|Jimmy Barnes' first soul covers collection became his most successful album|
Case in point: the singles chart from 25 years ago this week. The songs I'll cover in this post fall into two broad categories: rock and easy listening, with nothing in the way of dance beats, R&B harmonies or pop princesses. I guess every journey has its difficult stages...
|ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending October 6, 1991|
The number 1 single in Australia this week in 1991 was, for the 11th week in a row, "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams, who equalled Paul McCartney's stretch at the top with "Mull Of Kintyre/Girls School" in 1977-78. But, as I mentioned last week, "(Everything I Do)..." had been deleted and this would be its final week at number 1.
In fact, it was probably lucky to score one more week on top since it had fallen from the summit of all but one of the state charts, and benefitted from there not being a significantly strong across-the-board rival.
Off The Chart
Number 97 "It Had To Be You" by Harry Connick Jr
Peak: number 76
Two years after it featured in When Harry Met Sally..., this cover of the pop standard entered the ARIA top 100 as a compilation of the same name became Harry Connick Jr's first hit album locally.
Number 94 "Jimi G" by Roxus
Peak: number 68
Power ballad "Where Are You Now" had given Roxus their only big hit, but similarly styled "Jimi G" couldn't repeat the feat and ended up as the band's final top 100 appearance.
"Don't Hold Back Your Love" by Daryl Braithwaite
Peak: number 55
Rise may have continued to sell and sell, ending up as Australia's number 1 album of 1991 - but "The Horses" aside, Daryl wasn't having so much luck with its singles. "Rise" and "Higher Than Hope" had missed the top 20, and this cover of the Hall & Oates single from 1990 became the album's first not to make the ARIA top 50. Obviously, "Don't Hold Back Your Love" suffered due to Rise having been in the albums top 50 all year (including 21 weeks in the top 10), but I also find it a bit of a boring song (but then I'd say that about all of Daryl's slower singles since his comeback).
"Everybody Plays The Fool" by Aaron Neville
Peak: number 52
Another remake now, this time from the man who'd reinvigorated his solo career thanks to his hit duet with Linda Ronstadt, "Don't Know Much". Sneaked out between albums by The Neville Brothers (alongside siblings Art, Charles and Cyril), Aaron released his first solo effort in five years in 1991. Aptly titled Warm Your Heart, the album contained his version of "Everybody Plays The Fool", which had originally been recorded by The Main Ingredient (a soul group that included Cuba Gooding Sr among its members). The easy listening track was a fairly faithful version of the tune, which, like the entire Warm Your Heart album, was produced by Linda, who once again performed with Aaron on subsequent single "Close Your Eyes".
Number 50 "Nervous Kid" by Maybe Dolls
Peak: number 32
You didn't have to look very far to find a female-fronted rock band in Australia in the early '90s. We've already seen Baby Animals, Girl Overboard, Clouds and Falling Joys feature on the ARIA chart - and joining that roster was the latest outfit featuring singer Annalisse Morrow and her brother, Chris. A decade earlier, they'd reached a high of number 40 as part of The Numbers with 1980's "Five Letter Word". Along with the rest of their new band, Maybe Dolls, the siblings did slightly better with debut single "Nervous Kid". With its catchy, sing-along chorus and radio-friendly sound, this probably should've been bigger, but like all those other bands with female singers I mentioned, a massive hit would elude Maybe Dolls.
Number 31 "Wild Hearted Son" by The Cult
Peak: number 27
British band The Cult certainly lived up to their name in Australia. Yes, they landed a couple of hits and even reached the top 10 with their 1991 album, Ceremony, but their chart visits were always short, as their loyal fanbase snapped up their latest offering and the rest of the country remained mostly oblivious. I didn't like "Wild Hearted Son" as much as their last top 30 hit, "Fire Woman", which remained their highest-charting single locally.
Number 16 "I Gotcha" by Jimmy Barnes
Peak: number 6
On his previous album, Two Fires, Jimmy Barnes' brand of Oz rock had received an American polish thanks to John Cougar Mellencamp's producer of choice, Don Gehman, and big-name US songwriters like Desmond Child, Holly Knight, Rick Nowels and Diane Warren. For his next effort, Jimmy tapped into a different part of America's musical heritage, releasing an album of soul and R&B remakes - territory he'd ventured into before with his 1988 live single, "When A Man Loves A Woman".
To kick of the covers collection, Jimmy chose his version of "I Gotcha" as lead single. Originally a hit (although not in Australia) for Joe Tex in 1972, the fiery R&B track was the musical equivalent of TV's Cheaters - with the lyrics describing how an unfaithful lover had been caught in the act. Regular readers will know I've never been enamoured with Jimmy's work and this single did nothing to change my mind. I couldn't have been less interested in it and the entire Soul Deep project. As usual, the Australian public disagreed with me, not only sending "I Gotcha" into the top 10 and awarding Jimmy a sixth solo number 1 album, but making Soul Deep his best-seller to date by some margin.
Next week: a batch of new entries I was much more excited about - with two of the hottest new American vocal harmony groups debuting alongside a future movie star and a couple of shaved head, gym-pumped Brits.
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