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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1991: April 7, 1991

There's a British quiz show called Pointless, which is kind of like the anti-Family Feud. Instead of contestants coming up with the most popular answers to a survey question, they have to think of the most obscure ones. I'll give you an example - a recent question asked for hits by The Bangles. Naturally, songs like "Walk An Egyptian" and "Manic Monday" scored highly, while "In Your Room" and "Walking Down Your Street" didn't. So, if a contestant could come up with one of the singles everyone had forgotten about, they were doing better than a contestant who could only think of the girl band's biggest hits.

These Mariah Carey and Jimmy Barnes singles would be good Pointless answers

Why am I telling you all this? Well, the two new entries on the ARIA singles top 50 from this week in 1991 are over-looked songs by big-name artists - singles that would probably be great answers on Pointless. One was a top 10 single by one of Australia's favourite male singers, and the other wasn't a big hit locally but was the latest American chart-topper for a new female star. For added fun, the three songs that peaked between numbers 51 and 100 are also lesser-known singles by acts with much bigger releases.

A number 1 single that would probably also be quite a good Pointless answer rose to the top of the ARIA singles chart this week in 1991. Twin Peaks theme "Falling" by Julee Cruise spent a single week on top and is probably not the first song that comes to mind when you think of '90s chart-toppers.

Off The Chart

Number 95 "She's Got Me Going Crazy" by 2 In A Room

Peak: number 72

"Wiggle It" was still at number 14 this week in 1991, but this average follow-up was never more than a chart also-ran, unable to prevent 2 In A Room from becoming one-hit wonders.

Number 84 "Night And Day" by Bette Midler

Peak: number 84

Another song unable to overcome the shadow of its predecessor was this second single from Some People's Lives, which got no further than this debut position, while "From A Distance" spent its 21st week on the top 50 - holding steady at number 21.

Number 60 "Never Say Die" by Jon Bon Jovi

Peak: number 60

I don't think I even knew Jon Bon Jovi released more than two singles from Blaze Of Glory. After two rock ballads, this upbeat number failed to progress any further - but it least it did better than fourth single "Dyin' Ain't Much Of A Livin'", which was a top 100 miss.

New Entries

Number 49 "Someday" by Mariah Carey

Peak: number 44

It's understandable that, out of all of Mariah Carey's ARIA top 50 singles, "Someday" would fly under the radar - it didn't do very well in Australia despite being, for me, one of her all-time best songs. After establishing herself with big ballads "Vision Of Love" and "Love Takes Time", perhaps the change of pace and attitude was too jarring, although the American public (and US radio programmers) had no problem awarding Mariah her third consecutive number 1. 

The upbeat track directed at a clueless ex-boyfriend was one of the songs included on the demo Mariah shopped around to record labels and was given a glossy makeover by producer Ric Wake for her debut album. When it came time for "Someday" to be released as a single, two new 7" mixes were made - one that was pretty similar to the album version (which is the one I prefer) and a new jack swing-influenced mix, which you can hear below.

Another likely reason that "Someday" under-performed locally is that Mariah's debut self-titled album had been bouncing around between numbers 6 and 11 on the albums chart since late January. The success of Mariah Carey would also mean her fourth American number 1 hit, which we'll see in a few months, barely scraped into the ARIA top 50.

Number 45 "When Your Love Is Gone" by Jimmy Barnes

Peak: number 7

If you were to ask someone to list off Jimmy Barnes's top 10 hits, it's likely that songs such as "Working Class Man", "I'd Die To Be With You Tonight" and "Too Much Ain't Enough Love" would all rate a mention before this fourth single from Two Fires. Given its chart placing, "When Your Love Is Gone" is obviously one of Jimmy's more popular singles, but it's not a song you hear a lot about or see much on music TV these days. At the time, the rock ballad's chart success was a dramatic turnaround after "Little Darling" had flopped earlier in the year. A big part of the appeal of "When Your Love Is Gone" was the appearance in the music video of Jimmy's kids - then known as The Tin Lids - and some equally cute pals to join in on the choruses at the end of the song while wearing jumbo headphones. As I've mentioned before, there's nothing like a kiddy choir. 

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

Next week: the top 50 return of an Aussie rock band is overshadowed by three new dance hits - one of which was the latest megamix to hit the chart, while another was a cheesy track sampling an old instructional record.

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