Wednesday, 15 April 2015

This Week In 1990: April 15, 1990

When you think of Detroit, one of the first things that comes to mind is Motown. Seattle is synonymous with grunge music. And this week in 1990, the baggy sound of Manchester, UK arrived on the ARIA top 50 singles chart.

The Stone Roses: Madchester's sole success in Australia

Madchester, as the movement was dubbed, got its name from a Happy Mondays EP and mostly passed Australia by, with acts like Inspiral Carpets, James and the Mondays themselves missing the top 50 completely - usually by some margin.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending April 15, 1990

Meanwhile, "Nothing Compares 2 U" spent its eighth week at number 1 this week in 1990 - equalling the tally notched up by "Love Shack" over summer. To find a song that spent longer at number 1, you need to go all the way back to 1985. The good news was that Sinéad would finally be toppled from the chart summit next week by a song that couldn't be more opposite if it tried.

Off The Chart
Number 96 "No Blue Skies" by Lloyd Cole
Peak: number 86
He's everywhere! After the three singles with the Commotions we've seen on my flashbacks to 1985, here he is also missing the top 50 with the first release from his debut self-titled solo album.

Number 94 "Self Deceiver" by Jenny Morris
Peak: number 94
The fourth and final single from Shiver was co-written with Paul Kelly (who wrote previous single "Street Of Love") and kept up the tradition of each release from the album starting with an S.

Number 89 "Madly In Love" by Bros
Peak: number 68
It was essentially the same song as "Too Much", but better. Unfortunately for Bros, they weren't anywhere near as popular anymore and couldn't pull that kind of song recycling off.

Number 68 "Hump Music" by No Face
Peak: number 64
The Jungle Brothers' "I'll House You" had missed the ARIA chart, but this answer record - typical lyric: "girl, I'll hump you" - was an underground hit in Australia for the New York hip-hop trio.

"Sit And Wait" by Sydney Youngblood
Peak: number 59
Also taking out the title of this week's Single Of The Week, "Sit And Wait" was the second UK hit from American singer Sydney Youngblood (real name: Sydney Ford). His first British hit had been "If Only I Could", which did nothing in Australia, but was later covered by Wendy Matthews. Like the rest of the country, I gravitated more towards "Sit And Wait" as well, and still listen to parent album Feeling Free from time to time.

New Entries
Number 47 "Black Betty (remix)" by Ram Jam
Peak: number 17
Nearly three decades before Australian band Spiderbait took it all the way to number 1 in Australia in 2004, "Black Betty" was recorded by American rockers Ram Jam - and it's that 1977 version that's probably the best known of all the many interpretations of the tune, which originated as a work song. In 1990, remixer Ben Liebrand, who'd been involved in a number of musical resurrections over the previous few years - including Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight '88" - turned his hand to the track. Peaking 14 places lower than the original Ram Jam recording, the new "Black Betty" was also successful in the UK where it'd reached number 7 in 1977 and made number 13 this time around.

Number 46 "Hullabaloo" by Absent Friends
Peak: number 46
So far, interest in Australian supergroup Absent Friends had been about as high as that shown towards Sean Kelly's post-Models solo single, "Thank You, Goodnight". The debut single by the band which comprised members of Models, INXS and GANGgajang, as well as singer Wendy Matthews, was "Hallelujah", but that had tanked at a dismal number 100. This follow-up did better, but only spent a solitary week inside the top 50. Frankly, I'm surprised it did as well as that - it's a mess! Good thing the project had a cover version up their sleeve.

Number 42 "Summer Rain" by Belinda Carlisle
Peak: number 6
Finally! After registering only a solitary top 10 hit from each of her previous two albums, Belinda Carlisle broke the curse with this latest single from Runaway Horses. Things hadn't looked good when "La Luna" missed the mark (going no higher than number 21), but "Summer Rain" almost matched the peak of number 5 hit "Leave A Light On". Co-written by Maria Vidal (who we saw recently in my 1985 flashbacks), "Summer Rain" was my favourite track from the album - but not the highest charting version of the song on the ARIA chart. Criminally, the cheesy dance remake by Australian trio Slinkee Minx (who I once took to a Cold Rock Ice Cream parlour for a Smash Hits photo shoot) did peak at number 5 in 2004.

Number 37 "Fools Gold / What The World Is Waiting For" by The Stone Roses
Peak: number 13
As we saw earlier this year, "She Bangs The Drums" hadn't even registered inside the ARIA top 100, but this non-album double A-side release by the critically adored Madchester group did, as they say, the business locally. Originally, "What The World Is Waiting For" had been intended as the A-side, but record company pressure convinced the band to at least give both songs equal credit - something the ARIA chart ignored.
With its blend of indie rock, psychedelia and dance music, "Fools Gold" (and let's face it, that was the song that got all the attention) became one of the defining tracks of the baggy sound. The single took a while to really take off in Australia, hovering around the 30s until it suddenly catapulted up to its peak position in the last week of May - and ever since has been one of those songs that routinely crops up in best of... lists, and gets remixed and sampled on a regular basis. As for The Stone Roses themselves - well, they never really lived up the hype and wouldn't return to the ARIA top 50 until December 1994.

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

Next week: a B-side from the 1950s provides a Neighbours star with their top 5 breakthrough. Plus, one of the year's best songs bombs in Australia.

Back to: Apr 8, 1990 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Apr 22, 1990


  1. Not yet realising that Take 40 Australia aired a different chart to ARIA/AMR prior to 1989, Barry Bissell announced that Billy Ocean's 'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car' (I think... or maybe it was 'Don't Worry, Be Happy') was on the cusp of breaking the longest ever #1 if it managed an 8th week at the top. So when Sinead spent an 8th week at #1, I thought she'd broken some kind of record (not counting the extra Xmas break weeks with 'Love Shack' equalling it).

    I see there's no video for the Lloyd Coles track on youtube (unless it's blocked). I've got a copy, but couldn't remember how the song went until listening now.

    I was surprised the Jenny Morris single peaked so low. The 4th consecutive 'S' title single release from an album also starting with 'S'; that must be some kind of record.

    I remember reading that 'Madly In Love' was the title of the first single from Bros's second album in Smash Hits in early 1989. Then when 'Too Much' came out, I assumed they just renamed it. I was rather confused when this single came out with nearly the same chorus. The single version was quite different for them, as was the strange imagery headless hearts running on the spot (which I think made me laugh when I first saw it). I liked it, but can see why it wasn't a smash on the charts.

    Don't think I've heard 'Hump Music' before. Guess it's obvious why it got no TV/radio exposure.

    It's surprising that Sydney Youngblood's biggest 'hit' here peaked at just #59. A Countdown Revolution episode repeated on rage a few years ago had tour dates running along the screen for one of his videos, indicating that he toured here despite the lack of chart success. 'Sit and Wait' is my favourite track of his that I know, and I was surprised to see that it missed the top 10 in the UK. Somewhat like Bros, he recycled some of the chorus lyrics on the 1994 single 'So Good So Right (All I Can Do)'.

    The Ram Jam track was one of those few records by 1990 that I hadn't heard when they entered the top 50. I remember tuning in to Take 40 Australia a couple of weeks later so that I could actually hear the song. I don't think I've heard this version since 1990; though I'm pretty sure it was an edited radio version.

    I thought I had the 'Hullabaloo' video, but it looks like I don't.

    It's strange how 'Summer Rain' was a much bigger hit here than in the US or UK, and that the 'Runaway Horses' album didn't do as well in those territories as previous albums (well, at least initially in the UK). The title track was probably my favourite from the album. 'Summer Rain' is good, but for some reason I thought it might flop here at first, with its #42 top 50 debut.

    I didn't really 'get' 'Fools (sic) Gold' at the time, but it 'clicked' for me a few years later when I heard the full length/12" version on radio. I've never heard 'What the World Is Waiting For'. I was puzzled at the time why this release had a sudden bullet to its peak after spending several weeks hovering in the 30's; but I believe it may have something to do with a 'free t-shirt' offer with the single in Australia (see ), and/or the free cassette sampler with the 7" offer in Australia (see ). Strangely, 'Fools Gold' didn't appear on the accompanying album, although I believe there was also a combined CD/CD single pack to overcome this. I wonder how many people who bought the album were disappointed when it didn't contain the track they know (if they hadn't bothered to read the tracklist first)?

  2. Andy - troubled 80s teen17 April 2015 at 09:44

    If I remember correctly, Black Betty charted really highly in South Australia, a lot more so than in the other states - but as I'm not from SA, I'm not sure why that was.

    1. That does ring a bell - and we'll see if that's right in a couple of weeks when the state chart top 10s return!