19 November 2021

Week commencing 19 November 1990

This week's chart in 1990 is notable for being the only occasion since the chart was extended beyond number 100 in January 1989 that the ARIA singles chart did not go until at least number 150.  Instead, the chart ended at number 140 this week in 1990.

Why this occurred, I do not know.  The albums chart, in contrast, often ended before number 150 in 1989-90, after various artists compilation albums were removed from the chart on the survey dated 26 June 1989.  The albums chart ended as high as number 138 on three occasions in 1989.
I am only speculating here, but it is possible that ARIA had a minimum sales threshold for a title to obtain a chart placing - and, potentially, this threshold was not reached this week in November 1990.  After a period of going to at least number 150, the ARIA albums chart ended before number 140 for the first 19 weeks of 1990; finishing as high as number 138 on another three occasions.

In case you were wondering, the lowest-ranked single on the chart this week in 1990, at number 140, was Junior Tucker's "16 (Into the Night)", which would eventually peak at number 46 in Australia in April 1991.

Before we take a look at this week's chart from 1990, I have updated one of my earlier posts:

* 13 February 1989 - with a new bubbling WAY down under entry from The Beatmasters with P.P. Arnold added.
The Charlatans debut, but not with the only one of their songs you know.
Top 140 debuts:
Number 133 "Then" by The Charlatans
Peak: number 104
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 13 weeks
English band The Charlatans formed in 1988.  Their second single, and first to be released in Australia, "The Only One I Know" (number 75, September 1990), was their only single to dent the ARIA top 100.  In contrast, "The Only One I Know" peaked at number 9 in the UK in June 1990.  The indie 'Madchester' scene, which The Charlatans are associated with, never really took off in Australia, with The Stone Roses' "Fools Gold" (number 13, May 1990) being its only sizable hit.

"Then", the second single released in Australia from The Charlatans' debut album Some Friendly (number 79, January 1991), faltered just short of the ARIA top 100.  "Then" peaked at number 12 in the UK in September 1990, and number 11 in Ireland during the same month.
The Charlatans will join us again in April 1991.
Number 134 "Walking on a Wire" by Lowen & Navarro
Peak: number 131
Peak date: 7 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 20 weeks
Until now, the single peaking outside the top 100 that spent the most weeks in the top 150 has been 10,000 Maniacs' "Trouble Me", which notched up 17 weeks in 1989.   American duo David Eric Lowan (who went by his middle name of Eric) and Dan Navarro (cousin of Dave Navarro, who has played guitar for Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers) better that record by three weeks with the title track from their Walking on a Wire (number 130, April 1991) album.  What makes this feat even more impressive is that "Walking on a Wire" spent all 20 of its weeks in the top 150 hovering between numbers 131 and 149, and its chart run was unbroken.

Lowen & Navarro had previously enjoyed success on the Australian chart as the songwriters of Pat Benatar's "We Belong" (number 7, February 1985).  The pair also share song co-writing credits on Bangles' "I'll Set You Free" (number 81, July 1990), "Everything I Wanted" (released in Australia in September 1990, did not chart), and "Something That You Said" (number 102, April 2003); and The Triplets' "You Don't Have to Go Home Tonight" (number 45, June 1991).
At the time of writing this, I cannot find evidence of "Walking on a Wire" charting anywhere else.  I say that, as the Billboard website seems to have changed its URLs for artist chart histories, as it seems to do every 6 months or so, annoyingly, and I cannot find a method of searching for this song's chart history.  I'm guessing that this track might have made one of the Billboard subsidiary (meaningless) charts if not the Hot 100.
I don't recall hearing this song before, despite its long chart run.  I like it.
Sadly, Eric Lowan died in 2012, aged 60, from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or motor neuron disease as it is better-known in Australia.

A second Lowen & Navarro single, "The Spell You're Under", was released in Australia in March 1991, but missed the top 150.

"Walking on a Wire"'s record of 20 weeks in the top 150 for a single that missed the top 100 will be equalled in 1993, and bettered by a single that debuts on the final chart of 1990.

Number 138 "Christmas Photo" by John Williamson
Peak: number 113
Peak date: 10 December 1990
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Australian country singer John Williamson has been releasing music since 1970.  While the singles charts were not really his main market, John had placed seven singles in the top 100 at this point in time, with "Old Man Emu" (number 4, 1970), "The Vasectomy Song" (number 28, December 1983) and "Rip Rip Woodchip" (number 39, July 1989) making the top 40.  Surprisingly, "True Blue" (number 43, March 1987), which seems to me like it would be his signature song, missed the top 40.  We saw John just a few weeks ago.
"Christmas Photo" was the second single lifted from JW's Family Album (number 21, December 1990), and tells a tale of Christmas in Australia, which lands in the middle of summer, in contrast to the winter/snow imagery from the Northern hemisphere we are bombarded with around Christmas time.  It followed a 1990 re-recording of "Old Man Emu", released as a single in October 1990 but missed the top 150.

We shall next see John Williamson bubble under in August 1991.

Number 139 "Don't Ask Me" by PiL
Peak: number 139
Peak date: 19 November 1990
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks

PiL, P.I.L., Public Image Ltd, or Public Image Limited - whatever you choose to call them - bubbled under previously in 1989.  "Don't Ask Me" was recorded for their The Greatest Hits, So Far (number 102, November 1990) compilation.  The single peaked at number 22 in the UK in October 1990.
Public Image Limited singer John Lydon would next appear on the Australian chart as the featured vocalist on Leftfield's "Open Up" (number 39, February 1994).

Next week (26 November): Normal top 150 service resumes, with six new top 150 entries and two bubbling WAY down under debuts.

< Previous week: 12 November 1990                                 Next week: 26 November 1990 >

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