06 August 2021

Week commencing 6 August 1990

Unusually, there are only ten new top 150 entries for the entire month of August 1990, and five of those debut this week!  Luckily, there are also six debuts from August 1990 peaking outside the top 150 I am aware of, to help flesh this month's posts out a little bit.
Before delving into this week's new entries, I must point out that I somehow overlooked a single that bubbled under in 1989!  I have now added it (a song by Steve Earle) to the relevant weekly chart recap post, and also to the 1989 chart year in review post.
Let's take a look at this week's batch of new entries.

The Cockroaches: If at first you don't succeed... reinvent yourself as the most-successful children's band.

Top 150 debuts:

Number 118 "Too Tough" by Ten Wedge
Peak: number 118
Peak date: 6 August 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
In a Bubbling Down Under first, I went to the effort of tracking down and speaking to the lead singer of Australian band Ten Wedge, Pat Powell, to gather some information about the group, as there wasn't much I could find online.  Pat Powell (lead vocals), Mike Scott (rapper) and Nick Ferris (bass, backing vocals and involved with the band's live production) formed Ten Wedge in late 1988.
Nick had previously been part of the band Flotsam Jetsam, who placed two singles within the Australian top 100: "Distraction" (number 90, August 1986) and "Power" (number 76, August 1987).  Additionally, Flotsam Jetsam's "100% One Second Love" reached second place on the Kent Music Report's list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100 in November 1985.
Pat emigrated to Australia from West Germany in 1981, and soon found work as a backing vocalist, working with artists such as INXS, Jenny Morris, v. Spy v. Spy, and Michael Hutchence's side project Max Q.  Pat was hired as a backing vocalist for Kylie Minogue's first live concerts in Australia in 1990 as part of the Enjoy Yourself Tour, and accompanied Kylie on the tour's European and Asian legs.
Ten Wedge performed at Adelaide's first major dance party, Warehouse One.  During their tenure, the band supported acts such as Redhead Kingpin and Technotronic on tour.  We saw Ten Wedge bubble under previously in May 1989 with their only other commercial release.  One thing I didn't notice until now is that "Too Tough" originally appeared as the B-side of that single, "Me and Mrs Jones".  Ten Wedge did not record an album.

Those of you who were around and old enough to remember the late 80s/early 90s in Australia will recall that radio at the time would not touch anything dance, rap or r&b with a barge pole.  Had Ten Wedge received radio support, their releases no doubt would have performed better on the chart.  Pat told me that the first Ten Wedge single, "Me and Mrs Jones", received some recognition in New Zealand, where the record-buying public always seemed to be more open to 'black' music than Australia was during that era.

Ten Wedge disbanded in 1991.  Pat later went on to be part of the group Lovetown, and is in the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, who landed a top 40 album in Australia in 2016 with Sierra Kilo Alpha (number 38, May 2016).

Number 125 "The Other Kind (Back Out on the Road Again)" by Steve Earle and The Dukes
Peak: number 111
Peak date: 27 August 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

American singer-songwriter Steve Earle scored a number 23 single in Australia with "Copperhead Road" in February 1989; his only single to make the ARIA top 100.  We also saw Steve bubble under with the follow-up release in April 1989.

"The Other Kind (Back Out on the Road Again)" (phew, what a title!) was the lead single from Steve's album The Hard Way (number 28, August 1990).  For this album, he was backed by the band The Dukes - not to be confused with the early 90s Australian band of the same name.
"The Other Kind..." peaked at number 29 in Canada, number 42 in New Zealand in August 1990, and number 88 in the UK in June 1990.  For what it's worth (not much, if you ask me), it also reached number 37 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Airplay chart in April 1990.

I didn't expect to know this song, but the chorus seems vaguely familiar.

Number 135 "Hope" by The Cockroaches
Peak: number 126
Peak date: 27 August 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks

Founded in 1979, Australian band The Cockroaches had to wait five years before landing their first top 100 single on the Australian chart.  Between 1984 and 1989, the band placed 9 singles within the Australian top 100, with their biggest hit being "She's the One" (number 9, May 1987).
The Cockroaches also bubbled under twice on the Kent Music Report's list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100, with "My Whole World's Fallin' Down" reaching fifth place on the list in August 1985, and "Another Night Alone" reaching sixth place on the list in February 1986.

The Cockroaches' second studio album Fingertips (number 32, October 1988) yielded three ARIA top 100 singles: "Hey What Now!" (number 28, August 1988), "You and Me" (number 44, October 1988), and "Permanently Single" (number 99, December 1988).  The non-album single "Another Saturday Night" reached number 83 in September 1989; the band's final top 100 entry.

"Hope" was the lead single from The Cockroaches' third studio album Positive (number 121, July 1991).  While "Hope" missed the national top 100, it peaked within the top 100 on three of the five state charts, only missing out in Victoria/Tasmania and Western Australia.  "Hope" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 75.

If a music video was filmed for "Hope", it has not been uploaded to YouTube.  The clip embedded below is a performance of the song on Hey Hey It's Saturday.

We will see The Cockroaches again in 1991, but before then, they released another single in November 1990, "Here Comes That Feeling", which failed to chart.
Two members of The Cockroaches, Anthony Field and Jeff Fatt, formed the children's music group The Wiggles in 1991.  Other members of the band provided musical support for The Wiggles, and some Cockroaches songs were re-written to suit the children's music genre.  The Wiggles were rated Australia's top-earning entertainers in Australia for four consecutive years during the mid-late 2000s decade.

Number 147 "Heaven Give Me Words" by Propaganda
Peak: number 105
Peak date: 10 September 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks

German synth-pop band Propaganda scored five top 40 singles in Germany between 1984 and 1990, with the biggest of those being "Dr. Mabuse", reaching number 7 in June 1984.  The band were signed to ZTT Records, founded by Trevor Horn, who was once in The Buggles - best known for "Video Killed the Radio Star" (number 1, December 1979), and became known for his intricate production of tracks such as ABC's "The Look of Love" (number 7, October 1982) and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" (number 5, March 1984).
Trevor Horn also produced "Dr. Mabuse", which was the group's only previous single to register on the Australian chart; albeit on the Kent Music Report's list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100, where it reached fifth place in September 1984.
Propaganda's biggest hit in the UK, "Duel" (number 21, June 1985), was covered by Mandy Smith on her only album Mandy (number 144, December 1988).
"Heaven Give Me Words" was the lead single from Propaganda's belated second studio album 1234 (number 114, September 1990).  The single reached number 36 in the UK in May 1990, number 40 in Germany in June 1990, number 43 in the Netherlands in June 1990, and number 13 in Sweden in June 1990.
"Heaven Give Me Words" performed stronger on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 97.

Propaganda split in 1990, but reformed in 2005.

Number 150 "Hard Luck Story" by 21 Guns
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 13 August 1990
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

Australian band 21 Guns bubbled under in March 1990 with a single that, coincidentally, peaked at number 129, matching the peak of this follow-up.  As with the last single, this one was sung by one-time Countdown Revolution co-host Andy McLean.

I actually remember this track, as it spent some time on the aimed-at-teenagers, listener-voted radio countdown show Top 8 at 8, which aired in my state (Victoria) on Triple M - not that it helped "Hard Luck Story"'s chart fortunes; a 'hard luck story' indeed!
Listening to this now, I can't help but think that the verses are slightly reminiscent of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" (number 3, May 1987), starting with the same name of teenager/young adult followed by the troubles they are facing formula.

The band released one further single, "I Believe", which missed the top 150.  An album, 21 Guns (number 140, August 1990), was also released.  The group then presumably split.  Interestingly, the album fetches upwards of $200 on discogs.com now!

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 153 "Velouria" by Pixies
Peak: number 153
Peak date: 6 August 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
We first saw Pixies last October.  "Velouria" was the lead single from the band's third album Bossanova (number 68, September 1990).

Elsewhere, "Velouria" peaked at number 28 in the UK in July 1990, number 17 in Ireland in August 1990, and number 29 in New Zealand in August 1990.  "Velouria" also reached number 4 on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

On the ARIA state charts, "Velouria" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 144.

As with the music video for their previous chart entry, the video for "Velouria" is another notable one - this time for consisting solely of 23 seconds of footage of the band in a quarry, slowed down to last for the duration of the song.  The reason this video happened at all was due to UK TV program Top of the Pops only airing songs in the top 40 that have music videos (if the band cannot appear live on the show).  However, Top of the Pops did not end up airing the video embedded below.

We will see Pixies again in November 1990.

Number 167 "What Ya Wanna Do?" by Ice-T
Peak: number 167
Peak date: 6 August 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week

We saw Ice-T in November 1989 with his first single to chart in Australia, and here he is with the second, although it was the third single released in Australia from The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech... Just Watch What You Say! (number 81, February 1990).  In between, "You Played Yourself" was issued locally in April 1990, but failed to chart.

Interestingly, "What Ya Wanna Do?" does not appear to have charted anywhere else.

Ice-T will next join us in 1991.

Number 169 "Reputation" by Dusty Springfield
Peak: number 164
Peak date: 13 August 1990
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks
"Reputation" was the third single lifted from Dusty's Reputation (number 144, September 1990) album, following "Nothing Has Been Proved" and "In Private", which we have seen previously.   Unlike those two singles, "Reputation" was produced by Andy Richards, rather than the Pet Shop Boys.
"Reputation" peaked at number 38 in the UK in June 1990, number 29 in Germany in June 1990, number 44 in the Netherlands in July 1990, and number 33 in the Flanders region of Belgium in June 1990.
On the ARIA state charts, "Reputation" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 128.

A fourth single from the Reputation album, "Arrested by You", was released in Australia in October 1990 - oddly, three weeks before its UK release - but failed to chart.  "Arrested by You" peaked at number 70 in the UK in December 1990.

We will see Dusty again in 1995.

Next week (13 August): Unusually, there is only one new top 150 debut next week.  There are, however, four bubbling WAY down under entries to help flesh things out.

< Previous week: 30 July 1990                                      Next week: 13 August 1990 >


  1. Hello - would it be possible to get the debut date and debut number for Mandy Smith's "Mandy"? Thank you.

    1. The 'Mandy' album debuted and peaked at number 144 on 12 December 1988. As far as I can tell, it was a random, one-off week that the ARIA albums chart extended beyond number 100 (though the singles chart did not for the same week, oddly) before permanently going beyond number 100 from the chart survey dated 30 January 1989 (in line with the singles chart).

  2. Replies
    1. No problem. It seems like we have similar tastes in music! You can also contact me through the Bubbling Down Under facebook (facebook.com/bubblingdownunder) or instagram (intagram.com/bubblingdownunder) pages if you have any other queries.

    2. There's also a contact me link on the main page of the site here if you prefer email.


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