06 May 2022

Week commencing 6 May 1991

This week in 1991's new chart entries peaking outside the top 100 are a combination of artists who have not charted before, and veteran artists re-releasing old material or recording under a different name.  Let's take a look at them.
 
Sonic Youth: who knew that they were all Boomers?
 
Top 150 debuts:
 
Number 111 "The King Is Half Undressed" by Jellyfish
Peak: number 111
Peak date: 6 May 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
 
American band Jellyfish formed in San Francisco in 1989.  "The King Is Half Undressed" was the group's first release.  The single peaked at number 39 in the UK in February 1991, and reached number 19 on the US Alternative Airplay chart - for what that's worth (not much).
 
The track was lifted from Jellyfish's debut album Bellybutton (number 112, July 1990).  A second single from the album, "Baby's Coming Back", was released locally in June 1991, but missed the top 150.
 
I remember seeing a Jellyfish single (I'm not sure which one) in the shops in 1991, but didn't hear their music at the time.
 
The group split in 1994, after releasing only two studio albums.

We shall see Jellyfish again in 1993.
 

 
Number 141 "The Whole of the Moon" by The Waterboys (re-issue) 
Peak: number 107 (1991 release); number 12 (1985 release)
Peak date: 13 May 1991 (1991 release); 17 March 1986 (1985 release)
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks (1991 release), plus 18 weeks in the top 100 in 1986.
 
Scottish band The Waterboys first released "The Whole of the Moon" on their 1985 album This Is the Sea (number 23, March 1986).  The track was issued as a single in Australia in December 1985, reaching its peak of number 12 in March 1986, and became the 99th biggest single of 1986 in Australia.
 
Interestingly, "The Whole of the Moon" was a bigger hit in Australia upon its original release than in the band's native UK, where it only reached number 26 in November 1985.  Elsewhere, the initial release of "The Whole of the Moon" peaked at number 19 in the Netherlands in January 1986, and at number 19 in New Zealand in May 1986.

The Waterboys only landed one other top 100 single in Australia, with "Fisherman's Blues" (number 70, February 1989).

"The Whole of the Moon" was re-issued in 1991 to promote the band's The Best of the Waterboys 81-90 (number 101, May 1991) compilation album.  This time around, the single was much more successful in the UK, reaching number 3 there in April 1991 - easily becoming their biggest hit.  The re-issue also peaked at number 2 in Ireland.  The band won an Ivor Novello songwriting award for "The Whole of the Moon" in 1991.

We will next see The Waterboys in 1993.



Number 145 "Dirty Boots" by Sonic Youth
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 6 May 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks
 
Sonic Youth formed in New York in 1981.  Their first Australian chart 'success' did not come until 1990, however, when their sixth studio album Goo peaked at number 106 in September 1990.  Goo was also the band's first album to chart in the US, where it reached number 96 in September 1990.
 
"Dirty Boots", lifted from the album Goo, was the first Sonic Youth single issued in Australia, although their song "Titanium Expose" from the Pump Up the Volume soundtrack (number 74, January 1992) was the B-side on Concrete Blonde's "Everybody Knows" single, released locally in November 1990 (did not chart).
 
"Dirty Boots" does not appear to have charted anywhere else.  On the ARIA state charts, "Dirty Boots" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 93.

Although Goo was the band's first album to chart in Australia, several of their earlier albums later charted locally.  1988's Daydream Nation, the band's fifth studio album, peaked at number 144 in September 1994.  1987's Sister, the band's fourth studio album, peaked at number 151 in December 1994.  1986's Evol, the band's third studio album, peaked at number 928 in August 2015.

I first heard of Sonic Youth when catching one of their music videos on rage in 1992.  I also recall that a guy in my Indonesian class in high school answered that he was listening to Sonic Youth when I asked what he was playing on his (cassette) Walkman.
 
One thing I didn't realise until writing this post is that each member of Sonic Youth is a Boomer, with the birth dates for their line up in 1991 ranging between 1953 and 1962.  The band's two lead singers, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, were already 30-something at the start of the 1990s.  I associate Sonic Youth's image and sound much more with Generation X and the 90s alternative music scene.

We will next see Sonic Youth in 1992.
 

 
Number 150 "Stop (Don't Start)" by The Riptides
Peak: number 138
Peak date: 3 June 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
 
The Riptides were an Australian band, formed in Brisbane in the late 1970s.  Commercial success largely evaded the group, and they placed only one single ("Only Time" - number 89, December 1981) and one album (Resurface - number 56, March 1988) on the Australian top 100.

"Stop (Don't Start)" was the first single lifted from The Riptides' fourth studio album Wave Rock (number 125, October 1991).

I hadn't heard this one before, but it sounds like it should have had more chart success.
 

 
Bubbling WAY down under:
 
Number 152 "Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams" by Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams
Peak: number 152
Peak date: 6 May 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week 

"Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams", a re-worked version of Tears for Fears' "Sowing the Seeds of Love" (number 13, October 1989) - minus the song's chorus - originally appeared as the B-side on a Tears for Fears single that bubbled under on the Australian chart in May 1990.  The verses of the song are performed by Biti Strauchn, rather than by Roland Orzabal.

"Johnny Panic..." was remixed and released as a single in its own right, credited to Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams.  The single peaked at number 70 in the UK in February 1991.

On the ARIA state charts, "Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 139.
 
I first heard/saw this track as a new release on Coca Cola Power-Cuts, when it aired as a weekly program on Sunday afternoons.  I assume that exposure is what lead to the single charting in Australia, albeit rather lowly.


 
Number 169 "Echo Chamber" by Beats International
Peak: number 169
Peak date: 6 May 1991
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks
 
Masterminded by former Housemartins bass player Norman Cook, who would later be responsible for Fatboy Slim, Beats International landed a major hit on the Australian chart in 1990 with "Dub Be Good to Me" (number 12, July 1990).  It was followed-up by the much less successful "Won't Talk About It" (number 70, September 1990), and the album Let Them Eat Bingo (number 63, July 1990).

"Echo Chamber" was the lead single from the second, and final, Beats International album Excursion on the Version, which does not appear to have been released in Australia.  Lead vocal duties this time were performed by Lester Noel.  The single peaked at number 60 in the UK in March 1991, and at number 49 in New Zealand in April 1991.  Within Australia, "Echo Chamber" was most popular in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 146.
 
I remember seeing the video for this one on the SBS music video program M.C. TeeVee as a new release.
 
We shall next see Beats International in December 1991.
 

 
Number 186 "Listen Up" by Listen Up
Peak: number 186
Peak date: 6 May 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week 

Eponymous singles seem to be the sub-theme this week, and here is the second one of those.

Listen Up is a non-profit organisation founded by Quincy Jones - whom we last saw in January 1990, which provides support to underprivileged youths in South Africa.
 
The artists featured on this track include Tevin Campbell, Siedah Garrett, Karyn White, Ice-T, Al B. Sure!, The Winans, James Ingram, El DeBarge, Big Daddy Kane, Melle Mel, and Ray Charles.
 
On the ARIA state charts, "Listen Up" was most popular in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 155.
 

 
Next week (13 May): Five new top 150 debuts and two bubbling WAY down under entries.
 
< Previous week: 29 April 1991                                      Next week: 13 May 1991 >

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