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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1990: January 21, 1990

I've always been more a fan of pop singers than rock chicks - and the divide between the two grew ever wider in the 1990s with less artists straddling both genres (as had often been the case in the 1980s). To prove the point, one of each type of singer made their ARIA top 50 debut this week in 1990.

Black leather-sporting Alannah Myles hit big with "Black Velvet"

On the one hand, we had the arrival of a Canadian rocker whose first two singles would soon be climbing the chart simultaneously, and on the other we had a British singer known for her work with house group Coldcut but whose solo work tended more towards pop and soul. Naturally, I preferred the latter.

The new entry by each female performer was a number 1 single internationally, and although both did well in Australia, neither topped our top 50. Meanwhile, the song that once again was on top the Australian chart this week in 1990 was "Love Shack" by The B-52's.

Off The Chart

Number 98 "Volare" by Gipsy Kings

Peak: number 90

One of music's most covered songs, the Italian standard was given a Spanish twist by the flamenco guitar-wielding troupe for their latest album Mosaïque.

Number 90 "I See Red" by Split Enz

Peak: number 75

In 1979, it peaked at number 15, and in 1990, "I See Red" was reissued to coincide with the release of History Never Repeats - The Best Of Split Enz. In this case, the first half of the album title was accurate.

Single Of The Week

"Fool For Your Loving" by Whitesnake

Peak: number 69

It'd worked a treat on their last album, but the decision to re-record another of their old singles wasn't as fruitful for Whitesnake second time around. Originally appearing on their third album, Ready An' Willing, in 1980, "Fool For Your Loving" was given a do-over for 1989's Slip Of The Tongue - and ended up being lifted as the lead single. But, unlike the reception that greeted the band's remake of "Here I Go Again" a couple of years earlier, this new version was a chart disappointment. 

New Entries

Number 48 "Sacrifice" by Elton John

Peak: number 7

It might have been a new decade, but it was business as usual for Elton John, who racked up yet another top 10 hit with this second single from Sleeping With The Past. His biggest record in Australia since 1986's "Heartache All Over The World" (which also peaked at number 7), "Sacrifice" would also form one half of Elton's first ever solo UK number 1 when it was re-released there along with "Healing Hands" later in 1990. For me, the song falls into the same category as "Nikita" and "Blue Eyes" - ballads that are pleasant enough but pale in comparison to the likes of "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" and "Your Song"

Number 42 "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles

Peak: number 3

Before there was Alanis Morissette and Avril Lavigne, there was original Canadian rocker Alannah Myles, who found herself with one of the world's biggest singles for 1990 in "Black Velvet", which reached number 1 in the US, number 2 in the UK and number 3 here. Although it was her first song to reach the ARIA top 50, it wasn't her debut single - that'd arrive on the chart in a few weeks' time. Aged 31 when "Black Velvet" took off, Alannah, whose real surname is Byles, had worked as an actress in the '80s while she tried to land a record deal. We'll pick up her story in early February.

Number 27 "All Around The World" by Lisa Stansfield Peak: number 9

And, at the other end of the musical spectrum is this pop singer who already had a couple of big UK hits to her name (well, one was actually credited to Coldcut featuring Lisa Stansfield) and took the rest of the world by storm with this single. Less house and more soul, "All Around The World" was even a chart-topper on the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart (now known as the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart), which was obviously a rarity for a non-African American artist at the time. 

The song was co-written and produced by Ian Devaney and Andy Morris, the two other members of Lisa's former group, Blue Zone. When Blue Zone failed to set the charts alight (despite releasing a great version of "Jackie" in 1988), Lisa stepped even further into the spotlight as a solo artist, while the other two carried on working in the background. Side note: Lisa and Ian entered into a different type of partnership in 1998 when they were married. 

Number 20 "Please Send Me Someone To Love" by Johnny Diesel & The Injectors Peak: number 11

What do you get when you combine Australia's hottest young rock band with the soundtrack to the first feature film starring Kylie Minogue? A smash hit, that's what. A cover of the 1950 single by Percy Mayfield, "Please Send Me Someone To Love" was Johnny Diesel & The Injectors' first release not to have appeared on their debut self-titled album. It was also the band's second cover of a pre-rock'n'roll era blues song in a row (following "Since I Fell For You") - but there was a reason for revisiting that period of history. "Please Send Me..." was taken from The Delinquents, the 1950s romantic drama that marked Kylie's first foray onto the big screen. The rest of the soundtrack album consisted mostly of original songs from the period - although Kylie also remade a song from that decade, which we'll see hit the chart in a few weeks.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1990:

Next week: the Black Box effect takes hold of the chart, while an artist who'd be a major chart force throughout the decade makes a low-key debut.

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