24 June 2022

Week commencing 24 June 1991

Things this week in 1991's new entries have in common - none of them were huge hits in the country where the artist was based.  Before we take a look at them, I have added a newly-uncovered bubbling WAY down under entry from The Party to last week's post.
Whitney Houston: Australia wasn't really buying her r&b jams in the early 90s.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 103 "Only You" by Keith Urban
Peak: number 101
Peak date: 1 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks
Country singer Keith Urban, whose real surname is Urbahn, was born in Whangarei on the North Island of New Zealand.  Coincidentally, I lived in Whangarei for about six months as a 5-6 year-old child when my dad relocated there for work.  Keith's family moved to Australia when he was two years old.
While "Only You" was Keith's first single to chart anywhere in the world, it was actually his second release.  The first single, "I Never Work on a Sunday", was issued in Australia in June 1990, but failed to chart.  As you can see on the single sleeve for "I Never Work on a Sunday", Keith was the Westpac (Bank) Star Maker winner for 1990.  That is some accolade! (said with no hint of irony...)

Both "I Never Work on a Sunday" and "Only You" were lifted from Keith's debut album Keith Urban (number 98, October 1991) - not to be confused with his 1999 album of the same name, which peaked at number 90 in Australia in February 2001.

Keith would have to wait until 2003 to land his first top 100 single in Australia, with "Raining on Sunday" (number 79, February 2003).
On the state charts, "Only You" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 43.  "Only You" peaked at number 93 on the Australian Music Report singles chart.

While still tinged with country, "Only You" is more of a straightforward pop rock track.

We shall next see Keith in September 1991.

Number 135 "Lowdown and Dirty" by Foreigner
Peak: number 123
Peak date: 8 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
British-American rock band Foreigner placed 12 singles on the Australian chart between 1977 and 1988, with three of those reaching the top ten.  Power ballad "I Want to Know What Love Is" was their biggest hit in Australia, spending five weeks at number one in February and March of 1985.  The group's previous charting single in Australia, and their last to make the top 100, was "I Don't Want to Live without You" (number 24, June 1988).
Lou Gramm, who had sang lead vocals on all of Foreigner's previous hits, parted ways with the group in May 1990.  He was replaced by Johnny Edwards, who sings lead on "Lowdown and Dirty", the lead single from Foreigner's seventh studio album Unusual Heat (number 102, July 1991).
Internationally, "Lowdown and Dirty" peaked at number 50 in Canada.  It also reached number 4 on the US Mainstream Rock Airplay chart in July 1991, for whatever that's worth (not much). 

Within Australia, "Lowdown and Dirty" was most successful in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 91.

A second and final single from Unusual Heat, "I'll Fight for You", was released in Australia in September 1991, but did not chart.

Lou Gramm re-joined Foreigner in 1992, before departing again in 2003.
We will next see Foreigner in 1994.
Number 141 "Whenever You Close Your Eyes" by Tommy Page
Peak: number 136
Peak date: 15 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
American singer Tommy Page has joined us previously in April 1989 and in April 1990; and here he is in the ARIA top 150 singles chart for a third and final time.

"Whenever You Close Your Eyes" was the lead single from Tommy's third album From the Heart (number 129, July 1991).  Interestingly, I cannot find evidence of the single charting anywhere else.

I don't recall hearing this one before.  Michael Bolton's distinctive voice can be heard singing backing vocals on the final chorus section.

Slightly amusing story: I recently had the PWL remix of Tommy's "A Zillion Kisses" playing in the car with my mum as a passenger.  As the song was playing, she asked me, "Is this Madonna?"

Number 144 "The Soul Cages" by Sting
Peak: number 135
Peak date: 1 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks

We last saw Gordon Sumner, aka Sting, in April 1991.

"The Soul Cages" was the third single and title track from Sting's third solo album The Soul Cages (number 3, February 1991).
"The Soul Cages", which I did actually hear at the time (radio loved Sting back then), peaked at number 57 in Sting's native UK in May 1991, and at number 77 in the Netherlands during the same month.  The track also reached number 9 on the US Alternative Airplay chart in April 1991, and number 7 on the US Mainstream Rock Airplay chart in April 1991.
Domestically, "The Soul Cages" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 125.

Sting will join us next in 1994.

Number 146 "Fastlane" by Urban Dance Squad
Peak Number 146
Peak date: 24 June 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week

Dutch rap rock band Urban Dance Squad narrowly missed the ARIA top 50 with their debut single "Deeper Shade of Soul" (number 56, May 1991), which was their only top 100 entry in Australia.
"Fastlane", also from the group's debut album Mental Floss for the Globe (released in Australia in May 1991, missed the top 150), was Urban Dance Squad's second single issued locally.

"Fastlane" peaked at number 59 in the Netherlands in June 1991.

This single was the group's last top 150 entry in Australia.

Number 148 "My Name Is Not Susan" by Whitney Houston
Peak: number 118
Peak date: 8 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks

By this point in 1991, American singer Whitney Houston had placed 12 singles on the Australian chart.  In the US, Whitney had a string of seven consecutive number one singles, and a tally of nine Billboard Hot 100 number ones by mid-1991.  In contrast, despite her first two albums being huge, Whitney had only landed four top 10 singles in Australia at this point in time, with "Greatest Love of All" (number 1, July 1986) and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" (number 1, June 1987) being her only releases to top the singles chart so far.

Whitney's third album I'm Your Baby Tonight (number 10, December 1990) was more r&b-focused and less commercially-successful than its predecessors.  Only one single from the album, "I'm Your Baby Tonight" (number 7, November 1990), reached the top 50 in Australia.  "All the Man That I Need" (number 59, March 1991), the album's second single, stalled outside the top 50.
Third single "My Name Is Not Susan" fared even worse, peaking outside the top 100.  Up until now, the only Whitney singles that missed the top 100 in Australia were the duets "I Know Him So Well" (with her mother Cissy Houston, released in Australia in March 1989) and "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be" (with Aretha Franklin, October 1989) - which both failed to chart.

Internationally, "My Name Is Not Susan" peaked at number 43 in the Flanders region of Belgium in 1991, number 29 in the UK in July 1991, number 14 in Ireland in July 1991, number 28 in the Netherlands in July 1991, number 57 in Germany in August 1991, number 31 in Sweden in August 1991, and number 20 in the US in September 1991.
The US peak of 'only' number 20 was surely a disappointment, coming off the back of two number one hits.  The I'm Your Baby Tonight album campaign soon wrapped up, following a fourth single issued in North America and Europe - but not in Australia - "I Belong to You", which missed the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked no higher than number 54 (in the UK) anywhere in the world.
For reasons I am not sure why, "My Name Is Not Susan" re-entered the chart in Germany in 1998, reaching a slightly higher peak of number 52 there in July 1998.

Within Australia, "My Name Is Not Susan" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 77.

As with "I'm Your Baby Tonight", there were two different mixes of the single and two different videos for the US and European/Australasian markets.  I have embedded both below, with the earlier European version (made up of clips from other Whitney videos/performances) listed beneath the US 'rap' version, which features Monie Love.

Whitney will next join us in 2001.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 180 "Tell Me That You Wait" by Culture Beat featuring Lana E. and Jay Supreme
Peak: number 180
Peak date: 24 June 1991
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks
We last saw German dance group Culture Beat in March 1991.  "Tell Me That You Wait" was the third single lifted from their debut album Horizon (number 150, April 1991).  Oddly, I cannot find evidence of "Tell Me That You Wait" charting anywhere else.

I have heard this track before, but not until the mid 2010s, when it showed up on a various artists promo VHS compilation I bought on eBay.

On the ARIA state charts, "Tell Me That You Wait" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 157.

We'll next see Culture Beat in November 1991, when they finally break into the top 150 singles chart.

Number 185 "Heartbreak Station" by Cinderella
Peak: number 185
Peak date: 24 June 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
We have seen American rock band Cinderella twice previously, in May and July of 1989.
"Heartbreak Station" was the second single and title track from the band's third album Heartbreak Station (number 72, March 1991).  It followed "Shelter Me" (number 48, March 1991), which was their biggest hit in Australia.
Internationally, "Heartbreak Station" peaked at number 44 in the US in April 1991, number 51 in Canada, and number 63 in the UK in April 1991.

Within Australia, "Heartbreak Station" was most popular in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 142.

"Heartbreak Station" was Cinderella's final single to chart in Australia.  They had another charting album, however, with Still Climbing (number 187, January 1995).

Next week (1 July): Seven top 150 debuts and one bubbling WAY down under entry.  Among them is one of the best (or worst - depending on which side of the fence you sit) song titles of all time!
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