Thursday, 8 September 2016

This Week In 1991: September 8, 1991

In yesterday's flashback to 1986, we saw Belinda Carlisle embark on what would turn out to be a successful solo career. But what happens when your solo career flounders and your former group has either disbanded or is on hiatus?

Martin Plaza + James Freud = Beatfish

That was the situation facing two singers from Australian bands in 1991. It'd been some time since either had enjoyed a solo hit single, and so they combined their musical might for a renewed assault on the charts.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending September 8, 1991

Still seeing off all challengers for the number 1 spot this week in 1991 was Bryan Adams, with "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" on top for a seventh week and thereby becoming the longest running chart-topper since The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody". Could he equal Sinéad O'Connor's eight-week spell at number 1

Off The Chart
Number 95 "Dying Young Theme" by Kenny G
Peak: number 95
He'd last been on the top 100 in 1987-88 with two singles from his Duotones album and now the perma-mulletted saxophonist was back with this tune from the Julia Roberts romantic drama.

Number 89 "Pregnant For The Last Time" by Morrissey
Peak: number 71
Here's a performer last seen on the top 50 in 1988 - with debut single "Suedehead". This stand-alone release was Morrissey's ninth single since then and yet another top 50 miss.

Number 85 "Now Is Tomorrow" by Definition Of Sound
Peak: number 85
Following the success of "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" - well, in the UK, anyway - the debut release by dance act Definition Of Sound was given a second outing.

"Don't Treat Me Bad" by FireHouse
Peak: number 57
Just when it seemed that this kind of ultra-commercial hard rock outfit had made way for edgier grunge bands, FireHouse emerged to keep '80s rock alive and well. Actually, just alive. Breakthrough single "Don't Treat Me Bad" was a top 20 hit in the US, but Australia wasn't interested in it or the two Billboard top 10 hits ("Love Of A Lifetime", "When I Look Into Your Eyes") that were still to come.

"Love On A Rooftop" by Desmond Child
Peak: number 55
What do "I Was Made For Lovin' You", "Bad Medicine", "Poison", "How Can We Be Lovers?", "Just Like Jesse James" and "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" all have in common? They were all written or co-written by superstar rock songwriter Desmond Child. But just because you can compose a hit song, it doesn't mean you can record one - as Desmond discovered when he stepped back into the spotlight for the first time in 12 years with his 1991 album, Discipline. As with his 1979 work with his band, Rouge, there were few takers for the album or its lead single, "Love On A Rooftop", which had originally been released by Cher on her Heart Of Stone album. 

New Entries
Number 48 "On My Own" by Craig McLachlan
Peak: number 23
After an initial rush of success with songs like "Mona" and "Amanda", the hits had dried up for Craig McLachlan & Check 1-2, with their final single, "I Almost Felt Like Crying", missing the top 100 completely. But Craig didn't sit around moping. He ditched his band and re-emerged as a solo artist. To hammer home the point, he put out a song called "On My Own" - a Bon Jovi-lite track with a soaring chorus that was easily the best thing he'd ever released. The song returned Craig to the top 30, and probably would've been even more successful if the anti-Neighbours pop stars backlash hadn't been in full swing.

Number 43 "Wheels Of Love" by Beatfish
Peak: number 26
With Models having gone their separate ways and Mental As Anything on an extended break - and, possibly most importantly, James Freud and Martin Plaza's solo careers having run aground, what better time for the two singers to join forces? As Beatfish, the duo traded in Aussie rock to explore an electronic sound, as demonstrated on debut release "Wheels Of Love", and were restored to the top 30 as a result. As we'll see in coming months, the project faltered fairly quickly, but it was nice to see the pair - who, coincidentally, were both one of two lead vocalists in their previous bands - back on the chart.

Number 36 "Shine On" by The Screaming Jets
Peak: number 36
Some more traditional Aussie rock now, although "Shine On" was also a bit of a change of pace for Newcastle's The Screaming Jets. With its laidback cruisy vibe, it was probably never going to be a massive hit - and it actually didn't get any higher than this debut position. "Shine On" brought an end to the promotional campaign for album All For One, which had exited the top 50 the previous week.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1991:

Next week: almost as big follow-ups to two of the biggest hits of the year, plus an act that had yet to miss the top 10 finally fall short.

Back to: Sep 1, 1991 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 15, 1991


  1. I love Definition of Sound's Pass the Vibes which was a minor hit in 1996. Had no idea they were around several years before.

    Also a big fan of both Wheels of Love and On My Own and was sure they'd both hit top 10 but it was not to be. I didn't know until many years later who Beatfish actually were.

  2. I could never stand Kenny G's music... so of course my dad had to get the '93 album and play it around the house a fair bit. I wasn't aware of him yet though, or this track, in '91.

    Morrissey's song titles are among the best, but the music doesn't often live up to them, in my opinion; though his lyrics are often clever. On the sole ARIA top 100 singles chart I've seen (we will ever see?) from 1989, 'Last of the Famous International Playboys' is a new entry at #94, so he had at least one more top 100 'hit' in between this and 'Suedehead'.

    The Firehouse track is one I associate with American Top 40 (and haven't heard since). The US seemed to take longer to transition into the 90s than us or the UK.

    I don't recall the Desmond Child song at all.

    I thought 'On My Own' was unexpectedly good, but Craig was never going to be taken seriously as an artist. Had he not been a soap star turned singer, or responsible for 'Mona' a year earlier, it might have been a big hit.

    Although a decent-enough song, Beatfish was never going to be huge. You can't really transition from being a 'rock' artist to a dance one (or vice versa). My local K-Mart ordered in a stack of copies of their album, which always seemed to be a bad omen.

    I remembered 'Stop the World', but not 'Shine On' at all. It doesn't seem like a likely top 40 hit. The Screaming Jets seemed destined to never score a proper second hit at this point.

    1. Good point re Morrissey. In my jetlag haze I forgot to check his AMR placings for that period - and it seems a handful of his singles made the top 100. Amended!