This Week In 1990: February 18, 1990
After last week's rock-fest, order was restored this week in 1990 on the ARIA singles chart with the new releases coming from a more diverse array of genres. Included among the debuts were two cover versions that topped the British chart.
In Australia, the two remakes would have very different chart fortunes - one would go on to be the year's biggest single and make a star out of its previously little-known performer. The chart peak of the other cover would be the latest sign that its singer's career was flagging in this country.
After a summer dominated by one song: "Love Shack" by The B-52's, Australia had a new number 1 single this week in 1990. Aerosmith landed their first chart-topper with "Janie's Got A Gun" - although it'd only last as the nation's most popular song for one week.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Street Tuff" by Rebel MC & Double Trouble
Peak: number 85
This UK number 3 hit was a collaboration between rapper Michael "Rebel MC" West and deceptively named production trio Double Trouble - and deserved to do much better in Australia.
Number 89 "This Woman's Work" by Kate Bush
Peak: number 89
Written for the 1988 John Hughes film She's Having A Baby, this would go on to appear on Kate's The Sensual World album and be lifted as its second single, complete with a similarly themed music video.
Peak: number 62
It's a testament to just how much great dance music there was in the late '80s/early '90s when classics like this second release by Scottish trio The Chimes and the aforementioned "Street Tuff" went under the radar. In fact, "Heaven" even missed the mark first time around in the UK, only managing to crack the top 40 there after a re-release in September 1990. Although The Chimes would later become well known for a creative cover of a U2 song, both "Heaven" and The Chimes' debut single, "1-2-3", are well worth re-discovering.
Peak: number 58
Now that the likes of Tone Lōc and Bobby Brown had broken down Australian resistance to US R&B and hip-hop, a song like this - which probably never would've got anywhere near the top 50 previously - also found an (albeit small) audience here. Redhead Kingpin was rapper David Guppy and The F.B.I. were his five-piece backing band - and "Pump It Hottie" was actually their second single, with debut release "Do The Right Thing" making a belated appearance on the top 100 in the months to come.
Number 50 "Jimmy Dean" by Icehouse
Peak: number 47
The week's first new entry was the latest single from Icehouse's best of (except for the Man Of Colours singles) collection, Great Southern Land. Nowhere near as good as the other new track, "Touch The Fire", "Jimmy Dean" is obviously about the heartthrob actor - and if you want to know more about the song, why not listen to Iva Davies talk about it himself?
Number 49 "Just Between You And Me" by Lou Gramm
Peak: number 31
His first solo hit, "Midnight Blue", featured in my very first blog post - and in 1990, Foreigner frontman Lou Gramm finally returned to the ARIA top 50 (and US top 10) with this lead single from his second album, Long Hard Look. I didn't think too much of "Just Between You And Me" at the time, but listening to the song now, I quite like it. The classic '80s rock ballad was co-written by Lou and Holly Knight, one half of the songwriting team behind "The Best" and "Love Is A Battlefield".
Peak: number 40
Released in time for Christmas in the UK, this lead single from what would be Jason's second Stock Aitken Waterman-produced album, Between The Lines, finally saw the light of day in Australia two months later. And while it was one thing for "Everyday (I Love You More)" to have tanked given it was the fifth single from an already released album, it was quite another for a brand new song to perform so badly. Clearly, the bubble had burst on Jason's pop career as far as Australians were concerned. Need more proof? How about the fact that his Australian record label, Mushroom, didn't even bother with a proper release for the two follow-ups to "When You Came Back To Me", "Hang Onto Your Love" and "Another Night", in Australia? Yep, pretty telling.
Peak: number 1
Originally recorded by one of Prince's many offshoot projects, The Family, this song written by His Purpleness was an obscure album track before Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor got her hands on it. Her emotionally anguished performance turned the ho-hum original into an incredibly affecting and poignant tune, which was only heightened by the iconic and MTV Award-winning music video - a clip which was just ripe for a Fast Forward spoof.
Sinéad's chart-topping spin on "Nothing Compares 2 U" launched her second album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, which also reached number 1 on the ARIA chart, making her suddenly one of music's biggest stars. She quickly gained a reputation for being one of the industry's most outspoken and political artists as well - something she's maintained until as recently as 2013, when she posted an open letter to Miley Cyrus about - and I'm paraphrasing here - acting like a skank.
Its debut in the top 100 here at number 37 without even being onsale for a full week pretty much guaranteed "Nothing Compares 2 U" would make a big upward movement on the subsequent chart. Just how big a leap it would make... well, you'll have to come back next week to read about that.
Number 31 "Every Little Hit Mix" by Bobby Brown
Peak: number 21
Hot on the heels of Jive Bunny and Rococo, the music of Bobby Brown became the latest to receive the megamix treatment. Working its way through "Every Little Step", "On Our Own", "Don't Be Cruel" and "My Prerogative", "Every Little Hit Mix" is not to be confused with "The Free Style Mega-mix", the British version which added "Rock Wit'cha" and "Girl Next Door" into the mix and came out in June. The releases kind of coincided with Bobby's remix album, Dance!... Ya Know It! - and soon all sorts of artists would be issuing either megamixes, remix albums or both. And we all know who to blame. Yep, bloody Jive Bunny.
Number 28 "Roam" by The B-52's
Peak: number 11
They may have lost the number 1 spot with "Love Shack" falling from the top this week, but The B-52's had another hit single waiting in the wings to join it on the chart. Every bit as catchy as their chart-topper, "Roam" saw the vocal duties handed over entirely to the band's female members, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson, who were also perfectly suited for the Fast Forward parody treatment.
Number 21 "Tears On My Pillow" by Kylie Minogue
Peak: number 20
Next, an artist who was becoming accustomed to having the piss taken out of her in Australia - and it seemed to be having a knock-on effect on her chart success, with the peak positions of her nine singles to date going: 1, 1, 1, 11, 2, 4, 6, 14 and now 20. Yes, there were other factors at play, but the hammering Kylie had received from the Australian media had to have had an impact. As a Year 10 student in 1990, it was deeply uncool for me to like Kylie (not to mention Jason) - not that I let that stop me.
A cover of the 1958 doo-wop single by Little Anthony & The Imperials (number 42 in Australia), Kylie's version of "Tears On My Pillow" was included on the soundtrack of her feature film debut, The Delinquents, which was set in the '50s. It was actually my least favourite of her singles up until that point, but I could see why it made sense to release it. Thankfully, 1990 would see Kylie turn things around locally with a radical image makeover and some of her best singles of all time to come as the year continued.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1990:
Next week: the latest singles from two of my favourite groups from 1989/1990 have very different chart experiences. Plus, two female icons coming off big singles disappoint with their next releases.