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?
 
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.
 
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