24 September 2021

Week commencing 24 September 1990

Of this week in 1990's seven new top 150 entries, only one is from an artist we have seen previously.  Let's take a look.

Julee Cruise: floppin' back outside the chart
Top 150 debuts:
Number 129 "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" by Julee Cruise
Peak: number 107
Peak date: 15 October 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks (7 weeks 1990 chart-run; 2 weeks May 1991 re-entry)

American singer Julee Cruise is best known for her musical contributions to the television series Twin Peaks.  Her 1989 debut album Floating into the Night (number 21, April 1991) consisted of tracks that were recorded for various David Lynch projects, including the 1986 film Blue Velvet, the 1990 stage play Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted, and Twin Peaks.  "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" was used for the latter two.

"Falling" (number 1, April 1991), another track from Floating into the Night, was used as the theme song for Twin Peaks, and gave Julee a major international hit, reaching the top 20 across Europe, and topping the Australian singles chart for one week in April 1991.

"Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" did not bring Julee the same level of success, registering its only significant chart peak in Ireland, where it reached number 18 in February 1991.  In the UK, "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" peaked at number 66 in March 1991.

In Australia, "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" peaked just outside the top 100.  I suspect the single may have performed better had it been released after Twin Peaks commenced airing in Australia, on 18 February 1991.  On the Australian Music Report singles chart, "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" peaked slightly higher, at number 94.

Following the success of "Falling", "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" re-entered the top 150 for two non-consecutive weeks in May 1991, reaching number 139.

Julee would eventually land another minor 'hit' on the Australian chart, when she paired up with B(if)tek on a cover version of Cliff Richard's "Wired for Sound", which reached number 82 in May 2000.

Number 138 "Time for Letting Go" by Jude Cole
Peak: number 118
Peak date: 12 November 1990
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks

Jude bubbled under in May 1990, and here he is with the second single from his A View from 3rd Street (number 114, July 1990) album.

Like Jude's last single, this one seems vaguely familiar to me, though I didn't think I would know it.  Chalk it up to being the kind of music Australian FM radio stations of the time loved.  Presumably this received airplay - not that it helped its commercial success.

"Time for Letting Go" was a bigger hit in Jude's homeland, reaching number 32 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in October 1990.  The single also performed stronger on the Australian Music Report chart, where it reached number 93.

Number 139 "The History of Western Civilisation" by TISM
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 19 November 1990
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks
TISM, an acronym of This Is Serious Mum, were a Melbourne band for whom the identity of its members - thanks to their penchant for wearing balaclavas - was essentially unknown.
"The History of Western Civilisation" was the band's first single to register on the Australian top 150.  The song humourously deals with the perceived undesirability of coming from the western suburbs of (presumably) Melbourne - but it could equally be applied to Sydney.  "The History of Western Civilisation" is lifted from the band's second album Hot Dogma (number 86, October 1990).  While I can appreciate the wit of this track's lyrics, musically, this is not my favourite TISM song.
"The History of Western Civilisation" was most popular in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 87.

TISM will join us again in 1993, and would have to wait until 1995 to land their first ARIA top 100 single.

Number 143 "Beyond Your Wildest Dreams" by Lonnie Gordon
Peak: number 104
Peak date: 22 October 1990
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks

American diva Lonnie Gordon emigrated to London in 1985.  In the ensuing years, she released a few underground dance records, providing guest vocals on Quartz Lock's "Love Eviction" in 1988, and Simon Harris' "(I've Got Your) Pleasure Control" - the latter reached number 60 in the UK in July 1989.  Lonnie also released "It's Not Over (Let No Man Put Asunder)", which peaked at number 91 in the UK in September 1989, under her own name.

"It's Not Over..." led to Lonnie performing the song on Pete Waterman's The Hitman and Her TV show.  Coincidentally, Lonnie had been wanting to work with Stock Aitken Waterman since shortly after arriving in the UK.  This wish became reality when SAW offered a song to her, "Happenin' All Over Again", which reached number 4 in the UK in February 1990, number 3 in Ireland, and went top 40 across Europe.

Lonnie's first solo release in Australia, "Happenin' All Over Again", took four months to climb to its eventual peak of number 33 in August 1990.  The single spent 20 weeks in the top 100, which is nothing to be sneezed at, despite its moderate peak.

In the UK, there was a six month gap between "Happenin'..." and Lonnie's follow-up SAW-produced single "Beyond Your Wildest Dreams".  In the interim, SAW's Midas touch on the UK chart was fading significantly, with only Kylie and Jason achieving consistent top 10 success for the production trio - and even then, they were no longer scoring number ones.
Smash Hits magazine even published an article titled 'Are Stock Aitken Waterman Down the Dumper?!' in December 1990, in which Pete Waterman opines than "Beyond Your Wildest Dreams" flopped (it peaked at number 48 in the UK in August 1990) because "ballads just don't do well that time of year."  Er, right...

"Beyond Your Wildest Dreams" sounds perhaps a little too sophisticated and 'mature' for the tastes of the audience SAW were usually courting, which is probably largely why it bombed.  But the trio were definitely no longer perceived as being 'cool' by 1990, and it didn't help that nearly every single they released in 1989 made the top 10 in the UK.  The only way for them was down.

"How Could He Do This to Me", a much more-upbeat song Lonnie recorded with SAW but remained unreleased until 2009, was apparently scheduled for a single release before it was scrapped in favour of "Beyond Your Wildest Dreams".

"It's Not Over...", "Happenin' All Over Again" and "Beyond Your Wildest Dreams" all eventually appeared on Lonnie's If I Have to Stand Alone (number 173, April 1991) album, which had a limited release in Europe, Australasia, and Japan.  The album, oddly, was not released in the UK until a remastered, expanded edition was released in 2009.  The If I Have to Stand Alone album did not chart anywhere else but in Australia.

On the ARIA state charts, "Beyond Your Wildest Dreams" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 76.  The single narrowly missed the top 100 nationally, despite registering within the top 100 on three of the five state charts.

Lonnie would never score a second top 100 hit in Australia, but we shall see her bubble under again on several occasions in the coming years, with the next one being in February 1991.

Number 146 "Wanna Be the Man" by Earth, Wind & Fire featuring M.C. Hammer
Peak: number 146
Peak date: 24 September 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

American band Earth, Wind & Fire scored six top 100 singles on the Australian chart between 1975 and 1982, with three of those reaching the top 20.  Their biggest hit in Australia, "Boogie Wonderland", peaked at number 5 in July 1979.  Their last chart entry locally was "Let's Groove" (number 15, March 1982).

"Wanna Be the Man" is lifted from the band's fifteenth studio album Heritage, which was released in Australia in March 1990, but missed the top 150.  The album's title track was issued locally during the same month, and also missed the top 150.
For "Wanna Be the Man", Earth, Wind & Fire teamed up with rapper M.C. Hammer, who had recently scored a major hit with "U Can't Touch This" (number 1, July 1990).  Not that it helped them re-gain chart success - the single reached number 46 on the US R&B chart (not a 'real' chart in my book) and did not chart anywhere else.  Oops.
Earth, Wind & Fire did manage to score one further minor 'hit' in Australia, with "September '99" (number 94, September 1999).   Other acts who covered or sampled Earth, Wind & Fire's songs had more success than the band on the Australian charts during the 1990s, including Black Box's "Fantasy" (number 3, February 1991), CDB's "Let's Groove" (number 2, November 1995), Past to Present's "September" (number 42, October 1996), and Stretch & Vern present Maddog's "I'm Alive" (number 65, May 1997) - which samples "Boogie Wonderland".

We shall see M.C. Hammer again in 1991.

Number 147 "Never Get Enough" by Antoinette
Peak: number 147
Peak date: 24 September 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Antoinette Lovell Patterson, known as just Antoinette, hailed from The Bronx, New York.  "Never Get Enough" was the lead single from the then 20-year-old rapper's second album Burnin' at 20 Below, although this single was her first - and only - Australian release.

Antoinette's first appearance on record came in 1987, when she contributed a track to a compilation released by Hurby Azor, who wrote and produced Salt 'N' Pepa's hits from this era.  Spinderella from Salt 'N' Pepa appears on "Never Get Enough", and in the music video.  Pepa raps on the track, too, but does not appear in the video.
Antoinette does not appear to have achieved notable commercial success on any chart, with her only chart entries being on the subsidiary (and not 'real' charts, in my opinion) Billboard charts - namely the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Hot Rap Songs charts.  The ARIA singles chart could be the only sales-based chart Antoinette registered on, with this release!

Number 149 "Dangerous Sex" by Tackhead
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 24 September 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

The Wikipedia page for Tackhead describes them as an "industrial hip-hop" group, and I am just going to leave it at that.  Although the group's origins are in New York, English 'singer' (I put that in inverted commas, as he doesn't really 'sing'... or rap, for that matter) Gary Clail, who scored a minor hit in Australia with "Human Nature" (number 38, August 1991), "would shout and rant over Tackhead's live playing" (thanks, Wikipedia).  Gary can indeed be heard doing that a couple of times over the top of this track.  Gary features more-prominently on Tackhead's "Reality" from 1988.

From what little I've heard of Tackhead's music, it does not sound like the sort of thing that typically charts.  I'm guessing this track must have received airplay on Triple J and similar 'youth'/non-commercial radio stations.  Interestingly, the only other place Tackhead charted was in New Zealand, when "The Game (You'll Never Walk Alone)" reached number 34 in June 1989.

Tackhead will not make another appearance in the top 150, but we shall see Gary Clail in 1991.

Next week (1 October): Six new top 150 debuts, plus one bubbling WAY down under entry.

< Previous week: 17 September 1990                                Next week: 1 October 1990 >


  1. I think I remember that "Are S.A.W. down the dumper" article. Yes, I kind of recall a random Smash Hits article from just over 31 years ago. Anyway, I think this was the same article that said the Yell! single flopped because their record company went broke the day it came out, so there were no copies in the shops. Excuses, excuses.

    1. Yes... Although none of Yell!'s singles were actually released in Australia. Oz Smash Hits just reprinted the same article that was published in the UK edition of the magazine.


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