June 1990. My first birthday spent with Rachel. She tried to book a last-minute trip to Italia 90 to take in Scotland v Brazil but there was just no room at the inn. We ended up heading to Albufeira in Portugal where we watched a number of matches in various pubs that were packed with tourists from all parts of Europe – lots of great memories.
We weren’t the type to go clubbing as we felt ancient, but thinking on it now, we weren’t….it was just that the pure dance music of the era wasn’t our scene. We were, however, enjoying some of the stuff that had a bit of an indie-bent to it, and many of the tracks that have been featured in previous editions of this feature, soundtracked that first happy summer together. As you’ll find out, June 1990 itself was a far from vintage month for new singles.
It began with EnglandNewOrder at the top of the pile. It ended with Luciana Pavarotti battling for the #1 spot as folks rushed to buy his version of Nessun Dorma that had soundtracked the BBC coverage of the World Cup. Football and music were now interlinked in a way that I hadn’t ever really experienced – interesting to note that the other #1 in the month of June 1990 was Sacrifice by Elton John who was one of the few pop superstars to have previously linked his fame with a love of the great game, having invested in his local and unfashionable club at Watford in the mid 70s and become its chair.
But’s that’s enough of the all-our-yesterdays stuff from me. Here’s the music.
See….I wasn’t bullshitting about the omnipresence of football and music in the month of June 1990. PWEI had released eight singles prior to this, with only Can U Dig It ever scraping into the Top 40. But they came to greater prominence with this magnificent celebration of Italia 90, combining a house tune, sampled football commentary and a lyric that paid homage to Italy’s best-known hardcore porn star. The single came complete with a cheeky sticker on the sleeve that declared it the “unofficial World Cup Theme”. Entered the charts on 3 June at #28, stayed in that position the following week and then dropped out quickly as soon as the tournament was over.
It’s still an incredible sounding piece of music.
A single that had bummed on its initial release in May 1989 now re-entered the chart at #46 in June 1990, illustrating the huge interest in everything that was coming out of Madchester. Composed by a stellar and unusual cast – credits are rightly given to Lennon/McCartney, David Essex and Sly & The Family Stone as well as those who performed on the song.
A third entry for Factory Records in the singles chart this week – possibly for the first and only time. The debut single from Manchester band Northside hung about the lower end of the charts for a month or so, entering at #53 on 3June and rising to #50 the following week. It’s a fairly impressive effort given that the single was banned by the BBC thanks to the drugs references.
I’ll mention in passing the appearance of an initial slow burner that eventually seemed to take over the nation. Unknown American rapper MC Hammer sneaked into the charts at #66 on 3 June 1990. Nobody was really paying too much attention – there was football to be watched. Three weeks later, his infectiously catchy (i.e., annoying) U Can’t Touch This, propelled by a promo video dominated by a crazy dance and crazy trousers, went Top 20 where it stayed for a further 12 weeks. There was barely a singles chart over the next year and a bit that didn’t have an MC Hammer song in the Top 75.
The chart of 10 June 1990 had plenty of new entries, but for the most part they should, mainly in the interests of good taste, also be skipped over:-
Step By Step – New Kids On The Block(#2)
Oops Up -Snap! (#13)
Nessun Dorma – Luciana Pavarotti (#22)
Whose Law (Is It Anyway) – Guru Josh (#32)
Thinking Of You – Maureen (#38)
Mona – Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2 (#44)
Move Away Jimmy Blue – Del Amitri (#54)
Love Is – Alannah Myles (#61)
Jack’s Heroes – The Pogues and The Dubliners (#64)
Ways Of Love – Claytown Troupe (#70)
Time – Kim Wilde (#73)
Chapel of Love – London Boys (#75)
Just typing out that list illustrates just how much money was spent by record labels on stuff that had no chance of ever recouping its cost. Utter madness.
There was one other new entry in the chart. Which sort of illustrated the point.
ACR, had left Factory Records to sign with A&M in 1987. The major label obviously felt they had a success story on their hands but the Good Together album and the three singles lifted from it in 1989, had sold dismally.
They did, however, get their name into the singles chart in June 1990 with a new single, which benefitted from the fact that it had been remixed by a bloke whose band were at #1 in the charts. Yup, the friendship with Barney Sumner sort of paid off, and after entering at #69, the single climbed to the dizzy heights of #55. ACR were dropped soon afterwards by the label.
The chart of 17 June was similar to that of the previous week. The new entrants included Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bruce Dickinson, and Magnum (an indication that some sort of hard rock festival was in the offing). It also saw Bob Geldof‘s appropriately titled Great Song of Indifference enter at #43 only to fall out of the charts altogether the following week.*
* CORRECTION : I hadn’t spotted that Bob Geldof’s single in fact climbed the charts in the filling weeks and went on to be a Top 20 hit. Happy to put the record straight…in my defence, I’ll just say that I can’t recall the song at all…
Two songs worth mentioning. The first of which saw a third chart single (#46) in 1990 for the biggest rap act on the planet, while the second saw a song enter at #67, a full 34 years after it had been a #1 hit:-
The Stones single had been re-issued on the back of it being the title tune to the hit TV series Tour Of Duty.
The new chart of 24 June was just as depressing in terms of the majority of new singles. Indeed, the whole thing was pretty stagnant with only the aforementioned MC Hammer being a new song inside the top 20, with the others all hovering around the previous week’s positions.
These four, however, are rare rays of light, entering respectively at #40, #48 #49, and #75
This was Tack Head‘s only ever brush with the singles chart.
The cover of a Troggs song was the debut single from Jason Pierce‘s new band following the break-up of Spaceman 3. And one of SWC’s favourite songs of all time.
I bet these facts are making a few of you shake your heads and wondering where the time has gone.
(aged exactly 57 years)