Wednesday, 23 May 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: May 23, 1993

Everyone loves a comeback, and this week in 1993, three acts that had all been quite successful in the '80s returned to the ARIA top 50 for the first time in years.

New Order, Terence Trent D'Arby and Boy George were all back on the chart in 1993

In two cases, the artists turned around their chart fortunes, scoring hits after a series of flops. In the third case, a band released their first new music in three years and their first studio album in four. 

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending May 23, 1993

Meanwhile, Faith No More spent their second and final week at number 1 with "Easy" before they'd be knocked off the top spot by another artist on the comeback trail.

Off The Chart
Number 97 "Don't Walk Away" by Jade
Peak: number 72
The biggest hit (a US and UK top 10) by the new jill swing trio became their first to register on the ARIA top 100. Debut single "I Wanna Love You" would follow later in the year.

Number 93 "Joseph Mega-mix" by David Dixon and the Australian Cast
Peak: number 53
Ah, the musical megamix - so early '90s. I actually saw the production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring the former Indecent Obsession singer and had the soundtrack album... but this is pretty terrible.

Number 72 "Jackie" by Girl Overboard
Peak: number 72
One final top 100 appearance for the band whose biggest hit remained "The Love We Make". "Jackie" came out between flop singles "Chain Of Fools" (not a cover) and "If You're Going To Leave Tonight".

Number 71 "Natural" by Arrested Development
Peak: number 59
They'd had an impressive run up until this point, with three top 15 hits to their name, but this latest single from 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days In The Life Of... was neither as big nor as good.

New Entries
Number 47 Train Of Thought by The Sharp
Peak: number 32
Their brand of rockabilly had given them a top 30 hit in late 1992, and it was more of the same from turtleneck-loving trio The Sharp with their latest EP falling just short of the peak achieved by Spinosity. Naturally, a band as unique and quirky as The Sharp copped the inevitable sketch comedy piss-take, in this case from The Late Show. But would the send-up, er, derail their career as it had Frente's? Time would tell. 

Number 40 "The Crying Game" by Boy George
Peak: number 39
The last time we'd seen Boy George in the top 50, it had been with his first solo single: his UK chart-topping cover of "Everything I Own", which made the ARIA top 5 in 1987. Since then, the Culture Club frontman had released four studio albums (including one as Jesus Loves You) and a string of singles, none of which had come anywhere near the top 50. Venturing away from his classic pop sound, he'd ventured into club-infleunced and modern R&B territory, with none of his output connecting locally. 
Not surprisingly, it was another remake which finally brought Boy George back to the chart. Released in late 1992 when the twist in the tail-featuring movie The Crying Game came out overseas, the singer's take on the 1964 single by Dave Berry finally took off locally once the film made it into Australian cinemas in March 1993. The Pet Shop Boys-produced theme sounded more like the type of white soul we'd come to expect from George during his mid-'80s heyday and reminded us all what a great singer he was. Even if it wasn't the biggest of hits, it was nice to see Boy George back in the top 40 for one last time.

Number 30 "Regret" by New Order
Peak: number 26
Three years earlier, their stand-alone World Cup single, "World In Motion", had narrowly missed the ARIA top 20 (and topped the UK chart), but it was even longer since New Order had released a new studio album, with "Fine Time" the only offering from Technique to make the top 50 locally (narrowly making the top 20 in 1989). Bursting back onto the scene with the effervescent (and more guitar-based than in a while) "Regret", the band were the proud owners of a new record deal with London Records after their previous label, Factory Records, disintegrated. The band's biggest ever hit in the US, "Regret" would end up being the only single from comeback album Republic to reach the ARIA top 50 and, in fact, its top 30 performance has not been bettered by anything they've released in the decades since, more's the pity.

Number 24 "She Kissed Me" by Terence Trent D'Arby
Peak: number 9
His debut album, Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby, remains one of the best career-opening collections of all time - a global smash which topped the albums chart in Australia and the UK, and spawned four major hit singles. And then... nothing. More experimental follow-up album Neither Fish Nor Flesh was a commercial disaster and kind of unlistenable. In 1993, the artist now known legally as Sananda Maitreya returned with third album Symphony Or Damn, and Australia opted to kick proceedings off with "She Kissed Me" (while the UK went with "Do You Love Me Like You Say?" as lead single). Although a world away musically from the likes of "Sign Your Name" or "Wishing Well", the energetic, guitar-heavy "She Kissed Me" moved quickly into the top 10, reminding us all what a great vocalist Terence was. Once again, the return to favour was short-lived - despite releasing other good singles from the album, this would be TTD's final top 50 hit.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993 (updated weekly):

Next week: Euro-dance triumphs over hoary old rock, plus the arrival of one of the most distinctively voiced performers of all time.

Back to: May 16, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 30, 1993

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: May 16, 1993

Sometimes it's only a matter of time until an artist lands a number 1 hit. And for Janet Jackson, the inevitable came in May 1993, when she finally did locally what she'd been doing in America regularly for years.

Like a moth to a flame... Janet Jackson was attracted to the number 1 spot

Unless she still has something up her sleeve, it's the only time she's reached the top of the ARIA singles chart and it may have only been for one week, but a number 1 is a number 1.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending May 16, 1993

The song Janet would go on to dethrone in the coming weeks ascended to the number 1 spot this week in 1993. "Easy" by Faith No More spent its first of two weeks on top.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Jamaican In New York" by Shinehead
Peak: number 97
Managing what neither release of Sting's "Englishman In New York" had done, this reggae remake by the British-born, US-based singer/rapper reached the top 100. 

Number 85 "Lost" by The Badloves
Peak: number 51
I would've sworn this debut single by Melbourne's The Badloves had been a much bigger hit, but it fell just short of taking the pop/rock band into the top 50 - although they'd get there later in the year.

Number 82 "Can't Do A Thing (To Stop Me)" by Chris Isaak
Peak: number 73
Having finished re-releasing and repackaging his early releases, Chris Isaak got on with putting out new music, but this lead single from San Francisco Days didn't have the same impact as his previous hits.

Number 68 "It's A Shame About Ray" by The Lemonheads
Peak: number 68
As "Mrs Robinson" fell out of the top 20, the title track of The Lemonheads' breakthrough album joined it on the top 100. The title was inspired by a Sydney newspaper headline, while Johnny Depp appears in the music video.

New Entries
Number 50 "No Ordinary Love" by Sade
Peak: number 21
It'd first reached the top 100 in November 1992 (stalling at number 95), and this week in 1993, the lead single from Sade's fourth album, Love Deluxe, jumped back onto the chart at number 50 thanks, I'm assuming, to its use in the recently released film Indecent Proposal. Only the sophisti-pop band's second (and, to date, final) hit in Australia, "No Ordinary Love" would climb all the way up to number 21, one place short of the position achieved by breakthrough single "Smooth Operator" in 1984.

Number 47 "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston
Peak: number 28
After the brief detour into dance-pop that was "I'm Every Woman", Whitney Houston was firmly back in power ballad terrain with the David Foster co-written and produced third single from the Bodyguard soundtrack. Every bit as epic as "I Will Always Love You", the dramatic "I Have Nothing" might not have been anywhere near as big as its predecessors - after all, the album was in its 19th week in the top 10 (including five weeks at number 1) - but it has stood the test of time. In the past decade, the key change-featuring torch song has been a staple of TV singing competition shows, although no one has come close to matching Whitney's flawless rendition.

Number 46 "Could It Be Magic" by Take That
Peak: number 30
As with Janet Jackson, it seemed like it'd only be a matter of time until boy band Take That eventually landed a number 1 hit, at least in Britain. Up until this point, their singles had peaked at numbers 82, 38, 47, 7, 15, 7 and 3 on the UK chart - a mostly upwards trajectory that seemed to be heading towards the inevitable. The song that put them into top 5 territory there and gave them their first ARIA chart hit was a remake of a song co-written and originally released by Barry Manilow... three times. In 1971, session musician collective Featherbed (which included Barry) recorded the single, and then Barry recorded a solo version which was released first in 1973 and in remixed form in 1975. 
Two decades later, a dramatically remixed (and improved) version of the Take That And Party track was issued as the album's seventh single in time for Christmas 1992 in the UK. Several months later, it put Take That on the radar in Australia, but for the time being, they were much less popular than their chart rivals from back home, East 17. Whereas the Walthamstow four-piece were edgier and incorporated rap into their sound, Take That were pure pop, although they did have a bad boy member in their ranks: Robbie Williams, who took the lead on "Could It Be Magic". As it would turn out, Take That would end up topping the Australian chart, but that would take a lot longer than it did in the UK.

Number 40 "More Than A Woman" by Boys In Black
Peak: number 39
While Take That tackled Barry Manilow, Australian five-piece boy band Boys In Black tried their hand at a Bee Gees tune for their debut single. The Saturday Night Fever song had reached number 31 in 1978 for the brothers Gibb, while an alternate recording by Tavares has also been included on the soundtrack. But while "More Than A Woman" was a good choice for a cover, this remake felt somewhat undercooked. From the tinny production to the out-of-place rapped bits, it wasn't quite up to scratch - and the record-buying public responded accordingly.

Number 28 "Stone Cold" by Jimmy Barnes
Peak: number 4
His previous two singles, "Sweat It Out" and "Stand Up", had been met with a muted reaction, and so it was back to more typical Jimmy Barnes fare for the third single from Heat. A bluesy rock ballad, "Stone Cold" was written by Cold Chisel's Don Walker and featured another of Jimmy's former band-mates with Ian Moss playing guitar on the track. Unsurprisingly, it was the biggest hit from Heat and Jimmy's best performing single since his duet with John Farnham in 1991. It also helped the album return to the top 10 adding another six weeks to its initial tally of four. 

Number 4 "That's The Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson
Peak: number 1
By 1993, Janet Jackson already had five US number 1 singles to her name, but the closest she'd come in Australia on her own had been when she reached number 6 with 1986's "What Have You Done For Me Lately" and "Black Cat" in 1990. Then, in 1992, she and Luther Vandross almost topped the ARIA chart with "The Best Things In Life Are Free", so when she returned the following year with the lead single from fifth album janet., the time felt right for her to finally hit number 1 locally. 
Janet's popularity here had been building steadily since her mid-'80s breakthrough, she'd just signed a record-breaking $32 million record deal with Virgin Records (who would therefore put everything behind the new album) and the cruisy, carefree vibe of "That's The Way Love Goes" gave it a broader appeal than anything she'd released up until this point. The song, which replaced original frontrunner "If" as the track that would kick off the janet. campaign, perfectly encapsulated the tone of the album, which covered romantic and sexual terrain (unlike her previous two more statement-driven albums). 
The tune's music video, which featured a then-unknown Jennifer Lopez, was also a change of direction for Janet, eschewing her trademark complex choreography for something more casual and laidback. All of those factors combined resulted in "That's The Way Love Goes" bursting into the ARIA top 5, with Janet's long-awaited number 1 coming two weeks later.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993 (updated weekly):

Next week: three acts that were massive in the '80s return to the top 50 after lengthy absences.

Back to: May 9, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 23, 1993

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: May 9, 1993

The problem in being a solo male rapper and having a massive number 1 hit in Australia in the early '90s was that it quickly became all you were known for, even if you had other hits. 

Snow: subtitles required

This week in 1993, a Canadian rapper who'd follow in the footsteps of MC Hammer, Young MC and Vanilla Ice by topping the ARIA singles chart debuted with his future number 1. Yes, it wasn't his only visit to the top 50, but it's the only song anyone ever remembers.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending May 9, 1993

Another male performer with a long-running number 1 in 1993 spent his sixth and final week on top. But Lenny Kravitz is remembered for more than just "Are You Gonna Go My Way".

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Born 2 B.R.E.E.D." by Monie Love
Peak: number 98
Two years after her collaboration with Adeva put her inside the top 50, this Prince co-written single from second album In A Word Or 2 saw rapper Monie Love back towards the bottom of the top 100. "B.R.E.E.D." stands for "Build Relationships where Education and Enlightenment Dominate", in case you were wondering.

Number 94 "Walking In My Shoes" by Depeche Mode
Peak: number 74
Depeche Mode's top 50 return was short-lived, with this follow-up to "I Feel You" missing the mark despite a) being a great song and b) having a great B-side in "My Joy".

New Entries
Number 49 "Hip Hop Hooray" by Naughty By Nature
Peak: number 33
If the "yeah you know me" hook from "O.P.P." had been an instant classic, then hip-hop trio Naughty By Nature topped that with the "hey... ho..." chant from this lead single from third album 19 Naughty III. As well as introducing the world to that simple but effective hook, "Hip Hop Hooray" sampled about a gazillion different songs and managed to combine street cred with mainstream appeal. If it had been released a decade later, it would've been an easy top 10 hit, but in 1993, Naughty By Nature had to settle for another top 40 placement.

Number 48 "Metal Mickey / The Drowners" by Suede
Peak: number 39
Here's another key release from a musical genre that was relegated to a minor top 40 entry in Australia. In this case, it's a double A-side comprising the first two singles by hot new British band Suede, who were a major part of the dawning of the Britpop era and hugely hyped at home. Suede's self-titled debut album (and two others in their career) would top the UK chart, but Australia had a more muted reaction to the glam rock-influenced band, holding out instead for the arrival of Oasis to embrace the genre.

Number 40 "Informer" by Snow
Peak: number 1
It wasn't always comprehensible, but there was no denying this debut single by Canadian rapper Snow was one of the year's biggest hits. Written by the artist born Darrin O'Brien about his experience behind bars in 1989 and his attitude towards snitches, it was released just before Snow found himself back in prison. This interview from 2016 covers the background of the song much more thoroughly than I could, but suffice it to say that its runaway success had its drawbacks. There was the obvious problem of having a hit so huge it would be impossible to live up to, but there was the inevitable backlash against a white guy performing a reggae-influenced song, with everyone from Shaggy (who we'll see next week) and Jim Carrey lining up to take shots. Snow did return to the chart again - the top 30, in fact - and we'll see his other hit in the coming months. 

Number 24 "Detachable Penis" by King Missile
Peak: number 17
It's pretty predictable really. Call a song "Detachable Penis" and it's more or less a given it'll be a hit. And so the otherwise niche American rock band King Missile found themselves with a big single on their hands - and yet another inevitable backlash, this time from their cult following who, also predictably, didn't like it when the otherwise unknown band suddenly became popular. As a song, "Detachable Penis" comprised a rambled monologue over a distorted guitar hook as the title was intoned repetitively. Called anything else and I doubt it would've been anywhere near as big. 

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993 (updated weekly):

Next week: a music superstar scores her biggest ever hit first week on release, plus another charts with a song that would go on to be crucified by countless reality show contestants in a decade's time. Also, one Australian and one British boy band debut with a cover version apiece.

Back to: May 2, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 16, 1993

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: May 2, 1993

Even though he was in the midst of legal wrangling with his record label in the early '90s, George Michael still managed to find ways to have hits.

George Michael didn't have to look very far to find somebody to love his music

This week in 1993, he debuted with his third consecutive non-album single, keeping himself in the ARIA top 50 for another year. And in a sign of things to come, it was released by a different record company.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending May 2, 1993

Lenny Kravitz was keeping himself at the top of the singles chart this week in 1993, with "Are You Gonna Go My Way" spending its fifth week at number 1. And at the other end of the printed chart, Guns n' Roses' "November Rain" finally bid farewell to the top 50 in its 41st week among the country's most popular singles.

Off The Chart
Number 95 "Baby It's You" by Teen Queens
Peak: number 91
This is what happens when you let someone else sing lead... and when you release a dreary, forgettable song as the first single from your second album. Watch out for Kelly Hoggart/Kellie Crawford introducing herself as "Tammy" at the start of the video in the link above.

New Entries
Number 47 "Deep" by East 17
Peak: number 7
With debut single "House Of Love" still firmly ensconced in the top 10 this week, it was joined by the follow-up. No, not "Gold", which would end up coming out in Australia later in the year. Instead, Australia skipped ahead to East 17's third release, "Deep" - and what a good move it turned out to be, with the British boy band registering back-to-back top 10 hits. With its pop-meets-rap sound and suggestive lyrics (including the dodgy "I butter the toast/If you lick the knife" line), the foursome solidified their cred as music's coolest boy band.

Number 44 "If Only I Could" by Wendy Matthews
Peak: number 41
Wendy Matthews certainly thought outside the box when it came to the cover versions on her second album, Lily. Instead of remaking familiar songs or previous hits, she opted for tunes most Australians wouldn't recognise. "The Day You Went Away" had been a cover of an under-the-radar release by Soul Family Sensation. And the album's third single, "If Only I Could", was a reworking of Sydney Youngblood's 1989 breakthrough hit - a top 10 single across Europe but a song that hadn't even entered the ARIA top 100. I'm not a fan of Wendy's version of the song, which traded in the dance club vibe of Sydney's original for something a bit more RSL club.

Number 40 "Two Princes" by Spin Doctors
Peak: number 3
"Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" had put Spin Doctors on the radar, and this massive follow-up from the Pocketful Of Kryptonite album made them inescapable. Written when singer Chris Barron was still a teenager, and influenced by his interest in all things Lord Of The Rings, "Two Princes" was the kind of jaunty pop/rock that provided some respite from the angst-ridden grunge pouring out of the US. So massive was the song, however, that it proved to be the band's own kryptonite, overshadowing everything else they ever released. As a result, they never returned to the top 50 again.

Number 37 "Somebody To Love (live)" by George Michael with Queen
Peak: number 19
In late 1991, he'd released a live duet of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" with Elton John; in 1992, he'd contributed "Too Funky" to the Red Hot + Dance charity project and in 1993, George Michael's sole musical offering was the Five Live EP, which contained a couple of tracks from the previous year's Freddie Mercury tribute concert and more live recordings from his Cover To Cover tour. In the UK, the EP had debuted at number 1 on the singles chart, while in Australia Five Live was allocated to the albums chart (and reached number 17) and lead track "Somebody To Love" was lifted as a single. Originally a number 15 hit in Australia for Queen in early 1977, the live version was a rousing rendition and certainly a highlight of the tribute event. This would be the last time we'd see George on the top 50 until his return to music with "Jesus To A Child" in early 1996.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993 (updated weekly):

Next week: One of the year's biggest hits blends rap with reggae, while one of the year's most hyped UK indie bands make their only ARIA top 50 appearance.

Back to: Apr 25, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 9, 1993

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Every ABBA song to make the Australian top 50

It's the music reunion we were told would never happen - in this case, by ABBA themselves, with the Swedish four-piece resisting very lucrative offers to get back together for decades. And yet here we are, 35 and a bit years after they disbanded, waking up to the news that the chart-topping '70s (and early '80s) pop group will release their first new music together in December 2018.

As part of a TV special and avatar tour, Agnetha, Benny, Björn and Anni-Frid have recorded two brand new songs together, one of which will be called "I Still Have Faith In You". Until the end of the year, we have the band's eight studio albums and various other releases to delve back into. Always immensely popular in Australia - except for that period in the late '80s when it was considered daggy to like ABBA - the quartet racked up 23 top hits (24, if you include the 1992 re-release of "Dancing Queen").

Kicking off with the Eurovision-winning "Waterloo", ABBA barely paused for breath between 1974 and 1982 as they delivered some of the best pop tunes to ever grace the Australian top 50...

Year: 1974
Album: Waterloo
Peak: number 4
This wasn't ABBA's first attempt at representing Sweden at Eurovision. They'd entered Melodifestivalen (the Swedish selection process) the previous year with "Ring Ring" and finished third.

"Honey Honey"
Year: 1974
Album: Waterloo
Peak: number 30
This was not released as a single in the UK - a situation taken advantage of by studio act Sweet Dreams, whose opportune cover version reached the British top 10.

"Ring Ring"
Year: 1975
Album: Ring Ring
Peak: number 7
An earlier release of "Ring Ring" credited to Björn & Benny Anna & Frida reached number 92 in Australia in 1973.

"I've Been Waiting For You"
Year: 1975
Album: ABBA
Peak: number 49
For some reason, Australia opted to go with this song as the first single from ABBA, while elsewhere in the world it was the B-side to "So Long".

"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do"
Year: 1975
Album: ABBA
Peak: number 1 (3 weeks)
The group's first Australian chart-topper kicked off ABBA-mania in Australia, and was the first of three consecutive number 1 singles as ABBA kept all other artists from the top for 14 straight weeks (a tally they'd reach with just one single the following year).

"Mamma Mia"
Year: 1975
Album: ABBA
Peak: number 1 (10 weeks)
The second of ABBA's three-in-a-row was not intended to be a single, but a pesky Australian TV host by the name of Molly Meldrum had other ideas. The title of the song was altered slightly to "Mama Mia" for its local release.

Year: 1975
Album: ABBA
Peak: number 1 (1 week)
Elsewhere in the world, "SOS" was released ahead of "Mamma Mia" and returned ABBA to the UK top 10 for the first time since "Waterloo".

Year: 1976
Album: Greatest Hits
Peak: number 1 (14 weeks)
The song that still holds the Australian record for the longest continuous run at number 1 saw its overall tally of weeks on top surpassed by Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You" in 2017.

"Rock Me"
Year: 1976
Album: ABBA
Peak: number 4
So massive were ABBA at this time that even a former B-side (to "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do") with lead vocals by Björn went sailing into the top 10.

"Hasta Mañana"
Year: 1976
Album: Waterloo
Peak: number 16
Dating back to 1974's Waterloo album, this song belatedly became a hit after featuring in TV special The Best Of ABBA.

"Dancing Queen"
Year: 1976
Album: Arrival
Peak: number 1 (8 weeks)
The song for which the band are arguably best known for, "Dancing Queen" also became their only single to reach number 1 in the US. In 1992, it returned to the ARIA top 40 as part of the promotional push for Gold: Greatest Hits

"Money, Money, Money"
Year: 1976
Album: Arrival
Peak: number 1 (6 weeks)
ABBA's final number 1 in Australia didn't make the top spot in the UK, their only single between "Mamma Mia" and "Take A Chance On Me" not to do so.

"Knowing Me, Knowing You"
Year: 1977
Album: Arrival
Peak: number 9
In Australia, this was billed as a double A-side with "Happy Hawaii", an earlier version of Arrival album track "Why Did It Have To Be?".

"The Name Of The Game"
Year: 1977
Album: ABBA: The Album
Peak: number 6
The lead single from ABBA's fifth album (released alongside ABBA: The Movie) would later be sampled by The Fugees in 1996's "Rumble In The Jungle" - apparently the first time the group gave permission for one of their songs to be used by another act.

"Take A Chance On Me"
Year: 1978
Album: ABBA: The Album
Peak: number 12
Erasure's cover of this track (as part of the ABBA-esque EP) was the song that sparked the ABBA revival in 1992.

"Summer Night City"
Year: 1978
Album: Greatest Hits Vol. 2
Peak: number 13
Originally intended as the lead release from the upcoming Voulez-vous album, "Summer Night City" ended up as a stand-alone single before later appearing on ABBA's second best of album.

Year: 1979
Album: Voulez-vous
Peak: number 4
Although it looks like a proper music video, the clip below was actually a performance on European TV special ABBA In Switzerland.  

"Does Your Mother Know"
Year: 1979
Album: Voulez-vous
Peak: number 4
One of my favourite ABBA songs was another of the rare times Agnetha and Frida were relegated to backing vocals as Björn took over the lead.

"Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)"
Year: 1979
Album: Greatest Hits Vol. 2
Peak: number 8
Later sampled by Madonna for "Hung Up", this disco-flavoured tune was released to promote Greatest Hits Vol. 2, which has now been discontinued in favour of Gold.

"The Winner Takes It All"
Year: 1980
Album: Super Trouper
Peak: number 7
The group's first hit of the '80s is about divorce, but not that between Björn and Agnetha, who cites it as her favourite ABBA song.

"On And On And On"
Year: 1980
Album: Super Trouper
Peak: number 9
Although this was a second straight top 10 single from Super Trouper, it would turn out to be ABBA's final major hit in Australia.

"One Of Us"
Year: 1982
Album: The Visitors
Peak: number 48
Although a huge success in Europe, this lead single from The Visitors would only just make the top 50 in Australia, where the ABBA backlash was in full effect.

"The Day Before You Came"
Year: 1982
Album: The Singles: The First Ten Years
Peak: number 48
Equalling the peak of "One Of Us", this brand new song from yet another compilation album would be ABBA's final appearance on the top 50. The group's final single, "Under Attack" only managed a peak of number 96.

Listen to all of ABBA's Australian top 50 hits on my Spotify playlist:

For those wondering where some of ABBA's other well-known tracks charted locally, "Eagle" reached number 82, "Voulez-Vous" reached number 79, "I Have A Dream" reached number 64 and "Super Trouper" reached number 77.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: April 25, 1993

No matter how successful a band is, there comes a time when they reach their use by date. Sometimes it might take decades (U2, The Rolling Stones), while in other cases, it can occur much more rapidly (MGMT, The Cranberries).

A couple of underwhelming singles by two of Australia's best bands

This week in 1993, two Australian bands that had played an integral part in the local music scene for more than a decade - and enjoyed major success internationally - looked like they might have reached the end of their glory days.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending April 25, 1993

Still enjoying chart glory this week in 1993 was Lenny Kravitz, who spent a fourth week at number 1 with "Are You Gonna Go My Way".

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Fear Of The Dark (live)" by Iron Maiden
Peak: number 98
The title track of their previous album, this concert recording was released to promote live album A Real Live One. This was the British heavy metal band's final ARIA chart appearance.

Number 91 "Until The Day" by Lisa Edwards
Peak: number 86
Previous single "So Dangerous" had flopped, and although this third solo effort by Lisa Edwards did slightly better, thanks no doubt to guest vocals by John Farnham, it still came nowhere near matching the success of "Cry".

Number 89 I Fought The Law by The Dukes
Peak: number 88
The title track of this stand-alone EP by Sean Kelly and co. was a remake of the song made famous by The Bobby Fuller Four and The Clash, and featured in Yahoo Serious film Reckless Kelly.

Number 85 "The Edge Of The World" by Sonia Dada
Peak: number 64
Their first two singles were still both inside the top 20 - "You Don't Treat Me No Good" spent its 16th and final week in the top 10 - but the chart domination was over just as quickly, with this third single from Sonia Dada bombing.

New Entries
Number 49 "Wild Thing" by Divinyls
Peak: number 39
The Dukes' cover version might not have made the top 50, but this remake also taken from Reckless Kelly did, although I have to say, it's a fairly uneventful version of the song that had most recently visited the ARIA top 50 in 1989 for Sam Kinison. Tired and uninspired, it certainly wasn't Divinyls' finest hour - and given their run of singles since chart-topper "I Touch Myself", they could've done with something a bit more original than yet another version of the much-covered tune first turned into a hit by The Troggs. Still, it made sense as a track to support the movie and did add to the duo's tally of top 50 hits, bringing it to 13.

Number 47 "Beautiful Girl" by INXS
Peak: number 34
Our second homegrown band notched up their 29th top 50 hit this week in 1993. In fact, INXS hadn't missed the chart with a single since 1982's "Night Of Rebellion", but they also hadn't ventured into the top 10 since 1990's "Suicide Blonde" and "Beautiful Girl" was their third release in a row to peak in the 30s. Yes, the ballad inspired by Andrew Farriss's first child, Grace, was the fourth single from Welcome To Wherever You Are, but it seemed like no matter what type of song the band released at this point in their career - and they'd tried everything from this album - they just couldn't rise to their previous chart heights.

Listen to this week's new entries (well, one of them) on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993 (updated weekly):

Next week: while his court case against Sony Music dragged on, George Michael managed a hit with a live recording. Plus, a locally based female singer remakes a UK top 3 hit from 1989.

Back to: Apr 18, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 2, 1993

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: April 18, 1993

Kicking off your music career with two top 10 hits is a pretty good start to things, but even though it looked like soap star-turned-pop star Toni Pearen was destined to be Australia's big new pop star, things didn't play out that way.

And the Australian public wanted Toni Pearen, too... for the time being

This week in 1993, the former E Street and future Home And Away star debuted on the ARIA singles chart with the second of those hits, but as we'll see, this was as good as it got for Toni - something that remains one of pop's biggest missed opportunities.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending April 18, 1993

Lenny Kravitz was making the most of his opportunity on top of the ARIA chart, registering a third straight week at number 1 with "Are You Gonna Go My Way".

Off The Chart
Number 97 "Be My Baby" by Vanessa Paradis
Peak: number 96
She'd had a big European hit in 1987-88 with "Joe Le Taxi", but it's surprising Vanessa Paradis's English-language debut didn't make a bigger impact locally given it was co-written and produced by her then-partner (and current number 1 single holder) Lenny Kravitz.

Number 95 "Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)" by Def Leppard
Peak: number 55
This fourth single from Waking Up The Neighbours Adrenalize became the first to miss the top 50 - just! - for Def Leppard. They'd be back with new music and in the top 50 in a matter of months.

Number 90 "What Can You Do For Me" by Utah Saints
Peak: number 90
Given the success of "Something Good", it made sense to give Utah Saints' Eurythmics- and Gwen Guthrie-sampling debut effort another shot. At least it made the top 100 this time.

New Entries
Number 48 "I Want You" by Toni Pearen
Peak: number 10
As well as being a missed opportunity, one of the greatest pop mysteries of the early '90s was just what went wrong with Toni Pearen's music career. Things had got off to a good start with her debut single, "In Your Room", reaching number 10. Follow-up "I Want You", which was a breezier, more laidback track, repeated the feat and then... nothing for a year-and-a-half, by which time any momentum had been lost. Quite why a third single and/or an album didn't come hot on the heels of a second top 10 hit is unclear, but whatever the reason for the delay, it was undoubtedly a major factor in Toni never reaching anywhere near as high on the chart again.

Number 47 "Open Your Mind" by U.S.U.R.A.
Peak: number 29
When it came to Euro dance music of the late '80s and early '90s, as a famous T-shirt worn by Madonna once claimed, Italians really did do it better. From Black Box (and spin-off project Starlight) to 49ers, Cappella to Corona, Jinny to Livin' Joy, Italy is to commercial dance music what Sweden is to pop. And this week in 1993, another Italian outfit debuted with one of the year's best club tracks. Based on a synth riff from Simple Minds' "New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)", "Open Your Mind" also features samples from "Solid" by Ashford & Simpson and the film Total Recall

Listen to this week's new entries (well, one of them) on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993 (updated weekly):

Next week: two iconic Australian bands that'd been releasing music since the start of the '80s appear to have run out of steam.

Back to: Apr 11, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Apr 25, 1993