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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.

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