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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1990: September 9, 1990

As I take my weekly looks back at the ARIA charts from 1985 and 1990, it's always nice when there's a link between the two like there is with this week's look back to the latter.

Go West: what a difference five years makes

This week in 1990, a duo that'd debuted five years earlier returned to the top 50 for the first time since their initial run of hits (which ended in early 1986) with the song that would end up becoming their biggest single ever.

Coincidentally, another band that'd released their debut album in 1985 but didn't reach the ARIA chart for another five years held on to the number 1 spot on the singles chart this week in 1990. "Epic" by Faith No More spent its third and final week on top.

Off The Chart

Number 83 "Do You Remember?" by Phil Collins

Peak: number 83

After the return to form that was "Something Happened On The Way To Heaven", Phil unleashed another formulaic ballad from ...But Seriously. Australia responded accordingly.

Number 80 "Venus" by Don Pablo's Animals

Peak: number 80

One of two versions of "Venus" simultaneously on the top 100, this house remake came out of Italy. We'll see a remix of the original Shocking Blue version when it finally makes the top 50 in late October.

Number 79 "One Love" by The Stone Roses

Peak: number 79

Like their last release, this was a stand-alone single that didn't appear on the band's self-titled debut album. Their highest-charting hit to date in the UK, it got no further in Australia.


"Nobody's Child" by The Traveling Wilburys

Peak: number 66

It's tricky being too critical of a charity record, especially one benefitting orphans - but this is truly awful. After two singles it was hard not to like "Handle With Care" and "End Of The Line" the old timers of rock supergroup provided the title track for an album raising funds for the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation. Originally recorded by 1950s country star Hank Snow, "Nobody's Child" might have been an appropriate choice of tune, but the sluggish pace and pained vocals make this difficult to sit through - and really, if you want people to part with money, it's usually a good idea to inspire them just a little. Fun fact: this was the second time Wilburys member George Harrison had featured on a version of "Nobody's Child" the first was when a pre-fame recording by The Beatles from 1961 was released as a B-side in 1964.

New Entries

Number 41 "King Of Wishful Thinking" by Go West

Peak: number 6

Here they are, the duo whose early hits I've been recapping in my 1985 posts and who made their long overdue return to the top 50 this week in 1990. I say "long overdue" but that's not because Go West had released anything worthy of charting in the intervening years - their best effort had been 1987's "I Want To Hear It From You", but that got about the attention it deserved. Instead, it was a long overdue return to the form they'd shown on their debut album. 

The song that brought them back to the chart was "King Of Wishful Thinking", a one-off single that wasn't followed by an album by the duo for another two years. Instead, it appeared on the soundtrack to 1990 rom-com blockbuster Pretty Woman alongside recent chart-topper "It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette and Natalie Cole's upcoming top 50 single "Wild Women Do". Not written especially for the film, but picked out a bunch of demos by record company EMI, who released the soundtrack, "King Of Wishful Thinking" returned Go West to the UK top 20 and gave them their only top 10 hit in the States.

Peter and Richard from Go West wrote the song with Martin Page, who'd co-written "We Built This City" by Starship and Heart's "These Dreams" with Elton John's songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, and says he was inspired by Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy". 

Number 40 "1990 Medley Mix" by Paula Abdul

Peak: number 33

Achieving what a remix of "Straight Up" hadn't managed, this megamix of all of Paula Abdul's big American hits gave the dancer/singer only her third ARIA top 50 hit. The success, such as it was, of "1990 Medley Mix" makes perfect sense since a) as we've seen, people couldn't get enough of megamixes in 1990 and b) like Bobby Brown, many of those singles hadn't done very well in Australia. Taking in "Straight Up", "Knocked Out", "Opposites Attract", "Forever Your Girl", "(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me" and "Cold Hearted", the track was one of the poorer megamixes to surface that year, with some pretty rough and abrupt jumps from song to song.

Number 36 "King Of The Mountain" by Midnight Oil

Peak: number 25

Another debut from a song with the word "king" in its title, this was the third release from Midnight Oil's Blue Sky Mining album, following "Blue Sky Mine" and "Forgotten Years". Peaking one place above the latter, "King Of The Mountain" is not, as many assume, about racing legend Peter Brock (although it's certainly been used to accompanying footage of his wins plenty of times). Rather, the track was inspired by Mount Cooroora in Pomona, Queensland, where an annual footrace called, funnily enough, King Of The Mountain, has been held since 1979. Taking a leaf out of U2's book, Midnight Oil used footage from an impromptu outdoors concert for the video for "King Of The Mountain". The performance took place outside the New York headquarters of Exxon, the company responsible for the then-worst oil spill in history the year before.

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

Next week: our looks back at 1985 and 1990 will be linked again, with the band returning with a brand new song in 1985 doing the same five years later. Plus, a former chart-topper struggles with his follow-up, as do a group of Australian comedians.

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