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, January 1991).
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.
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