04 November 2022

Week commencing 4 November 1991

All but two of this week in 1991's eleven new entries debuting and peaking outside the ARIA top 100 are by artists hailing from the UK, which is an unusual occurrence.  Let's take a look at them.
EMF scored an 'unbelievably' low peak in Australia with their latest single.
Top 150 debuts:
Number 110 "You Woke Up My Neighbourhood" by Billy Bragg
Peak: number 107
Peak date: 11 November 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
We last saw English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, born Stephen William Bragg, in March 1989.  Since then, Billy landed his first top 100 single in Australia with "Sexuality" (number 46, September 1991).  Songs with 'sex', or a version thereof, in the title seemed to be big in 1991.
"You Woke Up My Neighbourhood" was the second single lifted from Billy's sixth studio album Don't Try This at Home (number 35, October 1991).
Internationally, "You Woke Up My Neighbourhood" peaked at number 54 in the UK in September 1991.  it also reached number 25 on the meaningless US Billboard Alternative Airplay chart in November 1991.
Billy will next join us in 1996.
Number 136 "No Deeper Meaning" by Culture Beat
Peak: number 126
Peak date: 2 December 1991
Weeks in top 150: 11 weeks
Weeks on chart: 13 weeks
German eurodance act Culture Beat last joined us in June 1991

"No Deeper Meaning" was the fourth and final single released from Culture Beat's debut album Horizon (number 150, August 1991).  It was also their third consecutive single to peak outside the ARIA top 100.
Overseas, "No Deeper Meaning" peaked at number 5 in the Netherlands in October 1991, number 30 in the Flanders region of Belgium in October 1991, and number 19 in Finland.
Within Australia, "No Deeper Meaning" was much more popular in Western Australia than elsewhere, where it reached number 74.  The next-highest state chart peak "No Deeper Meaning" obtained was number 111, in South Australia/Northern Territory. 

If a music video for "No Deeper Meaning" exists, it has not been uploaded to YouTube (and is not in my collection), but you can view a TV performance of the track here.
Culture Beat would finally make their breakthrough in Australia in 1993, when "Mr. Vain" topped the singles chart for one week in October of that year.  A new female singer, Tania Evans, was on board by then, replacing Lana Earl.

Culture Beat followed-up the ARIA platinum-certified "Mr. Vain" with two further gold singles from their second album, the gold-certified Serenity (number 5, March 1994): "Got to Get It" (number 7, December 1993) and "Anything" (number 12, March 1994).
We shall next see Culture Beat in 1996.
Number 138 "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" by Monty Python (1991 release)
Peak: number 119
Peak date: 18 November 1991
Weeks in top 150: 4 weeks
This single peaked at number 9 in Australia in March 1980, spending 14 weeks in the top 100.
Being born in 1978, I was exposed to, and enjoyed, numerous British comedy TV programs growing up, including some that were largely filmed before my time, such as George and Mildred and The Benny Hill ShowMonty Python's Flying Circus, which was originally broadcast between 1969 and 1974, was not one of them, however, and I don't think I had even heard of them until noticing that this track was in the UK top 10 published in the back of the Australian edition of Smash Hits magazine in 1991.  I am pretty sure I caught the video for it once on TV around this time.

"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" started out as the double A-side on the UK 1979 "Life of Brian" single, with Sonia Jones' "Brian" on the A-side.  The latter track was the theme song from Monty Python's Life of Brian movie, in which "Always..." also featured.  Oddly for the UK, who seemed to lap up any old novelty record no matter how bad it was, this single did not chart there.

In continental Europe, North America and Australasia, this single was released with "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" as the A-side, and "Brian" as the B-side.  The original release of this single peaked at number 9 in Australia in March 1980, number 34 in the Netherlands in January 1981, and number 30 in the Flanders region of Belgium in January 1981.  This leads me to believe that Monty Python must have been quite big in Australia in the early 1980s, even though I had never heard of them as a toddler.

In 1991, BBC Radio 1 DJ Simon Mayo started playing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" on his breakfast radio show, known for resurrecting novelty records, which led to its re-release.  The 1991 release of "Always..."  peaked at number 3 in the UK in October 1991, number 1 in Ireland, number 35 in the Flanders region of Belgium in December 1991, number 3 in Germany in December 1991, number 3 in Switzerland in December 1991, number 5 in Norway in December 1991, and number 2 in Austria in February 1992.
Number 142 "Waratah Street" by John Williamson
Peak: number 142
Peak date: 4 November 1991
Weeks in top 150: 3 weeks
Weeks on chart: 4 weeks
We last saw Australian country legend John Williamson in August 1991. 
"Waratah Street" was the second and final single, and almost title track, from John's tenth studio album Waratah St. (number 14, September 1991).
On the state charts, "Waratah Street" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 1992.
John will join us next in 1992. 
Number 147 "What Can You Do for Me" by Utah Saints (1991 release)
Peak: number 143
Peak date: 11 November 1991
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks (in 1991-1992); 14 weeks (1991, 1992 and 1993 chart-runs combined)
Weeks on chart: 29 weeks (1991, 1992 and 1993 chart-runs combined)
This single peaked at number 90 in Australia in April 1993 when re-released, spending a further 8 weeks in the top 150.

Despite their name, Utah Saints hail from North Yorkshire in England rather than the American state of Utah.  "What Can You Do for Me" was their debut release.  Vocally, the track is based on samples from Eurythmics' "There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)" (number 3, August 1985) and Gwen Guthrie's "Ain't Nothin' Goin' on but the Rent" (number 75, November 1986).  The song's title comes from the sample from the Gwen Guthrie track. 
Internationally, "What Can You Do for Me" peaked at number 10 in the UK in September 1991, number 16 in Ireland, and number 35 in Sweden in December 1991.
Utah Saints made their breakthrough in Australia with their next single, "Something Good" (number 10, November 1992), which used vocal samples from Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting" -  a single that bubbled under in Australia in January and February 1986.
Both "What Can You Do for Me" and "Something Good" appear on Utah Saints' debut album Utah Saints (number 111, August 1993).  "Something Good" became a hit again, with Kate's vocals replaced by a sound-a-like singer, in 2008, when "Something Good '08" peaked at number 32 in May of that year.
Following the success of "Something Good", "What Can You Do for Me" was re-released in Australia, reaching a new peak of number 90 in April 1993.  On the state charts, the 1993 release of "What Can You Do for Me" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 49.
There was also a US remix of "What Can You Do for Me", with a new music video filmed to promote its release there.
As if all of these different versions and releases was not enough, "What Can You Do for Me" had a third lease of life on the Australian chart, when the 2012 remix peaked at number 694 in April 2012.
Utah Saints landed a third top 100 single in Australia from their debut album with "Believe in Me" (number 92, August 1993), which prominently sampled The Human League's "Love Action (I Believe in Love)" (number 12, March 1982).
We shall next see Utah Saints in 1995.

Number 150 "Such a Feeling" by Bizarre Inc
Peak: number 150
Peak date: 4 November 1991
Weeks in top 150: 1 week
Weeks on chart: 5 weeks
We last saw English dance act Bizarre Inc in June 1991.  "Such a Feeling" was their second single released in Australia.
"Such a Feeling" peaked at number 13 in the UK in October 1991.
On the ARIA state charts, "Such a Feeling" performed strongest in Western Australia - where this early rave music seemed to do better than the rest of the country, based on the state chart peaks for this and, recently, The Prodigy - reaching number 80 there.
I get this one confused with the similarly-titled "Such a Good Feeling" by Brothers in Rhythm, which was released around the same time, though not in Australia.
We will next see Bizarre Inc in 1992, with one of my favourite tracks of the year.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 159 "Lies" by EMF
Peak: number 159
Peak date: 4 November 1991
Weeks on chart: 2 weeks
One thing I did not know (or had forgotten) about English band EMF is that the band's name is short for Epsom Mad Funkers, which was the name of a New Order fan club.  I had perhaps thought the band's name stood for electromagnetic force.

EMF burst onto the Australian chart in early 1991 with their debut single "Unbelievable" (number 8, April 1991).  Just when it seemed like EMF were going to be the next big thing (a girl in my class at school had EMF written in large letters on her pencil case), their second single, "I Believe" (number 54, July 1991), flopped in Australia, although it did give them a second UK top 10 hit.

EMF's third single "Children" (number 49, September 1991) returned them to the ARIA top 50, if only just.  It looked at this point, to me, like EMF might become one-hit wonders in Australia, and indeed that is what happened.

"Lies", the fourth and final single from the band's debut album Schubert Dip (number 44, June 1991), fared even worse, peaking outside the ARIA top 150.
I am not sure why EMF faltered so quickly on the charts.  I can only guess that it was partly due to the band inhabiting that awkward spot between boy band who appeal to teenage girls (see the aforementioned pencil case example) and credible band who write their own songs and play their own instruments.  Having pin-up looks (well, some of the band did) can be both a blessing and a curse.  The teenage girl fans will move on to someone else six months later, and the 'serious music' fans won't take you seriously because of your appeal to teenyboppers.

Internationally, "Lies" peaked at number 18 in Ireland in August 1991, number 28 in the UK in August 1991, number 99 in Germany in September 1991, and number 18 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in November 1991.  "Lies" was the only EMF single other than "Unbelievable" to register on the Billboard Hot 100.
Within Australia, "Lies" performed strongest in Queensland, where it reached number 133.
EMF split in 1997, though have since had a couple of reunions.  Lead singer James Atkin now works as a school teacher, which seems to be the career of choice for former pop stars.  You can view a video of James teaching on YouTube here.  The band's original bass player, Zac Foley, died in 2002 from a drug overdose, aged 31.

EMF would never trouble the ARIA top 100 again, though we will see them bubble under on a few occasions in the coming years, with the next one being in 1992.

Number 176 "Pet Shop Boys Mega Mix" by Pet Shop Boys
Peak: number 176
Peak date: 4 November 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
We last saw Pet Shop Boys in August 1991.
This single is a bit of an enigma to me - it is not listed in the weekly lists of new release titles for either The ARIA Report or the Australian Music Report, and only Scandinavian pressings (and promotional ones at that) are listed on discogs.com.  Do any Pet Shop Boys fans reading this know about this single's Australian release?  I am guessing that perhaps it was made available on 12" vinyl in DJ-orientated stores.

Anyway, the megamix contains excerpts from the Pet Shop Boys songs "Being Boring" (number 82, February 1991), "So Hard" (number 27, December 1990), "Heart" (number 18, June 1988), "Suburbia" (bubbled under, November 1986), and "It's a Sin" (number 10, August 1987).  They have not been mixed together in a particularly innovative way.

On the state charts, "Pet Shop Boys Mega Mix" performed strongest in Western Australia, where it reached number 137.

We will see Pet Shop Boys again in a mere three weeks' time.

Number 186 "Stay Beautiful" by Manic Street Preachers
Peak: number 186
Peak date: 4 November 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
Welsh band Manic Street Preachers formed in Blackwood in 1986.  While the group released a number of singles independently in the UK between 1988 and 1991, "Stay Beautiful" was their major label debut, and their first Australian release.  The track was also the lead single from Manic Street Preachers' debut album Generation Terrorists (number 182, April 1992).
In the UK, "Stay Beautiful" peaked at number 40 in August 1991, becoming the first of the band's 34 UK top 40 singles to date.
Domestically, "Stay Beautiful" was most popular in Western Australia, where it reached number 151.
I first became aware of Manic Street Preachers when reading about the disappearance, and presumed suicide, of the band's rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards in early 1995, in the British music newspaper N.M.E, which was one of the music publications I graduated to from Smash Hits in the second half of 1994.  The first Manics song I heard, "A Design for Life" (number 50, July 1996), was also their first single to dent the ARIA top 100.

The Manics never really had major chart success in Australia, with only one other top 50 single, "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" (number 49, September 1998).  The band have landed two top 20 albums in Australia, however; although both had relatively brief chart runs.
Manic Street Preachers sort-of scored their biggest hit in Australia as the backing musicians on Kylie Minogue's "Some Kind of Bliss" (number 27, October 1997), during her 'indie' phase. 
At my first ever 'job', standing in an assembly line collating packages for off-campus uni students, I remember a 'colleague' there stating that Manic Street Preachers were her favourite band, when the topic of music came up.  While the job was 'enjoyable' in the sense of getting paid to essentially stand around and talk all day, I declined the offer for more work after 3 days, due to the horrendous paper cuts I'd come home with on my fingers...
We shall next see Manic Street Preachers in 1992.

Number 192 "Crown of Madness" by Dave Stewart and The Spiritual Cowboys
Peak: number 192
Peak date: 4 November 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
We last saw Dave Stewart in January 1991

"Crown of Madness" was released as the lead single from the second Dave Stewart and The Spiritual Cowboys album Honest (number 187, November 1991).  The single peaked at number 96 in the UK (number 84 on the compressed chart) in September 1991; the only other country it charted in.

In Australia, "Crown of Madness" performed strongest in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, where it reached number 162.
Although Dave Stewart and The Spiritual Cowboys' releases were generally flops, Dave would have still been raking in the cash in 1991 from his former band Eurythmics' Greatest Hits compilation, which spent seven weeks at number 1 in Australia in April and May of 1991, and topped the charts in the UK, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
We will next see Dave, on his own, in 1994.

Number 201 "Jacky" by Marc Almond
Peak: number 201
Peak date: 4 November 1991
Weeks on chart: 1 week
We last saw English singer Marc Almond, born Peter Mark Sinclair Almond, in June 1989.
"Jacky" was the lead single from Marc's seventh solo studio album Tenement Symphony, which was released in Australia in November 1991 but did not chart.  The track is a cover version of a 1966 song by Belgian singer-songwrister Jacques Brel.  An English language adaptation was released by Scott Walker in 1967.

Overseas, "Jacky" peaked at number 17 in the UK in October 1991, number 14 in Ireland, number 57 in the Netherlands in October 1991, and number 32 in the Flanders region of Belgium in November 1991.

Domestically, "Jacky" was most popular in Western Australia, where it reached number 169.
At the time of writing, "Jacky" is the earliest single I have an ARIA singles chart peak for outside the top 200.
I hadn't heard "Jackie" before.  Marc's next single, which I have heard before and like, "My Hand over My Heart", was released in Australia in March 1992, but failed to chart.
We will next see Marc in 1992.

Next week (11 November): Four top 150 debuts, and two bubbling WAY down under entries.

< Previous week: 28 October 1991                                 Next week: 11 November 1991 >

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