringe' of in 1989.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 108 "The Arms of Orion" by Prince with Sheena Easton
Peak: number 108
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks
Prince, under the pseudonym Alexander Nevermind, first collaborated with Sheena Easton through writing the infamous "Sugar Walls" (number 87, June 1985), recorded for her A Private Heaven album (number 88, March 1985).  The pair then recorded a duet, "U Got the Look" (number 90, October 1987) for Prince's Sign "☮︎" the Times album (number 20, May 1987).  While neither of these collaborations had much chart success in Australia, both reached the top 10 of the US Billboard Hot 100.

"The Arms of Orion" was released as the third single from Prince's Batman soundtrack (number 4, July 1989), without an accompanying music video, which probably hindered its chart success.  The single performed stronger on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 88.  "The Arms of Orion" also peaked at number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1989, and number 27 in the UK during the same month.

Within Australia, "The Arms of Orion" performed equally-strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory and Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 77 on the state charts.  However, despite peaking highest in the two most-populous states, it didn't boost the single into the top 100, as it peaked  peaked eight weeks apart on both state charts.
While I saw this single in the shops, I never heard the song until looking it up on YouTube out of curiosity a few years ago.  That is, unless it is featured in the 1989 Batman movie, which I saw at the cinema, but can barely remember anything about (was there actually a plot?).

Sheena will pay us another visit in 1991, and Prince will join us again in 1996.
Number 114 "The Time Warp (PWL Remix)" by Damian
Peak: number 114 
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150:  7 weeks
The original version of "The Time Warp", by The Rocky Horror Picture Show Original Cast, like the 1975 film that spawned it, had a 'rocky' start, eventually peaking at number 3 in December 1980, spending 15 weeks in the Australian top 10.  Damian, hailing from Manchester in the UK, in a similar fashion, kept re-releasing his version of the track until it became a hit - well, in the UK, anyway.  Originally peaking at number 94 in the UK in September 1986 (after debuting on the chart in March of the same year), it was re-recorded and re-released as "The Time Warp II" - having two separate chart runs between December 1987 and September 1988, peaking at number 51 there in January 1988.  Finally, Damian's version of "The Time Warp" was remixed by Pete Hammond at PWL (home of hit-makers extraordinare Stock Aitken Waterman), and his Midas touch propelled the single to number 7 in the UK, for two weeks in September 1989.  Phew!

In Australia, we got "The Time Warp II", released in November 1988.  The PWL remix of "The Time Warp" was released locally in early November 1989.  Judging by the embedded music video, Damian moonlighted as a clown/stilts walker.   Sadly, he died from cancer in 2017, aged 52.

Number 123 "Our Children's World" by Oz Art for Ozone
Peak: number 123 
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
This track was (obviously) a charity record, by an ensemble of Australian artists - presumably to raise funds for environmental causes.  Artists participating in this project included: Andy McLean (21 Guns), Brian Canham (Pseudo Echo), David Janz (Janz), Grace Knight (Eurogliders), Jim Keays (Masters Apprentices), John Swan (Swanee), Juno Roxas (Roxus), Lisa Edwards, Lisa Schouw (Girl Overboard), Matthew De La Hunty (Tall Tales & True), and Wendy Stapleton (Wendy & The Rocketts).  I have no recollection of hearing this track before, so lack of exposure/promotion might have been a problem.  Like almost all charity records, it kind of... sucks.

Going by the rear sleeve used as an image still for the (audio-only) video below, there was a music video filmed for this one - but no-one has yet uploaded it to YouTube.
Number 133 "Pretending" by Eric Clapton
Peak: number 106 
Peak dates: 18 December 1989 (chart repeated 25 December 1989 and 1 January 1990) and 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks 

Up until now, Eric had placed eight singles within the top 100 on the Australian singles chart, with the biggest of those being "I Shot the Sheriff" (number 11, November 1974).  "Pretending" was the lead single from his Journeyman album (number 27, December 1989).  "Pretending" performed better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 85.  "Pretending" peaked at number 55 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in December 1989, and at number 96 in Eric's native UK in July 1990.  Eric will join us again in 1990.
Number 134 "Good Love" by Zan
Peak: number 134 
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks

Zan, real name Suzanne Abeyratne, was co-lead vocalist in the Australian band I'm Talking, who placed five singles in the Australian top 40 between 1985 and 1986, with the biggest of those being "Do You Wanna Be?" (number 8, June 1986).  Of the singles the band released, Zan only sang lead on one of them, "Holy Word", which peaked at number 9 in September 1986.
I'm Talking bubbled under on the Kent Music Report's list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100 with "How Can It Be", which reached fifth place on the list in November 1986.
I'm Talking disbanded in 1987, prompting both of its vocalists - Zan and Kate Ceberano - to launch solo careers.  Zan's debut single, "It's Your Move", peaked at number 82 in April 1989, and this was its follow up.  On the state charts, "Good Love" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 104.
Zan released one further solo single, "Nobody Else", in January 1991, but it failed to chart.

As this song was not previously on YouTube, I've had to resort to uploading the video below, which is just the audio of the 12" mix - the only version I was able to source.

Number 141 "Radar Love" by White Lion
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 8 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks

A cover version of the Golden Earring classic (number 10, September 1974), "Radar Love" was released as the second single from the Danish/American band's third album, Big Game (number 119, August 1989), and became their third single to bubble under in 1989, after we saw the band debut in May.  White Lion's version of the track peaked at number 59 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Locally, "Radar Love" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 77.

White Lion will join us one more time, in 1991.

Number 142 "Guitar Concierto de Aranjuez" by Tommy Emmanuel
Peak: number 138
Peak date: 18 December 1989 (chart repeated 25 December 1989 and 1 January 1990)
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Guitar maestro Tommy Emmanuel's first foray onto the Australian charts came in 1988, when the album Up from Down Under peaked at number 48 in July 1988.  "Guitar Concierto de Aranjuez" was a version of "Concierto de Aranjuez", composed in 1939 by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo, and lifted from Tommy's Dare to Be Different album (number 13, August 1990).  Tommy will join us again in 1990.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 155 "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty
Peak: number 155 (in 1989); number 59 in 2017
Peak dates: 4 December 1989 (1989 chart run); 9 October 2017 (2017 chart run)
Weeks on chart: 40 weeks (1989 and 2017 chart runs combined)
Sometimes, some of an artist's most well-known songs are not their biggest chart hits, and here we have a prime example of that, with Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'".  Despite peaking at number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1990, becoming his biggest hit there, "Free Fallin'" stalled outside the top 150 in Australia in 1989.  Tom's biggest chart hits in Australia had been "I Won't Back Down" (number 16, July 1989), and, with The Heartbreakers, "Refugee" (number 24, May 1980) and their duet with Stevie Nicks, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" (number 10, September 1981).
"Free Fallin'" was lifted as the third single from Tom's Full Moon Fever album (number 13, June 1989), following "I Won't Back Down" and "Runnin' Down a Dream" (number 68, September 1989).

Following Tom's death in October 2017, "Free Fallin'" re-entered the ARIA singles chart, and peaked at number 59 during the same month.  "Free Fallin'" was Tom's highest-peaking single to re-enter the ARIA chart in the week following his death, placing higher than "I Won't Back Down" at number 78 in the same week.  This would suggest that "Free Fallin'" could now be regarded as being Tom's 'signature' track in Australia, despite its low peak of number 155 in 1989.

Tom will next join us in 1991.

Number 165 "London Nights" by London Boys
Peak: number 165
Peak date: 4 December 1989
Weeks on chart: 1 week 

London Boys nudged the lower end of the top 150 back in September, and here they were with the second single lifted from their The Twelve Commandments of Dance album (number 137, August 1989) in Australia.  "London Nights" fared much better in the UK, where it became the duo's highest-charting single, peaking at number 2 in July 1989.  London Boys will visit us again in 1992.
Number 178 "Reach Out for Me" by Olivia Newton-John
Peak: number 153 
Peak date: 15 January 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

Here's one I hadn't heard before.  As Olivia explains during the spoken intro to the embedded music video, this one was written for her daughter, Chloe, who was almost 4 years old at this point.  Olivia recorded an album of children's songs, Warm and Tender (number 109, February 1990), from which this track is lifted.  "Reach Out for Me"'s two weeks on the chart were non-consecutive, with the single re-entering and reaching its peak in mid-January 1990.  Disregarding the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart (which I don't consider a 'real' chart), Australia was the only place this single charted.

Olivia will next visit us in 1992.

Next week (11 December): a quieter week, with three new top 150 entries, and one bubbling WAY down under debut.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
< Previous week: 27 November 1989                               Next week: 11 December 1989 >