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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1990: October 21, 1990

They might look like a cross between Fabio and Derek Zoolander but the two guys below are music royalty. Not only were they second generation hitmakers like Wilson Phillips, but their musical legacy extended back even further.

In 1990, Nelson were hair today, gone tomorrow

One of three new entries on the Australian singles chart this week in 1990, the twins' debut single was also a US chart-topper, just like the first release by Wilson Phillips had been months earlier. Would it do as well as "Hold On" in Australia?

Spending its sixth - and mercifully - final week at number 1 in Australia was another song that topped the US chart. "Blaze Of Glory" by Jon Bon Jovi became the longest-running ARIA chart-topper since the eight-week stint of "Nothing Compares 2 U" earlier in the year.

Off The Chart

Number 98 "Peace Throughout The World" by Maxi Priest

Peak: number 87

Somewhat of a comedown after the number 2 success of "Close To You", this second single from Bonafide was harmless enough. It'd be another six years before Maxi's next big hit.

Number 95 "Pure" by The Lightning Seeds

Peak: number 92

The debut single from one of my favourite bands of the '90s might not have made waves in Australia, but it started a run of chart success for the group in the UK.

Single Of The Week

"Blue Heeler" by James Blundell

Peak: number 127

Last week, I mistakenly previewed this single by referring to it as a song about a dog. Turns out "Blue Heeler" is actually about a pub: the Blue Heeler Hotel in Kynuna, North West Queensland. James wrote the song after playing at the pub's 100th birthday celebrations. Unfortunately for him, the single didn't make it into the ARIA top 100, although accompanying album Hand It Down did. It'd be a couple of years before the country star would make his singles chart breakthrough - with a little help from another James.


"Jack Talking" by Dave Stewart And The Spiritual Cowboys

Peak: number 57

His soundtrack hit, "Lily Was Here", was still climbing the chart, so what better time to also launch his new band? With Eurythmics on what would turn out to be a decade-long hiatus, the artist sometimes known as David A Stewart released this debut single with new group The Spiritual Cowboys - but the lightweight rock sound of "Jack Talking" failed to impress. As a result, Dave became a one-hit wonder as a solo artist, just as he had been as part of The Tourists during the late '70s/early '80s.

New Entries

Number 49 "(Can't Live Without Your) Love And Affection" by Nelson

Peak: number 20

As impressive as Wilson Phillips' launch as second generation hitmakers had been earlier in 1990, twins Gunnar and Matthew Nelson went one better with their debut single. Not only were they the sons of 1950s and '60s TV star and pop heartthrob Ricky Nelson (biggest hit: "Travelin' Man", number 1 in 1961), but they were also the grandchildren of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, stars of the 14-season show The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet and hitmakers in their own right - albeit in the pre-rock'n'roll era. 

Like Wilson Phillips' "Hold On", the twins' debut single, "(Can't Live Without Your) Love And Affection", was a perfectly formed slice of radio-friendly power pop that climbed all the way to number 1 in the US. And also like the vocal harmony trio, Nelson only managed the one major hit in Australia despite a clutch of big singles back home. Fun fact: the Nelson boys' mother, Kristin, is the older sister of NCIS star Mark Harmon.

Number 33 "Never Enough" by The Cure

Peak: number 22

If you needed proof of how much of a thing remix albums had become in 1990, then how about the fact that even gloom merchants The Cure jumped on the bandwagon? To be fair, the British band had been releasing extended remixes of their songs for years and Mixed Up pulled together some of these as well as new mixes of tracks like "A Forest" and "The Walk". And what would a remix album be without a brand new single to promote it? "Never Enough" served that purpose - and became the band's biggest ARIA hit since 1987's "Why Can't I Be You?" Like "Lullaby", this was another of those Cure singles that didn't quite do it for me, especially since recent releases "Lovesong", "Fascination Street" and "Pictures Of You" had all been so good. 

Number 26 "Let's Make It Last All Night" by Jimmy Barnes

Peak: number 12

In shocking news, Jimmy Barnes released two consecutive singles in 1990 that I actually didn't mind (although I had completely forgotten all about "Let's Make It Last All Night" until now). The problem with the second single from Two Fires was that, like "Lay Down Your Guns", it was Jimmy singing it and not someone with a less raucous voice. Also like his previous single, "Let's Make It Last All Night" had the input of heavyweight American songwriters - in this case Diane Warren and Desmond Child. Despite the ongoing effort made at breaking Jimmy in the US - a quest that dated back to the repackaging of his debut album as For The Working Class Man back in 1985 - he never managed to cross over. I suspect his vocal style was also too rough and ready for the American market, who preferred their rock ballads sung by the more palatable likes of Bad English's John Waite and Michael Bolton.

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

Next week: a song that'd topped the chart in 1970 (and again in 1986 for a different act) returned to the top 50. Plus, the latest dance megamix and a dance remix of an a cappella track from a folk star's 1987 album.

Back to: Oct 14, 1990 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 28, 1990

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