Wednesday, 27 May 2015

25 Years Ago This Week: May 27, 1990

Sometimes artists never do any better than their debut hit, but often, performers move on to a long and varied career - and the initial pop smash that launched their career becomes a source of embarrassment for them.

Tina Arena turned her back on "I Need Your Body" for years after

Twenty-five years ago this week, a single arrived on the ARIA chart that would be one of the year's biggest hits by an Australian artist - and one the singer in question ignored for decades after since it was quite different from the records she'd go on to make (and various other reasons).

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending May 27, 1990

Meanwhile, an artist who's mostly been very respectful of her early hits was still at number 1 this week in 1990. Madonna spent a fourth week on top with "Vogue/Keep It Together", but the song that would replace her at the summit was closing in fast.


Off The Chart
Number 96 "Pictures Of You" by The Cure
Peak: number 89
After the top 30 success of "Lullaby", The Cure didn't have any luck with subsequent singles from Disintegration despite "Lovesong" (number 82) being among their biggest international hits. This final single was another ARIA chart miss.

Number 90 "A Little Love" by Corey Hart
Peak: number 73
Earlier this year, we saw a long-forgotten top 40 hit by Corey Hart on my 30 Years Ago... posts - and here's another single that did much better overseas than in Australia. "A Little Love" was the lead single from the Canadian's fifth album, Bang!

Number 85 "Put Your Hands Together" by D Mob featuring Nuff Juice
Peak: number 71
"C'mon And Get My Love" would continue to float in and out of the top 50 until as late as July, but this follow-up, which sampled "Put Our Heads Together" by The O'Jays (from their 1983 album, When Will I See You Again), couldn't break into the top 70. 

Number 73 "911 Is A Joke" by Public Enemy
Peak: number 64
Progressing slightly higher than "Welcome To The Terrordome", the latest sample-heavy single from Fear Of A Black Planet was about the lack of emergency services attention given to African-American neighbourhoods. Surprisingly, the now iconic song just fell short of the Billboard Hot 100.


Breaker
"The BRITS 1990 (Dance Medley)" by Various Artists
Peak: number 56
The megamix craze continued with this British dance medley which not only combined modern songs but also used the original artists - something neither Jive Bunny nor Rococo had offered with their releases. Possibly due to the fact that only one of the songs featured - "Theme From S-Express" - had been a top 50 hit in Australia, this track (which was released to coincide with 1990's BRIT Awards) didn't find many takers locally. In order, the songs utilised are "Street Tuff" by Rebel MC & Double Trouble, "Voodoo Ray" by A Guy Called Gerald, "Theme From S-Express" by S-Express, "Hey DJ/I Can't Dance (To That Music You're Playing)" by Beatmasters featuring Betty Boo, "Eve Of The War (Ben Liebrand remix)" by Jeff Wayne, "Pacific 707" by 808 State, "We Call It Acieed" by D Mob featuring Gary Haisman and "Got To Keep On" by Cookie Crew.




New Entries
Number 49 "Freedom" by Noiseworks
Peak: number 30
After two albums of solid Aussie pub rock, Noiseworks shifted gears for their third album, Love Versus Money. That album was still over a year away, but psychedelically inclined lead single "Freedom" gave a taste of what to expect from the the more musically adventurous band. With production from future American Idol dog pound owner Randy Jackson, the new sound didn't go down that well with Australian fans. Yes, a number 30 placing was actually a lot higher than many of their earlier singles had managed - but "Touch", the lead single from their previous album of the same name, had climbed as high as number 12. At any rate, it would be interesting to see what they came up with next.




Number 45 "Club At The End Of The Street" by Elton John
Peak: number 19
"Healing Hands" and "Sacrifice" may not have been hits in the UK - yet! - but both songs had performed well in the US and Australia, and so a third single from Sleeping With The Past was released, but this time without a video featuring its performer. By now, Elton John was deep into his charity work to raise money for AIDS research and he was too busy with that to shoot anything, and so this animated clip was produced. It didn't make any difference to the single's chart performance - perhaps the novelty even helped - and by reaching number 19, it was the first time since 1983's hat-trick of "I'm Still Standing" (number 3), "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" (number 4) and "Crystal" (number 12) that Elton had enjoyed three consecutive top 20 hits in Australia.




Number 44 "All Or Nothing" by Milli Vanilli
Peak: number 44
And so, the Milli Vanilli phenomenon came to a crashing halt. After three of the country's biggest hit singles of the past 12 months, the lip-syncing duo bombed out with this title track from their debut album. Well, it was the title track of one of the many versions of that album - which was called Girl You Know It's True (and had a different tracklisting) for the American market, and was remixed and repackaged for other countries. In Australia, we got the wholly unsatisfying All Or Nothing: The US Remix Album, which only contained nine tracks, many in extended form - yet it still managed to spend five weeks at number one here in April/May. It was likely due to the success of the album, as well as the lengthy chart stays of "Baby Don't Forget My Number", "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" and "Blame It On The Rain", that "All Or Nothing" (a number 4 hit in the US) didn't perform in Australia - since the revelation that Rob and Fab hadn't performed any of the act's vocals had yet to fully break.




Number 41 "This Beat Is Technotronic" by Technotronic featuring MC Eric
Peak: number 27
Here's another dance act that had lied about who provided their vocals, but in Technotronic's case, it was quickly realised that it was best to give credit where credit was due. And so, model Felly was dumped in favour of actual rapper Ya Kid K for the video to previous hit "Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over)", while Eric Martin, who rapped on this third single, was given a full featuring credit. I wasn't as big a fan of "This Beat Is Technotronic" as either of the Belgian dance group's previous hits - and it seems Australia as a whole felt the same way, with the single's peak significantly lower than those of "Pump Up The Jam" or "Get Up!". MC Eric (who now also goes by the alias Me One) and Ya Kid K, although not heard on the same track until the obligatory megamix, had a collaboration of a different kind - marrying and having a child together in the early '90s.




Number 40 "Dub Be Good To Me" by Beats International featuring Lindy Layton
Peak: number 12
A dance track that did connect with the Australian public was this mashup of a cover of The S.O.S. Band's "Just Be Good To Me" - a number 17 hit in 1984 - with the bassline from "Guns Of Brixton" by The Clash. Elements from "Man With A Harmonica" from the soundtrack to Once Upon A Time In The West by composer Ennio Morricone (the harmonica line) and "Jam Hot" by DJ Johnny Dynell (the intro and outro rap) also featured prominently in the song, which reached number 1 in the UK. Beats International was the musical vehicle for a post-Housemartins, pre-Fatboy Slim Norman Cook, while vocals were provided by Lindy Layton, whose post-Beats solo career never really took off.




Number 33 "It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette
Peak: number 1
So busy with their sudden worldwide domination were Swedish duo Roxette that when the producers of Pretty Woman wanted a song from the pair for the rom-com's soundtrack, they recycled a Christmas single from 1987. Originally titled "It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken Hearted)", the ballad reached the top 10 in their homeland but was unknown in the rest of the world - making it perfect for resurrection. With all festive references removed, the otherwise unchanged song became a stand-alone single bridging the gap between Look Sharp! and 1991's Joyride - and another chart-topper around the globe. I bought the 7" single of "It Must Have Been Love", but I actually did so for the B-side, "Paint", my favourite song from Look Sharp! that never quite made it to single status. Since I didn't own that album at that point, it was my only way to own "Paint" - and it remains one of my all-time top 5 non-singles by any act.




Number 30 "I Need Your Body" by Tina Arena
Peak: number 3
Her Young Talent Time nickname might have been "Tiny", but there was nothing small about this debut top 50 hit from 22-year-old Tina Arena. "I Need Your Body" wasn't actually Tina's first-ever single - that honour belongs to 1985's "Turn Up The Beat", which reached number 92 in early 1986 and was released via a record deal she signed while still on YTT - but it was her first release to make a real impression on the chart. And it stormed all the way to number 3, beating the recent chart peak of her former cast-mate Dannii Minogue's debut single by one spot. 
For me, "I Need Your Body" was a far superior song to "Love And Kisses", so it's a shame it hasn't always received the acknowledgement it deserves. Without it, Tina might not have as easily moved on to her successful ballad-heavy career later in the decade. It's nice to see, though, that she performed it in concert last year and is finally embracing her pop past. Of course, given it came out in 1990, "I Need Your Body" was acknowledged at the time by the Fast Forward team, who gave it a typically outrageous send-up referencing the other parts of Tina that were no longer tiny.




Next week: three acts return to the chart - one, the world's biggest boy band; another, a female singer behind one of 1989's best ballads; and finally, the UK's premier club act with what would surprisingly end up as their biggest Australian hit.


Back to: May 20, 1990 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 3, 1990


5 comments:

  1. I liked the previous 2 Cure singles (or 3 including 'Fascination Street', which Triple M in Melbourne featured in their top 8 at 8), but 'Pictures of Me' didn't grow on me until more than a decade later.

    Public Enemy were the kind of 'band' you somehow knew about at the time, despite having no hits (singles) here yet.

    It seems strange that the Brits medley charted here (as with the New Order song in a few weeks). I can't imagine an ARIA awards medley charting in the UK.

    The delayed release of Noiseworks' 3rd album, combined with the switch back to pub rock with 'Hot Chilli Woman', made me think that 'Freedom' (and to a lesser extent 'Miles and Miles') were put out to test the waters - to see how receptive a dance audience, and their core fan-base, would be to the change in direction. 'Freedom' was quite a bold move as a lead single; especially for an Australian band.

    I think the animated video probably helped 'Club At the End of the Street's chart placing. I paid much more attention to it than if it had been another video featuring Elton performing.

    As a Milli Vanilli fan back then, I preferred the album (albeit remix album) version of 'All of Nothing' to the single remix. I was surprised that it failed to climb higher than #44. The original European 'All or Nothing' also received a local release, in early 1989, but did nothing. I don't know why they promoted the remix album over it though; I would have preferred the original album (but couldn't find it anywhere by the time I was interested enough to buy it).

    I remember MC B (with vocals from Daisy Dee) released a cover of 'This Beat Is Technotronic' (with virtually identical backing track) at the same time the original became a single. I probably prefer it.

    I don't think I realised until now that the Beats International track stole the backing from the Clash track. There's an interesting mash-up of 'Dub Be Good To Me' with Dead or Alive's 'You Spin Me Round' on youtube.

    'Turn Up the Beat' did actually enter the top 100, but it's credited to just 'Tina' (also listed as a separate entry in David Kent's book, which doesn't make the connection) - somewhat bold of her given how well-known and popular 'Tina' (no surname needed) Turner was at the time. I love the Fast Forward send-up. I remember her being interviewed briefly on Triple M's Top 8 at 8 at the time, where host John Peters was discussing her large bust in the video, and she said something like she might 'let some air out' (of them) for the next video. Her 1994 comeback was quite unexpected, I thought. I assumed she'd give up her pop career for good, instead focusing on stage musicals, by that point.

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    1. Thanks for the info re Tina. That's very annoying they're under separate entries in DK's book. Amended the blurb.

      I believe Fascination Street wasn't released as a single here - although sounds like it got some airplay. Could be wrong about that, though.

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    2. I found Hot Chilli Woman quite different from other Noiseworks stuff, even though it was more rock than Freedom. The only song from that era I like is Miles And Miles.

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    3. 'Fascination Street' didn't get a local release, but Triple M played it before the album release, I presume, because it was the first US single from the album. When I heard/saw 'Lullaby' for the first time, in the rage top 50, I wondered what it was, and what had happened to 'Fascination Street'.

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  2. There are some good things on this list, lower down however!

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