01 October 2021

Week commencing 1 October 1990

Before diving into this week's 1990 post, I have updated two earlier posts with newly-uncovered bubbling WAY down under entries from The Christians:
This week in 1990, all of the new entries are from artists we have not seen before.  How refreshing!  And a mixed bag they are, covering everything from easy listening tunes your mum would enjoy, through to Prince-related pervy romps about jerking everything in sight, 'credible' indie tunes, and... a ballad from Broadway!  Shall we take a look?

Michael Bolton: the sole provider of flowing locks this week in 1990.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 127 "Soul Provider" by Michael Bolton
Peak: number 119 
Peak date: 5 November 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks

Michael Bolton's first chart success in Australia came in the form of writing songs for other artists.  Laura Branigan took the Michael Bolton co-written "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" to number 46 in Australia in October 1983.  Of course, Michael would score a much bigger hit with his own recording of the song, which reached number 2 in Australia in March 1990.

Then Cher landed a number 8 hit with "I Found Someone" in May 1988, a track co-written by Michael Bolton, and originally recorded by Laura Branigan.  Poor Laura - I have written previously about her knack of recording songs that later became much bigger hits for other artists.  Michael recorded his own version of "I Found Someone" for his Greatest Hits 1985-1995 (number 6, September 1995) compilation.

Ironically, Michael's first hit in his own right in Australia was a cover version, of Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay" (number 3, May 1988).  The success of this single spurred the first release from Michael's The Hunger (number 36, July 1988) album, "That's What Love Is All About" (number 90, May 1988), to chart, albeit lowly.  A third single from the album, "Wait on Love", was issued locally in August 1988, but failed to chart.

"Soul Provider" did not chart when it was issued as the lead single from Michael's sixth studio album Soul Provider (number 1, April 1990) in August 1989.  Following the success of "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You", "How Can We Be Lovers" (number 3, May 1990), and... er, "When I'm Back on My Feet Again" (number 77, July 1990), Michael's record company decided to have another crack at making the album's title track a hit, and failed.

"Soul Provider", naturally, enjoyed greater success on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 19 in September 1989.  The single also reached number 75 on the Dutch singles chart in June 1990, and number 77 in the UK in October 1990.  Locally, "Soul Provider" performed strongest on the Queensland state chart, where it reached number 83.

A fifth (not counting both releases of the title track) and final single from Soul Provider, "Georgia on My Mind", was released in Australia in November 1990, but failed to chart.

We will next see Michael bubble under in August 1991.

Number 135 "Strung Out" by Wendy & Lisa
Peak: number 133
Peak date: 5 November 1990
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks

Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman came to fame as part of Prince's backing band The Revolution, with whom he recorded the Purple Rain soundtrack (number 1, August 1984), and the albums Around the World in a Day (number 12, May 1985) and Parade (number 8, May 1986).

Following Prince's cessation with working with The Revolution, Wendy & Lisa embarked on their own separate recording career, releasing the albums Wendy and Lisa and Fruit at the Bottom - neither of which charted in Australia.

We saw Wendy & Lisa bubble WAY down under with their first Australian chart entry in July 1989.

"Strung Out" was the lead single from the duo's third album Eroica (number 126, September 1990).  Internationally, "Strung Out" was biggest in the UK, where it reached number 44 in July 1990.  The single also peaked at number 31 in the Netherlands in August 1990, and number 42 on the Flemish chart during the same month.

"Strung Out" would be Wendy & Lisa's only ARIA top 150 singles chart appearance, and their final charting single in Australia.

Number 138 "The Ship Song" by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Peak: number 138
Peak date: 1 October 1990
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

Australian Nick Cave began his recording career with The Boys Next Door in 1978, with a cover version of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walking".  Although no singles released by the band charted, their album Door Door (number 93, August 1979) dented the top 100.  Their 1979 single "Shivers" became a number 19 hit in February 1993 when covered by The Screaming Jets.

The Boys Next Door then changed their name to The Birthday Party, and again landed no top 100 singles, but placed one album in the top 100: Prayers on Fire (number 96, July 1981).  The Birthday Party disbanded in 1983.

Nick then began recording with The Bad Seeds in 1984.  "The Ship Song" was the first single from the group to chart in Australia, although three albums had previously charted locally: Your Funeral... My Trial (number 98, December 1986), Tender Prey (number 109, February 1989), and The Good Son (number 93, May 1990).
Oddly, "The Ship Song" was first released in Australia on BMG Records in April 1990, but was then re-issued on Festival Records (who were now distributing product on Mute Records, through which this was released) in September 1990.  It was the first single lifted from The Good Son.  A second single from the album, "The Weeping Song", was issued in November 1990, but missed the top 150.

"The Ship Song" fared better in the UK, where it peaked at number 84 in March 1990.

We will next see Nick in 1994.  Before then, Nick managed to score four ARIA top 100 singles, although none peaked higher than number 62, with "Do You Love Me?", in May 1994.

Number 145 "Smoking Her Wings" by The Bats
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 1 October 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Hailing from Christchurch in New Zealand, The Bats formed in 1982.  Between 1984 and 1993, the group placed four singles on the New Zealand top 50 singles chart, although none peaked higher than number 34 ("By Night" in November 1984).  I was actually living in New Zealand when "By Night" peaked, but have no recollection of their biggest 'hit' - granted, I had just turned 6, and it's not the kind of music the radio stations my parents would have listened to played.

In Australia, nothing The Bats released made the top 100, so, all things considered, number 145 wasn't too bad for them, especially for a single that did not chart in their homeland.  "Smoking Her Wings" was lifted from the album The Law of Things (number 133, May 1990), which did chart in New Zealand, reaching number 38 in May 1990.

Interestingly, a compilation album from The Bats, titled Compiletely Bats (that's not a typo), also registered on the ARIA top 150 albums chart, peaking at number 139 in August 1990.

Although The Bats would not land another top 150 single in Australia, they made the top 150 albums chart again with Fear of God (number 140, November 1991).

The Bats are still together today, and released an album, Foothills, last year, which peaked at number 13 in New Zealand in November 2020.  The Bats have maintained their original line-up since their inception in 1982.

Number 147 "Someone Like You" by Linda Eder
Peak: number 147
Peak date: 1 October 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
American singer and actress Linda Eder performed in the Broadway musical of Jekyll & Hyde, from which "Someone Like You" is lifted.  An album performed by Linda, Highlights from Jekyll & Hyde, reached number 138 on the ARIA top 150 albums chart in September 1990.

Not being well-versed, or even versed at all, in musicals, I had never heard of Linda before, but she apparently received rave reviews for her performance as Lucy Harris in Jekyll & Hyde.  Listening to this track now for the first time, it gives me major Céline Dion vibes, perhaps minus some of the vocal theatrics, even down to Linda's early 90s Céline-esque permed hair style.  The song is nice enough, but not the sort of thing I would actively seek out.

Number 148 "Looking for Atlantis" by Prefab Sprout
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 15 October 1990
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks

I think I first encountered English band Prefab Sprout when seeing "Cars and Girls" (number 41, May 1988) listed in the top 50 chart printed in one of the first editions of the Australian Smash Hits magazine I bought.  I remember thinking "that's an interesting name for a group."

"Cars and Girls" was Prefab Sprout's biggest hit in Australia, with only two other singles of theirs making the top 100: "When Love Breaks Down" (number 55, April 1985) and "Appetite" (number 45, November 1985).
In their homeland, the group notched up 19 top 100 singles between 1984 and 1997, although only seven of those made the top 40.  Prefab Sprout's biggest hit in the UK was "The King of Rock 'N' Roll", which reached number 7 in May 1988.

"Looking for Atlantis" was the first single lifted from fifth Prefab Sprout studio album Jordan: The Comeback (number 148, October 1990).  The single peaked at number 51 in the UK in August 1990.  The album was much more successful in the UK, peaking at number 7 in September 1990.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 153 "Jerk Out" by The Time
Peak: number 153
Peak date: 1 October 1990
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

The Time, fronted by Morris Day, are an act closely associated with Prince, forming in Minneapolis in 1981.  The band originally contained members Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who left in 1983 and went on to become a highly successful songwriting and production team for artists such as The S.O.S. Band and Janet Jackson.

The Time released three studio albums between 1981 and 1984, before disbanding in 1985.  The group reformed in 1990, and Jam and Lewis re-joined the group, before splitting again in 1991.  The Time reformed again, minus Jam and Lewis, in 1995.

"Jerk Out" was originally recorded by Prince, who co-wrote the track, in 1981, during the recording sessions for The Time's 1982 album What Time Is It?  While Prince's demo remains unreleased, audio from the jamming session where he performs the song has been uploaded to YouTube.
"Jerk Out" was the lead single from The Time's fourth studio album Pandemonium, which was issued in Australia in August 1990 but failed to chart.  "Jerk Out" was the bands first - and only - single to chart in Australia.  The single performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 131.
Internationally, "Jerk Out" reached number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in August 1990, becoming their biggest hit there.  The single also reached number 56 on the Dutch singles chart in September 1990.

The Time would eventually score a charting album in Australia when their 1981 debut The Time peaked at number 219 in March 1993 - I assume due to having been released locally on CD for the first time then.

Next week (8 October): Four new top 150 debuts and one bubbling WAY down under entry.

< Previous week: 24 September 1990                             Next week: 8 October 1990 >

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