This Week In 1990: October 14, 1990
Just when I was beginning to despair at the state of the ARIA chart, things took a turn for the better this week in 1990. After a shocking run of new entries in recent weeks, two of the year's most exciting acts debuted with songs that injected some much needed fun into the top 50.
One was a retro-flavoured dance track from a kooky trio, while the other was a punchy rap tune from a cartoonish female MC. Even the week's highest debut, which was a song I hated, at least added a splash of colour back to the chart after weeks of dreary rock songs.
Speaking of... "Blaze Of Glory" was really starting to get on my nerves, registering its fifth week at number 1 for Jon Bon Jovi. But even though this week's new entries included two future chart-toppers, it was an existing chart hit that'd been patiently biding its time that would end up dethroning the Young Guns II single in a couple of weeks' time.
Off The Chart
Number 92 "People" by Soul II Soul
Peak: number 90
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 103
How quickly things change! Just five months earlier, soapie heartthrob-turned-rock star Craig McLachlan was riding high at number 3 on the ARIA chart with his band's version of "Mona". Two singles later and "I Almost Felt Like Crying" peaked exactly 100 places lower. So what happened? Was he wearing too many clothes in the music video? It's not like he wasn't popular — he'd won the Gold Logie earlier in 1990 and was still appearing in Home And Away as Grant Mitchell (no relation to his Neighbours character, Henry Mitchell). And this song was a much better single than "Amanda". But, Craig was seemingly suffering from the backlash that'd faced former co-star Jason Donovan as he got further into his music career. A major rethink was needed — and fast!
Peak: number 55
As we've previously seen, Aerosmith didn't score their first Australian top 50 hit until 1989's "Love In An Elevator" — and so the band had a huge back catalogue just waiting to be exploited locally, especially in the wake of the Pump Tour reaching our shores at the end of September. This neatly timed Australian tour souvenir EP included four tracks from the band's 1970s output — "Walk This Way", "Dream On", "Sweet Emotion" and "Back In The Saddle", none of which had charted higher than number 72 in Australia first time around.
Number 48 "Fix Of Love" by Mark Williams
Peak: number 28
After years of plugging away in Australia, New Zealander Mark Williams had finally broken through with top 10 smash "Show No Mercy". Next, he made a decent showing with follow-up "Fix Of Love", although I'd suggest its chart position wouldn't have been anywhere as high had he not been coming off such an overplayed single. By contrast to its predecessor, "Fix Of Love" is a fairly forgettable tune and had faded completely from my memory until listening to it now. Mark would release one further single from his self-titled album, but the title of "Spell Is Broken" was pretty apt since it missed the top 100 and he hasn't been seen on the top 50 since. "Show No Mercy", however, has lived on — being wheeled out at sports events regularly ever since.
Number 46 "Doin' The Do" by Betty Boo
Peak: number 3
Australia had rudely ignored the song on which British rapper Betty Boo (real name: Alison Clarkson) had made her debut — The Beatmasters' "Hey DJ/I Can't Dance (To That Music You're Playing)", which reached number 7 in the UK but tanked at number 88 here. And so, Betty's first solo track, "Doin' The Do", served as her introduction to local music fans — and what an introduction it was. A cheeky slice of pop/rap, "Doin' The Do" presented her cute but feisty persona — a combination the brains behind Spice Girls would channel for the launch of the world-conquering girl group six years later.
Number 32 "Groove Is In The Heart" by Deee-Lite
Peak: number 1
If the arrival of Betty Boo didn't brighten up the top 50 enough for one week, then the debut of dance trio Deee-Lite certainly added a burst of colour to the chart, thanks to the psychedelic pop of future chart-topping single "Groove Is In The Heart". Comprised of three crazily named members, who hailed from the US (Lady Miss Kier), Japan (Towa Tei) and the Ukraine (DJ Dmitry), Deee-Lite was a much-needed breath of fresh air in a chart that still welcomed any old rock band or mullet-haired male singer to the countdown. A musical revelation, "Groove Is In The Heart" was sample-heavy — making most notable (and songwriting credit requiring) use of "Bring Down The Birds" by Herbie Hancock. Also prominently featured was a drum track taken from "Get Up" by R&B singer Vernon Burch; Q-Tip, who provides the song's rap; and bassist Bootsy Collins.
Number 14 "Jukebox In Siberia" by Skyhooks
Peak: number 1
Perhaps it was because their original chart run was pretty much over and done with by the time I started to appreciate pop music, but I really couldn't have cared less about the Skyhooks reunion which resulted in this chart-topping single. One of two new tracks from compilation The Latest And Greatest, "Jukebox In Siberia" seemed like a relic from a different time rather than a once iconic band updating their sound for a new era. And, given that band had been responsible for "Horror Movie" and "You Just Like Me Cos I'm Good In Bed" in their mid-'70s prime, it also felt a bit tame. But there's no denying the power of nostalgia — and the sight of Shirley, Red et al back in their outlandish costumes was enough to guarantee a rapt reception for "Jukebox In Siberia".
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1990:
Next week: a pair of second generation pop stars debut, as does the latest from one of the bands we saw on this week's 1985 post. Plus, a song about a dog.