This Week In 1991: January 6, 1991
Are we up to 1991 already? When I began this blog in 2012, looking back at the ARIA charts from July 1987, I never anticipated there'd be enough interest for me to still be doing it three-and-a-half years later. Thanks to all the regular or occasional visitors who read, comment, share, like and otherwise engage with my posts, whether it's here on my blog, on music forums or on the Chart Beats Facebook page.
If you want to know what I was listening to in 1991, you can check out my top 100 for the year here. Not all of the songs on my personal chart reached the ARIA chart, but we'll look back at every single that did make the Australian top 100 throughout the year.
Right at the very top of the first chart for 1991 (which covered the three weeks from December 17, 1990 to January 6, 1991), The Righteous Brothers held on at number 1 with "Unchained Melody". Thanks to the additional weeks reflected in this chart, their run at the top now jumped up to seven weeks - but in seven days' time, there'd be a new chart-topper.
Off The Chart
Number 97 "Saviour's Day" by Cliff Richard
Peak: number 97
There was even less interest in Cliff's 1990 seasonal offering than there was in his 1988 Christmas single, "Mistletoe And Wine". The UK Christmas number 1 just sneaked onto our top 100.
Peak: number 78
Their collaboration with Robert Palmer was at number 15, but UB40's own cover (of The Temptations' 1964 hit) wasn't so popular. "The Way You..." would return to the chart in March 1992, ascending to its ultimate peak of number 63.
Number 94 "From Out Of Nowhere" by Faith No More
Peak: number 83
It was back to the first single from The Real Thing for the follow-up to "Epic" and "Falling To Pieces", but "From Out Of Nowhere" didn't make it a top 50 hit hat-trick for Faith No More.
Number 92 "I Don't Wanna Take This Pain" by Dannii
Peak: number 92
A terrible chart performance for what was Dannii Minogue's best single to date - although I much prefer the UK remix, which made an also-disappointing number 40 in Britain.
Peak: number 82
The third single from the criminally underrated album Vertigo might have once again been all but ignored in Australia, but at least it gave the Brisbane synthpop band their first top 100 entry.
Number 50 Tingles by Ratcat
Peak: number 1
Talk about a sleeper hit. This EP by Sydney indie band Ratcat first hit the top 100 in late October 1990 and had spent the final couple of months of the year yoyo-ing in the 50s and 60s before building up enough momentum to edge into the top 50 as one of the first new hits of 1991. The band's first release on their new label, rooArt (home of Absent Friends and The Hummingbirds), Tingles then spent 20 weeks working its way up to the number 1 spot, finally reached the top in May, by which time follow-up "Don't Go Now" had also shot straight into the top 10.
Of the six tracks on the EP, "That Ain't Bad" received the lion's share of attention - and it's the only song from Tingles I've ever heard until now. Regular readers may remember from my 1985 recaps that when Species Deceases debuted at number 1 at the end of that year, I mentioned the ARIA rule that an EP qualified for the singles chart if it contained no more than five tracks. Clearly that rule came into effect post-Tingles.
Peak: number 34
From one legendary Aussie rock release to another - "Throw Your Arms Around Me" is an even more iconic track than "That Ain't Bad", despite never getting any higher than number 34 on the ARIA chart. It wasn't for want of trying - this was the third recording of the song by the band to be released, with prior versions coming out in 1984 (and failing to chart) and 1986 (and reaching number 49).
This new, acoustic take on the rock ballad was recorded for inclusion on Hunters & Collectors' first greatest hits album, Collected Works, which at least became their highest-charting album up until that point by reaching number 6. One of those examples of chart achievement not being required to turn a song into a classic, "Throw Your Arms Around Me" did triumph on another countdown - ranking in the top 5 of the first three Triple J Hottest 100s between 1989 and 1991.
Number 47 100 Miles And Runnin' by N.W.A.
Peak: number 33
Speaking of Triple J, here's our third new entry in a row with a strong link to the radio station that, at this point, was in the process of going national. In the case of N.W.A., 2JJJ had famously played the song "Express Yourself" for 24 hours straight in protest at the ban on playing another track by the US rap group, "Fuck Tha Police".
Given all that attention, as well as the fact that 100 Miles And Runnin' was N.W.A.'s first release following the departure of original member Ice Cube, the EP improved on the top 100 placing of "Express Yourself" to become the group's only top 50 appearance... until "Fuck Tha Police" peaked at number 49 last year off the back of biopic Straight Outta Compton.
As well as none-too-flattering lyrical references to Ice Cube, the lead - and title - track caused controversy of a different kind when one of its many samples resulted in a drawn-out court case. The use of a snippet of Funkadelic's "Get Off Your Ass And Jam" led to the ruling that a licence is required from the original rights-holders of a song even if only a couple of seconds of the track being sampled is used.
Peak: number 14
For almost anyone else, a seventh single from an album would mean the bottom of the barrel was being well and truly scraped. Not so Janet Jackson, who'd saved one of the best tracks from Rhythm Nation 1814 for release 14 months after the album first came out. In Australia, it was actually the fifth single, with both "Alright" and "Come Back To Me" being skipped over for release here. Janet also revealed a brand new look in the Herb Ritts-directed music video - with the more overtly sexual tone of the clip something we'd never seen from Janet before.
By reaching number 1 in the US, "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" broke all sorts of chart records there, while it became the third biggest release from the album in Australia, falling just two places short of lead single "Miss You Much". The success of the song also lit a fire under Rhythm Nation, which had performed pretty badly on the albums chart up until that point, having never risen above number 23 and being absent from the top 50 for most of 1990. The album suddenly catapulted up the chart and spent three weeks at number 1 in February. Better late than never.
Number 42 "Hippychick" by Soho
Peak: number 21
Our highest new entry comes from another song featuring a prominent - but this time, legally credited - sample. First released in the UK in April 1990, "Hippychick" by British trio Soho made use of a guitar riff from "How Soon Is Now?" by The Smiths - and would shortly be heading towards the UK top 10 on re-release there. In Australia, it looks like the track may have been released exclusively on 12" - or at any rate, that's the format that sold the majority of copies. Fronted by sisters Jacqui and Pauline Cuff, Soho would continue to release music throughout the decade, but none of their other songs caught on in the same way.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1991:
Next week: another future number 1 enters the top 50, as does a remake of a '70s classic and a solo single with the same title as a song released by the performer's old band. Speaking of songs with the same titles, we'll also see two identically named singles - one which just made the top 50 and one which just missed it.