The History of Pop Music – 1990

Featured song:

Status Quo – The Anniversary Waltz (I & II)

This is a series of articles looking at pop music from 1955 when in my opinion proper pop music began up to 1999 when they stopped making it. One article for each year.

I am only going to select one featured song for each article, which makes it hard. I am going to try and select a different artist for each year.

For many people, and I include myself, you tend to still like the tunes you heard during childhood, which your parents often played. So rather than just pick the top 10 hits of each year, I shall let you know what they were, but also the tunes of that year not necessarily in the top 10 or so, what were in my view classics.  I also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

So, on we go with memories from 1990: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about:

More IRA atrocities, and an extremely hot summer, strikes, BSE affecting people, Poll Tax (c/w riots), but mainly politics, with the downfall of Margaret.

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 35.  Still digging the Channel Tunnel.  Life was good. Family was good, always short of money with so many kids, but many of us have been through that.  I was learning a lot about my later to be speciality.  Really got into Duplicate Bridge, my life-long Bridge partner and I learned the art together, supported by some fine mentors, including 2 International players.  We were regularly winning and generally did very well.  We still play together to this day.

TV programmes included:

Mr Bean started, I liked that a lot.  Baywatch started, imported from the USA who cancelled it after one series, ITV and an international consortium paid have 10 more years of it.  Phil & Grant Mitchell appear for the first time in EastEnders.  Opportunity Knocks came back, hosted by the immortal Les Dawson.  Debut of ITV’s Stars in Their Eyes, a series presented by Leslie Crowther, never liked it, but always seemed to watch it.  We get to see The Simpsons for the first time, but only if you were posh or unemployed so had Sky TV.  The Word is moved from 6pm to a late-night timeslot (it did get a bit naughty).  A sad end as well for All Creatures Great and Small,  Loved that show, and still watch repeats.

My favourite though was Star Trek: The Next Generation making its British television debut on BBC 2, with the feature-length episode “Encounter at Farpoint”.


Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher (Conservative) (until 28 November), John Major (Conservative) (starting 28 November)

29 January – Lord Justice Taylor publishes his report in the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 95 Liverpool F.C. supporters on 15 April last year. He recommends that all top division stadiums are all-seater by 1994 and that the rest of the Football League follows suit by 1999 but rules out the government’s proposed ID card scheme to combat football hooliganism as “unworkable”.

15 February – The UK and Argentina restore diplomatic relations after eight years. Diplomatic ties were broken off in response to Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982.

1 March – The Official Secrets Act 1989 comes into force.

9 March – 37 people are arrested and 10 police officers injured in Brixton, London, during rioting against the new Community Charge.

13 March – The ambulance crew dispute ends after six months when workers agree to a 17.6% pay rise.

15 March – Britain’s unemployment is now down to 1,610,000 – the lowest since 1978. However, it is a drop of just 2,000 on January’s total and economists fear that a sharp rise in unemployment could soon begin as there are widespread fears of a recession.

1 March – 200,000 protesters in Poll Tax Riots in London[5] in the week preceding official introduction of the Community Charge.

1–25 April – 1990 Strangeways Prison riot in Manchester.

9 April – Four Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers are killed by an IRA bomb in County Down.

10 April – With nineteen inmates at Strangeways Prison in Manchester still staging a rooftop protest against prison conditions, rioting has broken out at prisons in Cardiff and Bristol.

11 May – Inflation now stands at 9.4% – the highest level for eight years.

9 May – British agriculture Minister John Gummer feeds a hamburger to his five-year-old daughter to counter rumours about the spread of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy and its transmission to humans.  Good job horses do not get BSE.

25 May – The “rump” Social Democratic Party (consisting of members who backed out of the merger with the Liberal Party which formed the Liberal Democrats two years ago) finishes behind the Monster Raving Loony Party in the Bootle by-election, where Labour retain power under new MP Michael Carr.  A fate I see for the Cuck party.

30 July – An IRA car bomb kills British MP Ian Gow, a staunch unionist, after he assured the IRA that the British government would never surrender to them.

1 August – British Airways Flight 149 is seized by the Iraqi Army at Kuwait International Airport following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

3 August – The 1990 heat wave peaks with a temperature of 37.1 °C (98.8 °F) recorded at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. I remember a weekend where me and my family just laid in the furniture and sprayed each other with water most of the day.  “Phew what a scorcher”

14 August – A survey carried out by the BBC reveals that 20% of taxpayers in England and Wales had not paid their Community Charge by 30 June this year.

6 September – Len Hutton, cricketer (born 1916) died.

8 October – Pound sterling joins the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

1 November – Geoffrey HoweDeputy Prime Minister, resigns over the government’s European policy.

2 November – Neil Kinnock announces his support for the adoption of a single European currency.

13 November – Geoffrey Howe makes a dramatic resignation speech in the House of Commons, attacking the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher‘s hostility towards the EC.

14 November –  Former cabinet minister Michael Heseltine announces that he will challenge Margaret Thatcher’s leadership. (He is still a well-known GP word)

20 November – Margaret Thatcher fails to win outright victory in a leadership contest for the Conservative Party.

22 November – Margaret Thatcher announces her resignation as Leader of the Conservative Party and therefore as Prime Minister, having led the government for more than 11 years and the Conservative Party for over 15 years. She was the longest serving prime minister of the 20th century.

27 November – John Major is elected leader of the Conservative Party and becomes Britain’s new prime minister, defeating Douglas Hurd and Michael Heseltine.  At 47, Major is the youngest British prime minister of the 20th century. He is to be officially appointed prime minister tomorrow at Buckingham Palace.

1 December – Channel Tunnel workers from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 meters beneath the English Channel seabed, establishing the first land connection between the United Kingdom and the mainland of Europe for around 8,000 years.  Wonderful moment for me that.

The Top 10 Singles with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top Tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Hits of 1990
   1 Righteous Brothers Unchained Melody
   2 Sinead O’Connor Nothing Compares 2U
   3 Elton John Sacrifice / Healing Hands
   4 Adamski Killer
   5 Vanilla Ice Ice Ice Baby
   6 Maria McKee Show Me Heaven
   7 Beats International Dub Be Good To Me
   8 Madonna Vogue
   9 Englandneworder World In Motion
   10 Snap The Power

Great year yet again for Stock, Aitken and Waterman.  From the top 10 you cannot fault The Righteous Brothers of course, always a classic every time it is released, no matter by who.  Sinead with the awesome cover of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2U, bit of Elton again, generally not too bad.

As soon as I hear any Status Quo, my feet tap. This 10-minute special medley is non-stop toe-tapping stuff.  Also, we could not have the history of pop without a Quo single being the featured song.  “The Anniversary Waltz” is the name of two medley singles released by the British Rock band Status Quo in 1990.  It was divided into two parts for release as a single in 1990. “Part One” was the bigger hit, reaching number two in the UK Singles Chart. This song is a medley of many hit songs from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. One of the songs performed, Dion’s “The Wanderer” had previously been covered by Status Quo in 1984.  Both parts of “The Anniversary Waltz” were recorded live in the studio. Yes, I cheated and added Part 2 as well.

More writings on this song here:  – The Anniversary Waltz

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track are:

Steve Miller Band – The Joker – Always worth a listen, great tune.

Robert Palmer & Ub40  – I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight – Not a big lover of UB40, but add Robert Palmer and we have a classic.

MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This

Alannah Myles – Black Velvet

Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling – Blessed this year, they re-released this.

Bobby Vinton – Blue Velvet – Another golden oldie re-released.

Heart – All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You

The B-52’s – Love Shack

Berlin – Take My Breath Away

Luciano Pavarotti – Nessun dorma – Not a pop song, but it hit the pop charts this year.  Another song like Unchained Melody or Spirit in the Sky that is wonderful no matter who sings it.  Luciano did not have much of a sense of humour, he shouted at me from the stage when I joined in.

Rod Stewart – Downtown Train – I like a bit of Rod.

Candy Dulfer & David A. Stewart – Lily was here – You may not remember the title, but the haunting sax you will.

They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse In Your Soul

New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough

New Kids On The Block – Tonight

Londonbeat – I’ve Been Thinking About You

Don Pablo’s Animals – Venus – Yet another cover, but good.  (Shocking Blue – then Bananarama)

The Beautiful South – A Little Time

EMF – Unbelievable

The Chimes – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – So much better than U2.

Erasure – Blue Savannah – just for the faggots.

Jimmy Somerville – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) – Great cover from Ian Hislop

Technotronic – Megamix – It’s shite, but a mix up of various techno stuff the Brett likes, so added in the vain hope he does not post anymore.

Fun Song: – Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

Fun Song – Betty Boo – Where Are You Baby

Just 25 songs for 1990 in my favourites list, another shite year for good tunes.  I think I found a few good ones though apart from Technotronic.  No accounting for taste really.

Hat tips to:  these give the top 100 selling charts for each year   these give the top 10 songs for each year  you know them.

Next Time 1991 – It gets even worse, then later pretty dire.

© Phil the test manager 2019

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file