12 November 2021

Week commencing 12 November 1990

This week in 1990's new batch of top 150-peaking debuts is unusual, in that all but one of the singles spent at least 7 weeks on the chart.  As I have posted before, the average single peaking in the 101-150 region of the chart in 1990 spent between 5 and 6 weeks in the top 150, which means 7 of this week's 8 top 150 debuts had more chart longevity than normal.  You may be thinking that this could be because of the upcoming two-week Christmas break, where ARIA repeated the final chart of the year, artificially adding to the weeks in tally - but only one of this week's longer-charting debuts does not extend its chart run in 1991.

Before we take a look at this week's new entries, I have updated the following posts with newly-uncovered bubbling WAY down under singles:

* 2 July 1990 - with a new entry from Damn Yankees
* 30 July 1990 - with a new entry from Damn Yankees
* 13 August 1990 - with a new entry from Kate Ceberano and Her Sextet
 
Sting didn't generate much 'buzz' with his latest release.
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 131 "Never Felt This Way Before" by Alston
Peak: number 131
Peak date: 12 November 1990
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
 
Alston Koch, known at this point in time as just Alston, was born in Sri Lanka, but emigrated to Sydney.  His recording career started in the mid-1970s, as part of the group Dark Tan.  Dark Tan placed three singles on the Australian top 100 between 1976 and 1979, with the biggest of those being "Disco Lady" (number 70, May 1978).

Alston then embarked on a solo career, releasing two non-charting singles during the 1980s, "20 Miles" (October 1983) and "Try Again" (November 1984).  Alston recorded Australia's theme song for the 1987 America's Cup, "Kookaburra", which was credited to Alston and The Fremantle Doctor, but it too did not chart, surprisingly.
 
"Never Felt This Way Before" was Alston's latest attempt at landing a solo hit.  While it charted, thanks to the ARIA chart now extending beyond number 100, it also did not achieve major success.  The track was remixed by Robert Racic, who was instrumental in shaping the sound of Australian electronic/dance music in the 1990s.

Alston reportedly achieved greater success with his music in Asia, although it is difficult to verify this claim, owing to Asian charts from the 1980s (if they were published) not being archived online to my knowledge.  Nonetheless, here is a video of Alston performing "Try Again" on Singaporean TV.

Alston had more success as a producer on the Australian charts, co-producing Melissa Tkautz's three biggest hits, "Read My Lips" (number 1, July 1991), "Sexy (Is the Word)" (number 3, September 1991) and "Skin to Skin" (number 16, May 1992).

Sporting a hairstyle and shades look not dissimilar to that of Eurythmics' Dave Stewart at this point in time, the record company seem to have felt that Alston might land a hit if they paired him with a 'hot' woman with model looks, and did just that, with Alston essentially being re-branded as S-Witch, who will see bubble under in 1991.

Alston eventually scored top 50 success in Australia with his Don't Funk with Me album, peaking at number 16 in June 2012.
 

 
Number 133 "Birthday" by Paul McCartney
Peak: number 102
Peak date: 26 November 1990
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks

As one of The Beatles, Paul McCartney needs no introduction.  We saw Paul bubbling under in August 1989, and here he is again, with the lead single from his Tripping the Live Fantastic (number 86, November 1990) album.  As you might have guessed from the album's title, this song is a live performance.  It is a solo rendition of a track from The Beatles' 1968 The Beatles (White Album).

Internationally, "Birthday" reached number 29 in the UK in October 1990, number 22 in Ireland in October 1990, and number 68 in the Netherlands in November 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "Birthday" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 79.  "Birthday" entered the top 100 on four of the five state charts, only missing out in Western Australia, where it peaked at number 101.  The single performed stronger on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 100.

We shall next see Paul in 1993.
 

 
Number 134 "Sense of Purpose" by Pretenders
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 3 December 1990
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks
 
Pretenders are quickly becoming Bubbling Down Under royalty - this is the fourth time I have written about a song of theirs in under two years since starting these chart recaps.  To date, we have seen Pretenders in October 1981, March 1989, and June 1990.

"Sense of Purpose" was the second single lifted from Pretenders' fifth studio album Packed! (number 55, June 1990).  The single did not even chart in the UK, and appears to have only otherwise charted in Canada, reaching number 72.

I hadn't heard this song before, but enjoyed it.  To me, although Chrissie Hynde maintained name recognition, it seemed like Pretenders disappeared off the face of the earth between 1988 and 1993.

Pretenders will join us again in 1994.


 
Number 137 "Billy Billy" by Paul Norton
Peak: number 114
Peak date: 19 November 1990
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks 

Before launching a solo career, Australian singer-songwriter Paul Norton played bass in the band The Runners, who scored a minor hit with "Sure Fire Thing" (number 43, June 1982) in 1982.

Paul burst onto the charts in 1989 with his debut solo single "Stuck on You", which went all the way to number 3 in May 1989.  Unfortunately for Paul, it was all downhill for him, chart-wise, after that release.  Paul's second and third singles, "I Got You" (number 31, November 1989) and "Southern Sky" (number 37, August 1990), languished in the 30's on the chart, and he would never land another top 50 hit again.

"Billy Billy" was the fourth release from Paul's debut album Under a Southern Sky (number 44, September 1990).  I probably heard this at the time, given radio's penchant for playing his music back then, but have no recollection of it.

If a music video for "Billy Billy" exists, it has not been uploaded to YouTube.  Australian record company indifference to their archive strikes again...

Paul release a fifth single from Under a Southern Sky, "Shake That Devil", in February 1991, but it missed the top 150.

We shall next see Paul in 1993.



Number 139 "Carry Me" by Ray Lyell and The Storm
Peak: number 117
Peak dates: 21 January 1991 and 28 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
 
Canadian band Ray Lyell and The Storm landed a hit, of sorts, on the Australian charts with the double A-side single "(Running from) Another Man's Gun"/"Colour of Money" (number 57, August 1990).  Despite its low peak, the single spent 18 weeks in the top 150, and "Colour of Money" received decent radio airplay - at least in Melbourne, and made its way onto the U Can't Touch This various artists compilation album.

"Carry Me" was the second, or third depending on how you count them, single from the band's only album, Ray Lyell and The Storm (number 44, August 1990).  Oddly, the single to seems to have only been commercially released in Australia, despite a music video being filmed to promote it.

"Carry Me" spent just one of its 7-week top 150 chart-run on the chart in 1990.  It re-entered in January 1991, reaching its peak of 117 later that month.

On the Australian Music Report singles chart, "Carry Me" peaked at number 91.

The band presumably split soon after this release, as Ray launched a solo career in 1992.  Ray will bubble under with his solo material on the Australian chart in 1993.
 


Number 146 "Rhythm of the Rain" by Dan Fogelberg
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 17 December 1990 (chart repeated 24 December 1990 and 31 December 1990)
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
 
Between 1975 and 1983, American Dan Fogelberg placed four singles on the Australian top 100, with the biggest of those, "Longer", peaking at number 41 in March 1980.  Dan had more success on the Australian albums chart, with seven top 100 albums, and Phoenix peaking at number 27 in April 1980.  Dan was much bigger in the US, where he scored four Billboart Hot 100 top 10 hits between 1979 and 1981.
 
"Rhythm of the Rain" was a cover of a song recorded in 1962 by The Cascades.  "Rhythm of the Rain" had also recently been covered by Jason Donovan (number 44, November 1990).  Dan's version of the track also charted in Canada, where it peaked at number 39.  For what it's worth (not much, if you ask me), Dan's rendition of "Rhythm of the Rain" reached number 3 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in November 1990.
 
Sadly, Dan died in December 2007, aged 56, following a three and a half year illness with prostate cancer.



Number 147 "Nature Boy" by Kate Ceberano
Peak: number 121
Peak date: 26 November 1990
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks

Kate Ceberano shared lead vocal duties - although she sang lead on all but one of their singles - with Zan Abeyratne in Australian band I'm Talking between 1983 and 1987.  I'm Talking landed five top 40 singles in Australia, with three of those reaching the top 10.  "Do You Wanna Be" (number 8, June 1986) was their highest-peaking single.  I'm Talking bubbled under with their final single in November 1986.
 
If you're a fan of I'm Talking and have not seen it before, check out the UK video for "Do You Wanna Be" which... I discovered on a VHS tape I'd bought, but which sat in an unopened parcel in my wardrobe for 4 and a half years (don't ask), back in June this year.  No-one in the band had a copy in their possession!

After I'm Talking split, Kate Ceberano released a jazz album, Kate Ceberano & Her Septet Live (number 29, April 1987), and a soundtrack album with Wendy Matthews, You've Always Got the Blues (number 7, June 1988).
 
Kate's solo 'pop' debut album Brave (number 2, August 1989) was released in 1989.  Brave was certified triple platinum and spawned four top 30 singles, one of which was a double A-side.  "Bedroom Eyes" (number 2, May 1989) was the biggest of those, spending seven non-consecutive weeks at number 2, despite topping the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory and Victoria/Tasmania state charts.  "Bedroom Eyes" was the seventh highest-selling single of 1989 in Australia.

Following Brave, Kate released another jazz album Like Now (number 18, August 1990), this time with her Sextet.  We saw Kate Ceberano and Her Sextet bubble WAY down under in August 1990.

"Nature Boy", a cover version of a song originally released by Nat King Cole in 1948, appears on the soundtrack album for The Crossing (number 100, November 1990).

On the state charts, "Nature Boy" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 99.

Kate would return to pop in 1991, but will still explore other genres in between her pop album releases.  We shall see Kate bubble under next in 1994.



Number 148 "Tick Tock" by The Vaughan Brothers
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 17 December 1990 (chart repeated 24 December 1990 and 31 December 1990)
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks
 
Brothers Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmy Vaughan united to record the album Family Style (number 17, November 1990).  This was the pair's only collaboration, as Stevie perished in a helicopter crash on 27 August 1990, aged 35.

At this point in time, Stevie had landed five charting albums in Australia, with Couldn't Stand the Weather (number 20, October 1984) being the most successful of those.  Stevie had only manged to score one top 100 single on the Australian chart, with "Cold Shot" (number 98, October 1984).  Both the single and album were credited to Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, his backing band - though (obviously) not the same Double Trouble we saw a few weeks back.  "Tick Tock" was Jimmie's first foray onto the Australian singles chart.

Elsewhere, "Tick Tock" charted at number 65 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in November 1990, and number 44 in the Netherlands in December 1990.

"Tick Tock" performed stronger on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 96.


 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 156 "Englishman in New York" (The Ben Liebrand Mix) by Sting
Peak: number 156
Peak date: 12 November 1990
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
As the lead singer of The Police, Sting landed 14 charting singles in Australia between 1979 and 1986, with six of those reaching the top 10.  "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (number 2, December 1981) and "Every Breath You Take" (number 2, July 1983) were their equal-biggest hits here.

Sting, real name Gordon Sumner, released his first solo single in 1982, with "Spread a Little Happiness" (number 80, October 1982), from the Brimstone & Treacle soundtrack.  While it was not a big success locally, the single reached the top 20 in the UK and Ireland.

Sting's first solo single from a studio album, "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free", peaked at number 18 in Australia in July 1985.  Its parent album The Dream of the Blue Turtles reached number 1 on the Australian albums chart in April 1986, nine months after debuting at number 5.
 
At this point in time, Sting had placed seven singles on the Australian top 100, with "Russians" (number 11, May 1986) being the highest-peaking of those.

"Englishman in New York" was originally issued as a single in Australia in March 1988, as the third release from Sting's second solo album ...Nothing Like the Sun (number 5, November 1987).  Somehow, it failed to chart, despite (I think) being one of Sting's most recognisable solo tracks now.  Its YouTube view count of (at the time of writing this) almost 237 million views would support my opinion.

"Englishman..."'s international chart stats also do not befit the song's enduring popularity, languishing at number 51 in the UK in February 1988, and peaking no higher than number 13 anywhere in the world (in the Netherlands).  The single peaked at just number 84 on the US Billboart Hot 100 in April 1988.

Perhaps it is because it seemed like the song deserved greater success that this remix of "Englishman in New York" was issued as a single.  The track was re-worked by Ben Liebrand, whom we have seen a couple of times in his own right this year, in February and September.

Listening to this version of "Englishman in New York", I can't help but notice the similarity to the 1988 Ben Liebrand remix of The Four Seasons featuring Frankie Valli's "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)", which became a belated hit in Australia, peaking at number 3 in February 1993.
 
Internationally, the Ben Liebrand remix of "Englishman in New York" peaked at number 15 in the UK in August 1990 (beating its original peak of number 51 in February 1988), number 20 in Germany in September 1990 (the original did not chart there), and number 60 in the Netherlands in October 1990.
 
On the ARIA state charts, the "Englishman in New York" remix performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 125.
 
Although the remix was a greater commercial success, surely it is the original version of "Englishman in New York" that is remembered now.  I can't, however, determine why the song seems like it was a much bigger hit than it was.  The song's Wikipedia page does not give any clues.  Does anyone know why?
  
We shall next see Sting in April 1991.
 
 
 
Next week (19 November): Four new entries, and for the only time since the ARIA chart extended beyond number 100, the singles chart ends before number 150.
 
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