1990 in British music

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1990s in music in the UK
Number-one singles
Number-one albums
Best-selling singles
Best-selling albums
Summaries and charts
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
1989 2000
Top 10 singles
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
1989 2000

This is a summary of 1990 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.

Summary[edit]

The first year of the 1990s saw a total of 17 singles top the chart. The first, "Hangin' Tough" by the boyband New Kids on the Block, which became the group's second chart-topper, 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 had been in severe decline in the UK since the late 1980s. In 1990 New Kids on the Block released a total of three albums and six singles (not including "Hangin' Tough") during the course of the year. Although their third album Step by Step topped the charts, their follow-up debut eponymous album was re-released and made only number six. The six singles released after their chart-topper in January all failed to top the charts, though four did make the Top 5, the most successful, "Step By Step", reaching number two.

The next No. 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 one single in the UK and the final number one for production team Stock Aitken Waterman. Her album release for the year Rhythm of Love made number 9 on the UK Albums Chart with the lead single "Better the Devil You Know" making number two.

Despite the huge success experienced by Stock Aitken Waterman the previous four years, 1990 saw a sharp decline in the popularity of their songs. With Jason Donovan's chart positions rapidly declining, both Sonia and Big Fun were dropped, Donna Summer reportedly fell-out with the trio and only Lonnie Gordon was able to go Top 10 with her number 4 single "Happenin' All Over Again", a song originally intended for Donna Summer. Kylie Minogue ended her run of Top 2's when "Step Back in Time" stalled at number 4, and new songs by Hazell Dean, Pat and Mick and Sybil missed the chart completely. Mike Stock revealed in his book "The Hit Factory" he felt it was Pete Waterman's fault their popularity plummeted after the outspoken Producer made several scathing attacks about the British Music Industry to the press. By the end of the year, rumours began circulating about unrest in the PWL camp and, next year, Matt Aitken would be the first to depart.

The continued success of Kylie, and the Australian soap opera's Neighbours on BBC 1 and Home and Away on ITV, saw more actors releasing singles this year in the hope of replicating the success of Kylie and Jason Donovan. The most successful of these was Craig McLachlan (who notably appeared in both series) and his band Check 1–2 who scored a number 2 in the spring with "Mona" and went Top 20 with its follow-up, "Amanda". Not so successful however was Neighbours Stefan Dennis who stalled at number 16 with his debut single "Don't it Make You Feel Good".

Madonna scored her 7th number 1 single with "Vogue", from her hit album I'm Breathless which made No. 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 (10th best selling album of all-time) and promotional single "Justify My Love" giving her a second No. 2 hit, whose video caused some controversy and was banned from MTV.

Showing something of a revival in popularity this year were Belinda Carlisle who managed to follow three tracks that barely made scraped the Top 40 with a soaring remix of a forgettable track from her 1989 album Runaway Horses, "(We Want) The Same Thing", which made number six. The album was subsequently re-released, peaking at the same position it had before, number four, and "Summer Rain" became the sixth and final hit from the album, making number 23 in December. Another impressive comeback was from Elton John who 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 the proceeds going to AIDS charities. Both tracks had previously failed to reached the Top 40 when they were originally released in 1989, but significant airplay on Radio 2 ensured the songs were re-issued and became massive hits. 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 onto sell 2.7 million copies in the UK, becoming the 17th best-selling album of all-time.

An obscure British house-dance act DNA revived Suzanne Vega's fortunes this year with a smash hit remix of 1987 album track "Tom's Diner" which peaked at number two in July. The track was a huge international hit going on to peak in the Top 10 all over the world. European dance music was indeed one of the most popular genres of the year, with several songs of that type hitting number 1, including, from Germany, Snap!'s "The Power", the last record to jump from outside the top 10 to number 1 until 2006, discounting imports. Although their album, World Power, made only number 21 upon initial release, Snap went on to have a further three top 10 singles, "Ooops Up" (No.5, June), "Cult of Snap" (No.8, October) and "Mary Had a Little Boy" (No.8, December) and this caused the album to re-chart and peak at number 10.

Belgian house music was very popular in 1990 with artists like Technotronic powering the charts with songs like No.2 smash "Get Up ! (Before the Night Is Over)" and "Rockin' Over the Beat", a big summer No.9 hit, and finally a "Megamix" rounded off the year, making number 6 in October. From Italy, 49ers scored two of the biggest dance hits of the year; "Touch Me" peaked at number 3, and the follow-up, "Don't You Love Me", which contained a sample from Jody Watley's song "Don't You Want Me", made number 12. Meanwhile, Dutch trio Twenty 4 Seven hit the Top 20 twice with their two hits, "I Can't Stand It" (No.7) and "Are You Dreaming" (No.17); both tracks were fronted by US rapper, Captain Hollywood.

Manchester in the UK was the base of 808 State who scored two Top 10 hits this year, one with fellow Mancunian rapper MC Tunes, "The Only Rhyme That Bites", and one on their own, "Cubik/Olympic", both tracks reached No.10. Londonbeat hit the charts in the summer of 1990 with "I've Been Thinking About You" and The Adventures Of Stevie V released the summer anthem of 1990 "Dirty Cash" which reached No.2 in July. The KLF, who were formerly in the charts as The Timelords back in 1988, had a huge club and chart comeback with "What Time is Love?" which made No.5 in September. This started a successful run of hits that continued through to 1992.

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 one 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 ones 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 No. 1 "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" in December was also successful, peaking at #3.

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

Merseyside composer John McCabe produced a flute concerto, written for James Galway and premièred by the London Symphony Orchestra who had commissioned it; it was not recorded until 1999. Another Lancashire composer, John Pickard, produced his best-known work The Flight of Icarus. Simon Rattle became musical director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, of which he had been Principal Conductor since 1980.

Events[edit]

Charts[edit]

Number-one singles[edit]

Chart Date
(week ending)
Song Artist(s)
6 January "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid II
13 January "Hangin' Tough" New Kids on the Block
20 January
27 January "Tears on My Pillow" Kylie Minogue
3 February "Nothing Compares 2 U" Sinéad O'Connor
10 February
17 February
24 February
3 March "Dub Be Good to Me" Beats International
10 March
17 March
24 March
31 March "The Power" Snap!
7 April
14 April "Vogue" Madonna
21 April
28 April
5 May
12 May "Killer" Adamski featuring Seal
19 May
26 May
2 June
9 June "World in Motion" New Order
16 June
23 June "Sacrifice / Healing Hands" Elton John
30 June
7 July
14 July
21 July
28 July "Turtle Power" Partners in Kryme
4 August
11 August
18 August
25 August "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" Timmy Mallett with Bombalurina
1 September
8 September
15 September "The Joker" Steve Miller Band
22 September
29 September "Show Me Heaven" Maria McKee
6 October
13 October
20 October
27 October "A Little Time" The Beautiful South
3 November "Unchained Melody" The Righteous Brothers
10 November
17 November
24 November
1 December "Ice Ice Baby" Vanilla Ice
8 December
15 December
22 December
29 December "Saviour's Day" Cliff Richard

Number-one albums[edit]

Chart Date
(week ending)
Song Artist(s)
6 January ...But Seriously Phil Collins
13 January
20 January
27 January Colour The Christians
3 February ...But Seriously Phil Collins
10 February
17 February
24 February
3 March
10 March
17 March
24 March I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got Sinéad O'Connor
31 March Changesbowie David Bowie
7 April Only Yesterday: Their Greatest Hits The Carpenters
14 April
21 April Behind the Mask Fleetwood Mac
28 April Only Yesterday: Their Greatest Hits The Carpenters
5 May
12 May
19 May
26 May
2 June Vol. II: 1990 - A New Decade Soul II Soul
9 June
16 June
23 June The Essential Pavarotti Luciano Pavarotti
30 June Step by Step New Kids on the Block
7 July The Essential Pavarotti Luciano Pavarotti
14 July
21 July
28 July Sleeping With the Past Elton John
4 August
11 August
18 August
25 August
1 September Graffiti Bridge Prince
8 September In Concert Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti (The Three Tenors)
Orchestra Del Maggio Musical Fiorentino
Orchestra Del Teatro Dell'Opera Di Roma Zubin Mehta
15 September Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 George Michael
22 September In Concert Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti (The Three Tenors)
Orchestra Del Maggio Musical Fiorentino
Orchestra Del Teatro Dell'Opera Di Roma Zubin Mehta
29 September
6 October
13 October
20 October Some Friendly The Charlatans
27 October The Rhythm of the Saints Paul Simon
3 November
10 November The Very Best of Elton John Elton John
17 November
24 November The Immaculate Collection Madonna
1 December
8 December
15 December
22 December
29 December

Year end charts[edit]

Best-selling singles of 1990[edit]

[1]

Position Title Artist Peak
position
1 "Unchained Melody" The Righteous Brothers 1
2 "Nothing Compares 2 U" Sinéad O'Connor 1
3 "Sacrifice"/"Healing Hands" Elton John 1
4 "Ice Ice Baby" Vanilla Ice 1
5 "Killer" Adamski 1
6 "Show Me Heaven" Maria McKee 1
7 "Dub Be Good to Me" Beats International 1
8 "Vogue" Madonna 1
9 "World in Motion" England New Order 1
10 "The Power" Snap! 1
11 "Nessun Dorma" Luciano Pavarotti 2
12 "A Little Time" The Beautiful South 1
13 "Turtle Power" Partners in Kryme 1
14 "It Must Have Been Love" Roxette 3
15 "U Can't Touch This" MC Hammer 3
16 "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" Bombalurina 1
17 "Get Up! (Before the Night Is Over)" Technotronic featuring Ya Kid K 2
18 "Black Velvet" Alannah Myles 2
19 "Dirty Cash (Money Talks)" The Adventures of Stevie V 2
20 "Don't Worry" Kim Appleby 2
21 "Saviour's Day" Cliff Richard 1
22 "Mona" Craig McLachlan & Check 1–2 2
23 "Love Shack" The B-52's 2
24 "The Joker" The Steve Miller Band 1
25 "Opposites Attract" Paula Abdul and the Wild Pair 2
26 "Groove Is in the Heart"/"What Is Love" Deee-Lite 2
27 "Blue Velvet" Bobby Vinton 2
28 "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" Michael Bolton 3
29 "I've Been Thinking About You" Londonbeat 2
30 "Unbelievable" EMF 3
31 "Naked in the Rain" Blue Pearl 4
32 "Tom's Diner" DNA featuring Suzanne Vega 2
33 "Oops Up!" Snap! 5
34 "Tears on My Pillow" Kylie Minogue 1
35 "Kingston Town" UB40 4
36 "The Anniversary Waltz - Part One" Status Quo 2
37 "Take My Breath Away" Berlin 3
38 "Better the Devil You Know" Kylie Minogue 2
39 "Tonight" New Kids on the Block 3
40 "I'm Free" Soup Dragons featuring Junior Reid 5
41 "Lily Was Here" David A. Stewart featuring Candy Dulfer 6
42 "Blue Savannah" Erasure 3
43 "Justify My Love" Madonna 2
44 "Four Bacharach & David Songs" EP Deacon Blue 2
45 "Hold On" En Vogue 5
46 "Hear the Drummer (Get Wicked)" Chad Jackson 3
47 "Fantasy" Black Box 5
48 "What Time Is Love? (Live at Trancentral)" The KLF featuring the Children of the Revolution 5
49 "Got to Have Your Love" Mantronix featuring Wondress 4
50 "Step On" Happy Mondays 5

Best-selling artist albums of 1990[edit]

[2]

Position Title Artist Peak
position
1 ...But Seriously Phil Collins 1
2 The Immaculate Collection Madonna 1
3 In Concert José Carreras/Placido Domingo/Luciano Pavarotti 1
4 The Very Best of Elton John Elton John 1
5 Soul Provider Michael Bolton 4
6 The Essential Pavarotti Luciano Pavarotti 1
7 Only Yesterday Carpenters 1
8 Sleeping with the Past Elton John 1
9 Serious Hits... Live! Phil Collins 2
10 Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 George Michael 1
11 The Rhythm of the Saints Paul Simon 1
12 Vivaldi: The Four Seasons Nigel Kennedy with the English Chamber Orchestra 3
13 Foreign Affair Tina Turner 3[a]
14 Rocking All Over the Years Status Quo 2
15 Labour of Love II UB40 3
16 I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got Sinéad O'Connor 1
17 From a Distance: The Event Cliff Richard 3
18 The Singles Collection 1984/1990 Jimmy Somerville 4
19 The Road to Hell Chris Rea 4[b]
20 Step By Step New Kids on the Block 1
21 Hangin' Tough 2
22 Pump Up the Jam: The Album Technotronic 2
23 Choke The Beautiful South 2
24 Vol. II: 1990 – A New Decade Soul II Soul 1
25 I'm Your Baby Tonight Whitney Houston 4
26 Changesbowie David Bowie 1
27 I'm Breathless Madonna 2
28 Heart of Stone Cher 7
29 The Very Best of the Bee Gees Bee Gees 6
30 Affection Lisa Stansfield 2
31 The Best of Rod Stewart Rod Stewart 6[c]
32 Journeyman Eric Clapton 2
33 Summer Dreams: 28 Classic Tracks The Beach Boys 2
34 Look Sharp! Roxette 8[d]
35 X INXS 2
36 Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em MC Hammer 8
37 Cuts Both Ways Gloria Estefan 11[e]
38 Between the Lines Jason Donovan 2
39 Violator Depeche Mode 2
40 Behind the Mask Fleetwood Mac 1
41 Cosmic Thing The B-52s 8
42 Boomania Betty Boo 4
43 Waking Hours Del Amitri 6
44 Reflection The Shadows 5
45 Natural History: The Very Best of Talk Talk Talk Talk 3
46 Greatest Hits The Bangles 4
47 The Stone Roses The Stone Roses 9
48 Wild! Erasure 12[f]
49 Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats Peter Gabriel 11
50 To the Extreme Vanilla Ice 4

Notes:

  1. ^ Reached number 1 in 1989
  2. ^ Reached number 1 in 1989
  3. ^ Reached number 3 in 1989
  4. ^ Reached number 4 in 1989
  5. ^ Reached number 1 in 1989
  6. ^ Reached number 1 in 1989

Classical music[edit]

Opera[edit]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

Music awards[edit]

BRIT Awards[edit]

The 1990 BRIT Awards winners were:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1990 Top 100 Singles". Music Week (London, England: Spotlight Publications): 41. 2 March 1991. 
  2. ^ "1990 Top 100 Albums". Music Week (London, England: Spotlight Publications): 39. 2 March 1991. 
  3. ^ Sadie, Julie Anne; Samuel, Rhian (1994). The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 210–211. ISBN 0-393-03487-9. 
  4. ^ NME Biography

External links[edit]