15 April 2022

Week commencing 15 April 1991

One thing all of this week in 1991's debuts that peaked outside the top 100 have in common is that I didn't hear any of them at the time.  Did you?

Before we take a look at this week's debuts, I have updated the following earlier post:
  • 11 March 1991 - a new bubbling WAY down under entry from Hard-Ons.
Vanilla Ice showing us how many hits he had with his fingers.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 107 "I Love You"/"Stop That Train" by Vanilla Ice
Peak: number 103
Peak date: 22 April 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks
Robert Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice, burst onto the scene in late 1990 with  "Ice Ice Baby" (number 1, January 1991), a song that is still fairly well-known today, with over 400 million views on YouTube.

Nothing else 'Vanilla' released performed nearly as well, however, and he is largely thought of as (inaccurately) being a one-hit wonder.  He had a second top 20 hit in Australia with "Play That Funky Music" (number 13, March 1991).
The album housing both of the above hits, To the Extreme (number 9, March 1991), is reported to have sold 15 million copies worldwide.  Vanilla's second studio album, 1994's Mind Blowin', in contrast, failed to chart anywhere in the world.  That is some fall from grace!
Vanilla was already in trouble by the time of his third single, the double A-side "I Love You"/"Stop That Train".  I didn't hear either track at the time.  The imaginatively-titled "I Love You" was a rather basic 'lurve' ballad, with chorus lyrics "I love you... 'cause I love you."
Why the sudden sharp decline in Vanilla's popularity?  I think there were a several factors: Vanilla came across as cocky in interviews, his record label created a false biography of Vanilla's upbringing without his knowledge, and Vanilla made some stupid statements - like denying that he had ever heard Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure" (number 6, December 1981), which "Ice Ice Baby" heavily sampled.  Vanilla was also not perceived as being an authentic hip-hop artist, being white, not from 'the hood', and due to the commercial nature of his music.  A backlash ensued.
Furthermore, some curious career decisions were made for Vanilla, releasing a live rap album (whoever bought one of those?) in 1991, and taking a lead acting role in Cool As Ice.  The movie was critically panned and recouped only 20% of its production costs at the box office.  It seemed like there was a scattergun approach trying to replicate and cash-in on the success of "Ice Ice Baby" and To the Extreme, without much forethought.  Nothing Vanilla tried worked.

"I Love You"/"Stop That Train" also under-performed internationally, peaking at number 52 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in March 1991, number 27 in Ireland in March 1991, number 45 in the UK in April 1991, number 65 in Germany in April 1991, number 39 in the Netherlands in May 1991, and number 30 in New Zealand in May 1991.

Within Australia, "I Love You"/"Stop That Train" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 70.  The single peaked at number 93 on the Australian Music Report top 100 singles chart.

Vanilla will join us next in December 1991.

Number 125 "Headlong" by Queen
Peak: number 119
Peak date: 22 April 1991
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks

We last saw veteran English band Queen in April 1990.  Three of the five singles from their 1989 album The Miracle (number 4, June 1989) peaked outside the ARIA top 100, and two of the four singles lifted from Queen's fourteenth studio album Innuendo (number 6, February 1991) would do the same.

"Headlong" was the lead single from Innuendo in the US, released in January 1991.  In the band's native UK, "Headlong" was issued as the album's third release.  In Australia, "Headlong" was the second single from the album, following "Innuendo" (number 28, February 1991).

Internationally, "Headlong" peaked at number 25 in Ireland in May 1991, number 14 in the UK in June 1991, and number 43 in the Netherlands in June 1991.

Locally, "Headlong" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 78.

I hadn't heard or seen the video for "Headlong" until now.  My thoughts are that, again, Freddie looks rather gaunt in it, though he still had enough stamina to give an energetic performance.
We shall next see Queen in a mere six weeks' time.

Number 137 "Wilbury Twist" by Traveling Wilburys
Peak: number 137
Peak date: 15 April 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks

Traveling Wilburys last graced our presence in February 1991.

"Wilbury Twist" was issued as the third single from the band's second album, the misleadingly-titled Vol. 3 (number 14, November 1990).
As with their previous single, the only other country "Wilbury Twist" charted in was Canada, where it reached number 86.
Actor John Candy makes an appearance in the music video.

"Wilbury Twist" was Traveling Wilburys' final single.

Number 146 "Over Rising" by The Charlatans
Peak: number 146
Peak date: 15 April 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
We saw The Charlatans back in November 1990.  "Over Rising" was the first of two in-between-album singles issued by the band between their debut album Some Friendly (number 79, January 1991) and its follow-up Between 10th and 11th.
"Over Rising" peaked at number 15 in the band's native UK in March 1991, and at number 7 in Ireland during the same month.

I hadn't heard this one before, and don't mind it.

Number 147 "Pick Up the Pace 1990" by Young MC
Peak: number 147
Peak dates: 15 April 1991, 22 April 1991 and 29 April 1991
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 6 weeks

Like Vanilla Ice this week in 1991, Young MC was struggling to have hits following his belated Australian number one single "Bust a Move" (number 1, October 1990).  Young's other 'hits' in Australia, "Principal's Office" (number 50, May 1990), and "I Come Off" (number 43, January 1991) missed the top 40.
"Pick Up the Pace" was released as the final single from Young MC's debut album Stone Cold Rhymin' (number 38, October 1990), although it had a major overhaul from the original album version - hence the addition of '1990' to the title.

The music video for "Pick Up the Pace 1990" was made up of outtakes from Young's earlier videos.  The only other country the single charted in was New Zealand, where it reached number 38 in May 1991.

On the ARIA state charts, "Pick Up the Pace 1990" peaked highest in Queensland, where it reached number 123.

We will next see Young MC in 1992.

Number 148 "I'll Give All My Love to You" by Keith Sweat
Peak: number 148
Peak date: 15 April 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks

Five years before landing his first top 100 entry on the Australian singles chart with "Twisted" (number 9, January 1997), American r&b/soul singer Keith Sweat bubbled under with "I'll Give All My Love to You", the second single and title track from the album I'll Give All My Love to You, which did not chart in Australia.  Interestingly, Keith's next album Keep It Comin' (number 147, February 1992) did chart in Australia, but no singles released from it did.

"I'll Give All My Love to You" peaked at number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in February 1991.  I probably heard the song on the American Top 40 radio program at the time, but have no recollection of it.  I don't normally listen to this sort of music, but rather enjoyed this track, to my surprise.

On the ARIA state charts, "I'll Give All My Love to You" peaked highest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 134.

Keith will next join us in 1994.

Number 150 "Together Forever" by Lisette Melendez
Peak: number 106
Peak date: 3 June 1991
Weeks in top 150: 14 weeks
Weeks on chart: 15 weeks

Another song I probably heard on American Top 40 but have no recollection of (what was I doing in early 1991?!) is "Together Forever" by American freestyle singer Lisette Melendez.  The single peaked at number 35 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and was the title track from Lisette's debut album Together Forever (number 199, December 1991).
Within Australia, "Together Forever" performed much stronger on the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory state chart, where it reached number 56, than in any other state.  In contrast, the single peaked no higher than number 107, in South Australia/Northern Territory, on any of the other four state charts.
"Together Forever" also peaked much higher on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 55.

The production on "Together Forever" sounds rather similar to Corina's "Temptation" (number 57, October 1991) from later in 1991.  Both tracks were produced by Carlos "After Dark" Berrios, which explains the similarity.

Lisette never landed a top 100 single or album in Australia, but we will see her bubble under on two further occasions, with the next one being in November 1991.

Bubbling WAY down under:

Number 153 "Sensible Shoes" by David Lee Roth
Peak: number 153
Peak dates: 15 April 1991 and 27 May 1991
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks (probably - see below for explanation)

David Lee Roth rose to fame as the lead singer in Van Halen, who landed a major hit in Australia with "Jump" (number 2, March 1984).  David quit the group to embark on a solo career in August 1985, following a dispute over the direction of the band's music.

While still part of Van Halen, David launched his solo career with a cover version of The Beach Boys' "California Girls" (number 6, March 1985).  David's post-Van Halen solo career was launched in 1986, with the single "Yankee Rose" (number 33, August 1986) and album Eat 'em and Smile (number 26, August 1986).
David's third solo album A Little Ain't Enough (number 26, February 1991) appeared in early 1991, led by the almost-title track "A Lil' Ain't Enough" (number 42, February 1991).  David's brand of 'hair metal', with expensive, over-the-top music videos, was definitely on the way out, commercially, in early 1991, leading to the rise of alternative and grunge music.  Perhaps the music video for "Sensible Shoes", the second single from A Little Ain't Enough, was tapping into the changing styles, being shot in black and white and toning down most of David's theatrics.  The song also has a bluesier, gritter sound than typical of David's earlier singles.

Internationally, "Sensible Shoes" peaked at number 48 in Canada, and number 81 in the UK in March 1991.

Domestically, "Sensible Shoes" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 125.

You may be wondering why I've noted "probably" beside number of weeks this single spent on the Australian chart.  The reason for this is that ARIA have (erroneously, I believe) listed David's 1988 single "Stand Up" as charting for one week at number 153 (the same position "Sensible Shoes" had reached) at the end of May 1991.  As that 1988 single, which did not chart in Australia, was not re-issued in 1991, it has to be a mistake.  So, I have added one week to the 3 week tally for this single on the ARIA database.

We shall next see David in 1994.

Number 166 "My Head's in Mississippi" by ZZ Top
Peak: number 166
Peak date: 15 April 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week

We last saw ZZ Top in November 1990.  "My Head's in Mississippi" was issued as the third single from the band's tenth studio album Recycler (number 27, November 1990).

"My Head's in Mississippi" peaked at number 37 in the UK in April 1991.  I cannot find evidence of it charting elsewhere.

On the ARIA state charts, "My Head's in Mississippi" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 144.

We will next see ZZ Top in 1992.

Number 180 "Seven Little Girls (Sitting in the Back Seat)" by Bombalurina featuring Timmy Mallett
Peak: number 180
Peak date: 15 April 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks

And now for the silliest new entry of the week... but silly can be good, right?

Bombalurina was a joint project between Andrew Lloyd Webber (!) and Nigel Wright.  They roped in female singers and dancers Dawn Andrews and Annie Dunkley (you might recognise the latter from Sinitta's "Right Back Where We Started From" music video), as well as UK children's TV presenter Timmy Mallett (he's the guy driving the car in the video embedded below).  The group's name was taken from a character in Lloyd Webber's stage musical Cats.

The group released a version of "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (number 66, January 1991), which topped the UK singles chart for three weeks in August/September 1990.  It also reached number 1 in Ireland, and was a top 10 hit in Germany, Austria, Norway and New Zealand.

"Seven Little Girls...", the follow-up release, was another cover version, this time telling the story of seven "little girls" who are busy "having fun in the back seat" with a guy called Fred, while the song's narrator is relegated to driving.  Just the sort of novelty record to aim at a young TV audience...  The song was originally recorded by Paul Evans in 1959.

While "Seven Little Girls..." did not perform as well as its predecessor, it was, of course, another hit in the UK, reaching number 18 there in December 1990.  The single also peaked at number 26 in Ireland during the same month.

An album, Huggin' an'a Kissin', with its title taken from "Seven Little Girls...", was released in Australia in March 1991, with 'Non Stop Party' and 'Singalong Karaoke' versions issued the following month.  None of these charted in Australia.

I didn't know this song at the time, but think it's quite an earworm, despite obviously being disposable (or perhaps because of that).  One thing I am shocked to learn, when I researched for my post this week, is that Timmy Mallett was only 35 when this was released.  He seems much older to me in the music video.

Next week (22 April): Six new top 150 debuts and four bubbling WAY down under entries.

< Previous week: 8 April 1991                                     Next week: 22 April 1991 >


  1. I didn't even realise Headlong was released a single. Surprised it didn't get higher than that

  2. "I Love You" by Vanilla Ice. Oh lordy, where to start.

    A friend of mine had the album, so I'd heard this song already by April 1991. What I hadn't heard, however, was Vanilla Ice's claim that he was given a "couple million bucks" by his record company president Charles Koppelman to record a slow song. He didn't want to do it and apparently hated the results. Listening to the song, the low-end bass distorts at times due to the limitations of the tinny recording equipment they used. I guess even two million bucks doesn't get you a hit.

    1. Thanks for the info, Pete. I never knew about that!


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