Every Billboard Modern Rock/Alternative #1 Single (Part 2: The 1990s)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Parachute Woman, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Only Kindness Matters Thread Starter

    Part 1 of this series found here
    Every Billboard Modern Rock/Alternative #1 Single (Part 1: The 1980s)

    In this project, we are discussing every song that has hit number one on Billboard's Modern Rock chart (name changed to Alternative chart in 2009) beginning with the chart's inception in September of 1988. We have just completed our discussions of all the 1980s charts and today I launch this second part to cover 1990 through 1999. Along the way, we discuss top ten hits that did not make the top spot and other relevant material as well. Please join in at any time!

    Here are tags for everyone who participated in the first thread:
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    'Blues from a Gun" by Jesus and Mary Chain topped the charts at the very end of 1989 and ran into the new year. We begin here with the first #1 of the decade and its corresponding chart.

    23. "House" by Psychedelic Furs

    #1 for 3 weeks beginning January 20, 1990

    Book of Days is the sixth studio album by the English rock band the Psychedelic Furs, released 31 October 1989 by Columbia Records. Two singles were released from the album, "Should God Forget" and "House", which peaked at No. 8 and No. 1, respectively, on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.[4] "House" also reached No. 90 in the UK Singles Chart.

    And the top ten during its first week at #1:

    01. "House" by Psychedelic Furs
    02. "Love and Anger" by Kate Bush
    03. "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" by Morrissey
    04. "No Myth" by Michael Penn
    05. "Standing There" by the Creatures
    06. "Roam" by the B-52's
    07. "Babydoll" by Laurie Anderson
    08. "Where Do We Go from Heaven" by the Mighty Lemon Drops
    09. "Blues from a Gun" by Jesus and Mary Chain
    10. "Cuts You Up" by Peter Murphy *

    * = Future #1
    (I indicate this so that discussion of these songs can be delayed until we get to them as chart toppers. Thanks!)
  2. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Only Kindness Matters Thread Starter

    This is the Furs' second chart-topper on the modern rock chart (All That Money Wants was the third #1 ever on this chart). I prefer 'House' as a song in pretty much every way. This still isn't their absolute greatest material ever--which was released prior to the beginning of this chart in 1988--but it is still a very solid song with a nice hook on the chorus and that laid-back tone you often get in their material with a cool vocal from Richard Butler. He had such an interesting grit in his voice. I always like hearing him sing.

    From the rest of the top ten, I'd like to highlight this haunting dark pop song from the Mighty Lemon Drops:

    Love that tinkling keyboard riff.
  3. BadJack

    BadJack Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    "Book of Days" is a very cool album (I may have praised it in the other thread), much darker and more atmospheric than the Furs had been in a while. It's odd that "House" doesn't turn up on their compilations.
    WilliamWes and Parachute Woman like this.
  4. bvb1123

    bvb1123 Rock and Roll Martian

    Cincinnati Ohio
    Really like "Home" when it came out but had all but forgotten about it. Kool tune. My favorites on this top 10 list are "No Myth", what an excellent song; "Roam", which might just edge out "Rock Lobster" as my favorite B-52s song: and I really loved "Cuts You Up" by Peter Murphy. Those songs really spoke to me as a mere lad of 20. Glad to see the list is continuing: Kudos to you @Parachute Woman!
  5. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    The Psychedelic Furs - House

    The music has a slight Cure feel. The vocals don't try to hide their Britishness, which is something way more pronounced in Alternative Rock as opposed to Pop or Metal. The song is very of its time and there was a lot of music in the next few years that had a similar feel. There's the driving bass and the dreamy guitars, all alongside a steady drumbeat and the heavily-accented voice. The song isn't bad, it's decent, but there's not much that I can really grab onto. The dreamy guitars are the part I like best, but they're too far back in the mix. I will say for being the start of 1990 and how this music really became the mainstream in this decade it's a good start.

    For the rest of the top 10 this week, The B-52's Roam is my favorite and it's one I still listen to a lot. Definitely my favorite song by them.
    WilliamWes and Parachute Woman like this.
  6. thefxc

    thefxc Well-Known Member

    Wichita, KS
    01. "House" by Psychedelic Furs

    One of the better Furs songs I think; a bit of a return to from after polishing their sound on Midnight to Midnight.

    02. "Love and Anger" by Kate Bush

    Underrated Kate Bush!

    03. "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" by Morrissey

    Meh. Morrissey's solo career began with a lot of energy but by this single he really started blanding it up.

    04. "No Myth" by Michael Penn

    Yeah this is really a very late-80s sounding mainstream rock song. It's very good, but I think it says a lot about the state of mainstream radio that this was on the alternative chart.

    05. "Standing There" by the Creatures

    At this point the line between Siouxsie & the Banshees and The Creatures was really thin...I'll just say that I think Siouxsie was saving her 'A' material for the former.

    06. "Roam" by the B-52's

    Better than 'Love Shack'

    07. "Babydoll" by Laurie Anderson
    08. "Where Do We Go from Heaven" by the Mighty Lemon Drops

    Don't know either of these songs too well. I always thought the Lemon Drops fell off sharply after World Without End.

    09. "Blues from a Gun" by Jesus and Mary Chain

    My favorite J&MC single; it's a shame that every song on Automatic sounded like it.
    WilliamWes and Parachute Woman like this.
  7. Soopernaut

    Soopernaut Forum Resident

    Des Moines,IA
    "House" by Psychedelic Furs...This one is really good. I wasn't familiar with it.

    "Babydoll" by Laurie Anderson...Well this is a very weird song. The again, she was an avant-garde artist and not really meant to have a more traditional, radio friendly song.

    "Where Do We Go from Heaven" by the Mighty Lemon Drops...This one is ok, although I much prefer their earlier charting single, "Into the Heart of Love".
    Parachute Woman likes this.
  8. Geee!

    Geee! Forum Resident

    WOW! I only know 1 song!!
    I stopped listening to the Psychedelic Furs with the disappointing Mirror Moves, solo Morrissey did nothing for me. I haven't heard any Laurie Anderson post Mr Heartbreak.

    ...I still love "Roam"
  9. John54

    John54 Forum Resident

    It's new to me, so I'm giving it a listen right now. So far so good. Very good actually!

    I have a couple of other things by the Lemon Drops, Out of Hand for starters, which I quite like.

    If you like "dark" pop, how about Shake and Crawl by House of Love? Also from 1990
  10. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Forum Resident

    Okay, so I consider the Fur's Talk Talk Talk version of Pretty in Pink basically a perfect song, and a perfect recording. Thing is, it's the only song of theirs I've heard that hits me that way. House and the other one that was a chart-topper, while relatively sort of okay I guess, just don't grab my interest at all. Pink not only reaches out with both hands and grabs me, it holds me in a bear hug to the final seconds of the fade-out.

    Where Do We Go from Heaven gets more interesting as it goes along, but it takes too long to get to that point. Then it ruins the built aural interest toward the end by becoming too repetitious with the title lyric. I stayed to the end, but it's not something I would ever seek out to hear again.
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  11. Hoover Factory

    Hoover Factory Old Dude Who Knows Things

    Spokane, WA
    The Furs are one of my all time favorite bands. Richard Butler’s voice is simply amazing and the sonic textures that the Furs bring to their best recordings were riveting. I would not place “House” among their top songs (“The Ghost In You,” “Pretty In Pink;” “Love My Way”), but it’s still a fine song. Their next one would be better.
    ralphb97, The MEZ, WilliamWes and 2 others like this.
  12. george nadara

    george nadara Forum Resident

    I saw the Psychedelic Furs on the Talk Talk Talk tour in August 1981, and again in July 2011 when they performed that album in its entirety. I own all of their studio albums and like all of the songs, but "Pretty In Pink" is the stellar composition above all others, the greatest riff that Keith Richards never wrote.
  13. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Forum Resident

    I know of every act in that top ten, but the only one of those songs I know is "Roam". I was a junior in high school, still strictly into oldies and classic rock (the only then-current act I followed yet was U2), and I guess it showed. A year and a half later when I got to college, some of my much more alternative-hip friends would have CDs by all those acts, which is how I came to know them, but I never really got into that style of music.
    WilliamWes likes this.
  14. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Only Kindness Matters Thread Starter

    Next up is the song that would be the year-end number one most successful song for this chart:

    24. "Cuts You Up" by Peter Murphy

    #1 for 7 weeks beginning February 10, 1990

    "Cuts You Up" is a song by English musician Peter Murphy, from his third solo studio album, Deep (1989). It was released as a single in 1990 through Beggars Banquet Records. The song became Murphy's most successful release, topping at Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, as well as charting on Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks charts.

    "Cuts You Up" features a melodic violin line over a bed of acoustic guitars, keyboards, percussion, and bass guitar.[2] Peter Murphy described the song as "having a very driving, acoustic quality to it and lots of sort of hooky, melodic overtones to it with a not-so-straight lyric." Producer Simon Rogers stated that "Murphy brought the song to the sessions in more-or-less its final form," describing it as "pretty much exactly like the demo."[1]

    Murphy also visualized the violin part that runs through the performance and used a sample. Rogers recruited a viola player to play the line. Nevertheless, he wasn't satisfied with the live recording of the strings, stating that "it didn't have the atmosphere and was too moody." The sample was eventually retained for the finished release.[1]

    The rest of the top ten during the week of 2/10/90:
    01. "Cuts You Up" by Peter Murphy
    02. "Head On" by Jesus and Mary Chain
    03. "House" by Psychedelic Furs
    04. "Getting Away with It" by Electronic
    05. "No Myth" by Michael Penn
    06. "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants
    07. "Standing There" by the Creatures
    08. "The Sensual World" by Kate Bush
    09. "Roam" by the B-52's
    10. "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)" by UB40
  15. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Only Kindness Matters Thread Starter

    Cuts You Up
    I obviously have a love for and fascination with this chart and in fact I have a Spotify playlist of every #1 that I keep updated, as well as a playlist of other notable charting songs. As we get deeper into the charts, this becomes an exercise in nostalgia because I actually remember the songs and they were a part of my own life. I was born the same year as this chart (1988) so I don't remember the first few years of music personally and I was introduced to a number of songs I love through this chart. 'Cuts You Up' is one such song. I absolutely love this track. I have respect for Peter Murphy even if I'm not a fan of his per se and I think this is just a brilliant track. Perfect. A great recording, a great composition, a great performance...melodic, interesting, that beautiful violin, the way that it builds. It's one of my all-time favorite chart-toppers on this chart and definitely one of my favorites from the 1988-1993 period when I don't personally remember the tracks. I'm glad it was such a success and held the top spot for nearly two months as it deserves it. A wonderful track.

    'Head On' by Jesus and Mary Chain is one of my favorite singles by them (I like it better than 'Blues from a Gun') but we have already featured that group so I'm instead going to pull out the quirky 'Birdhouse in Your Soul' from They Might Be Giants. A strange little song from a strange little band and quite fun.
  16. Grant

    Grant Now let that bass fall in! Oh yeah!

    United States
    [QUOTE="Parachute Woman, post: 20546206, member: 69497"...I'm instead going to pull out the quirky 'Birdhouse in Your Soul' from They Might Be Giants. A strange little song from a strange little band and quite fun.

    I bought this album on a whim because it's so quirky! I love it!
  17. Soopernaut

    Soopernaut Forum Resident

    Des Moines,IA
    "Cuts You Up" by Peter Murphy...I'm not a big fan of Bauhaus, but Peter Murphy's solo material is quite different. This is a great song.

    "Head On" by Jesus and Mary Chain...I actually remember this one, unlike their previous charting single. To me, this is better too.

    "Getting Away with It" by Electronic...This band was a supergroup featuring members of New Order, The Smiths, The Pet Shop Boys and Kraftwerk, but not necessarily all at the same time. This song almost sounds like a New Order song.
  18. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    MA, USA
    The Psychedelic Furs had a handful of great songs (Pretty In Pink, All That Money Wants, Forever Now), but my favourite Furs song is Heaven. I know, it's a lightweight pop tune without much substance...but it's such a melodic, beautiful song. I'll concede that Pretty In Pink is their masterpiece, but it doesn't have quite the same magic for me.

    Head On is one of many great J&MC singles, and far better than the Pixies version to me. I also love the previous Blues From A Gun, and actually, Automatic is my favourite J&MC album. It's not as visionary or immediately impactful as Psychocandy, but song for song, I think it's a superior release.
    Parachute Woman likes this.
  19. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Only Kindness Matters Thread Starter


    25. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor

    #1 for 1 week beginning March 31, 1990

    "Nothing Compares 2 U" is a song written and composed by Prince for one of his side projects, The Family, for the eponymous album The Family. It was later made famous by Irish recording artist Sinead O'Connor, whose arrangement was released as the second single from her second studio album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. This version, which O'Connor co-produced with Nellee Hooper, became a worldwide hit in 1990. Its music video received heavy rotation on MTV. Its lyrics explore feelings of longing from the point of view of an abandoned lover.

    O'Connor's power ballad[3] version of the song became a worldwide hit, topping charts in O'Connor's native Ireland, Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It also became a top-five single in France and a top-20 in Denmark. The single was certified platinum in Austria and the United Kingdom, and gold in Germany and Sweden.

    In the United States it spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, keeping Jane Child's "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" from reaching the top spot for three of them; in addition, it was a number-one in Billboard Alternative Songs chart, and reached number two on Billboard Adult Contemporary chart (held off the top position by "This Old Heart of Mine" by Rod Stewart for three weeks). It became the third best-selling single of 1990, the 82nd best-selling single of the 1990s, and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 1990. The song's popularity sent I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got to the top of the Billboard 200 where it stayed for six consecutive weeks.

    Top 10 for the week of 3/31/90:
    01. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor
    02. "Metropolis" by the Church*
    03. "Blue Sky Mine" by Midnight Oil*
    04. "Cuts You Up" by Peter Murphy
    05. "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode*
    06. "Hello" by the Beloved
    07. "Deliverance" by the Mission U.K.
    08. "I Don't Know Why I Love You" by the House of Love
    09. "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants
    10. "Fools Gold" by the Stone Roses

    The entire top five is comprised of previous or future chart toppers. We will get to them all in time.
  20. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Only Kindness Matters Thread Starter

    Nothing Compares 2 U
    Probably the most famous song we've seen as a #1 thus far and a song with truly massive and widespread appeal. It was a #1 not only on the alternative charts, but on the Hot 100 as well--one of the first indications of alternative musicians starting to cross over into the mainstream. And Sinead was indeed alternative. Her first two albums are two of the absolute best female alternative works (and that is one of my personal favorite genres--I've heard hundreds of albums in that genre). Both are incredibly creative, beautifully sung, daringly written and highly recommended by me. I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got from 1990 is a masterpiece. I know Sinead is mostly remembered for her controversies these days (and this song) but she was an amazing talent and her music stands up. 'Nothing Compares 2 U' is, in my humble opinion, one of the best cover songs ever recorded and it features one of my favorite vocal performances as well. Sinead compared her singing on this song to extreme acting and I 100% understand what she means. You can hear every emotion so clearly and she plays the part of the jilted lover brilliantly. She is defiant ('I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant'), she is despondent ('like a bird without a song'), she is desperate ('Tell me baby where did I go wrong?') she is angry ('Guess what he told me?')...It is an extraordinary performance and her vocals are truly stunning. A song for the ages, in my opinion.
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    The whole Flood Album was fantastic ... most folks I knew didn't know what I saw in it, but I thought it was great anyhow :)
    BZync and Lance LaSalle like this.
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    I thought this was great, and after the previous album being so good and seemingly ignored, it was nice to see her get some success with this one. I actually preferred her version of this to Prince's
  23. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    I agree with you regarding I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. Masterpiece. And the song is obviously a classic.

    When I first heard it, honestly, I did not particularly like it: to me it sounded a lot like "One More Try" by George Michael. I had been a GM fan, but he was pretty square by 1990. I had no idea of the Prince connection until later, even though I actually was a huge Prince fan, and still am.

    But while I'm not going to diss Prince's version of this (on the Family album) I really think that Sinead's version hits the spot better: maybe because her voice is just so... hard-hitting and emotional. Whoever sang on that Madness album was a lightweight, like many of Prince's protegees.

    Other great songs on this chart:

    "Cuts You UP" by Peter Murphy. We mentioned him earlier, and I guess I'm not really a fan. But I love that song, and bought the album a few years later.
    Just the perfect alternative single. Dark and sunny at the same time. Great viola or whatever it is.

    "Blue Sky Mine" was a great rockin' song that got quite a lot of play. I think I got sick of that one.

    "Enjoy the Silence" was gigantic and brilliant. And ubiquitous.

    But "Birdhouse in My Soul" is probably my favorite out of all of these (other than "Nothing Compares 2U.") Great song by the best hookmaestros this side of Brian Wilson in my opinion. It was that album that totally knocked me into the They Might Be Giant orbit forever.
  24. Hoover Factory

    Hoover Factory Old Dude Who Knows Things

    Spokane, WA
    Loved the song and loved the album I Don’t Want What I Haven’t Got - packed full of great songs like “Jump in the River”and “The Emperors New Clothes.” Sinead was an incredible talent, and an extremely interesting person, to say the least.
  25. BadJack

    BadJack Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    It's funny that The Church and that House of Love single were on the charts at the same time, because I thought that "I Don't Know Why..." was The Church when I first heard it. I knew they had a new single out and just assumed that the jangly tune with the deadpan baritone was them. I love both songs.

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