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28 May 2021

Week commencing 28 May 1990

All six of this week's top 150-debuting artists scored top 40 hits on the Australian charts during the 1980s, whether on their own or as part of a group.  Early into the 1990s, however, their latest releases were flopping on the Australian chart.  Let's take a look at these under-appreciated by the Australian record-buying public songs.
Kate Bush: those who love her music might be 'angered' with her chart placing this week.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 117 "Softly Whispering I Love You" by Paul Young
Peak: number 105
Peak date:  2 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks

Frog-voiced Paul Young placed nine singles within the Australian top 100 chart between 1983 and 1987, with two of those reaching the top 10: "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)" (number 9, September 1983) and "Love of the Common People" (number 8, April 1984).  Paul additionally had one single register on the Kent Music Report's 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' list, with "Bite the Hand That Feeds" reaching fourth place on the list in October 1985.

"Softly Whispering I Love You" was the first single issued from the English singer's fourth studio album Other Voices (number 102, July 1990).  The song is a cover version of a David and Jonathan track, which reached number 23 on the Australian Go-Set chart (which pre-dates the Kent Music Report and was Australia's official chart at the time).

Paul's version of "Softly Whispering I Love You" peaked at number 21 for two weeks in the UK in May 1990, number 16 in Ireland, and reached the top 50 on the Dutch and Flemish charts.  Within Australia, the single performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 52.

We shall see Paul again in September.

Number 133 "The Downeaster "Alexa"" by Billy Joel
Peak: number 126
Peak date: 2 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks
We saw Billy Joel bubble under with the third single from his Storm Front album (number 1, November 1989) in March 1990, and here he is this week with the fourth.

"The Downeaster "Alexia"" peaked at number 57 in Billy's native US on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1990, and number 76 in the UK during the same month.

Billy will join us again in December, but in between he released "That's Not Her Style" in August 1990, which surprisingly failed to chart.  I say 'surprisingly' because it was the only one of his Storm Front singles that missed the top 100 in Australia that I knew at the time.

Number 140 "Our House" by v. Spy v. Spy
Peak: number 119
Peak date: 11 June 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
We saw Aussie band v. Spy v. Spy back in February with the second single from Trash the Planet (number 22, November 1989), and here they are with the third.  I don't recall hearing this one before.

A fourth single from Trash the Planet, "Oceania", was released in August 1990, but missed the top 150.

We shall see v. Spy v. Spy again in 1993.

Number 141 "Sophisticated Lady" by Grace Knight
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Grace Knight fronted Perth band Eurogliders before they split in 1989.  Between 1982 and 1988, Eurogliders placed 12 singles within the Australian top 100, with three of those reaching the top 10.  "Heaven (Must Be There)" was their biggest hit, peaking at number 2 in July 1984.
Two Eurogliders singles bubbled under on the Australian Music Report's list of 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100': "Listen" reached seventh place on this list (when the ARIA chart stopped at number 100) in October 1988, and "Precious" reached tenth place on this list in April 1989 (did not chart on the ARIA chart).  On the ARIA charts, "Listen" peaked at number 91 on the Western Australia state chart in September 1988, but did not chart nationally or register on any other state chart.

In a recent interview with Chart Beats: A Journey Through Pop, who recap the Australian weekly top 100 charts from the 80s and 90s, Grace revealed that she was in a financially perilous situation following the demise of Eurogliders.  As a single parent struggling to make ends meet, as luck would have it, Grace received a call from the ABC, who asked if she would be interested in recording some jazzy numbers for a TV series they were producing, Come in Spinner.  Grace jumped at the opportunity, and the soundtrack album for the series reached number 4 on the ARIA albums chart in April 1990.  The move paid off, as the album went double platinum and led to Grace recording further jazz albums.

"Sophisticated Lady", a version of the 1930s jazz standard - originally an instrumental by Duke Ellington, was not quite as successful, languishing in the lower part of the top 150, but no doubt helped promote sales of the soundtrack album.

Eurogliders would eventually reform, in 2005, recording new material.

Number 145 "Love and Anger" by Kate Bush
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Since bursting onto the charts with a bang in 1978 with "Wuthering Heights" (number 1, May 1978), Kate Bush had placed 10 singles within the Australian top 100 up until this point, with four of those reaching the top 10.

"Love and Anger" was issued as the third and final single from Kate's sixth studio album The Sensual World (number 30, November 1989) in her native UK, where it peaked at number 38 in March 1990, and in Australia.  It followed "The Sensual World" (number 44, November 1989) and "This Woman's Work" (number 89, February 1990).  In the US, "Love and Anger" was released as the lead single from the album.

Kate had previously bubbled under on the Australian chart, with "Cloudbusting" reaching seventh place on the Kent Music Report's 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' list in January 1986, and "Experiment IV" reaching fifth place on the list in December 1986.  Some excellent Kate Bush singles released locally that didn't do a thing on the Australian charts and are well worth checking out include "Suspended in Gaffa" (released in Australia in January 1983), "Breathing" (released in Australia in May 1980), and "Hounds of Love" (released in Australia in March 1986).

I caught the music video for "Love and Anger" once on rage before the top 50 in 1990, and remember seeing the cassingle in the shops; but other than that, it didn't seem to receive any promotion.  On the state charts, "Love and Anger" performed best in Western Australia, where it reached number 100.

One thing missing from the music video is Kate's laugh, which appears at the end of the track on European and Australasian pressings of The Sensual World (it is part of the following track, "The Fog" on US pressings, I believe), and at 4:38 in this video.  I recall reading that Kate had always wanted her laugh - without any musical accompaniment - to appear on an album; obviously, she had enough clout at this point to fulfill this wish.

In between "Love and Anger" and her next single "Rocket Man" (number 2, March 1992), Kate released a box-set of all her studio albums to date, plus two extra discs of B-sides and 12" versions, titled This Woman's Work: Anthology 1978-1990.  The set peaked at number 143 on the ARIA albums chart in February 1991.  Curiously, it did not chart anywhere else.

We will next see Kate in 1994.

Number 148 "Far Far Cry" by Jon Anderson
Peak: number  148
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Jon (real name John) Anderson was the frontman of Yes, whose "Owner of a Lonely Heart" single reached number 14 in February 1984.  Yes placed one other single within the Australian top 100 during the 1980s, "Love Will Find a Way" (number 80, December 1987).  A further single, "Leave It", reached tenth place on the Kent Music Report list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100 in April 1984.

As a solo artist, Jon's single "Hold on to Love" reached number 86 on the Australian Music Report singles chart in July 1988, but did not make the ARIA chart.

"Far Far Cry" was recorded for Jonathan Elias' Requiem for The Americas: Songs from the Lost World album (number 145, June 1990), which featured collaborations with several artists, including members of Duran Duran, Grace Jones, Toni Childs, Michael Bolton, and Susanna Hoffs from the Bangles.

Interestingly, "Far Far Cry" did not chart in Jon's native UK, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 157 "Rhythm of Life" by Oleta Adams
Peak: number 157
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week

I've mentioned previously that Oleta was discovered by Tears for Fears, and collaborated with them for several tracks on their The Seeds of Love album (number 18, October 1989), notably on their single "Woman in Chains" (number 39, January 1989).

While Oleta released two albums in the early 1980s, "Rhythm of Life" was the lead single from her major label debut, Circle of One (number 131, September 1990).  The single crept into the Dutch top 40 at number 39 in June 1990, and initially peaked at number 52 in the UK in March 1990.  A later remixed version of the track would reach number 38 in the UK in December 1995.  In her native US, "Rhythm of Life" missed the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 21 on the Adult Contemporary chart (a meaningless chart, if you ask me) in September 1990.

Within Australia, "Rhythm of Life" performed strongest on the Queensland state chart, where it reached number 140.

The album's title track, "Circle of One", was not issued as a single in Australia, but is my favourite Oleta Adams track that I know.  This track reached number 73 in the UK in June 1991, after originally peaking at number 95 in July 1990.

Oleta never landed a top 100 solo single or album in Australia, but will join us a couple of times over the coming years, with the next occasion being in February 1991.

Number 161 "Tell Me Why" by Exposé
Peak: number 157
Peak date: 4 June 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

Exposé bubbled WAY down under in November 1989 with the second single from their What You Don't Know album (number 117, November 1989) album, and here they are in the same region of the chart with the follow-up release.
"Tell Me Why" was the last in a string of seven consecutive US Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hits for the American group, reaching number 9 there in February 1990.  "Tell Me Why" had much less success internationally, only registering within the top 40 (at number 34) in Canada.

On the state charts, "Tell Me Why" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it peaked at number 122.  Exposé released one further single from the What You Don't Know album locally - "Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue", in July 1990, but it failed to chart.
Exposé would place one more single on the ARIA singles chart, which we will see in 1993.

Number 167 "What Kind of Man Would I Be?" by Chicago
Peak: number 167
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, American band Chicago placed 18 singles within the Australian top 100.  Their biggest hits in Australia were "If You Leave Me Now" (number 1, December 1976) and "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" (number 4, September 1982).  The singer of both of those tracks, Peter Cetera, left the band in 1985, and lead vocal duties were taken over by Robert Lamm, who had been with the group since its inception in 1967.

"What Kind of Man Would I Be?" originally appeared on the Chicago 19 album (number 97, August 1988), but was subtly remixed for inclusion on their Greatest Hits 1982-1989 compilation, titled The Heart of Chicago in Europe and Australasia (number 92, January 1990).

Chicago will visit us next in 1991.

Next week (4 June 1990): Just two new top 150 entries, one of which is a song that will go on to reach the top 20 when re-issued in late 1991.

< Previous week: 21 May 1990                                       Next week: 4 June 1990 >

21 May 2021

Week commencing 21 May 1990

This week is the second in a three-way tie for the most top 150-peaking debuts in 1990, tied with 19 March 1990 and 17 September 1990, with ten new top 150 entries.  Of the ten new debuts, six of them are at their peak position next week, which is an unusual occurrence.  There are also three debuts that spent more than one week at their highest position.  Five of this week's debuting acts contain artists who are no longer with us.  Let's take a look at them.
Somehow, Seal's 'killer' song flopped not once, but twice in Australia.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 131 "Counting Every Minute" by Sonia
Peak: number 118 
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks

"Counting Every Minute" was another Stock Aitken Waterman composition/production for Sonia, and another single of hers to flop in Australia, peaking one place higher than the last one, which we saw back in February.  "Counting Every Minute" was also the fourth release from her then-yet-to-be-released-in-Australia album Everybody Knows (number 144, September 1990).

This single was also the fourth in a string of top 20 hits in the UK for the Liverpudlian songstress and future Eurovision Song Contest entrant, peaking at number 16 in April 1990.  "Counting Every Minute" also dented the top 20 in Ireland, peaking at number 18.  Within Australia, "Counting Every Minute" performed strongest on the Victoria/Tasmania state chart, where it reached number 88.

I'm not sure why, but 'single' (as in the chorus lyric "counting every single minute") has been omitted from the song's title, just as 'from' was omitted from the title of Sonia's "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" (number 29, October 1989).  These little things bother me!  I suppose you can understand 'from' being omitted from the title of the latter, though, as it is a longer title already.

As for the song... it's another upbeat dance-pop number, this time making use of the ubiquitous James Brown "wooh! yeah!" sample, which I mentioned last week, and we shall see on another song debuting this week...
Fans of Sonia may be interested to know that she recently released a box-set of 6 expanded CD singles from the Everybody Knows album era.

Sonia will join us next in September 1990.

Number 137 "New York, New York" by Ecco Homo
Peak: number 110
Peak dates: 4 June 1990, 25 June 1990 and 9 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks

I am a little bit confused, and there doesn't seem to be a clear answer online (please help me out if you know), but Ecco Homo were an Australian collective of musicians, centred around Peter "Troy" Davies, who was a close friend of Richard Lowenstein, director of many INXS music videos.  Over the years, Troy had appeared in a couple of film clips for other artists, including Flame Fortune's "Sex Symbol" (number 76, June 1985) and Frente!'s' "No Time" (number 50, March 1993).
I don't believe Troy performed much of the vocals on the two Ecco Homo singles released, however.  The 'group' also contained Ollie Olsen - whose Max Q project was fronted by Michael Hutchence of INXS - Gus Till (who I think performed the majority of the vocals), Bill McDonald and Michael Sheridan.

Whatever Ecco Homo were, they managed to place one single within the ARIA top 100, "Motorcycle Baby" (number 66, March 1989), which featured Michael Hutchence and Sherine Abeyratne from Big Pig (who also performed vocals on the track) in the music video.

"New York, New York" was the second and final Ecco Homo release, and features Bono from U2 singing a few lines and appearing in the music video (!).  U2's The Edge also performs on the track.  Apparently, Bono and U2 happened to drop by the recording studio where Ollie Olsen and Michael Hutchence were jamming, after a live show in Melbourne; it was not a planned collaboration.

Despite featuring two members of U2, "New York, New York" flew under the radar, peaking outside the ARIA top 100.  It did, however, manage to spend three non-consecutive weeks at its peak of number 110, which is not bad for a single that missed the top 100.  "New York, New York" crept into the Australian Music Report top 100 singles chart, reaching number 85.

Troy Davies passed away in 2007, aged 47.  A film documenting his life and career, titled Ecco Homo, was released in 2015, co-directed by Richard Lowenstein.

Number 138 "Handful of Promises" by Big Fun
Peak: number 110
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
Big Fun were another Stock Aitken Waterman-produced act, consisting of Mark Gillespie, Phil Creswick, and Jason John (real name Jason Herbert).  Although a trio, the group's vocals were mostly performed by Mark, with the other two providing occasional backing vocals, rather than singing in unison or sharing lead vocal duties.  Yet we see all three of them mouthing the words to Mark's vocals in the videos... Hmmm.

Following a low-key single release in early 1989 with "Living for Your Love", Big Fun recorded a cover version of Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move", produced by Phil Harding and Ian Curnow, the Stock Aitken Waterman Hit Factory 'B' team.  Their version of "I Feel the Earth Move" was set to be released in the UK in June 1989, and a music video was filmed to promote it.  However, it was pulled from released after Pete Waterman saw the favourable reaction the group were receiving from the audience on tour with the Hitman Roadshow (for SAW-related acts).  Pete instead wanted to launch the group with a Stock Aitken Waterman-produced track - a cover version of The Jacksons' "Blame It on the Boogie".  Martika, of course, released her own version of "I Feel the Earth Move" (number 2, January 1990) later in 1989.

Big Fun crept into the lower region of the Australian top 40 with "Blame It on the Boogie" (number 37, December 1989), and into the top 100 with "Can't Shake the Feeling" (number 97, February 1990).  These singles, in contrast, peaked at numbers 4 and 8, respectively, in the UK.

"Handful of Promises" was the third release from the group's only album A Pocketful of Dreams (released in Australia in July 1990, failed to chart), and peaked at number 21 in the UK in March 1990.  The album - which takes its title from a chorus lyric of "Handful of Promises" - performed much better in the UK, where it reached number 7 in May 1990, and sold over 100,000 copies.

On the state charts, "Handful of Promises" performed best in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it peaked at number 85.
As with Sonia above, this track makes use of the James Brown "woo! yeah!" sample throughout.  Big Fun will join forces with Sonia for a charity single, which we will see in September.

The group released one final single from the album in the UK - but not in Australia - "Hey There Lonely Girl", which peaked at number 62 in the UK in August 1990.  This track was originally recorded by Ruby and The Romantics as "Hey There Lonely Boy".  Following this release, the group parted ways with Jive Records.
One thing that was kept hush at the time - so as to not potentially alienate their target teen/tween girl audience - was that Mark and Phil were a couple.  The pair would later release a cover version of The Brothers Johnson's "Stomp!", minus Jason, as Big Fun II.  Their version of "Stomp!" reached number 12 on the US Billboard Dance Chart in May 1994.
Something I didn't know until a few years ago is that Mark is originally from Australia!  Someone I have been in contact with via a music forum lived next door to Mark in Canberra when he was growing up.  Small world...
Following the demise of Big Fun and Big Fun II, Jason went into music management, managing the likes of Geri Halliwell from the Spice Girls during her solo career.  Mark and Phil split, and Phil became a painter and decorator, before running into some legal troubles involving drugs in 2017.   I have no idea what Mark is doing these days.
Jason sadly passed away in Brazil in April 2019, aged 51, although there is not much information available about this.

Number 142 "54-46 (That's My Number)" by Partners Rime Syndicate
Peak: number 142 
Peak date: 21 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Here's a track I had never heard of before getting hold of these below #100 charts.  Unfortunately, I cannot tell you much about this song, other the chorus is a reworked version of "54-46 Was My Number" by Toots & The Maytals, from 1969.  I also cannot find evidence of this single charting elsewhere.
Number 143 "Dançando Lambada" by Kaoma
Peak: number 143
Peak date: 21 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
I'm guessing you thought French-Brazilian band Kaoma were one-hit wonders with "Lambada" (number 5, April 1990), right?  Well, they did manage to place a second single on the ARIA chart... at number 143.  The song in question, which translates from Portuguese as 'dancing Lambada', also imaginatively contains 'lambada' in the title...

"Dançando Lambada" was a hit across Europe, reaching the top 10 in Switzerland, France and the Netherlands, and the top 20 in Germany, Austria, Ireland, and the Flanders region of Belgium.  The single flopped in the UK, however, where it only reached number 62.  According to Wikipedia (no supporting reference is cited), "Dançando Lambada" topped the Brazilian chart.

This would be the last chart entry for Kaoma in Australia.  Vocalist Loalwa Braz was sadly murdered in Brazil in 2017, aged 63; her body was discovered inside a burnt-out car.
Number 144 "I Will Live for You" by Joe Cocker
Peak: number 134 
Peak dates: 28 May 1990 and 11 June 1990
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
We saw the late Joe Cocker in January this year, and he returned to the 101-150 region of the Australian chart with this track, the third single from his One Night of Sin (number 32, October 1989) album.  "I Will Live for You" does not appear to have charted anywhere else.
Joe will next join us in July, with a third single to peak in the 101-150 region of the ARIA chart in 1990.

Number 146 "Killer" by Adamski
Peak: number 112 
Peak date: 2 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks

As much as I like Sonia, I have to concede that this track is the best song debuting this week - in my opinion, anyway.  It seems the record-buying public in the UK held a similar view, as this track stopped Kylie Minogue's iconic "Better the Devil You Know" from reaching number 1 there.
"Killer" spent 4 weeks on top of the UK singles chart, and 16 weeks in the top 40, which was quite a long chart run for a single there at this point time.  "Killer" also topped the Flemish chart in Belgium, and was a top 5 hit in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Ireland.  On this side of the globe, "Killer" nudged into the New Zealand top 30, peaking at number 29 there in August 1990.
"Killer" started out as an instrumental track by keyboard whizz Adamski (real name Adam Tinley), originally titled "The Killer", as he felt it sounded like the soundtrack to a murder scene in a movie.  Following a chance meeting with Seal (real name Henry Samuel) at a nightclub on New Year's Eve 1989, Seal was invited to lay down vocals to some of Adamski's instrumental tracks he had been playing as a DJ.

Although Seal sang and co-wrote the song, he is not credited as a featured artist, due to Adamski's record company wanting to promote the single as solely an Adamski release.  Seal's working relationship with Adamski subsequently soured.

Seal would go on to have a successful solo career, placing two singles within the Australian top 10 - "Crazy" (number 9, April 1991), and "Kiss from a Rose" (number 1, August 1995).  Adamski placed one single within the ARIA top 100, "The Space Jungle" (number 70, November 1990), on which he performed vocals.
The Adamski album in which "Killer" and "The Space Jungle" are lifted from, Doctor Adamski's Musical Pharmacy, peaked at number 144 in November 1990.

Seal would re-record "Killer" for his debut album Seal (number 22, June 1991).  It was released as the album's fourth single, peaking at number 8 in the UK in November 1991, and number 95 in Australia in December 1991.  Seal also recycled the "racism in among future kings can only lead to no good, and besides, all our sons and daughters already know how that feels" lyric from "Killer" in "Future Love Paradise" (number 46, July 1991).

"Killer" would eventually become a top 40 hit in Australia, when ATB released a version of it titled "Killer 2000" (number 33, March 2000).

We shall see Adamski again in 1992, when he collaborates with another artist.

Number 147 "Treat Me Like a Lady" by Five Star
Peak: number 130
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks

British pop group Five Star were five siblings from the same family, all with the surname Pearson.  The group placed 15 singles within the UK top 40 between 1985 and 1988, with six of those reaching the top 10.  In Australia, it was a different story, with only "System Addict" (number 66, May 1986) registering within the top 100.

It is quite surprising, then, to see that "Treat Me Like a Lady" dented the top 150, particularly considering it only reached number 54 in their homeland, in March 1990.

"Treat Me Like a Lady" was the first single - and only Australian release - from the album Five Star.

The group would release another single in Australia, "Shine", in 1992, but it did not make the top 150.

Number 149 "Have a Heart" by Bonnie Raitt
Peak: number 149
Peak dates: 21 May 1990 and 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

Last week, Bonnie Raitt made her first appearance in the top 150, and here she is a mere week later with the third single from her Nick of Time (number 58, April 1990) album.

"Have a Heart" was a middling success for Bonnie in her native US, where it peaked at number 49 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1990.  "Have a Heart" was the theme song for the 1990 movie Heart Condition, from which several clips are used in the music video below.

Listening to this track for the first time as I write this, I can't help but hear a similarity in the backing music to James Reyne's "One More River" (number 22, August 1989), though I am sure it is coincidental.

Number 150 "Message" by Go 101
Peak: number 131
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks

Australian band Go 101 scored minor success in 1988 when their debut single "Build It Up" reached number 55 in September 1988.  Two further singles also made the ARIA top 100: "Room for Love" (number 88, March 1989) and "Jealous Heart" (number 66, November 1989).
"Message" was the fourth and final single from the band's only album Tempting Fate (number 73, November 1989).  Interestingly, the song was titled "Message (To a Broken Heart)" on the album, but not on the single sleeve.  The song was remixed for its single release, but only the album version, embedded below, is available on YouTube.

I didn't think I knew this song, but it sounds familiar listening to it as I write this week's post.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 159 "Moonlight on Water" by Laura Branigan
Peak: number 159
Peak date: 21 May 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
As hinted in the blurb for this week's post last week, the first album I ever bought was recorded by one of this week's debuting artists.  The artist in question was Laura Branigan, and the album was Self Control (number 29, August 1984).

Between 1982 and 1988, Laura placed 9 singles within the Australian top 100, with 4 of those reaching the top 10.  "Gloria" (number 1, February 1983) went all the way to number one, for 7 weeks, becoming the third best-charting single of 1983.

Laura's last single to reach the top 40 in Australia was "Spanish Eddie" (number 24, October 1985).  Like many recording artists strongly associated with the 1980s, Laura struggled to achieve major commercial success once the 90s clocked over; although her chart career had been on the decline for most of the second half of the 80s.
Although she did not write the songs, Laura had the unfortunate knack of recording songs that would later go on to be big hits when recorded by other artists.  Among them are "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" (although this track was written by Michael Bolton), "I Found Someone", and "The Power of Love" (the Jennifer Rush original only reached number 57 in the US).  I discovered recently that she even recorded an earlier version of "Bad Attitude", which would go on to become a top 30 hit for the Australian girl-group Girlfriend in 1992!

"Moonlight on Water" was an exception to this usual pattern of others scoring hits with Laura's flops - instead, it was a cover version of a song originally released by Kevin Raleigh in 1989.  Kevin's version peaked at number 81 in Australia in July 1989, and at number 60 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in June 1989.  The song was co-written by Steve Kipner, who co-wrote Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" (number 1, November 1981).

In Laura's native US, "Moonlight on Water" peaked 100 places higher than it did in Australia, at number 59, in April 1990, although it would be her last Billboard Hot 100 entry.  Within Australia, "Moonlight on Water" performed strongest on the Western Australia state chart, where it reached number 132.
The album "Moonlight on Water" is lifted from, Laura Branigan, peaked at number 143 in Australia in June 1990.  Although Laura would have no further ARIA singles chart success, two later albums charted in Australia: Over My Heart (number 151, September 1993) and Greatest Hits (number 476, October 2007).

Laura sadly died from a brain aneurysm in her sleep in 2004, aged 52.

Next week (28 May): Next week we have six new top 150-peaking debuts, and three bubbling WAY down under entries.
< Previous week 14 May 1990                                         Next week: 28 May 1990 >

14 May 2021

Week commencing 14 May 1990

This week's new entries are an odd bunch.  Among them we have a band and a solo artist who started out in the 1970s but have only recently scored their first chart hits in Australia, three acts who would only score one top 150 'hit', one act who would only score one top 150 'hit' and one bubbling WAY down under 'hit', and a veteran artist who scored her biggest hits in her mid 40s.  Shall we take a look?

Tina Turner: look me in the charts!
Top 150 debuts:
Number 139 "Wonderful Life" by The Celibate Rifles
Peak: number 138
Peak date: 4 June 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
"Wonderful Life" was the third top 150-peaking 'hit' from Australian band The Celibate Rifles' Blind Ear album (number 85, July 1989), following "Johnny" in March 1989, and "O Salvation" in June 1989.  This single took its time to register in the top 150, having been released in late March 1990, as a double 7".  "Wonderful Life" was also issued on cassingle, but as this format is not currently listed on discogs, I cannot confirm that it too was a double release.

The Celibate Rifles, who never scored a top 100 ARIA singles chart entry, will next grace our presence at the end of 1991.
Number 142 "Nick of Time" by Bonnie Raitt
Peak: number 142
Peak date: 14 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
American blues singer/songwriter and guitarist Bonnie Raitt released her first album in 1971, but landed her first album on the Australian chart when Nick of Time (number 58, April 1990) crept into the ARIA top 150 albums chart in September 1989.  Eight months later, the title track - released locally in February 1990 - would belatedly scrape into the top 150 singles chart for a solitary week.
Nick of Time was Bonnie's tenth studio album, and was her major commercial breakthrough in the US, where it topped the Billboard 200 albums chart in April 1990, and was certified 5 times platinum.
"Nick of Time" was the second single from the album issued locally, following "Thing Called Love" in August 1989.  As with the album, "Nick of Time" performed stronger in the US, peaking at number 92 there in May 1990.  The single also peaked at number 67 in the Netherlands in June 1989, number 82 in the UK in April 1990, and number 73 in Germany in June 1990.

Bonnie would eventually break into the ARIA top 100 singles chart when "Something to Talk About" peaked at number 57 in November 1991.  But before then, Bonnie will join us again next week, with another track from the Nick of Time album!

Number 143 "Baby, It's Tonight" by Jude Cole
Peak: number 106
Peak date: 25 June 1990
Weeks in top 150: 13 weeks
American Jude Cole released his debut album Jude Cole in 1987.  "Baby, It's Tonight" was the lead single from his second album, A View from 3rd Street (number 114, July 1990).

I wasn't expecting to know this song, but it sounds familiar to me.  Presumably, it received some airplay in Melbourne.  Alternatively, I may have heard it on the American Top 40 radio program, as the single peaked at number 16 there in June 1990.

"Baby, It's Tonight" performed better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 79.  Jude would break into the ARIA top 100 singles chart in 1992 with "Start the Car" (number 59, November 1992) - his only single to do so.  Before then, Jude will bubble under again in September 1990.

Number 145 "Drag My Bad Name Down" by The 4 of Us
Peak: number 121
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
The 4 of Us hail from Northern Ireland.  "Drag My Bad Name Down", which peaked at number 79 in the UK in March 1990 and number 6 in Ireland, was their sole ARIA top 150 entry.  This one is another that I must have heard at the time, despite not recognising the artist name or song title, as it sounded familiar to me when I picked up a VHS compilation it was on around 2012.

Number 146 "Going Back to My Roots" by FPI Project featuring Sharon Dee Clarke
Peak: number 143
Peak date: 11 June 1990
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks
Despite seeing this title listed in the UK chart in imported pop magazine Number One at the time, I don't think I've actually heard this track before.  Instantly recognisable is the James Brown "woo! yeah!' sample that was ubiquitous on dance tracks around this time.
This track was released as "Rich in Paradise" or "Going Back to My Roots "Rich in Paradise"" in most European countries, but the title was pared back to just "Going Back to My Roots" on the Australian pressing.  To add to the confusion, there were two versions of the track released - one with vocals by Sharon Dee Clarke, as embedded below, and one which was more instrumental in nature, with vocals by Paolo Dini (I assume the latter was the "Rich in Paradise" version).
Sharon Dee Clarke would later go on to sing for Nomad, whose biggest hit was "(I Wanna Give You) Devotion" (number 37, August 1991), and whom we will see bubble under next year.
"Going Back to My Roots" was originally recorded by Lamont Dozier in 1977.  This version of the track peaked at number 9 in the UK in January 1990, and also reached the top 10 in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Number 147 "Gotta Lambada" by Absolute
Peak: number 147
Peak date: 14 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
The risqué lambada dance, originating in Brazil, was a brief 'craze' in Australia and elsewhere at the end of the 1980s/early 1990, thanks to Kaoma's "Lambada" (number 5, April 1990), which showcased the dance in the music video.
To cash in on the fad, two movies about the lambada - Lambada: Set the Night on Fire and The Forbidden Dance - were filmed.  "Gotta Lambada" was recorded for the former.  However, unlike the Kaoma track, "Gotta Lambada" sounds more like a generic early 90s US r&b pop track than something originating from Brazil.
We will see another lambada-related track bubble under next week.

Number 149 "Look Me in the Heart" by Tina Turner
Peak: number 111
Peak date: 4 June 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Up until this point, Tina Turner, real name Anna May Bullock, placed 15 solo singles on the Australian top 100 chart, including two duets (not with Ike), and two number ones.
"Look Me in the Heart" was issued as the fourth and final single in Australia from Tina's Foreign Affair album (number 15, October 1989), following "The Best" (number 4, October 1989), "Steamy Windows" (number 34, January 1990), and "I Don't Wanna Lose You" (number 59, February 1990).

Tina previously had two solo singles released locally that missed the top 100: "Show Some Respect" (February 1985), which reached first place on the Kent Music Report 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' list in March 1985, and "Two People" (November 1986).

"Look Me in the Heart" fared better in France, where it reached number 44 in March 1990, and in the UK, where it peaked at number 31 in August 1990.

Tina will next visit us in late 1991 - an unusual pattern that seems to be emerging this week.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 151 "Love Don't Come Easy" by The Alarm
Peak: number 151
Peak date: 14 May 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
Welsh band The Alarm bubbled under in October 1989, and here they are with their second - and final - appearance on the Australian singles chart, with another track from their Change album (number 155, December 1989).

"Love Don't Come Easy" performed better in the UK, peaking at number 48 there in February 1990.

Next week (21 May): A bumper week with ten new top 150 entries and one bubbling WAY down under debut from the artist who released the first album I ever bought.

< Previous week: 7 May 1990                                               Next week: 21 May 1990 >

07 May 2021

Week commencing 7 May 1990

As with last week, all of this week's top 150 debuts enter at position number 140 or below.  Let's take a look at them.
Tears for Fears offer advice for those wanting to look nonchalant in photographs.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 140 "Advice for the Young at Heart" by Tears For Fears
Peak: number 116
Peak date: 4 June 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
Between 1983 and 1989, British band Tears For Fears placed seven singles on the Australian chart, with "Shout" going all the way to number 1 for one week in March 1985.  All seven of the group's top 100 singles in Australia peaked within the top 40, with "Woman in Chains" (number 39, January 1990) being the final one.
Surprisingly, four singles released locally by the group failed to chart - "Pale Shelter" (released August 1983), "The Way You Are" (February 1984), "Mothers Talk" (November 1984), and "I Believe" (November 1985).  "Pale Shelter" made the Kent Music Report's 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' list for two weeks in August 1983, however, reaching fifth place on this list.

"Advice for the Young at Heart" was the third single lifted from Tears For Fears' third album The Seeds of Love (number 18, October 1989).  The single fared better in their native UK, peaking at number 36 in March 1990.  A fourth single from the album, "Famous Last Words", was issued in the UK in August 1990, peaking at number 83 there during the same month, but was not released in Australia.

Unlike the previous two singles, "Advice for the Young at Heart" predominantly features band member Curt Smith on lead vocals.  Curt, of course, also sang lead on the band's earlier hits "Mad World" (number 12, April 1983) and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" (number 2, June 1985).  Oleta Adams, whose voice was featured on "Woman in Chains", also appears in the video for this song, playing piano and singing backing vocals.  Oleta will go on to score some bubbling under 'hits' of her own in the coming years.

On the state charts, "Advice for the Young at Heart" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 68.  I remember seeing the video for this track on Countdown Revolution, and have viewed it on YouTube a couple of times, but can never remember how the song goes.

Following completion of the The Seeds of Love campaign, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith parted ways, and would not reunite until 2000.  Roland continued to record and release under the Tears For Fears name during the interim years, while Curt would release a solo album Soul on Board in 1993.

We shall see Tears For Fears next in 1992, although they are behind a track that we will see in 1991.

Number 146 "What "U" Waitin' "4"?" by Jungle Brothers
Peak: number 146
Peak date: 7 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
"What "U" Waitin' "4"?" was the second release from American hip-hop trio Jungle Brothers' second album Done by the Forces of Nature (number 102, April 1990), and was their first single to crack the top 150 in Australia.  It followed "Beyond This World", released locally in February 1990.

Jungle Brothers would eventually break into the ARIA top 100 in 1999, when "V.I.P." peaked at number 62, in July 1999.  By that time, the group had notched up seven UK top 40 singles.

In the interim, Jungle Brothers contributed a radically-reworked version of the Cole Porter-written track "I Get a Kick out of You" - which could have been a hit had it been released as a commercial single - to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Blue (number 38, January 1991).
Number 147 "The Sex of It" by Kid Creole and The Coconuts
Peak: number 139
Peak date: 28 May 1990
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Kid Creole and the Coconuts, fronted by August Darnell, placed two singles in the Australian top 100 chart: "I'm a Wonderful Thing Baby" (number 82, November 1982), and "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" (number 89, April 1983).  A third single, "Me No Pop I", bubbled under on the Kent Music Report's 'singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100' list in August 1981, reaching fifteenth place on this list.

"The Sex of It", unsurprisingly - with lines like "the thrills of it, the chills of it, the spills of it, you just want me for the sex" - was written by Prince, who also recorded a demo version that has not been officially released to date.

"The Sex of It" returned Kid Creole and The Coconuts to the top 40 region of the UK singles chart, where it peaked at number 29 in May 1990.  The song gave the band their first top 40 entry there since 1983.  "The Sex of It" also reached the lower region the top 40 in the Netherlands and the Flanders region of Belgium.

Bubbling WAY down under: 
Number 159 "Blue Savannah" by Erasure
Peak: number 159
Peak date: 7 May 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
We saw Erasure bubbling WAY down under back in November 1989 with the first single from their Wild! album (number 107, January 1990), and here they are again in the same region of the chart with the album's third release; one of my favourite Erasure singles.  "You Surround Me", which failed to chart in Australia, was released in-between, in January 1990.
"Blue Savannah" had much greater success in Erasure's native UK, peaking at number 3 in March 1990, becoming their eighth top 10 single there.  "Blue Savannah" also peaked at number 3 in Ireland, and at number 13 in Germany in April 1990.  As with the duo's previous charting single, "Blue Savannah" performed strongest on the Western Australian state chart, where it peaked at number 117.

The music video for "Blue Savannah", which I remember seeing once or twice on Countdown Revolution, makes extensive use of blue paint and gold star gift bows.

Erasure will next grace our presence in June 1990.

Number 161 "Cruising for Bruising" by Basia
Peak: number 161
Peak date: 7 May 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks 

Basia peaked at number 161 with her last single, in February 1990, and here she is at the same peak position again, three months later, with "Cruising for Bruising" - which I have to say, is one of the best song titles ever!
I think it's fair to assume that Basia is the kind of artist who would appeal more to album-buyers, with her sophistipop sound, but the album this track is from, London Warsaw New York (number 114, March 1990), didn't exactly set the ARIA albums chart alight.

"Cruising for Bruising" had marginally more success in the UK, peaking at number 86 in April 1990.  The single scraped into the top 50 in France, peaking at number 46 there in October 1990, and just missed the top 50 in the Netherlands, peaking at number 51 there in June 1990.  On the state charts, "Cruising for Bruising" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it peaked at number 122.

A third single from London Warsaw New York, "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)", was issued locally in November 1990, but failed to chart.

Basia will make one more appearance on the ARIA singles chart, in 1994.
Next week (14 May): Seven new top 150 debuts, and one bubbling WAY down under entry.
< Previous week: 30 April 1990                                      Next week: 14 May 1990 >