Wednesday, 18 March 2015

This Week In 1990: March 18, 1990

Guess it would've been too much to expect another week like last week on the ARIA chart. After a flood of new entries into the top 50, only one single debuted this week in 1990. Oh, and three songs re-entered the chart as well. 

D*A*D: the Danish rock band that almost crossed over in Australia

At least the song that did breach the top 50 has some interesting things to say about it, otherwise this might be a very short post. In fact, given it was a double A-side release, there are double the amount of fun facts to mention!

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending March 18, 1990

There was nothing new to report at the top of the ARIA chart this week in 1990 as "Nothing Compares 2 U" kept Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" stuck at number 2 for the second of what would be four weeks. Thank goodness for small mercies.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Heart" by Neneh Cherry
Peak: number 91
The UK went with "Inna City Mama", but Australia (and the US) chose this track as Raw Like Sushi's fourth single. Unfortunately, neither option was very successful in its respective market.

Number 99 "Steady On" by Shawn Colvin
Peak: number 99
It would be six years before she'd crack the ARIA top 50, but in 1990, the American singer/songwriter poked her head into the top 100 with this debut single.

Number 93 "Can't Be Sure" by The Sundays
Peak: number 74
Another act - British indie band The Sundays - that'd finally crack the top 50 at the other end of the decade (in 1997) makes an appearance here with their debut single as well. 

"Girl Nation" by D*A*D
Peak: number 52
Here is one of those chart oddities - an act that does reasonably well in Australia seemingly out of nowhere. Actually, hard rock band D*A*D came from Denmark, and had been called Disneyland After Dark until the House Of Mouse got litigious. What made Australia's sudden interest in the four-piece - who were up to their third album, No Fuel Left For The Pilgrims, by this stage - all the more unusual was that "Girl Nation" was only one of two singles by the band on the top 100 at this point. Both it and "Sleeping The Day Away" (which was sitting at number 77 this week) bounced around the top 100 for months, neither managing to crack the top 50. But, you'll have to wait until July to see "Sleeping..." register as a breaker - and then with a bit of a surprise twist. Hopefully the anticipation won't prove too much!

New Entry
Number 44 "Sweet And Low / Kiss It Better" by Deborah Harry
Peak: number 30
Looked like Deborah Harry was suffering from a severe case of the Belinda Carlisles - that is, not being able to land more than one hit off any of her solo albums. Indeed, 1981's "Backfired" and 1986's "French Kissin' In The USA" had been the sole top 100 entries from their respective albums, KooKoo and Rockbird. Granted, this follow-up to "I Want That Man" did at least sneak into the top 30, but it was nowhere near as big a single (kind of like "I Get Weak" compared to "Heaven Is A Place On Earth"). 
Deborah co-wrote the first half of the double A-side single with Toni C (who'd also penned Whitney Houston's "Love Will Save The Day") and it was remixed for the single release by PWL's Phil Harding, which should've got me excited, but didn't really. On the flip side, "Kiss It Better" was another track from Def, Dumb & Blonde written by two-thirds of Thompson Twins (who, coincidentally, we saw on this week's flashback to 1985).

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

Next week: yet another lip-synced dance track hits the chart in a big way, plus a song from a hotly tipped new Aussie pop/rock band... that didn't quite live up to expectations.

Back to: Mar 11, 1990 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 25, 1990


  1. It really is bizarre in retrospect how poorly the singles from Neneh Cherry's debut album charted here, with even 'Buffalo Stance' (despite just creeping into the top 100 of 1989) stalling at #21. Like the other releases preceding it, I thought 'Heart' deserved much better, and was a better single choice than 'Inna City Mamma' (though to my surprise I recently spotted an Australian pressing of that on discogs... perhaps pressed here for the NZ market where it was released?).

    'Steady On' appeared on the same promo VHS tape I bought for Kakko's 'We Should Be Dancing' video a few years ago. The first I heard of Shawn (unusual name choice for a girl) was 'Sunny Came Home', so I was surprised when I saw a while back that this release managed to creep into the top 100 here. It's a little bit bland, but I like it.

    I think I caught The Sundays' track a few times on TV in 1990, but didn't really pay much attention/couldn't remember how it went (other than the intro) until giving it a proper listen in 1997 when 'Summertime' was out. It seems like the kind of song Triple J would have played if I listened to it back then.

    I preferred 'Sleeping My Day Away' to 'Girl Nation', and am surprised that the latter charted better here initially.

    Not being that well versed in non-musical 'art', I had no idea what the "thanks Andy" near the end of the 'Sweet and Low' video meant until years later. I remember the video wasn't released locally yet (or at least rage didn't play it - Countdown Revolution aired a live version) until this single had spent a couple of weeks in the top 50. And then when I finally saw it thinking it looked a little... cheap, but I guess that's what they were going for with the pop art theme. I think I read on wikipedia a while ago that 'Kiss It Better' was promoted to 'college radio' in the US. Unusually, it doesn't look like this was a double A-side single anywhere else, and 'Kiss It Better' wasn't even a b-side on the UK or US pressings.

  2. PS I was shocked to see 'Back To Life' re-entering the top 50, 6 months later, when watching the top 50 on rage this week in 1990. I remember discussing it with my then-neighbours. Was it because it won a Grammy? If so, how sad again that Australia needed US validation to take notice.

  3. Deborah Harry's "Sweet & Low/Kiss it Better" was an Australia-only double A-side. The B-side everywhere else was album track "Lovelight". For the Australian cassingle/12", an extra album track "Bugeye" (co-written by ex-Blondie band-mate Chris Stein) was added. Remixes for Sweet & Low by both Phil Harding (PWL) and Arthur Baker were released on 2 different 12" and CD singles in the US only, but not in Aus, as far as I'm aware.