25 June 2021

Week commencing 25 June 1990

Of the eight songs I write about this week, two of them are from artists who had their greatest period of success in the early 1980s, and one is a medley of songs from a band who were massive in the 1970s.  In addition, there are two tracks from artists who had much greater success overseas.  Shall we take a look?
Adam Ant: there is always room for a flop!
Top 150 debuts:
Number 126 "Abbacadabra" by The Flares
Peak: number 102
Peak date: 9 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Just a fortnight ago an ABBA-tinged dance track by an Australian act who only released one single and nothing else graced the top 150... and here we are with another of those!  What was it with Australia and ABBA in the 90s?  Though the ABBA revival didn't really kick off until Erasure's (who also debut this week!) Abba-esque EP (number 13, August 1992) in 1992.
I have no idea who was behind The Flares, but "Abbacadabra" (a name adopted by a 90s Australian ABBA tribute band, not to be confused with Björn Again) was their only release.  Stewart Peters, who wrote the single's B-side "The Old Songs" and was in Australian band The Colonial Boys, presumably had something to do with this.
The track in question is a megamix/medley of covered ABBA songs, including "Mamma Mia" (number 1, November 1975), "Ring Ring" (number 7, March 1976), "S.O.S." (number 1, January 1975), "Money Money Money" (number 1, November 1976), and "Waterloo" (number 4, August 1974).
But that's not all!  The track also contains covered excerpts of LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade" (number 13, July 1975), Amii Stewart's "Knock on Wood" (number 2, May 1979), K.C. & The Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)" (number 5, February 1975), Earth, Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland" (number 5, July 1979), Village People's "Y.M.C.A." (number 1, December 1978) and The Trammps' "Disco Inferno" (number 32, June 1978).  In other words, it's a total 1970s-fest.
If you ask me, the best ABBA 'tribute' Australia did during the 1990s was this hilarious ABBA parody sung by Gina Riley on sketch comedy TV show Fast Forward.
Number 137 "Room at the Top" by Adam Ant
Peak: number 116
Peak date: 2 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks

English singer Adam Ant, real name Stuart Leslie Goddard, fronted Adam and the Ants, who scored five top 50 hits in Australia in 1981-2, with the first one of those, "Antmusic", going all the way to number 1 in March 1981.
'Adam' then launched a solo career, with his first single "Goody Two Shoes" topping the Australian singles chart in August 1982.  Follow-up releases "Friend Or Foe" (number 49, November 1982) and "Puss'n Boots" (number 84, December 1983), Adam's only other solo singles to enter the top 100, were much less successful.

The American-sounding "Room at the Top", co-written and produced by Prince's former bass guitarist André Cymone, was the lead single from Adam's fourth solo album Manners & Physique (number 138, March 1990).  It was Adam's first single released in Australia since "Vive Le Rock" (released August 1985, did not chart).  The Australian record company made the curious decision to release the album (12 March 1990) nearly two months before the first single (7 May 1990) - I wonder if this may have hampered "Room at the Top"'s chance of becoming a hit.

"Room at the Top" had greater chart success in Adam's native UK, where it peaked at number 13 in March 1990, giving him his first top 20 entry since 1984.  The single also reached the top 20 in the US, peaking at number 17 in May 1990, and gave Adam his second biggest hit there.  "Room at the Top" also peaked at number 21 in Ireland.

Adam's 'comeback' wasn't to last, however.  A second single from Manners & Physique, "Rough Stuff", was issued in Australia in September 1990, but missed the top 150.

Number 141 "High Hopes" by The Havalinas
Peak: number 102
Peak date: 16 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
The Havalinas were a Californian band fronted by Tim Scott McConnell.  "High Hopes", which does not seem to have charted anywhere else, was lifted from the album The Havalinas (number 130, July 1990).  Tim originally recorded the song for his 1987 solo album High Lonesome Sound.
"High Hopes" is probably better known via its Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band cover version, recorded during the sessions for Bruce's Greatest Hits (number 1, March 1995) but ending up on the 1996 Blood Brothers EP.  Bruce later recorded a version with Tom Morello in 2013, becoming the title track of his High Hopes (number 1, January 2014) album.

Number 143 "Brave Young Boy" by Money Talks
Peak: number 143
Peak date: 25 June 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Norwegian band Money Talks were duo Sverre (guitar, vocals) and Harald Wiik (drums), presumably brothers.  Unusually, for a band hailing form Norway, the pair were signed to American record label Curb Records.
"Brave Young Boy" was lifted from the album Money Talks, and reached number 4 on the Norwegian singles chart.  Oddly, both the album and single appear to have been the band's only release.

Assuming the text in the description of the video uploaded to YouTube below is correct, Harald Wilk is now the manager of fellow Norwegian band a-ha, whom we shall see in November 1990.

Number 149 "Hungry" by Lita Ford
Peak: number 137 
Peak date: 13 August 1990
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
English-born but US-based metal singer-songwriter and guitarist Lita Ford previously landed a number 97 'hit' on the ARIA singles chart in June 1988 (on the first ARIA-produced top 100 singles chart, no less) with "Kiss Me Deadly", her first single to register on the Australian chart.

"Hungry" was the lead single from Lita's fourth studio album Stiletto (number 77, August 1990).  "Hungry" peaked at number 76 in the UK in July 1990, and number 98 on the US Billboard Hot 100 during the same month.  On the state charts, "Hungry" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 114.

"Hungry" would be Lita's second and final single to register on the Australian singles chart.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 152 "Star" by Erasure
Peak: number 152
Peak date: 25 June 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
We saw Erasure bubble WAY down under a mere seven weeks ago, and here they are with the fourth and final single from their Wild! album (number 107, January 1990) - and the third release from it to stall in the 150s on the ARIA singles chart.  Nonetheless, "Star" was the highest-peaking single from the album in Australia.
"Star" had much greater success in Erasure's native UK, where it peaked at number 11 in June 1990.  The single also peaked at number 11 in Ireland, and number 33 in Germany in July 1990.
On the state charts, "Star" performed strongest in Western Australia - as did the previous two charting singles from Wild!, reaching number 107.
Erasure will join us next in 1992.

Number 156 "The Look of Love" (1990 Mix) by ABC
Peak: number 156
Peak date: 25 June 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
We saw English band ABC, now pared down to a duo, bubble under in September 1989.  Their first compilation Absolutely (number 133, June 1990) had just been released, and their 1982 single "The Look of Love" (number 7, October 1982) was remixed by Paul Staveley O'Duffy - without the band's oversight or approval - for inclusion on the album.
Of course, this remix is not a patch on the original, which is a classic, thanks in part to Trevor Horn's production.  One slightly interesting thing about this version, however, is its interpolation with some of the melody of Kraftwerk's "Computer Love" from 1981, which was the B-side of their single "The Model" (number 33, May 1982).

The 1990 remix of "The Look of Love" peaked at number 68 in the UK in April 1990, number 31 in Germany in June 1990, and number 44 in New Zealand in June 1990.  On the state charts, the single performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 133.

While this version of "The Look of Love" would be ABC's final charting single in Australia, they later registered two compilations on the albums chart, albeit rather lowly.  Look of Love: The Very Best of ABC peaked at number 404 in January 2002, and Very Best of peaked at number 529 in November 2005 - although I'm not sure what the latter compilation is, as no album of theirs with that specific title is listed on discogs.

Number 162 "99 Worlds" by Peter Wolf
Peak: number 162
Peak date: 25 June 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week

American singer Peter Wolf was the lead singer in The J. Geils Band, who scored a number 1 single in Australia in March 1982 with "Centerfold", from 1967 to 1983.
After going solo, Peter landed two top 100 'hits' in Australia, with "Lights Out" (number 46, October 1984) and "Come As You Are" (number 72, June 1987). 

"99 Worlds" was the lead, and only, single from Peter's third studio album Up to No Good.

Internationally, the single peaked at number 78 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in March 1990.

Within Australia, "99 Worlds" was most successful in Western Australia, where it reached number 126.

Next week (2 July): a bumper week with 9 new top 150 debuts and one bubbling WAY down under entry.  Among them, we have a flop from an artist who will go on to score a top 10 single later in 1990 as a featured artist, and a re-release of a song that no doubt inspired one of the biggest hits of 1990.

< Previous week: 18 June 1990                                          Next week: 2 July 1990 >

1 comment:

  1. I was in love with Lita Ford for a while. I actually have the cassingle of Hungry. I thought it was a great song


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