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The Music Scene in 1990

By Andrew Cousins, from insidetime issue November 2007

With Inside Time having recently reached the milestone of 100 issues, Andrew Cousins of Gema Records indulges in a bit of nostalgia and looks back to what was happening on the Music Scene when Inside Time was first published in 1990.


The Music Scene in 1990The musical era of the 1990s was one filled with a variety of pop, rap and alternative music artists, as well as a plethora of ‘one-hit wonders’. It was a time when musical taste was as varied as the events that were happening at the time. Many of the most popular acts that emerged in the 1990s were bands and artists who enjoyed a type of resurgence in the mainstream music scene after their popularity had dwindled for a decade or so. Other artists were just starting out during this decade and made a huge impact on the musical scene.

The first year of the 1990s saw a total of 17 singles top the chart. The first was "Hangin' Tough" by the boyband New Kids on the Block, which became the group's second chart-topper. The single set the record for lowest first-week sales for a number 1, with only 28,000 copies sold. Although January is usually a low sales month due to it being post-Christmas season, the vinyl single was in severe decline in the UK at this time and had been so since the late 1980s, so this record breaking was not a huge surprise.

The year was very active for the boyband. They released a total of 3 albums and 6 singles during the course of the year. Their third album “Step by Step” topped the charts, making it their sole album to do so. The six singles released after their chart-topper in January all failed to top the charts, however four did make the Top 5. Step By Step was the most successful of these singles, reaching number 2; it is also the most successful selling single in their career.

The next number 1 was Kylie Minogue's cover of the Little Anthony & the Imperials song "Tears on My Pillow", taken from the film The Delinquents, which became her fourth number 1 single in the UK and the final number one for production team SAW. Her album release for the year “Rhythm of Love” made number 9 on the UK Albums Chart and was Kylie's declaration of independence from the moment the video "Better the Devil You Know" was released.

Madonna scored her 7th number 1 single with "Vogue", from her hit album "I'm Breathless" which made number 2, charting in the same position as her follow-up single "Hanky Panky". Her album success did not end there, however, with “The Immaculate Collection” (greatest hits release) becoming her most successful album ever, topping the UK albums chart for 9 weeks and selling 3.6 million copies in the UK (5th best selling album of all time), and promotional single "Justify My Love" giving her a second number 2 hit, whose video caused some controversy and was banned from MTV.

Dance music was one of the more popular genres of the year, with several songs of that type hitting number 1 in the Spring, including Snaps! “The Power”, the last record to jump from outside the top 10 to number 1 until 2006, discounting imports. Although their album “World Power” only made number 21 upon initial release, three further top 10 singles caused their album to re-chart and enter the top 10.

Elton John got his first solo number 1 in June, and only his 2nd overall (his first being "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Kiki Dee in 1976), with the charity single "Sacrifice" /"Healing Hands", with all proceeds going to AIDS charities. He also enjoyed success with two number 1 albums, “Sleeping With the Past” in July and “The Very Best of Elton John” in November. The latter went on to sell 2.7 million copies in the UK, becoming the 17th best-selling album of all time.

A problem occurred in September when two records The Steve Miller Band's “The Joker” and Deee-Lite's “Groove Is In the Heart” both tied for the number 1 position, selling exactly the same amount of copies. As the rules stated that in the event of this happening, the single which had climbed the highest would be the number 1, “The Joker”, re-issued after being featured in a Levi's advert, won out (having climbed five places instead of three). Due to the controversy that followed, with some saying that it was unfair to let a re-issue of an old song overtake the debut single of a new group, the rules were changed so that records would now be allowed to tie.

Four of the number 1s this year came from films. Kylie Minogue's “Tears on My Pillow”, mentioned earlier, Partners In Kryme's "Turtle Power", from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Maria McKee's "Show Me Heaven", from Days of Thunder, and a re-issue of The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" (originally a number 14 hit in 1965) from Ghost, which was the biggest selling single of the year. A re-issue of the 1965 number 1 "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" in December was also successful, peaking at number 3.

Cliff Richard scored the Christmas number 1 single with "Saviour's Day", his 13th number 1, and his 100th top 40 hit. With this, he became the only person to have a number 1 in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.



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This article appears under the following categories...
Miscellaneous

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