dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Damn You, Pete Burns!

I need to come clean about the fact that I'm totally addicted to watching Pete Burns on clips of the UK's latest Celebrity Big Brother series.

Like a lot of folks, I just always assumed he was your typical '80s-popstar-who-underwent-massive-cosmetic-surgery-and-now-looks-like-Cher. But no! The Dead Or Alive frontman's got the most ubelievable charisma, and watching the underlying sexual tension between him and Dennis Rodman is kinda naughty.

Off the success of the show, Sony has rereleased "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" as a single this week in England. Pete Burns, naturally, has trashed the decision to Channel 4 after leaving the Big Brother house, saying ""I'm sick of that song. It's like still wearing school uniform when you're 50."

Yeah, Pete, go cry about it to your bank account. Appearing on the show has already given chart success to Ordinary Boys singer/guitarist Preston, whose latest single "Boys Will Be Boys" jumped 20 notches into the UK Top 10 this week.


Watch Pete Burns's Big Brother intro!

Listen to Pete perform "You Spin Me Round!"

See the controversy over Pete's "gorilla" fur coat!

Witness the hysterical movie the housemates made!

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Brandon Flowers Gets Back To Business

It's been months since Chart Rigger has fawned over Brandon Flowers, the flamboyant (but straight...?) frontman of The Killers.

In two weeks, Brandon will be holed up in a Vegas recording studio making the follow-up to the triple platibum album Hot Fuss with producers Flood and Alan Moulder.

"It's more American," he told Rolling Stone. "People called us the best English band to come from America and all that shit. That's cool, and English rock is great, but it's forced me to listen to American music to see what I was missing." Let's just hope the next album doesn't sound like Nickelback, then!

The band is also contemplating adding another member by the name of Ted, who plays guitar and piano. I say don't bother unless he's hot.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Real McCoy Resurfaces To Represent Poland In Eurovision 2006

Congrats to Chart Rigger pal O-Jay of '90s Eurodance act Real McCoy, who along with band Ich Troje has won the finals to represent Poland in the 2006 Eurovision contest.

Their song entry, "Follow My Heart" (billed as Ich Troje featuring Real McCoy) will be performed in 5 languages - French, Russian, German, Hebrew and English. "Follow My Heart" will also be used in the forthcoming British movie, In The Name Of .., and a coinciding English version of the song will be released.

O-Jay, a successful German producer, achieved the feat of having the top song by a German act in U.S. rock history while fronting Real McCoy, with "Another Night." The song spent a year in the U.S. charts during 1994 and 1995.

You can download "Follow My Heart" by Ich Troje Featuring Real McCoy directly from the Polish band's web site.

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"Nasty Girl" Straddles The UK

Pull out the party favors! With the posthumous single "Nasty Girl" by Notorious B.I.G. and co. going to #1 in the UK, things are starting to look very American over there. At least it bumped the over-hyped Arctic Monkeys out of the top spot - although their album debuted atop the UK album chart with sales in the six figures. The growing buzz for the Arctic Monkeys is reaching a fever pitch Stateside, with the anticipation of the February 21st release of their album here. Predictably, the new issue of Spin boasts the cover line "Arctic Monkeys - The U.K.'s Coolest New Band." Blah.

Meanwhile, a-ha score their first British Top 10 hit since 1988, when "Stay On These Roads" went to #5 that March.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Nasty Girl" - Notorious B.I.G. Feat. P. Diddy & Nelly *1 week*
2. "When The Sun Goes Down" - Arctic Monkeys
3. "Check On It" - Beyonce Feat. Slim Thug
4. "Say Say Say (Waiting 4 U)" - Hi-tack
5. "All Time Love" - Will Young
6. "That's My Goal" - Shayne Ward
7. "The JCB Song" - Nizlopi
8. "I'll Be Ready" - Sunblock
9. "Boys Will Be Boys" - Ordinary Boys
10."Analogue (All I Want)" - a-ha * new*

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Someone Actually Had Sex With Clay Aiken?

Oh, how Clay's life has changed. Had he never gone on American Idol and discovered the flat iron, he would have never gotten laid.

Here's the best part of the National Enquier Clay Aiken gay sex expose running rampant on the internet:

“On Dec. 16, using the screen name of 'valleyprettyboy,' [CR: Class] Clay sent me his first instant message,” [John] Paulus claims. The two allegedly set up a meeting at a North Carolina hotel and, according to Paulus, spent the night having unprotected sex with the singer. He claims Aiken later asked him to be his secret boyfriend.

Can you imagine spending an entire 90 minutes looking at Clay's nasty carrot stick? And, sure, Clay, let's be "secret boyfriends," then you can share my locker and we can swap lunches during recess.

And who didn't know he was gay already (besides a few hundred thousand delusional Claymates)? Oh well, by Monday, no one will remember or care anyway.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Yes, It's Another Post About Darren Hayes

It's a Darren Hayes kinda January here at Chart Rigger. Dazza performed on Tuesday at the Sundance Film Festival's Music Cafe, and you can check out the photos from his performance here (type "Darren Hayes" in the search engine). He's also performing today at the festival.

Savage Garden's Best Of came out on Tuesday, and it's selling fairly well on iTunes, thanks to prominent placing at the top of the main page of the store. The past B-side "I Don't Care" is actually really amazing, and I've been playing it all week.

Also, Darren's new column on PopJustice started this week on their newly renovated site. Here's a riveting snippet where he talks about his custom made earplugs:

I ALSO had them take a cast of my ear and then from that make me a solid silicone ear plug the exact replica of my inner ear. Sometimes I wear them when I take friends out for lunch. They have no idea. But I don't have to listen to their stories...Obviously the whole moulding thing is hardly as rockstar as the famous Jimi Hendrix Penis cast...


Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Chart Don't Lie

This one goes out to Joshua: The fourth #1 single in the U.S. for 2006 is Beyonce Feat. Slim Thug's "Check On It." It's kinda shady that the song released off Destiny's Child's greatest hits is a Beyonce solo effort that lands at the top of the charts, and not a proper song with all three DC members. Then again, what do I care? Those three 'hos are probably throwing wads of cash in the fireplace this winter. At any rate, it's been the most rapid-fire procession of #1s here since Mimi was a size 2. Meanwhile, Nickelback finally drops out of the Top 10, but James Blunt takes their place.

The single I'm pretty jazzed about it "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. I'm still not sure how she became so popular here in the States, but this week she has Billboard's "greatest gainer" in sales, and moves up 14 spots to #14. This all comes after a week of heavy downloads for the song -- and she almost reached the top spot on the iTunes download chart over the weekend, but was held off by a tune from the Disney Channel's High School Musical soundtrack (which is becoming a bit of a strange phenomenon at the moment).

And finally, sometimes I pull predictions out of my rear and I'm totally way off the mark. But I'm happy that for once one of them came true. Back in December I began touting Cascada as (hopefully) having a crossover hit. This week, "Everytime We Touch" gives the the Robbins dance label their first U.S. Top 40 single with an original song, after the success of cover versions with DJ Sammy and DHT. "Everytime We Touch" is at #36.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Check On It" - Beyonce ft. Slim Thug *1 week*
2. "Grillz" - Nelly ft. Paul Wall, Ali & Gripp
3. "Run It!" - Chris Brown
4. "Be Without You" - Mary J. Blige
5. "Stickwitu" - Pussycat Dolls
6. "There It Go (The Whistle Song)" - Juelz Santana
7. "Don't Forget About Us" - Mariah Carey
8. "You're Beautiful" - James Blunt
9. "Dirty Little Secret" - The All-American Rejects
10. "Laffy Taffy" - D4L

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Monkey Business

What? How? Who? Today it was reported that the Arctic Monkeys album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, sold almost 120,000 copies within the day of its release in the UK, and it may become one of the year's top-sellers.

These figures were more than the rest of the British Top 20 albums sold combined for the day. If sales hold up, it will become Britain's fastest-selling debut, surpassing the 306,631 copies sold by Hear'Say's Popstars in 2001 in its first week.

OMG! Remember them? England got Hear'Say and we got stuck with Eden's Crush from the American version (though the one broad is now in Pussycat Dolls.)

I totally remember listening to Hear'Say's single "The Way To Your Love" at a listening station at the Virgin Megastore in summer of '01, and then I bought it and played it to death. It was all Max Martin-y, but with cheaper production values. And then I tried to get all my friends into that song, and they were all like, "Um, can you put Usher back on, white boy?"

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More P#$@%nk!

Oh, P$%#^@&#*$(*)**@#nk, if only you weren't such a tacky white trash junkyard box. At any rate, looks like when all else fails...


2001's M!ssundaztood:
U.S. sales = 5.2 million copies
4 Top 20 hits

2003's Try This:
U.S. sales = 700,000 copies
1 Top 70 flop

... yes, when all else fails, it's time to call in Max Martin and Dr. Luke, the Swedish hitmakers behind Kelly Clarkson's megahit "Since U Been Gone" and a bunch of other songs that will never be as good.

Also, in keeping up with the rescuing-old-lesbians-from-obscurity theme, P#$%@!nk's forthcoming album also features a collaboration with The Indigo Girls. Naughty.


Top Of The Pops Coming To America

The 40+ year-old British institution in TV pop performances looks like it may be coming to America. Yay!

"Boy band hitmaker" Lou Pearlman told the Associated Press yesterday that he's close to signing a deal with the BBC to jointly produce an American version of the show. Ick!

The American version will apparently be based on the Top 20 Billboard charts.

"The show will be just like it is all around the world," said Pearlman, who launched the careers of 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys (CR: yeah, til they fled their inital contracts with you and headed for the hills!). "Except our thing will be each week having an up-and-coming artist that will be debuted on the show. After (aspiring artists) are on American Idol, what show do you appear on?" Pearlman said. "This is the next level of American Idol."

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Monday, January 23, 2006

There Ain't No Queer In Cowboy!

Sometimes our President actually makes me laugh. Okay, maybe only this once. Usually he makes me wanna puke... But anyway...

...yesterday while making an appearance at Kansas State University, a student asked Bush if he's seen Brokeback Mountain:

After some hesitation — and laughter in the audience — Bush said, "I'd be glad to talk about ranching, but I haven't seen the movie." The audience laughed some more, and Bush, who owns a ranch in Texas, allowed that, "I've heard about it."

The New York Times ran a full article on the exchange, with more details and quotes from the kid and the prez.

Class. Click this link for another humorous article on the film dealing with rednecks' viewpoints, from the UK. Meanwhile, I realize I've yet to even mention Brokeback on here (except for the night I went to the L.A. premiere). For one, at this point, it just seems trite, but also because it has nothing to do with music -- though the soundtrack is currently the fourth most downloaded album on iTunes.

But, for the record, I've seen the damn movie four times. MoogaBoo and I watched a screener on Christmas, and even my dad was taken with it -- he announced, "I'm buyin' that DVD when it comes out." That'll be in April, by the way, Pops.

"This Track Makes A Statement Only The Way P!NK Can Make It"

Yes, because P#%@!$*#nk herself is not a "stupid girl."

If you click on her sudsy box, she gets bigger.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Move Over Franz Ferdinand, Monkeys Top UK Charts Again

Franz's labelmates Arctic Monkeys are the new indie band du jour, and they've topped the UK singles chart again. This time it's the day before their Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not album is released. For those in the States who are interested, you'll have to wait another month before it's out here. The Monkeys first single, "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor," went to #1 in England back in October. "When The Sun Goes Down" leads a pack of new singles that bump down the gridlock that was holding up the Top 5 in the post-Christmas weeks. At least it's finally the end of the line for Shayne Ward... for now.

The UK Top 10:

1. "When The Sun Goes Down" - Arctic Monkeys *new* 1 week*
2. "Nasty Girl" - Notorious B.I.G. Feat. P. Diddy & Nelly * new*
3. "All Time Love" - Will Young * new*
4. "Check On It" - Beyonce Feat. Slim Thug * new*
5. "That's My Goal" - Shayne Ward
6. "The JCB Song" - Nizlopi
7. "I'll Be Ready" - Sunblock
8. "Say Say Say (Waiting 4 U)" - Hi-tack * new*
9. "Break The Night With Colour" - Richard Ashcroft
10."Eddie's Song" - Son Of Dork * new*

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Friday, January 20, 2006

I've Been Around The Blog Enough To Know

Well, I'm getting ready to get in my car and drive home from work. It was a year ago this very Friday that I was driving home in the evening down La Brea, when I stopped at Ralph's grocery store in West Hollywood to pick up some groceries. And as I walked through the aisles, listening to my iPod, I had the idea to create Chart Rigger.

I had been doing another blog for a few months with Numb From Drugs, but after awhile, NFD got bogged down with work and I found that instead of following our theme of writing about gay hotspots in L.A., I was writing more and more about pop music in general.

And so, that weekend, Chart Rigger was born. Sometimes I feel like it's come a long way, but most times I still feel like it comes off as being written by some naive 14-year-old in awe of the crazy world of popular music.... which is perfect! The official 1-year anniversary of the site will be on Sunday (the 22nd), but I just thought I'd post this in case I get sidetracked and forget on the actual day. Thanks to everyone who reads for making it a very cool year for this blogger.

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Now You Can Spray Mariah Down Your Pants

What does every tacky starlet do when they get bored? Why, launch a fragrance line, of course! And now our beloved Mariah Carey has jumped on the bandwagon. In case you're not familiar with Mariah, here's a beautiful picture of her (just click on it if you wanna scream louder):

According to this, “Mariah is so excited about the scent and it will be based on white flowers." That's really great.

Meanwhile, in other shattering news, in an interview with Britain's i-D magazine, Frances Bean Cobain has professed her love for Mariah, and wants her to perform at her 16th birthday party. Classy.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Chart Don't Lie

The Top 10? Blah. Everything's the same there, unless you're the type to excited about the new Mary J. Blige single moving up to #10. Down a little further, Natasha Bedingfield creeps up a tad more to #28 this week with "Unwritten," which is currently the fifth most-downloaded song on iTunes. Over in England, Bedingfield has been nominated for a Brit Award for best female act.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Grillz" - Nelly ft. Paul Wall, Ali & Gripp *2 weeks*
2. "Check On It" - Beyonce ft. Slim Thug
3. "Run It!" - Chris Brown
4. "Don't Forget About Us" - Mariah Carey
5. "Stickwitu" - Pussycat Dolls
6. "There It Go (The Whistle Song)" - Juelz Santana
7. "Laffy Taffy" - D4L
8. "Photograph" - Nickelback
9. "Dirty Little Secret" - The All-American Rejects
10. "Be Without You" - Mary J. Blige

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Miss Independent... Or Not?

A big pop music scandal running rampant in the press can only mean one thing: It's American Idol season!

Reports like this one started popping up yesterday - the day of AI's fifth season premiere - after Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" was sung by a contestant on the show. Basically, word on the street was that Clarkson wasn't allowing the licensing of her songs for use on the show. At least she's got good taste!

So anyway, this all prompted judge Simon Cowell go to the press:

"No matter how talented Kelly Clarkson is, she would not be in the position she's in now without winning this show. And forget the way she feels about us or the producers or anybody else, or the terrible songwriters she alleges she was with which sold her millions of records. It's the public who bothered to pick up the phone to vote for her. If she refuses to give songs to be used on the show, it's like saying to every person who voted for you,"

Shut up, Simon! Anyway, looks like Kelly finally caved like a spineless prostitute when a fiver is dangled in her face from a rusty fishing pole, 'cause her publicist is singin' a different tune today:

"Kelly Clarkson was happy to hear her song 'Since U Been Gone' on 'American Idol' last night. As far as she is concerned, there is no conflict between her and the TV show. She intended all along to license additional material to the show and will do so when asked and within reason."

Dammit! Oh well. Rest assured, Chart Rigger is dedicated to bringing you any and all bad press that AI gets and rightfully deserves.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Join Our Club

Next Tuesday Saint Etienne's new album, Tales From Turnpike House, is finally released in the U.S. (with a slightly different track listing than the UK version that was released last June.) Oddly enough, the U.S. iTunes store has added three of the band's older videos in recent weeks for download -- "Like A Motorway," "You're In A Bad Way" and "Nothing Can Stop Us Now."

I'll be going to see the band perform here in Hollywood next month. The first time I saw them was in June 1999, about two weeks after I moved to L.A. In fact, that was my very first Los Angeles concert. I saw them once more in fall of 2002 when they toured for the Finisterre album.

Here's are the four shows they're doing in the U.S.:

Monday 2/13 - Irving Plaza - New York, NY
Wednesday 2/15 - Metro - Chicago, IL
Friday 2/17 - Fillmore - San Francisco, CA
Saturday 2/18 - Avalon - Hollywood, CA


One Half Of Jam And Spoon Found Dead

39-year-old Mark Spoon of German dance music duo Jam And Spoon died last week in his Berlin apartment of an apparent heart attack.

Mark Spoon (real name - Markus Löffel) and partner Jam El Mar (Rolf Ellmer) are both from Frankfurt, Germany. Their biggest hit was the great Eurodance classic "Right In The Night," which originally charted in the UK in February 1994, hitting #31. It was re-released in summer 1995, and hit #10.

The duo remixed many artists's songs throughout the '90s, including Pet Shop Boys and Moby. Jam & Spoon's 1994 album, Tripomatic Fairytale, is available for download from the U.S. iTunes store.

Anyone wishing to leave their condolences can do so here.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

This Should Answer A Lot Of Questions!

Last week, Joshua raised the question in the comments section - "Does anyone know if Darren Hayes is gay?" (And we're all still waiting to hear this tale of the someone who knows someone who planted their seed in the Garden up in S.F.) Well, as reported today on Dazza's official site...

...La Hayes will now be contributing a regular column to PopJustice. Now, that speaks volumes, Josh.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Four Weeks On Top (But No Sex) For Shayne Ward

The winner of Britain's X Factor TV talent contest, Shayne Ward, stays at #1 for a fourth week, and blah blah blah. There's just nothing interesting about this guy at all, except this online gossip where he apparently hasn't got the time for sex anymore, due to his "tight" schedule:

Apparently now that he’s hit the big time, the gorgeous singer has no time for lovin’ and he’s just too tired to put out when he sees his girlfriend Faye.

Cry me a river. I'd take his bank account over plowing his skank-box girlfriend any day.

The UK Top 10:

1. "That's My Goal" - Shayne Ward * 4 weeks*
2. "The JCB Song" - Nizlopi
3. "Break The Night With Colour" - Richard Ashcroft * new*
4. "I'll Be Ready" - Sunblock * new*
5. "George Best - A Tribute" - Brian Kennedy
6. "Sleep" - Texas * new*
7. "Hung Up" - Madonna
8. "My Humps" - Black Eyed Peas
9. "Heartbeats" - Jose Gonzales
10."When I'm Gone" - Eminem

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

In Case You Were Worried About It Being Quiet On The Mariah Front...

God bless the kids over at Mariah Daily. They work 'round the clock to keep y'all posted on Mimi's goings-on, like this trip she took earlier this week to St. Barths, France...or South of France... or up France... wherever.

Ain't that a hoot? Don't you just wish you could jump in and swat her on the rump with a palm frond or an electric eel or something?

Today I actually got ahold of a mix of "We Belong Together" that some naughty DJ slipped a guy I work with. It's all circa '97 Euro-y.


The Chart Don't Lie

Here's something that hasn't happened in about 5,000 years -- The U.S. sees it's third #1 single in three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. Usually, a single staying at the top for anything less than 4 weeks is unheard of. So, thanks, Mariah, for starting that trend of really bad songs only staying up there for a week or two.

Futher down the chart, Cascada finally starts to make an impression and moves up to #49, and Kelly Clarkson debuts at #97 with her 5th single off Breakaway, "Walk Away."

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Grillz" - Nelly ft. Paul Wall, Ali & Gripp *1 week*
2. "Run It!" - Chris Brown
3. "Check On It" - Beyonce ft. Slim Thug
4. "Don't Forget About Us" - Mariah Carey
5. "Photograph" - Nickelback
6. "Laffy Taffy" - D4L
7. "Gold Digger" - Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx
8. "Stickwitu" - Pussycat Dolls
9. "Dirty Little Secret" - The All-American Rejects
10. "There It Go! (The Whistle Song)" - Juelz Santana

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Garden Variety

Savage Garden's Truly Madly Completely - The Best Of Savage Garden will finally get a U.S. release date on January 24th. Sony have even updated the band's official site for the release, though most of the info is from the period last fall when the album came out abroad.

Over the years, SG frontman Darren Hayes has had some tragic looks, like this one from the band's early days a decade ago. Was he channelling Christina Ricci?

I'm just in shock that it's been 9 years since I was in my mom's car - heading back to college after Christmas break in early '97 - when I first heard "I Want You" on the radio.

In this recent interview with a Malaysian newsgroup, Darren had this to say about his former bandmate, Daniel:

Do you still keep in touch?
Vaguely. We are really not in each other's lives. We are not the best of friends. But we are not enemies.
Any chance of you two working together in the future?
No ... not unless it would cure cancer.

Meow! Later this month, Dazza will be one of the artists headlining the Sundance Music Cafe at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah (January 20-28).

His third solo album will be out later this year.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sloooowww Week In The UK Charts

It's week three atop of the UK singles chart for X-Factor winner Shayne Ward, keeping the more-deserving "JCB Song" at #2. Why, just today The Brit and I were power-walking around UCLA, and he was ranting about his distress at Nizlopi being robbed of the Christmas #1 when he was back home in Billericay, Essex.

But with not much competition as far as new releases, it was inevitable that the 21-year-old Mancunian would have yet another weekend on top. At least he's hot.

The UK Top 10:

1. "That's My Goal" - Shayne Ward * 3 weeks*
2. "The JCB Song" - Nizlopi
3. "Hung Up" - Madonna
4. "George Best - A Tribute" - Brian Kennedy
5. "When I'm Gone" - Eminem
6. "My Humps" - Black Eyed Peas
7. "Ugly" - Sugababes
8. "Stickwitu" - Pussycat Dolls
9. "Goodbye My Lover" - James Blunt
10."Munich" - Editors *new*

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Just When You Thought You'd Never See The Band Aid 2 Video Again...

Kudos to pop blogger PopMuse for posting the Band Aid 2 video on his site. Never has Cliff Richard looked more like a lesbian! Never has Big Fun sounded so gay or looked so ridiculous doing the "running man." Never has Lisa Stansfield serenaded Sonia so lovingly! And never have I thought that guy from Wet Wet Wet looks kinda hot til now!

Sir Bob most likely considers this 1989 UK #1 a blemish on his history...

... (and probably so do Stock Aitken Waterman, as it wasn't included on Gold.)

PopMuse taped this from probably the only time they ever showed this video on American MTV back in December 1989. The funny thing is, I remember watching this very clip, as it's from MTV News, hosted by John Norris. Ah, to be 15 again...Watch the video here!