At long last, we reach the final part of this series looking back at the UK singles charts of 1990. As anticipated, most of the new entries over the course of December had a festive theme, but there were a very small number of decent entries, while the final chart of the year, which crossed into the first of 1991, was genuinely surprising. Here’s the contents of the selection boxes:-
The month opened with no changes in the Top 4, with Vanilla Ice, The Righteous Brothers, EMF, and Kim Appleby all holding the same positions as they had at the end of November. The highest new entry, at #5 was no real surprise, nor would its eventual rise to #1, as Cliff Richard unleashes Saviour’s Day on a wholly suspecting nation, thus repeating his success of 1988 with Mistletoe and Wine.
There was a bit of ying to Cliff’s yang with the second-highest new entry as Ms. Ciccone decided she wanted to sex everyone up:-
mp3: Madonna – Justify My Love (#9)
A new song to promote The Immaculate Collection, a greatest-hits album that would fly off the shelves in December and find its way into the stockings of millions across the world. For someone who had always used MTV and videos to further her career, Madonna came up with a brilliantly effective method to further rack up sales of Justify My Love by filming a promo that was always going to be deemed too sexually explicit for MTV and thus be banned, leading to to the decision to make it available, commercially, as a video single. It is reckoned, in the USA, that actual single sold around 1 million copies and that 400,000 copies of the video were shifted.
Two bands that had been around for a few years without much commercial success until 1990 also enjoyed new entries this week:-
Altogether Now proved to be the highpoint in the career of The Farm, rising to #4 and spending a total of six weeks in the Top Ten either side of Xmas/New Year. It was quite fitting for a song that took its inspiration from the Christmas Day truce in 1914 when soldiers on both sides put down their weapons to met in no-mans-land where there was an exchange of gifts and games of football were played.
Lose Control immediately dropped down the chart the following week, but the fact it even made the Top 40 was a sign that the fanbase of James was continuing to grow, leading to them becoming probably the biggest band in the UK in 1991/92.
The best ‘new’ record of the week came in at #22:-
Yup, a full eight years after first appearing as the b-side to Only You, and seven years after the duo had disbanded, one of their most popular and most enduring tracks was given the remix treatment and re-released as a single. It would climb to #14 the following week.
Just the one single worth highlighting, as much to demonstrate that club hits still had the capacity to crossover into the mainstream:-
This single would spend 12 weeks all told in the Top 50, finally dropping out in mid-March having peaked at #3. It is still, all these years later, one of the most immediately identifiable dance hits of any era.
Under the cover of darkness, I’ll just mention that The Sisters of Mercy and Billy Idol sneaked their lastest singles into the charts at #39 and #56 respectively.
The highest new entry this week was at #73, and the distincyion belonged to A Homeboy, A Hippie and Funki Dredd with a song called Freedom. Quite clearly, the record industry makers and shakers were too busy partying to get fresh product into the shops
The nation rejoiced, however, as Cliff, just in time, took the #1 spot, kicking Vanilla Ice’s sorry ass in the process and bringing his four-week reign at the top to an end. The question that needs to be asked is whether it was a fix, in that Cliff only stayed one week at #1 before dropping down to #3, whereas the Iceman was at #2 for this chart and the next, which contained a few surprises as the kids raced out to the shops and spent their record tokens on all sorts of singles that were brand new in the shops……
mp3: Deborah Harry and Iggy Pop – Did You Evah? (#70)
The second single lifted from the Red Hot + Blue compilation album aimed at raising funds to fight AIDS. It would eventually peak at #42.
mp3: Prefab Sprout – Carnival 2000 (#57)
This was one of four tracks to be found on the Jordan EP, which was following on from two earlier singles lifted from Jordan : The Comeback, an album that had been released in September 1990 to near universal acclaim. The EP would reach #35
Other new entries this week were Robert Palmer, Motorhead, The Stranglers, and Bananarama, all of whose releases came in outside the Top 40.
The hard rock brigade featured well this week, with Anthrax from New York City scoring at #23, with a cover of a Joe Jackson song
Seven months later, they would team up with Chuck D and take a cover of Bring The Noise into the top 20.
The year ended, however, with a very rare beast, namely a #1 for a hard rock band. One of the UK’s home grown acts who had previously seen a number of 45s go Top Ten in the late 80s, but this was this the first, and as it proved, last, time they hit #1 – and it was achieved with a brand-new entry.
By my reckoning, this was just the 22nd time a song had entered the singles chart at #1, going back to 1952.
Between 1991 and 1999, that particulat accomplishment would be achieved 122 times; indeed of the 35 songs which reached #1 in 1999, fully 33 of them would enter at #1, of which 20 would fall off the top spot after just one week. Changed days indeed…..