28 January 2022

Week commencing 28 January 1991

This week's new entries are a mixture of songs from veteran artists and newcomers, songs that I knew at the time and those that I didn't.  Let's take a look at them.
 
Scott Carne: Australians weren't sold on being given these 'freedoms' in 1991.
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 122 "Spell Is Broken" by Mark Williams
Peak: number 115
Peak date: 1 April 1991
Weeks in top 150: 14 weeks
 
New Zealand-born Mark Williams' recording career began in the mid 1970s, with two of his singles, 1975's "Yesterday Was Just the Beginning of My Life" and 1977's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" topping the New Zealand singles chart.
 
Mark's Australian breakthrough would not come until 1990, when "Show No Mercy", written by Harry Vanda and George Young from The Easybeats, reached number 8 in July 1990.  All of the songs on Mark Williams ZNZ (number 45, October 1990), Mark's first studio album since 1979, were penned by Vanda/Young.  Beyond its chart life, "Show No Mercy" became somewhat of a sporting anthem.  The single was credited to Mark Williams ZNZ - I am not sure what the ZNZ means.

During the 1980s, Mark had worked successfully as a session singer and also performed backing backing vocals for other artists, both in the studio and on tour.  Among Mark's session singer credits is the original version of the theme to Australian soap opera Home and Away.

Mark followed up "Show No Mercy" with "Fix of Love" (number 28, November 1990).  "Spell Is Broken" was the third and final single lifted from Mark Williams ZNZ.  While "Spell Is Broken" missed the top 100, it spent a respectable 14 weeks in the top 150.

Mark released another studio album Mind Over Matter (number 133, June 1993), and we will see him bubble under again with a single from this in 1993.  Mark went on to become a vocal coach on the Australian series of Popstars in the early 2000s, and since 2006 has been the lead singer of the Australian/New Zealand band Dragon.


 
Number 128 "Romeo" by Dino
Peak: number 105
Peak date: 25 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
 
Dino, real name Dean Esposito, began his career as a top 40 radio DJ in Las Vegas.  He then ventured into recording his own music, and his debut single, "Summergirls", was released in 1988, reaching number 50 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in August 1988.

While Dino released three singles in Australia in 1988-89, none of them reached the top 150.  I recall reading about Dino in the Australian edition of Smash Hits, but do not recall hearing "Romeo" before.

Internationally, "Romeo" reached number 6 in the US in October 1990, becoming his biggest hit there.  The single also peaked at number 48 in New Zealand in February 1991.

"Romeo" peaked at number 80 on the Australian Music Report singles chart.
 
We shall see Dino again in 1993.
 

 
Number 138 "Unchained Melody" by Techno-Color featuring Twiggy
Peak: number 102 
Peak date: 11 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks

As you might have guessed from the song title, and perhaps the artist name too, this track is a dance cover version of The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" (number 1, November 1990), which had recently topped the chart.  I can't tell you anything else about this one, other than I hadn't heard it before, and there are German, Spanish and Australian pressings of the single listed on discogs.com.
 

 
Number 140 "Freedom" by Scott Carne
Peak: number 110
Peak date: 11 March 1991
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks 
 
Here's one I did hear at the time.  Scott Carne was the lead singer in Australian band Kids in the Kitchen, who placed 9 singles on the Australian chart between 1983 and 1988, with "Change in Mood" (number 10, December 1983) and "Current Stand" (number 12, October 1985) being their biggest hits. 

After Kids in the Kitchen disbanded in 1988, Scott went on to front the Elvis tribute band Priscilla's Nightmare, whom we saw bubble under in 1989.

Scott then embarked on a solo career.  His debut solo single "All I Want to Do" (number 77, October 1990) seemed to gain a reasonable amount of attention, but faltered on the ARIA singles chart.

"Freedom" was issued as Scott's second solo single, and fared even worse on the chart, although it did perform stronger on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 84.

If you ask me - and no-one did, but since this is my site, I'll offer my 2 cents' worth anyway - Scott's solo career probably failed due to his new sound/image being too radical a change from his Kids in the Kitchen days.  Scott had moved with the times, adopting a 'Madchester'/'baggy'-type look and sound for these two singles (think Happy Mondays or The Soup Dragons), but this didn't resonate with the Australian record-buying public, as those acts generally didn't do that well here commercially.  It's a shame, as Scott's solo singles were fairly decent.

I assume there was a solo album recorded, but it never saw the light of day - which is an unusual turn of events for Australian record companies, who normally still released these things even if the singles were not hits, in the early 1990s.  In fact, "Freedom" appears to have been Scott's final solo release, full-stop!



Number 142 "Human Work of Art" by Maxi Priest
Peak: number 142
Peak date: 28 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
English reggae singer Maxi Priest, real name Max Elliott, has the unusual distinction of only landing major hits or flops - with nothing in-between - on the Australian chart.  All three of his ARIA top 50 hits reached the top 10, including, by this point, "Wild World" (number 8, August 1988) and "Close to You" (number 2, September 1990), and his future collaboration with Shaggy, "That Girl" (number 7, August 1996).  None of Maxi's other singles peaked higher than number 80 on the Australian charts.

"Human Work of Art" was the third single lifted from Bonafide (number 25, September 1990). It followed "Close to You" and "Peace Throughout the World" (number 87, October 1990).

Internationally, "Human Work of Art" peaked at number 71 in the UK in December 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "Human Work of Art" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 128.

Cliff Richard recorded a version of "Human Work of Art", which peaked at number 24 in the UK in June 1993.

We will next see Maxi in October 1991.
 
 
 
Number 144 "Love Shines" by Dave Stewart and The Spiritual Cowboys
Peak: number 144
Peak date: 28 January 1991 
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
 
Dave Stewart's first foray onto the Australian charts came when he was a member of The Tourists.  Their version of Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want to Be with You" reached number 6 in Australia in August 1980.  The band split during a promotional tour to Australia later in 1980, and Dave, together with lead singer Annie Lennox, went on to form Eurythmics (no 'The').

As one half of Eurythmics, Dave scored 15 top 20 singles in Australia between 1983 and 1989, with "Would I Lie to You?" going all the way to number 1 in June 1985.  The duo's working relationship went on hiatus for a decade following the release of their seventh studio album We Too Are One (number 7, September 1989), allowing Dave and Annie to explore solo projects.

Dave's first 'solo' single was the instrumental "Lily Was Here" (number 10, November 1990), on which saxophonist Candy Dulfer received a featuring credit.  "Lily Was Here" was recorded for the soundtrack of the 1989 Dutch movie De Kassière, which translates as 'the cashier', although the film's title in English was Lily Was Here.  The Lily Was Here soundtrack album peaked at number 29 in Australia in November 1990.
 
"Lily Was Here" was a slow burner on the Australian chart, taking 32 weeks to climb to its peak, after debuting at number 139 in April 1990.  "Lily Was Here" reached its local peak almost a year after it topped the Dutch singles chart, and spent a total of 51 weeks on the Australian chart.  Its chart longevity was assisted by the single peaking at different times on the state charts, spanning from June (Western Australia) to December 1990 (South Australia/Northern Territory).

Dave's new band The Spiritual Cowboys landed a number 57 single in Australia with "Jack Talking" in October 1990.  "Love Shines" was issued as the second single from Dave Stewart and The Spiritual Cowboys (number 51, November 1990).

"Love Shines" peaked at number 88 in the UK in October 1990, and number 49 in the Flanders region of Belgium in December 1990.

"Love Shines" peaked higher on the Australian Music Report singles chart, reaching number 94.
 
The only place I heard or saw "Love Shines" at the time was on Video Hits' Saturday morning program, which featured selections from the lower half of the Australian Music Report's top 100 chart.  Listening to this track now, for the first time in many years, it unfortunately highlights Dave's vocal limitations.  While I enjoyed "Jack Talking", and this one too at the time, listening to "Love Shines" now... I don't think it's that great.

We shall next see Dave Stewart and The Spiritual Cowboys in November 1991.



Number 150 "Beautiful People" by Stress
Peak: number 132
Peak date: 25 March 1991
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
 
As I start writing this, I have no idea who or what Stress is; I've never heard of this track, or group, before.
 
After learning that the band's drummer was later in the group Soul Asylum, I was going to assume that Stress were an American group; but given that this single charted (lowly) in the UK and nowhere else, that would suggest they were probably a British group.  "Beautiful People" peaked at number 74 in the UK in October 1990.
 
The band released two further singles in Australia, "Flowers in the Rain" (May 1991) and "Rosechild" (October 1991), but neither dented the top 150.



Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 155 "I Call Your Name" by a-ha
Peak: number 155
Peak date: 28 January 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week

We saw a-ha last November with the lead single from their fourth studio album East of the Sun West of the Moon (number 122, November 1990).  "I Call Your Name" was the second - and final, in Australia - single released from the album.

Despite having a copy (shhh!) of a-ha's music videos DVD in my collection, I've never actually listened to or watched "I Call Your Name" before.  I'm a fan of most of a-ha's singles from the 1980s, but as with "Crying in the Rain", I don't enjoy this one much at all, and find it rather dull and boring.  I can see why a-ha were struggling to land hits by this point, if this is what they were releasing.

"I Call Your Name" fared better overseas, though it was still only a minor hit.  The single peaked at number 44 in the UK in December 1990, number 38 in the Netherlands in January 1991, number 37 in Germany in January 1991, and number 45 in France in March 1991.

On the ARIA state charts, "I Call Your Name" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 144.
 
A third single from East of the Sun West of the Moon, "Early Morning", was released in Europe, but not in Australia.

We will next see a-ha in 1992.



Number 165 "Mama Help Me" by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
Peak: number 165
Peak date: 28 January 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
American band Edie Brickell & New Bohemians burst onto the Australian chart with "What I Am" (number 18, March 1989) in early 1989.  Since then, however, it has all been downhill.  The band's second single "Circle", which is my favourite, stalled at number 80 in May 1989, though spent 17 weeks on the chart.  Their third single, "Love Like We Do", released in Australia in August 1989, failed to chart.

The band landed a third, and final, top 100 single on the ARIA chart with their version of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall" (number 85, April 1990), from the Born on the Fourth of July soundtrack (number 83, April 1990).

"Mama Help Me" was the lead single from Edie Brickell & New Bohemians' second studio album Ghost of a Dog (number 148, December 1990).  The single was released in Australia towards the end of November 1990, taking just over two months to register a chart placing.  "Mama Help Me" did not chart anywhere else that I can ascertain.
 
I'm fairly sure I haven't heard "Mama Help Me" until now, despite being a fan of the singles from the band's first album.  While I like the song, I'm not super keen on the chorus "mama mama mama"'s.

A second single from Ghost of a Dog, "Black & Blue", was released in Australia in April 1991 but failed to chart.
 
Edie parted ways with The Bohemians soon after, although they reformed in 1997.  Edie embarked on a solo career, having some minor chart 'success' in the interim.  She is, unfortunately, probably better known these days for her sometimes tumultuous marriage with Paul Simon.

We shall see Edie Brickell again, on her own, in 1994.



Next week (4 February): Five new top 150 debuts and one bubbling WAY down under entry.

< Previous week: 21 January 1991                              Next week: 4 February 1991 >

21 January 2022

Week commencing 21 January 1991

This week in 1991 saw nine new top 150-peaking debuts, and all but one of them happened to peak during the same week!  This week also sees the highest number of bubbling WAY down under entries to date, with seven.  Phew!  Let's take a look at them.
 
Innocence: they are that innocent!
  
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 132 "Here and Now" by Shane Howard
Peak: number 132
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks
 
Shane Howard came to fame as the frontman for Australian band Goanna, who scored a massive hit in 1982 with "Solid Rock" (number 3, December 1982).  Surprisingly, the band only landed one other top 40 hit, with "Razor's Edge" (number 35, May 1983).

Goanna disbanded in 1985, and Shane launched a solo career.  We saw Shane bubble under with his debut solo single in March 1989.  "Here and Now" was the third single issued from Shane's second solo album River (number 68, November 1990), following "Walk on Fire" (number 48, July 1990) and "If the Well Runs Dry" (number 83, October 1990).
 
On the ARIA state charts, "Here and Now" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 43. 

"Here and Now" peaked higher on the Australian Music Report singles chart, reaching number 93.
 
Shane's biggest solo hit on the Australian chart, and my favourite of his, "Escape from Reality" (number 40, August 1991), was a new track recorded with Hothouse Flowers frontman Liam Ó Maonlaí.  "Escape from Reality" was tacked onto a re-issue of the River album.
 
We will see Shane again in 1993.
 

 
Number 133 "Groovy Train" by The Farm
Peak: number 113
Peak dates: 18 February 1991, 11 March 1991 and 18 March 1991
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks
 
The Farm formed in Liverpool, England, in 1983.  "Groovy Train", their debut Australian single, was the lead release from the band's first studio album Spartacus (number 106, May 1991).  The track was produced by Madness lead singer Suggs, together with Terry Farley.

In their homeland, "Groovy Train" reached number 6 in September 1990.  The single also peaked at number 41 in the Netherlands in December 1990.
 
The Spartacus album topped the UK albums chart in March 1991, but, oddly, was The Farm's only album to chart within the top 75 there, despite the band notching up 8 top 40 singles.
 
"Groovy Train" performed stronger on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it peaked at number 90.
 
The Farm never managed to land a top 100 single or album on the ARIA chart, but we shall see them bubble under on a few more occasions, with the next one being in April 1991.


 
Number 136 "Total Confusion" by A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funki Dredd
Peak: number 136
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks 

I don't recall hearing this one, or even of this one, before.  'Funki Dredd' in the group's name makes me think of Soul II Soul, but their sound is nothing like Soul II Soul.
 
A Homeboy, a Hippie & A Funki Dredd were British trio Caspar Pound, Marc Williams and Tony Winter.  "Total Confusion" peaked at number 56 in the UK in October 1990.

A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funki Dredd would not release another single in Australia until 1996, with the rather different-to-"Total Confusion"-sounding "U Know".  Caspar Pound, whom I could not spot in the music video, died from cancer in 2004, aged 33.




Number 137 "Missunderstanding" by Al B. Sure!
Peak: number 137
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

"Missunderstanding" - that's not a typo - was the lead single from American Al B. Sure!'s (real name Albert Joseph Brown III) second album Private Times... and the Whole 9!  Al B. Sure had previously remixed Robert Palmer's "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming", which we saw bubble under in November 1989, for its single release.
 
"Missunderstanding" peaked at number 42 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in November 1990, and at number 30 in New Zealand during the same month.

While "Missunderstanding" appears to have been Al B. Sure's only solo single released in Australia, he was credited as a featured artist on David Bowie's "Black Tie White Noise" (number 74, June 1993) single from 1993.  He also later produced for other artists, including Tevin Campbell and Usher.
 

 
Number 138 "Feel the Rhythm" by Jazzi P
Peak: number 138
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
 
Jazzi P, real name Pauline Bennett, is most famous for being the guest rap artist on Kylie Minogue's "Shocked" (number 7, July 1991).  "Feel the Rhythm", issued in Australia in August 1990, was Jazzi's only solo single.  The track heavily samples the music from Chic's "Le Freak" (number 1, February 1979).

Internationally, "Feel the Rhythm" peaked at number 51 in the UK in June 1990, and number 35 in New Zealand in August 1990.

Jazzi's Wikipedia article states that she bought herself out of her record deal in 1991, and returned to being a dance instructor.  She also appeared as a contestant in the 2014 season of Big Brother UK.


 
Number 140 "Headline News" by Everyday People
Peak: number 140
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks 
 
English band Everyday People were Desi Campbell (vocals), Shaun Ward (bass) and Lloyd Richards (guitar).  They recorded and released one album You Wash... I'll Dry, from which this was the lead single.

The band did not achieve much chart success anywhere, with only their second single, "I Guess It Doesn't Matter" registering a top 40 placement in Germany and Switzerland.

Nothing the band released dented the top 90 in their homeland, with "Headline News" reaching number 99 in the UK in April 1990.  "Headline News" also peaked at number 83 in the Netherlands in May 1990, and number 53 in Germany in October 1990.

Listening to "Headline News" for the first time as I write this post, I am not sure why the band did not have greater success.  This track makes me think of a more-soulful Roachford, and sounds like the kind of thing that might have done better later in the decade.
 
The band's singer, Desi Campbell - also known as Desny Campbell, was the frontman in Floy Joy, who scored a number 29 hit in Australia in June 1986 with "Weak in the Presence of Beauty".  Alison Moyet took her version of the same song to number 30 in Australia in May 1987.

Despite their local lack of success, the ever-faithful Australian record company issued two further singles from the group: "I Guess It Doesn't Matter" (March 1991) and "Place in the Sun" (July 1991), neither of which troubled the top 150.



Number 141 "Back to Boom" by Kid Sensation
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
 
Kid Sensation, real name Xola Malik (originally Stephen Spence), is a rapper hailing from Seattle.  "Back to Boom" appears on his debut album Rollin' with Number One.  I cannot find evidence of this track, or any of Kid Sensation's other releases, charting anywhere else.
 
This track was produced and mixed by Sir Mix-A-Lot, who is (in)famous for "Baby Got Back" (number 8, August 1992).



Number 144 "Rodeo Clown" by Louie Louie
Peak: number 144
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Puerto Rican/American singer Louie Louie, real name Louis Cordero, landed a number 51 'hit' in Australia with "Sittin' in the Lap of Luxury" in August 1990.  "Rodeo Clown" was the third single lifted from Louie's debut album The State I'm In (number 117, September 1990).  In the interim, "I Wanna Get Back with You" was issued as a single in Australia in October 1990, but missed the top 150.

I didn't hear "Rodeo Clown" at the time.  It does not appear to have charted anywhere else.
 
Prior to launching his recording career, Louie appeared as Madonna's boyfriend in the music video for her 1984 single "Borderline" (number 12, August 1984).

Louie released one further single in Australia, "The Thought of It", in April 1993, but it missed the top 150.



Number 147 "Where Has Love Gone?" by Holly Johnson
Peak: number 147
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

Holly Johnson, full name William Holly Johnson, was the lead singer of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, who landed five top 100 singles and one bubbling under single in Australia between 1984 and 1987.  Their biggest and most-enduring hit was, of course, "Relax" (number 5, March 1984).  We saw Holly bubble WAY down under back in July 1989.

"Where Has Love Gone?" was the lead single from Holly's second solo album Dreams That Money Can't Buy.  The single also flopped in Holly's native UK, peaking at number 73 in December 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "Where Has Love Gone?" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 135.

I don't recall hearing this song at the time, so it must have received next to zero promotion.

A second single from Dreams That Money Can't Buy, "Across the Universe", was released in Australia in May 1991, but failed to chart.

"Where Has Love Gone?" was Holly's final solo single to chart in Australia.


 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 151 "Miles Away" by Winger
Peak: number 151
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
American metal band Winger, named after lead singer Kip Winger, formed in New York City in 1987.  "Miles Away" was the second single issued from the band's second album In the Heart of the Young (number 135, September 1990).  It was Winger's first single to chart in Australia, and followed "Can't Get Enuff" (released in Australia in September 1990), which failed to chart.  Winger's debut album Winger (number 153, June 1989), despite containing no singles that charted locally, managed to register a place on the ARIA albums chart.
 
"Miles Away" had much greater success in the US, where it reached number 12 in January 1991, becoming Winger's biggest hit.  "Miles Away" also peaked at number 56 in the UK in January 1991.
 
I probably heard "Miles Away" on the American Top 40 radio program at the time, but have only a vague recollection of this.  I became properly-acquainted with the song when it appeared among the list of music videos satirical metal band Steel Panther chose when programming the Australian music video TV show rage on the eve of the Australian 2016 Federal election.
 
Although I am not generally a 'metal' fan, I like "Miles Away".  It reminds me more of Europe, the band responsible for "The Final Countdown" (number 2, April 1987), than the 'hair metal' sound typical of the early 90s.

We shall see Winger again in April 1991.
 
 
 
Number 152 "Liberty!" by Kon Kan
Peak: number 152
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
Canadian band Kon Kan have bubbled under twice previously, with the most recent prior occasion being in November 1989.

"Liberty!" was the lead single from Kon Kan's second album Syntonic (number 182, January 1991), and the group's final single released in Australia.

Elsewhere, "Liberty!" peaked at number 91 in Canada.

On the ARIA state charts, "Liberty!" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 128.
 

 
 
Number 156 "Let's Push It" by Innocence
Peak: number 153
Peak date: 25 March 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
We saw Innocence back in April 1990, and here they are with the third single from their debut album Belief (number 115, February 1991).  In the interim, "Silent Voice" was released as a single in Australia in August 1990, but failed to chart.  "Let's Push It" was issued locally in mid-November 1990, but took more than two months to register a chart placing.

"Let's Push It" had greater success in Innocence's native UK, where it reached number 25 in October 1990.  The single also peaked at number 37 in Germany in January 1991.

On the ARIA state charts, "Let's Push It" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 143.

I've said this before, but you have to admire the persistence of Australian record companies from this era.  Nothing Innocence released in Australia cracked the top 100, yet both of their albums and all eight singles lifted from them were released locally.
 
We will see Innocence again next month!
 

 
Number 157 "Love Comes to Mind" by The Chimes
Peak: number 152
Peak date: 11 February 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
We saw The Chimes bubble under in September 1990 and in November 1990, and here they are for a third and final time.

"Love Comes to Mind" was the fifth (not counting the re-release of "Heaven") and final single lifted from the band's only album The Chimes (number 16, August 1990).  The track was remixed for its single release.
 
In The Chimes' native UK, "Love Comes to Mind" peaked at number 49 in December 1990; the only other place it charted.
 
While we will not see The Chimes again, as they split in 1991, we will see lead singer Pauline Henry again in 1994.
 
 
 
Number 160 "Make It Easy on Me" by Sybil
Peak: number 160
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week 

American singer Sybil Lynch has joined us on two previous occasions, in February 1990 and October 1990.

"Make It Easy on Me" was the lead single from Sybil's second album Sybilization.  This track was written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, although they were past their commercial peak at this point in time.  The US received a different mix of the track, mixed by Tony King.

"Make It Easy on Me" peaked at number 99 in the UK in November 1990, and at number 76 in the Netherlands in December 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "Make It Easy on Me" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 143.
 
We will next see Sybil in 1993.
 

 
Number 174 "Hanging Tree" by Big Pig
Peak: number 174
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
Australian band Big Pig placed five singles on the Australian top 100 between 1986 and 1990, with "Breakaway" (number 8, May 1988) and "Hungry Town" (number 18, December 1986) being the biggest two of those.
 
"Hanging Tree" was the second single lifted from Big Pig's second, and final, album You Lucky People (number 104, January 1991).  It followed "Justifier" (number 73, October 1990).  The band's second album was not nearly as successful as their debut, Bonk (number 6, June 1988), which was certified platinum.
 
On the state charts, "Hanging Tree" was most successful in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 124.

It's probably just a 'me' thing, but I can't help but notice the similarity between the hair style Big Pig frontwoman Sherine Abeyratne - sister of Zan, no less - was sporting during this era and the wig Freddie Mercury wears in Queen's "I Want to Break Free" (number 8, June 1984) music video.

A third single from You Lucky People, "King of Nothing", was released in March 1991, but failed to chart.  "Hanging Tree" would be Big Pig's final charting release before the group split.
 

 
Number 180 "Me So Horny" by The 2 Live Crew
Peak: number 180
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
The 2 Live Crew, hailing from Miami, were famous, or rather, infamous, for their explicit rap music, with song titles like "Pop That Pussy" (number 97, January 1992).

"Me So Horny", continuing the theme, was released in Australia in June 1990, but somehow took more than seven months to enter the chart - I am not sure why.  I also recall hearing the song on Triple M's Top 8 at 8 radio program (supposedly voted for by listeners), hosted by John Peters, around September 1989.  I am not sure what went on with the single's release chronology in Australia.

"Me So Horny" was lifted from the group's third studio album, 1989's As Nasty As They Wanna Be.  Internationally, the single topped the Dutch singles chart (only in the Netherlands...) in February 1990, and peaked at number 26 in the US, number 9 in the Flanders region of Belgium in March 1990, and number 31 in New Zealand in August 1990.
 
On the ARIA state charts, "Me So Horny" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 130. 
 
We will next see The 2 Live Crew in April 1991.
 
 
 
Next week (28 January): Seven new top 150 debuts and two bubbling WAY down under entries.

< Previous week: 14 January 1991                                     Next week: 28 January 1991 >

14 January 2022

Week commencing 14 January 1991

A loose theme tying together some of this week in 1991's new entries is remix albums and re-releases.  Let's take a look.
 
The Beloved, who were sadly not beloved in Australia, contemplate their latest ARIA chart placing.
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 132 "When the Boat Comes In (Lifeboat)" by Chosen Few
Peak: number 126
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
 
We first saw Australian band Chosen Few in May 1989, and again in February 1990.  Here they are for a third and final time, with the fifth and last single from the band's only album Friends, Foe & Firewood (number 128, July 1990).  Two of the album's singles, "Get It Right" (released November 1988) and "Days Like These" (June 1990), missed the ARIA top 150.  Interestingly, all three Chosen Few's singles to register a place in the top 150 peaked in the 120's.

"When the Boat Comes In (Lifeboat)" took more than two months to dent the top 150, having been released on 5 November 1990.
 

 
Number 136 "The Best Thing" (Listen!! Mix) by Boom Crash Opera
Peak: number 112
Peak date: 4 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
 
Dance remixes and remix albums from acts you wouldn't immediately think of as being remix aficionados, such as The Cure, were starting to be a thing by late 1990.  Australia's Boom Crash Opera, better known for their guitar-based pop sound, hopped on board with Look! Listen!! (number 47, January 1991), which contained extended versions and remixes of tracks from their first two studio albums Boom Crash Opera (number 19, October 1987) and These Here Are Crazy Times (number 10, May 1990).

"The Best Thing" was originally released as the third single from These Here Are Crazy Times in November 1989.  The single underperformed, reaching a peak of number 67 in January 1990, becoming the lowest-peaking release from the album.
 
I don't recall hearing this mix of "The Best Thing" at the time.  I am generally not a huge fan of remixes that stray significantly from the original track, as this does, with a few exceptions.  The beat on this mix I recognised as being the same as that used on Neneh Cherry's "Manchild" (The Old School Mix).
 
While checking to see whether the beats on the Neneh remix were sampled from somewhere else - I was convinced they were, but apparently they are not - I discovered another song from Belgian group The Dinky Toys, 1992's "The Test of Time", which samples the same beat.  I had never heard of The Dinky Toys before, but really like this track.

While I'm not a huge fan of this mix of "The Best Thing", I commend Boom Crash Opera for trying something different.  Another Australian band known for their rock music, Noiseworks, were also experimenting with electronic beats around this time.  Yay for Australia being dragged into the 90s...

We shall next see Boom Crash Opera in 1995.
 

 
Number 144 "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler (re-entry)
Peak: number 144 (in 1991); number 1 (in 1989)
Peak date: 14 January 1991 (1991 re-entry); 29 May 1989 and 12 June 1989 (original chart run)
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks (in 1991); 32 weeks (1989 and 1991 chart runs combined)
 
Bette Midler last graced our presence in 1989.
 
"Wind Beneath My Wings", from the Beaches soundtrack (number 1, June 1989), was a number one hit in Australia for Bette in 1989.  I have no idea why it re-entered the chart 15 months after it exited the top 150.  I can only assume that it may have tied in with the TV premiere of Beaches.  However, that seems to be much more a UK phenomenon, when an old single from a movie gets a re-release/re-enters the chart because the movie aired on TV, as happened with Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" and Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love" there.

Bette will join us again in 1992.


 
Number 146 "Between the Saddle and the Ground" by Peter Wells
Peak: number 131
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks 
 
Peter Wells was a founding member and the slide guitarist in Australian pub rock band Rose Tattoo, before leaving the band (they later reformed) in 1983.  We saw Rose Tattoo's lead singer last month.

"Between the Saddle and the Ground" was the lead single from Peter's solo debut album Everything You Like Tries to Kill You (number 91, February 1991).  I don't recall hearing this one before.
 
While no music video for "Between the Saddle and the Ground" has been uploaded to YouTube, a live performance on Tonight Live with Steve Vizard has been.

Peter died from prostate cancer in 2006, aged 59.  He was the second of five former members of Rose Tattoo to die of cancer, with four of those deaths occurring between 2006 and 2009.  Yikes!  I think that even beats the cursed record held by Ramones.



Number 150 "It's Alright Now" by The Beloved
Peak: number 150
Peak date: 14 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

We saw The Beloved back in October 1990 with the first of 9 (!) singles to peak outside the top 100 in Australia, and here they are with the second of those.

"It's Alright Now" was a new track recorded for the band's remix album Blissed Out (number 111, January 1991).  It was the album's only single.

Internationally, "It's Alright Now" peaked at number 48 in the UK in November 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "It's Alright Now" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 134.

I didn't hear "It's Alright Now" until the music video aired on rage during retro month in January 2012.  I put that down to Countdown Revolution, where I caught their earlier singles, ending in December 1990, not long after this single was released.  The video is memorable - to me, anyway - for its hot air balloon ride scenes.

"It's Alright Now" and the Blissed Out remix album were the last releases where The Beloved were the duo of Jon Marsh (on vocals) and Steve Waddington.  Steve left the group in 1991, with Jon's wife Helena filling his place.
 
The Beloved will next join us in 1993.


 
Next week (21 January): A mammoth week, with 9 top 150 debuts and 7 bubbling WAY down under entries.
 
< Previous week: 7 January 1991                                        Next week: 21 January 1991 >

07 January 2022

Week commencing 7 January 1991

Welcome to 1991!  When 1991 clocked over, I was 12 years old and about to start high school, which in my state (Victoria) is years 7 to 12.  It marked a big change for me, moving from a small primary school of approximately 120 students, where you knew all of the other students and teachers, to a secondary school with an enrolment of over 1,000 students, where you felt like a grain of sand.  It didn't help that I was placed in a form (or 'home group') where I didn't know anyone else.
 
Interestingly, Divinyls' "I Touch Myself" was number one on the ARIA singles chart the week I started high school.  I later discovered that Christina Amphlett, the band's lead singer, went to my high school, yet no mention of her impressive achievement of landing a number one single was made at school assembly.  I didn't learn that Chrissy attended my school until the art teacher casually mentioned it a couple of months later.
 
My other memories of January 1991 are that the Gulf War was starting, and that Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark had died, unexpectedly.  It wasn't exactly a great start to the new year.  But the music, on the other hand, was still pretty decent, as we'll see this week and over the remaining months of the year.

What are your recollections of 1991?

Of the seven singles debuting in the top 150 this week, five them spent a solitary week in the top 150, which is unusual.
 
But before we dive into the first chart of 1991, I have updated the following post from last year:
 
* 5 February 1990 - an audio clip has been added for the Club Veg track.
 
Let's take a look at this week's batch of new entries.
 
Kim Appleby wasn't worried, but would she be happy with this chart placing?
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 139 "Let's Get Busy (Pump It Up)" by Clubland featuring Quartz
Peak: number 139
Peak date: 7 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
 
Clubland was a collaboration between Swedish producer Jan Ekholm and British duo Dave Rawlings and Ronnie Herel from Quartz.  They featured various vocalists on the tracks they recorded, and "Let's Get Busy (Pump It Up)" features rapper King Bee.

Listening to this track for the first time as I write this post, I can't help but notice the bass line's similarity to Snap!'s "Mary Had a Little Boy" (number 18, March 1991).  That is probably because Snap! remixed this track.

Internationally, "Let's Get Busy (Pump It Up)" peaked at number 86 in the UK in August 1990, and number 32 in the Netherlands in November 1990.  The track also topped the US Billboard dance chart.  I'm guessing this song might have performed better on the chart if there had been a music video for it - well, if one exists, it hasn't yet made its way onto YouTube.
 

 
Number 140 "Where Did She Come From?" by Hard-Ons
Peak: number 130
Peak date: 21 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks
 
As I wrote in my last chart recap for 1990, alternative music was starting to make small ripples on the Australian chart, and would continue to have greater impact throughout 1991.

I can't really explain why - something to do with the guitar riff, probably - but you just know this band are Australian, listening to this track for the first time.  Hard-Ons were, indeed, from Sydney, and formed in 1981.
 
"Where Did She Come From?", the lead single from the band's fourth studio album Yummy! (number 93, January 1991), was Hard-Ons' first single to register on the top 150.  They would break into the top 100 later in the year with "Let There Be Rock" (number 65, August 1991), a collaboration with Henry Rollins.

"Where Did She Come From?" was released in Australia in November 1990, but took almost two months to reach the top 150.  The single performed best in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 122.

We shall see Hard-Ons again next in March 1991.
 
 
 
Number 141 "Tricky Disco" by Tricky Disco
Peak: number 141 
Peak date: 7 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
 
Here's one I didn't know at the time, but discovered a few years ago.  Tricky Disco were husband and wife couple Lee Newman and Michael Wells, whom you might know of under a name they later used, Technohead.  Technohead scored a number 20 single in Australia in September 1995 with "I Wanna Be a Hippy" (and I want to get stoned on mara, marijuana).

Lee and Michael used different names for their various projects, as they felt that new acts gained more attention with their releases than artists who were following up previous hits.  The pair also released singles under the names G.T.O. (Greater Than One), John + Julie, Church of Extacy, Salami Brothers (!), and L.E.D., among others.

Sadly, Lee Newman died from melanoma in August 1995, just as "I Wanna Be a Hippy" was taking off across the globe.  "I Wanna Be a Hippy" spent a four-week stint at number one in the Netherlands just before she passed, and went on to top the German, Austrian, and Flemish charts following her death.  The single belatedly reached the top 10 in the UK and Ireland in early 1996.

As for "Tricky Disco", that single peaked at number 14 in the UK in August 1990, and number 11 in Ireland during the same month.

"Tricky Disco" seems to make light of the ubiquitous James Brown "woo! yeah!" sample, being reproduced here in almost comedic style with its high pitch, in combination with the song's trippy video.



Number 145 "Hear the Drummer (Get Wicked)" by Chad Jackson
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 7 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
 
Here's a single that took even longer than Hard-Ons to register a place in the ARIA top 150.  "Hear the Drummer (Get Wicked)" was released in Australia on 30 July 1990, but took more than five months to crack the top 150!

Chad, real name Mark Jackson, is an English DJ, remixer and producer.  In 1987, he won the DMC (Disco Mix Club) World Championships, a competition for DJ's.  Accordingly, "Hear the Drummer (Get Wicked)", his debut Australian release, is a track containing samples of more than one dozen songs by other artists.
 
The main riff on "Hear the Drummer (Get Wicked)" is sampled from The 45 King's "The 900 Number" from 1989, which uses a slowed-down sample from Marva Whitney's "Unwind Yourself" from 1968.  DJ Kool had a bigger hit in Australia using the same sample on "Let Me Clear My Throat" (number 50, June 1997).

"Hear the Drummer (Get Wicked)" peaked at number 3 in the UK in June 1990, number 5 in the Netherlands in August 1990, and number 10 in the Flanders region of Belgium in September 1990.



Number 146 "Baby I'm Yours" by Cher
Peak: number 146
Peak date: 7 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks

We last saw Cher in August 1990, with the final single from her Heart of Stone album.  "Baby I'm Yours" was the first single issued from the Mermaids soundtrack (number 53, June 1991); Cher plays a leading role in the movie.  Despite featuring on the soundtrack, "Baby I'm Yours", a cover version of a song written by Van McKoy and originally recorded by Barbara Lewis in 1965, was not used in the film.

Cher is an artist who can have both massive hits and massive flops, often from the same album.  She, of course, had a much bigger hit with the second single from the Mermaids soundtrack, "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" (number 4, April 1991).  I don't recall hearing "Baby I'm Yours" before.

The only other country "Baby I'm Yours" charted in was the UK, where it reached number 89 in October 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "Baby I'm Yours" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 127.

We shall next see Cher in October 1991.



Number 147 "Don't Worry" by Kim Appleby
Peak: number 119
Peak date: 28 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks
 
Together with her five years-junior sister Melanie, Kim Appleby was one half of the British recording duo Mel & Kim.  The sisters' first single, "Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)" (number 12, July 1987) took seven months to reach its peak on the Australian chart.  The pair landed four top 30 singles in Australia in 1987 and 1988, with their second single, "Respectable" (number 1, July 1987), giving producers Stock Aitken Waterman their first number one hit that they had also written.
 
Mel & Kim's only studio album F.L.M., officially short for 'fun, love and money' but really standing for "fucking lovely mate" - an expression the sisters used frequently in the studio, reached number 2 on the Australian albums chart in August 1987, and was the fifteenth biggest album of the year.

Mel & Kim's career came to a grinding halt, just as it was taking off, in June 1987 when Mel was diagnosed with cancer, a disease she had dealt with two years prior, before the duo's rise to fame.  In 1985, Mel underwent surgery for an extremely rare form of cancer, malignant paraganglioma, on her liver, when she was 19 years old.
 
In early 1987, Mel was experiencing back pain, which delayed the filming of the "Respectable" music video.  Her symptoms, however, were put down to the duo's energetic dance routines.  It was not until Mel returned from a promotional visit to Japan in a wheelchair in June 1987 that the cancer she had fought previously was found to have returned, this time in her spine.
 
Mel disappeared from the public eye while she underwent months of chemotherapy, leaving Kim to promote their "F.L.M." (number 19, September 1987) single alone.  Both sisters told the story that Mel had crushed several vertebrae following a fall, and required an extended period of rest.  That didn't quash speculation that Mel was seriously ill, however, and journalists went to the lengths of dressing up as doctors to attempt to gain access to Melanie's hospital room, and paid porters to let them know when Kim was visiting the hospital, to uncover the real story.
 
The truth eventually came out in March 1988, when Kim's then-boyfriend sold pictures of Mel, wearing a halo brace (a spinal orthotic) and appearing bald and bloated, to the press.  The sisters then appeared on British chat show Wogan to give their side of the story, while Mel was still undergoing treatment.

While Mel's health seemed to be improving later in 1988, the duo vanished from the spotlight in 1989, despite signing a new record deal with EMI.  Sadly, Mel never fully recovered from her illness, and she died in January 1990, aged 23, after contracting pneumonia.
 
Mel's death was the first time a celebrity I was a big fan of had died, and for it to happen at such a young age was a complete shock.  I found it difficult to listen to Mel & Kim's music for many years afterwards.

During Melanie's illness, she and Kim started to write songs together, to keep themselves occupied.  The B-side to the duo's final single "That's the Way It Is" (number 28, April 1988), "You Changed My Life", was written by the sisters (with later musical input from Stock Aitken Waterman), and sounds like it could have been a single.

With assistance from former Bros member Craig Logan, whom Kim was dating at the time, the pair wrote an album's worth of material, but it never saw the light of day before Mel's untimely passing.  Kim Appleby's debut solo album Kim Appleby (number 159, April 1991) consisted of the songs she had written together with Mel and Craig, except for "Don't Worry", which was the last song written for the album, after Mel's death.
 
"Don't Worry" launched Kim's solo career in a big way, reaching number 2 in the UK in November 1990; top 5 in the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland; and top 10 in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

In Australia, it was a different story, and "Don't Worry" barely registered a blip.  Although it missed the top 100 nationally, "Don't Worry" peaked within the top 100 on four of the five ARIA state charts, with Victoria/Tasmania being the only exception.  The single performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 84.

Although I am a Mel & Kim fan, was aware of "Don't Worry"'s release and saw the single in the shops, I never actually heard the song until I downloaded it out of curiosity in 2005.  Despite there being at least one article about "Don't Worry" in the Australian edition of pop magazine Smash Hits, Kim's solo releases in Australia seemed to generally suffer from a severe lack of promotion.  I am not sure why.

One, obviously unofficial, explanation is that the Australian branch of EMI Records, which Kim's solo releases were distributed through, apparently viewed Stock Aitken Waterman-related artists (even though the material on Kim's solo debut album was not produced by Stock Aitken Waterman) as appealing only to a gay audience, and did not feel it was worth the bother of promoting them to a wider market.  At least, that's what someone who worked in music retail at the time opined in a post on the now-defunct Hit Factory Forum some years ago.  So, SAW-produced artists signed to EMI, such as Brother Beyond and Sonia, never received the promotional push required to make their singles hits down under.  The explanation fits.

Unfortunately, Kim never landed a solo top 100 single or album in Australia.  We shall see her bubble under again, though, on a few more occasions, with the next one being in April 1991, with a song I did  hear at the time.

If you are a Mel & Kim or Stock Aitken Waterman fan, check out the podcast interview Kim did recently with Chart Beats on this page - scroll down to Episode 15: Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend), where Kim goes into detail on how she and Mel landed a record deal, and the recording process for their first single.  Future episodes of the podcast will deal with Mel & Kim's later singles.
 

 
Number 150 "Next to You" by Hurricane
Peak: number 150
Peak date: 7 January 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week 

American metal band Hurricane formed in 1983, and split in 1991, before re-forming in 2000.  "Next to You" was the band's first and only top 150-charting single in Australia, and was lifted from their third studio album Slave to the Thrill.   The single did not chart anywhere else.  Just as alternative music was starting to make inroads, metal was on the way out.

Kelly Hansen, who sung lead on this track, is the current lead singer of Foreigner.  He joined the band in 2005.
 

 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 162 "Breakdown" by Seduction
Peak: number 162
Peak date: 7 January 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
We first saw Seduction in July 1990, and here they are with their second and final appearance on the Australian singles chart.
 
"Breakdown", the final single from the Nothing Matters without Love (number 142, September 1990) album, was remixed for single release - ironically titled the Crossover Radio Mix.  It didn't exactly 'cross over'.

"Breakdown" peaked at number 82 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in October 1990.  Australia appears to be the only other country where it registered a chart placing.

On the ARIA state charts, "Breakdown" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 147.

Listening to "Breakdown" for the first time, it's a song I could enjoy if not for the awful rapped verses.



Next week (14 January): Five new top 150 entries.  Among them are two singles originally released in 1989!

< Previous chart: 17 December 1990                                      Next week: 14 January 1991 >