02 September 2022

Week commencing 2 September 1991

Two of the four new top 150 entries from this week in 1991 had recurring top 150 chart runs, and all four are from artists we have not encountered before.  Shall we take a look?
Blur: there was no way into the ARIA top 100 for them until 1994.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 115 "7 Ways to Love" by Cola Boy
Peak: number 115
Peak date: 2 September 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Cola Boy were English duo Janey Lee Grace and Andrew Midgley.  Andrew had worked with the two male members of Saint Etienne in the late 1980s, and "7 Ways to Love" was originally recorded with Saint Etienne vocalist Sarah Cracknell singing lead on its white label release.  However, as Sarah's contract with another label stipulated that she was not to sing on non-Saint Etienne releases, the track was re-recorded with her friend Janey for its commercial release.  Continuing the Saint Etienne connection, Cola Boy were managed by Sarah's mother.
Internationally, "7 Ways to Love" peaked at number 8 in the UK in July 1991, number 7 in Ireland in July 1991, number 40 in the Netherlands in August 1991, number 16 in Switzerland in September 1991, and number 31 in the Flanders region of Belgium in September 1991.

I don't recall hearing "7 Ways to Love" at the time, although it has a riff which is very similar to a song we'll see in 1995.
An interesting Top of the Pops performance of this track displays Janey showing off her mean glockenspiel (no, that's not a xylophone) skills during the instrumental break in the middle of the song.

Cola Boy released a second single in Europe, "He Is Cola", but it missed the UK top 75.  "He Is Cola" was not issued in Australia.
While we won't see Cola Boy again, Saint Etienne will make their debut on the ARIA singles chart in October 1991.

Number 123 "Pandora's Box" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (1st pressing)
Peak: number 123 (original release)
Peak date: 2 September 1991 (original release)
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks (September-October 1991 chart run); 22 weeks (September-October 1991 and December 1991-March 1992 chart runs combined)
Weeks on chart: 24 weeks
This single peaked at number 53 on 13 January 1992 following its second release.
English electronic band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - OMD for short - formed in Wirral in 1978.  Prior to this point in 1991, the band had placed 11 singles on the Australian chart, dating back to "Enola Gay" (number 47, May 1981) in 1981.  OMD's biggest hit in Australia was "If You Leave" (number 15, August 1986).
By 1991, OMD's lead singer and front man Andy McCluskey was the only original member left in the band, and the only one from their most commercially-successful period in the mid-1980s who remained.
OMD's eighth studio album Sugar Tax (number 96, July 1991) was the band's first studio release since The Pacific Age (number 36, February 1987) in 1986.  In the interim, the compilation album The Best of OMD (number 42, April 1988) was released.  "Pandora's Box" was the second single from Sugar Tax, following "Sailing on the Seven Seas" (number 77, June 1991).
Interestingly, "Sailing on the Seven Seas" was much bigger in Western Australia than elsewhere in Australia, peaking at number 5 on the Western Australia state chart.  In contrast, the highest "Sailing on the Seven Seas" reached on any of the other state charts was number 70 in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory.  It was similar for the Sugar Tax album, which peaked at number 28 in Western Australia, but missed the top 100 on the remaining four state charts.
"Pandora's Box" was initially issued in Australia as a CD single with three remixes of the title track, and the B-side "All She Wants Is Everything".  It is this release that charted in September-October 1991, spending 8 weeks in the top 150.   A second pressing of the single, containing three previous hits - "If You Leave", "We Love You" (number 18, February 1987), and "Locomotion" (number 30, September 1984) - effectively a mini-Greatest Hits, was released in Australia in December 1991.
The second pressing of the "Pandora's Box" single was marketed with 'includes bonus hits' and 'over 23 minutes of music' on the front cover.  This marketing tactic seemed to work, and the single re-entered the top 150 in December 1991, climbing to a peak of number 53 the following month.  Whether people bought the re-packaged single for "Pandora's Box" or the three older hits... we just don't know.

On the ARIA state charts, "Pandora's Box" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 33.  The single peaked in 1992 in all states except Western Australia, where it reached number 48 in September 1991 upon the single's original release.
Internationally, "Pandora's Box" peaked at number 7 in the UK in July 1991, number 19 in Ireland in August 1991, number 11 in Germany in September 1991, number 7 in Sweden in September 1991, number 17 in the Flanders region of Belgium in October 1991, number 7 in Austria in November 1991, and number 49 in France in February 1992.
OMD will next join us in 1993.
Number 133 "How Can I Ease the Pain" by Lisa Fischer
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 7 October 1991
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks
American singer-songwriter Lisa Fischer started her recording career as a backing singer, working with artists such as Billy Ocean, Luther Vandross, and Chaka Khan.  She also released the single "On the Upside", under the stage name of Xēna, in 1984.
"How Can I Ease the Pain" was the lead single from Lisa's debut - and only, to date - album So Intense, which was released in Australia in July 1991, but missed the top 150.  "How Can I Ease the Pain" was released in Australia on 8 July 1991, taking almost two months to dent the top 150.
In Lisa's native US, "How Can I Ease the Pain" peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1991.  The single also topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for two weeks, in June 1991, for what that is worth.

I must have heard "How Can I Ease the Pain" on American Top 40 in 1991, but have no recollection of it.  I'm not a huge fan of slow R&B jams such as this - they generally tend to bore me.
Lisa released a second single in Australia, "Save Me", in October 1991, but it missed the top 150.

Number 146 "There's No Other Way" by Blur
Peak: number 113
Peak date: 9 September 1991
Weeks in top 150: 16 weeks
Weeks on chart: 25 weeks
The first thing that springs to mind when I think of Blur's "There's No Other Way" is lead singer Damon Albarn's bowl haircut in the music video.  The song was the English band's first release in Australia, although it was the second in their homeland, following "She's So High"/"I Know" in 1990.  Both singles were lifted from Blur's debut album Leisure (number 142, April 1992).
Blur would have to wait until 1994 for their commercial breakthrough in Australia, when "Girls & Boys" peaked at number 19 in June 1994.  In the interim, the band placed four singles on the Australian chart that peaked outside the top 100, and we shall see those over the next few years.

"There's No Other Way" had an interesting chart run in Australia, with its top 150 run split into four separate parts - none lasting longer than 5 weeks consecutively - over the span of eight months.  The single was still charting in May 1992, almost a year after its Australian release date on 1 July 1991.

On the state charts, "There's No Other Way" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 85.  The single peaked in September 1991 on all state charts except Victoria/Tasmania, where it did not peak until March 1992, reaching number 88.  The late Victoria/Tasmania peak resulted in the single re-entering the national top 150 in February 1992, climbing back up to number 120.
In an interesting discrepancy between ARIA and the Australian Music Report, "There's No Other Way" peaked at number 55 on the latter's single chart - 58 places higher than ARIA, although did not enter the AMR top 100 until April 1992.

Internationally, "There's No Other Way" peaked at number 8 in the UK in May 1991, number 19 in Ireland in May 1991, and number 82 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1992.

I've got a feeling I caught the "There's No Other Way" music video on rage in 1991, but was not consciously aware of Blur until 1994.

We will next see Blur in 1992.

Next week (9 September): Six top 150 debuts and two bubbling WAY down under entries.
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1 comment:

  1. "There's No Other Way" seems to get regular use in the background music for the cooking segments on Better Homes & Gardens.
    (Don't ask.)


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