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.