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.

This track would be the band's final charting single in Australia.

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.
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