I thought that this was going to be a dull week to write about, based on my personal music tastes (I mean, I like some Duran, but this?!), but I was pleasantly surprised by one of this week's entries. To quote the wisdom of the French woman in Kylie Minogue's "Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi" music video - do not be so sure. I re-discovered a track I really like and hadn't heard in years. One, er, other interesting thing about this week's debuts is that they are all at number 145 or below, which probably hasn't happened before. Let's take a look at them.
The Triffids: decked out like this, you'd think they worked in a bank, rather than being favourite Australian indie darlings.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 145 "Burning the Ground" by Duran Duran
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 5 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks
Up until this point, Duran Duran had placed 17 singles within the top 100 on the Australian charts, with the most recent of those being "All She Wants Is" (number 74, January 1989). Eight of the band's singles had reached the top 10 in Australia, with the highest-peaking of those being "The Wild Boys" (number 3, December 1984). However, by this point in their careers, the band were perceived as being a bit old hat, despite modernising their sound for 1988's Big Thing album (number 46, November 1988). Duran Duran had not had a top 20 single in Australia since "Notorious" (number 17, December 1986). Their last single, "Do You Believe in Shame?", released in Australia in July 1989, did not even chart.
So... what does a band do when their career is a bit in the doldrums? Release a greatest hits package. And that's exactly what Duran Duran did, issuing Decade (number 89, February 1990) towards the end of 1989. "Burning the Ground", whose title was lifted from "Hungry Like the Wolf" (number 5, July 1982), was a megamix - of sorts - of earlier hits. It was issued to promote the compilation, which peaked at number 5 on the band's native UK albums chart in November 1989. "Burning the Ground" fared less well on the UK singles chart, where it peaked at number 31 in December 1989. Oddly, "Burning the Ground" was not included on Decade.
I said that "Burning the Ground" was a megamix 'of sorts', because it consists mainly of instrumental elements of the band's hits, including "Hungry Like the Wolf", "Rio" (number 60, October 1982), "Save a Prayer" (number 56, September 1983), "The Reflex" (number 4, June 1984), "The Wild Boys", "A View to a Kill" (number 6, July 1985) and the camera shutter sound from "Girls on Film" (number 11, February 1982). Vocal samples from "Planet Earth" (number 8, August 1981), "The Reflex", "Notorious" and "I Don't Want Your Love" (number 23, November 1988) are layered on top of this.
Duran Duran would spend a few more years in the wilderness on the Australian charts, with "Violence of Summer (Love's Taking Over)" (number 59, October 1990) being the biggest hit from their 1990 studio album Liberty (number 86, October 1990). The band would eventually have a resurgence in 1993, scoring two further top 20 hits down under.
We shall next see Duran Duran in 1991.
Number 147 "Save Me" by 21 Guns
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 19 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
You may, if you're old enough, recognise 21 Guns' lead singer Andy McLean (thanks discogs - I would never have remembered his surname) from co-hosting Countdown Revolution in 1989... as part of a trio of hosts who were all a bit too enthusiastic, if you ask me. It's doubtful you'll remember his music - that is, if you were even aware of it in the first place. Though I do recall a later 21 Guns single, which I won't name, as I'll come to write about it in August this year.
Sounding like the kind of non-descript 'pub rock' you could hear in just about any live venue at the time, "Save Me" doesn't exactly boast a '90s' sound. Granted, the catchy chorus redeems this one a little bit.
"Save Me" was the first of three singles lifted from the 21 Guns album (number 140, August 1990). Nothing the band released dented the top 100. I assume that they split soon afterwards.
Number 149 "Melt" by The Someloves
Peak: number 119
Peak date: 16 April 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
The Someloves were another Australian band. They had previously 'charted' on the Australian Music Report 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' lists (before the ARIA chart extended beyond number 100) with "Know You Now", where they reached tenth place on this list in November 1988.
Despite the '(1989)' tag added by the YouTube uploader of the music video embedded below, I can inform you that this single was not released until 19 February 1990. That's about all I can tell you about this track, other than it performed better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 98. The band's bass player, Christian Houllemare, died in 2014, aged 53.
I wasn't previously familiar with this one, though have a copy of the video in my collection. The chorus is catchy. "Melt" is lifted from the album Something Or Other (number 80, April 1990).
We will see The Someloves again in July.
Number 150 "Falling over You" by The Triffids
Peak: number 150
Peak date: 5 March 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Australian band The Triffids, originating from Perth, appear to have been youth-orientated 'alternative' radio station Triple J (or Double J, as it was probably then known) darlings during the 1980s. Accordingly, commercial success largely eluded them, although they placed four singles within the national top 100; the biggest of those being "Bury Me Deep in Love" (number 48, March 1988), which was used as the theme song for Harold and Madge's wedding on Neighbours (yes, really! Skip to 4:25). That's one way to shatter your 'indie' credibility...
Although it wasn't their biggest chart hit, The Triffids are probably best known for their rousing 1986 single "Wide Open Road" (number 64, April 1986). The band last visited the ARIA singles chart with "Goodbye Little Boy" (number 83, July 1989). Both that single and "Falling over You" were lifted from their The Black Swan album (number 52, July 1989).
OK... I have to ditch the train of thought I was on, as I now just pressed play on the video embedded below, and am having an "Oh my goooooddddddd! It's that song! I love that song!" moment. I had forgotten that this song was by The Triffids... though I didn't actually know "Falling over You" at the time.
I discovered this song via the now sadly-defunct Home and Away: The Early Years repeats on Channel 7TWO, in June 2012 (I sourced the date from my downloads folders), on a repeat of a 1990 episode of Home and Away where this was used as background music. The song grabbed my attention, and I paused my recording (I used to record it and view it when I got home from work, you see) to google some of the lyrics, and found it. I don't think I had listened to the track since about 2014, so it's nice to re-discover it. Ah, that's one of the reasons I write this blog...
Band member David McComb sings lead vocal on this track, and, sadly, he passed away in 1999 at the age of 36. This would be The Triffids' last proper single. Their Wikipedia discography tells me that the band released a promotional single in 2007, titled "Save What You Can".
Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 155 "Whitlam Square" by Died Pretty
Peak: number 155
Peak date: 5 March 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
We last saw Australian band Died Pretty in April 1989. "Whitlam Square" was issued as the lead single from the band's third studio album Every Brilliant Eye (number 79, April 1990). "Whitlam Square" performed strongest on the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory state chart, where it reached number 148. We will next see Died Pretty in 1991.
Next week (12 March): The quiet weeks continue (don't worry, we'll be making up for that soon), with just three new top 150 debuts - although they couldn't be more different from one another if they tried. You can also follow my posts on instagram, facebook and twitter.