Thankfully, it was just a four-week month and I’m not going to spare you by keeping to a minimum the mentions of the dross which occupied the top-end of the charts In October 1990, although I have shared at least one shocker of a song at the outset.
Maria McKee spent the first two weeks at #1 with Show Me Heaven, and when it finally dropped down to #2, it was replaced by A Little Time by The Beautiful South, a track which was highlighted last time out in this series. It only managed a one-week stay before it was replaced by The Righteous Brothers with Unchained Melody, a song that had been a hit for them in 1965 but was now being flogged again to the public thanks to its use in the romantic-drama/weepy movie, Ghost.
So, what and who made the breakthrough in the rundown on 7 October?
The highest new entries belonged to New Kids on The Block and Cliff Richard, with the goths then propelling one of their own to a position of #21
More – The Sisters of Mercy
There were many who had long thought The Sisters of Mercy bordered on being overblown, bombastic rock-pomp, and perhaps such concerns were confirmed by the fact that their first offering of the new decade was co-written with Jim Steinmann of Meat Loaf fame. It filled me with horror reading about the collaboration and it proved to be an all-out assault on the ears.
Slightly further down the charts came the crusties, although, once again, it was an evolving change of sound that was making them increasingly popular
Dance Of The Mad – Pop Will Eat Itself (#32)
I really don’t want to waste time even mentioning any of the others, other than in passing to say that another song from the film Top Gun was shaping up to take over from Maria McKee at the top in due course, while Shakin Stevens achieved his 34th successive Top 75 hit when My Cutie Cutie entered at #75. It proved to be his last non-Xmas themed or re-released hit single, but he’d made a good fist of things in the 80s, spending more than 300 weeks in the charts…which, if you do the math, is the equivalent of six years back-to-back.
14 October 1990. I’ll mention in passing that the Mancunian Racist saw his Piccadilly Palare enter at #21, the second-highest new entry behind Whitney Houston‘s new effort, I’m Your Baby Tonite.
Of much more interest was the new entry at #20:-
Kinky Afro – Happy Mondays
The second 45 to be lifted from Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches is arguably the band’s finest ever songs and it would climb to #5 the following week and thus match the showing of Step On; these proved to be the only Top 5 hits the Mondays would enjoy, as little did we know that things were already beginning to unravel.
Another gobby bastard enjoyed a new entry slightly further down the chart:-
Don’t Ask Me – Public Image Limited
The band’s seventh single to crack the Top 40, indicating that PiL were more than a cult act and did resonate occasionally with the great British public. I don’t think anyone back in 1990 would have imagined that in later years Shaun Ryder and John Lydon would both end up as some of the most popular participants in I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here…….
A lovely slice of dreamy-pop sold enough copies to make it in at #61, and then climbing to #50 the following week:-
We Let The Stars Go Free – Prefab Sprout
Moving on to 21 October.
This was the week The Righteous Brothers began their assault on the charts with a #3 entry the week before it hit the top. The next five highest new-entries all entered in the 30s…and were courtesy of Roxette, George Michael, Jason Donovan, Poison, and Janet Jackson. It was a far from vintage week, but if you’ve been following things since the series got underway, it was pretty typical of much of the entire year.
Some dance stuff came in at #41
Aftermath – Nightmares on Wax
This was the first and, as it turned out, only hit single for Nightmares on Wax, the name adopted by a 20-year old Leeds-based DJ, George Evelyn, who would prove to be one of the mainstays of the Ibiza sound throughout the 90s and into the current century. He’s still going strong today.
The indie-kids and crustys (again) also had something to celebrate this week
Sweetness and Light – Lush (#47)
Until You Find Out – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (#51)
A new, much-talked-about act from the south-east of England made their first chart appearance in the week of 21 October:-
She’s So High – Blur (#58)
This was the first of what has proved to be 150 weeks in the Top 75 for Blur, which has been achieved with 28 singles. It’s fairly impressive, but let’s face it, it’s not fairly lame when compared with ole’ Shaky.
Finally, here’s some stuff from the singles chart of 28 October.
The title of the highest new entry really could have, and perhaps should have, been the sub-heading for this series
Step Back In Time – Kylie Minogue (#9)
From the days when she wasn’t quite yet the superstar who could be recognised from just her forename. This was the pop princess’s 11th single and it would climb to #4, which was a relative flop given that nine of the previous releases had either been #1 or #2. The critics began to write her off, the fools that they were!
Slightly further down the charts as a new entry was this:-
Don’t Worry – Kim Appleby (#16)
Don’t Worry was the debut solo single from Kim Appleby just a few months after the sad death of her sister Mel Appleby at the age of 23 after contracting pneumonia while being treated for a rare form of cancer. Mel and Kim had taken the UK charts by storm at the end of the 80s, being part of the hit-making factory that was Stock/Aitken/Waterman, with the poptastic Respectable reaching #1 in 1987. Kim Appleby’s solo career never really quite took off and she later stepped back from recording in the mid-90s, choosing instead to concentrate on writing pop hits for others, which she has done with a reasonable degree of success.
Just one place ahead of Kim in the charts as a new entry this week was a remix of an old favourite of many of us
Close To Me (1990) – The Cure
The new version of the song that had been a hit single in 1985 was there to assist with the release and promotion of Mixed Up, a new compilation of singles and popular songs from the back catalogue that had been given the remix treatment. Worth noting that the remix eventually reached #13 which was eleven places higher than the original had achieved five years earlier.
One of Factory Records hopes for the future sneaked into the single charts this week, with a song that had a misplaced optimistic title:-
My Rising Star – Northside (#33)
The band that so many of the bands from the north-west had been citing as an influence saw them finally making a dent in the public imagination, thanks to a Steve Lillywhite remix of their best-known song:-
There She Goes (1990) – The La’s
In due course, it would make it all the way up to #13, but it remains the only time The La’s got any higher than #43 in the UK singles chart. Make of that what you will……..
Finally this week, some more songs of interest, and occasional excellence, which stumbled their way into the charts at the lower end of the spectrum in late October 1990, but for the one coming in at #55, it was the beginning of a 13-week stay that would culminate in a top 3 position in early December:-
Can’t Do Nuttin For Ya Man – Public Enemy (#53)
Unbelievable – EMF (#55)
Purity – New Model Army (#61)
Scope – Paris Angels (#75)
I’ll be back again in around four weeks time with a look at the November 1990 charts.
(aged 57 years and 4 months)