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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1991: June 16, 1991

After the deluge of new entries over the previous two weeks - 16 in total! - it was inevitable that the ARIA top 50 singles chart would slow down again. This week in 1991, only four songs made their debut (and in subsequent weeks, that would drop to three and then two).

It was indeed a case of all aboard for The KLF

Luckily, there were some big singles among those few debuts. Among the four new tracks arriving this week in 1991 was the second top 10 hit for the duo who'd end the year as the best-selling singles act in the world.

The best-selling single in Australia this week in 1991 was still "The Grease Megamix" by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, who were once again making themselves very comfortable at the top.

Off The Chart

Number 94 "Sailing On The Seven Seas" by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Peak: number 77

Last seen on the top 50 with 1988's "Dreaming", OMD - which at this point was just singer Andy McCluskey - returned with this lead single (and future WA top 5 hit) from Sugar Tax.

Single Of The Week

"This House" by Tracie Spencer

Peak: number 87

Like so many American pop and R&B singles in 1990-91, "This House" had been a big hit at home (number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100) but fell between numbers 51 and 100 in Australia as a result of exposure on syndicated radio show American Top 40. Not that you could tell by looking at her, but former Star Search contestant Tracie Spencer was only 14 when she released "This House", although she'd actually been a recording artist since the age of 11. The pop/dance track that sounded like it could've been produced by C+C Music Factory (as so much else was in 1991) was Tracie's most successful single.

New Entries

Number 49 "You Don't Have To Go Home Tonight" by The Triplets

Peak: number 45

Here's another song that charted highly in the US (and was therefore first heard locally via American Top 40), but didn't perform so well here. Like a cross between Wilson Phillips and Nelson, The Triplets was comprised of, well, triplets - sisters Diana, Sylvia and Vicky Villegas. Their music was just as middle of the road and over-produced as either of those other groups, and I'm actually surprised "You Don't Have To Go Home Tonight" didn't do better here since it's the sort of safe pop/rock track that FM radio loved in the '90s. But I can't say I'm disappointed about it.

Number 47 "Last Train To Trancentral" by The KLF

Peak: number 5

With "3 A.M. Eternal" firmly ensconced in the top 5, The KLF continued their assault on the ARIA chart with the just-as-exciting follow-up, "Last Train To Trancentral", the latest in their series of stadium house classics. Once again, the 1991 single version, subtitled "Live From The Lost Continent", was a reworking of the original Pure Trance version and was also quite different from the album mix, which featured much more rapping from Ricardo Da Force. Result: a second consecutive top 5 smash. Full of references to The KLF's bonkers mythological world and, obviously, to the group themselves, "Last Train To Trancentral" actually got its name from the duo's studio, Trancentral, which was in the basement of the terrace house where Jimmy Cauty lived. 

Number 39 "Higher Than Hope" by Daryl Braithwaite

Peak: number 28

Our next two new entries are under-performing follow-ups to massive hits by local artists. First up, it's the third single from Rise, which failed to get anywhere near as high on the chart as its chart-topping predecessor "The Horses". Possibly working against the rousing "Higher Than Hope" was the fact that people were finally starting to pick up the album, with Rise having just peaked at number 3 as part of a five-month stay inside the top 10 that resulted in it winding up as the year's highest-selling album (even if it never actually reached number 1). The song did, however, give Daryl his one and only appearance on the Billboard chart with "Higher Than Hope" reaching number 47 in the US. Fun fact: the man who likely inspired Daryl's comeback supplied backing vocals for "Higher Than Hope". Yep, that's John Farnham you can hear in the background.

Number 36 "Stop The World" by The Screaming Jets

Peak: number 33

Possibly also suffering from the fact that people were buying its parent album was this follow-up to number 4 hit "Better". Unlike Daryl's album, The Screaming Jets' debut offering, All For One, had been an instant smash, debuting at number 3 - and by this point had dropped no lower than number 13. The other reason "Stop The World" might not have done so well on the chart was that it didn't have the crossover appeal of "Better", which even a non-rock fan like me didn't hate. It was just as noisy and hard-edged, but didn't have as strong a hook. Still, it was early days for the band.

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

Next week: we're down to three new entries - and it's an all-Australasian trio, featuring singles by two male vocalists who were stepping away from the bands with whom they'd found fame.

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