This Week In 1990: July 22, 1990
Rock music was changing in 1990 - and there was no greater proof of that than the highest new entry on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1990. As hair metal gave way to grunge as the most favoured rock style in the US and indie rock blended with psychedelic and/or dance music in the UK, it seemed that anything was possible: even a rock anthem that featured a rap.
It wasn't the first time we'd seen such genre blurring - Run-DMC's take on Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" had hit the top 10 in 1986 - but that was the exception rather than the rule. Four years later, the band behind this week's top debut - a future number 1 hit, no less - turned the tables, incorporating hip-hop elements into their metal sound and helping tear down the restrictive genre boundaries of old in the process.
Before this week's highest debut reached number 1, however, a more traditional rap record jumped to the top of the ARIA top 50. "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer spent its first of five weeks at the summit this week in 1990.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 98
Even the return of Cathy Dennis couldn't give D Mob another hit to match the resilient "C'mon And Get My Love", which was into its fourth month on the chart and would outstay its two follow-ups on the top 100.
Peak: number 96
About a decade ahead (or after, depending which way you look at it) of their time, Australian pop/punk band Exploding White Mice never saw the inside of the top 100 again.
Number 95 "You're Still Beautiful" by The Church
Peak: number 95
After achieving a career-best peak with previous single "Metropolis", the second release from Gold Afternoon Fix didn't progress any further.
Peak: number 75
Previously recorded by The Undisputed Truth and, more famously, as a 12-minute epic by The Temptations, this soul classic (with the "g" in "Rolling" reinstated) was the first single from Are You Okay?, the fourth album by Was (Not Was).
Peak: number 77
Not so quick there, Michael. After two of 1990's biggest hits, the long-haired balladeer lost his chart footing with this fourth single from Soul Provider advancing no further.
Peak: number 46
Looking more and more like Lisa Stansfield every day, New Zealand's Margaret Urlich followed up her enduring top 20 single, "Escaping", with this piano ballad. Although nowhere near as big a hit, "Only My Heart Calling" did hang around on the top 100 for nearly six months and helped the album Safety In Numbers, which had also been languishing at the lower end of the top 50, go on to become a top 5, triple platinum smash.
Number 39 "Amanda" by Craig McLachlan & Check 1-2
Peak: number 24
Craig McLachlan is no fool. Since "Mona" had turned out to be an astronomical success, 1990's Gold Logie winner decided to follow it up with another song named after a girl - and despite the risk of seeming a little fickle in jumping from one love interest to another so quickly, he and his band notched up another chart hit. Small problem: although "Amanda" was about as lyrically complex as "Mona" and the music video saw Craig do what he did best - take his shirt off - the single was nowhere near as well received as the Bo Diddley cover. When a fourth single, "I Almost Felt Like Crying", generated even less interest, it was obvious some bold decisions had to be made concerning Craig's music career.
Number 35 "Talk About It" by Boom Crash Opera
Peak: number 35
As we've seen, remix albums were all the rage in 1990 (a time when the phrase "all the rage" might well have still been used unironically). But, they were normally released by dance or R&B acts like Bobby Brown, Paula Abdul and Black Box, not Australian rock bands - and yet Boom Crash Opera joined the remix album craze with Look! Listen!! The album featured this new take on These Here Are Crazy Times track "Talk About It" as well as extended mixes of some of their biggest singles and various other oddities. As a big fan of the band, I didn't much see the point of the album, but I did really like this new version of "Talk About It", which sped out of the top 50 almost as quickly as it flew into it.
Number 31 "Epic" by Faith No More
Peak: number 1
Perhaps, though, Boom Crash Opera were onto something by utilising a marketing ploy traditionally reserved for more club-friendly acts. Rock bands were increasingly experimenting with genres and formats - and nothing summed up that movement more than this breakthrough hit for Faith No More.
The genre-defying band had been around in one form or another since 1981, but it wasn't until the recruitment of new singer and lyricist Mike Patton, and the release of third album The Real Thing that Faith No More really took off. After a slow start with the album's lead single, "From Out Of Nowhere" - which would be subsequently re-released - "Epic" really grabbed people's attention.
From the blending of sounds not usually heard together to Mike's manic performance in the music video to that dying fish, "Epic" was like nothing else on the chart - and, as is usually the case with a song like that, that meant it was destined to be massive. In fact, in five weeks' time, it would knock MC Hammer off the number 1 spot and stay there for three weeks.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1990:
Next week: the return of Barnesy, Madonna gets a little naughty (again), another Traveling Wilbury has a solo hit - as does one of the New Kids, plus Stock Aitken Waterman's last big non-Kylie UK hit disappoints in Australia.