26 February 2021

Week commencing 26 February 1990

The 1990s decade had only just begun, but this week, we have two top 150 debuts from two acts most closely-associated with the 1970s, and a bubbling WAY down under entry from a band primarily thought of as being an 80s act.  Interestingly, all three singles peaked on the chart during the same week.  Let's take a look.
 
Iggy Pop: Livin' on the edge of a corporate, 9 to 5 image.
 
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 111 "Livin' on the Edge of the Night" by Iggy Pop
Peak: number 101
Peak date: 26 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks 

Iggy Pop, real name James Newell Osterberg Jr., bubbled under in January 1989, on the first chart recap I wrote for this blog, and here he is again, with the lead single from his Brick by Brick album (number 65, February 1991), which I have previously written about in a special post on singles peaking at number 101.  Interestingly, all but one of "Livin' on the Edge of the Night"'s 9 weeks in the top 150 were spent between numbers 101 and 120.
 
Iggy's biggest chart success to date in Australia was "Real Wild Child (Wild One)", which peaked at number 11 in May 1987, and can still be heard as part of the theme for the nearly 34-years-running Australian music video TV program rage.  Iggy would better that peak, though, with the third Brick by Brick single, "Candy" (number 9, January 1991), a duet with Kate Pierson from The B-52's.  In the interim, "Home" peaked at number 95 on the ARIA singles chart in August 1990.

Iggy's two major hits aside, he is probably best known in Australia for his infamous 1979 Countdown TV performance of "I'm Bored" (number 68, August 1979), which still receives regular airings on rage.

I don't recall hearing "Livin' on the Edge of the Night" at the time.  I found the first verse boring, but it picked up with the chorus, and I like this.  Iggy's image in the video seems a lot tamer than usual - he keeps his shirt on, for starters.  It's almost as if the record company told him to wear a suit and slick back his hair, as part of an image overhaul.  The shirt was off again, though, by the time they got to "Candy" later in the year.
 
Iggy had more luck with this track on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it just scraped into the top 100 at number 99.   "Livin' on the Edge of the Night" peaked at number 51 in the UK in February 1990, and number 47 in the Netherlands in March 1990.

Iggy will join us again in 1991, with another duet.
 
 
 
Number 143 "Bad Love" by Eric Clapton
Peak: number 125
Peak date: 26 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
 
More than a decade before Madonna was latching onto other (and in her case, a lot younger) artists to maintain relevance, it seemed that Eric Clapton was roping in some of his pals to help him score hits at this point in career.  "Bad Love" is co-written by Eric with Mick Jones from Foreigner, and Phil Collins plays drums on the track and appears in the video.  Around the same time, Eric returned the favour to Phil, playing guitar on and appearing in his video for "I Wish It Would Rain Down" (number 15, April 1990).

"Bad Love" was issued as the second single from Eric's Journeyman album (number 27, December 1989).  We saw the first single from the album bubble under back in December.
 
A third single from Journeyman, "No Alibis" was released in Australia in May 1990, but missed the top 150.

 
 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 153 "Bombers in the Sky" by Thompson Twins
Peak: number 152
Peak date: 26 March 1990
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks
 
Thompson Twins (no The) bubbled WAY down under back in October 1989.  Here they are in the same region of the chart again, with the second single lifted from their Big Trash album (number 135, October 1989). 

I don't recall hearing this one before, yet it peaked three places higher than the previous single - which I heard/saw on TV numerous times.  Unusually for this period, where the chart does not seem to have extended to/beyond number 200, this single spent 6 weeks on the chart, despite its number 152 peak.  "Bombers in the Sky" does not appear to have charted anywhere else.

We shall see Thompson Twins again in 1991.
 

 
 
Next week (5 March): Next week there are four new top 150 debuts, including a megamix from a band who were quite successful during the 1980s.  You can also follow my posts on instagram, facebook and twitter.
 
< Previous week: 19 February 1990                                          Next week: 5 March 1990 >

19 February 2021

Week commencing 19 February 1990

After two weeks of 10 or more new entries to write about, this week there are a mere three.  One thing this week's debuts have in common is that they each spent 8 weeks in the top 150.  They also peaked within 4 positions of each other.  Interesting.
 
But before we take a look at this week's debuts, I have updated some earlier posts with newly-uncovered bubbling WAY down under entries:

- 10 April 1989: with a new entry from They Might Be Giants;
- 7 August 1989: with a new entry from The House of Love;
- 21 August 1989: with a new entry from Gladys Knight.
 
 Sonia: don't listen to the charts!
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 134 "Love" by Chosen Few
Peak: number 122 
Peak date: 9 April 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks

We saw Australian band Chosen Few back in May 1989, with the original version of "Rise" - a track that would become a number 23 hit for Daryl Braithwaite in December 1990.
 
I hadn't heard this one before, and can't tell you much about it... except that the single spent 8 weeks climbing to its peak of number 122 - and then fell out of the top 150 the following week.  Both this single and "Rise" are lifted from the album Friends, Foes & Firewood (number 128, July 1990).

Chosen Few will join us again in 1991.  In the interim, they released a single in June 1990, "Days Like These", which missed the top 150.



Number 138 "Listen to Your Heart" by Sonia
Peak: number 119
Peak date: 5 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks

Sonia Evans, known as just 'Sonia', scored a number 1 in the UK in July 1989 with her debut single, "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You", an ode to stalking (check out this fan-made video using footage from the 1993 film The Crush!) written and produced by hit-makers extraordinaire Stock Aitken Waterman.  While this success was not replicated in Australia, it did nonetheless give Sonia a respectable number 29 hit in October 1989.

Although a fan-favourite, Sonia's second single, "Can't Forget You" did not fare nearly as well, peaking at number 17 in the UK in October 1989, and number 98 in Australia in December 1989.

Sonia's third release, "Listen to Your Heart", came out in the UK towards the end of November 1989, and slowly (for their chart at the time) made its way to number 10 in January 1990, in the quieter sales post-Christmas period.
 
Being a Sonia fan, I bought "Listen to Your Heart" on cassingle... before I'd actually heard it!  In fact, I bought all five of Sonia's singles lifted from her debut album Everybody Knows (number 144, September 1990) on cassette.  I have wondered before if I was the only person in Australia to do so.

Despite her promising chart debut in the UK, Sonia couldn't maintain the same level of success (though no-one did) as fellow Stock Aitken Waterman-produced artiste Kylie Minogue.  However, Sonia became the first British female artist to score five top 20 singles from one album.  That didn't stop her record label, Chrysalis, from dropping her, despite Everybody Knows peaking at number 7 and selling more than 100,000 copies in the UK.
 
Sonia also parted ways with Stock Aitken Waterman, who were themselves by this point on the way out, towards the end of 1990.  There is speculation that the reason for Sonia's departure from the team was because she asked Pete Waterman for a large advance for a second album, so that she could buy her parents a house.  Her request could not be obliged.  However, Sonia successfully sued for royalties she was owed from the album.
 
While Sonia continued notching up UK top 20 hits until 1993, including a stint at Eurovision, she was largely relegated to becoming a covers act after parting ways with Stock Aitken Waterman.  As a Stock Aitken Waterman fan, it's a shame that there wasn't a second album produced by them, as Sonia was one of the more-capable singers they worked with.  Everybody Knows is considered by many fans to be one of the production trio's best.  Ah, what might have been...

Sonia's previous two singles, "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" and "Can't Forget You", had performed strongest on the Victoria/Tasmania state charts, where they peaked at numbers 15 and 74 respectively.   "Listen to Your Heart" performed strongest on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart, where it peaked at number 72.  "Listen to Your Heart" also cracked the Australian Music Report top 100 singles chart, where it peaked at number 96.

While Sonia never set the Aussie charts alight, "Listen to Your Heart" is the first of four visits Sonia will make to this region of the chart in 1990!  We will next see her in May.



Number 149 "The Eve of the War" by Ben Liebrand
Peak: number 118
Peak date: 19 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
 
Dutch DJ and remixer Ben Liebrand was responsible for updating several older hits with a contemporary 80's sound for their remixed re-releases, such as Hot Chocolate's "Every 1's a Winner" in 1987.  He was also behind Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight '88", which became a belated number 47 hit in Australia in June 1989, and the Rough 'n Ready Remix of Ram Jam's "Black Betty" (number 17, May 1990).

"The Eve of the War" was originally released by Jeff Wayne in 1978, lifted from his concept 'rock opera' album Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds (number 1, October 1978).  Given that this version of the track is, I assume, a remix and not a completely new recording, I am not sure why Jeff Wayne is not credited on this release.

That being said, "The Eve of the War" appears again in the number 101-150 region of the ARIA chart in September 1991, credited this time to Jeff Wayne (and not Ben Liebrand) - and betters its 1990 peak.  But I'll treat that as a separate release, given the different artist credit, when we get to it next year...

This version of "The Eve of the War" peaked at number 9 in the Netherlands in June 1989, and number 3 in the UK in December 1989.

We will see Ben again twice this year - once in his own right, and credited as a remixer on another release.



Next week (26 February): The relative paucity of new entries continues next week, with just two new top 150 debuts - one of which I've already featured in a special post.  In addition, there is one bubbling WAY down under entry.  You can also follow my posts on instagram, facebook and twitter.

< Previous week: 12 February 1990                                    Next week: 26 February 1990 >

12 February 2021

Week commencing 12 February 1990

I declared that last week's post boasted the highest number of top 150-peaking debuts for 1990, at 11.  This week, I write about 12 songs, though.  Confused?  Three of those are bubbling WAY down under entries, debuting and peaking outside the top 150.  This week, we also have a single that spent just one week in the top 150 despite peaking within the top 120.  Shall we dive in?
 
The Beatmasters: No, that's not the singer from M People, it's Claudia Fontaine!  Who is she?  Read on to find out!
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 106 "Clear Skies" by v. Spy v. Spy
Peak: number 103
Peak date: 12 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
 
Sydney-based v. Spy v. Spy, also know as just Spy vs. Spy, placed seven singles on the Australian top 100 singles chart between 1985 and 1989.  Their biggest hit was "Don't Tear It Down" (number 31, March 1987), which spent 20 weeks on the chart despite its modest peak.

"Clear Skies" was the second single lifted from the band's fourth studio album, Trash the Planet (number 22, November 1989), following "Hardtimes" (number 59, November 1989).  I remember seeing the video for "Clear Skies" on the short-lived Channel 10 music video program Spin, which aired on Saturday nights over summer 1989-1990 and possibly into early Autumn 1990.

In contrast to ARIA, "Clear Skies" made the top 100 on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 90.

v. Spy v. Spy will join us again in May.
 
 
 
Number 119 "Got to Have Your Love" by Mantronix featuring Wondress
Peak: number 119
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
 
Without checking to be sure, "Got to Have Your Love" has to have one of - if not the - briefest chart runs for a single that cracked the top 120, with just one solitary week inside the top 150.  This surprises me, with the song's infectious "gotta find a way to get into your heart" hook.  Also, the song received reasonable exposure (for a dance/electronic song in Australia, at the time) on TV and radio.  I caught the music video as a hit prediction (remember those?) on Video Hits, and probably Countdown Revolution too - and heard it several times on Triple M's top 8 at 8, hosted by John Peters.

In contrast to its low ARIA chart peak, "Got to Have Your Love" was a top 10 hit in the UK and Ireland, a top 20 hit in at least five European countries, and a number 27 hit in New Zealand.  In the band's native US, the single peaked at number 82 in March 1990.

"Got to Have Your Love" would be the only top 150 appearance for both Mantronix and Wondress, and the album it is lifted from, This Should Move Ya, also failed to dent the top 150 albums chart.

If you don't like the music video embedded below, I've linked a second music video filmed for the song here.
 
 
 
Number 132 "Somewhere Near Japan" by The Beach Boys
Peak: number 132
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
 
The Beach Boys had had somewhat of a chart revival over the last 18 months, with "Kokomo" spending 8 weeks at number 1 between December 1988 and February 1989, and "Still Cruisin'" (number 28, December 1989) hitting the top 30.  We also saw the group bubble under back in February 1989.
 
"Somewhere Near Japan" was the second and final single lifted from the Still Cruisin' (number 10, February 1990) album, not counting "Kokomo" as being a single released from it, as it had much earlier been on the Cocktail soundtrack (number 1, January 1989).  "Somewhere Near Japan" does not appear to have charted anywhere else.

I don't recall hearing this one at the time.
 
 
 
Number 136 "A Girl Like You" by The Smithereens
Peak: number 111 
Peak date: 19 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
 
The Smithereens are a band I've heard of, but have never actually heard any of their music (at least, not that I remember) until now.  For some reason, I thought they might be British, but Wikipedia reliably informs me that they hail from New Jersey.
 
Writing this as I listen to the video embedded below, when the chorus kicked in, it sounded familiar to me - so I must have heard this somewhere before.  Isn't it funny the useless information your brain can store?  And damn, I've got to say that chorus is as catchy as hell.  This should have been massive based on that alone.  I guess lack of exposure/promotion was the reason it wasn't.  If this had been utilised on a movie soundtrack or theme for a TV show, it would have been a bona fide smash.
 
The Smithereens, formed in 1980, had scored precisely one charting single in Australia up until this point; "Blood and Roses" (number 99, January 1987).  Another single, "Behind the Wall of Sleep" narrowly missed the top 100 in April 1987, when it was placed second on a list of 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' on the Kent Music Report (as the Australian Music Report was then known).

"A Girl Like You" was the lead single from 11 (number 96, April 1990), the band's third studio album.  The Smithereens would go on to score two further top 100 singles in Australia, in 1992.

Sadly, the band's lead singer, Pat DiNizio, died in 2017, aged 62.



Number 138 "Peace in Our Time" by Eddie Money
Peak: number 127
Peak date: 5 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks

We last saw Eddie just over a year ago, and here he was with a new track, released to promote his Greatest Hits: Sound of Money compilation album.  "Peace in Our Time", which I am hearing for the first time as I write this, gave Eddie a number 11 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 in February 1990.

We will see Eddie again in 1992, for what will be his last single to dent the Australian singles chart.  Eddie passed away in September 2019, aged 70, less than three weeks after being diagnosed with advanced oesophageal cancer.



Number 145 "Warm Love" by The Beatmasters featuring Claudia Fontaine
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 12 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
 
English electronic music trio The Beatmasters scored their first charting single in Australia with "Rok Da House" (number 37, June 1988), featuring Cookie Crew on vocals.  We then saw them bubble under back in June 1989 with "Who's In the House" featuring Merlin, and they introduced Betty Boo to the Australian charts via their "Hey DJ/I Can't Dance (To That Music You're Playing)" collaboration (number 88, November 1989).  The Beatmasters also produced Yazz's "Stand Up for Your Love Rights" (number 22, December 1988).

Although you may not have heard of Claudia Fontaine, you've probably seen her before, singing back-up in an 80s music video... like Marilyn's "Calling Your Name" (number 3, April 1984), or Soul II Soul's "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)" (number 45, February 1990), to name but two.  Claudia was quite a prominent backing vocalist during the 1980s and 1990s, performing with a swathe of UK acts.

"Warm Love", which somehow escaped me at the time, peaked at number 51 in the UK in December 1989, number 24 in Ireland in November 1989, and number 79 in the Netherlands in January 1990.  It was released as the fifth and final single from The Beatmasters' Anywayawanna album (number 129, October 1989).

Sadly, Claudia passed away in March 2018, aged 57.



Number 148 "Pictures of Matchstick Men" by Camper Van Beethoven
Peak: number 122
Peak date: 5 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
 
Not having heard of Camper Van Beethoven before, I wasn't sure what to expect, given the group's name.  The band hail from California, and formed in 1983.  "Pictures of Matchstick Men" is a cover version of a track originally recorded by Status Quo in 1968.
 
Listening to this track for the first time now, the singer's voice sounds familiar to me... and that's because (thanks, Wikipedia!) it's David Lowery, who went on to front the band Cracker.  Cracker scored a number 63 single in Australia with "Low" in September 1994, and bubbled under with another song before then, in 1992.

While "Pictures of Matchstick Men" did not register on any other chart that I consider a 'real' chart, it topped the US Billboard 'Alternative Airplay' chart (which was probably then known as the Modern Rock Tracks chart) in October 1989.



Number 149 "Put Your Mouth on Me" by Eddie Murphy
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
 
Principally known as a comedian and an actor, Eddie Murphy branched out into recorded music, scoring a number 21 hit in Australia with "Party All the Time" in April 1986.
 
Unfortunately, and perhaps, unsurprisingly, "Put Your Mouth on Me" isn't a patch on the Rick James-penned and produced "Party All the Time", and I found it a bit of a chore to listen to the whole thing.  The song doesn't really go anywhere.  Sufficient Yanks - or, more likely, radio programmers, given their dubious chart methodology - liked "Put Your Mouth on Me" enough to earn it a number 27 placing on the US Billboard Hot 100 in September 1989, however.
 
"Put Your Mouth on Me" was taken from Eddie's second album So Real, which missed the top 150 albums chart in Australia.  I think we can be proud of that.

Eddie would grace the ARIA top 100 singles chart again in 1993, when a duet with Michael Jackson, "Whatzupwitu", peaked at number 88 in July of that year.  Eddie will also bubble under again in 1993.



Number 150 "Forever Free" by W.A.S.P.
Peak: number 150
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

W.A.S.P., an acronym commonly used to mean White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, are an American metal band formed in 1982.  No definitive answer has been provided by the band as to what their name stands for, although the original US pressing of the band's self-titled debut album had the words "we are sexual perverts" inscribed around the centre of the label on the record.  Ooh-er!  Blackie Lawless (real name Steven Edward Duren), the band's lead singer, once answered that the band's name stood for "we ain't sure, pal", when asked directly in an interview.

Until now, W.A.S.P. had not placed a single on the Australian chart, despite placing four albums within the top 100.  In fact, the group would never crack the top 100 singles chart down under.

"Forever Free" was lifted from the band's fourth studio album The Headless Children (number 55, May 1989).  Oddly, it was the first single released from the album locally; "The Real Me", which was the lead single from the album in the US and Europe, does not appear to have been released in Australia.  "Forever Free" was issued locally in late November 1989, and took over two months to dent the top 150.

Coincidentally, W.A.S.P.'s next single to crack the ARIA top 150 also peaked at number 150 - but we'll have to wait until 1992 for that.
 
 
 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 153 "It's No Crime" by Babyface
Peak: number 153
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
R & B songwriter and record producer extraordinaire Babyface, real name Kenneth Brian Edmonds, made inroads on the ARIA chart with Bobby Brown in 1989, with his "Every Little Step" - co-written and co-produced by Babyface with partner L.A. Reid - peaking at number 8 in November 1989.  Babyface also co-produced Paula Abdul's debut single - though her third single in Australia - "Knocked Out" (number 82, September 1989), and before that, Pebbles' (she of TLC-manager fame/infamy) legendary "Girlfriend" (number 86, May 1988).

When it came to his own recording career, Babyface would have to wait until 1994 to score his first ARIA top 100 single, "When Can I See You" (number 31, November 1994).  I doubt he cared, though, as in the interim, his compositions with Boyz II Men alone had notched up 29 weeks atop the US Billboard Hot 100 charts.

"It's No Crime" was issued as the lead single from the Tender Lover album (number 143, May 1990), and is another that took over two months to dent the ARIA charts, following its Australian release in late November 1989.  The single had much greater success in Babyface's native US, where it peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in October 1989.

Babyface will join us no fewer than six times over the next four years, before his breakthrough Australian 'hit'; the next occasion will be next month.

 
 
Number 158 "To Know Someone Deeply Is to Know Someone Softly" by Terence Trent D'Arby
Peak: number 158
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
Sananda Maitreya, the artist formerly known as Terence Trent D'Arby, is like the text-book example of how to totally stuff things up with your second album.  His debut, the modestly-titled Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby (number 1, May 1988), became the eighth highest-selling album of 1988 in Australia, and was a top 5 success across the globe.  It contained two Australian top 10 singles - "Wishing Well" (number 9, October 1987) and "Sign Your Name" (number 3, May 1988).

Terence's second album, Neither Fish Nor Flesh (A Soundtrack of Love, Faith, Hope & Destruction) (number 40, November 1989), was, in contrast, a spectacular flop, yielding no real hit singles.  "This Side of Love" (number 94, December 1989), the lead single from the album, spent one week inside the ARIA top 100 singles chart.

"To Know Someone Deeply..." didn't exactly rescue the album's fate, peaking at number 55 in the UK in January 1990, and outside the top 150 here.  After this release, the album campaign was wrapped up, and no further singles were issued.

Terence then disappeared for about three and a half years, before returning in 1993 with the album Symphony Or Damn (number 8, June 1993), which, unexpectedly, gave Terence a third and final top 10 single down under, with "She Kissed Me" (number 9, June 1993).

The lack of sustained career success following his highly-successful debut album does not seem to bother Terence much, going by a 2019 interview I caught on YouTube recently.  Terence changed his name to Sananda Maitreya in 2001 - a move he credits with saving his life.  Sananda now speaks of Terence in third-person, according to this interview article with The Irish Times in 2017 - as though Terence was somebody else.

We will see Terence again in 1995.

 
 
Number 161 "Baby You're Mine" by Basia
Peak: number 161
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks
 
Polish singer Basia, real name Barbara StanisÅ‚awa Trzetrzelewska, got her break singing with Matt Bianco - who, despite the name, were a group.  Basia's voice can be heard prominently on the chorus of Matt Bianco's "Whose Side Are You On..." (number 57, June 1985).

Basia left Matt Bianco in 1985 to embark on a solo career.  Her debut solo album Time and Tide (number 50, May 1989) took over 18 months to take off in Australia.  A single from it, "New Day for You", reached number 69 on the ARIA singles chart in May 1989.  We saw Basia bubble WAY down under in May 1989 with the title track from the album.

"Baby You're Mine" was the lead single from Basia's second album, London Warsaw New York (number 114, March 1990).  "Baby You're Mine" peaked at number 84 in the UK in February 1990, and number 45 in France in May 1990.

We will see Basia again in May.


 
Next week (19 February): A mere three top 150 debuts!  My tired typing hands feel a sense of relief. One of the three new entries next week is a song that bubbled under on two separate occasions, 18 months apart, credited to different artists.  Interesting...  You can also follow my posts on instagram, facebook and twitter.
 
< Previous week: 5 February 1990                                   Next week: 19 February 1990 >

05 February 2021

Week commencing 5 February 1990

This week's post is a bumper week for new entries, with no fewer than 11 top 150 debuts!  I had a look at the rest of the year, and 11 is the record for top 150 debuts in 1990.  At the other end of the spectrum, there is only one new top 150 debut one week in August 1990.  Interestingly, this week's post contains more debuts peaking between number 101 and 150 than we will see for the entire month of August 1990!  Let's dive in to this week's 11 new entries.

Transvision Vamp: the Australian record-buying public were not quite 'sold' on this release.
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 111 "I'm Not the Man I Used to Be" by Fine Young Cannibals
Peak: number 109 
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
 
Up until this point, all eight of Fine Young Cannibals' previous singles had made the Australian top 100, with six of those making the top 20.  The group's biggest single down under had been "She Drives Me Crazy", which was number one for three weeks over two separate stints at the top, in March and April 1989.

The Cannibals' hit-making streak in Australia came to a crashing halt with "I'm Not the Man I Used to Be", the fourth single lifted from The Raw & The Cooked (number 1, July 1989).  Quite why this single stalled, I am not sure, although most people who wanted to own it had probably already purchased the album.
 
"I'm Not the Man I Used to Be" performed stronger on the Australian Music Report chart, where it peaked at number 96.  On the state charts, the single was most popular in Queensland and Western Australia, peaking at number 85 on both charts.
 
While the single was a modest hit (given their fast-paced charts at the time) in the band's native UK, peaking at number 20 for two weeks in December 1989, it was, at least, an improvement on the number 34 UK peak of previous single "Don't Look Back" (number 38 in Australia, October 1989).  Internationally, "I'm Not the Man I Used to Be" was a top 30 hit in the Netherlands and Austria, a top 40 hit in Germany, and had its greatest success in Ireland, where it peaked at number 8.

What few people would have predicted, including myself, is that there would be no more top 40 singles for Fine Young Cannibals - in Australia, anyway - owing largely to The Raw & The Cooked being the band's final studio album.  The band only released two studio albums during its existence, plus a greatest hits compilation in 1996, for which they recorded a new song, "The Flame" (number 85, November 1996).

Fine Young Cannibals will be back with another single from The Raw & The Cooked in April.



Number 115 "Prayer for You" by Texas
Peak: number 101
Peak date: 12 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks


Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland - in spite of the band name - Texas burst onto the ARIA singles chart in 1989 with "I Don't Want a Lover" (number 4, September 1989).  Follow-up singles "Thrill Has Gone" (number 60, September 1989) and "Everyday Now" (number 52, November 1989) struggled to replicate this success.  "Prayer for You", released as the fourth and final single from Southside (number 14, November 1989), had even less success, just falling short of the top 100.
 
It was a similar story in the band's native UK, where "I Don't Want a Lover" peaked at number 8 in March 1989, and subsequent Southside singles all missed the top 40.  "Prayer for You" continued the pattern of diminishing returns, peaking at number 73 in the UK in December 1989.
 
On the state charts, "Prayer for You" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it peaked at number 76.
 
Although Texas would return to the ARIA top 100 singles chart a couple of times in the early 90s, they would not score another sizeable hit in Australia again until 1997, with "Say What You Want" (number 11, June 1997).  We shall next see Texas bubble under in 1992.
 
 
 
Number 136 "Make Believe Mambo" by David Byrne
Peak: number 136
Peak date: 5 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks
 
David Byrne was the lead vocalist in Talking Heads, who notched up nine top 100 singles in Australia between 1979 and 1986, with three of those making the top 20; the highest-peaking of which was "And She Was" (number 10, March 1986).  Although the band's 1988 album Naked peaked at number 8 in Australia, it spawned no charting singles.  Talking Heads disbanded in December 1991, after band members learnt that Byrne had left through an article published in the Los Angeles Times; he had not otherwise informed the group of his intention to quit.

David Byrne released a solo album 1981, and the follow-up studio album Rei Momo (number 96, January 1990) was released in the last quarter of 1989, from which this track is lifted.

While David's solo career didn't exactly set the Australian charts alight, we will see him again in 1992.
 
 
 
Number 137 "Heat of the Moment" by After 7
Peak: number 107 (number 123 in 1990; number 107 in 1991)
Peak date: 8 April 1991
Weeks in top 150: 15 weeks (9 weeks in 1990; 6 weeks in 1991)
 
If my memory serves me correctly, here we have the first instance of a single peaking outside the top 100 that had two separate (as in a year apart) chart runs.

"Heat of the Moment" was first released in Australia in January 1990, and peaked at number 123 in May 1990.  But even its first chart run was split in two, spending two weeks in the top 150 in February 1990, and then re-entering towards the end of April 1990, spending a further seven weeks in this region of the chart.   The group then released the singles "Ready Or Not" in August 1990 - which missed the top 150, and "Can't Stop" in December 1990 (number 80, February 1991).  "Heat of the Moment" was then again issued in March 1991, reaching its peak of number 107 in April 1991, and spending another 6 weeks on the chart.

Listening to "Heat of the Moment" for the first time as I write this, I am struck by how similar the music backing sounds to Pebbles' "Giving You the Benefit" (number 48, January 1991).  Both tracks are L.A. Reid/Babyface compositions and productions, though.

"Heat of the Moment" is lifted from the After 7 album, which peaked at number 124 in Australia in February 1990.



Number 139 "Born to Be Sold" by Transvision Vamp
Peak: number 108
Peak date: 12 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks

During 1988 and 1989, Transvision Vamp placed seven singles in the ARIA top 100, with two of those reaching the top 10: "I Want Your Love" (number 7, December 1988) and "Baby I Don't Care" (number 3, August 1989).  The group's popularity down under was cemented with two platinum-certified albums, Pop Art (number 13, February 1989) and Velveteen (number 2, July 1989).

Despite this success, Transvision Vamp's singles chart peaks seemed to drop off quickly by the time it got to the third and fourth single releases from their albums, with "Tell That Girl to Shut Up" (number 44, February 1989), "Sister Moon" (number 95, June 1989), and "Landslide of Love" (number 70, November 1989) all missing the top 40.  "Born to Be Sold" would continue the trend, becoming the band's first release to peak outside the ARIA top 100; although it just scraped into the Australian Music Report top 100 singles chart at number 97.
 
Speaking of trends, "Born to Be Sold", like Billy Joel's recent hit "We Didn't Start the Fire" (number 2, November 1989) and The Beloved's upcoming flop "Hello" (number 94, May 1990), was a 'list' song.  That is, its verses list a number of cultural icons - in this instance, pop singers, film stars and politicians.  Among others, Elvis, Madonna and Morrissey get name-checked, and Transvision Vamp singer Wendy James (well, via songwriter and bandmate Nick Christian Sayer) declares herself, like the other people listed, as being "born to be sold".
 
Wendy, who loved to court controversy, copped some flack for comparing herself to 'the greats' with this song in at least one of the pop magazines I read at the time.  Those who followed pop music in the late 80s will no doubt remember some of Wendy's infamous comments slagging off other pop stars, particularly Kylie Minogue, who she once described as "pollution of the mind."  Ouch!  Still, at least Wendy had opinions, unlike many heavily stage-managed and media-trained artists.

On the state charts, "Born to Be Sold" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it peaked at number 71.  Internationally, the single peaked at number 22 in the group's native UK in November 1989, and at number 12 in Ireland.
 
Fun fact: I bought this single on cassette at the time; just as I had bought Transvision Vamp's last single, "Landslide of Love", on the same format.  I obviously showed a precocious interest in flop singles as an 11 year-old.  One of the B-sides on the "Born to Be Sold" single, a live rendition of "Last Time", contained some naughty S and F-words delivered by Wendy when speaking to the audience during the intro - but there was no parental advisory sticker on the sleeve!  Ooh-er!

We won't see Transvision Vamp bubble under again, as the two singles from their third and final studio album in 1991 both made the top 100.  We will, however, see Wendy James in 1993, when she embarks on a solo career, after the demise of the band.
 

As a special treat, because I find it so funny - and it seems to have been taken down everywhere online - embedded below is French and Saunders' parody of Transvision Vamp/Wendy James' Star Test interview.  The song in the clip parodies the list-song format of "Born to Be Sold", with everything relating back to Wendy and her faux modesty (check out the "me me me me" chorus).
 
 
 
Number 143 "Insect" by Boxcar
Peak: number 143
Peak date: 5 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

Boxcar, hailing from Brisbane, were Australia's answer to New Order.  Well, minus the commercial success, unfortunately.  Their debut single, "Freemason (You Broke the Promise)", released in November 1988, failed to chart locally, but made some ripples on the US Billboard Dance chart, where it peaked at number 8.  OK, I know I've said before that such genre-specific Billboard charts, based on god knows what, are not 'real' charts, but I'm trying to be generous here, for an act responsible for some songs that I like.

"Insect", the band's second single, was released locally in November 1989, but took until now to register on the chart.  Fitting with the song title and the lyrical theme of being "crushed" like an insect by an ex, the music video contains numerous scenes of praying mantises, ants and the like, and is not one recommended for those with entomophobia (look it up!).  But the song itself is definitely worth a listen.

Released on Australian dance music label Volition, "Insect" was produced by pioneering Australian electronic/dance music producer and remixer Robert Racic, who was involved with many late 80s/early 90s home-grown dance releases, such as the 1994 remix of Severed Heads' "Dead Eyes Opened" (number 16, January 1995), Beatfish "Wheels of Love" (number 26, September 1991), and Sexing the Cherry's "Steppin' On" (number 42, May 1994).  Racic, sadly, passed away in 1996 from AIDS.

Boxcar would criminally peak no higher than number 82 on the ARIA singles chart, with "Gas Stop (Who Do You Think You Are)" reaching that position in January 1991. "Insect", "Freemason" and "Gas Stop" all appear on the band's debut album Vertigo (number 118, February 1991).  I don't think that Australia was ready to embrace electronic music made by local bands yet - radio certainly wasn't, instead preferring to stick with a staple of pub rock bands, "classic rock" and Cold Chisel.  Ugh.
 
Boxcar will bubble under a number of times in the coming years, with the next occasion being in 1991.



Number 144 "Don't Make Me Over" by Sybil
Peak: number 144
Peak date: 5 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks

Sybil Lynch, known mononymously as just Sybil, hails from America, and is Maxine Jones from En Vogue's cousin.  Although her version of Dionne Warwick's "Don't Make Me Over" was a number 20 hit for her on the US Billboard Hot 100 in December 1989, Sybil had the most career success in the UK, where she notched up three top 10 hits, and this song peaked at number 19 in October 1989.
 
The album this track is lifted from, Sybil, also contains a cover of Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By", which was a number 6 hit for her in the UK in February 1990.  Both the album and that single failed to chart in Australia.  Sybil later worked with Stock Aitken Waterman, or their Stock/Waterman incarnation, and some of the songs they produced made the ARIA chart.

While Sybil never peaked higher than number 144 in Australia, we will see her bubble under a few more times in the coming years, with the next occasion being in October.



Number 145 "It's Gonna Change" by Blow featuring Roy Hamilton
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 5 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
 
I can't tell you much about Blow, other than it's an alias of house music producer and DJ, Gordon Edge, whose real name is Gordon Laing Matthewman.  Likewise, I can't tell you much about Roy Hamilton, other than his father, also named Roy Hamilton, was a singer from Jamaica.  Together, they released this acid house track, which does not appear to have charted anywhere else.



Number 146 "The Yuppie Rap" by Club Veg
Peak: number 146
Peak date: 5 February 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Unfortunately, this one isn't on YouTube - or any other online video/audio streaming site that I am aware of - at the time of writing this, so I am unable to tell you much about it.  I can tell you, though, that Club Veg was a radio show comedy duo consisting of Malcolm Lees and Vic Davies, and that Vic died from lung cancer in 2009.

In lieu of a video or audio clip, I have posted the single sleeve below.



Number 147 "We Almost Got It Together" by Tanita Tikaram
Peak: number 116
Peak date: 19 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
 
Tanita graced our presence twice in 1989, with "Good Tradition" (number 142, January 1989) and "Cathedral Song" (number 120, July 1989).  Her biggest, and only real hit in Australia was "Twist in My Sobriety" (number 23, April 1989).

"We Almost Got It Together" was the lead single from Tanita's second album The Sweet Keeper (number 68, February 1990), and peaked at number 52 in the UK in January 1990.  The single was also a top 30 hit in Ireland, a top 40 hit in the Netherlands and the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium (Flanders), and a top 50 hit in Germany.  One interesting thing about "We Almost Got It Together"'s chart run in Australia - if you're a chart freak, anyway - is that it didn't reach its peak until its final week on the chart, after which, it dropped out.

Subsequent singles released in Australia from The Sweet Keeper, "Little Sister Leaving Town" (May 1990) and "Thursday's Child" (August 1990), failed to chart.  Tanita will join us again, however, in 1995.



Number 149 "Quicksand" by Jimi the Human & Spectre 7
Peak: number 137
Peak date: 16 April 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
 
Listening to this song as I write this, I didn't expect to know it, but the "walking in the quicksand" chorus sounds familiar. "Quicksand" was released back in early December 1989, but took until now to dent the top 150.
 
If you read the video description blurb for the clip embedded below - which appears to be uploaded by Jimi (Hocking) himself, you would be led to believe that the album this track is from, No Turning Back, was a top 20 success.  Um, hate to burst your bubble, man, but it wasn't.  In fact, the album peaked at number 101 on the ARIA albums chart in March 1990.  Top 20... on the Australian artists chart (another meaningless one), perhaps?  I have noticed that artists often have mistaken beliefs about their chart positions, and that they are prone to inflation.

This would be Jimi the Human & Spectre 7's only top 150 charting single.  "Quicksand" performed much better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 86.  You have to wonder, though, when there is a 51-place discrepancy between the ARIA and AMR peaks...



Next week (12 February): I would normally expect a quieter week after one with 11 debuts, but no, next week there are another 9 top 150 debuts!  Obviously, a clear-out was happening in the lower region of the charts.  On top of that, there are 3 bubbling WAY down under entries for me to write about.  I had better get cracking...  You can also follow my posts on instagram and facebook.
 
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