Wednesday, 19 September 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: September 19, 1993

It's always interesting how differently an artist can fare in one country compared to another, especially when their debut single is a huge success all around the world. For the female singer who arrived on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1993, her Australian achievements - two hits, separated by an eight-year gap - paled in comparison to her tally of 10 top 10 singles at home in the UK.

Dreams did come true for Gabrielle in 1993

But in 1993, both Australia and Britain welcomed the eyepatch-wearing singer immediately, with her debut single flying towards the top of the chart. In the UK, it reached number 1, while in Australia it fell one place short.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending September 19, 1993

At number 1 this week in 1993, Meat Loaf was settling in for the long haul as "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" spent its third week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 96 "Ain't Nothin' You Can Do" by Andrew Strong
Peak: number 67
The Commitments had made him if not a household name then at least a voice recognised by hundreds of thousands around the country, but those fans did not follow the Irish singer as he launched his solo career.

Number 79 "Human Behaviour" by Björk
Peak: number 63
Not including the music she released as a pre-teen, this was the Icelandic singer's first solo effort away from The Sugarcubes - the lead single from her appopriately titled album, Debut.

Single Of The Week
"I'll Be Good To You" by Tracey Arbon
Peak: number 131
She'd been a runner-up on talent contest Star Search before signing with Festival Records and releasing this remake of the 1976 single by The Brothers Johnson (previously covered in 1989 by Quincy Jones featuring Ray Charles and Chaka Khan). But Tracey Arbon wasn't able to turn TV fame into chart success with this or any of her subsequent releases.

New Entries
Number 50 "Monday's Experts" by Weddings Parties Anything
Peak: number 45
Looked like the top 30 success of "Father's Day" was going to be an anomaly as this lead single from the folk rock band's fifth album, King Tide, merely poked its head into the top 50 and no subsequent single by Weddings Parties Anything even got that far.

Number 49 "Harness Up" by Died Pretty
Peak: number 35
Meanwhile, here's another Australian band making their top 50 debut with the second single from their biggest album, Trace. "Harness Up" is one of those songs I didn't think I knew, but as soon as I played it and that "Oooh-oh-oh-oh-oooh-oo-oh-oh" vocal hook kicked in, it was instantly familiar. Surprisingly not a bigger hit given it even registered on my radar at the time.

Number 46 "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum
Peak: number 11
Here's a song I do remember, especially thanks to its missing children-themed music video, and, I have to say, I find it as much of a dirge now as I did back in 1993. The Grammy-winning song (which is actually about depression) changed everything for the American band, who'd been releasing music since 1984 - and its video also had quite an impact, with region-specific versions released in different parts of the world, including Australia, where some of those missing turned out to be victims of backpacker murderer Ivan Milat.

Number 40 "Human Wheels" by John Mellencamp
Peak: number 40
Our rock fest continues with the title track of John Mellencamp's 12th studio album, which got its lyrics from a eulogy written by the singer's collaborator, songwriter George Green. "Human Wheels" wasn't one of John's biggest hits in Australia - and I'm not convinced I've ever listened to it before - but the album of the same name did better, debuting this week at number 7 before dropping like a stone out of the top 50 within five weeks. 

Number 33 "Dreams" by Gabrielle
Peak: number 2
The lone female performer in a male-dominated week, Gabrielle had made a huge impression at home earlier in the year when she blasted into the UK chart at number 2 - the highest ever debut by a new female artist. "Dreams" went on to spend three weeks at number 1 there. The singer born Louise Bobb (Gabrielle is her middle name) didn't get off to as quick a start in Australia, but she did wind up at number 2 locally, denied a chart-topper by Ace Of Base. Originally featuring a sample of "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, "Dreams" was a delicious slice of pop/soul - the first of many Gabrielle would release (and do well with) in the UK. In Australia, it would take until 2001's "Out Of Reach" for her to break the one-hit wonder tag, with local listeners ignoring the likes of "Going Nowhere", "Give Me A Little More Time" and "Sunshine" in the meantime. 

Number 24 "Heart-Shaped Box" by Nirvana
Peak: number 21
Back to the rock... and a brand new track from Nirvana, who were following up the world-conquering Nevermind with their third - and, it would turn out, final - studio album, In Utero. An unexpectedly modest hit given it was new music from one of the world's biggest bands, "Heart-Shaped Box" just missed the top 20, although perhaps fans were holding out for the album, which debuted at number 2 the following week (blocked from the top by Meat Loaf). Like "Harness Up", this is another song I didn't know by name, but that "Hey! Wait" lyric is certainly memorable. There are a few quite interesting theories about the meaning behind the song, but I'm sure fans already know way more about that than me, so let's move on to another under-performing lead single from a new album...

Number 18 "Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time" by John Farnham
Peak: number 16
Since he'd returned to his solo career in 1986, a new John Farnham album had meant major singles chart action, with the first two singles from each of Whispering Jack, Age Of Reason and Chain Reaction all reaching the top 10. That changed in 1993 when this lead single from Then Again... only climbed a couple of places from this entry position. Co-written with Rosses Wilson (of Mondo Rock and Daddy Cool) and Fraser (the album's producer), "Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time" certainly lived up to its title on the singles chart, but that didn't stop the album hitting number 1, just as those previous ones had. Had Farnsey lost his hit singles touch? Time would tell...

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

Next week: a chart-topping band with hits that were almost exclusively cover versions make their last showing on the top 50... with an original song.

Back to: Sep 12, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 26, 1993

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: September 12, 1993

You've got to hand it to the Swedes - they really do know their way around a good pop song. This week, the third most successful Swedish act of all time (after ABBA and Roxette, of course) made their debut on the ARIA singles chart.

All that Ace Of Base wanted was an international chart-topper... and they got one

Fusing Eurodance and reggae (how very 1993), the two-boy, two-girl quartet's breakthrough hit reached the number 1 spot around the world... except in their native Sweden.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending September 12, 1993

For the time being, the number 1 hit in Australia this week in 1993 was "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf - and it wasn't going anywhere any time soon. 

Off The Chart
Number 96 "I Can See Clearly" by Deborah Harry
Peak: number 96
The lead singles from her previous two studio albums had been massive, but this Arthur Baker-produced track from Debravation proved things would be different in the '90s for the Blondie singer.

Number 92 "Cryin'" by Aerosmith
Peak: number 80
The biggest hit from Get A Grip in the US, this power ballad, which featured Alicia Silverstone and Stephen Dorff in its music video, did suprisingly little locally.

Number 90 "Somebody's Baby" by Pat Benatar
Peak: number 90
Not seen on the top 100 since 1988, when she scored one of her biggest hits, this was the second single from Gravity's Rainbow - a return to pop/rock after her blues album, True Love.

Number 76 "Bower Of Bliss" by The Clouds
Peak: number 69
Not as commercial as their previous charting efforts, this single from third album Thunderhead still had a great hook buried in its chorus.

Number 57 "Outbreak Of Love" by Midnight Oil
Peak: number 57
This latest single from Earth And Sun And Moon was a change of pace from what you'd normally expect from the Oils. I'd look up the meaning behind the song, but this week's post is already late enough...

New Entries
Number 49 "Scratch My Back" by The Sharp
Peak: number 40
Was the novelty wearing off the skivvy-wearing trio's rockabilly sound? This third chart entry was their least successful yet, although their debut album, This Is The Sharp, out-performed their singles chart peaks by reaching number 13 when it appeared the following week. Speaking of novelty, "Scratch My Back" was the song lampooned by The Late Show with one of their send-up clips titled "Skivvies Are Back".

Number 45 "Insane In The Brain" by Cypress Hill
Peak: number 40
Gone were the days when seminal hip-hop tracks did nothing in Australia - and although it only scraped into the top 40, the song often referred to as "Insane In The Membrane" seemed to have quite a large presence at the time thanks to its title (real or mistaken) being imminently quotable. The breakthrough hit for Cypress Hill returned to the chart six years later when Jason Nevins tried to do with this track what he'd done with Run-DMC's "It's Like That" (and, to a lesser extent, "It's Tricky") in 1997-98. His remix reached number 35.

Number 42 "All That She Wants" by Ace Of Base
Peak: number 1
If not for a faulty car casette player, the Ace Of Base phenomenon may never have come to be. The group sent an early version of "All That She Wants" to producer Denniz Pop (who, before his death in 1998, helped establish the Scandipop sound that would define the late '90s and much of the 2000s), but he hated it, so the story goes. The demo tape became jammed in his car stereo, however, and he was forced to listen to it whenever he drove. Eventually, he worked out how to fix the song. The result: the new and improved version of "All That She Wants" became a global smash. More massive hits would follow for Ace Of Base, but, as we'll see in coming months, not immediately. For now, though, the world couldn't get enough of the song that wasn't actually about a woman who wanted to get pregnant, but about one who wanted another boyfriend (i.e. "baby").

Number 36 "If I Had No Loot" by Tony! Toni! Toné!
Peak: number 12
I'd been a big fan of their previous US top 10 hit, "Feels Good", in 1990, but Australia hadn't got behind that song. It was a different story with this new jack swing-meets-old school soul track taken from the trio's third album, Sons Of Soul. Fun fact: none of the group's members were called Tony (no matter how you spell it). Instead, Tony! Toni! Toné! was comprised of brothers Dwayne and Raphael Wiggins, and their cousin Timothy Riley. You may know Raphael better under the name he later adopted, Raphael Saadiq. He's produced everyone from TLC to Solange to D'Angelo to Paloma Faith.

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

Next week: the debut of an eyepatch-wearing female artist who broke a UK chart record, and Australia's own record-breaker returned with his least successful album since his 1986 comeback.

Back to: Sep 5, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 19, 1993

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: September 5, 1993

Yes, this week in 1993, a single debuted at number 1 for only the fourth time in ARIA chart history. But the less time I have to spend reliving that torturous part of musical history, the better.

One of two number 1 hits debuting this week in 1993

Luckily for me, a number of other big singles also debuted that week, including another chart-topper that, instead of being an overblown rock opera, was a cool slice of Eurodance. So let's focus on the posititves, shall we?

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending September 5, 1993

With a new song charging straight in at number 1, Billy Joel's "The River Of Dreams" was forced to vacate the top spot after just one week - so I guess there was a silver lining...

Off The Chart
Number 97 "Alright" by Kris Kross
Peak: number 97
Fifteen months earlier, hip-hop duo Kris Kross jumped straight into the top 20 and up to number 1 with "Jump". But a lot can change in that time and this lead single from second album Da Bomb, er, bombed out.

Number 96 "When I Fall I Love" by Celine Dion / Clive Griffin
Peak: number 93
Taken from 1993's big rom-com Sleepless In Seattle, this remake of the much-covered song made the US top 30 but didn't give Celine Dion a second Australian hit. As for her British duet partner, he'd previously been responsible for one of my favourite songs from 1989.

Number 88 "Cannonball" by The Breeders
Peak: number 58
The debut single from the side project formed by Pixies' Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly from Throwing Muses might not have been a hit, but it became one of the decade's biggest indie rock anthems.

Number 83 "Faces" by 2 Unlimited
Peak: number 54
Well, this was totally the wrong single to release next from No Limits, especially considering what 2 Unlimited still had up their sleeves on the album. Way to ruin a hit streak.

Single Of The Week
"When You Gonna Learn" by Jamiroquai
Peak: number 105
Just a few weeks ago, we saw Jamiroquai's second single, "Too Young To Die", enter the top 100, but the focus quickly shifted to their environmentally themed debut single, which had been released in late 1992 and done absolutely nothing locally. Coming out for the first time through Sony Music (the earlier release was through Shock Records), the didgeridoo-featuring "When You Gonna Learn" still missed the chart, however.

New Entries
Number 43 "More And More" by Captain Hollywood Project
Peak: number 43
Clearly, given its peak position, this isn't the Eurodance song I was talking about at the start of this post, although it was co-written by one of the writers of the Cuture Beat single. Massive across Europe, "More And More" was the debut single by the dance act anchored by Tony Dawson-Harrison. On this track, female vocals were provided by Nina Gerhard.

Number 42 "If I Can't Have You" by Kim Wilde
Peak: number 3
After a couple of criminally overlooked albums packed with potentital hits, Kim Wilde's record company did the logical thing: they compiled a greatest hits collection in time for Christmas to try and reinvigorate the career of the once massive British singer. And it worked, thanks largely to Kim's remake of Yvonne Elliman's Saturday Night Fever track, "If I Can't Have You". One of two new songs on The Singles Collection 1981-1993, the cover of the disco tune written by the brothers Gibb and also recorded by Bee Gees as a B-side to "Stayin' Alive" became her biggest hit since her last big remake, 1986's "You Keep Me Hangin' On". Sadly, despite a career which continues to this day - check out 2018 album Here Come The Aliens - Kim has never returned to the ARIA top 50 since.

Number 41 "You're So Vain" by Chocolate Starfish
Peak: number 11
Next up, another cover version - this time from an act just starting out in their career. Following an EP released earlier in 1993, Chocolate Starfish unleashed their take on Carly Simon's 1973 Australian chart-topper. Their rambunctious rock version of the much-dissected song was a great choice for the band to release as their debut single, allowing flamboyant frontman Adam Thompson to literally strut his stuff and, thanks to its almost-top 10 success, ensuring people around the country came to know what a chocolate starfish is.

Number 36 "Mr Vain" by Culture Beat
Peak: number 1
There had been some great Eurodance singles so far in the 1990s. Tracks like "Rhythm Is A Dancer", "Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over)", "I Don't Know Anybody Else", "Get Ready For This" and so on. Achieving what none of those had managed was this song by German duo Culture Beat, which was taken from their second album, Serenity. With the classic Eurodance structure of rapped verses (courtesy of Jay Supreme) and a sung chorus (by Tania Evans), "Mr Vain" was hard enough to be credible but pop enough to be a major commercial hit. And, as a bonus, it knocked this week's other number 1 single off the top spot... eventually.

Number 29 "The Journey" by Tommy Emmanuel
Peak: number 29
Having released music since the late '70s, Australian guitar legend found himself with a top 5 album and, more suprisingly, a top 30 single with this title track from The Journey - a dramatic instrumental that kind of sounds like a cross between "One Night In Bangkok" and something by Queen (without any lyrics).

Number 7 "Numb" by U2
Peak: number 7
Here's the band behind the last song to debut on the ARIA chart at number 1. In 1991, Achtung Baby's lead single, "The Fly", shot straight in at the top - and if fans thought that was a radical departure for U2, then follow-up album Zooropa pushed things even further. Like lead release "Numb", which featured "vocals" by guitarist The Edge and was only available as a video single. Enough fans enjoyed the Kevin Godley-directed clip to snap "Numb" up in its first week and send it charging straight into the top 10, but the novelty of the release quickly wore off and it had dropped out of the top 50 after five weeks.

Number 1 "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf
Peak: number 1
Let's get one thing out of the way first. No song needs to be 12 minutes long, which is the duration of the album version of this lead single from Meat Loaf's first new album in seven years, Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell. For single release, the typically wordy Jim Steinman composition was edited back to five-and-a-half minutes (although two extra minutes were retained for the music video) - and even then it felt like "I'd Do Anythng..." went on forever.
Given how massive the original Bat Out Of Hell album was - it edges out Whispering Jack to be the highest seller in Australian music history - the sequel album was always going to attract a lot of attention. Both single and album debuted at number 1, with the former spending eight weeks at the summit and ending 1993 as the year's biggest seller. For a man who hadn't had a hit locally since the late '70s, it was quite the comeback. 
Mention must be made, of course, of female singer Lorraine Crosby, whose vocals went uncredited on the single and who didn't appear in the music video, with her part lip synced by Dana Patrick. And now, having done my due, I'll hope never to have to relive this musical monstrosity again.

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

Next week: the arrival of another number 1 song from Europe, plus one of the most iconic hip-hop singles of all time.

Back to: Aug 29, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 12, 1993

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: August 29, 1993

Some artists start their careers with massive success and then it's all downhill from there. Others begin big and just keep getting bigger... like the singer who arrived on the ARIA singles chart with the first taste of her third studio album this week in 1993.

"Dreamlover": the song that took Mariah Carey firmly into megastar territory

She'd done very well since debuting in 1990 - including racking up an inordinate amount of US number 1 hits - but things really ramped up at this point. An Australian chart-topping single was still a couple of years away, but she did achieve her best performance to date with the song. And as for the album... well, we'll get to that.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 29, 1993

At number 1 this week in 1993, Billy Joel brought an end to UB40's seven-week reign as "The River Of Dreams/No Man's Land" moved to the top of the chart. 

Off The Chart
Number 95 "Knockin' Da Boots" by H-Town
Peak: number 95
Whether it was because Silk had the sexed up R&B jam market stitched up or H-Town were one vocal harmony group too many for Australia, this US top 3 hit didn't translate locally.

Number 75 "AB Logic" by AB Logic
Peak: number 60
"The Hitman" was still inside the top 50, but this eponymous track from the Belgian Eurodance duo, while just as frenetic, just wasn't in the same league.

Single Of The Week
"Cherub Rock" by The Smashing Pumpkins
Peak: number 87
They'd eventually become standard-bearers for '90s alternative rock, but The Smashing Pumpkins were still warming up in Australia, with this lead single from breakthrough album Siamese Dream giving them a second top 100 appearance. Much bigger hits would come from the album, and in fact it was only because singer Billy Corgan insisted that "Cherub Rock" was issued as the first single that it came out at all. 

New Entries
Number 49 "Get A Haircut" by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Peak: number 28
Five years after his first-ever incursion into the ARIA top 100, George Thorogood finally landed a hit with his version of a song he'd been playing live for more than two decades. Apparently. What would I know? I'll admit I don't actually have any recollection of this song and am not about to start getting into it now.

Number 41 "Dreamlover" by Mariah Carey
Peak: number 7
Compared to her tally of six US number 1 hits at this point, Mariah Carey had enjoyed just two top 10 singles in Australia - debut release "Vision Of Love" and MTV Unplugged remake "I'll Be There", which both reached number 9. She'd also had a number of flops. But with this bouyant lead single from third album Music Box, the multi-octave singer entered a new phase of her career. 
Not only did "Dreamlover" out-perform all her previous singles by reaching number 7, it kicked off a pretty consistent string of quite big hits that stretched until the end of the decade. Based around a sample from "Blind Alley" by The Emotions, the pop/R&B track signalled a slight shift in musical direction for Mariah, and one that proved even more popular back home, where "Dreamlover" spent eight weeks at number 1 - her longest chart-topper until that point. 
Then there was the album itself, which became her first to top the ARIA chart, although not until some way into its 75-week run inside the top 50. I remember constantly selling copies of Music Box well into 1995 at my uni job working in a record store - it just wouldn't die, going 11 times platinum by the time it finally fell off the printed chart. Yes, megastar Mariah was here.

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

Next week: a relative flood of new entries, including only the fourth record to ever debut at number 1 and a new arrival from the band behind the previous single to achieve that feat. Plus, two new entries dealing with one of the seven deadly sins.

Back to: Aug 22, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 5, 1993

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: August 22, 1993

There are some songs you know will be hits eventually. All it takes is the right version by the right performer at the right time - like the remake that debuted on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1993.

Big hat, big hit for Dannii Minogue this week in 1993

For the singer in question, it was her biggest single since her debut offering three years earlier, while for the song itself, it became a long overdue chart success in Australia.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 22, 1993

This week in 1993, another cover version spent its seventh and final week at number 1. "(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You" by UB40 surpassed "Are You Gonna Go My Way" to become the longest-running chart-topper of the year (not including 1992's hangover from Whitney Houston). But not for long...

Off The Chart
Number 100 "You've Got A Friend" by Bass Culture featuring Kate Ceberano
Peak: number 100
On paper, this had the makings of a massive hit - well-known song, big-name guest vocalist, early-'90s pop/dance production. For some reason the cover of the Carole King classic bombed.

Number 99 "Mysterious Ways" by James Blundell
Peak: number 84
Speaking of covers, this wasn't a version of the U2 song of the same name - perhaps that would've been interesting! - but the lead single from James Blundell's Touch Of Water album.

Number 90 "Imaginary Girl" by Hunters & Collectors
Peak: number 82
Following a career-best two consecutive top 20 singles, the sixth track lifted from Cut established Hunters & Collectors had milked the album of all potential hits.

New Entries
Number 49 "Tease Me" by Chaka Demus & Pliers
Peak: number 5
The great reggae conspiracy of 1993 continued with the arrival of a new Caribbean hit from the duo comprised of DJ/producer John Taylor (aka Chaka Demus) and singer Everton Bonner (yep, that'd be Pliers' real name). Fresh off its top 3 placing in the UK, breakthrough hit "Tease Me" reached almost as high in Australia for the pair of Jamaicans.

Number 43 "Right By Your Side" by Jimmy Barnes
Peak: number 43
"Stone Cold" had ensured Jimmy Barnes' track record of landing one top 5 hit from each of his studio albums all the way back to For The Working Class Man was maintained with Heat, which initially looked as if it was going to buck the trend. Naturally, there had to be a follow-up, and this similarly downtempo fourth single from his first album to miss the number 1 spot made a lot of sense given Heat's rockier tracks hadn't quite connected. Not to be confused with 1988's "I'm Still On Your Side", "Right By Your Side" is a song I have absolutely no memory of - and its brief top 50 run would suggest I'm not alone in that.

Number 37 "This Is It" by Dannii Minogue
Peak: number 13
It seemed like I'd been hearing "This Is It" all decade before it became Dannii Minogue's triumphant return to the upper reaches of the ARIA chart. I'd bought an earlier cover version of the 1976 Melba Moore tune (never originally a hit in Australia) by Ruth Campbell in 1992, but that had also flopped locally. At the start of 1992, Toni Pearen had performed the song in a Channel 10 promo but never released it commercially, debuting later in the year with "In Your Room". Finally, Dannii tried her hand at the joyous pop tune and it became one of her most successful singles locally.
A move away from the American-influenced pop/R&B with which she'd launched her music career, Dannii's take on "This Is It" was her third remake in a row to make the top 50 (following "Jump To The Beat" and "Baby Love"), but it actually came in the wake of two less than successful singles - a version of The Jacksons' "Show You The Way To Go", which peaked outside the top 100, and the D-Mob-produced "Love's On Every Corner", which wasn't even released locally. "This Is It" got things right back on track for Dannii.
As well as being a great version of a fantastic pop song, "This Is It" is also memorable for its music video, which featured Dannii frolicking on the beach with then-boyfriend and future-husband Julian McMahon (and all his chest hair). Always a risky move to incorporate a real-life partner into a music video (see also: "Jenny From The Block" by Jennifer Lopez and The Veronicas' "This Love"), the clip was ripe for sending up... and so it was. Still, there was something infectious about seeing Dannii wearing her heart on her ruffled sleeve and the public clearly connected with her in a way they hadn't in quite a while.

Number 21 "Rain" by Madonna
Peak: number 5
After the disappointing performance of her previous two singles, Madonna was back where she belonged - in the ARIA top 5 - with the fifth single (and second highest charting release) from Erotica. The least sexually charged track to come from the album, "Rain" had much greater success than you'd expect a single released at this stage of an album's lifespan to have, although it's likely the very fact that it wasn't another "Justify My Love", "Erotica" or "Bad Girl" had something to do with its broader appeal. We weren't quite done with Erotica yet, with one more single to come in Australia to coincide with Madonna's first tour here (and the first concert I ever attended) later in the year.

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

Next week: the point at which a music star turned supernova, with the debut of the lead single from an album of which I personally sold a stack of copies.

Back to: Aug 15, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 29, 1993

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: August 15, 1993

Back in 1993 when the release of a new album wasn't preceded by a dripfeed of tracks in the weeks prior, getting the order of singles right was crucial in setting up a successful album campaign. And no one knew that better than Janet Jackson, whose lead single from her then-current album had given her the first Australian chart-topper of her career.

Things might have been very different if Janet Jackson had gone with "If" as lead single

As she arrived with the album's second single this week in 1993, it was worth reflecting what might have happened if the order of the two songs coming out had been reversed, as was mooted at one point. I guess we'll never know...

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 15, 1993

Earning themselves a chart-topping double this week in 1993 were UB40 who remained at number 1 for a sixth week with "(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You" and debuted at the top with album Promises And Lies

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Sometimes" by Southern Sons
Peak: number 99
"You Were There" had briefly put Southern Sons back on the radar, but it was back to the chart doldrums for this next single lifted from the Nothing But The Truth album.

Number 90 "A Prayer For Jane" by Jo-Beth Taylor
Peak: number 61
A couple of years after frothy pop confection "99 Reasons", the Australia's Funniest Home Video Show host tried to get her music career back on track with this song written about a friend who'd committed suicide.

Number 75 "Girl U For Me" by Silk
Peak: number 57
While "Freak Me" was lodged firmly at number 3, this nowhere near as good (or as racy) follow-up, a US top 30 single, peaked just outside the top 50.

Single Of The Week
"Something In Your Eyes" by Bell Biv DeVoe
Peak: number 73
Like Silk, fellow R&B/hip-hop group Bell Biv DeVoe had seen better days on the ARIA chart, namely with top 20 hit "Gangsta", which had spent 20 weeks inside the top 50. Australia seemingly skipped over "Above The Rim", the lead single from the trio's second album, Hootie Mack, for this LA Reid & Babyface (and Daryl Simmons and BBD themselves) production - a slinky, sexy number at the opposite end of the R&B spectrum from "Gangsta". A top 40 single in the US, it failed to connect here.

New Entries
Number 50 "Sweat" by Usura
Peak: number 48
Usura's album, Open Your Mind, featured two tracks called "Sweat" - one, a six-minute song that sampled U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name" and did little else; and another called "Sweat (Soakin' Wet)" which was a much more commercial slice of Italo house. The latter was released as the follow-up to "Open Your Mind" and poked its head just inside the ARIA top 50. To confuse matters, the CD single was titled just "Sweat" with the main track subtitled "Soakin' Wet mix edit".

Number 39 "If" by Janet Jackson
Peak: number 18
As "That's The Way Love Goes" spent its 14th and final week inside the top 5 (before tumbling rapidly out of the top 50 due, no doubt, to the single's deletion), the second of a mammoth eight hits from janet debuted at the other end of the top 50. Closer in style to previous tracks like "Rhythm Nation" and "State Of The World" than the laidback "That's The Way..." had been, "If" was earmarked by Janet Jackson's new label, Virgin, as the album's lead release - but she had other ideas. Keeping the club-oriented, crunching guitar-featuring song back for second single, Janet embraced her sexy side in both the song's lyrics ("If I was your girl/Oh the things I'd do to you") and accompanying music video. Nowhere near as big as "That's The Way..." - the album had already been out for a couple of months, after all - "If" was the first of four singles from janet that would make the ARIA top 20 over the coming months.

Number 33 "Bad Boys" by Inner Circle
Peak: number 25
Another week, another new reggae hit - and this week's entry came from a band who jumped into the top 10 with the other song called "Sweat" on the chart. First recorded by Inner Circle in 1987, a re-recorded version of "Bad Boys" had been used since 1989 as the theme song to long-running ride-along factual series Cops and, in the wake of the success of "Sweat (A La La La La Long)", was re-released and finally became a hit in its own right. Later to be featured in the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence movies of the same name, "Bad Boys" has become one of those songs with a much greater legacy than its chart peak would suggest, with the chorus hook becoming a pop culture reference point for people finding themselves in trouble with the law.

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

Next week: yet another of 1993's big reggae hits arrive, while an Aussie pop star returns with her third top 50 cover version in a row.

Back to: Aug 8, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 22, 1993

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: August 8, 1993

What a difference three years makes. In 1990, countless R&B songs that had been big hits in the US made little to no impact in Australia. By 1993, even the whiff of a new jack swing beat or four-part vocal harmonies was enough to send a song charging into the ARIA top 50.

Johnny Gill finally rubbed Australian audiences up the right way in 1993

This week in 1993, one artist who'd been unfortunate not to see his US top 10 singles translate locally made up for lost time with his first (and only) Australia hit arriving on the singles chart.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 8, 1993

There was no change at the top this week in 1993, with "(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You" by UB40 spending its fifth week at number 1.

Off The Chart
Number 97 "Ditty" by Paperboy
Peak: number 97
I have no recollection of this Grammy-nominated US top 10 single, which may be down to the fact that this was as far as Paperboy (real name: Mitchell Johnson) got in Australia.

Number 93 "Mr Moon" by Headless Chickens
Peak: number 93
Big in New Zealand, with three top 10 hits under their belt already, Headless Chickens' blend of rock and electronic influences started to find an audience locally.

Number 92 "Believe In Me" by Utah Saints
Peak: number 92
Like its two predecessors, this latest UK top 10 was packed with samples (The Human League, Crown Heights Affair, Sylvester) but couldn't live up to the success of "Something Good".

Number 90 "Back To My Roots" by RuPaul
Peak: number 90
Iconic debut single "Supermodel (You Better Work)" hadn't reached the top 100 but this follow-up by the future Drag Race host, originally titled "Black To My Roots", peeked inside.

Number 85 "In The Heart Of A Woman" by Billy Ray Cyrus
Peak: number 77
Firmly establishing that "Achy Breaky Heart" had been a one-off, this lead single from Billy Ray Cyrus's second album bombed out here and in the US, where it only got one place higher.

Number 66 "Bullet In The Head" by Rage Against The Machine
Peak: number 53
Here's another act failing to live up to past glories. As "Killing In The Name" continued to rise inside the top 10, Rage Against The Machine stalled just outside the top 50 with their second single.

New Entries
Number 49 "The Floor" by Johnny Gill
Peak: number 6
"Rub You The Right Way". "My, My, My". "Fairweather Friend". They were all excellent singles - two of them US top 10 hits - from Johnny Gill's self-titled previous album that had failed to make an impact in Australia. But the New Edition member made up for it with this lead release from fourth album Provocative. Like "Rub You...", "The Floor" was a slice of Jam & Lewis-produced R&B that had smash written all over it. Interestingly, although "The Floor" made the ARIA top 10, it missed the mark in America, only reaching number 56. Johnny wouldn't return to the top 50 under his own steam, but we would see him on the chart again in 1996 as part of a six-piece New Edition.

Number 44 "Come Undone" by Duran Duran
Peak: number 19
"Ordinary World" had been their best performing single in years, and the Duran Duran comeback continued with this second release from "The Wedding Album", which gave the British band consecutive top 20 hits for the first time since 1985's "A View To A Kill" and "Notorious" the following year. Continuing the more mature sound of their previous single, "Come Undone" evolved from a track Nick Rhodes and Duran Duran's then-guitarist Warren Cuccurullo thought might end up for a side-project they were considering, but instead became a last-minute inclusion on the album - and the band's last major worldwide hit.

Number 35 "Three Little Pigs" by Green Jelly
Peak: number 6
Combining two of my least favourite things - comedy records and heavy metal - this bastardised nursery rhyme was exactly the type of thing that would become a massive hit. American band Green Jelly had been going since 1981 (and still exist today), but with the success of this single had to change their name from their previous moniker, Green Jello, after a lawsuit from Kraft Foods, the makers of Jell-o. And that is all I have to say about this one-hit wonder, of whom my more rock-oriented readers will no doubt have fonder memories.

Number 31 "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes
Peak: number 2
Here's another big single I was none too enamoured with, although in the case of the only big hit for 4 Non Blondes, I can actually sit through the whole thing without needing to turn it off. Titled "What's Up?" despite not featuring those lyrics to avoid confusion with Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?", the track was written by frontwoman Linda Perry, who after the relatively rapid demise of this band, went on to become one of the most in-demand songwriters of the 2000s thanks to tracks like "Get The Party Started" for Pink and Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful".

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

Next week: two acts still inside the top 10 register another hit on the top 50, including a song that'd be used as the theme to a long-running observational TV series.

Back to: Aug 1, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 15, 1993