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.

Back to top

Comments about this article

There are no comments, be the first to leave one!

Post a comment

This article appears under the following categories...

Summary of headlines for November 2007
NOMS to be scrapped
Month by Month
Probation ‘facing meltdown’
Prison officers guilty of misconduct
Women’s prisons to be shut
Current page: The Music Scene in 1990
Let excellence prevail
Jewels in the Crown
You couldn’t make it up!
The risk assessment industry
What price innocence?
Behind closed doors
Capital punishment by another name
Double or Quit - A real profile of a dilemma
Want a Second Chance?
The Undercover Infiltrator

Back to top


Inside Time Latest Issue

Issue : December 2014

Headlines | Mailbag | Poems
Book List | PSI Updates


Back Issues

Back Issues

View backissues and extras

Browse and Search Tools

View headlines by category
Search headlines | All headlines
Search mailbag | All mailbag
Search poems | All poems

December 2014 Headlines
> Treat Prisoners as Human Beings, Not Criminals
> What are prisons for
> A search for any trace of the government’s Rehabilitation Revolution
> Tell us why you did it?... You must be joking I didn’t do it
> Care Act - what does it mean for prisoners
> Doctor Frankenstein and his monster
> Human Rights: truth and lies
> Scapegoating the undeserving poor
> Interview
> The first Miscarriage of Justice
> Month by Month - December 2014
> The 2014 Longford Trust Awards
> Is it all in the mind
> Time
> Learning in prison
> Take your first Steps to Success in 2015
> Spotlight Police and Crime Commissioners
> From over the wall
> Over-tariff IPPs: an appeal for your stories
> Paperwork is the key
> Adjudication - don’t let those days count against you
> Insider Dealing
> Christmas Stories
> Christmas Messages
> Christmas Messages

About Us

About insidetime
Editorial Team

InsidePoetry Book

insidepoetry book New! Volume 5 of
insidepoetry book
is now available!

A collection of poems by prisoners of all backgrounds.

Availabe to buy from this site! Volume 1,2,3 and 4 are also still available and you can SAVE by purchasing bundles!

USP Service

USP from Inside Time

The Useful Services for Prisoners scheme from insidetime provides discounts, vouchers and other benefits from USP Group Members for Prisoners, their families and legal advisors. Click the image above to read more about it.


You can subscribe to insidetime Newspaper and get the paper each month delivered to your door!


Advertise your business or solicitors office to a highly defined target audience.

Other Publications

Inside Time has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.


Contact Us

All contact info for the Operations office and the Editorial Team.

Site Map

Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insidetime site.

External Links

We have a number of external websites which you may be interested on our Links Page.

Social Networking


Inside Information


Everything you need to know about visiting people in prison; procedures, opening times, directions etc.

Comprehensive information about each prison regime; lock down times, facilities, healthcare etc.

*NEW* Detailed information about IRC - Immigration Removal Centres.

insideinformation Book

insideinformation book
The insideinformation book

A comprehensive guide to prisons and prison related services, designed and compiled by former prisoners.


Help and Support

Various pages of information for help and support organisations and networks for those in custody as well as recently released. Also information for friends and family.

Grants and Funding

This grants and funding pdf document aims to meet the need of prisoners and ex-offenders for accurate, up to date information on the supplementary funding available to prisoners.

Rules and Regulations

Information on rules & regulations used throughout the prison service.

Glossary of Terms

The Glossary of Prison Related Terms explains what all the acronyms and terms stand for with prison related matters. Includes links to external sites to further explain things.

Fact Sheets

We have produced many Prison Related Fact Sheets inc. Legal Fact Sheets, Parole Fact Sheets and Other related information.


Find a Solicitor

You can search our solicitor database for listings of solicitors in your area that provide the services you require.

Find a Barrister

You can search our barrister database for listings of barristers in your area that provide the services you require.

Address Finder

You can search our address database in many ways to retrieve contact information for all those elusive addresses you need in a hurry.

Prison Law pdf

This document provides details of leading training providers who offer sound professional training.

Other Publications

Inside Information has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.

Site Map

Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insideinformation site.

Contact Us

Use the Contact Us Feedback form to send us suggestions, plus our address and phone numbers.



Inside Justice

insidejustice was launched in July 2010 to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

Full introduction is on the insidejustice homepage

insidejustice Cases

insidejustice Articles & Reviews

insidejustice Advisory Panel Members

insidejustice Sponsors page

insidejusticecontact details