02 July 2021

Week commencing 2 July 1990

Obscure artists often feature in my chart recap posts, but this week we have quite a few 'big names' debuting.  However, that doesn't necessarily mean the artists in question were big in Australia.
Among this week's new entries, we have a band who notched up over 40 top 40 hits in their homeland but only ever landed one major hit in Australia.  We also have the lead singer from a band name-checked on one of the biggest singles of the early 2000s, who are touted to have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide - but who only scored one top 40 single in Australia!  We also have one of the most influential recording artists of the last century, and the manager of the Sex Pistols.  Phew!  Shall we take a look?
Depeche Mode seemed to have a policy of flopping when it came to the Australian charts.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 102 "Book of Dreams" by Suzanne Vega
Peak: number 102
Peak date: 2 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks
Between 1985 and 1987, American singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega placed four singles on the Australian chart: "Marlene on the Wall" (number 39, April 1986), "Left of Center" (number 35, July 1986), "Luka" (number 21, August 1987), and "Solitude Standing" (number 91, October 1987).

"Book of Dreams" was the lead single from Suzanne's third album Days of Open Hand (number 74, July 1990).  The album's title is a lyric from this song.  "Book of Dreams" peaked at number 66 in the UK in May 1990, but failed to chart in the US.  On the ARIA state charts, "Book of Dreams" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 76.
As a casual fan of Suzanne's singles, I picked up her Tried and True: The Best of (number 96, November 1998) compilation in early 2000, and quickly became obsessed with it.  I listened to the album all the way through about 18 times in the first three days of buying it - something I had never done with an album before, or since.  Naturally, I then tracked down her studio albums proper.  I must say, though, that while I like "Book of Dreams", I don't think it is one of her stronger singles.

Some earlier Suzanne Vega singles not released in Australia that I think are worth checking out if you've not heard them before include: "Small Blue Thing" (number 65 in the UK in January 1986), "Knight Moves" (released as a single only in Germany in 1985 or 1986) and "Gypsy" (number 77 in the UK in November 1986).

Suzanne scored her biggest hit in Australia later in 1990, credited as featured artist, with D.N.A.'s remix of her 1987 a cappella "Tom's Diner" (number 8, November 1990).  But before that, we shall see another single from Days of Open Hand bubbling under in October.

Number 107 "Deep in Vogue" by Malcolm McLaren and The House of McLaren
Peak: number 107
Peak date: 2 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks

Before Madonna's "Vogue" (number 1, April 1990), Malcolm McLaren released a song in 1989 about the dance style incorporating modelling poses that originated in the New York LGBT African-American/Latin American house-ballroom subculture.  As I have noted previously, Jody Watley's "Friends" music video from 1989 also prominently featured voguing.
"Deep in Vogue", originally credited to Malcolm McLaren and The Bootzilla Orchestra, appeared as the B-side on Malcolm's "Waltz Darling" (number 65, August 1989) single.  A music video was filmed for "Deep in Vogue" to accompany this release, so it was more like a double A-side than a B-side, though not formally credited as such.  I saw the "Deep in Vogue" video on TV in 1989, and the song also received airplay - at least on Triple M's listener-voted Top 8 at 8 - which is a lot more exposure than your typical B-side gets.

Prior to its release, Malcolm asked Mark Moore from S'Express to remix "Deep in Vogue", which he did together with William Orbit.  Malcolm was so impressed with their re-working of "Deep in Vogue" that he used it in place of his original recording on the Waltz Darling (number 60, August 1989) album.  We saw Malcolm bubble under with another track from the album back in January.

Two music video edits were produced for "Deep in Vogue" - a 4 minute 7 inch version, and the full 9 minute Banjie Realness 12 inch mix, which I have embedded below.  The Banjie Realness version of the track contains audio samples from the footage recorded for Paris Is Burning, a film documentary on Harlem ball culture that was released in 1990.  Willi Ninja, credited as the godfather of voguing, appears in Paris Is Burning, and flew to London to record vocals for "Deep in Vogue".  Willi also appears prominently in the music video, as the man with long hair and dangling earrings.
The female vocals on "Deep in Vogue" were performed by Lourdes Morales, who is credited here as just 'Lourdes'.  She does not appear in the music video for "Deep in Vogue", but does for the second video shot for "Waltz Darling", which she also sang lead on.  Lourdes' experience working with Malcolm McLaren was not a positive one - you can read about that in her comments on this post for "Deep in Vogue" on Into the Popvoid.

Both Malcolm McLaren and Willi Ninja have since passed on - Malcolm in 2010 aged 64, and Willi in 2006 aged 45.

Number 114 "You Can Sleep While I Drive" by Melissa Etheridge
Peak: number 105 
Peak date: 16 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
We saw Melissa bubble under with the second single from her second album Brave and Crazy (number 9, October 1989) in December 1989, and here she is with the album's fourth release, following "Let Me Go" (number 70, March 1990).

"You Can Sleep While I Drive" appears to have only charted in Australia and the Netherlands, where it reached number 56 in August 1990.  On the ARIA state charts, the single performed equal-strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory and South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 89.  Interestingly, "You Can Sleep While I Drive" registered within the top 100 on four of the five state charts, only missing out in Victoria/Tasmania, but could not break into the top 100 nationally.

Melissa will next join us towards the end of 1992.

Number 119 "Satin Sheets" by Sharon O'Neill
Peak: number 106
Peak dates: 9 July 1990 and 23 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks

Between 1980 and 1988, New Zealand singer-songwriter Sharon O'Neill placed 12 singles on the Australian top 100 chart, with "Maxine" (number 16, September 1983) being the biggest of those.
Sharon's career went on hiatus in 1984, due to a contractual dispute with her record company CBS.  After a 4 year-gap of not being able to release new material, Sharon returned in 1987, now signed to Polydor, with the album Danced in the Fire (number 45, November 1987).  Two singles released from the album charted in Australia: "Physical Favours" (number 39, November 1987) and "Danced in the Fire" (number 98, March 1988).  A third single, "We're Only Human" - released in Australia in August 1988, failed to chart.

"Satin Sheets" was the lead single from Sharon's sixth - and to date, final - studio album Edge of Winter (number 147, October 1990).  On the state charts, "Satin Sheets" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 81.  A second single from Edge of Winter, "Poster Girl", was released in March 1991 but failed to chart.
"Satin Sheets" was Sharon's last single to chart in Australia.  A compilation album, The Best of Sharon O'Neill, peaked at number 366 on the ARIA albums chart in September 2005.  Before then, she shared a The Very Best of compilation album with fellow New Zealand-born recording artist Collette, but it failed to chart.

Number 131 "Better World" by Rebel MC
Peak: number 131
Peak date: 2 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks

English toaster (as in the Jamaican rapping style - not a kitchen appliance!) Rebel MC, real name Michael West, scored a number 85 single in Australia with "Street Tuff", together with Double Trouble, in February 1990.  That single performed much better in the UK, where it reached number 3 in October 1989.  We saw Rebel MC bubble under on the ARIA chart with another collaboration with Double Trouble in March 1990.
"Better World", Rebel MC's third single release and first on his own, peaked at number 20 in the UK in April 1990.  Lifted from the album Rebel Music (number 98, July 1990), "Better World" reached the top 5 in New Zealand, the top 20 in the Netherlands, and the top 30 in Ireland, Switzerland, and the Flanders region of Belgium.

"Better World" peaked 43 places higher on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 88.

This single would be Rebel MCs last to enter the top 150 in Australia, although we will see him bubble WAY down under in October 1990.

Number 139 "Pretty Pink Rose" by Adrian Belew featuring David Bowie
Peak: number 127
Peak date: 16 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks

Adrian Belew is an American songwriter, producer, and musician, most well-known as a guitarist in the formed-in-London band King Crimson.  While King Crimson did not land any charting singles in Australia, their song "Sleepless" probably sounds familiar to most Australians who follow music, through to its use in an interlude for the long-running music video TV program rage.  Five King Crimson albums also made the top 100 in Australia.

"Pretty Pink Rose" was recorded for Adrian's fifth solo studio album Young Lions (number 149, June 1990), and is a duet with David Bowie, who, of course, needs no introduction.  Up until this point in 1990, David had placed 31 singles on the Australian top 100 singles chart.  Bowie previously bubbled under on the Australian Music Report list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100 when "Time Will Crawl" reached second place on this list in July 1987.

While we won't see Adrian in the top 150 again, David Bowie will bubble under next in 1992.

Number 143 "Policy of Truth" by Depeche Mode
Peak: number 143
Peak date: 2 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
English band Depeche Mode (French for 'fashion news' or 'fashion update') have, at the time of writing this, landed 43 top 40 singles in their native UK, although none of these have peaked higher than number 4.
In Australia, Depeche Mode have been much less successful, placing 15 singles in the top 100 between 1982 and 2001, with only 5 of these reaching the top 40.  However, their biggest hit in Australia, "Just Can't Get Enough" (number 4, April 1992), actually bettered its UK peak by 4 places, and matched their highest UK singles chart position.
"Just Can't Get Enough", from the album Speak & Spell (number 28, April 1982), was written by Vince Clarke, who left the band shortly after the album was released.  Vince went on to score chart success with Yazoo, who landed two top 10 singles in Australia with "Only You" (number 7, August 1982) and "Don't Go" (number 6, November 1982), and Erasure - whom we saw last week but were under-appreciated in Australia.
Band member Martin L. Gore assumed songwriting duties following Vince's departure, and penned the band's only other Australian top 40 hit during the 1980s, "People Are People" (number 25, August 1984).
It is criminal, really, the general lack of commercial success Depeche Mode achieved in Australia.  Even "Enjoy the Silence", widely regarded as their classic, only peaked at number 71 in September 1990 - six months after its release, boosted by a live show in Sydney on 31 August 1990 (their only concert performed in Oceania on the World Violation Tour).

"Policy of Truth" was the third release from the band's seventh studio album Violator (number 42, September 1990).   It followed "Personal Jesus" - which peaked later in 1990 following a re-release - and "Enjoy the Silence".  On the state charts, "Policy of Truth" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it peaked at number 131.  "Policy of Truth" had greater success in the UK, where it peaked at number 16 in May 1990, and in the US, where it reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1990.
Although the Violator era was not so successful in Australia, the album peaked at at number 7 in the US in May 1990, shifting over 4.5 million copies there and becoming their best-selling release worldwide.

Before "Policy of Truth", Depeche Mode appeared three times on the Kent Music Report's list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100.  "Shake the Disease" reached third place on the list in August 1985, "Stripped" reached fourth place on the list in June 1986, and "Strangelove" reached tenth place on the list in June 1987.
Some Depeche Mode singles released in Australia during the 1980s that did not chart at all, but which I recommend checking out if you are unfamiliar with them, include: "New Life" (released in Australia in April 1982), "See You" (June 1982), "Get the Balance Right!" (April 1983), "Everything Counts" (August 1983), and "A Question of Time" (October 1986).  "But Not Tonight", the B-side of "Stripped", was released as a single in the US in 1986 to promote the film Modern Girls, and is another favourite of mine.

Between 1990 and 2011, eight Depeche Mode singles peaked outside the top 100 on the ARIA singles chart.  We will next see Depeche Mode bubble under in December 1990.

Number 144 "Kiss My Ass" by The Booz'n Bang'n Dance Crew
Peak: number  144
Peak dates: 2 July 1990 and 9 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks

Occasionally I am dumbfounded by a song/artist I've never heard of, who somehow managed to scrape into the ARIA top 150 singles chart.  This is one of those moments - and that's just from the artist name and song title, before we get to the profound lyrics such as "I love you, kiss my ass."

Going by the record label credits, even on the Australian pressing, it appears that The Booz'n Bang'n Dance Crew are a Finnish act.  The "song" contains numerous samples - two I spotted are from Kraftwerk's "The Robots" and "Pocket Calculator".

While this "song" presumably charted in Finland, the Finnish charts are not archived online prior to 1995, so I am not able to verify that.  "Kiss My Ass" does not appear to have charted anywhere else.

Number 149 "Tattooed Millionaire" by Bruce Dickinson
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 2 July 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Iron Maiden are perhaps best known - to the masses - in Australia via being name-checked in the chorus of Wheatus's "Teenage Dirtbag" ("listen to Iron Maiden baby with me"), which reached number 1 on the ARIA singles chart for four non-consecutive weeks between November 2000 and January 2001.
Iron Maiden were much less successful with their own music on the Australian singles chart, with only three of their singles registering within the top 100 by this point.  Only one of those, "Run to the Hills", made the top 40, peaking at number 27 in September 1982.
Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden, launched a solo career in 1990 with the album Tattooed Millionaire (number 103, August 1990).  The album's title track peaked at number 18 in Bruce's native UK in May 1990.

Bruce never made the top 100 in Australia with any of his solo releases - single or album, but scored seven top 40 singles and two top 40 albums in the UK.

Aside from fronting one of the most popular heavy metal bands (just not with the record-buying public in Australia), Bruce is also a trained commercial pilot, and even flew Iron Maiden's own Boeing 747 jet on their 2016 world tour!

Bruce will join us again as part of Iron Maiden, who will bubble under in 1992.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 164 "Coming of Age" by Damn Yankees
Peak: number 164
Peak date: 2 July 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
Damn Yankees, as you would suspect from the name, were an American band.  What I didn't realise, until now, is that the band was a supergroup, composed of Tommy Shaw from Styx, Jack Blades from Night Ranger, and Ted Nugent from The Amboy Dukes.  The band's drummer, Michael Cartellone, was then an unknown name, but would later perform with Lynyrd Skynyrd.

"Coming of Age", the band's debut single, peaked at number 60 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in May 1990.  It topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, for what that is worth, during the same month.  "Coming of Age" is lifted from the album Damn Yankees (number 112, April 1991).

We will see Damn Yankees again before the end of the month!

Next week (9 July): Six top 150 debuts and one bubbling WAY down under entry.
< Previous week: 25 June 1990                                    Next week: 9 July 1990 >


  1. Iron Maiden would have had more success on the album chart I'm guessing.
    I actually recorded the video for Kiss My Ass on MTV back then. Was the only time I ever saw it on tv. I only recently transferred it to DVD

  2. Iron Maiden had much greater success on the albums chart for sure. Suzanne Vega could have been a bubbling way down under entry last week as she was at #163 but then you'd have had one less entry for this week.

    1. I only include singles that peaked outside the top 150 in the Bubbling WAY down under list, as I don't have the full chart info below #150 (this info cannot be extracted from the database, unfortunately, with the way it is set up). So only the peaks outside the top 150 I know of are included.


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