Wednesday, 30 April 2014

This Week In 1989: April 30, 1989

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.

Every boy band needs a bad boy member - and this week in 1989, the man who set the standard for the likes of Donnie Wahlberg, Robbie Williams and Harry Styles hit the Australian top 50 as a solo performer.

Bobby Brown: earning some of the money that kept him and Whitney off crack

The band that launched him, New Edition, were never as big in Australia as they were back home in the US - their sole top 50 hit here during the '80s was 1983's "Candy Girl" (which peaked at number 10). But, Bobby Brown soon made his presence felt in Australia, bringing with him a brand new genre: new jack swing. He'd even go on to hit number 1 here in a few years' time.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending April 30, 1989

At number 1 this week in 1989 (despite the fact that the date appears to have dropped off the chart), Madonna pushed Fine Young Cannibals aside... again. "Like A Prayer" hit the top for a third week, equally the tally "She Drives Me Crazy" had managed. While FYC were done with the number 1 spot, Madonna wasn't quite finished yet.

Off The Chart
Number 92 "Heartbeat Away" by BB Steal
Peak: number 68
If you think this local rock band sound a little influenced by Def Leppard it may not surprise you to discover their one and only chart appearance was produced by DL's lead guitarist Phil Collen.

Number 91 "Everlasting Love" by Howard Jones
Peak: number 91
It'd been three years since his last album, but not much had changed for the British synthpop star - he still made the US top 20, but Australia and the UK had all but abandoned him, with this lead single from Cross The Line becoming his last solo top 100 appearance.

Number 87 "Let The River Run" by Carly Simon
Peak: number 83
Also charting for a final time under her own steam (although, like Howard Jones, she'd pop up in a featured artist capacity down the track) was the winner of the 1989 Best Original Song Oscar for this Working Girl theme.

Number 82 "Keeping The Dream Alive" by Freiheit
Peak: number 79
I bought the 7" of this Beatles-ish song that was originally recorded in German as "So lang' man Träume noch leben kann" by the band known there as Münchener Freiheit.

Number 81 "Sister Madly" by Crowded House
Peak: number 66
I wonder what might have happened had this jaunty little number - the second best track from Temple Of Low Men - been released following "Better Be Home Soon". I'm guessing it would have made the top 50 at least.

"Downtown '88" by Petula Clark
Peak: number 58
I blame PWL - who had been responsible for a spate of fairly awful remixes of classic tracks like "Reach Out I'll Be There" by Four Tops and "I Want You Back" by The Jackson 5 in the first half of 1988. A generic late-'80s beat was whacked on the original recording and that was that. A similar trick was used to reinvigorate this Grammy Award-winning tune by the British songbird, which had first been released in 1964. Remix duties were handled by Dutch producer Peter Slaghuis (aka Hithouse, who'd been responsible for "Jack To The Sound Of The Underground") and, despite being fairly hideous, the song returned to the UK top 10 for the first time in 24 years.

New Entries
Number 44 "My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown
Peak: number 40
Controversially expelled from New Edition in 1986, Bobby Brown was always going to be a star. At this point in 1989, he'd just turned 20 and was the first member of the boy band to enjoy solo success (something the other five members would also go on to achieve in the subsequent couple of years - albeit three of them together as Bell Biv Devoe).
Still, it took until his second album, Don't Be Cruel, for Bobby to live up to the ambitious title of his debut offering, King Of Stage. "My Prerogative" was the second of five singles lifted from Don't Be Cruel, and as well as becoming his debut Australian top 40 hit, the track topped the Billboard Hot 100 - his only song to do so (although he also featured on Glenn Medeiros' US chart-topper, "She Ain't Worth It", in 1990).
The song finally became a top 10 hit in Australia 15 years later when equally troubled star Britney Spears covered the track for her first best of collection - although nothing beats the original version by Bobby. One of the earliest new jack swing hits, it was produced by Guy's Teddy Riley - the man credited with creating the burgeoning genre, which blended R&B and hip-hop. A huge force in American music, Teddy is best known in Australia thanks to "No Diggity", his mega-hit as part of Blackstreet.

Number 39 "Cry In Shame" by Johnny Diesel & The Injectors
Peak: number 10
The last time we saw these guys, they were hitting the top 50 with their latest single in the same week as 1927 - and it happened again 25 years ago this week. Johnny and band returned with their first rock ballad, "Cry In Shame", and made it three top 10 hits on the trot. The two bands were also competing on the albums chart, with both ...ish and Johnny Diesel & The Injectors firmly ensconced in the top 10, having each peaked at number 3 in previous weeks. We'll pick this back up in a moment...

Number 35 "How'm I Gonna Sleep" by Tim Finn
Peak: number 27
His solo career had got off to a great start, with 1983's Escapade album and cheery hits "Fraction Too Much Friction" and "Made My Day", but six years and two albums later, the former Split Enz star only just crept into the top 30 with this dreary lead single from his self-titled LP. His next move? Joining his younger brother's internationally successful band, Crowded House, for one album. Ouch.

Number 34 "Compulsory Hero" by 1927
Peak: number 14
Right, back to the chart rivalry between the two Aussie bands with pretty boy singers. 1927's latest single was also a ballad, but of course, it wasn't their first slow song to hit the top 50. And although it debuted higher, "Compulsory Hero" (which is about conscription) would end up being overtaken by "Cry In Shame" on the singles chart. On the albums chart, however, 1927 would have the last laugh. This week, ...ish leapt over Johnny Diesel & The Injectors after having spent four weeks stuck one place below. Then, in May, 1927 would settle into the top spot for three weeks. As for Johnny, he'd have to made do with a peak of number 2... behind 1927.

Number 32 "I Only Wanna Be With You" by Samantha Fox
Peak: number 19
Now, this is how to breathe life into a classic track from the '60s - and it's actually produced by PWL's Stock Aitken Waterman, rather than the B-list team they let loose on those other remixes I mentioned earlier. Originally released (as "I Only Want To Be With You") by Dusty Springfield in 1963, the perky pop ditty had last hit the Australian chart in 1980 in a rockier version by Eurythmics precursors The Tourists.
For former topless pin-up girl Sam Fox, it was actually the first time she'd released a cover version. In the cover-happy '80s, she should have been a prime candidate for remakes given she didn't write her own songs - but all of her 10 previous singles had been originals. But, many of those singles hadn't charted very well and "I Only Wanna Be With You" became her first Australian top 50 since 1987's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now". It would also be her final top 50 appearance locally.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:

Next week: speaking of Stock Aitken Waterman, we'll see the arrival of the song they wrote and produced which in some ways was the beginning of the end for the production team. Before then, I'm hoping to have my 2003 countdown ready to roll.

Back to: Apr 23, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 7, 1989


  1. How strange they omitted the date from this chart...

    I liked the '88 remix of 'Downtown'. I remember seeing it in the UK top 10 in Smash Hits some months earlier, but didn't actually hear it until getting the 'Hits Now '89 Volume 2' compilation album. Then I finally caught the video on Video Hits after that.

    I was (pleasantly) shocked when I saw the Sam Fox track on the rage top 50. I expected it would be a flop like her umpteen other singles post 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now'. Shame it would be her last, though TBH, she didn't really release anything that worthy of being a hit after this, other than the 'I Wanna Have Some Fun' single in Oz.

    'Dirty Blvd' back as a breaker again? I wonder what made ARIA choose to list this rather than another single that hadn't yet broken the top 50.

    1. I meant to make some remark above about Sam Fox's later singles and reference the excellently titled "(Hurt Me, Hurt Me) But The Pants Stay On", which should have been a hit for comedy value alone.

    2. Yes, I concede that '(Hurt Me)...' should have been a hit just for the title. It would match the onslaught of 'sex'-themed songs in 1991 too. I remember reading about '(Hurt Me)...' in Smash Hits at the time, but didn't hear it until 2003 when I downloaded it out of curiosity. I was surprised that it sounded very C+C Music Factory-ish.

      One thing I just noticed when looking through the AMR top 100 chart from this week was that Tina Turner's 'What You Get Is What You See' hovers around the 58 to low 60's region for a few weeks around this time in 1989. I wasn't aware that it charted again, and have no idea why.

    3. Don't worry, I have Tina info all ready for when it appears as a breaker in two weeks' time...

    4. ohnoitisnathan: have you heard the remake of "Touch Me" that Sam rerecorded with Gunther in 2004? I love it.

    5. Ha ha, I live for the breakers each week. I don't know what I'm going to do come Jan 1990 when they won't be a surprise anymore (assuming there's none listed that didn't crack the top 100).

      Grant, I was aware of that version/remix of Touch Me, but I hadn't listened to it before. Just watched the vid... it's alright, but I'd like it more if I didn't know the (superior IMO) original.

    6. ' What you get is what you see' was used that year for promoting rugby league which probably caused it to re-enter the charts.

    7. Yep, here's the week it returned as a breaker - and the promo that appeared on TV:

  2. I've never liked any of New Edition's singles but, strangely, 5 of the 6 group members have had massive hits for me. Bobby Brown was first with "Humpin' Around" (my #17 single of 1992), then Bell Biv DeVoe with "Gangsta" (my #20 of 1993) and finally Johnny Gill with "The Floor" (my #9 of 1993).

    Ralph Tresvant is the prom-night dumpster baby. No hits for him. Though, the others were all one-hit wonders for me, except Bobby who had 5 singles that I liked. He was the true star.

    1. I have a soft spot for "Candy Girl", even though their pipsqueak voices are a bit hard to listen to (although I didn't find it as much of a problem with "Iesha" by Another Bad Creation - aka New Edition Mk II). But, my favourite New Edition singles are post Bobby Brown: "If It Isn't Love" and "Can You Stand The Rain".

      I also like multiple songs by BBD, Ralph (c'mon, no love for "Sensitivity"?) and Johnny.

    2. Johnny Gill's 'Rub You the Right Way' is my favourite track with any New Edition link, and 'The Floor' would probably be second. They don't really count, but I liked the Michael Bivins co-written 'Motownphilly' and 'Iesha' a lot too, though yes the high-pitched vocals on the latter are a bit grating.

    3. Mine is "Every Little Step", but I do love "Rub You..." as well - it's my favourite by Johnny.

    4. I remember liking "Iesha" when it came out (I was only 13 years old at the time) but it's horrible to listen to now. "Sensitivity" was a bit ho-hum for me, too formulaic. BBD are actually in "The Best Things in Life Are Free" (my #3 single of 1992) but were generally uncredited and aren't really part of what makes the song so great anyway.

  3. Being a New South Welshman (well ACT) I know why Tina's 'What You Get Is What You See' was hovering around the charts this time, 2 years after its first release, but I'll leave that to Gavin in the next couple of weeks.

    I didn't think about the chart rivalry between 1927 and Johnny Diesel & The Injectors and for some reason I always thought 'Compulsory Hero' went Top 10.

    Re Bobby Brown, my fave track of his would have to be 'On Our Own' from the Ghostbusters II Soundtrack and then a close second 'Good Enough'. I thought 'Humpin' Around' was rubbish, but obviously not, going by the record buying public!

    Re Tim Finn, I liked 'How'm I Gonna Sleep' - it seemed to be a quiet hit and then went away. If it wasn't for the rage Top 50, I would have never discovered it (even though it did end up on the forthcoming 'Hits Of 89 Vol.2' compilation. Wasn't he living in the US at this time and dating some actress?
    BTW - does anyone know what chart position 'Not Even Close' reached on the Aria charts and when? I'm guessing '89/'90 period. I think it was the third single release from the above mentioned self titled album.

    1. The rivalry may entirely be my invention - but it is funny they released singles at exactly the same time. And I'm sure they both would have been very popular in Smash Hits at the time (no doubt to their chagrin).

      I was never a massive fan of "Humpin' Around" - but anything about sex is always bound to do well. I liked "On Our Own" as well, though - a great LA Reid & Babyface track.

      Not sure about "Not Even Close" (would have to check with ARIA since anything outside the top 50 isn't readily available for 1989), but given "Crescendo" spent a single week at number 97 on the AMR in July '89, I'd have to guess that the song title says it all about the ARIA top 100 performance of "Not Even Close".

  4. Thanks, come to think of it, Smash Hits used to do rivalry polls. I remember Kylie v Tiffany (LoL) and I think they did one with 1927 and JD&TI? They were all rated on certain criteria.

  5. I wasn't aware of the Howard Jones song at the time. Someone I've bought numerous music video tapes from in Germany, who has rather detailed eBay listings - including which songs are sampled, what movie the song is from, and even who it sounds like, if appropriate. I saw a tape he listed with this song on it, and he had S (sounds like): Jason Donovan! I actually can hear a vocal similarity between the two on this song, especially during the "wait for it, wait for it, give it some time" lines. Except, obviously, Howard is a (much) better singer.

  6. I’m using your blog too add songs to my Apple Music subscription. So thanks for that. It’s interesting comparing Aus & US charts at the time. Veteran acts like Chicago & Carly Simon are going Top 10 or Top 50 where here the songs are either not charting or flopping. New acts like Martika, Roxette & a certain boy band have been charting for months but haven’t broken through here yet but they will soon. I used to like listening to the US Top 40 knowing songs would be hits here way before school friends. I didn’t like Poison, Motley Crüe etc but I knew off them way before all the rock fans were wearing the t-shirts in the streets of Melbourne.