08 July 2022

Week commencing 8 July 1991

Only two of the artists debuting and peaking outside the ARIA top 100 this week in 1991 we have seen before.  Before we take a look at them, I have updated some earlier posts with the following:
  • 6 March 1989 - a new bubbling WAY down under entry from Schnell Fenster;
  • 25 June 1990 - a new bubbling WAY down under entry from Peter Wolf;
  • 29 October 1990 - a new bubbling WAY down under entry from John Williamson.
Chris Isaak: dancin' just outside the ARIA top 150.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 135 "Sugar Daddy" by Mighty Big Crime
Peak: number 135
Peak date: 8 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
We last saw Melbourne hip-hop duo Mighty Big Crime in October 1990 - although no video or audio was available for that track, and that continues to be the case.  This time, however, someone has thankfully uploaded the music video to YouTube.

"Sugar Daddy" was Mighty Big Crime's fifth and final single, and their second ARIA top 150 entry.  I remember hearing this one at the time, but could not remember how the song went.
Mighty Big Crime roped in a few new 'hot' female members - Sophie Lee notably among them - and rebranded themselves as Freaked Out Flower Children later in 1991.  They landed a top 40 hit with their version of Eric Burdon & War's "Spill the Wine" (number 31, February 1992).

We will see Freaked Out Flower Children bubble under in 1992.
Number 142 "Power of Love/Love Power" by Luther Vandross
Peak: number 109
Peak date: 12 August 1991
Weeks in top 150: 9 weeks
Weeks on chart: 13 weeks
Despite having notched up a decade of charting singles and albums in his native US at this point, smooth-voiced American singer Luther Vandross had not yet made any major impact in Australia, with "Power of Love/Love Power" (which is one song and not a double A-side) being his first single to chart down under.  Luther had earlier placed an album on the ARIA chart, however, with his sixth studio album Any Love peaking at number 103 in April 1989, despite there being no charting singles from it.

"Power of Love/Love Power" was the lead single from Luther's seventh studio album Power of Love (number 110, July 1991).  Internationally, the single peaked at number 46 in the UK in May 1991, number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in June 1991, and number 45 in New Zealand in August 1991.
Within Australia, "Power of Love/Love Power" was most popular in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 86.
I don't recall hearing this one at the time, though probably caught it on the American Top 40 radio show.  I first became aware of Luther via hearing "Here and Now" on American Top 40 in early 1990.
Luther would finally land a major hit in Australia with his duet with Janet Jackson, "The Best Things in Life Are Free", which spent five weeks at number 2 in October and November 1992, becoming the sixth highest-selling single of 1992 in Australia.  Luther's only other ARIA top 50 single "Endless Love" (number 2, September 1994), coincidentally, was another duet, this time with Mariah Carey, and also peaked at number 2.

Luther passed away in 2005, aged 54, following a heart attack.  Just over two years earlier, Luther had a major stroke, which affected his mobility and his ability to both speak and sing.

We will next see Luther in 1993.

Number 144 "Light My Fire" by The Doors (1991 release)
Peak: number 130
Peak date: 15 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
American rock band The Doors formed in Los Angeles in 1965.  Front man Jim Morrison died unexpectedly in Paris in 1971, aged 27, in uncertain circumstances (French law did not require an autopsy to be conducted) - though drugs and/or alcohol were probably involved.  The band continued, however, until 1973, reforming for another album in 1978.

"Light My Fire" was recorded in August 1966, and was released on the band's debut album The Doors in January 1967.  The track was issued as the second single from the album a few months later.  "Light My Fire" reached number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in July 1967, spending three weeks at the summit.  "Light My Fire" also peaked at number 2 in Canada, number 49 in the UK in August 1967, and number 16 in Australia in September 1967.

The Doors, a biographical film directed by Oliver Stone, premiered in March 1991, with Val Kilmer playing the role of Jim Morrison.  The Doors soundtrack album (number 11, June 1991), consisting largely of Doors' songs, was promoted by a re-issue of the band's debut single "Break on Through (To the Other Side)", which reached number 97 on the ARIA singles chart in June 1991.

"Light My Fire" was re-released as the second single from The Doors soundtrack.  The 1991 issue of the single peaked at number 7 in the UK in June 1991, number 1 in Ireland, number 27 in the Netherlands in July 1991, and number 41 in the Flanders region of Belgium in July 1991.

We will see The Doors again in 1993.

Number 145 "Johnny's Gone" by Catfish
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 29 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
We saw Australian band Catfish, fronted by Don Walker from Cold Chisel, back in March 1989.
"Johnny's Gone" was the lead single from the second, and final, Catfish album Ruby (number 98, September 1991).

A second single from Ruby, "Crooked Smile", was released in November 1991, but missed the ARIA top 150.
If you can't make it through one of Richard Wilkins' inane interviews, skip to 1:09 in the video embedded below.  Alternatively, you can listen to the song (without the music video visuals) here.

Number 147 "Save Some Love" by Keedy
Peak: number 145
Peak date: 15 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 2 weeks
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks
American freestyle singer Keedy, who uses her surname as her stage name (her first name is Kelly Ann), launched her recording career with this track, which was the lead single from her only album Chase the Clouds (released in Australia in July 1991, did not chart).  "Save Some Love" was co-produced by Michael Jay, who produced Martika's debut album Martika (number 2, January 1990).
"Save Some Love" reached number 15 in the US.  Within Australia, "Save Some Love" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 117.

I probably heard "Save Some Love" on the American Top 40 radio show at the time, but have no recollection of it.  The song and video capture that early 90s look/sound so well.  I think this would have been a bigger hit locally if it had a promotional tie-in with Blossom, Beverly Hills 90210, Baywatch or a similar American program from this era that appealed to teens and young adults.  "Save Some Love" is my favourite track among this week's debuts.
Keedy's second single, the Diane Warren-penned "Wishing on the Same Star" (released in Australia in August 1991, did not chart), peaked at number 86 in the US in August 1991.  Australian girl group Girlfriend released a cover version of "Wishing on the Same Star", which peaked at number 44 on the ARIA singles chart in January 1994. 

"Save Some Love" was Keedy's only release to chart in Australia.
Number 148 "Place with No Love" by Choirboys
Peak: number 110
Peak date: 29 July 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Sydney pub rock band Choirboys (no 'The') formed in 1979.  They would have to wait until 1983 for their first taste of chart success, with "Never Gonna Die" peaking at number 30 on the Kent Music Report singles chart in August 1983.  Their biggest hit was, of course, "Run to Paradise" (number 3, November 1987).  The band placed seven singles on the top 100 between 1983 and 1991.

"Place with No Love" was the third and final single lifted from Choirboys' third studio album Midnight Sun (number 30, May 1991).  It followed "Empire" (number 65, December 1989) [re-titled "Our Empire Falls" on the album] and "Rendezvous" (number 40, April 1991).

I don't recall hearing this one before.  It would become the band's last release of new material to make the ARIA top 150, although a Nick Skitz remix of "Run to Paradise" (which I hadn't heard before and am kind of awestruck at how awful it is) would reach number 16 in July 2004.

Choirboys drummer Lindsay Tebbutt died in December 2021, following an illness with mesothelioma.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 162 "Dancin'" by Chris Isaak (1991 release)
Peak: number 151
Peak date: 15 July 1991
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks 
This single originally peaked at number 46 on 12 May 1986, and spent 14 weeks in the top 100.
American singer and occasional actor Chris Isaak made his understated Australian chart debut in 1986 with his first single "Dancin'", which reached number 46 in May of that year.  The track is lifted from Chris' debut album Silvertone (number 77, June 1986).  As I was 7 years old for most of 1986 and not yet properly into music and charts, I was not aware of "Dancin'"'s first Australian release.

Chris landed his first proper Australian hit with "Wicked Game" (number 15, April 1991), which appeared on his third album Heart Shaped World (number 117, August 1989).  "Wicked Game" was featured in the 1990 David Lynch film Wild at Heart.  While the single was released in Australia in early November 1990, it did not enter the chart until mid-January 1991, climbing into the top 50 in March.  I am guessing the single's belated success was due to there being renewed interest in all things related to David Lynch, following the success of his Twin Peaks TV series.

"Blue Hotel" (number 23, May 1991), which originally appeared on Chris' second album Chris Isaak (number 148, August 1999) released in 1987, was re-issued as a follow-up to "Wicked Game".  "Blue Hotel" had originally been released in Australia as a single in July 1987, but failed to chart.  Both tracks were lifted from the compilation album Wicked Game (number 8, May 1991), containing a mixture of tracks from Chris' first three albums.  The Wicked Game compilation was released only in Europe and Australasia, as a way of introducing Chris' new fans to his body of work.
"Dancin'" was released as the third single from Wicked Game.  It did not repeat the success of the previous two singles, stalling just outside the ARIA top 150.

Internationally, the 1991 re-release of "Dancin'" peaked at number 100 in the UK in April 1991, number 29 in Ireland in April 1991, and number 64 in the Netherlands in July 1991.
Domestically, the 1991 issue of "Dancin'" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 139.

We shall next see Chris in 1993.

Number 164 "Gotta Have You" by Stevie Wonder
Peak: number 164
Peak: 8 July 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Stevie Wonder needs no introduction.  During the 1970s and 1980s, Stevie placed 26 singles on the Australian top 100, with "I Just Called to Say I Love You" reaching number 1 for eight weeks between October and December 1984.  Stevie's last big solo (not duet or a featured artist) song in Australia was "Part Time Lover" (number 3, October 1985).

"Gotta Have You" was recorded for the Jungle Fever soundtrack (number 109, July 1991), which was also a Stevie Wonder album.  The single peaked at number 92 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in July 1991.

Within Australia, "Gotta Have You" was most popular in Queensland, where it reached number 143.

I don't recall hearing this track before.  It somehow seems a bit jarring hearing Stevie singing over an early 90s r&b sound.

Stevie will next join us in 1995.

Number 185 "Place in This World" by Michael W. Smith
Peak: number 184
Peak date: 12 August 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Michael W. Smith - the W. stands for Whitaker (I think he was wise to use an initial instead) - is an American artist whom I knew nothing about prior to writing this post.  I was watching the music video embedded below as I wrote this, and my first thought, before I consulted Wikipedia, is that "this sounds a bit like a male Amy Grant."  Lo and behold, Amy actually co-wrote this track with Michael W. and Wayne Kikpatrick.  Like Amy, Michael W. dabbled in both 'contemporary Christian' music and the mainstream charts (in the US).  Michael has been releasing music since 1983.
"Place in This World" was issued as the second single (the first in Australia) from Michael W.'s sixth studio album Go West Young Man (released in Australia in July 1991, did not chart).  The single reached number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in July 1991, becoming his biggest 'pop' hit there.
Within Australia, "Place in This World" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 165.

Like Keedy and Luther Vandross above, I don't recall hearing this one at the time, despite being a casual listener of American Top 40.  Perhaps I tuned out for a couple of months?

Michael W. never landed a top 100 single or album in Australia, and did not have a charting album here until 1998.  We will see him again in December 1991.

Next week (15 July): Three top 150 debuts and four bubbling WAY down under entries.  Among them is, surprisingly, a single from one of the biggest artists in the world in 1991.
< Previous week: 1 July 1991                                      Next week: 15 July 1991 >

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