25 February 2022

Week commencing 25 February 1991

Of the three new singles debuting this week in 1991 that I write about, two of them were much bigger hits overseas, while the other one only registered a chart placing in Australia.  But before taking a look at these, I have updated some earlier posts with the following:
  • 20 February 1989 - a video has been added for Ordinary Mortals, and a bubbling WAY down under entry from Barbra Streisand;
  • 6 March 1989 - a bubbling WAY down under entry from Bryan Ferry;
  • 8 May 1989 - a bubbling WAY down under entry from White Lion;
  • 31 July 1989 - a bubbling WAY down under entry from Wendy & Lisa;
  • 21 August 1989 - a bubbling WAY down under entry from Kon Kan;
  • 20 November 1989 - a bubbling WAY down under entry from Kon Kan;
  • 27 November 1989 - a bubbling WAY down under entry from Jermaine Jackson; 
  • 8 January 1990 - a bubbling WAY down under entry from Regina Belle;
  • 21 January 1991 - a bubbling WAY down under entry from Kon Kan.
 
Jimmy Somerville's solo career was not very 'loved' by the Australian record-buying public.
  
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 145 "Struck by Lightning" by Stray Cats
Peak: number 143
Peak date: 11 March 1991
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks
 
We saw American rockabilly group Stray Cats bubble under in July 1989.  "Struck by Lighting" was the second single from the band's sixth studio album Let's Go Faster (number 57, March 1991).  It followed "Cross of Love" (number 94, January 1991), which was Stray Cats' final single to dent the Australian top 100.
 
"Struck by Lighting" appears to have only charted in Australia, although only an Australian pressing is listed on discogs.  On the ARIA state charts, "Struck by Lightning" peaked highest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 105.
 
We shall next see Stray Cats in April 1991.
 

 
Number 146 "To Love Somebody" by Jimmy Somerville
Peak: number 146
Peak date: 25 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks
 
Scottish singer Jimmy Somerville graced our presence previously in December 1989.  As mentioned then, none of Jimmy's solo singles peaked higher than number 62 in Australia; he had much greater success locally as the lead singer of Bronski Beat and The Communards.

"To Love Somebody", a reggae cover version of a Bee Gees track, was released as a single to promote The Singles Collection 1984/1990 (number 114, February 1991), a compilation album covering Jimmy's solo work to date, as well as singles from The Communards and Bronski Beat that he sang lead on.

Internationally, Jimmy's version of "To Love Somebody" peaked at number 8 in the UK in November 1990.  It was also a top 10 hit in Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria and New Zealand, and a top 20 hit in Germany, France and Switzerland.
 
Locally, "To Love Somebody" had its greatest success in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 136. 
 
We will next see Jimmy in 1995.



Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 176 "Get Here" by Oleta Adams
Peak: number 151
Peak date: 6 May 1991
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks
 
American singer Oleta Adams first bubbled under on the Australian chart in May 1990Earlier during the same month she did the same thing as a guest vocalist with Tears for Fears, with whom she landed her biggest 'hit' in Australia, with "Woman in Chains" (number 39, January 1990).

"Get Here", a song written and originally recorded by Brenda Russell in 1988, was the second single released in Australia from Oleta's third album Circle of One (number 131, September 1990).  Oleta decided to record the song after hearing it being played in a record store in Stockholm.  With lyrics about crossing the desert like an Arab man, Oleta's version of the song became a timely release for troops in the Gulf War.
 
Internationally, "Get Here" reached number 4 in the UK in February 1991, and number 5 in the US in March 1991 - where it was Oleta's only single to dent the Billboard Hot 100.  The single also peaked at number 28 in the Netherlands in January 1991, number 4 in Ireland, number 80 in Germany in March 1991, and number 43 in New Zealand in June 1991.

Locally, "Get Here" performed strongest on the Western Australian state chart, where it reached number 136.

I am surprised by "Get Here"'s lack of success in Australia.  It seemed to gain decent airplay and I caught the video on TV a number of times.  I think there may have even been an ad for the single I heard on radio.

While "Get Here" would be Oleta's biggest solo international hit by far, in Australia, she had another single that peaked higher, which we shall see in November 1991.
 
 
 
Next week (4 March): Four top 150 debuts.

< Previous week: 18 February 1991                                     Next week: 4 March 1991 >

18 February 2022

Week commencing 18 February 1991

Three of this week in 1991's top 150-peaking debuts are from artists aged over 40.  So, if you're in that age-bracket and haven't yet conquered the charts, there is still hope!  Let's take a look at this week's pop relics...
 
Mica Paris made a small 'contribution' to the chart this week in 1991.
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 119 "You're Amazing" by Robert Palmer
Peak: number 103
Peak date: 4 March 1991
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
 
We last saw English singer Robert Palmer in November 1989, and here he is with the second single released in Australia from his tenth studio album Don't Explain (number 29, December 1990).
 
Interestingly, "You're Amazing" was not issued as a single in the UK, where they instead went with "Mercy Mercy Me/I Want You" (number 89, May 1991), which was released as the third single from the album locally.
 
Don't Explain was Robert's first studio album following his Addictions Volume 1 (number 10, December 1989) compilation.  I have a theory, evidence for which has been demonstrated many times, that an artist's popularity often takes a nosedive following a greatest hits album - even if the compilation is a big success.

Where "You're Amazing" was released, it peaked at number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1991, and apparently at number 14 in Canada - but I cannot verify the Canadian peak, as the reference cited for it on Wikipedia has expired.  Hmmm.
 
On the ARIA state charts, "You're Amazing" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 72.  The single registered on the top 100 on four of the five state charts, only falling short in Victoria/Tasmania. 

"You're Amazing" fared better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 93.

I personally think "You're Amazing" was the right choice to follow-up "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" (number 4, January 1991), Robert's duet with UB40, despite the single flopping.  Robert never charted higher than 89 on the Australian singles chart following "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight".  That single brought a close to Robert's string of ten top 40 singles in Australia between 1979 and 1990.
 
I am not sure why "You're Amazing" flopped.  I heard it played on the radio a bit at the time, though never saw the video until now, which, unless I am mistaken (which I probably am), seems to have Jennifer Lopez in it as one of Robert's three back-up girls.  I can only put it down to popular music styles changing in the early 90s, and Robert, at the ripe old age of 42 when this was released, may have been getting a bit too 'old' to be a successful pop star.

Robert will grace our presence again in September 1991.
 
 
 
Number 147 "Well, Did You Evah!" by Deborah Harry & Iggy Pop
Peak: number 106
Peak dates: 11 March 1991 and 18 March 1991
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
 
I like Deborah Harry, whom we last saw in August 1990.   I don't mind Iggy Pop, whom we last saw in February 1990.  Put the two artists together and this should be good, right?

Wrong!  Or so I think.

I've heard/seen "Well, Did You Evah!" a couple of times before, but can never, for the life of me, remember how it goes, which is never a good indication.  The only things I can recall about the song are the word "swellegant" and the video was filmed in black and white.
 
The song was recorded for the HIV/AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Blue (number 38, January 1991), where a bunch of different artists recorded (often radically reworked) versions of Cole Porter songs.  Neneh Cherry's "I've Got You Under My Skin" (number 61, November 1990) from the album was a minor hit in Australia in 1990.

Internationally, "Well, Did You Evah!" peaked at number 42 in the UK in January 1991, and number 29 in Ireland during the same month.

On the ARIA state charts, "Well, Did You Evah!" was most popular in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 58.
 
"Well, Did You Evah!" peaked higher on the Australia Music Report singles chart, reaching number 97.

We will next see Deborah in 1993, and Iggy in 1994.
 

 
Number 148 "I Can't Stand It!" by Twenty 4 Seven featuring Captain Hollywood
Peak: number 130
Peak date: 25 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks
 
Dutch Eurodance group Twenty 4 Seven broke into the Australian charts in a big way in early 1994 with "Slave to the Music" (number 2, February 1994), but before then, they made some minor ripples outside the top 100 with "I Can't Stand It!".
 
Originally released in the Netherlands in late 1989 with rapper MC Fixx It, the verses of "I Can't Stand It!" were soon re-recorded with Captain Hollywood after MC Fixx It left the group.  A music video for both versions was filmed, however, and I have embedded the second one, with Captain Hollywood, below, as that is the version that charted in Australia.  You can view the original version of the video with MC Fixx It here.

Internationally, "I Can't Stand It!" reached the top 5 in the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden.  It also reached the top 20 in the Netherlands, the top 30 in New Zealand, and the top 40 in France and Belgium.

Australia wasn't quite as sold on "I Can't Stand It!", although, outside of possibly the club scene (which I was then too young to be part of), the song obtained little exposure locally.
 
On the ARIA state charts, "I Can't Stand It!" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 87. 

The single fared better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 100.

Captain Hollywood would eventually move on to his own 'solo' project, er, the Captain Hollywood Project, landing a minor hit in Australia in 1993 with "More and More" (number 43, August 1993).  We'll see Captain Hollywood Project bubble under in 1993 and 1994.

The female vocalist on "I Can't Stand It!", Nancy Coolen - simply known as Nance, would stick with Twenty 4 Seven throughout their hit-making (in Australia) period in 1993-4.

We will see Twenty 4 Seven bubble under again in 1995, with Nance still on female vocal duties.
 

 
Number 149 "Proof" by Paul Simon
Peak: number 134
Peak date: 4 March 1991
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
 
Between 1972 and 1990, Paul Simon placed 15 singles within the Australian top 100.  The biggest of those was the inescapable-at-the-time "You Can Call Me Al" (number 2, November 1986).  Before going solo, Paul was one half of Simon & Garfunkel, from whom we saw the other member, Art, bubble under in October 1981.

"Proof", which I had not heard before, was the second single lifted from Paul's eighth solo studio album The Rhythm of the Saints (number 3, November 1990), following "The Obvious Child" (number 42, November 1990).

It seemed, by this stage, that Paul was more interested in recording interesting albums (if you like his sort of music), experimenting with 'world' music, than landing hit singles.  Though I'm sure there would have been some pressure, still, to land a hit, given the massive success of Paul's previous album Graceland (number 1, October 1986), which spent 42 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the Australian albums chart between October 1986 and July 1987.

Elsewhere, "Proof" peaked at number 89 in the UK in February 1991.
 

 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 175 "A Matter of Fact" by Innocence
Peak: number 175
Peak date: 18 February 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
Innocence joined us a mere four weeks ago, and here they are with the fourth single - and third to chart in Australia - from their debut album Belief (number 115, February 1991).

"A Matter of Fact" peaked at number 37 in the band's native UK in December 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "A Matter of Fact" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 155.

Innocence will join us next in April 1991.
 

 
Number 180 "Dance to the Beat" by Masterboy
Peak: number 175
Peak date: 25 February 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
Masterboy are a German eurodance act.  "Dance to the Beat" was their debut release.  "Dance to the Beat" peaked at number 26 in Germany in August 1990, and, curiously, does not appear to have charted anywhere else besides Australia.

On the ARIA state charts, "Dance to the Beat" was most popular in Western Australia, where it reached number 135.
 
I hadn't heard this track before.  While I like the musical backing, I am not as sold on the vocals, even though they are only spoken.

I was not aware of Masterboy until catching one of their videos on a new releases episode of rage (these ran between 1993 and 1995 on Friday mornings) in 1994.  We will next see Masterboy in 1994, with that track.
 

 
Number 184 "Contribution" by Mica Paris
Peak: number 184
Peak date: 18 February 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
We first saw English singer Mica Paris bubble under in 1989.
 
"Contribution" was the lead single and title track from Mica's second studio album Contribution (number 234, September 1993), which somehow did not chart in Australia until 1993, following her third album Whisper a Prayer (number 225, August 1993) - which yielded no charting singles in Australia.  Perhaps this late chart entry for the second album is due to the chart going a bit lower by then.

Internationally, "Contribution" peaked at number 33 in the UK in October 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory made the biggest "contribution" (ho ho) to this single's chart 'success', as it reached number 163 there.

I only know a handful of Mica Paris tracks, but like most of what I have heard.  "Contribution" is one I had not heard before, but I enjoyed it and would listen to it again.


Mica will join us once again in 1995 with a song I did hear at the time.
 
 
 
Next week (25 February): A mere two new top 150 debuts and one bubbling WAY down under entry.  That should give me some time to add a bunch of newly-uncovered bubbling WAY down under entries from 1989-1991.
 
< Previous week: 11 February 1991                                 Next week: 25 February 1991 >

11 February 2022

Week commencing 11 February 1991

One thing tying all of this week in 1991's new entries together is that each track has a male lead vocal.  Let's take a look.
 
New Order: how does it feel... to keep charting with the same song?
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 129 "I Wanna Get with U" by Guy
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 11 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
 
Going by the artist name, I was expecting Guy to be a solo artist, but it's actually a trio, made up of Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall and Damion Hall.  Damion replaced original band member Timmy Gatling after the band's first album Guy, released in 1988.

"I Wanna Get with U" was the lead single from Guy's second album The Future (number 129, February 1991).  Annoyingly, for me, the song was titled just "Wanna Get with U" (no "I" at the start) on the album and on the single artwork in the band's native US.  Elsewhere, it was titled "I Wanna Get with U" on the single sleeve.

Internationally, "I Wanna Get with U" peaked at number 50 in the US in December 1990, and number 28 in the Netherlands in January 1991.
 
Guy will join us again in January 1992.
 

 
Number 139 "My My My" by Johnny Gill
Peak: number 122
Peak date: 25 March 1991
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
Weeks on chart: 10 weeks

One-time New Edition member Johnny Gill joined us previously in December 1990 with the second single from his second solo album titled Johnny Gill (number 110, September 1990), and here he is with the third - in Australia, anyway.  "My My My" was the second single from the album in Johnny's native US.

I would have heard "My My My" on the American Top 40 radio show at the time, but couldn't remember how it went.  Listening to the song again now, it has that stereotypical early 90s 'lurve' ballad saxophone on it, and sounds like an obvious L.A. Reid/Babyface production.

Internationally, "My My My" peaked at number 10 in the US in September 1990, number 31 in New Zealand in October 1990, number 89 in the UK in October 1990, and number 37 in the Netherlands in November 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "My My My" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 94.

We will see Johnny again as a solo artist in 1996, but before then, he will bubble under as both a featured artist and as part of his former group in 1992.
 
 
 
Number 141 "Heartbreaker (At the End of Lonely Street)" by Dread Zeppelin
Peak: number 138
Peak date: 18 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks 

I have heard this one before, once, as it's my rip of the video (which is blocked in Australia on YouTube) embedded below.  But I had no recollection of the song.  Prior to listening to it again, two things sprung to mind, going by the band name: it's no doubt by a 'joke' act, and it's almost certainly going to be 'dread'-ful (ho ho).  I was right on both accounts.

Surprisingly, for once the UK exercised some restraint, and this steaming pile of novelty rubbish did not become a massive hit there, stalling at number 83 in August 1990.  And also, for once, the Kiwis displayed poorer musical taste than their Aussie counterparts, as this single went all the way to number 40 there in February 1991.  Oh, New Zealand!
 
"Heartbreaker..." is lifted from the album Un-Led-Ed, which reached number 93 in Australia in April 1991.  The group also had another charting album in Australia, 5,000,000*, which peaked at number 150 in July 1991.  Oh, Australia!
 
 
 
Number 144 "Hotel California" by Jam on the Mutha
Peak: number 144
Peak date: 11 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
 
Speaking of things you can tell about a song before ever hearing it, I assume that this track is a (probably cheap and nasty) dance cover version of the Eagles song "Hotel California".   Well, I was right on that assumption, though it's slightly better than I was expecting.  My expectations, however, were low.

One interesting thing - for me, anyway, is that the vocalist on this track, Andy Caine, is a name I recognise as co-writing Yazz's "Fine Time" (number 60, March 1989).

This version of "Hotel California" peaked at number 62 in the UK in August 1990.
 

 
Number 146 "Inside Out" by Traveling Wilburys
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 18 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
 
Supergroup Traveling Wilburys burst onto the scene in late 1988 with "Handle with Care" (number 3, January 1989) and the album Volume One (number 1, February 1989).  Their debut album was the highest-selling album of 1989 in Australia, and was on heavy rotation in my family car's cassette deck, thanks to my dad picking up the album.
 
Surprisingly, both "Handle with Care" and Volume One were much bigger in Australia than in the UK, where two-fifths of the band's original five members are from.  Of course, Roy Orbison died in December 1988, about six weeks after Volume One was released.  Two further singles were issued from the album, "End of the Line" (number 12, April 1989) and "Heading for the Light" (number 88, June 1989).

The band's second album, minus Roy, was titled Vol. 3 (number 14, November 1990), to "confuse the fuckers", to quote George Harrison.  Arguably, band member Tom Petty's 1989 album Full Moon Fever (number 13, June 1989), was Vol. 2, as all of the then-surviving Wilburys appear on it.

"Inside Out" was the second single lifted from Vol. 3, and followed "She's My Baby" (number 58, November 1990).  The band also landed a minor 'hit' on the Australian chart with the charity single "Nobody's Child" (number 66, September 1990).

Internationally, "Inside Out" also charted in Canada, where it reached number 50.
 
My dad didn't buy Vol. 3, so I never heard this one at the time.
 
Two more Wilburys have died since Vol. 3, their last studio album.  George Harrison succumbed to lung cancer in 2001, aged 58, and Tom Petty died in 2017 following a heart attack, aged 66.

We shall see Traveling Wilburys again in April 1991.
 
 
 
Number 148 "The First Time" by Surface
Peak: number 103
Peak dates: 1 April 1991 and 8 April 1991
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
Weeks on chart: 13 weeks

Here's another one I would have heard on American Top 40 at the time, but have no recollection of.  It also sounds like another Babyface production to my ears, but isn't.

"The First Time" is lifted from Surface's third studio album 3 Deep (number 146, April 1991).  While the group had been releasing material since 1983, "The First Time" was the band's first single to chart in Australia.  Surface never landed a top 100-peaking single or album in Australia.
 
Internationally, "The First Time" topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1991, and peaked at number 60 in the UK in January 1991, number 18 in Canada in March 1991, and number 7 in New Zealand in March 1991.
 
On the ARIA state charts, "The First Time" performed much stronger in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 54, than on any of the other state charts.  The single missed the top 100 on three of the four remaining state charts, peaking at number 89 in Western Australia, which was its second strongest state.  I can only assume, therefore, that the single received a lot more airplay in New South Wales than in other states.

On the Australian Music Report singles chart, "The First Time" peaked at number 78.

Surface will next grace our presence in April 1991.
 

 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 151 "Blue Monday 1988" by New Order
Peak: number 151 (in 1991); number 3 (1988 release)
Peak date: 11 February 1991 (in 1991); 6 June 1988 (1988 release)
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks (1991 chart run); 19 weeks (1988 release)
 
While I've never compiled a list of my favourite songs of all time, New Order's "Blue Monday" would land somewhere on it.  The 1983 single originally peaked at number 13 in Australia in August 1983, spending 26 weeks on the chart.  It then re-entered in March 1987, presumably due to renewed interest following the success of "Bizarre Love Triangle" (number 5, March 1987), climbing to number 69 in April 1987 and spending another 9 weeks in the top 100.
 
"Blue Monday" had similar chart longevity in the UK, where it initially peaked at number 12 in April 1983, before falling to as low as number 82 in July 1983, before rebounding back up to a new peak of number 9 in October 1983, in an unbroken chart run lasting 38 weeks.  Between 1983 and 1988, "Blue Monday" notched up 69 weeks in the UK top 100, becoming the best-selling 12" single of all time in the process.

Clocking in at seven and a half minutes, a single/7"-friendly edit of "Blue Monday" was not produced until Quincy Jones remixed the track in 1988, resulting in another single release.  "Blue Monday 1988" reached number 3 in Australia in June 1988, on the first (unpublished) singles chart produced in-house by ARIA.  You will otherwise see a number 4 Australian peak listed for "Blue Monday 1988" on sites such as Wikipedia and australian-charts, which is technically incorrect.
 
Worth noting here, also, is that "Blue Monday 1988" topped the Victorian/Tasmanian state singles chart in June 1988, as did New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" (number 5, March 1987) for four weeks in February and March 1987.  New Order did not otherwise score a number one single in Australia.

"Blue Monday 1988" re-charting in 1991 is presumably due to the single being issued on CD, for the first time, in Australia in January 1991.

While number 151 may not seem terribly impressive, it is somewhat 'good' for a re-issued single in Australia at that time.  Re-issued singles of songs that were hits the first time around generally did not chart at all in Australia, back then, unlike in the UK, or now when any old track is eligible to chart.  Furthermore, this release of "Blue Monday 1988" presumably happened without any promotion.  I certainly was not aware of its re-release at the time, as a casual New Order fan.

The re-issue must have caught on in Western Australia, as this release of "Blue Monday 1988" peaked at number 70 on the Western Australian state chart.

Another incarnation of "Blue Monday" will bubble under in 1995, but, before then, we shall next see New Order in 1994.
 

  
Number 175 "Heaven Can Wait" by Paul Young
Peak: number 157
Peak date: 25 February 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
 
English singer Paul Young has visited us twice previously, in May 1990 and September 1990, with the first two singles from his fourth studio album Other Voices (number 102, July 1990).  "Heaven Can Wait" was issued as the third, and - in Australia - final, single from the album.

Internationally, "Heaven Can Wait" peaked at number 71 in the UK in October 1990.

On the ARIA state charts, "Heaven Can Wait" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, reaching number 142.

A fourth single from Other Voices, "Calling You", was released in the UK, peaking at number 57 there in January 1991.

We will next see Paul on his own in October 1991, but before then, we will see him duet with another artist in September.
 

 
Number 178 "Wap Bam Boogie" by Matt Bianco
Peak: number 178
Peak date: 11 February 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
 
Matt Bianco, despite the name, is a group and not a solo artist.  Hailing from the UK, the group landed two minor 'hits' in Australia during the 1980s, "Whose Side Are You On?" (number 57, June 1985) and "Yeh Yeh" (number 64, March 1986).  We have previously seen Basia, who was once part of the group, bubble under.

"Wap Bam Boogie" originally appeared as the B-side on Matt Bianco's "Don't Blame It on That Girl" single, which bubbled under on the Australian Music Report singles chart in August 1988.

"Wap Bam Boogie" was issued as a single in its own right to promote the release of the compilation album The Best of Matt Bianco (number 147, November 1990).
 
Internationally, "Wap Bam Boogie" peaked at number 76 in the UK in December 1990.
 
While "Wap Bam Boogie" would become Matt Bianco's final single to chart in Australia, the group landed two further charting albums: Samba in Your Casa (number 172, February 1992), and The Things You Love (number 1224, November 2016).
 

 
Next week (18 February): Four top 150 debuts, and three bubbling WAY down under entries.
 
< Previous week: 4 February 1991                                          Next week: 18 February 1991 >

04 February 2022

Week commencing 4 February 1991

Ah, readers, we're into February 2022 and what a joy this year has been so far!  Let's step back in time to 1991 to remember the 'good old days' with another six Australian chart flops served fresh for you here.  Except, one of the six songs is from 1977, and two are from albums released in 1989.  Not exactly '90s', hey?  But here's what the Australian public were buying... or rather, not buying in bucket loads, this week in 1991...
 
Peter Gabriel sporting a hair-don't that looks like it came from the 70s, just like his latest single, in 1990.
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 125 "Storm Front" (live at Yankee Stadium) by Billy Joel
Peak: number 114
Peak date: 11 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
 
Despite Billy Joel's Storm Front (number 1, November 1989) album topping the Australian albums chart, the singles released from it after "We Didn't Start the Fire" (number 2, November 1989) were all flops, with "I Go to Extremes" (number 48, February 1990) being the only other one to crack the top 100.
 
That didn't stop the record company issuing umpteen singles from the album, however, and "Storm Front" - this time, an Australian exclusive live single to coincide with his early 1991 Australian tour - was the fifth (!) in a row to miss the top 100... with still one more single from the album to come!  We last saw Billy bubble under in December 1990.

Technically, this live version of "Storm Front", performed at Yankee Stadium, was taken from disc two of Billy's Australian-only Souvenir: The Ultimate Collection (number 1, February 1991) compilation box set, which contains two Greatest Hits discs, the Storm Front album, a disc with five live tracks at Yankee stadium, an interview disc, and a free set of steak knives.  OK, well, not the last one, but they might as well have include those too.

Still, with both Souvenir and Storm Front topping the ARIA albums charts, I doubt the record company were too bothered by most of the singles flopping... and so they kept churning them out.

"Storm Front" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 72 on the state chart.
 
You can listen to the studio version of the track, for contrast, here.

We will see Billy again in early 1992 with the eighth and final single lifted from Storm Front, and (spoiler alert... though not really, as I wouldn't be writing about this song otherwise), yes, it was another one to miss the ARIA top 100.



Number 133 "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel
Peak: number 121 (in 1991); number 45 (in 1977)
Peak date: 4 March 1991
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks (1991 release)
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks (1991 release)

Prior to Phil Collins taking over vocal duties, Peter Gabriel was once the lead singer in the English progressive rock band Genesis.  He left the group in 1975, embarking on a solo career.  "Solsbury Hill" was Peter's debut solo single, released in 1977.
 
Surprisingly, "Solsbury Hill" only peaked at number 45 in Australia in July 1977.  I say "surprisingly" because the song was still in high rotation on radio during the 1980s.  I knew the song for years, aged in single digits, before I knew the song's title or who performed it.  That's not something I can say about many singles from 1977 that missed the top 40.

"Solsbury Hill" fared much better in Peter's native UK, reaching number 13 there in May 1977.  The song was an apt choice to launch Peter's solo career, as its lyrics deal with, in Peter's own words, "being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get... It's about letting go."
 
At this point in time, Peter had placed seven singles on the Australian top 100, with his biggest hits being "Sledgehammer" (number 3, June 1986) and "Don't Give Up" (number 5, April 1987); the latter being a duet with Kate Bush.  Both tracks were lifted from Peter's fifth studio album So (number 5, June 1986).  Peter also bubbled under with "Red Rain", another single from So, in August 1987, and we last saw him teaming up with Youssou N'Dour in July 1989.

"Solsbury Hill" originally appeared on Peter's debut album Peter Gabriel (number 25, June 1977).  The single was re-released to promote Peter's greatest hits compilation album Shaking the Tree (Sixteen Golden Greats) (number 41, December 1990).  This time around, a music video was made for the song, although Peter does not appear in it.
 
Internationally, the re-issue of "Solsbury Hill" peaked at number 57 in the UK in December 1990, and number 26 in the Netherlands in January 1991.

On the ARIA state charts, "Solsbury Hill" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 90.

We shall next see Peter in 1993.
 

 
Number 145 "Think" by Information Society
Peak: number 132
Peak date: 18 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 10 weeks
 
Information Society hail from Minnesota, and formed in 1982.  "Think" was the lead single from their second studio album Hack, and the band's second single issued in Australia, following "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)", released in December 1988.
 
"Think" peaked at number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 20 in the Netherlands in March 1991.

I have heard this one before.  Someone on a music forum recommended it to me about a decade ago, but I've got a feeling that I probably heard it on the American Top 40 radio program at the time.  I like the song, but don't love it.

"Think" was Information Society's only single to dent the ARIA top 150.
 
 
 
Number 147 "If I Have to Stand Alone" by Lonnie Gordon
Peak: number 147 
Peak dates: 4 February 1991 and 11 February 1991
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

American-born though at this point English-produced (hello Stock Aitken Waterman!) Lonnie Gordon graced our presence in September 1990, with her second single released in Australia.  Here she is again, with the third.
 
"If I Have to Stand Alone", the title track from Lonnie's debut album If I Have to Stand Alone (number 173, April 1991), was an uptempo number more akin to "Happenin' All Over Again" (number 33, August 1990) than her previous single, which was a ballad.  Not that it helped Lonnie's chart fortunes - here or in the UK - where the single stalled at number 68 in November 1990, leading to the album being shelved by the much more-fickle/risk averse UK record company.
 
You have to love Australian record companies from this era, seemingly releasing whatever product they could license, regardless of its success on the chart (or were they just clueless, rather than being good-willed?).  I remember seeing loads of copies of Lonnie's album in a bargain bin at JB Hi-Fi, which had just opened in my city, in early 1992 - although I did not purchase the album until the 2009 expanded, remastered re-issue.

Working against "If I Have to Stand Alone"'s favour was the fact that Stock Aitken Waterman were definitely perceived as being 'uncool', if not much worse things, at this time.  Their commercial heyday had well and truly passed.

Speaking of 'uncool', I loved a comment I read on the music video embedded below (which turns out to be one of my YouTube uploads) some years ago, which referred to Lonnie's "office lady look" in the video.

On the ARIA state charts, "If I Have to Stand Alone" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 104.
 
I didn't actually hear this track at the time, though remember seeing the single in the shops.

We will next see Lonnie in July 1991, with a new sound and a radically different look.



Number 150 "Too Tired" by Gary Moore featuring Albert Collins
Peak: number 130
Peak date: 4 March 1991
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks
 
By this point, Northern Irish singer and guitar maestro Gary Moore had landed two decent-sized hits in Australia, with a cover version of The Easybeats' "Friday on My Mind" (number 25, September 1987), and the original "Still Got the Blues (For You)" (number 18, July 1990).  Gary last joined us in April 1989.  My favourite Gary Moore track that I know is "Over the Hills and Far Away" (number 94, April 1987).

"Too Tired" was the fourth and final single lifted from Gary's eighth studio album Still Got the Blues (number 5, July 1990).  It followed "Oh Pretty Woman" (number 50, June 1990), "Still Got the Blues (For You)", and "Walking by Myself" (number 55, November 1990).  This time, Gary teamed up with American blues guitarist Albert Collins, covering a song originally recorded by Johnny Guitar Watson.

Internationally, "Too Tired" peaked at number 71 in the UK in December 1990.
 
On the ARIA state charts, "Too Tired" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 87.

Sadly, Albert died from lung cancer in 1993, aged 61.  Gary has also since passed on, aged 58, following a heart attack linked to alcoholism, in 2011.

We will next see Gary in 1992.
 


Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 169 "It's OK (It's Alright)" by Fine Young Cannibals
Peak: number 169
Peak date: 4 February 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week

British band Fine Young Cannibals have joined us twice previously, in February and April of 1990.  After a ten month gap, "It's OK (It's Alright)" was issued as the sixth and final single from The Raw & The Cooked (number 1, July 1989) in Australia in January 1991.  It came just short of two years since the album's first single "She Drives Me Crazy" (number 1, March 1989) was released in Australia, in early February 1989.
 
"It's OK (It's Alright)" was, however, presumably released as a single at this point to promote the band's remix album The Raw & The Remix (number 114, March 1991).

"It's OK (It's Alright)", while being a decent track, presumably did not chart that well because it was from an already two years-old album that most people who liked the band probably already owned.  I also did not hear the track at the time, so it presumably received very little promotion.
 
No proper music video was filmed for "It's OK...".  In lieu of a video, a live performance was used.  The studio version of the track is embedded below.
 
"It's OK (It's Alright)" did not chart in any other country.  On the state charts, "It's OK (It's Alright)" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 154.
 
Fine Young Cannibals quietly disbanded in 1992.  I was unaware of any official announcement of their split happening.
 
The group returned in 1996 for a best-of compilation The Finest (number 56, December 1996) - despite only having released two studio albums.  They also had one further charting single in Australia with "The Flame" (number 85, November 1996).



Next week (11 February): Six top 150 debuts and three bubbling WAY down under entries.
 
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