19 March 2021

Week commencing 19 March 1990

This week, there are ten new top 150 debuts, which is the second-highest number of new entries within the top 150 we shall see for the year, tied with 21 May 1990 and 17 September 1990.  Of the ten new entries, six of them are from Australian artists.  Shall we take a look?
Max Q's Michael Hutchence predicts the Clinton-Lewinski affair: "You stained my chair, I stained your dress".  Ooh er!
Top 150 debuts:
Number 107 "Monday Night by Satellite" by Max Q
Peak: number 107
Peak date: 19 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks
Max Q was INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence's side-project with Ollie Olsen.  Their Max Q album (number 13, October 1989) spawned three singles, of which "Monday Night by Satellite" was the last.  It followed "Way of the World" (number 8, September 1989) and "Sometimes" (number 31, November 1989).

While I enjoyed "Monday Night by Satellite", it sounded less like a 'single' to my ears than the album's earlier releases.  I would have gone with "Ghost of the Year" instead, although there weren't many tracks left on the album that sounded like 'hits'.

It probably doesn't fit the timing, and the track was written solely by Ollie Olsen anyway, but I like to think that the "Monday Night by Satellite" lyric 'people say we're brats, but I think we're pretty smart' aptly describes Michael Hutchence and his then-new beau Kylie Minogue, with their short-hair (a wig, in Kylie's case) new-look public appearances in late 1989.

On the state charts, "Monday Night by Satellite" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 77.  The single fared better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 93.

'Hutch' would be back to INXS after this, with their X album released in October 1990.  Ollie Olsen would also score his own minor 'hit' single with his band Third Eye in 1990, with "The Real Thing" (number 76, October 1990).  Third Eye will bubble under in 1991, and INXS will bubble under in 1994.

Number 128 "She Bangs the Drums" by The Stone Roses
Peak: number 128
Peak date: 19 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks

"Fools Gold" (no apostrophe), The Stone Roses' first and biggest hit down under (number 13, May 1990), debuted at number 143 last week, and climbed to number 100 this week, spawning enough interest in their previous single "She Bangs the Drums", released locally in November 1989, for it to also make the top 150.  Prior to this, "She Bangs the Drums" spent a week on the ARIA singles chart in December 1989 at number 167.

Lifted from their The Stone Roses album (number 36, May 1990), "She Bangs the Drums" was the Roses' second single released in Australia, following "Made of Stone" in June 1989, which failed to chart in its own right.  Although I can't now find any evidence online, if I remember correctly, "Made of Stone" was packaged together with "Elephant Stone" (number 86, July 1990) in a 2-for-the-price-of-1 deal, which is why it is listed as a double A-side with "Elephant Stone" in The ARIA Report, despite not being a B-side on that single.
"She Bangs the Drums", which I (perhaps wrongly) assume is rhyming slang for an orgasm ("see how she comes"), was the Manchester band's first UK top 40 single, originally peaking at number 36 in July 1989, before reaching number 34 there in March 1990 when re-issued.
Within Australia, "She Bangs the Drums" was most popular in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it peaked at number 109 on the state chart.  "She Bangs the Drums" also performed better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 96. 
I caught the video embedded below for "She Bangs the Drums", compiled from footage from an August 1989 gig, at least once on Countdown Revolution and it didn't really grab me... but I love the song now, particularly for its piano bass lines.  A different, low-budget slow-motion video was used to promote the single for its original UK release.
As an aside, you should check out this UK live TV performance of "Made of Stone" if you've not seen it before, even if you don't particularly like The Stone Roses.  Spoiler alert: Ian Brown, the band's vocalist, drops an F-bomb and shouts "amateurs!" at the program's producers before walking off.  Calamity ensues just under a minute after they start playing, when their sound gets cut off for exceeding the maximum volume threshold.

The Stone Roses will join us again in 1991.

Number 138 "Leningrad" by Billy Joel
Peak: number 115
Peak date: 26 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
Given how much FM radio loved Billy Joel in the 80s and early 90s, I must have heard "Leningrad" before, but have no recollection of it.  Maybe the chorus "blast the Yellow Reds to hell" lyric was a little too risqué, even for the probably pro-war, socially conservative-types who were making the decisions at the radio stations in 1990.  I've got to say, listening to the song now, that it's very, very boring.

Issued as the third single from Storm Front (number 1, November 1989), "Leningrad" followed "We Didn't Start the Fire" (number 2, November 1989) and "I Go to Extremes" (number 48, February 1990).
"Leningrad" is another one that peaked higher on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 93.
It was unusual for Billy to score only one Australian top 40 hit from a new album - not that the record company didn't try.  No fewer than five more singles were released from the Storm Front album, four of which peaked in the the 101-150 region of the chart.  Their run will extend all the way to early 1992.  I thought only the Jacksons released 7+ singes from an album during this era.

We will next see Billy in May.

Number 141 "The Sun" by Wildland
Peak: number 107
Peak dates: 23 April 1990 and 14 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 12 weeks

Aussie band Wildland bubbled under back in January, and here they are again in the same region of the chart with "The Sun", the third single lifted from their only album, In This Lifetime (number 80, June 1990).

I can't tell you much about this one, other than I remember seeing the video with its striking orange sun backdrop a few times on TV at the time.  I had completely forgotten about this song, however.  It's nice, but not what I'd normally listen to.  Their lead singer, Noel Zammit, reminds me a little bit of a pre-shades Bono.

Wildland will join us for one last visit in July.

Number 143 "Michael Medley" by Replay
Peak: number 143
Peak date: 19 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Occasionally, I am faced with the dilemma (I know, first world problems...) of how to credit an artist or song title correctly, and this release is a prime example of that.  You see, the artwork for the single, going by what I see on discogs.com, has 'Michael Mania' written on the cover... but when you look at the rear sleeve, it lists the main track as being "Michael Medley" (it is not an EP).  It doesn't help matters that the UK pressing has on the cover, rear sleeve and label "Michael Mania Medley", or that the Australian 12" pressing (the only Australian pressing listed on discogs) comes in a generic sleeve with a sticker on it that reads: "MICHAEL MANIA!" in all-caps, with "A Tribute to Michael Jackson Medley" in smaller font.  Hmm.

Obviously, if you're still reading, this track is a budget Michael Jackson sound-a-like covering his songs, which are mixed into a medley.  Still, if you want to be able to listen to Michael's music guilt-free without the ick factor, you may enjoy this.

Listening to this as I write, the medley consists of 'Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough', 'Another Part of Me', 'Billie Jean', 'Working Day and Night', 'Bad', 'Rock with You', 'I Want You Back', 'The Way You Make Me Feel', 'Thriller' - at least in the 7" version I have linked below.

Australia always seeming to be behind the rest of the world with dance music at the time.  This single peaked at number 76 in the UK in August 1989.

Number 144 "New Head" by The Trilobites
Peak: number 132
Peak date: 26 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Trilobites, in case you didn't know, are an extinct group of marine animals that existed for almost 300 million years and died out 252 million years ago.  The Trilobites, on the other hand, were an Australian band hailing from Sydney that existed for an eight-year period, between 1984 and 1992.
During that time, The Trilobites released five studio albums.  They never managed to dent the Australian top 100 charts, however.  "New Head" was the group's only single to register in the top 150.

"New Head" was the second single lifted from the band's fourth studio album - and second on the rooArt label, Savage Mood Swing (number 105, April 1990), following the... interestingly-titled "Fuck = Love" in September 1989.

The band's lead singer, Mike Dalton, returned to journalism after exiting the group in 1991, working on programs such as The Midday Show with Ray Martin and Today, and he is currently part of Channel 9's News team in Sydney.  Yes, really.  I thought I'd heard his name before somewhere.

I'm not sure whether a music video exists for "New Head", but I felt compelled to upload the Countdown Revolution performance of it from my collection, embedded below, as there was otherwise no footage of the band on YouTube performing the song.

Number 145 "So Easy" by De Mont
Peak: number 124
Peak date: 21 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks

Another Sydney band who didn't have much luck on the Australian charts are De Mont.  That being said, the band placed two singles within the ARIA top 100 in 1989: "I Want Your Body" (number 84, June 1989) and "Close to the Edge" (number 89, October 1989).  Both of those singles, and "So Easy", were lifted from the band's Body Language album (number 100, October 1989).
"So Easy", a mid-tempo ballad, was more sedate-sounding than the previous two singles, and is fairly nice, I must say, as someone who doesn't normally listen to rock.  "So Easy" spent 10 weeks climbing to its peak of number 124, before falling out of the top 150 the following week.

The band would not dent the top 150 singles - or albums - chart again after this release.

Number 148 "Only Love Will Set You Free" by Tracey Arbon
Peak: number 105
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 14 weeks
I think I remember the name Tracey Arbon, another Australian artist, but don't have any recollection of this song, despite it narrowly missing the top 100 and spending three months on the chart.

This track was included as a bonus track on Tracey's belated 1996 album Colours.

While Tracey never made the top 100 ARIA chart, this single peaked at number 82 on the Australian Music Report singles chart.
Tracey will visit the top 150 again in 1993.

Number 149 "The Deeper the Love" by Whitesnake
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 19 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week 
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

The 1980s decade had been over for nearly three months at this point, but English hair metal band Whitesnake were still notching up hits on the ARIA chart...  OK, well, not quite.  But there was still enough interest in them for their latest single to scrape into the top 150.

Whitesnake's biggest hit on the Australian charts was "Is This Love" (number 12, January 1988), although they are perhaps best known for "Here I Go Again" (number 24, December 1987).  "The Deeper the Love" was the second single released from the Slip of the Tongue album (number 39, February 1990), following "Fool for Your Loving" (number 69, January 1990).

Whitesnaske had greater success with this single in their homeland, where it peaked at number 35 on the UK singles chart in March 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "The Deeper the Love" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 131.

This would be Whitesnake's final single to make the Australian top 150.  As it's extremely unlikely I will be recapping these charts when it gets to the 2010s, due to my lack of interest in charts/music from that time onwards, I may as well reveal here that Whitesnake did, in fact, have one other single that charted in Australia.  "Hey You (You Make Me Rock)" peaked at number 1,537 (you read that right) in April 2019.

Number 150: "Break Up Fall Out" by Steve Hoy
Peak: number 136
Peak date: 9 April 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
We saw Australian artist Steve Hoy bubble under in June 1989, and here he is again, precisely nine months later, with the second single from his Life Next Door album (number 119, July 1990).

This one sounds familiar to me, to my surprise.  Perhaps it was used as background music on Home & Away.

I can't tell you much about Steve, unfortunately, other than a third single, "Where I Come From", was issued in June 1990, but missed the top 150.

Next week (26 March): A mere two top 150 debuts, but they will be joined by two bubbling WAY down under entries.  You can also follow my posts on instagram, facebook and twitter.

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


  1. I could have sworn "Monday Night By Satellite" reached the top 20? Or am I just getting forgetful in my old age?

    1. I suggest it was a false memory. It happens to us all...


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