This Week In 1991: August 18, 1991
I'm sure someone somewhere has tallied up the most common words to appear in top 50 hits. No doubt, "love" is one of them. This week in 1991, the tally was increased by two as a pair of songs with love in their title debuted on the ARIA singles chart.
One was the only chart-topper by a female singer who recently toured Australia. The other was the only hit by the latest rap act to make an impression locally.
Still making an impression as the nation's highest-selling single this week in 1991 was Bryan Adams. "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" spent a fourth week at number 1.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Are You Mine?" by Bros
Peak: number 98
Bros's legion of Brosettes had deserted them by the time this lead single from third album Changing Faces came around. The fact that "Are You Mine?" is a snooze-inducing ballad didn't help.
Number 98 "Solace Of You" by Living Colour
Peak: number 69
Sounding like something off a Paul Simon album, this follow-up to "Love Rears Its Ugly Head" returned Living Colour to their usual home outside the top 50 - where they'd stay for the remainder of their career.
Number 96 "The Beginning" by Seal
Peak: number 82
Another excellent song from Seal, another single that failed to live up to the chart highs of "Crazy". For its US release, the track received a remix from Shep Pettibone that's available on iTunes.
Number 94 "Don't Cry" by Richard Pleasance
Peak: number 69
Given "Sarah (I Miss You)" hadn't set the chart alight, it's not surprising this less commercial follow-up didn't either. Even so, it's still a shame Richard Pleasance's solo music didn't find a bigger audience.
Number 89 "Any Day Above Ground" by James Reyne
Peak: number 67
Here's an Australian male artist who was used to a bigger audience - most recently on top 10 single "Slave". In the US, this was the title track of the album we knew locally as Electric Digger Dandy.
Number 86 "Tutti Frutti" by Victor & Sveta
Peak: number 82
A couple of weeks ago, we saw a novelty track from Rubbery Figures. The next Fast Forward spin-off release was a double B-side single from the Good Morning Moscow characters played by Peter Moon and Jane Turner (although Sveta doesn't actually feature on this remake of the Little Richard classic). Proceeds were donated to children affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
Peak: number 56
All good things must come to an end - and with this dreary little number, the career of Transvision Vamp stumbled to its conclusion. I say "stumbled" because the once-great pop/rock band had been all over the place for some time. I know there are fans of their later singles, but for me, nothing past "Baby I Don't Care" was really up to scratch. So it was with a sense of the inevitable that "If Looks Could Kill", which missed the ARIA top 50 and the UK top 40, became their final single. Singer Wendy James did embark on a solo career, but was unable to break back into the Australian chart on her own.
Peak: number 44
He might have been back in front of The Heartbreakers after solo effort Full Moon Fever, but it was business as usual for Tom Petty with this lead single from Into The Great Wide Open. Like on Full Moon Fever, Tom worked extensively with his Traveling Wilbury companion Jeff Lynne on Into The Great Wide Open. As a result, songs like "Learning To Fly" sounded a little bit been there, done that and lacked the originality of something like "I Won't Back Down".
Peak: number 6
Love was a bit of a go-to word for legendary songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Besides "Now That We Found Love", which had originally been recorded by The O'Jays in 1973, the duo were responsible for notable hits like "Love Train", "The Love I Lost", "I Love Music" and "Drowning In The Sea Of Love". Then there were the many other classics about affairs of the heart (like "Don't Leave Me This Way", "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and "When Will I See You Again") they wrote that don't have the word "love" in the title. Selecting a Gamble & Huff tune to remake was a stroke of genius on the part of rapper Heavy D (real name: Dwight Myers), who added his rap to the vocal hook performed by Guy member Aaron Hall. The result: an instant worldwide smash. In Australia, the Teddy Riley-produced track was the only top 50 appearance for the rapper, who passed away in 2011.
Number 40 "Escape From Reality" by Shane Howard
Peak: number 40
From what I can work out about Shane Howard's releases at this point, "Escape From Reality" seems to have been a new song added to a revamped version of his album River, which had first come out in November 1990 and been exhausted of singles in January 1991 when "Here And Now" missed the top 100. Featuring several members of Hothouse Flowers playing on the song, "Escape From Reality" returned the former Goanna frontman to the top 50 for the final time.
Number 29 "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)" by UB40
Peak: number 3
UB40's Labour Of Love II covers collection had been a disaster in Australia as far as its singles were concerned. "Homely Girl" just missed the top 50 in early 1990 and follow-up "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)" barely scraped into the top 100 first time around. The initial release of "Kingston Town" hadn't charted at all and "The Way You Do The Things You Do" had made a pitiful number 78 in early 1991. Not prepared to give up on the project, especially since they'd hit the top 5 with Robert Palmer on "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight", the reggae band's record company more or less started the whole process again by reissuing most of those flop singles. This time around, "Here I Am...", which was originally recorded by Al Green, became UB40's biggest hit since topping the chart with "I Got You Babe" in 1985. In the coming months, Virgin Records would really take the old adage "if at first you don't succeed, try try again" to heart.
Number 26 "Love... Thy Will Be Done" by Martika
Peak: number 1
Our second new entry with "love" in its title was the first taste of Martika's second album and the fruits of a collaboration with Prince, who co-wrote this song with her. Or rather, who turned her lyrics - a prayer she'd written in her notebook - into a song. However it came to exist, "Love... Thy Will Be Done" was the sound of a pop star maturing her music. After the fantastically frothy pop that mostly comprised her debut self-titled album, the Martika who returned in 1991 was a more sophisticated artist with songs that demonstrated more depth. Don't get me wrong, "More Than You Know" is one of my favourite songs of 1989, but this new, more substantial Martika worked for me, too. I wasn't the only one who thought so, with "Love... Thy Will Be Done" ending up as the song that would eventually dislodge Bryan Adams from the number 1 spot (with a little help from his record company deleting his single).
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1991:
Next week: a future number 1 single that'd already been on the top 100 for three months finally creeps into the top 50. Plus, a heavy metal band that'd been releasing music since 1983 finally lands its first major hit.