Wednesday, 22 April 2015

This Week In 1990: April 22, 1990

By 1990, it was nothing new for a soap star to try their hand at being a pop star - and quite often the songs that would take them into the ARIA top 10 were also nothing new. Aside from teaming up with Stock Aitken Waterman, cover versions were a great way for a non-songwriting actor to become a chart sensation.

Unlike Jason, Craig wisely chose an acoustic guitar for authentic outdoor strumming

This week in 1990, a star of both Neighbours and Home And Away succeeded with a song that was over three decades old, reaching the top 10 with his remake after having failed to set the charts alight with an original track.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending April 22, 1990

After what seemed like an eternity - but was only eight weeks - Australia had a new number 1 single this week. Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract" toppled "Nothing Compares 2 U" for the first of two weeks at the top.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Water" by Martika
Peak: number 98
She'd started the year with two hits simultaneously in the top 25, but this Latin-tinged fourth single from Martika's self-titled album barely dented the top 100 just a few months later.

Number 94 "This Old Heart Of Mine" by Rod Stewart featuring Ronald Isley
Peak: number 94
Both singers had performed this Motown track previously - Ronald as a member of the song's original performers, The Isley Brothers, and Rod as a 1975 cover version (which peaked in Australia at number 45).

Number 91 "Enjoy The Silence" by Depeche Mode
Peak: number 71
Reaching its peak upon re-entering the chart in September, this brilliant follow-up to "Personal Jesus" took out the BRIT Award for Best Single, hit number 6 in the UK and number 8 in the US. Shame, Australia, shame.

"Hurting Kind (I've Got My Eyes On You)" by Robert Plant
Peak: number 63
I love a chart trend and the solo career of ex-Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant had so far followed this pattern - his first album yielded no top 50 hits in Australia, his second had two ("Big Log" and "In The Mood"), his third contained none, his fourth had two ("Heaven Knows" and "Tall Cool One"). True to form, his fifth album, Manic Nirvana, offered up nothing in the way of top 50 action. I might not have liked the song, but I admired his consistency.

New Entries
Number 44 "Mona" by Craig McLachlan & Check 1-2
Peak: number 3
It'd worked for former cast-mates Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, and so too did reviving a song from the rock'n'roll era do wonders for Craig McLachlan (who had by now left Neighbours and moved on to a role in Home And Away). Originally recorded by Bo Diddley and released as the B-side to his 1957 single "Hey! Bo Diddley", "Mona" catapulted Craig and his two mates into the top 3, after the disappointing performance of their debut single, "Rock The Rock"
Complete with its memorable video, which featured Craig riding around in the back of a ute wearing more clothes than he ever did in either weeknightly soap, "Mona" registered four weeks at its peak of number 3 and ended the year as 1990's highest-selling single by an Australian artist (and 15th biggest single overall). In the UK, "Mona" went one place better, reaching number 2, making Craig the fourth Neighbours star to reach the UK top 20 (a list that also included Stefan Dennis). Speaking of top 20s, Craig never returned to the ARIA one, either with Check 1-2 or as a solo artist.

Number 41 "Save Me" by Fleetwood Mac
Peak: number 41
Three years earlier, Fleetwood Mac made a triumphant return to the charts with Tango In The Night but things didn't go so well with their 1990 follow-up, Behind The Mask - which was also the band's first album without Lindsey Buckingham since 1974's Heroes Are Hard To Find. This lead single, which featured lead vocals from Christine McVie, wasn't that different in feel to songs like "Seven Wonders" and "Everywhere", but the fact that "Save Me didn't find as receptive an audience just goes to show how much music had moved on in three years. Nothing else from Behind The Mask - or any subsequent Fleetwood Mac album - made the singles top 100.

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

Next week: a brand new single from the Queen of Pop charges into the chart, while two megamix acts bomb out with their latest releases.

Back to: Apr 15, 1990 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Apr 29, 1990


  1. Martika's 'Water' was never a favourite of mine; I struggle to make it through the song without switching it off.

    Depeche Mode's chart history in Australia is pretty abysmal considering the quality of singles they released. I remember seeing the 'Enjoy the Silence' video a few times on shows like Countdown Revolution and Video Hits, so despite the presumable lack of radio support, it still received decent exposure... well, if you watched those shows. I bought the 'Violator' album on CD in early '94 just to hear this song again. I'm not aware of a reason why it re-charted (was re-released?) in September 1990 - presumably it wasn't due to a local tour? The ARIA report's Chartifacts entry for its re-release reveals that it re-entered the NSW state chart at #40, so at least it was kind of a hit in the most populous state. I prefer the different intro the song has on the video version; pity they didn't put that on the single.

    I probably kind of liked (but didn't love) it at the time, but 'Mona' is really quite awful, with shocking chorus lyrics (shared with the follow-up single). It hardly seems like the kind of thing the UK would have been lapping up in 1990, so I'm surprised by its #2 peak there.

    The Fleetwood Mac track sounds like it would've had a decent chance of becoming a top 20 hit in 1987, but yes, not in 1990.

    Oh, and I noticed that this is the second time Margaret Urlich's 'Escaping' has appeared as single of the week. Couldn't CBS find something else? Though I guess the main purpose was to alert of the follow-up's pending release.

  2. Pete Waterman once commented that "the public always get it right" when it comes to making a song a hit or not, but examples like "Enjoy The Silence" (a Top 10 hit world wide but a relative failure in Australia) proves that record company support/widespread exposure is essential if something is going to make it. If all it took to have a hit was a good song, we wouldn't have literally thousands of examples of singles that were hugely successful in one territory but completely missed the mark in others.