Thursday, 29 September 2016

25 Years Ago This Week: September 29, 1991

Back in the days of physical music formats (you know, the pre-iTunes era), I never approved of record companies deleting singles while they were still on the chart. Whether it was to shift attention on to a follow-up song or to "persuade" people to buy the album, it resulted in the chart life of a song being artificially cut short. 

Technically, this was the single that knocked "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" from number 1

Twenty-five years ago this week, a single debuted on the ARIA top 50 that was responsible for a number 1 hit being deleted while it was still on top of the chart. The deleted single was "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams, which would drop out of the top 100 in a matter of weeks as the remaining existing copies were snapped up.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending September 29, 1991

This week in 1991, the soundtrack ballad spent its 10th week at number 1. It would manage one more week, but who knows how many more it might have spent on top had it not been made unavailable. Could it have equalled or surpassed the all-time record-holder, "Fernando" by ABBA, which lasted 14 weeks at number 1 in 1976? We'll never know - and that, in a nutshell, is my problem with singles being deleted.


Off the chart
Number 94 "Like A Rolling Stone" by Ana Christensen
Peak: number 94
"Isolate Your Heart" hadn't cracked the top 50 despite two attempts, so Ana Christensen tried her luck with her version of the Bob Dylan classic, which can be heard around the 27:43 mark on the link above.

Number 92 "Skat Strut" by MC Skat Kat & The Stray Mob
Peak: number 82
They certainly took their time with this "Opposites Attract" cash-in, didn't they? Sampling "Let's Groove", "Skat Strut" came from poorly received album The Adventures Of MC Skat Kat And The Stray Mob and featured Paula Abdul in the music video. Few people cared.

Number 90 "Wave Of The Future" by Quadrophonia
Peak: number 83
Another cut of techno/rap from the group whose self-titled single had peaked 10 places higher back in June. Australia wasn't quite ready for this yet, it would seem. Yes, pun intended.

Number 85 "She's A Star" by Ian Moss
Peak: number 74
Well, this was an unmitigated disaster, wasn't it? Making 1927's second album look like a raging success, Ian Moss continued to be met with chart disappointment with this second single from Worlds Away. "She's A Star" would be his final top 100 appearance.

Number 76 "Just A Groove" by Nomad
Peak: number 76
"(I Wanna Give You) Devotion" was on its last legs in the top 100 and while this follow-up wasn't quite as brilliant a song, it was still a cool dance track that deserved better.


Single of the week
"A Thousand Suns" by Russell Morris
Peak: number 118
No matter how hard Festival Records pushed or how many times they made Russell Morris the recipient of the Single Of The Week when it was their turn, it seemed the Australian public weren't interested in the latest from the once-chart-topping performer. Following the number 100 peak of "Tartan Lines", the title track of his upcoming album missed the top 100 completely. When A Thousand Suns came out in November, it didn't do much better, reaching number 98 on the albums chart. Despite all that, a third single, "Stay With You", was released in 1992. 




Breakers
"Near Wild Heaven" by R.E.M.
Peak: number 65
It may not have been quite as gleeful as "Shiny Happy People", but this third single from Out Of Time was another fairly breezy tune from the band whose biggest hit remained the angst-ridden "Losing My Religion". By now, though, Out Of Time had spent six months inside the albums top 30 (including 17 weeks in the top 10), so R.E.M. went from back-to-back top 20 hits to a chart footnote.




"That's The Way Love Goes" by Young MC
Peak: number 63
Hopes were high enough for Young MC for Capitol Record to sign him up fresh from his success with debut album Stone Cold Rhymin' (and after a lawsuit brought by former label Delicious Vinyl had been settled). But even though he had a major record company (and their budget to make flashy music videos) behind him, the rapper who'd hit number 1 with "Bust A Move" couldn't achieve the same success with this single or the Brainstorm album. Probably because "That's The Way Love Goes" lacked that sense of fun that'd made Young MC's earlier singles so appealing and is almost a chore to listen to.




New entries
Number 49 "I'll Be There" by The Escape Club
Peak: number 43
Last week, we saw the top 50 hit that prevented EMF from being a one-hit wonder - and here's the song that does the same for The Escape Club. Despite its similarities to "Wild Wild West", previous single "Call It Poison" hadn't taken off and so the band shifted gears with this emotional ballad. Written about the death of a friend of the band, "I'll Be There" made more of a connection with the public, especially in the US, where it reached number 8.




Number 43 "Just Like You" by Robbie Nevil
Peak: number 4
Up until this point, most people (although not me) would have classed Robbie Nevil as a one-hit wonder thanks to 1987's number 4 single "C'est La Vie", despite the fact that he'd reached number 38 with the follow-up, "Dominoes". But, any 1HW tag was definitely shaken off with this chart comeback. The lead single from third album Day 1 - there'd been a second album in there that had done nothing locally -  "Just Like You" was as catchy as pop songs get and equalled the chart peak of "C'est La Vie". Robbie's knack for writing pop tunes served him well when his performing career wound down. More recently, he's worked as writer and producer for former American Idol contestants like David Archuleta and Jordin Sparks, and Disney TV series like Hannah Montana and High School Musical




Number 41 "Primal Scream" by Mötley Crüe
Peak: number 29
As album names go, Decade Of Decadence couldn't be more fitting. The title of Mötley Crüe's first greatest hits album, it perfectly summed up the hardest partying rock band around. "Primal Scream" was one of three new songs recorded for the compilation and it's a song I have absolutely no memory of. A quick listen and I don't feel like I was missing much.




Number 38 "R.I.P. (Millie)" by Noiseworks
Peak: number 26
The latest release by Noiseworks was the week's second new entry inspired by the passing of a loved one. "R.I.P. (Millie)" was dedicated to singer Jon Steven's mother, who had succumbed to cancer not long before the release of Love Versus Money. The rousing ballad ended up as one of the band's more successful singles, equalling the peak of "Miles And Miles".




Number 35 "Emotions" by Mariah Carey
Peak: number 11
There's nothing like striking while the iron's hot, and just over a year after she debuted on the ARIA chart, Mariah Carey was back with the first single and title track of second album Emotions. Truth be told, the iron had gotten a little cold in Australia, with her previous two singles, "I Don't Wanna Cry" and "Someday", barely scraping into the top 50. But in the US, she'd equalled The Jackson Five by hitting number 1 with all four of her singles to date. That streak continued with "Emotions", setting a new record of five consecutive number 1s to kick off a career - a record that still stands today. The feel-good tune, which Mariah wrote and produced with David Cole and Robert Clivillés from C+C Music Factory, also returned her to the upper reaches of the Australian chart, becoming her first upbeat song to really take off locally. There'd be more where that came from.




Number 33 "Ballad Of Youth" by Richie Sambora
Peak: number 25
With Jon Bon Jovi's solo project done and dusted, it was band-mate Richie Sambora's turn to release a side project while Bon Jovi's between-albums break continued. Unfortunately for Richie, Stranger In This Town and lead single "Ballad Of Youth" were nowhere near as successful as Blaze Of Glory. Not that I've listened to it since 1991, but I remember liking "Ballad Of Youth" way more than "Blaze Of Glory". Even though that's not actually saying much since I was no fan of the Young Guns II soundtrack hit, I always thought Richie's song, with its "Layla"-style riff, was pretty catchy. I did wonder, though, why it wasn't called "Yesterday's Blues".




Number 24 "Gett Off" by Prince
Peak: number 8
Anyone who'd heard Prince's non-singles "Head", "Erotic City", "Darling Nikki" or "Jack U Off" during the '80s would've already known just how dirty he could get, but up until this point, most of his big hits had been less blatant and more suggestive. That changed with "Gett Off". The lead single from Diamonds And Pearls, the song sounded like sex and boasted a quite astonishing lyric (for the time) about what Prince wanted to do with the object of his lust. Naturally, it was massive - his biggest hit (and first top 10 placing) since 1989's "Batdance".


Number 18 "Can't Stop This Thing We Started" by Bryan Adams
Peak: number 9
I can see why Polygram Records would've deleted "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You". I don't agree with the decision, but I can understand it. The Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves theme was in danger of overshadowing everything else Bryan Adams had ever and would ever release thanks to its 10 weeks (and counting) at number 1. 
Crucially, Bryan had a new album full of potential singles (six more, in fact) that was a week away from release. How could any follow-up singles be expected to compete with a song that refused to budge from the top spot? Never mind the fact that Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark" - the number 1 single of 1985 - had remained on the top 50 for 53 weeks, during which time three further singles reached the top 20 and the album, Born In The U.S.A., continued to sell.
Anyway, "(Everything I Do)..." was withdrawn from sale, opening up the door for the next single, the kind of appropriately named "Can't Stop This Thing We Started" - except Polygram could stop it. A rockier track more typical of the work co-writer and co-producer Robert "Mutt" Lange was known for, the song burst into the top 20 and quickly gave Bryan his second top 10 hit in Australia. I tend to think the catchy pop/rock track would've been successful without the record company interference, just as "Cover Me", "Born In The U.S.A." and "I'm On Fire" had all done well for Bruce.
In the US, "(Everything I Do)..." was included on the B-side to "Can't Stop This....", which provided an added incentive for people to buy "Can't Stop This..." - a strategy that would become commonplace here in the '90s. In Australia, a live version of "It's Only Love" was the B-side, meaning anyone still desperate to own "(Everything I Do)..." would've been forced to buy the album - another occurrence we'd see fairly regularly throughout the decade.




Next week: Australia's favourite rocker gets soulful, plus the country's latest female-fronted rock band debuts. Yep, it's one of those weeks.


Back to: Sep 22, 1991 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 6, 1991


2 comments:

  1. Back then, when I cared about the chart, I didn't like deletions either. Although, in this instance I wasn't too bothered, as I loathed the Bryan Adams song at the time.

    I remember reading about the MC Skat Kat song, but didn't hear it until a few years ago. Milli Vanilli appearing in the video at 1:48 is the highlight for me.

    Never heard the Quadrophonia, Ian Moss or Russell Morris tracks before. I was thinking Russell Morris had previously been a 'single of the week' artist. The video has had a mere 51 views in 2 years!

    'Nomad's got the music' is a definite earworm.

    'Near Wild Heaven' sounds rather B-52's-esque, and the video looks similar to their 'Deadbeat Club' one; I guess they used the same people. The song is notable I guess for Michael Stipe not singing lead on it.

    I probably heard the Young MC track at the time, but don't remember it. It's not bad.

    It's sappy and a bit cheesy, but I liked 'I'll Be There', and the underwater scenes in the video.

    I wasn't that fond of 'Just Like You' at the time, but it has since grown on me.

    I remember the chorus of 'Primal Scream', but have never seen the video before (rage wouldn't air it in the top 60).

    I liked 'R.I.P. (Millie)' then, but it seemed like a strange single choice.

    I never liked 'Emotions' much, but it is catchy.

    It's not the sort of thing I'd normally like, but I liked 'Ballad of Youth', though I haven't heard it in years. I agree with you that it's much better than 'Blaze of Glory', and 'Yesterday's Blues' would have made a better title.

    I hadn't (and still haven't) heard those other Prince tracks you mention, but I'd heard 'Feel U Up', on the B-side of the 'Partyman' single I'd bought (I'm not sure why). I've said it before, but 'sex' songs were certainly in, in 1991.

    Didn't like the Bryan Adams song at the time, but don't mind it now. It's very Def Leppard-sounding though, and they'd go on to sound like him with their next album. Mutt could have at least tried slightly different production.

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  2. I really like Robbie Nevil's "Just Like You" though the album Day 1 is one of the worst albums I've ever heard.

    I'm not into Mariah Carey but "Emotions" and future hit "Fantasy" are both quite tolerable. It might be a rarity to sing that high pitched, maybe even considered a skill, but it sounds terrible.

    I loved Noiseworks and this is one of their best. "(RIP) Millie" was a huge change of pace from their previous top ten success but it was just as good and deserved a much higher placing on the chart.

    Ditto for "Ballad of Youth". Brilliant track and Australia should be ashamed for not making this one of the biggest singles of the year.

    What a great week it was 25 years ago. Prince released my favourite single of his, and I loved a lot of his singles. A truly mesmerising piece of pop/rap/funk whatever you wanna call it.

    I was a big fan of Bryan Adams too. Waking Up the Neighbors was the first new album I ever owned. I had other albums that were hand-me-downs from my brother but this was a brand new album and I was so excited the day I got this.

    Looking back at this chart, what a great time it was to be alive. Almost every song was good compared to about 5-10 of the current chart. I guess I'm biased as this was the era I was introduced to music and everyone is rather nostalgic to the time they started to get into music but damn there's some great songs in this chart.

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