I’m still battered and bruised from the kicking I got last month when I dismissed the merits of a number of songs, and in particular Hardcore Uproar by Together, which came into the charts at #24 in the last week of July 1990. As Drew so succinctly put it,
“HU has stood the test of time…(and it is) a signpost in the direction that music was taking; fuck your guitars – 808s and 303s are where the fun lies”
Now, to be fair, I did indicate that the UK singles charts would begin to increasingly reflect what was going on out there in the fields but given that I never once set foot in one, nor for that matter in any clubs where the dance music explosion was happening, then this nostalgic look back will still concentrate on the areas where the fun didn’t lie, for the simple reason that I won’t be familiar with many of the new entry singles. But I’ll refrain from ever suggesting that they should be passed over. And, now that we’ve got that pathetic attempt at an apology and excuse out of the way, here’s a look at some of the singles which entered the charts in August 1990.
I always have a look at what held down the #1 spot in any given month as it offers up an indication of the overall tastes of the great British public. July and ended with a tune called Turtle Power by Partners in Kryme sitting at the top of the pile where it would remain for the first two charts of August. But just in case you thought this was the nadir of the year…..it would be replaced by Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by Bombalurina, continuing the historical trend of the summer months providing the most horrific of novelty #1s. This one, however, was particularly horrific…….
The new entries for the chart of 5 August were quite low key….some stinkers from the likes of Roxette, Sting, Wet Wet Wet, and Tina Turner were all that could be found in the new Top 50 along with these two:-
What Time Is Love? – KLF (#34)
Where Are You Baby? – Betty Boo (#35)
KLF had, under the guise of The Timelords, enjoyed a #1 with Doctorin’ The Tardis in 1988, and indeed the follow-up to that track had been the original trance version of What Time Is Love?. The new version was subtitled “Live at Trancentral”, the first of what would become a trilogy of upbeat house songs that would make superstars of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, before the trail of destruction that would accompany their demise after the Brit Awards acknowledged their success. This particular single would spend more than three months in the chart, peaking at #5.
Where Are You Baby? was the second big hit of the year for 20-year old Alison Clarkson, aka Betty Boo, following on from Doing The Do which was mentioned in the May 2020 edition of this feature. This one went all the way to #3 in due course and remains the most successful single that she would release.
Only one other song from the new entries this week is worth highlighting in that it provided a very minor hit for one the co-vocalists in Propaganda, who had enjoyed some hits a few years previous when they were on ZTT Records alongside Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Absolut(e) – Clauia Brucken
It came in at #71 and dropped back out again. And it shouldn’t be confused with the song of a similar name by Scritti Politti as recently featured.
August is traditionally a quietish month for new releases as most folk in England go off on holiday at that time and sales do tend to drop off. Creation Records, however, weren’t for holding back, especially when they had something on their hands that would provide both the perfect follow-up to Loaded and the song that would capture much of the mood of what was happening out in the fields
Come Together – Primal Scream
Of course, the extended versions are far superior, but this is the version that got daytime radio play and helped generate the sales that saw it come into charts at #26 on 12 August.
Slightly further down, a new hip-hop act from America was enjoying the first taste of chart success in the UK
Bonita Applebum – A Tribe Called Quest
Over the years, there has been more critical acclaim than sales for Tribe, with this #47 entry (which proved to be its highest position) just one of five hit singles during the decade, the biggest of which would be Can I Kick It?, in 1991.
Perhaps the most interesting of the new entries this week sneaked it at #60, from where it would go on to enjoy a 13-week stay, including two successive weeks at #2:-
Groove Is In The Heart – Dee-Lite
A close cousin to Betty Boo, this was the sort of dance music with a pop touch that was proving to be popular with much of the record-buying public. It still, thirty years on, sounds fresh enough to get young folk on the dancefloors these days.
George Michael had the highest new entry in the chart of 19 August with Praying For Time coming in at #8. Just behind him at #11 was one that I hadn’t appreciated had been such a massive hit with Deacon Blue’s new four-song EP of Bacharach and David songs entering at #11 and eventually reaching #2. It was one of just three singles that went Top 10 for the band albeit there were sixteen top 40 hits between 1988 and 1994.
I think I’m on safe ground by dissing and not featuring most of the remainder of the new entries of the 19 August chart:-
Can Can You Party – Jive Bunny and The Mastermixer (#14)
Silhouttes – Cliff Richard (#17)
End of The World – Sonia (#37)
Now You’re Gone – Whitesnake (#39)
Dive! Dive! Dive! – Bruce Dickinson (#45)
Don’t Be A Fool – Loose Ends (#48)
Heartbroke and Busted – Magnum (#53)
In The Back Of My Mind – Fleetwood Mac (#66)
Down at #67 there was a little bit of indie, from a band riding the coattails of Madchester (Stone Roses version) via a release on London Records
Up and Down – The High
while a little bit higher, at #54, there was a minor hit for Prefab Sprout with the single that had been issued in advance of the much anticipated new album, Jordan: The Comeback which was creating a real buzz among critics who had been privy to an advanced listen
Looking For Atlantis – Prefab Sprout
That always seemed to be the thing with Prefab Sprout. This was the band’s fourteenth single (including re-issues) of which all but two hadn’t reached the Top 40, with the huge exception being the #7 hit enjoyed by The King Of Rock’n’Roll in 1988.
And with that, we reach the chart of 26 August.
Betty Boo is up there at #4 surrounded by Yellow Polka Dot Bikinis, Bacharach & David covers, New Kids on The Block, Jive Bunny, Roxette and Cliff Richard, The edition of Top of The Pops aired that week must have been a true horror show.
There was further evidence of Madchester’s impact with a new entry at #40:-
Groovy Train – The Farm
As was mentioned in the May edition of this feature, nobody took much notice of The Farm and they were seen as something of a joke band. But they then recorded and released Groovy Train, a song that would bring them fame and a little bit of fortune, going on to eventually reach #6 and lay the foundation for an even bigger hit come Christmas-time.
Nothing else is worth featuring other than that. I’ll wake you all up again in September.
(aged 57 years and 2 months)
6 thoughts on “THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (8)”
Groove Is In The Heart is still a wonderful pop single. Reminds me so much of my days at Our Price.
Bloody hell the charts were bizarre back then.
Thankfully I’d long since given up on Top Of The Pops by this time – as you say, this would have one of the worst editions ever.
Agree with Robster on Groove Is In The Heart – still an absolute pleasure to listen to when it pops up on the random shuffle.
JC – you certainly featured the tracks that mattered to me. A Tribe Called Quest proved that Hip Hop wasn’t just about boasting, riding around in limos or proving just who was a Sucker MC. Groove Is In The Heart is a classic NYC’s Downtown Art/Dance scene, slightly Club Kid, slightly Pop confection, all about standing out and dancing this mess around. Looking For Atlantis was proof, Paddy had something more up his sleeve and it was just the bait I needed to reel me in. Being a pre-Loaded Primal Scream fan, Come Together was closer to what I wanted from the band when it came out. The Terry Farley and Weatherall mixes bookend what what happening in the clubs and, yes the fields, perfectly. I love the Claudia Brucken track, but by 1990, the writing was on the wall for big production synthpop.
I’m sorry but the single version is far superior to the extended album version which has aged awfully. In my opinion… obviously.
Bugger. I meant the single version of COME TOGETHER is far superior to the extended album version…. sheesh.