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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1991: July 21, 1991

Soundtrack hits were a chart staple during the 1980s, with many of the decade's biggest and best songs coming from movies. The 1990s saw the birth of the soundtrack mega-hit, with a series of film songs hitting the number 1 spot on the ARIA chart and staying there. And staying there.

A single so successful it had to be deleted to force it out of the number 1 spot

es, there'd been long-running number 1 songs from movies before - "I Just Called To Say I Love You" stayed on top for eight weeks; "La Bamba", "Unchained Melody" and "Flashdance... What A Feeling" all managed seven weeks; and "Blaze Of Glory", "Kokomo", "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" and "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" each spent six weeks as chart champ. But the soundtrack song that debuted on the top 50 this week in 1991 held down the number 1 spot for longer than any single since the summer of 1977/78.

Before the big soundtrack song set up shop in the number 1 spot, Melissa spent a second week on top with "Read My Lips", but only a fool would suggest she'd manage a third week in the face of the new arrival in the runners-up spot.

Off The Chart

Number 97 My Special Child by Sinead O'Connor

Peak: number 97

Her first new music since exhausting I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got of singles, My Special Child was a four-track EP released to raise money for Kurdish relief.

Single Of The Week

"Hooked On You" by Sydney Youngblood

Peak: number 120

I was (and still am) quite a fan of Sydney Youngblood's debut album, particularly singles "If Only I Could" and "Sit And Wait", which both missed the ARIA top 50. But, this is the first time I've ever heard the lead single from his follow-up album, the appallingly named Passion, Grace And Serious Bass... Not much of a musical departure for the American-born, German-based singer, "Hooked On You" is pleasant enough, but if those much stronger earlier singles didn't work here, then there's no way this was going to.

New Entries

Number 50 "I Don't Wanna Cry" by Mariah Carey

Peak: number 49

And things had started off so well for her... For the second time in a row, Mariah Carey found herself peaking in the 40s in Australia with "I Don't Wanna Cry". Her dreariest ballad yet, the song was probably never going to be massive here, but was perfectly suited for the American market, where it became her fourth straight number 1. I've never liked the song that much - and have always thought there were better options on the album, like "Prisoner" or "There's Got To Be A Way" that would've worked in Australia. Although, "There's Got To..." had been chosen as the fourth single in the UK and only reached number 54 there, so maybe not. Speaking of Mariah's debut album, even if its last two singles had bombed here, it received a boost back up the chart to land at number 10 this week after sinking as low as number 50 in mid-June.

Number 47 "I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)" by Hi-Five

Peak: number 47

This US chart-topper was knocked off the number 1 spot there by "I Don't Wanna Cry" - and it's another American hit that failed to do the business locally. Co-written and co-produced by Mr New Jack Swing himself, Teddy Riley, "I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)" put five-piece vocal harmony group Hi-Five in the boy band big league... at least in America. A version of Hi-Five still exists today, although it contains only one original member in its line-up.

Number 23 "Baby Baby" by Ratcat

Peak: number 21

While the likes of Mariah Carey and Hi-Five topped the American singles chart during 1991, Australian indie band Ratcat had already notched up two number 1 hits on the ARIA chart - and it was only July. Unfortunately, they didn't make it a hat-trick with this latest single from Blind Love - although the fact that album had also reached number 1 might've had something to do with that. In the years since Ratcat's runaway success (which came to a grinding halt in 1992), "Baby Baby" has been completely overshadowed by "That Ain't Bad" and "Don't Go Now", but it's just as strong as those much bigger hits.

Number 2 "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams

Peak: number 1

Storming in to the chart at number 2 (and narrowly missing out on becoming only the third song to debut at the top), "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" was clearly destined for number 1. What nobody could have guessed was just how long the song, which was included on the soundtrack to Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves as well as Bryan's sixth studio album, Waking Up The Neighbours, would spend there: 11 weeks.

You had to go back to December 1977 (and the months that followed) and "Mull Of Kintyre" by Wings for a stretch at the top that long. Chances are "(Everything I Do)..." would've spent longer at number 1 had it not been deleted by Bryan's Australian record company to make way for the follow-up, the aptly named "Can't Stop This Thing We Started". After falling from the top, "(Everything I Do)..." dropped 1-6-30-69 and out of the top 100.

Although he'd achieved a number 1 in the US before (with 1985's "Heaven"), such chart domination was a new thing for Bryan in Australia, where he'd never reached higher than number 12 (also with "Heaven"). It was the same situation in the UK, where Bryan had previously progressed no further than number 11 (with "Run To You") before registering 16 weeks at number 1 with "(Everything I Do)...". He still holds the record in the UK for the longest unbroken run at the top of all time, although fellow Canadian Drake came close in 2016 with "One Dance".

After working almost exclusively with co-writer Jim Vallance on his previous five albums, Bryan also collaborated with Robert "Mutt" Lange on Waking Up The Neighbours. The two wrote "(Everything I Do)..." with Michael Kamen, the composer of the score for Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. The three would reunite for two more movie themes in coming years: "All For Love" and "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?".

Meanwhile, following Bryan's lead, soundtrack mega-hits by Whitney Houston and Coolio would also stay at number 1 for a double digit total of weeks later in the decade. And, a flood of enduring movie songs from Seal, UB40, U2, Wet Wet Wet and Aerosmith remained on top for multiple weeks during the '90s as well. 

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

Next week: one of the two singles denied the number 1 spot by Bryan Adams, plus the singer of a briefly popular Australian band makes her solo debut.

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