27 May 2022

Week commencing 27 May 1991

Among the nine new songs I write about debuting this week in 1991, two are by the same artist - a first for these chart recaps, and only two of the eight different artists will return to the top 150 - of which, one never landed a top 100 hit in Australia!

But before we dive into the new batch of entries from 1991, I have updated two earlier posts with the following:
  • 27 February 1989 - a new bubbling WAY down under entry from Simple Minds;
  • 22 April 1991 - a new bubbling WAY down under entry from Daryl Hall & John Oates.
Queen had a 'bunch' of singles that peaked outside the top 100 in Australia.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 142 "Silver Stallion" by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson
Peak: number 123
Peak date: 10 June 1991
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
The Highwaymen for short, though they are credited as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson (no 'and') on the single sleeve, landed their one and only ARIA top 150 single this week in 1991, with "Silver Stallion".  The track appears on the quartet's second album Highwayman 2 (number 9, June 1991), and is a cover version of a song originally recorded by Wings Livinryte in 1975.

"Silver Stallion" does not appear to have registered on any other sales-based chart that I can ascertain; however, it peaked at number 25 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in April 1990.
I generally don't enjoy country music at all, but I thought this song wasn't bad.  I dare say I even enjoyed it and would listen to it again!
Number 144 Adrenalin EP by N-Joi
Peak: number 134
Peak date: 24 June 1991
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
For the first time, we have two debuting entries peaking in the 101-150 region of the chart from the same artist, in the same week.
English production duo N-Joi consist of Nigel Champion and Mark Franklin.  The Adrenalin EP was their second single - their debut release also debuted this week, at number 150, below.  The EP's title track "Adrenalin" is largely instrumental, with a vocal sample appearing only in the second half of the radio version.  "Adrenalin" was one of the earlier 'rave'-style dance tracks to chart in Australia.

Internationally, "Adrenalin" peaked at number 23 in the UK in March 1991.
I didn't hear this one at the time, but may have if I had been old enough to go clubbing in 1991.
Number 147 "Wild Thing (Theme from Bonanza)" by The Fargone Beauties
Peak: number 140
Peak date: 24 June 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
The genres listed for Australian band The Fargone Beauties' debut album The Fargone Beauties (number 137, August 1991) on discogs are bluegrass, parody and novelty.  That should give you some idea as to their sound.

As you might have guessed, "Wild Thing (Theme from Bonanza)" is a cover version of The Troggs' "Wild Thing" from 1966.  My initial impression, listening to this track for the first time, is that it sounds like it could have been the theme song for the 1960s/early 1970s black and white TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, which seemed to be on perpetual re-run when I was a child.

The Fargone Beauties - who never landed a top 100 single or album in Australia - will next join us in 1992.

Number 150 "Anthem" by N-Joi
Peak: number 141
Peak date: 3 June 1991
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
The second N-Joi single to enter the top 150 this week in 1991 was the group's debut release in the UK in October 1990.  The single spent two weeks at its peak of number 45 in the UK in November 1990.  When re-released after the top 30 success of "Adrenalin" (see above), "Anthem" reached a new peak of number 8 in the UK in April 1991.  "Anthem" also reached number 15 in Ireland in April 1991, and number 4 on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.
In Australia, "Anthem" was issued as N-Joi's debut single in early February 1991.  I am not sure why it took nearly four months to crack the top 150, but it appears to have been given a boost by the follow-up single, which also debuted this week.  "Anthem" seems like it is the more-commercial sounding of the two singles, so I am a bit surprised its peak was lower in Australia.
If you're viewing the "Anthem" music video embedded below for the first time, you may be asking yourself, 'Haven't I seen that woman fronting the band before?'  Well, yes, you probably have, as it's none other than Saffron (real name Samantha Sprackling), who went on to front the band Republica, who landed a number 40 hit in Australia with "Ready to Go" in October 1996.  A major difference between this single and Republica, however, is that Saffron does not actually sing the vocal samples on "Anthem"; she just lip-syncs, as was the case with many European dance acts in the 1990s.  Ooh-er.

While we will not see N-Joi in the top 150 again, they did go on to land several more charting singles in the UK.  We will see Saffron again with Republica in 1997.
Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 151 "Something So Strong" by Elisa Fiorillo
Peak: number 151
Peak date: 27 May 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
American Elisa Fiorillo first came to prominence in 1985, winning the American talent search TV program Star Search while still a teenager.  It was this exposure that landed Elisa a recording contract, and she recorded the original version of "Jackie" in 1987 for the Summer School soundtrack - a song that would later become a hit for Lisa Stansfield's band Blue Zone (number 99, February 1989), and was covered by three (!) Australian acts in 1998: Zone 2 (number 137, September 1998), Redzone (number 37, November 1998) and B.Z. featuring Joanne (number 3, January 1999).
Elisa's debut album Elisa Fiorillo was released in 1987, and she landed her first Australian chart entry in 1988, as the featured vocalist on Jellybean's "Who Found Who" (number 75, May 1988) single.
Elisa's second album I Am (number 111, April 1991) was led by the single "On the Way Up" (number 19, April 1991), which Elisa co-wrote with Prince.  Interestingly, that song peaked higher in Australia than in any other country; with the single peaking at number 27 in the US in January 1991.

"Something So Strong" was issued as the second, and final, single from I Am in Australia, and, oddly, appears to have only been a single in Australia.  Even more strangely, another Prince-penned track, "Playgirl", was relegated to being the B-side.  The US received "Oooh This I Need" as the second, and final, single from I Am.

"Something So Strong" performed strongest on the Victoria/Tasmania state chart, where it reached number 134.

I hadn't heard "Something So Strong" before.  It doesn't scream 'single' to me.  It was Elisa's last single to be released in Australia.  Elisa gained work as a backing vocalist for other artists including Savage Garden, and took a break from her own recording career until the 2000s, when she released three albums independently.

Number 162 "I Must Have Been Blind" by The Cockroaches
Peak: number 162
Peak date: 27 May 1991
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks

We saw Australian band The Cockroaches in April 1990, with the lead single from their third studio album Positive (number 121, July 1991).  "I Must Have Been Blind" was the third single lifted from Positive, following "Here Comes That Feeling" (released November 1990), which failed to chart.

"I Must Have Been Blind" performed strongest on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart, where it reached number 142.
This was The Cockroaches' last single to chart, although the Hey Let's Go! The Best of the Cockroaches compilation reached number 236 on the ARIA albums chart in June 2014, after originally peaking at number 283 in November 1999.  Of course, some of the group went on to form The Wiggles, whom you may have heard of...

Number 169 "Love Don't Come Easy" by White Lion
Peak: number 169
Peak date: 27 May 1991
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks
We last saw Danish/American rock band White Lion in December 1989.  "Love Don't Come Easy" was the lead single from the band's fourth studio album Mane Attraction (number 105, June 1991).

Surprisingly, as far as I can establish, Australia is the only market that "Love Don't Come Easy" registered a position on a sales-based chart.  According to Wikipedia, the song reached number 24 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, which is based on airplay - but I cannot confirm that, as the Billboard website is dysfunctional and nothing loaded for me on the White Lion page.

Within Australia, "Love Don't Come Easy" was most successful in Western Australia, where it reached number 145.

This track was White Lion's last single to chart in Australia, although the compilation album The Best of White Lion reached number 227 on the albums chart in October 1992.  The band split in 1992, but reformed in 1999 before splitting again in 2013.

Number 176 "I'm Going Slightly Mad" by Queen
Peak: number 176
Peak date: 27 May 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Queen last paid us a visit in April 1991, and here they are again, a mere six weeks later, with the third single from the Innuendo (number 6, February 1991) album released in Australia.

In Europe, "I'm Going Slightly Mad" was issued as the second single from Innuendo.  It peaked at number 22 in the UK in March 1991, number 19 in Ireland in March 1991, number 42 in Germany in April 1991, number 20 in the Netherlands in April 1991, and number 39 in the Flanders region of Belgium in May 1991.

In Australia, "I'm Going Slightly Mad" was most popular in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 139.

With lyrics such as "I'm coming down with a fever," "I'm Going Slightly Mad" was inspired by Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's (then unannounced) illness with AIDS, and the resulting cognitive symptoms.  The music video pokes fun at this, with Freddie at one point sporting a wig made of bananas.  Freddie's dramatic weight loss due to his illness is evident in the video, and he wore an extra layer of clothing to help conceal this.
"I'm Going Slightly Mad" would become the last Queen single to chart in Australia during Freddie's  lifetime.  The band's next single, "The Show Must Go On" (number 75, January 1992), debuted at number 170 on the ARIA singles chart on the day that Freddie's passing was announced in Australia (25 November 1991).  For those of you who are old enough, the shock announcement of Freddie Mercury's death was one of those flashbulb memory events, where you remember where you were and what you were doing at the time you heard the news.

We shall next see Queen in 1992.

Number 189 "Congo Square" by Great White
Peak: number 189
Peak date: 27 May 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
American rock band Great White first joined us in September 1989, and here they are for the second, and final, time.

"Congo Square" was the lead single from the band's fifth studio album Hooked (number 150, June 1991) in Australia.  In the US, "Call It Rock 'N' Roll" (released in Australia in June 1991, did not chart) was the album's first release.
Internationally "Congo Square" peaked at number 62 in the UK in February 1991.
Within Australia, "Congo Square" performed strongest on the Western Australian state chart, where it reached number 146.
"Congo Square" was Great White's final single to chart in Australia.

Next week (3 June): Seven top 150 debuts and three bubbling WAY down under entries.

< Previous week: 20 May 1991                                           Next week: 3 June 1991 >

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