27 August 2021

Week commencing 27 August 1990

This week we have another mixed bag of new entries, with reggae and freestyle, and two veteran 'rockbirds' (there's a clue there).  Let's take a look.
Cher: you probably wouldn't know this song
Top 150 debuts:
Number 138 "Wear You to the Ball" by UB40
Peak: number 132
Peak date: 24 September 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks

British reggae band UB40 have joined us on two previous occasions, in July 1989 and June 1990.  This week in 1990, they bubbled under with the fourth single from their Labour of Love II (number 20, January 1990) covers album, which was also UB40's sixth single in a row to miss the top 50 in Australia.  You have to admire the undeterred nature of Australian record companies back then, churning out flop after flop.

"Wear You to the Ball" was originally recorded by The Paragons in 1967.  Unusually for a UB40 single, most of the vocals are sung by trumpet player, rapper and toaster Astro (real name Terence Wilson), with Ali Campbell chiming in only for the chorus.
UB40's version of "Wear You to the Ball" peaked at number 35 in the UK in August 1990, and number 28 in New Zealand in November 1990.  On the ARIA state charts, the single performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 92.

As with the first Labour of Love II single, "Homely Girl" (number 52, March 1990), "Wear You to the Ball" was not re-issued in Australia following the success of the re-released "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)" (number 3, September 1991).

UB40's next single, "The Way You Do the Things You Do", brought the group back into the ARIA top 100.  It initially peaked at number 78 in February 1991, before reaching a higher peak of number 63 in April 1992 following a re-release.  All up, the Labour of Love II campaign was drawn out over two years in Australia - something only normally reserved for the Jacksons, owing to all of the single re-issues.

We will next see UB40 in 1993, with an updated version of one of their early singles.

Number 148 "Bad of the Heart" by George Lamond
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 27 August 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
American freestyle and salsa singer George Lamond's second single, "Bad of the Heart", was his first Australian release.  The title track from George's debut album Bad of the Heart was also his first single to hit the US Billboard Hot 100, and became his biggest hit there, peaking at number 25 in July 1990.  The single does not appear to have charted elsewhere.

"Bad of the Heart" seems to me like the kind of song Australians probably only heard through being exposed to it on the American Top 40 radio show, as local radio would not have touched anything like this at the time.

George released a follow-up single, "No Matter What" - a duet with Brenda K. Starr, in Australia in April 1991, but it missed the top 150.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 151 "Maybe for Sure" by Deborah Harry
Peak: number 151
Peak date: 27 August 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week

Deborah Harry, or Debbie Harry - as she was calling herself then, bubbled under on the first ARIA singles chart to extend beyond number 100, in January 1989, and she swiftly repeated that 'feat' with Blondie the following month.
One thing I hadn't mentioned on those occasions was that Deborah also bubbled under twice on the Kent Music Report's list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100: "Free to Fall" made fourth place on the list in April 1987, and "In Love with Love" reached seventh place in June 1987.  Interestingly, Stock Aitken Waterman remixed "In Love with Love" for the version that was released as the single in Europe and Australasia - not that it helped the song become a hit.

While Deborah scored two major solo hits in Australia with "French Kissin' in the USA" (number 4, February 1987) and "I Want That Man" (number 2, January 1990), no other single she released peaked higher than number 23, and she only landed five Australian top 40 singles overall throughout her solo career.  Nonetheless, that was more success than Deborah achieved in her native US (none of her singles peaked higher than number 43) or the UK (four top 40 hits).  Interestingly, Australia seems to have been solo Deborah's most successful market when it comes to her tally of top 40 singles and top 20 albums.

"Maybe for Sure", from the Def, Dumb & Blonde (number 10, February 1990) album, became the second of five Deborah Harry singles to peak outside the top 100 in Australia between 1989 and 1993.  It followed "I Want That Man" and the double A-side-in-Australia release "Sweet and Low"/"Kiss It Better" (number 30, March 1990).
My favourite Def, Dumb & Blonde single, "Brite Side", was not issued in Australia - perhaps because it only peaked at number 59 in the UK, in December 1989.  That being said, "Maybe for Sure" fared even worse there, reaching number 89 in June 1990.  "Maybe for Sure" does not appear to have charted anywhere else.

On the ARIA state charts, "Maybe for Sure" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it peaked at number 142.

We shall see Deborah again in February 1991.

Number 157 "Easy" by Ice MC
Peak: number 157
Peak date: 27 August 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

"Easy" was British rapper Ice MC's, real name Ian Campbell, debut single.  Oddly, the single did not chart in the UK, but did in Australia... just.  Nonetheless, "Easy" became a hit across continental Europe, peaking at number 17 in France in November 1989, number 3 in Germany in January 1990, number 4 in Switzerland in February 1990, and number 7 in Austria in March 1990.

Within Australia, "Easy" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 123.
I hadn't heard this one before.  While I liked it, it's very different to the 'hits' Ice MC had in the mid 90s, which were more eurodance/ragga in style.  Ice MC was also sporting dreadlocks then.

We shall next see Ice MC in 1994.

Number 160 "You Wouldn't Know Love" by Cher
Peak: number 153
Peak date: 3 September 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Although Cher's longevity has been likened to that of the cockroach, her career has certainly been a mixed bag of highs and lows, rather than having consistent success throughout.  But having flop eras - even from an album where you scored one of your biggest hits - makes things that more interesting, right?
Since the advent of the Kent Music Report Australian chart in 1974, Cher had landed only nine top 100 singles in Australia between then and now; but two of those - "I Found Someone" (number 8, May 1988) and "If I Could Turn Back Time" (number 1, October 1989) - were quite successful.

Cher also bubbled under twice on the Australian Music Report, with "Skin Deep" reaching thirteenth place on the list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100 in August 1988, and "Main Man" reaching fifth place on the list in December 1988.
"You Wouldn't Know Love" was the fifth and final single issued from the Heart of Stone (number 1, November 1989) album.  It followed "After All" (number 50, June 1989), "If I Could Turn Back Time", "Just Like Jesse James" (number 14, January 1990), and "Heart of Stone" (number 70, February 1990).
Unusually, "You Wouldn't Know Love" was released without an accompanying music video - the third single from the album to not have one, following in the footsteps of "After All" and "Just Like Jesse James".  I guess Cher's infamous "If I Could Turn Back Time" music video is to blame for that... see also Madonna's lack of music videos for a couple of single releases after the controversial "Justify My Love".  Cher did it first!

Like "I Found Someone", Cher's comeback (one of many) single from 1988, "You Wouldn't Know Love" was also co-written by Michael Bolton, collaborating this time with beige songwriter extraordinaire Diane Warren.  Michael recorded his own version of the song for his Soul Provider album (number 1, April 1990).

To me, "You Wouldn't Know Love" seems like it was one of those singles that was just put out there, with next to zero promotion.  I remember seeing the cassingle in the shops, but the only place I heard the song was on a friend from primary school's mum's car cassette player (she had the Heart of Stone album).  Does that date me or what?  Oh, and Smash Hits rival magazine Hit Songwords also published the lyrics.
With its rousing chorus, I suspect that "You Wouldn't Know Love" could have been a moderate hit for Cher in Australia - perhaps peaking somewhere between number 25 and 40, if it had a music video and some promotion behind it.
Internationally, "You Wouldn't Know Love" peaked at number 55 in the UK in August 1990, and number 29 in Ireland in August 1990.  On the ARIA state charts, "You Wouldn't Know Love" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 114.
"You Wouldn't Know Love" was the first of six Cher singles to peak outside the top 100 in Australia during the 1990s.  We will see Cher next in January 1991.

Next week (3 September): Five new top 150 debuts and one bubbling WAY down under entry.

< Previous week: 20 August 1990                                 Next week: 3 September 1990 >

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