22 July 2022

Week commencing 22 July 1991

Among this week in 1991's new ARIA singles chart entries below number 100, we have three acts who would never land a top 100 hit in Australia, and two who would never trouble the top 100 again.  Shall we take a look?
Lonnie Gordon: serving looks but not hits.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 136 "Out of My Head" by Degenerates
Peak: number 126
Peak date: 29 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Degenerates were an Australian band for whom I can gather little information about.  I can tell you, however, that the three-piece group consisted of Jamie Durrant on vocals/guitar, David Klenjans on drums, and Julien Chick on bass.  The trio only released one album Play Dinosaur, in June 1992, on which this track does not appear.
An interesting thing I discovered while researching this band is that a version of "Out of My Head" originally appeared as the second track on an EP titled Out of My Head released by the band The Xentrix (I assume that is pronounced 'eccentrics') in 1987.  However, none of the 1991 line-up of Degenerates was in that band.  At that point in time, the track's writing credits were given to P. Watts/D. Gillard, who were both in The Xentrix.

Robert Mackay, who was also in The Xentrix, went on to form a band called Degens with Jamie and David from Degenerates.  They released another version of "Out of My Head" in November 1989, which missed the ARIA top 150.

Robert was not in Degenerates, but nonetheless another version of the song was recorded and released, this time with writing credits going to Watts/Gillard/Durrant.  I guess it was third time lucky for the song becoming a (very minor) 'hit' of sorts.
We will see Degenerates again in 1992, but before then, they released another single, "Crazy World", in November 1991, which missed the top 150.

Number 133 "Pop Goes the Weasel" by 3rd Bass
Peak: number 122
Peak date: 29 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
"Pop Goes the Weasel" was the lead single from American hip-hop trio 3rd Bass' second album Derelicts of Dialect (number 118, August 1991).  The group formed in Queens, New York in 1987, disbanding in 1992.  "Pop Goes the Weasel" was the only 3rd Bass release to register on the ARIA top 150 singles chart.
Internationally, "Pop Goes the Weasel" peaked at number 64 in the UK in June 1991, number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in August 1991, and number 17 in New Zealand in September 1991. 

"Pop Goes the Weasel" performed better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 88.
The track prominently samples Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" (number 3, June 1986), and lyrically takes aim at the increasing commercialisation of rap music in the early 1990s, with artists such as MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice crossing over into the mainstream.  Henry Rollins portrays Vanilla Ice, lecturing the class, in the music video embedded below.

Number 145 "Gonna Catch You" by Lonnie Gordon
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 22 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks
We last saw American singer Lonnie Gordon in February 1991.  Since then, Lonnie had parted ways with Stock Aitken Waterman, and had teamed up with the team behind Black Box, whose Dreamland album belatedly topped the ARIA albums chart in March 1991, ten months after its release.  Lonnie had also undergone quite a radical makeover, ditching her crimped long dark locks for a short bleached hairstyle more reminiscent of Yazz.  Lonnie has maintained this look ever since, and has commented herself that she looks "like a drag queen" when asked about her popularity with gay audiences.

Overseas, "Gonna Catch You" peaked at number 32 in the UK in May 1991, number 27 in the Netherlands in August 1991, number 37 in France in September 1991, and number 79 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in September 1991.
Within Australia, "Gonna Catch You" was most popular in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 115 on the state chart.
Lonnie's pairing with Black Box really was a match made in heaven, with Lonnie providing actual diva vocals, and, combined with her palatable image, there was no need to hire French models to lip sync.  Why "Gonna Catch You" was not a huge commercial success, I do not know.  A lack of promotion was one factor for the single failing to take off in Australia - I only knew of its release when seeing the cassingle in the shops.  I finally heard part of the song when it was used as background music on the Sophie Lee-hosted What's Up Doc? when leading to a commercial break.  I recognised the voice and then it clicked that it was Lonnie's new single.

"Gonna Catch You" also appeared on the soundtrack for Vanilla Ice's flop movie Cool As Ice.
"Gonna Catch You" eventually appeared on Lonnie's second - and final to date - studio album Bad Mood, which was released in 1993, but does not appear to have been issued locally.  Bad Mood also contained a new remix of Lonnie's 1990 hit "Happenin' All Over Again" (number 33, August 1990), for which a new video was filmed to promote the single's 1993 release in North America.  Comparing both videos, you would not think it was the same person singing, as Lonnie looks so different in both of them.
Lonnie will visit us again in 1996.

Number 150 "Come Alive" by Orchestra JB
Peak: number 150
Peak date: 22 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
One reason I write these chart recaps is that it forces me to listen to music that I would otherwise not hear, which occasionally leads to me discovering some gems.  This is one of them - or so I think.

Orchestra JB was an alias of British DJ and musician Jimmy Brown.  For this track, Lydia Steinman provides vocals - though I am not sure if she both sings the chorus and performs the spoken verses, as they sound like different voices to me.
Oddly, "Come Alive" does not appear to have charted anywhere else.  I had never heard of the song until getting hold of these charts.  It is one of my favourite discoveries from the 101-150 section of the ARIA chart.

"Come Alive" is lifted from the only Orchestra JB album Tambourine Fever.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 186 "Rubberbandman" by Yello
Peak: number 156
Peak date: 12 August 1991
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks

We last saw Swiss duo Yello in July 1989.  "Rubberbandman" was the lead single from the pair's seventh studio album Baby (number 73, August 1991).
Internationally, "Rubberbandman" peaked at number 58 in the UK in June 1991, number 9 in Switzerland in July 1991, and number 29 in Germany in 1991.
Domestically, "Rubberbandman" performed strongest on the Western Australia state chart, where it reached number 135.
Coincidentally, Yello's 1980 debut album Solid Pleasure, which did not chart anywhere else, spent a solitary week on the ARIA albums chart at number 146 this week in 1991, with Baby debuting at number 134 above it.

I first heard "Rubberbandman" in the early 2010s when it popped up on a UK monthly promo VHS compilation I was digitising, The Video Pool.  I actually laughed when I first heard the track/saw the video, due to the way Yello singer (if he can be called that) Dieter Meier said the lyrics, "Do I know why I'm in love with you?", with characteristic weird vocal effects; but I like the song.

Yello would not grace the ARIA singles chart again until the end of 1995.  In the interim, they had another two charting albums in Australia: the compilation Essential (number 148, December 1992), and their eighth studio album Zebra (number 197, January 1995), which spawned no charting singles here.

Next week (29 July): Five top 150 debuts plus one bubbling WAY down under entry.

< Previous week: 15 July 1991                                       Next week: 29 July 1991 >

1 comment:

  1. I saw Degenerates at the Old Lion Hotel in Adelaide in 1991. Also on the bill were Baby Animals and Screaming Jets


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