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15 January 2021

Week commencing 15 January 1990

Of the five songs I write about this week, I had only heard one of them at the time (the Malcolm McLaren one), which I barely remembered.  Two of this week's debuts - from overseas artists, no less - failed to chart anywhere else.  Let's take a look at them.
 
Adeva sings "we're almost there"... if 'there' is the top 150 this week.
  
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 130 "Another Chance" by The Georgia Satellites
Peak: number 126
Peak date: 5 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks 

American band The Georgia Satellites scored two top 40 singles in Australia - "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" (number 20, March 1987) and "The Hippy Hippy Shake" (number 37, January 1989).   A third single, "Battleship Chains" (number 82, July 1987), dented the top 100.  "Another Chance" was lifted from the band's third album, In the Land of Salvation and Sin (number 132, January 1990), and failed to chart anywhere else.  This would be the band's final top 150 singles chart appearance in Australia.
 

 
Number 147 "Thrash" by Underworld
Peak: number 147
Peak date: 15 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 1 week 

Underworld's chart career in Australia started off promisingly, with "Underneath the Radar" peaking at number 5 in June 1988.  Subsequent singles from their Underneath the Radar album (number 32, August 1988) missed the top 50: "Glory! Glory!" (number 64, September 1988), "Show Some Emotion" (number 88, December 1988), and "I Need a Doctor" (released in Australia in February 1989, failed to chart).

"Thrash" was the second single released from the band's second album, Change the Weather (number 64, October 1989), following "Stand Up" (number 79, October 1989).  "Thrash" failed to chart anywhere else.  The title track was released as the third single from the album in late January 1990, but failed to chart.

One thing that is evident when looking at Underworld's Australian chart history is that the band were notably more popular in Western Australia than in other states.  "Underneath the Radar", for example, topped the Western Australian state chart, and "Glory! Glory!", "Show Some Emotion" and "Stand Up" all made the state top 40, despite missing the national top 60.  "Thrash" similarly peaked higher on the Western Australian state chart than in other states, peaking at number 105.

Underworld would undergo a metamorphosis and change in sound in the early 90s, and would eventually score their second (and last) hit single down under with "Born Slippy" in 1996 (number 20, January 1997).

We will see Underworld next in 1994.
 

 
Number 148 "I'll Be Good to You" by Quincy Jones featuring Ray Charles and Chaka Khan
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 15 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
 
Quincy Jones is perhaps best known for being the producer of Michael Jackson's Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad albums.  When it comes to charting under his own name, however, Quincy only landed one top 100 single in Australia - "Ai No Corrida" (number 74, July 1981).
 
"I'll Be Good to You" was originally recorded by The Brothers Johnson in 1976, but was produced by Quincy.  Chaka Khan, whom we last saw in September 1989, and Ray Charles provide vocals on this new version of the track, and appear in the music video embedded below.  "I'll Be Good to You" peaked at number 18 in the US in January 1990, and number 21 in the UK in February 1990.
 

 
 
Number 150 "House of the Blue Danube" by Malcolm McLaren and The Bootzilla Orchestra
Peak: number 150
Peak date: 15 January 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
 
"House of the Blue Danube" was the third single lifted from Malcolm's Waltz Darling album (number 60, August 1989), and followed "Waltz Darling" (number 65, August 1989) and "Something's Jumpin' in Your Shirt" (number 95, November 1989).  "House of the Blue Danube" peaked at number 73 in Malcolm's native UK in November 1989.
 
Malcolm scored six top 100 hits under his own name (not counting associated acts, such as World's Famous Supreme Team) in Australia, all up, with the biggest of those being "Double Dutch" (number 14, September 1983).  However, arguably the Malcolm McLaren single that had the biggest cultural impact missed the top 100, and will be coming up later in the year.
 
 
 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 157 "Musical Freedom (Free At Last)" by Paul Simpson featuring Adeva
Peak: number 151
Peak date: 29 January 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
"Musical Freedom (Free At Last)" was first released in Europe in 1988, and featured Adeva - whom we saw back in July 1989 - on vocals.  It did not chart, however, until getting a re-release in 1989, following the success of "Respect" in the UK.  Interrupting an otherwise-consecutive run of three solo Adeva singles peaking at number 17, "Musical Freedom" peaked at number 22 in the UK in April 1989, and number 43 in the Netherlands in May 1989.
 
Released in Australia in September 1989, "Musical Freedom" took four months to dent the lower end of our chart, probably spurred on by the belated simultaneous ascent of "Warning!" (number 38, February 1990) and "I Thank You" (number 30, February 1990) on the charts in early 1990.

"Musical Freedom" deals with the subject of racial equality for African Americans, with upbeat lyrics such as "throw your hands up in the air, 'cause we're almost there".  Thirty plus years later, you have to wonder about that, given the current state of things in the USA.
 
As an atheist, I'm quite pleased that one of the lyrics in this song is "don't start preaching", given how often 'God' is invoked in this type of anthemic song - especially from the African American community.  One of the verses of "Musical Freedom" begins with the lyrics, "Lord knows I feel like throwing my hands up in the air", which bears a close resemblance - lyrically and melodically - to the opening lines of The Source featuring Candi Staton's "You Got the Love" ("Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air").
 
This would be Paul Simpson's - whom we saw in November 1989 - last foray onto the Australian charts.  Adeva will join us again in a few months' time.
 

 
Next week (22 January): Next week mirrors this week's chart, with four new top 150 debuts, and one bubbling WAY down under entry.  Among them is the first of five singles to bubble down under between 1990 and 1992 for a veteran artist.  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
 
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