Wednesday, 4 November 2015

25 Years Ago This Week: November 4, 1990

It's always been the case in music that when one act fades away, another similar artist is waiting in the wings to take its place. And to prove the point, 25 years ago this week, there was a changing of the guard in the hair metal stakes.

Warrant: all dressed up and ready to shock

As the second-biggest band in the genre flopped with their latest release, a newer group scored their first ARIA top 50 hit single - and just like that the baton was passed.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending November 4, 1990

At number 1 this week in 1990 was an Australian band that'd seen its time come and go - and then come again. "Jukebox In Siberia" by the reformed Skyhooks spent the first of two weeks on top of the ARIA singles chart.


Off the chart
Number 81 "If Wishes Came True" by Sweet Sensation
Peak: number 68
Their debut album had yielded no chart action whatsoever in Australia, but the freestyle trio cracked the top 100 with their obligatory big ballad - a US number 1.


Breaker
"Violence Of Summer (Love's Taking Over)" by Duran Duran
Peak: number 59
They ended the '80s with career retrospective Decade - and what a career Duran Duran had enjoyed so far. In Australia alone, they'd placed eight songs inside the top 10 - but things had taken a downward turn following the relatively disappointing performance of 1988's "I Don't Want Your Love". Looked like it wasn't going to get any better in the '90s, with this first single from Liberty giving the band their worst lead-off to any album up until that point. 
Even for a big Duran Duran fan like me, "Violence Of Summer..." was a bit of a disappointment. It's not a terrible song, but it certainly wasn't up to their normal standard, with Simon Le Bon saying years later that it didn't have a "proper chorus". Meanwhile, the three-piece version of the band that had existed since 1986 once again became a quintet, with touring guitarist (and future porn star) Warren Cuccurullo and drummer Sterling Campbell added to the permanent line-up.




New entries
Number 50 "Candy" by Iggy Pop
Peak: number 9
Despite their wide-reaching influence on music, up until the late '80s, neither Iggy Pop nor his (then) former group The Stooges had been especially successful on the Australian charts. Proving that "Real Wild Child (Wild One)", which peaked at number 11 in 1987, was no one-off, Iggy went even better and finally landed a top 10 single with this second release from the Brick By Brick album. On this occasion, Iggy had more than a little help from his duet partner on "Candy" - Kate Pierson from The B-52's, who proved to be a popular choice of guest vocalist around this time and whose soaring vocals were the essential ingredient that made "Candy" such a guaranteed hit.




Number 48 "I Can See Clearly Now" by Hothouse Flowers
Peak: number 22
Irish band Hothouse Flowers seemed to be becoming regulars around the tail end of the top 50, with their first three singles peaking between number 39 and 53, so it was time to shake things up a bit. Why not a gospel-y cover of "I Can See Clearly Now", originally a number 3 hit by reggae star Johnny Nash in 1972? At first, it looked like the remake was destined to suffer the same fate as the band's previous releases - peaking here at number 48 before sliding right out of the top 100. But, the song had a new lease of life in February and broke the curse by climbing as high as number 22. Still, Australia seemed to prefer the song in its original reggae style, with a more faithful rendition by Jimmy Cliff beating Hothouse Flower's position just over three years later.




Number 47 "Lover Of Mine" by Alannah Myles
Peak: number 47
After enjoying two of the year's biggest hits with "Love Is" and "Black Velvet", Alannah Myles ran out of luck with her third single, "Still Got This Thing". Time then for the Canadian rock chick to wheel out big ballad "Lover Of Mine", which at least returned her to the top 50, even if it progressed no further.




Number 44 "Something To Believe In" by Poison
Peak: number 44
Here's another rock ballad entering the top 50 at what would be its peak position - and it was the final ARIA top 50 appearance for the normally much more fun Poison. A pretty sombre, issues-driven effort, "Something To Believe In" was also the band's last major hit in the US, with subsequent singles from Flesh And Blood scraping the bottom of the top 40 there.




Number 43 "Number One (Remember When We Danced All Night)" by Margaret Urlich
Peak: number 24
Ballad "Only My Heart Calling" had slipped into the top 50 in July, but New Zealander Margaret Urlich found herself back in the middle of the chart with her third single, a boppier track that even received a PWL remix for the 12" single. The production on the standard version could've been a bit punchier, but it was hard not to like "Number One...", a song that seems to have become long-forgotten. Although neither this single nor "Escaping" had been major hits in Australia, Margaret's album, Safety In Numbers, was settling in to an extended run in the top 10 at this point in its shelf-life, which was probably better news for her bank balance.




Number 42 "Cherry Pie" by Warrant
Peak: number 6
Poison might have come over all serious - and bottomed out on the chart as a result - but fellow hair metal band Warrant brought the fun with this lead single from their second album of the same name. Best known up until this point for their US hit power ballad "Heaven", the band fronted by bleach blond singer Jani Lane (real name: John Oswald) channelled the cheekiness Poison had shown on songs like "Nothin' But A Good Time" and "Unskinny Bop", and turned the sexual overtones up to 11. 
One of those tracks written - in 15 minutes, allegedly - at the behest of a record company eager for a hit single, "Cherry Pie" was about as subtle as a sledgehammer. Then, there was the music video, featuring former Miss Teen USA runner-up Bobbie Brown (real name) cavorting around in what back then passed for next to nothing. 
With all that going for it, "Cherry Pie" couldn't fail - and it ended up being the biggest of this week's new entries. Fun fact 1: Jani and Bobbie, who met while filming the video, ended up dating and then marrying in 1991. They divorced in 1993. Fun fact 2: Poison guitarist C C DeVille played on "Cherry Pie".




Number 36 "I'm Your Baby Tonight" by Whitney Houston
Peak: number 7
Just as Mariah Carey was settling in nicely as America's new diva on the block, the singer who turned the big ballad into an art form during the late '80s stormed back onto the charts to reclaim her throne - or, at least, put up a decent fight for it. But, for her first single in two years, Whitney Houston opted for an upbeat tune, just as she had in 1987 when she kicked off Whitney with "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)"
Written and produced by the hit American songwriting and production team of LA Reid and Babyface, the US version of "I'm Your Baby Tonight" returned her to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 - her eighth chart-topper. For its release in Australia (and Europe), the R&B track was given a more pop remix by Yvonne Turner, and the song became her biggest hit and first top 10 record since "I Wanna Dance...".




Next week: it's power ballad o'clock with a couple of big songs taken from two of 1990's hottest films. Plus, the return of my favourite group of all time and some big debuts that quickly puttered out of steam.


Back to: Oct 28, 1990 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Nov 11, 1990


4 comments:

  1. 'If Wishes Came True' cracked the 'Rock 40 Countdown' national radio chart. I'm surprised it didn't do better on the 'real' chart.

    'Violence of Summer' was a bit dull, and didn't sound very 90s. I had no idea a porn 'star' was once in the band.

    As for 'Candy'... 'geez, it's been twenty (five) years' now, which is hard to fathom.

    There was also a 3rd single ('Easier In the Morning') from the first Hothouse Flowers album that cracked the top 100, according to the Chartifacts column in the ARIA report - during the 18 months where positions 51-100 are unknown, but it doesn't specify what it peaked at.

    'Lover of Mine' is my favourite single from Alannah's debut album. It might have done better if it was released immediately after 'Black Velvet'.

    'Something To Believe In' was a chore to sit through when it was in the rage top 60.

    I hadn't heard the Pete Hammond mix of the Margaret Urlich track before. It seems wrong that someone as 'uncool' as her should be remixed by him (or at all). I remember a then-family friend's son mistakenly thinking that 'Number One' was #1 in the charts.

    'Cherry Pie' reminds me of finishing primary school. It seems much better remembered than a typical #6 hit would be. Strange that they had to hire C.C. DeVille (whether by choice or not) to play lead guitar.

    The US version of 'I'm Your Baby Tonight' is awful IMO; so glad we got the remix.

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  2. I can remember IF WISHES CAME TRUE went to #17 on the rival OZ chart, the Australian Music Report.. Video Hits - who used the chart - used to play SWEET SENSATION a lot back in the day.

    Someone on eBay is selling a SWEET SENSATION best of video clip DVD at the moment. They had more than 1 hit back in the USA. Kinda like LISA LISA & CULT JAM and EXPOSE ... never made a dent in the OZ Top 40.
    :-(
    Memories.
    Tony M

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    Replies
    1. Both Sweet Sensation albums are great - so many good songs like Hooked On You, Love Child, Each And Every Time, Take It While It's Hot.

      I really like Lisa Lisa and Expose as well. Shame none of that freestyle stuff did anything here.

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    2. Sweet Sensation's 'Love Child' also spent some time in the Triple M Top 8 at 8 (not an official chart, obviously).

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