03 September 2021

Week commencing 3 September 1990

This week in 1990 we have another mixed bag of debuts, including a mellow dance groove track with a flute solo (!), a serious 'adult' sounding charity single from two artists whose personalities were more akin to red cordial, a soul songstress who scored consecutive top 5 albums in the US but could do no better than number 97 locally on the singles chart, and a dance re-working of a recent massive number 1 ballad that was itself a cover.

But before we dive in to this week's post, 'please know' (thanks, Gladys!) that I have updated an earlier post:
  • 21 May 1990 - with a bubbling WAY down under entry from The Stranglers added.
Now onto this week in 1990...

The Chimes: still haven't found the second hit they were looking for.
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 133 "True Love" by The Chimes
Peak: number 106
Peak date: 17 September 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks
 
Pauline Henry, who emigrated to England from Jamaica when she was 10, was working as a hairdresser when she landed the gig of being The Chimes' vocalist.  A friend put Pauline in touch with Scottish studio boffins Mike Peden and James Locke, who were looking for someone to sing some songs they had written.  Pauline was offered the job after singing down the phone line to the pair; they were so impressed with her voice.
 
Pauline's initial meeting with Mike and James got off to a bad start, when they collected her in a rented truck, after she travelled to Edinburgh to meet them.  She was not impressed.  Mike and James had envisaged Pauline's role in the band to be just providing vocals, while they would take care of the creative side of things.  Pauline had other ideas, and the trio evolved into a songwriting partnership.
 
The Chimes started playing gigs in Scotland, and a representative from CBS Records who was at one of their performances got them a recording contract.  The group's debut single "1-2-3" (number 73, February 1990) was produced by Soul II Soul's Jazzie B and Nellee Hooper, who were hot property at the time.  While it didn't land the group major chart success in Europe or Australia, the single reached the top 5 in New Zealand, becoming the first of three top 10 hits The Chimes notched up in the land of the long white cloud.  "1-2-3" also made ripples on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 86.

The Chimes' second single, "Heaven", peaked at number 62 in Australia in March 1990, and initially at number 66 in the UK in December 1989.  It became the band's second and final top 40 hit in the UK after a re-release, peaking at number 24 in October 1990.

Meanwhile, the band's third single, the U2 cover version "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (number 26, August 1990) was easily The Chimes' biggest and most-recognisable hit, going top 10 in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Norway, and top 20 in Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.  Bono from U2 also gave this version of the song his approval.

"True Love" was issued as the fourth single from The Chimes (number 16, August 1990), the group's only album.  It must be one of only a handful of dance-orientated tracks from this era to feature a flute on it.
 
Frustratingly, "True Love" peaked within the 90s on all five of the ARIA state charts, but could not break into the top 100 nationally.  "True Love" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 93.  "True Love" dented the Australian Music Report top 100, peaking at number 95.
 
In the UK, the single peaked at number 48 in July 1990, and also reached number 42 in the Netherlands during the same month.

I'm not sure why The Chimes scored only one real hit; their singles deserved to do a lot better.  The album, however, performed reasonably well, being certified silver in the UK, and gold in Australia, where it was also the 86th highest-selling album of 1990.

Mike Peden from The Chimes went on to produce for other artists, including Lighthouse Family, Des'ree and Emma Bunton.  Mike produced Lighthouse Family's Australian number 1 single from 1998, "High".
 
After The Chimes split in 1991, Pauline Henry launched a solo career.  Her biggest hit and only top 50 single in Australia, "Feel Like Making Love", peaked at number 13 locally in May 1994, and at number 12 in the UK in November 1993.

We will see The Chimes bubble under on two more occasions, with the next one being in November 1990.
 
 
 
Number 139 "Pump That Body" by Mr. Lee
Peak: number 139 
Peak date: 3 September 1990
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks
 
American rapper Mr. Lee bubbled WAY down under on the Australian chart in March 1990, and his second Australian single, "Pump That Body", became his first and only release to dent the ARIA top 150.
 
"Pump That Body" took six weeks to break into the top 150, after debuting at number 156 on 23 July 1990.  On the state charts, "Pump That Body" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 98.  Despite spending 5 weeks on the chart in total, "Pump That Body"'s chart run extended over approximately three months, as it re-entered the top 150 for a second week, at number 142, on 15 October 1990.
 
Internationally, "Pump That Body" peaked at number 79 in the UK in May 1990, number 7 in the Netherlands in June 1990, number 21 in the Flanders region of Belgium in June 1990, and number 41 in New Zealand in July 1990.  As often seemed to be the case around this time, New Zealand was much more receptive than Australia to urban/r&b and hip-hop music.
 
The album "Pump That Body" is lifted from, Get Busy, was released in Australia in August 1990, but failed to chart. 

We shall see Mr. Lee next in December 1990.



Number 144 "Talk to Me" by Anita Baker
Peak: number 139
Peak date: 17 September 1990
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

Between 1986 and 2004, American singer Anita Baker notched up four US Billboard 200 top 5 albums.  In contrast, only one of Anita's singles - "Sweet Love" (number 97, November 1986) - dented the top 100 in Australia, and only one of her albums - Rapture (number 35, June 1988) - made the top 40.

Anita bubbled under on the Australian Music Report list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100 when "Giving You the Best That I Got" reached tenth place on this list in November 1988.

"Talk to Me" was the lead single from Anita's Compositions album (number 54, September 1990).  "Talk to Me" had greater, though still minor, success overseas, peaking at number 44 in the US in July 1990, number 68 in the UK in June 1990, and number 50 in Canada.

Anita next graced the ARIA top 150 when her album Rhythm of Love peaked at number 128 in November 1994.



Number 146 "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Chyp-Notic
Peak: number 140
Peak date: 24 September 1990
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks

Obviously, from the title, this track is a cover of the Prince-penned song Sinéad O'Connor took to number 1 in Australia in February 1990, which was originally an album track recorded by The Family in 1985.
 
Prince's original 1984 studio recording of "Nothing Compares 2 U" was eventually released posthumously in 2018.  Before that, Prince released a live duet version of the track with Rosie Gaines on his 1993 The Hits/The B-Sides compilation (number 4, May 2016), which peaked at number 112 on the ARIA singles chart in May 2016, following Prince's death.
 
Chyp-Notic were a German eurodance band who formed in 1988, under the name Toys.  I don't recall hearing this version of the song before.  Listening to it now, it seems the music backing is quite similar to Sydney Youngblood's "If Only I Could".  It sounds like the kind of thing that might have done well in the UK, but does not seem to have charted there - probably owing to the success of Sinéad O'Connor's version.

Chyp-Notic's version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" reached number 16 in Germany in June 1990, where it was one of two contemporaneous covers of the track charting - the other version being by MXM, which reached number 26 on the German chart in June 1990.  The Chyp-Notic version also reached number 18 in New Zealand in June 1990, number 9 in Austria in August 1990, and number 21 in the Flanders region of Belgium in August 1990.

Vlad Mint, the band's singer, passed away in 1998, aged 29, though I was not able to find any information about this.  There is some speculation that Vlad did not perform all of the vocals on the Chyp-Notic tracks.



Number 147 "Generations of Love" by Jesus Loves You
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 24 September 1990
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks

Boy George project Jesus Loves You previously bubbled WAY down under in October 1989, and their second single, "Generations of Love", became their first to break into the ARIA top 150.  It was the second release from their The Martyr Mantras (number 136, June 1991) album.

"Generations of Love" is notable for featuring two artists signed to Boy George's More Protein label: MC Kinky, who 'sang' lead on E-Zee Possee's "Everything Begins with an "E"", and Amos, whom we shall see in 1994.

In the UK, "Generations of Love" initially peaked at number 80 in June 1990, before achieving a much higher peak of number 35 in July 1991 when re-issued.  The single was also re-issued in Australia in August 1991, and while it re-entered the chart, achieving a peak of number 139 in Victoria/Tasmania, it did not re-appear in the national top 150.  On the state charts, "Generations of Love" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 84.

Internationally, "Generations of Love" peaked at number 27 in the Flanders region of Belgium in September 1991, number 12 in the Netherlands in October 1991, and 30 in Austria in November 1991.
 
Although Jesus Loves You were not credited on the album covers, "Generations of Love" made its way onto two Boy George/Culture Club best-of albums: Spin Dazzle: The Best of Boy George and Culture Club (number 122, August 1992) and At Worst... The Best of Boy George and Culture Club (number 185, January 1994).

Jesus Loves You will join us again in May 1991.
 

 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 162 "You've Got a Friend" by Big Fun & Sonia featuring Gary Barnacle
Peak: number 157
Peak date: 10 September 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
Stock Aitken Waterman-produced artists Big Fun and Sonia were approached by the UK charity Childline (analogous to Australia's Kids' Helpline) to record a single to help raise funds for their cause.  
 
Initially, a cover version of the Carole King song "You've Got a Friend" was recorded, but this was shelved in favour of a more-sombre original Stock Aitken Waterman composition with the same title.  As the artwork for the single had already gone to the printing press by the time a decision was made to scrap the cover version, it was necessary for SAW to write a song with the same title.  Saxophonist Gary Barnacle also performs on the track and receives a featuring credit.

The original cover version of "You've Got a Friend" remained unreleased until the 2010 expanded re-issue of Big Fun's only album A Pocketful of Dreams.
 
"You've Got a Friend" was a moderate hit in the UK, peaking at number 14 in June 1990.  It also reached number 12 in Ireland.

On the ARIA state charts, "You've Got a Friend" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 122.

I remember seeing this single in the shops, but for some reason didn't buy it, despite buying all of Sonia's other locally released singles - often before even hearing them.  It probably didn't help that I never heard the song, or saw the video, until 2005 when tracking down Sonia's Everybody Knows: The Video Hits VHS tape.  I was quite surprised at the mellow and 'adult'-sounding vibe of the track, given the frothy, 'bubbly' personalities portrayed by Big Fun and Sonia during this era.  Perhaps this disconnect between the artists' usual style and the song was partly to blame for "You've Got a Friend" not becoming a bigger hit.
 
"You've Got a Friend" was Big Fun's final release in Australia.  The trio released a final Stock Aitken Waterman-produced single in the UK, "Hey There Lonely Girl", peaking at number 62 in August 1990.

Big Fun bubbled under previously in May 1990, and we have seen Sonia twice before this year, in February and May.  Sonia will return to this region of the chart again in October 1990.
 
 
 
Next week (10 September): Six new top 150 debuts and one bubbling WAY down under entry.
 
< Previous week: 27 August 1990                                    Next week: 10 September 1990 >

3 comments:

  1. I remember seeing the video for that naff cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U" back in 1990, but not on Rage -- what other music video shows were on at the time? Countdown Revolution maybe, or Video Hits.

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    1. Yes, those two. There was also MTV, M.C. TeeVee and The Noise (the latter two on SBS). It's funny to think now that we had at least half a dozen music video programs on TV back then, with only 5 channels; compared to now, where we have umpteen channels and only one music video show.

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