Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Best Of 1990 - part 1

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1

Let's leave the '80s behind for a moment to venture into the 1990s, which were a time of great music change - from the mainstream success of dance music as the decade commenced to the grunge and Britpop phenomena and back to pure pop by the turn of the millennium.

1990 was a massive year for Betty Boo

For me, though, the big change was the arrival on 2Day FM of American Top 40. I already spent most Sunday afternoons listening to Take 40 Australia, but being able to hear the chart from the States every week opened up a whole new raft of songs and artists.

It's clear that a lot of Australia was also tuning in, since big American R&B hits started to filter their way into the Australian chart, which had been largely immune to that style of music up until that point.

As we count down my favourite 100 songs from 1990, you'll see a lot of singles that are on this list as a result of American Top 40, with the States rivalling the UK as the main source of my musical favourites for the first time in some years.

Number 100 "Fairweather Friend" by Johnny Gill
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 99 "My Kinda Girl" by Babyface
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 98 "Pray" by MC Hammer
Nothing says 1990 quite like MC Hammer, who went to number 1 just about everywhere (although not in America) with "U Can't Touch This". I actually preferred this follow-up, which sampled Prince's "When Doves Cry" in the same way that "U Can't Touch This" made liberal use of Rick James' "Super Freak". "Pray" also sampled Faith No More's "We Care A Lot" and set a record for the number of times the title was repeated in the song. In 1990, Hammer (real name: Stanley Burrell) sold a massive amount of copies of his Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em album, made parachute pants a thing and had everyone doing The Running Man dance. By 1992, it was all over.

Number 97 "Star" by Erasure
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 96 "Doin' The Do" by Betty Boo
Mentioned below

Number 95 "Rock The Boat" by Delage
Often, a good indication of how big a hit a song has been is how readily it can be found on YouTube. There are obvious exceptions - the work of Prince, for example - but in the case of this debut single by British girl group Delage, its lack of online presence in 7" form is down to the fact that it was a big old flop. A couple of years earlier, the combination of a cover version of a well known song (a 1974 global hit by Hues Corporation) and production by Stock Aitken Waterman would have guaranteed it a spot in the upper reaches of at least the UK chart, but by 1990, the producers' magic touch had started to fade and the record-buying public weren't interested.

Number 94 "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by The Chimes
Having had little success with their own songs, this British trio also turned to the ploy of remaking an estabished hit to try and crack the big time. Difference was: The Chimes took the relatively controversial route of covering U2 - and turning this song into a soulful ballad. Granted, the Rattle & Hum version had already given the U2 original a gospel feel, but, at the time, touching a U2 song was as close to musical sacrilege as it got. The trick worked, and this version became a big hit, reaching number 6 in the UK and even cracking the Australian top 30.

Number 93 "Hold On" by En Vogue
They'd go on to be one of the most successful R&B acts of the 1990s, and things got off to a flying start for this vocal harmony group (remember when we called girl groups and boy bands that?) with this debut single, which cracked the top 5 in the UK and US. Commencing with an a cappella verse of "Who's Loving You", "Hold On" settled into a funky groove (thanks in no small part to a sample from "The Payback" by James Brown) over which the vocals by Cindy, Dawn, Maxine and Terry shone. One listen, and you knew this was a group to watch.

Number 92 "Talk About It" by Boom Crash Opera
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 91 "All I'm Missing Is You" by Glenn Medeiros
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 90 "Where Are You Baby?" by Betty Boo
Mentioned below

Number 89 "If Wishes Came True" by Sweet Sensation
Like En Vogue, here's another act that ranks in my top 20 girl groups of all time. They'd made some headway with their debut album, Take It While It's Hot, but it was with this big ballad from second album Love Child, that Sweet Sensation really made a mark, hitting the top of the Billboard Hot 100. As these things often go, "If Wishes Came True" sounded nothing like any of the group's other singles, such as "Each And Every Time" (number 79 on this list) and their cover of The Supremes' "Love Child" (which will show up in Part 3), which stayed firmly in the freestyle genre.

Number 88 "It's Here" by Kim Wilde
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 87 "Power Of Love" by Deee-Lite
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 86 "Heartbeat" by Seduction
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 85 "Everybody Everybody" by Black Box
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 84 "(You're My One And Only) True Love" by Seduction
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 83 "24 Hours" by Betty Boo
Having been introduced to the world on Beatmasters' "Hey DJ/I Can't Dance (To That Music You're Playing)" in 1989, Betty Boo took the UK and Australian charts by storm in 1990 with hits "Doin' The Do" (number 97 on this list) and "Where Are You Baby?" (number 91). I preferred this song, which was mostly sung rather than rapped. Since she bordered on being a novelty act, Betty's career was always going to be fairly short - and in Australia it was all over for her the minute she dropped her mic during a public (mimed) appearance. In the UK, she clung on a little longer, with some minor hits from second album Grrr! It's Betty Boo in 1992.

Number 82 "Nothing To Lose" by S'Express
By 1990, Mark Moore was all that was left of the original group who'd comprised S'Express. Together with a new recruit, singer and DJ Sonique, he recorded second album Intercourse, which featured this minor hit. Despite the fact that dance music had by now completely taken over the UK music scene, S'Express were finding it tough to maintain the level of success they had first time round, and this would be the final album for the project. Sonique would pop up again at the other end of the decade as her solo career slowly took off.

Number 81 "I Don't Have The Heart" by James Ingram
Like "If Wishes Came True", this was another US number 1 and another big ballad, this time by a singer whose biggest hits before this had all been collaborations. James had last been on top of the US chart in 1982 with Patti Austin on "Baby, Come To Me" and had a near miss with Linda Ronstadt with the number 2 hit, "Somewhere Out There". He'd also worked with Quincy Jones and Michael McDonald. What I didn't know until now was that Stacy "Jump To The Beat" Lattisaw also released a version of "I Don't Have The Heart" around the same time, but it sank like a stone.

Number 80 "The Girl I Used To Know" by Brother Beyond
In early 1990, it would have been fairly safe to assume that Brother Beyond's career was over. After their burst of success in 1988 with "The Harder I Try" and "He Ain't No Competition", subsequent releases had met with diminished returns in the UK, and not even a cover of The Three Degrees' "When Will I See You Again" could turn their fortunes around. Then, bizarrely, they cracked the US top 30 with this tune. Despite the unexpected hit, the UK was still fairly uninterested and when the song was released there in 1991, it tanked and the group split.

Number 79 "Each And Every Time" by Sweet Sensation
Mentioned above

Number 78 "Show Me Heaven" by Maria McKee
Proving soundtrack songs could still be massive hits in the 1990s, this single by the former Lone Justice vocalist topped the UK charts for four weeks and reached number 3 (for five weeks!) in Australia. Surprisingly, the song, taken from the Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman flick, Days Of Thunder, did not chart in America. It would be Maria's only hit, although she also wrote "A Good Heart", having recorded it herself years before Feargal Sharkey took his version to the top of the Australian and UK charts.

Number 77 "Being Boring" by Pet Shop Boys
Previously featured here

Number 76 "Dub Be Good To Me" by Beats International featuring Lindy Layton
A mash-up before that was even a term, this UK chart-topper took the bassline from The Clash's "Guns Of Brixton" and put it underneath a remake of The S.O.S. Band's "Just Be Good To Me". Beats International was a stepping stone in the career of Norman Cook, who had been one of The Housemartins and would become Fatboy Slim later in the decade. They were a one-hit wonder in Australia, but I also liked their other UK top 10 hit, "Won't Talk About It", which also featured Lindy Layton on lead.

In Part 2, more American hits, including two featuring the most in-demand guest rapper of the year, as well as some Aussie pop/rock and the return of one of the early '80s most successful singers.

1979 II 1980 II 1981 II 1982 II 1983 II 1984 II 1985 II 1986 II 1987 II 1988 II 1989
1990 II 1991 II 1992 II 1993 II 1994 II 1995 II 1996 II 1997 II 1998 II 1999
2000 II 2001 II 2002 II 2003 II 2004 II 2005 II 2006 II 2007 II 2008 II 2009
2010 II 2011 II 2012 II 2013 II 2014 II 2015 II 2016 II 2017 II 2018 II 2019

No comments:

Post a comment