09 April 2021

Week commencing 9 April 1990

I can't identify a common thread running through this week's new entries, so let's just jump straight in.
They Might Be Giants roost on the charts this week.
Top 150 debuts:
Number  135 "Into My Life" by Colin Hay Band
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 23 April 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Formerly the lead singer of Men At Work, whose biggest hit "Down Under" (number 1, December 1981) remains an iconic song about Australia, Colin Hay embarked on a solo career following the band's demise in 1986.  Released under the name of Colin James Hay (why, I am not sure), Colin's first - and only - solo foray into the Australian top 100 singles chart came in 1987, with his debut solo release "Hold Me" (number 40, March 1987).
Now recording under the name of Colin Hay Band, "Into My Life" was the first release from the album Wayfaring Sons (number 118, April 1990).  In case you were wondering, the other members of the Colin Hay Band were Gerry Hale, Paul Gadsby, and Robert Dillon.  The band released two other singles from the album, "Wayfaring Sons" in July 1990, and "Storm in My Heart" six weeks later in August 1990, but neither single dented the top 150.

Number 138 "Darlin' Please" by Weddings, Parties, Anything
Peak: number  136
Peak date: 7 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks
We saw Weddings, Parties, Anything back in September 1989 with "Streets of Forbes", and here they are with the third single from their The Big Don't Argue album (number 58, October 1989).  In between "Streets of Forbes" and this one, "The Wind and the Rain" was issued as a single in November 1989, but failed to chart.  Unfortunately, whoever is behind the band's official YouTube channel has done a total botch job, and the (audio only) video uploaded to it titled "Darlin' Please" actually contains the audio for "The Wind and the Rain"... and (you guessed it) the video titled "The Wind and the Rain" is actually something else.  Oh dear.

So, instead, I have had to go to the drastic lengths of creating my own (audio only) 'video' for "Darlin' Please", after sourcing the audio from... shall we say, 'elsewhere', just so you (and I, for the first time) can hear it.

We will next see Weddings, Parties, Anything in November 1990.

Number 139 "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants
Peak: number 125
Peak date: 30 April 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
We saw They Might Be Giants back in April 1989 with their first single to chart nationally in Australia, and here they are a year later with the lead single from their third album, Flood (number 99, May 1990).  Probably a bit too quirky for mainstream US success, "Birdhouse in Your Soul" became a major hit for the American group in the UK, where it peaked at number 6 in April 1990.  The single also peaked at number 12 in Ireland, but, unfortunately, this success was not replicated elsewhere.

Bordering on novelty (but hey, there's nothing wrong with that in my book), I tend to agree with a description of They Might Be Giants I read many years ago - that they make kindergarten music for adults.  Music nerds might be interested to know that this song contains no fewer than 18 (!) key changes.

I first learnt of this song's existence through seeing it listed on the UK chart in British pop magazine Number One, which would arrive in Australia about 3 months after its publication date.  I remember thinking to myself, "That's an interesting song title."  I am not 100% certain, but I think I may have caught the video once on rage before the top 50 started, early one Saturday morning.  To my ears, it sounds like "Birdhouse in Your Soul" should have been a much bigger hit locally - it probably suffered from a lack of mainstream exposure.
On the State charts, "Birdhouse in Your Soul" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it peaked at number 73.  It also reached number 76 in Western Australia, but missed the top 100 on the remaining three state charts.

They Might Be Giants will grace us with their presence again in 1992.
Number 140 "Stronger Than That" by Cliff Richard
Peak: number 140
Peak date: 9 April 1990
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
"Stronger Than That" was the fourth and final single released from Cliff's Stronger album (number 16, April 1990), and the second, following "Lean on You" in January 1990, to peak within the 101-150 region of the ARIA singles chart.  None of the singles lifted from the album peaked higher than number 59 in Australia.

"Stronger Than That", as you might expect, fared much 'stronger' in Cliff's native UK, where it peaked at number 14 in March 1990.
On the state charts, "Stronger Than That" performed equally-strongest in Victoria/Tasmania and Queensland, where it reached number 125.

Cliff, who is now 80, was a mere 49 when this energetic music video - showing him performing some choreographed moves with an ensemble of back-up dancers (one of which I think I've spotted in a Sinitta video) - was shot.  The video also displays some nifty shoulder-dancing by the backing dancers, from 0:11 to 0:16, which is well worth checking out.

Cliff will visit us again in December.
Number 143 "Natural Thing" by Innocence
Peak: number 116 
Peak date: 9 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks
Innocence were a British quartet consisting of production trio Jolley/Harris/Jolley and frontwoman Gee Davis.   The group's sound - based on my impression from listening to their singles - was at the more laid-back or 'downtempo' end of electronic music.  The kind of thing you might put on at the end of the day to help you unwind and relax, rather than to get you boogieing on the dance floor.

The group released two studio albums and notched up six UK top 40 singles between 1990 and 1992, with "Natural Thing" being the biggest of those, peaking at number 16 in the UK in March 1990.  In Australia, Innocence peaked 100 places lower with this, their debut single.  Sadly, the group would never dent the ARIA top 100.  That being said, Innocence would achieve consistent top 200 'success' locally throughout their brief recording career.  While that may sound unimpressive, it's not too bad, considering that I - someone who has a penchant for music that flopped in Australia from this period - had never heard any of their music at the time.

While "Natural Thing" spent an unremarkable six weeks in the top 150 (which is about average for a single that missed the top 100), those six weeks were spread across three and a half months.  The single did not peak in Australia until July 1990.

"Natural Thing" was lifted from the album Belief (number 115, February 1991).  Despite its low peak, Belief performed a similar feat to "Natural Thing", racking up 24 weeks in the top 150 over a seven-month span, between December 1990 and July 1991, and spending 26 weeks on the chart in total.

On the ARIA state charts, "Natural Thing" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 84.

We shall next see Innocence in 1991.

Number 147 "The Heart of the Matter" by Don Henley
Peak: number 127
Peak date: 16 April 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks

Eagles singer-gone-solo Don Henley visited us back in November 1989, and returns with either the third or fourth single from his The End of the Innocence album (number 40, August 1989).  I say 'either' the third or fourth single because "New York Minute" is listed in the Australian Music Report new releases schedule in November 1989 - a mere three weeks after the "The Last Worthless Evening" single - and on CD single format only, which is highly unusual for 1989.  I don't know what to make of that.

I also don't know what to make of this song, as it seems that all studio versions of it are blocked on YouTube (so I have resorted to embedding a live version).
"The Heart of the Matter" peaked at number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1990. 

On the ARIA state charts, "The Heart of the Matter" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 98.
We will see Don again in 2000.

Number 148 "Women" by Def Leppard
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 9 April 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks
Now we come to the final single released in Australia from a now almost-three-year-old album, Hysteria (number 1, July 1989).
Hysteria was released in Australia on 7 September 1987, and was something of a textbook definition of a 'slow burner', debuting at number 59 on the albums chart, and initially peaking at number 33 in October 1987.  The album took almost two years to reach its eventual peak.

The singles lifted from Hysteria in Australia were "Animal" (September 1987, peaked at number 46 in December 1987), "Hysteria" (January 1988, failed to chart), "Pour Some Sugar on Me" (May 1988, failed to chart), "Love Bites" (September 1988, peaked at number 21 in November 1988), "Armageddon It" (January 1989, peaked at number 34 in February 1989), "Rocket" (May 1989, peaked at number 15 in July 1989), "Pour Some Sugar on Me" (re-issued August 1989, peaked at number 26 in September 1989), "Hysteria" (re-issued October 1989, peaked at number 77 in November 1989), "Animal" (re-issued January 1990, peaked at number 83 in February 1990), and finally, "Women", which was released on 19 March 1990 but made its top 150 debut now.  Phew!  That's a total of ten single releases for seven different tracks from the album.  Eat your heart out Michael and Janet Jackson!

Unusually, "Women" was not issued as a single in Def Leppard's native UK, but was released in the US, Canada, and locally.  It seems that "Women" was chosen as the lead single from Hysteria in North America, as it peaked at number 80 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in September 1987, prior to "Animal" peaking at number 19 there in December 1987.
On the state charts, "Women" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 118.  "Women" also peaked on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 100.

With the Hysteria album campaign finally drawing to a close, the group had one more re-release in Australia up their sleeve before their next album was released in 1992.  "Photograph", a track from their Pyromania album (number 70, February 1984) and originally issued as a single in Australia in May 1983, was re-issued in June 1990, but missed the top 150.  "Photograph" narrowly missed the Kent Music Report top 100 singles chart in June 1983, where it placed fourth for one week on the 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' list.

Def Leppard will join us again in 1994.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 151 "The Miracle" by Queen
Peak: number 151
Peak date: 9 April 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
The fifth and final single and title track from Queen's The Miracle album (number 4, June 1989) had a less-than-miraculous run on the ARIA singles chart, peaking just outside the top 150.  "The Miracle" became the third consecutive single released from the album to miss the top 100.  I suspect that a lack of promotion was largely to blame - as I hadn't heard any of the post-"Breakthru" singles from the album at the time - combined with Queen being more of an 'albums' act.

As usual, "The Miracle" performed better in the band's homeland of the UK, where it peaked at number 21 in December 1989.

One interesting thing about "The Miracle" is the music video, where the band are replaced by child imitators, and there are several different Freddie Mercury characters portrayed.  My initial thought was that this decision was probably made for the video due to Freddie's declining health, but the band appear on stage just before 4 minutes into the video to perform with their replacements.  Hmmm.

Queen will join us again in 1991.
Next week (16 April): Next week there are only two new top 150 debuts, but they will be joined by three new bubbling WAY down under entries.   You can also follow my posts on instagram, facebook and twitter.
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  1. Bit surprised by the lack of success initially for those Def Leppard singles

    1. Agreed. It is also surprising that 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' did not perform much better with either release.

  2. I think I first heard "Birdhouse In Your Soul" in 2001 when you could see the UK Top of the Pops on Australian TV. TMBG performed it live on there, I assume because it re-entered the UK chart.

    1. I remember watching TOTP on ABC when they aired it, during 2001, but must have missed this performance (or completely forgotten about it).

  3. Don Henley's people are always notoriously quick to pull any music videos for his music, hence why only live versions are available (and they often are taken down fast also). It seems a strange way to publicise your music, making it hard to access on YouTube.


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