Well, we're now exactly at the mid-way point through 1991. And what better way to mark this milestone than with one of the most hotly-anticipated songs (for me) I have had to write about so far! Read on to find out more...
Samantha Fox: just because you're laughing (at the song title), doesn't mean that it'll be charting!
Top 150 debuts:
Number 125 "Ludi" by Dream Warriors
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 8 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Canadian hip-hop duo Dream Warriors to date had placed two singles in the lower half of the ARIA top 100, with "Wash Your Face in My Sink" (number 57, January 1991) and "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style" (number 65, March 1991).
"Ludi" was issued as the third single from the duo's debut album And Now the Legacy Begins (number 53, March 1991). "Ludi" peaked at number 56 in Dream Warriors' native Canada - oddly, their only single to chart there. Elsewhere, the single peaked at number 39 in the UK in March 1991, number 24 in Ireland, and number 48 in the Netherlands in March 1991.
I don't recall hearing this one before. "Ludi" was Dream Warriors' final single to dent the ARIA top 150.
Number 127 "Silent Lucidity" by Queensrÿche
Peak: number 104
Peak date: 14 October 1991
Weeks in top 150: 16 weeks
American progressive metal band Queensrÿche last paid us a visit in October 1990. "Silent Lucidy" was the second single issued in Australia from the band's fourth studio album Empire (number 127, November 1990).
"Silent Lucidity" peaked at number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in June 1991, becoming their biggest hit there and only top 100 entry. The single also peaked at number 46 in Germany in June 1991, number 21 in the Netherlands in June 1991, number 24 in Switzerland in June 1991, number 11 in New Zealand in July 1991, and number 18 in the UK in August 1992 (after originally peaking at number 34 there in May 1991).
"Silent Lucidity" would become Queensrÿche's last single to dent the ARIA top 150. The band's 1994 album Promised Land (number 79, November 1994) peaked within the ARIA top 100, however.
"Silent Lucidity" peaked higher on the Australian Music Report singles chart, reaching number 74.
Despite missing the ARIA top 100, "Silent Lucidity" holds a three-way tie in third position for the most weeks spent in the top 150 for a 1991-debuting single that missed the top 100. Its 16-week top 150 chart-run ties with Chesney Hawkes and another single we will see in October 1991. "Silent Lucidity" was still charting at the end of October 1991; its top 150 chart run was broken for two weeks in early September.
I have heard this one before, but can never remember how the song goes. It seems that metal acts were scoring their last breath of commercial success around this time by putting out ballads or acoustic tracks that were less typical of their usual sound.
Number 134 "Heroes Let You Down" by Schnell Fenster
Peak: number 132
Peak date: 5 August 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Schnell Fenster, which translates from German as 'fast window', was a band formed in Melbourne, made up of New Zealanders. All but one of the five members of Schnell Fenster had formerly been in Split Enz or The Swingers. We last saw Schnell Fenster in 1989.
Despite the band's pedigree, Schnell Fenster failed to achieve major commercial success in Australia with none of their releases denting the ARIA top 50. Their debut single, "Whisper" (number 56, August 1988), came nearest, with subsequent singles "Love Hate Relationship" (number 83, November 1988) and "OK Alright A Huh Oh Yeah" (number 88, October 1990) languishing in the 80s. The group's debut album Sound of Trees (number 82, October 1988) followed similarly.
"Heroes Let You Down" was the belated second single from Schnell Fenster's second album OK Alright A Huh Oh Yeah (number 117, July 1991), coming nine months after the title track was released. "Heroes Let You Down" was to be the band's final single, with the group splitting in 1992.
While "OK Alright A Huh Oh Yeah" seemed to receive a moderate amount of radio and TV exposure, I do not recall hearing "Heroes Let You Down" before.
Number 140 Some Like It Hot EP by Marilyn Monroe
Peak: number 140
Peak date: 1 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
American actress, singer and model Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, needs no introduction. But Marilyn as a chart star?!
The title track on this EP, "Some Like It Hot", was recorded in 1959, for the movie of the same name. I am not sure why this EP was released in 1991. To confuse matters further, "Some Like It Hot" is track three on the single, with two mixes of "I Wanna Be Loved by You" - the 'Mr President Mix' and the original, appearing before it. Given that "I Wanna Be Loved by You" has been remixed for this release, I assume it was actually the main/promoted track from the EP, rather than "Some Like It Hot", and have listed it first below. "I Wanna Be Loved by You" also originally appeared in the 1959 film Some Like It Hot.
As far as I can establish, this EP was an Australian-only release.
Of course, Marilyn sadly took her own life in 1962, aged 36.
Number 147 "(Hurt Me! Hurt Me!) But the Pants Stay On" by Samantha Fox
Peak: number 123
Peak date: 22 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
From one blonde bombshell to another, English singer Samantha Fox came to fame as a page 3 topless model for The Sun newspaper at a tender 16 years of age. While launching a singing career a few years later might seem like a cynical move, Sam had always had her sights set on becoming a pop star, and even had her own pre-fame flop band S.F.X., who released the single "Rockin' with My Radio" in 1983.
Sam's solo career proper was launched in 1986 with the raunchy "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)", which topped the Australian singles chart for three non-consecutive weeks in July 1986, interrupted by Whitney Houston's - who we saw last week - "Greatest Love of All". On "Touch Me...", Sam displays her rock vocal prowess, which is not the paper-thin voice that can barely hold a note (not that there's anything wrong with that) you might expect from a model-turned-singer.
Between 1986 and 1989, Samantha notched up eight Australian top 100 singles. While nothing matched the massive success of "Touch Me...", Sam had two further top 20 hits in Australia, and the Stock Aitken Waterman-produced "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now" (number 22, August 1987) narrowly missed out.
The saucy song titles continued, as did the brackets, with subsequent hits "Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me)" (number 18, October 1986) and "Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)" (number 64, June 1988) - the latter becoming Sam's biggest hit in the US, reaching number 3 there in June 1988.
A surprising fact is that Samantha was the only British female solo artist to score three top 10 singles in the UK and US during the 1980s - with five different tracks among those, no less. Not bad for an artist whom many inaccurately label a "one hit wonder" (not that there's anything wrong with being one of those!).
As this is probably the only occasion I will get to write about Sam, I thought I would mention some of my favourite flop singles of hers, in case you haven't head them - "I Surrender (To the Spirit of the Night)" (released in Australia in August 1987, did not chart) and "I Promise You (Get Ready)" (not issued as a single in Australia, but peaked at number 58 in the UK in October 1987), both from her second album Samantha Fox (number 86, August 1987).
Issued as the lead single from her fourth studio album Just One Night (number 167, August 1991), "(Hurt Me! Hurt Me!) But the Pants Stay On" surely has the sauciest song title of all among Sam's catalogue. However, the song was intended to be a safe-sex anthem, released during the peak of the AIDS epidemic, about not immediately jumping into bed with someone who fancies you, with lyrics like "you can want my body all night long, but the pants stay on" and "my reputation says I'm not one for hesitation, but when it comes to sex, I'm very, very patient". Ooh er Missus!
The intended message of "Hurt Me..." was lost in the racy song title, with people assuming it was a song about sadomasochism. The "(Hurt Me! Hurt Me!)" part of the title, however, is a crowd chant heard in the clubs back then, kind of meaning 'play that song Mr. DJ!' But when coupled with "but the pants stay on", it's easy to see why the song's message was obscured.
For "Hurt Me...", Sam teamed up with Full Force, who were behind her post-"Touch Me" American top 10 hits "Naughty Girls..." and "I Wanna Have Some Fun" (number 80, July 1989). The production on "Hurt Me..." sounds to me like they were trying to emulate the C + C Music Factory sound, and I actually thought C + C Music Factory were involved until checking the credits for this post.
While I distinctly recall reading about "Hurt Me..." in pop magazines at the time, and I think the title even got a mention on Fox FM in Melbourne (which didn't play any non-'credible' female pop at all in 1991), I did not hear "Hurt Me..." until downloading the track out of curiosity in the early 2000s. While I like the song, it doesn't quite live up to its title.
Sam's previous album I Wanna Have Some Fun (number 151, March 1989) had indeed been 'fun', but the album "Hurt Me..." is from, Just One Night, is just... awful, and was a huge misstep in Sam's career. The 2012 expanded re-issue of Just One Night was partly salvaged by inclusion of a spruced up demo Sam recorded for the album with Stock Aitken Waterman, "That's What Love Can Do", which went on to become a US top 20 hit for Boy Krazy, who we will see in 1993.
Oddly, Australia was the only country "Hurt Me..." charted in that I can verify. The single performed strongest on the South Australia/Northern Territory state chart, where it reached number 102.
A second single from Just One Night, "Another Woman (Too Many People)", was released in Australia in September 1991, but failed to chart. Sam then did not release a single in Australia again until 1997, with "Let Me Be Free", which also did not chart.
"(Hurt Me! Hurt Me!) But the Pants Stay On" would be Samantha's final single to chart in Australia. She would, however, have a further album register on the ARIA albums chart, with Angel with an Attitude (number 476, August 2007).
Samantha recently married her girlfriend of six years, Linda Olsen.
Number 148 "California Dreamin" by The Midnight Shift featuring Robin Wright and Issy Van Randwyck
Peak: number 134
Peak date: 29 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
"California Dreamin'" (note apostrophe) was written by John and Michelle Phillips, from The Mamas and the Papas - who were Chynna Phillips from Wilson Phillips' actual mama and papa - in 1963. The song was first recorded by Barry McGuire. The Mamas and the Papas' own version, however, is the best-known one, and was released in 1965.
The Midnight Shift appear to be a British act, but their version of "California Dreamin" - minus the apostrophe - appears to have only been released on CD single in Australia, with only 12" vinyl UK and Spanish pressings listed on discogs. The wonderfully (?) cheap video embedded below was on an Australian VHS compilation designed for play in nightclubs and retail outlets that I picked up on eBay last year for a silly price. Yes, I sometimes go to great lengths for these chart recaps...
This single performed better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 94.
Number 149 "Yo!! Sweetness" by MC Hammer
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 1 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Stanley Burrell, better known as MC Hammer, burst onto the Australian chart in 1990 with the lead single from his second album "U Can't Touch This", which was number 1 for five weeks in July and August 1990. The follow-up release "Have You Seen Her" (number 42, September 1990), however, stalled outside the top 40. "Pray" (number 8, January 1991) returned MC Hammer to the top 10, but fourth single "Here Comes the Hammer" (number 37, April 1991) just crept into the top 40.
"Yo!! Sweetness" was released as the fifth and final single from Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em (number 5, August 1990) in Australia. While I remember seeing the single in the shops, I did not hear the track at the time, and it barely crept into the ARIA top 150. By mid-1991, Hammer, together with pop-rap rival Vanilla Ice, seemed to be a bit passe and uncool.
Internationally, "Yo!! Sweetness" peaked at number 16 in the UK in June 1991, and number 11 in Ireland. The track was not released as a commercial single in North America.
The music video for "Yo!! Sweetness", embedded below, uses the LP version of the track, but the single version, both here and in Europe, was the Boilerhouse Radio Mix, which I have embedded beneath it. The Boilerhouse Mix of "Yo!! Sweetness" prominently samples Cameo's "Word Up" (number 6, March 1987), while both versions sample Rick James' "Give It to Me Baby" (which oddly did not chart in Australia).
We will next see MC Hammer in October 1991.
Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 200 "Down to Earth" by Monie Love
Peak: number 152
Peak date: 8 July 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
British rapper Monie Love, born Simone Johnson, made her debut on the Australian chart in 1989 with "Grandpa's Party" (number 93, September 1989). She followed it up over a year later with another minor hit, "It's a Shame (My Sister)" (number 90, February 1991); interim single "Monie in the Middle" (released in Australia in August 1990) failed to chart. Monie's biggest Australian hit came next, with "Ring My Bell" (number 35, May 1991), a duet with Adeva.
"Down to Earth", the title track from Monie's debut album Down to Earth (number 114, July 1991), was released overseas in late 1990, before "Ring My Bell". The single's release, for whatever reason, was pushed back in Australia.
Internationally, "Down to Earth" peaked at number 31 in the UK in December 1990, number 33 in Germany in January 1991, number 15 in Switzerland in February 1991, and number 29 in the Netherlands in March 1991.
Within Australia, "Down to Earth" was most-successful on the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory state chart, where it reached number 136.
Of note is that "Down to Earth" is the earliest single I have a number 200 or below position for, at the time of writing this post.
We will next see Monie in 1992.
Next week (8 July): Six top 150 debuts and three bubbling WAY down under entries. Among them is a song that dented the top 50 back in 1986.