This week in 1991's new batch of songs peaking outside the ARIA top 100 are an interesting bunch. Among them we have a 'hit single' that wasn't, a song that spent 30 weeks (!) on the chart despite climbing no higher than number 147, and two singles that had two separate chart lives, with slightly different artist credits each time. We also have two artist names beginning with the letter Z. Shall we take a look?
Top 150 debuts:
Number 115 "The Eve of the War" (Ben Liebrand Remix) by Jeff Wayne
Peak: number 112
Peak date: 30 September 1991
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
This single peaked at number 118 on 19 March 1990 and spent 8 weeks in the top 150 then, when credited to Ben Liebrand.
We saw Dutch DJ and remixer Ben Liebrand chart with this track, where he received the sole artist credit, in February 1990. This time, for reasons I cannot ascertain, "The Eve of the War" was credited to Jeff Wayne, with a Ben Liebrand Remix tag, although the song is exactly the same as the previous Ben Liebrand release. The re-release of this track presumably had something to do with the War of the Worlds soundtrack, from which the song is lifted, peaking at number 4 on the ARIA albums chart in September 1991, after originally peaking at number 1 for 7 weeks in October-November 1978. One thing I just learnt is that this soundtrack was number 1 on the Australian charts when I was born.
The Ben Liebrand remix of "The Eve of the War" peaked at number 9 in the Netherlands in June 1989, number 38 in the Flanders region of Belgium in June 1989, number 3 in the UK in December 1989, and number 3 in Ireland.
To me, this mix of "The Eve of the War" sounds very much like Rock Eisteddfod music.
Number 117 "Miles to Go" by Nick Barker and The Reptiles
Peak: number 103
Peak date: 23 September 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Between 1989 and 1991, Australian rock band Nick Barker and The Reptiles placed six singles on the ARIA top 100. Their version of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel's "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" was the only one to dent the top 50, however, reaching number 30 in November 1989.
"Miles to Go" was the third single lifted from Nick and the gang's second studio album After the Show (number 33, April 1991). It followed "Won't Get You Loved" (number 53, April 1991) and "Can't Hold On" (number 84, May 1991).
I don't recall hearing this one before.
We'll next see Nick, solo and credited as just 'Barker' (taking a leaf out of Diesel's book?), in 1994.
Number 126 "Promise Me" by Beverley Craven
Peak: number 117
Peak dates: 23 September 1991 and 30 September 1991
Weeks in top 150: 5 weeks
Sri Lankan-born British singer-songwriter Beverley Craven released her debut album Beverley Craven (number 141, July 1991) in Europe in 1990. Initially, the album was not a success in the UK, but her debut single "Promise Me" became a top 10 hit in the Netherlands (number 7, October 1990) and the Flanders region of Belgium (number 2, November 1990).
After continental European success, "Promise Me" eventually peaked at number 3 in the UK in May 1991, and the album reached number 3 the following month, spending a year on the chart and selling over 600,000 copies. "Promise Me" would also go on to peak at number 6 in France in June 1991.
In Australia, Beverley's chart success was much more subdued, and "Promise Me" would become her only single to dent the ARIA top 150. I don't recall hearing this one at the time, but it could have been a hit if it had radio support (which I am assuming it didn't). "Promise Me" peaked at number 98 on the Australian Music Report singles chart.
"Promise Me" was re-issued in Australia in March 1992, but did not re-enter the top 150. Two other singles, "Memories" (May 1992) and "Holding On" (August 1992), were released locally, but missed the top 150.
Beverley released her last album in 2018, and was also treated for breast cancer in the same year.
Number 137 "Hit Single" by Joe Jackson
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 23 September 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
We last saw English singer-songwriter Joe Jackson in April 1991.
The ironically titled "Hit Single", which only charted in Australia - and outside the top 100 at that - was the second release from Joe's eleventh studio album Laughter & Lust (number 57, September 1991).
While "Hit Single" may not have become a hit, Joe embarked on a tour of Australia in September 1991, prompting his 1990 compilation Stepping Out - The Very Best of Joe Jackson (number 13, September 1991) to re-enter the chart and reach a new peak.
"Hit Single" would be Joe's last single to dent the ARIA top 150.
Number 147 "Senza Una Donna (Without a Woman)" by Zucchero & Paul Young
Peak: number 113
Peak date: 23 September 1991
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
This single peaked at number 42 on 22 June 1992, and spent 17 weeks on the chart, when re-released as a Paul Young single in 1992.
Italian singer-songwriter Adelmo Fornaciari, better known by his stage name Zucchero Fornaciari - or just Zucchero, began his musical career in 1970, after abandoning his studies to become a veterinarian. He was part of several bands before launching a solo career in 1982. We last saw English singer-songwriter Paul Young in February 1991.
"Senza Una Donna", which translates as 'without a woman', was originally recorded solo in Italian for Zucchero's fourth album Blue in 1987. The track was re-recorded with Paul Young in 1990, with additional lyrics in English, and released as a single the following year.
"Senza Una Donna (Without a Woman)" peaked at number 4 in the UK in May 1991, number 2 in Ireland, number 2 in Germany in June 1991, number 2 in the Netherlands in June 1991, number 1 in the Flanders region of Belgium in June 1991, number 1 in Sweden in July 1991, number 1 in Norway, number 2 in Switzerland in July 1991, number 8 in Austria in July 1991, number 2 in France in August 1991, and number 14 in Canada in December 1991.
"Senza Una Donna..." was initially released as a Zucchero single in Australia, with a solo Zucchero track on the B-side. The single crept into the Australian Music Report top 100 singles chart, reaching number 97 for one week in September 1991.
The single was re-issued locally in May 1992 to coincide with Paul Young's promotional visit to Australia to promote his best of compilation album From Time to Time: The Singles Collection (number 6, June 1992). This time, it was treated as a Paul Young release, with two previous Paul Young hits on the CD single: "Everything Must Change" (number 27, February 1985) and "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)" (number 9, September 1983). This mini-Greatest Hits EP, combined with a special $1.95 price for the CD single, enticed enough people to buy "Senza Una Donna (Without a Woman)" for it to reach a much higher peak of number 42, in June 1992.
The re-release of "Senza Una Donna..." also resulted in the Zucchero album peaking at number 141 in July 1992. On the state charts, "Senza Una Donna..." performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 32.
We shall next see Paul Young in October 1991.
Number 149 "Sunshine on a Rainy Day" by Zoë
Peak: number 147
Peak date: 6 January 1992
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
Weeks on chart: 30 weeks
English singer-songwriter Zoë Pollock, known professionally as just Zoë, launched her recording career with "Sunshine on a Rainy Day", a track produced by and co-written with her then-partner Martin Glover (better known as Youth), in 1990. The 1990 version of the track stalled at number 53 in the UK in December 1990.
Following a remix by Mark 'Spike' Stent, "Sunshine on a Rainy Day" was re-released in 1991, together with a new music video (embedded below). The 1991 release peaked at number 4 in the UK in September 1991, number 9 in Ireland, and number 40 in Sweden in November 1991. The track was lifted from Zoë's debut album Scarlet Red and Blue (number 193, May 1992).
In Australia, "Sunshine on a Rainy Day" had quite a protracted chart life for a single that barely crept into the top 150. Debuting at number 161 on 27 May 1991, the single took more than seven months to reach its eventual peak of number 147 in early 1992. Even more unusually, during that time, the single only spent 4 of its 30 weeks on the chart within the top 150, none of which were consecutive.
"Sunshine on a Rainy Day" was most-popular in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 51. The single's staggered chart run was partly due to it peaking at different times on the state charts, reaching its peak in September 1991 in Queensland and South Australia/Northern Territory, December 1991 in Victoria/Tasmania, and January 1992 in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia.
On the Australian Music Report chart, "Sunshine on a Rainy Day" crept into the top 100 in September 1991, peaking at number 93; 54 places higher than its ARIA peak.
Zoë's "Sunshine on a Rainy Day" is one of few singles that have three different music videos filmed for it. There's the original 1990 version, linked in the first paragraph above, the 1991 video linked below, and a third video filmed for the US release in 1992 here. There's also a video for the 12" version released in the US - take your pick!
I am a bit surprised that "Sunshine on a Rainy Day" was not a hit in Australia, as it received some airplay - at least in Melbourne, on the supposedly-voted-for-by-listeners Hot 30 Countdown, which I think was hosted by Ugly Phil at the time.
While Zoë's version of the song was technically not a hit in Australia (although its chart longevity blurs the lines a bit), the song would have a second lease of life when recorded by other artists. Naomi Campbell recorded a version for her 1994 album Babywoman, as did Emma Bunton for her debut solo album A Girl Like Me (number 86, May 2001) in 2001. Christine Anu landed a number 26 hit in Australia with her version of "Sunshine on a Rainy Day" in June 2000.
Zoë will join us again in 1992.
Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 155 "Got It Bad" by Keith Urban
Peak: number 155
Peak date: 9 September 1991
Weeks on chart: 3 weeks
We last saw Keith Urban in June 1991.
Keith's third single "Got It Bad" was the second issued from his debut album Keith Urban (number 98, October 1991). The single performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 108.
Regular readers will know that I am not particularly fond of country music, and "Got It Bad" does not sway me.
Keith will next join us in 1997.
Next week (16 September): Six top 150 debuts and two bubbling WAY down under entries.
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