Wednesday, 28 January 2015

This Week In 1990: January 28, 1990

What an odd collection of songs we have to talk about this week! Some pop, some dance, some Aussie rock and the debut of an artist who blended a whole range of genres.

Dreads, nose ring, celeb wife... there was no cooler rock star than Lenny Kravitz in 1990

But then, that was what was happening on the ARIA singles chart in 1990 - the floodgates had been opened and all sorts of music that never would have got anywhere near the top 50 in the past was finally making its presence felt.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending January 28, 1990

The B-52's continued to - yep, you guessed it - make their presence felt at number 1 this week in 1990 as "Love Shack" was once again the most popular song in the land.

Off The Chart
Number 95 "Scandalous!" by Prince
Peak: number 95
Another single from Batman, and one without much of a discernible melody and featuring a little too much screeching for my liking. It was also released as an EP, The Scandalous Sex Suite, featuring the film's star Kim Basinger.

New Entries
Number 49 "More Than You Know" by Martika
Peak: number 32
"Toy Soldiers" and "I Feel The Earth Move" had been so massive that a re-release of Martika's breakthrough US hit would be just as big, right? Wrong. Bringing her top 10 run to an end, "More Than You Know" did perform better than on its original release in 1989, but was still a bit of a disappointment - especially for me, since I'd bought this song just as "Toy Soldiers" was taking off and had waited patiently for it to hit the chart locally. A number 32 peak was somewhat of an anticlimax. 

Number 38 "Let The Night Roll On" by The Angels
Peak: number 17
1990 would turn out to be one of the most successful years in The Angels' lengthy career, with the band scoring their very first number 1 album, Beyond Salvation, in June. "Let The Night Roll On" was the lead single from the album - but both it and a version of Beyond Salvation had already been released overseas in 1989 under the name the band adopted internationally, The Angels From Angel City. 
Another fun fact I didn't know about The Angels until now is that two former members of the band ended up forming GANGgajang (who scored their first ARIA top 50 hit this week in 1985). Anyway, back to "Let The Night Roll One"... This may well be the first time I've ever listened to this single - and the chorus reminds me a little bit of "Highway To Hell", especially the way the song's title is sung. That's all I've got.

Number 37 "Let Love Rule" by Lenny Kravitz
Peak: number 36
His debut single may not have progressed much further up the ARIA chart but it was early days for Lenny Kravitz, who'd go on to become quite successful throughout the rest of the decade. Accompanied by a video both directed by and featuring his then-wife, former The Cosby Show star Lisa Bonet, "Let Love Rule" had the throwback sound and blend of psychedelic rock, soul and funk for which Lenny would become known firmly in place. Like Australia, I'd take a little while to warm up to his particular brand of music.

Number 30 "Italo House Mix" by Rococo
Peak: number 13
What do you get when you cross Jive Bunny with Black Box? This timely megamix of current dance hits with re-recorded vocals courtesy of twins Elaine and Evelyn (who don't seem to have a surname). Although, I actually wouldn't be surprised if the girls, who clearly subscribed to the Collette school of fashion, didn't actually sing on the record and just appeared in the video. That would have been very on-trend.
"Italo House Mix" is actually a bit of a misnomer, since only three of the seven songs were Italo house tracks - Black Box's "Ride On Time", "Numero Uno" by Starlight (which re-entered the top 50 this week) and "Sueño Latino" by the act of the same name. The other four - "Mantra For A State Of Mind" by S'Express, Lil Louis' "French Kiss", Technotronic's "Pump Up The Jam" and "Warning!" by Adeva - were from different parts of the world and different sub-genres of house. 
Regular readers will know of my disdain for Jive Bunny and the songs they mixed together, but despite the fact that I actually liked most of the tracks utilised in "Italo House Mix", I'd much rather listen to the original versions than this cheap-sounding cash-in.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1990:

Next week: two simultaneous new entries by the same artist - who probably had the Rococo record to thank for her sudden success. Plus, the arrival of the Forbidden Dance. 

Back to: Jan 21, 1990 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 4, 1990


  1. I got hold of an Australian promo VHS in 2007, dated April '89, that had 'More Than You Know' on it. Before then, I wasn't aware that it got a local release preceding 'Toy Soldiers'.

    I liked 'Let Love Rule' at the time, but don't really care much for it now.

    On an earlier (VHS-sourced) copy of the Rococo video I'd uploaded to youtube, someone commented a few years ago that they appeared in it as one of the clubbers. That footage was apparently filmed at a Dance Delirium Party in Sydney... which seems a little odd to me, given that they were a UK act. But since the twins don't really 'appear' in the video, other than stills of them 'dancing', I wonder if the local record company put this video together based on some other footage (perhaps a low budget European video?), as it does share some similarities with the possibly made-for-Australia alternative Black Box 'Ride On Time' video.

    I'd never heard, or even heard of, 'Italo House Mix' until it debuted in the top 50. It seems strange now that two of the original tracks covered in the medley ('Numero Uno' and 'Warning!') hadn't yet entered the top 40 here when this debuted.

    The Rococo girls did sing (or at least convincingly mime) on the next single, 'Inside Out', which was a proper song, and I recently caught them as backing dancers for a French TV performance of Eric and the Good Good Feeling (he looks like the guy from S-Express's 'Hey Music Lover' video) here - . I'm fairly certain that Rococo *don't* actually do the backing vocals on that track (and they don't appear in the music video either). I remember the girls being reviewed in (Oz) Smash Hits and being asked if they were the new Mel & Kim. Clearly they weren't.

  2. I love Prince and loved the Batman soundtrack but 'Scandalous!' was awful for me and surprised it even made the chart.

    The Martika track is very bland and not memorable at all, her worst charting song for me easily.

    Recently acquired a box set of original albums of The Angels and was not surprised how great some of their material was and this single is a pure belter.
    Would've been awesome hearing this in jukeboxes around the country in smoke filled pubs & bars.

    Up until recently I was never the biggest Lenny Kravitz fan, sure he has some great tunes but never wanted to go out of my way to hear his back catalogue.
    Pure genius comes to mind with this period and a better than before thought lead single.

    RoCoCo = BIG PASS

    I'm with Gav, i'd rather hear the originals.

  3. I liked Martika, but aside from her three big hits Toy Soldiers, I Feel The Earth Move and Love...Thy Will Be Done, the only song of hers that I really still listen to is Coloured Kisses from 1992, which is a sweet song. More Than You Know still refuses to lodge into my mind, making it just an ordinary 2-star song.

    Let Love Rule was my first awareness of the awesome dude Lenny Kravitz. He came to greater prominence later in 1991 with the soulful It Ain't Over Til It's Over, which I loved and bought on cassette single.

    Italo House Mix by Rococo was a peculiar mashup of other people's songs sort of like a Swing The Mood for the Euroclubbers generation!