Kylie does Grease!
Tears on My Pillow, by Kylie Minogue (her 4th of seven #1s)
1 week, from 21st – 28th January 1990
Well, no. Kylie’s never done ‘Grease’ – though she’d have made a good Sandy – and ‘Tears on My Pillow’ only ever features in the background of the original movie. But this record certainly has that feel about it…
It’s the final UK #1 to be produced by Stock Aitken and Waterman… pause for a moment to cheer/sigh (delete as appropriate)… though you wouldn’t particularly know it. It’s a shame that they don’t bow out with a Hi-NRG banger, but the chart Gods can be cruel. Like Jason Donovan’s stab at the sixties on ‘Sealed With a Kiss’, this is nothing more than karaoke. At least the trio bow out with a big hit for their chief muse, the lovely Ms Minogue. And in the big ‘Jason Vs Kylie Retro Covers Contest’ there can be only one winner: this one, because it’s Kylie.
There has been a bit of a retro wave sweeping the charts over the final year of the ‘80s. There was Jive Bunny, of course, but also those sixties covers from Jason, and Marc Almond with Gene Pitney. ‘Tears on My Pillow’ had originally been a 1958 hit for Little Anthony & The Imperials – one which failed to chart in the UK but had made #4 in the US. (There has of course been a completely unrelated ‘Tears on My Pillow’ at #1 in the UK, for Johnny Nash in 1975. Off the top of my head, I think this is the second time two different songs with the same name have made #1, after ‘The Power of Love’…)
This was from the soundtrack to Kylie’s big-screen debut ‘The Delinquents’, a Romeo and Juliet-ish tale of teenage love in ‘50s Australia. Apparently the movie isn’t great, but it continues a trend of forgettable films accompanied by number one singles (‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’, ‘When the Going Gets Tough’…) And it scored Kylie her fourth chart-topper in just under two years. Amazingly, this will be her sole nineties #1. A decade of fading chart fortunes, duets with Nick Cave, and a stab at something more alternative will keep her busy until a spectacular comeback in the early ‘00s. Still, she sneaks in, and in due course will join a select band of artists with #1s in three different decades.
If it feels like I’ve been padding this post out, blethering on about everything but the actual, largely forgettable, music then you’d be right. Let me pad it out a little more before finishing, then. Though I don’t remember this particular record, Kylie (and Jason) are pop ground zero for my generation: the first singers we remember from TV, from the playground, the first CDs we bought (more on that later…) The music may not have always been great, but this is nostalgic stuff for us older millennials. This rundown is suddenly getting quite real!