Wednesday, 26 August 2015

25 Years Ago This Week: August 26, 1990

It can happen without warning. One minute, a music act has the world at its feet, racking up hit singles and multi-platinum albums seemingly with little effort. Suddenly, the hits dry up, the albums flop and no one is interested in them anymore. Sometimes it's because the songs stop being up to standard, other times it's because a newer, younger model emerges.

Southern Sons were the hair apparents to 1927

Twenty-five years ago this week, it was a bit of both as one of the biggest bands of the previous couple of years bombed with their latest single - a pretty average track. The same week, a new Australian rock band debuted with the song that'd become their first top 10 hit, stepping in to the void left behind by the one-time chart champs.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending August 26, 1990

Meanwhile, another rock band rose to the top of the ARIA singles chart this week in 1990. Faith No More hit number 1 for the first time in their career with "Epic", which began a three-week stretch at the top.


Off The Chart
It's always nice when there's a pattern - and six of the seven songs to talk about in this section are by acts that'd also once been massive and now found themselves with a flop on their hands.

Number 100 "Treat Me Good" by Yazz
Peak: number 100
Two years after "The Only Way Is Up", Yazz barely scraped in to the top 100 with this brand new, but forgettable, single. No doubt as a result, her second album was delayed... until 1994.

Number 92 "Do-Wah-Diddy" by The Party Boys
Peak: number 81
They'd scored with covers of "He's Gonna Step On You Again" and "Hold Your Head Up", but just about no-one was interested in this pedestrian remake of the song made famous by Manfred Mann.

Number 89 "Kissing Gate" by Sam Brown
Peak: number 89
April Moon had got off to an OK start as "With A Little Love" reached the top 30, but this follow-up, which I always found rather painful to listen to, brought Sam's hit streak to an end.

Number 84 "Vision Of You" by Belinda Carlisle
Peak: number 84
She'd enjoyed a career-best chart run by avoiding releasing ballads like this as singles from Runaway Horses. And then she had to go and spoil it all.

Number 83 "Labour Of Love" by Martin Plaza
Peak: number 78
In 1986, his version of "Concrete And Clay" almost hit number 1. Four years later, I wasn't even aware the Mental As Anything singer/guitarist released this single, which was a precursor to the more successful Beatfish project.

Number 82 "Drop The Gun" by Kings Of The Sun
Peak: number 82
The exception to the rule - Aussie rockers Kings Of The Sun maintained their hit-less track record with this lead single from the Full Frontal Attack album.

Number 64 "Whose Law (Is It Anyway)?" by Guru Josh
Peak: number 64
"Infinity (1990s: Time For The Guru)" was one of the year's best dance tracks. This follow-up was one of the worst. Enough said.


Breaker
"Colour Of Money / (Running From) Another Man's Gun" by Ray Lyell & The Storm
Peak: number 57
After a few false starts when it dropped in and out of the top 100, this double A-side release from the Canadian singer/songwriter and his band finally picked up enough steam to venture towards to top 50. Despite sounding like a cross between Melissa Etheridge, The Black Sorrows and John Mellencamp (all of whom Australians loved), it never got there. Although "Colour Of Money" was theoretically the lead track in Australia, it doesn't seem to have had a video made for it, unlike overseas single "(Running From) Another Man's Gun".




New Entries
Number 49 "Heart In Danger" by Southern Sons
Peak: number 5
We'll get to the Australian band that abruptly found themselves on the outs shortly. Before that, here's the top 50 debut of the group that just as quickly became FM radio favourites with their easily palatable brand of sing-along pop/rock. 
Fronted by the lusciously locked Jack Jones (aka Jack Goode, aka Irwin Thomas), Southern Sons had previously been known as The State - although Jack wasn't part of that line-up. Songwriter Phil Buckle was the singer of The State, whose songs like previous ARIA chart Single of the Week "Real Love" were nice but unmemorable.
With his band going nowhere, Phil found gainful employment as a contributor to John Farnham's Chain Reaction album (co-writing "Burn For You", among other tracks) and it's then that inspiration struck. What The State needed was a singer like Farnsey and a bit of oomph - and so big-voiced, long-haired Jack, who was also part of John's backing band, was recruited and The State became Southern Sons.
The first of a handful of big commercial singles, "Heart In Danger" was one of the few songs performed by a man to receive the Fast Forward parody treatment (it's at the 35:30 minute mark) - but with hair like that, Jack was pretty much asking for it.




Number 42 "Don't Forget Me" by 1927
Peak: number 42
While Southern Sons were in the ascendant, 1927 were having real trouble with their second album, The Other Side. This week, the album fell out of the top 10 after only four weeks on release - and would never return there. Second single "Don't Forget Me" performed even worse, with this appearance at number 42 the song's only showing within the top 50. 
And it's not like it was an understated track, what with its flashy outback video - which can't have come cheap - and the rather random "glory, glory hallelujah" refrain in the middle. But, as with previous single "Tell Me A Story", although "Don't Forget Me" was designed to be a rousing hit single, it left me - and presumably other people - cold. Side note: it's interesting that the longer singer Eric Weideman's hair got, the worse 1927 did on the charts, whereas it was the converse of that for Jack Jones.




Next week: two of the biggest male solo artists in the world return with new projects, plus tracks from Snap!, New Kids On The Block and Cheap Trick debut.


Back to: Aug 19, 1990 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 2, 1990


1 comment:

  1. As a Yazz fan, I have to say that 'Treat Me Good' was a weak choice for a lead single... from an album that never eventuated. The 1994 album was a completely different project on a new label, and didn't include 'Treat Me Good'. I thought Yazz had pretty much given up on music following the long gap with nothing for years after this, until hearing that she had a new UK top 40 hit with 'How Long' in 1993 on an early version of the Hot 30 countdown radio show (not sure if it was called that then). I assume the gap had something to do with her parting ways with her recently-departed ex-husband, Jazz Summer's record label Big Life, and becoming a mother. It's a shame that she ditched the dance and soul tracks for bland r&b-lite (think Eternal) and reggae cover versions.

    I don't mind 'Kissing Gate', but it's one of Sam's weaker singles.

    I remember seeing 'Vision of You' in the shops but never heard or saw it anywhere until about 10 years ago when someone sent me a copy of the video. It's a nice ballad, though I can see why didn't set the charts alight.

    I don't recall hearing the Martin Plaza track at all.

    I liked 'Whose Law (Is It Anyway?)' enough to buy the cassingle; but was disappointed when I got it home that it didn't feature the version used for the video. An odd tracklist choice from the Australian record label, as I believe the UK release had the 'correct' single version on it. His vocals are pretty bad on this. The record company have curiously blocked the video worldwide.

    'Colour of Money' was the Ray Lyell track radio were playing in Melbourne, but '(Running From) Another Man's Gun' was the video rage aired in the top 60 (not sure if a video exists for the former).

    Thanks for the Fast Forward link; I couldn't find the Southern Sons parody when looking for it a while ago.

    I thought 'Don't Forget Me' was a rather weak track, and probably their worst single to date. I have a vague memory of it being used in some TV ad too, though I can't remember if that was at the time or years later (or whether I'm imagining the whole thing).

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