It is time once again to revisit the Australian top ten chart of 25 years ago today! This chart for the week ending Saturday, February 17, 1990 was a memorable one for me, because the first two songs I really liked in the '90s (and still do) both reached their highest chart positions this week, and only this week. I was 11 at the time and just getting into watching the charts on Rage every week. So, what was the nation's preferred listening a quarter century ago?
For some reason Rage always used to put her name as 'Debbie' Harry in their titles. The sleeve art clearly says 'Deborah' though. When I first started watching Rage weekly this song was at number 2, so it had already had its shot at the big time and was on its way down. I don't think 'Debbie' Harry ever showed up in the Australian charts after this.
9. Lisa Stansfield – "All Around The World"
Check out that sadfish muzak maestro on the cover image. One of those cases where the look didn't fit the voice, so to speak, but watch the video and yes, that voice really is coming out of that face. This song didn't have much of an impact on me, but I can still remember the chorus. How strange.
8. Bad English – "When I See You Smile"
You know how I feel about power ballads, so let's move on. The only thing I really liked about this was the band's name.
7. Milli Vanilli – "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You"
Of course, the world was yet to learn of the lip-syncing scandal, so I thought these identical looking guys were actually the vocalists. My friend's kid sister had their album on cassette, and I could never find out why this song was listed on there with the word 'girl' missing from its title. Although, truth to tell, I didn't exactly break my neck trying to find out. It wasn't what you'd call a highly-sought nugget of information for me. Rob and Fab weren't actually singing, but the songs still deserve a listen now and then. Not necessarily this track for me though – I prefer "All Or Nothing". "Blame It On The Rain" is pretty good too.
6. Alannah Myles – "Black Velvet"
Pretty snoozeworthy blues-stuff to my 11 year old ears. Not much excitement to be found here. Not surprising when the song cripples along at snail's pace and the lyrics are suitably banal. They can keep their 'slow Southern style', but I'll pass, thanks.
5. Black Box – "Ride On Time"
I liked this song 25 years ago and I probably like it even more now; this Italo-house classic, and rest assured I'm not throwing that term around lightly, still sounds great today. In fact I played it loud on my stereo only yesterday, so there. I thought this genre of house would last a lot longer than it did. Australian viewers of Rage got an el-cheapo locally produced music video for this song – there's even a brief shot of the colour-bar test screen in it – and for some reason I like it better than the 'official' video with Katrin Quinol lip-syncing.
4. Technotronic featuring Felly – "Pump Up The Jam"
This was my mate Jonathan's favourite song in 1990. He told me it got to number 1, but was fiddling slightly with the truth. It did, as you can see, peak at number 4. This song also sounds ace 25 years later, although I wish it had been mastered so that you didn't have to turn your speakers up full bore to get a decent degree of loudness. The icing on the cake, of course, is Ya Kid K's rap vocal. She was only 17 at the time!
3. Peter Blakeley – "Crying In The Chapel"
Not a bad tune, but I can't say I've had the urge to go back and listen to it again over the last 25 years. He did a nice cover of "Heartbeat" later on.
2. The B-52s – "Love Shack"
This is one of those songs that irritates me with every listen, especially since I must be the only person alive who doesn't like it. It's the vocals that really grind away at my sanity. Even in 1990 I'd rather not punish myself to hear the atonal squawkings of "You're what?!", "Knock a little louder, sugar!", "Tiiiiiin roof rusted", "Bang bang on the door!" and othersuch puerile nonsense. Get this song out of my earshot, permanently!
1. Aerosmith – "Janie's Got A Gun"
Here it is! My fave song for the whole of 1990 (up until I heard "Epic", that is) having its one brief, shining week at number 1. Compelling lyrics and a dark and foreboding music video combined to make this one of the most exciting musical experiences of my childhood. Aerosmith's album Pump was the first album I got, on cassette as a 12th birthday present. (Jonathan got me Pump Up The Jam as well – two pump-related albums in one day.)
I should also add that back in early 1990 my sister and I asked our parents if we could have a compilation album. I can't remember how many were available, but we chose Let's Do It 2 on cassette. Of its 16 tracks, a whopping eight of them are in this week's top ten: numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. It also contains "Don't Know Much" by Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville (which was at number 11 this week), "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" by Michael Bolton (number 15), "I Feel The Earth Move" by Martika (number 17), "Lambada" by Kaoma (number 20), "Just Like Jesse James" by Cher (number 27), "Another Day In Paradise" by Phil Collins (number 29), "The Love We Make" by Girl Overboard (number 39) and "Kickstart My Heart" by Motley Crue (number 42). What a compilation! All killer, no filler.