This Week In 1990: April 22, 1990
By 1990, it was nothing new for a soap star to try their hand at being a pop star - and quite often the songs that would take them into the ARIA top 10 were also nothing new. Aside from teaming up with Stock Aitken Waterman, cover versions were a great way for a non-songwriting actor to become a chart sensation.
This week in 1990, a star of both Neighbours and Home And Away succeeded with a song that was over three decades old, reaching the top 10 with his remake after having failed to set the charts alight with an original track.
After what seemed like an eternity - but was only eight weeks - Australia had a new number 1 single this week. Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract" toppled "Nothing Compares 2 U" for the first of two weeks at the top.
Off The Chart
Number 98 "Water" by Martika
Peak: number 98
She'd started the year with two hits simultaneously in the top 25, but this Latin-tinged fourth single from Martika's self-titled album barely dented the top 100 just a few months later.
Peak: number 94
Both singers had performed this Motown track previously - Ronald as a member of the song's original performers, The Isley Brothers, and Rod as a 1975 cover version (which peaked in Australia at number 45).
Number 91 "Enjoy The Silence" by Depeche Mode
Peak: number 71
Reaching its peak upon re-entering the chart in September, this brilliant follow-up to "Personal Jesus" took out the BRIT Award for Best Single, hit number 6 in the UK and number 8 in the US. Shame, Australia, shame.
Peak: number 63
I love a chart trend and the solo career of ex-Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant had so far followed this pattern - his first album yielded no top 50 hits in Australia, his second had two ("Big Log" and "In The Mood"), his third contained none, his fourth had two ("Heaven Knows" and "Tall Cool One"). True to form, his fifth album, Manic Nirvana, offered up nothing in the way of top 50 action. I might not have liked the song, but I admired his consistency.
Number 44 "Mona" by Craig McLachlan & Check 1-2
Peak: number 3
It'd worked for former cast-mates Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, and so too did reviving a song from the rock'n'roll era do wonders for Craig McLachlan (who had by now left Neighbours and moved on to a role in Home And Away). Originally recorded by Bo Diddley and released as the B-side to his 1957 single "Hey! Bo Diddley", "Mona" catapulted Craig and his two mates into the top 3, after the disappointing performance of their debut single, "Rock The Rock".
Complete with its memorable video, which featured Craig riding around in the back of a ute wearing more clothes than he ever did in either weeknightly soap, "Mona" registered four weeks at its peak of number 3 and ended the year as 1990's highest-selling single by an Australian artist (and 15th biggest single overall). In the UK, "Mona" went one place better, reaching number 2, making Craig the fourth Neighbours star to reach the UK top 20 (a list that also included Stefan Dennis). Speaking of top 20s, Craig never returned to the ARIA one, either with Check 1-2 or as a solo artist.
Number 41 "Save Me" by Fleetwood Mac
Peak: number 41
Three years earlier, Fleetwood Mac made a triumphant return to the charts with Tango In The Night but things didn't go so well with their 1990 follow-up, Behind The Mask - which was also the band's first album without Lindsey Buckingham since 1974's Heroes Are Hard To Find. This lead single, which featured lead vocals from Christine McVie, wasn't that different in feel to songs like "Seven Wonders" and "Everywhere", but the fact that "Save Me didn't find as receptive an audience just goes to show how much music had moved on in three years. Nothing else from Behind The Mask - or any subsequent Fleetwood Mac album - made the singles top 100.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1990:
Next week: a brand new single from the Queen of Pop charges into the chart, while two megamix acts bomb out with their latest releases.