This Week In 1990: April 15, 1990
When you think of Detroit, one of the first things that comes to mind is Motown. Seattle is synonymous with grunge music. And this week in 1990, the baggy sound of Manchester, UK arrived on the ARIA top 50 singles chart.
Madchester, as the movement was dubbed, got its name from a Happy Mondays EP and mostly passed Australia by, with acts like Inspiral Carpets, James and the Mondays themselves missing the top 50 completely - usually by some margin.
Meanwhile, "Nothing Compares 2 U" spent its eighth week at number 1 this week in 1990 - equalling the tally notched up by "Love Shack" over summer. To find a song that spent longer at number 1, you need to go all the way back to 1985. The good news was that Sinéad would finally be toppled from the chart summit next week by a song that couldn't be more opposite if it tried.
Off The Chart
Number 96 "No Blue Skies" by Lloyd Cole
Peak: number 86
He's everywhere! After the three singles with the Commotions we've seen on my flashbacks to 1985, here he is also missing the top 50 with the first release from his debut self-titled solo album.
Number 94 "Self Deceiver" by Jenny Morris
Peak: number 94
The fourth and final single from Shiver was co-written with Paul Kelly (who wrote previous single "Street Of Love") and kept up the tradition of each release from the album starting with an S.
Number 89 "Madly In Love" by Bros
Peak: number 68
It was essentially the same song as "Too Much", but better. Unfortunately for Bros, they weren't anywhere near as popular anymore and couldn't pull that kind of song recycling off.
Number 68 "Hump Music" by No Face
Peak: number 64
The Jungle Brothers' "I'll House You" had missed the ARIA chart, but this answer record - typical lyric: "girl, I'll hump you" - was an underground hit in Australia for the New York hip-hop trio.
Peak: number 59
Also taking out the title of this week's Single Of The Week, "Sit And Wait" was the second UK hit from American singer Sydney Youngblood (real name: Sydney Ford). His first British hit had been "If Only I Could", which did nothing in Australia, but was later covered by Wendy Matthews. Like the rest of the country, I gravitated more towards "Sit And Wait" as well, and still listen to parent album Feeling Free from time to time.
Number 47 "Black Betty (remix)" by Ram Jam
Peak: number 17
Nearly three decades before Australian band Spiderbait took it all the way to number 1 in Australia in 2004, "Black Betty" was recorded by American rockers Ram Jam - and it's that 1977 version that's probably the best known of all the many interpretations of the tune, which originated as a work song. In 1990, remixer Ben Liebrand, who'd been involved in a number of musical resurrections over the previous few years - including Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight '88" - turned his hand to the track. Peaking 14 places lower than the original Ram Jam recording, the new "Black Betty" was also successful in the UK where it'd reached number 7 in 1977 and made number 13 this time around.
Number 46 "Hullabaloo" by Absent Friends
Peak: number 46
So far, interest in Australian supergroup Absent Friends had been about as high as that shown towards Sean Kelly's post-Models solo single, "Thank You, Goodnight". The debut single by the band which comprised members of Models, INXS and GANGgajang, as well as singer Wendy Matthews, was "Hallelujah", but that had tanked at a dismal number 100. This follow-up did better, but only spent a solitary week inside the top 50. Frankly, I'm surprised it did as well as that - it's a mess! Good thing the project had a cover version up their sleeve.
Number 42 "Summer Rain" by Belinda Carlisle
Peak: number 6
Finally! After registering only a solitary top 10 hit from each of her previous two albums, Belinda Carlisle broke the curse with this latest single from Runaway Horses. Things hadn't looked good when "La Luna" missed the mark (going no higher than number 21), but "Summer Rain" almost matched the peak of number 5 hit "Leave A Light On". Co-written by Maria Vidal (who we saw recently in my 1985 flashbacks), "Summer Rain" was my favourite track from the album - but not the highest charting version of the song on the ARIA chart. Criminally, the cheesy dance remake by Australian trio Slinkee Minx (who I once took to a Cold Rock Ice Cream parlour for a Smash Hits photo shoot) did peak at number 5 in 2004.
Peak: number 13
As we saw earlier this year, "She Bangs The Drums" hadn't even registered inside the ARIA top 100, but this non-album double A-side release by the critically adored Madchester group did, as they say, the business locally. Originally, "What The World Is Waiting For" had been intended as the A-side, but record company pressure convinced the band to at least give both songs equal credit - something the ARIA chart ignored.
With its blend of indie rock, psychedelia and dance music, "Fools Gold" (and let's face it, that was the song that got all the attention) became one of the defining tracks of the baggy sound. The single took a while to really take off in Australia, hovering around the 30s until it suddenly catapulted up to its peak position in the last week of May - and ever since has been one of those songs that routinely crops up in best of... lists, and gets remixed and sampled on a regular basis. As for The Stone Roses themselves - well, they never really lived up the hype and wouldn't return to the ARIA top 50 until December 1994.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1990:
Next week: a B-side from the 1950s provides a Neighbours star with their top 5 breakthrough. Plus, one of the year's best songs bombs in Australia.