This week in 1991's debuts outside the ARIA top 100 are skewed towards those peaking outside the top 150, unusually. Let's take a look at them.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 148 "Real Real Real" by Jesus Jones
Peak: number 117
Peak date: 11 November 1991
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks
Weeks on chart: 9 weeks
English band Jesus Jones formed in 1988. While their debut album Liquidizer (number 118, April 1990) yielded no charting singles in Australia, it gave them their first charting release locally.
"Real Real Real" was the first single lifted from the second Jesus Jones album Doubt (number 23, June 1991). Originally released in Australia in April 1990, the single spent a solitary week at number 160 on the ARIA singles chart the following month.
Jesus Jones first came to the attention of most of the Australian record-buying public with the second single from Doubt, "Right Here, Right Now", which peaked at number 35 in July 1991, almost six months after its release. That release was the only Jesus Jones single to dent the ARIA top 50.
Following the third Doubt single "International Bright Young Thing" (number 79, July 1991), "Real Real Real" was re-issued in Australia, climbing to a new peak of number 117.
Internationally, "Real Real Real" peaked at number 19 in the UK in May 1990, where it became the band's first single to dent the top 40 there. It also reached number 37 in New Zealand in October 1991, number 26 in Canada in October 1991, number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in November 1991, and number 59 in the Netherlands in December 1991.
Interestingly, "Real Real Real" was one of only two Jesus Jones singles to register on the US Billboard Hot 100 ("Right Here, Right Now" being the other one), and they both peaked within the top 5.
Domestically, "Real Real Real" was most successful in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 89.
I have a vague recollection of catching the music video for "Real Real Real" on Coca-Cola Power Cuts in 1991.
Jesus Jones will next join us in 1992.
Number 149 "(Hammer Hammer) They Put Me in the Mix" by MC Hammer
Peak: number 149
Peak date: 7 October 1991Weeks in top 150: 1 week
We last saw American rapper MC Hammer in July 1991.
"(Hammer Hammer) They Put Me in the Mix" originally appeared on MC Hammer's 1988 debut album Let's Get It Started, minus the "(Hammer Hammer)" parentheses, and in a different mix to the 1991 single version, containing only sparse vocal samples. I assume the track was remixed and issued as a single in Europe and Australasia in 1991 to generate interest in Hammer's debut album, following the success of his second one Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em (number 5, August 1990) - not that the strategy worked.
"(Hammer Hammer) They Put Me in the Mix" peaked at number 20 in the UK in July 1991, and number 11 in Ireland during the same month.
"(Hammer Hammer)..." was the second MC Hammer single in a row to peak at number 149 in Australia, indicating the fame and popularity he had generated in 1990 and early 1991 was quickly fading. The downward trajectory would continue, with Hammer's (now dropping the MC) next single, "2 Legit 2 Quit" (number 43, January 1992), and album, Too Legit to Quit (number 84, February 1992), underperforming. Hammer's career momentum was momentarily restored with "Addams Groove" (number 12, February 1992), but that became his last ARIA top 100 entry.
I recall seeing the cassette single for "(Hammer Hammer) They Put Me in the Mix" in the shops, but did not hear it at the time. It's not a great song.
"(Hammer Hammer) They Put Me in the Mix" fared much better on the Australian Music Report singles chart, where it reached number 99.
Hammer will join us again in 1994.
Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 156 "One Shot" by Tin Machine
Peak: number 155
Peak date: 14 October 1991Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
British-American group Tin Machine, fronted by David Bowie, formed in 1988. They landed one top 100 single in Australia, with "Under the God" (number 97, July 1989).
"One Shot" was the lead single in Australia from the second, and final, Tin Machine album Tin Machine II (number 139, October 1991). This one missed the top 75 in the UK, and I cannot find evidence of it charting elsewhere (no, the US Billboard Mainstreams Rock Tracks chart does not count).
Within Australia, "One Shot" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 128.
I hadn't heard this one before. While I can appreciate David Bowie's talent and importance in pop music history, I generally don't care that much for his music, bar the occasional track. This isn't one of them.
Another Tin Machine single, "You Belong in Rock N' Roll", was issued in Australia in February 1992, but failed to chart.
We'll next see David Bowie in 1992.
Number 167 "I'll Be There" by Chantoozies
Peak: number 167
Peak date: 7 October 1991Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
Australian pop group Chantoozies formed in 1986 to play cover versions at the 25th birthday party of band member Tottie Goldsmith's - niece of Olivia Newton-John, no less. The band's name was a play on the French word for female singer chanteuse, which is pronounced more like "shoh-tooz" than Chantoozie.
The original line-up for Chantoozies contained four female singers, all of whom had done TV acting work (notably, Ally Fowler, who had landed major roles in the soap operas Sons and Daughters and Neighbours), alongside four men who played the instruments. Among the guys was David Reyne, James Reyne's brother, on drums.
Chantoozies' first two singles were cover versions, "Witch Queen" (number 4, April 1987) and "He's Gonna Step on You Again" (number 36, July 1987). The success of the second single was probably hampered by The Party Boys releasing a cover version of the same track around the same time, which went to number 1 in Australia in July 1987. I remember seeing Chantoozies perform "He's Gonna Step on You Again" on Hey Hey It's Saturday and wondering why they were doing a version of The Party Boys' song, which was currently a hit.
After nearly a year's hiatus, Chantoozies returned with an original track, "Wanna Be Up" (number 6, July 1988), written by two of the band's members - Eve von Bibra and Brett Goldsmith. While it didn't peak quite as high as "Witch Queen", "Wanna Be Up" hovered within and around the top 10 for over two months, and spent more than 20 weeks in the top 50. It is probably Chantoozies' best-remembered hit, and became a staple on the Summer Bay Diner jukebox on Home and Away, to boot. A memorable scene - for me, anyway - was when Ailsa played "Wanna Be Up" on her cassette deck while Bobby's ghost was coming out of the fridge, during the midst of a mental breakdown in 1995 - some seven years after the song's release.
Chantoozies' debut album Chantoozies (number 8, September 1988) achieved similar success to "Wanna Be Up", going platinum. It seemed like the band no longer needed to rely on recording cover versions for hits.
Tottie left the band before the first single from their second album, "Come Back to Me" (number 72, November 1989), was released. Despite being added to the Summer Bay jukebox, "Come Back to Me" did not take off on the charts, and must have resulted in some panic. The male members of Chantoozies split from the band before the belated release of their next single, "Walk On" (number 96, November 1990), which fared even worse on the charts.
Following these commercial disappointments, the pared-down trio remaining in Chantoozies resorted to what worked for them once - release a cover version. Their version of Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With" (number 21, May 1991) gave Chantoozies another hit - though it would become their last. Australian sketch comedy TV program Fast Forward parodied Chantoozies' version of this song as "Sing a 60's Hit" - even though, technically, the original was released in 1970.
The second Chantoozies album Gild the Lily (number 71, April 1991) was released and stalled in the lower half of the ARIA top 100.
Chantoozies then released this cover of The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There", which did not appear on Gild the Lily. I don't recall hearing this one at the time, or even being aware of its release. The single sank without a trace on the chart, but found its greatest success in Queensland, where it reached number 141.
"I'll Be There" would be Chantoozies' final release until 2014, when they released a cover version of Promises' "Baby It's You", which did not chart. Tottie had rejoined the group by this point.
Number 170 "Wintercoat" by Paul Kelly and The Messengers
Peak: number 170
Peak date: 7 October 1991Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
We last saw Paul Kelly and The Messengers in June 1991, and here they are with their fourth consecutive single, and third (of three) release from Comedy (number 12, May 1991) to peak outside the ARIA top 100.
On the state charts, "Wintercoat" performed strongest in Queensland, where it peaked at number 142.
I don't recall hearing this one before. Something about the piano in the verses reminds me of Madness's "Lovestruck" (number 127, September 1999); though that track came later, and it is presumably just a coincidence.
We shall next see Paul and the gang in 1992.
Number 190 "The Dream Is Still Alive" by Wilson Phillips
Peak: number 190
Peak date: 7 October 1991Weeks on chart: 1 week
Squeaky clean American female vocal trio Wilson Phillips last joined us in April 1991. "The Dream Is Still Alive" was the fifth and final single lifted from their debut album Wilson Phillips (number 7, July 1990). It was also the third consecutive single from the band to peak outside the ARIA top 100.
Internationally, "The Dream Is Still Alive" peaked at number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in August 1991, and at number 11 in Canada during the same month.
On the ARIA state charts, "The Dream Is Still Alive" was most successful in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 162.
I don't recall hearing this one before; I must have tuned out of American Top 40 when this was charting. Carnie Wilson gets lead vocal duties on this one, which is a point of difference from the group's previous singles.
Number 200 "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" by Saint Etienne
Peak: number 155
Peak date: 21 October 1991Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
English band Saint Etienne formed in 1990. Originally, the band was conceived as a project to feature different vocalists. They decided, however, to stick with singer Sarah Cracknell after recording "Nothing Can Stop Us" (released in Australia in August 1991, did not chart) - a track later covered by Kylie Minogue - for their debut album Foxbase Alpha (number 783, February 2017). We saw Cola Boy, an act tangentially related to Saint Etienne, in September 1991.
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart", a song originally recorded by Neil Young in 1970, featured vocals by Moira Lambert, and was Saint Etienne's first release. Moira refused to appear in the music video, however, and so the original video for the song featured Lucy Gillie from the band Golden lip-syncing the song's lyrics.
The single initially stalled at number 95 in the UK in July 1990, before climbing to number 39 in September 1991 when re-released. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" also peaked at number 97 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in March 1992. The second issue of the single was promoted with a new music video, embedded below, showing Sarah Cracknell miming to Moira's vocals.
Domestically, "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" performed strongest on the Western Australia state chart, where it reached number 116.
I first became aware of Saint Etienne when seeing the lyrics to "I Was Born on Christmas Day" published in a UK edition of Smash Hits I picked up at the airport in Hong Kong to read on the plane, on a flight home in January 1994. I didn't hear any of their music, however, until catching the music video for "The Bad Photographer", which we'll see in 1998, on rage as a new release. In other words, the band received virtually zero promotion in Australia, and sadly never landed a hit here.
We won't see Saint Etienne again until 1998, but, before then, two of their albums troubled the lower region of the ARIA albums chart: So Tough (number 175, April 1993) and Tiger Bay (number 178, August 1994).
Two of my favourite Saint Etienne singles that I won't get to write about are "Who Do You Think You Are" (released in 1993) and "I've Got Your Music" (released in 2012) - I recommend checking these out if you've not heard them before.
Number 202 "Dream Girl" by Definition of Sound
Peak: number 178
Peak date: 21 October 1991Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
London-based duo Kevin Clark and Don Weekes first recorded together as Top Billin in 1988, before changing their name to Definition of Sound in 1990. Their debut Australian single, "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" (number 77, June 1991), dented the ARIA top 100, as did the follow-up, "Now Is Tomorrow" (number 85, September 1991).
"Dream Girl" was the third track released from the first Definition of Sound album Love and Life (number 97, August 1991) in Australia. The single missed the top 75 in the UK and did not chart anywhere else.
At the time of writing, "Dream Girl"'s debut position is the earliest ARIA singles chart position I have below number 200.
On the ARIA state charts, "Dream Girl" peaked highest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 148.
I heard most of the Definition of Sound singles at the time, but not this one. The band would not break through in Australia until 1996, when "Pass the Vibes" (number 36, March 1996) crept into the lower region of the top 40.
We shall see Definition of Sound bubble under on numerous occasions over the coming years, with the next one being in 1992.
Next week (14 October): Eight top 150 debuts and two bubbling WAY down under entries. Also, keep your eyes peeled for my 1982 posts returning after a hiatus on Tuesday next week (11 October).
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