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 >

5 comments:

  1. I was literally listening to Lily Was Here on the way to work this morning. I was thinking how you never see the clip or hear it on the radio anymore. Spooky

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  2. Of the songs I hadn't heard before, I really like both the Dino - Romeo song (that brings memories back of early 90's music) and the Scott Carne - Freedom track. Both good for different reasons. I see the Scott Carne track was on the Garbo film soundtrack which has a good collection of songs.

    I remember Edie Brickall & New Bohemians back in 1989, and other kids in my class passing their album around. I can't say I had listened to it. Listened to your favourite track 'Circles', and it is a very nice song. Must track down the whole album and give it a listen.

    Finn

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    1. Glad you liked 'Circle'! One reason I do these chart recaps is so that hopefully some people can discover some songs they like that they haven't head before.

      I bought the first Edie Brickell & New Bohemians album from a bargain bin in 2001. While I like all three singles from it a lot, the other tracks didn't really grab me, but I probably haven't listened to it enough times.

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  3. MARK WILLIAMS ZNZ.... "Zone New Zealand" is what the abbreviation meant.

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    1. Thank you! Do you know what ZNZ was, though? Was it his backing band?

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