Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Best Of 1993 - part 1

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If you've been following my journey through my favourite songs of each year since I began getting into music, we've now finally arrived at the year in which I became an adult. If you're just tuning in, the links down the side will take you all the way back to my top tunes from each year since 1979.

Swedish pop exports Ace Of Base were as big as ABBA... for a second

Turning 18 in the first week of 1993 meant my weekends that year were largely spent in nightclubs. Having not bothered with the whole fake ID thing (I had one, but I never used it), I made up for lost time by "going clubbing" (do the kids still call it that?) regularly and, as a result, I first heard many of the songs in this top 100 on the dance floor.

Number 100 "Don't Look Any Further" by M-People
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 99 "Buddy X" by Neneh Cherry
As I mentioned in my 1992 countdown, Neneh struggled to have the kind of success she'd enjoyed first time around with her second album - although this second single from Homebrew should have been a hit. Years later, a UK garage remix would see it improve its chart position by 20 places, when the Dreem Teem revamp made it to number 15 in the UK.

Number 98 "Calling Out" by Curt Smith
But first, a more radio-friendly pop track from the Tears For Fears singer, who'd left the TFF name in the hands of his former (at the time) band-mate Roland Orzabal. While Curt went properly solo, Roland continued to release music as Tears For Fears, but I wasn't interested in those albums (especially 1995's oddly titled Raoul And The Kings Of Spain). 

Number 97 "Comin' On" by The Shamen
The singles kept coming from The Shamen's Boss Drum album - each one given a sparkly pop makeover by remixers The Beatmasters. "Comin' On" was the lead track from 1993's The SOS EP, which would be the last we'd hear from the dance act for two years.

Number 96 "Rockin' For Myself" by Motiv8 featuring Angie Brown
Meanwhile, here's a song we'd be hearing a lot of over the next two years - the original version of the Motiv8 anthem which started my obsession with the work of Mr Steve Rodway. Featuring vocals by Angie Brown, who'd performed on Bizarre Inc's "I'm Gonna Get You", "Rockin' For Myself" popped up on an Energy Rush compilation I bought on import from Central Station Records in Sydney.
During the mid-90s, I'd regularly purchase UK various artists CDs like the Dance Zone series, the Now! That's What I Call Music series and other random titles since I'd end up with 40 or so tracks, many of which wouldn't be released in Australia - and it was a hell of a lot cheaper than buying a stack of import CD singles. More on this Motiv8 song in my 1994 countdown...

Number 95 "Elated" by Euphoria
They had dominated my 1992 countdown with the singles from Total Euphoria, and after a line-up change - Holly Garnett left, Jodie Meares joined - this new track was released to, well, universal disinterest. That pretty much ended things for Euphoria, with the musical brains behind the group, Andrew Klippel, going on to form Elastic and A.K Soul. Main vocalist Keren Minshull has continued to work in music, Jodie changed her name to Jodhi and married well, and Holly tragically passed away towards the end of the decade. The version of "Elated" below isn't the original radio mix, but is the only version on YouTube.

Number 94 "The Floor" by Johnny Gill
Although Australia hadn't shown much interest in the New Edition member's 1990 solo album (which boasted great singles like "Rub You The Right Way" and "Fairweather Friend"), we made up for it by embracing this track from his Provocative album. "The Floor" became a top 10 hit locally - much better than it performed back home in the US - but it would be his last solo hit of note in any territory. These days, Johnny regularly performs with the five other members of New Edition.

Number 93 "So In Love (The Real Deal)" by Judy Cheeks
The Deconstruction label had been responsible for some of the biggest dance hits of the decade so far, and in 1993, new label Positiva quickly became just as reliable for releasing huge dance tunes - including this track by US singer Judy, who'd been making music since the 1970s. The single version of the track isn't on YouTube, but one of the better remixes is below.

Number 92 "All That She Wants" by Ace Of Base
In 1992, the world fell in love with ABBA all over again, so what better time for a new Swedish foursome to enter the music scene? Ace Of Base quickly took the world by storm, selling singles and albums in quantities that suggested the comparisons to ABBA might not be so silly. Their debut single, "All That She Wants", hit number 1 around the world and came close to the top in many more countries (including the US, where it stalled at number 2 for three weeks, but stuck around in the top 50 for longer than may chart-toppers).

Number 91 "Saving Forever For You" by Shanice
By 1993, teen TV series Beverly Hills, 90210 was absolutely massive and a must-watch for me on a Friday night (before going out, of course). With soundtracks bigger than ever thanks to the success of The Bodyguard and Boomerang, 90210 received its own compilation album - and "Saving Forever For You" is one of three singles taken from the album to appear in this top 100. For Shanice, the ballad would be her last big hit in the US for six years.

Number 90 "Hero" by Mariah Carey
Thanks to reality TV singing competitions, this song has become a bit of a cliché, but in 1993, it was another instant classic for multi-octave Mariah, who didn't seem to have time to film proper music videos - with both this and follow-up "Without You" released with live clips. The second single from the unstoppable Music Box album, "Hero" became Mariah's eighth number 1 US single out of 10 releases. 

Number 89 "Whisper A Prayer" by Mica Paris
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 88 "In All The Right Places" by Lisa Stansfield
Another ballad and another soundtrack hit - this time, the theme to Demi Moore movie Indecent Proposal. "In All The Right Places" would end up being Lisa's biggest single in the UK for the decade, but, despite the track's appearance in a Hollywood film, her period of success in the US had come to an end.

Number 87 "And So I Will Wait For You" by Dee Fredrix
In 1993, UK Chart Attack was still airing on 2Day FM on a Sunday night and, even though I was a uni student and didn't have to sit at my desk doing my homework on a Sunday evening, I tried not to miss an episode of the weekly radio show. This is one of many tracks it introduced me to. Never a big hit in the UK, the Dina Carroll-ish song and accompanying album, Grace, were quickly added to my collection.

Number 86 "Love Is" by Vanessa Williams / Brian McKnight
Another single from the Beverly Hills, 90210 soundtrack teamed the former Miss America, who was by now a chart regular, with R&B newcomer Brian, who was yet to score a hit in his own right. The ballad would end up being one of the biggest songs for both artists, reaching number 3 in the US - a position Brian wouldn't better for six years until the release of his signature song, "Back At One", which spent eight weeks at number 2 in 1999.

Number 85 "That's The Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 84 "Give In To Me" by Michael Jackson
Mentioned  in Part 2

Number 83 "Creation" by Stereo MCs
This was the final single from Stereo MCs' breakthrough album, Connected, and the last we'd hear from the British dance act for eight long years. Unfortunately, the wait didn't turn out to be worth it, with 2001's Deep Down And Dirty proving to be nowhere near as good.

Number 82 "I'm Every Woman" by Whitney Houston
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 81 "Too Young To Die" by Jamiroquai
After an impressive debut in 1992, Jay Kay and pals released their first studio album, Emergency On Planet Earth in 1993, and this second single became their first UK top 10 hit. Australia, like the US, wouldn't properly catch on to Jamiroquai for a few more years, but the UK music press and record-buying public were already hooked.

Number 80 "How Can I Love You More (remix)" by M-People
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 79 "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" by Sting
In 1993, I bought singles in one of two ways - on cassingle or CD single, since vinyl had been phased out by this point in Australia (except in specialty stores). And, I would make the decision about which format to purchase depending on how much I liked a song - with the songs I liked more coming home with me on CD, since they cost more. Sting didn't make the cut, and I ended up buying the cassingle of this, the first and biggest single from the Ten Summoner's Tales album.

Number 78 "Little Bird" by Annie Lennox
Talk about saving the best for last. "Little Bird" was the fifth single from the Eurythmics singer's debut solo album, but despite being far superior to tracks like "Cold" and "Why", it took until 1993 to finally get a single release. Backed by double A-side "Love Song For A Vampire" (from the soundtrack to Bram Stoker's Dracula), it out-performed all the other singles from Diva in many countries and remains the best thing Annie has done in her solo career.

Number 77 "The Music Is Movin'" by Fargetta
I promised dance music, and here is a classic slice of Italo House from Mario Fargetta which was big in 1993. The CD single I bought contained the mix below, which, since I've always preferred neat three-and-a-half minute radio versions, I edited for my mix tapes by cutting out the long intro and fading out the end.
I'd bought a fancy new Yamaha stereo in 1993 (which actually lasted me for over a decade until I blew up the amplifier at my 30th birthday party) and it allowed me to really perfect the art of the mix tape. We wouldn't hear much more from Fargetta until 1998 when he'd emerge as The Tamperer... but that's a story for another countdown.

Number 76 "In The Morning" by Boom Crash Opera
"Bettadaze" had been a chart disappointment in 1992, and this follow-up single, which coincided with the release of third album Fabulous Beast, was at least consistent in that it didn't set the Australian charts alight. It's a shame, since that album was just as good as their previous two albums, but, with the onslaught on grunge rock, BCO were possibly just too behind the times.

In Part 2, a slew of dance tracks, two of the biggest American recording artists of all time and the only sound I liked from a genre which returned out of nowhere to dominate music in 1993: reggae.

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  1. Such a shame Euphoria had disbanded by the time Elated came out. I still adore them and Keren had become a good friend of mine, thanks largely to my love of this group. I enjoyed Elated and Jodie's appearance on the song, although it was not as strong as anything on Total Euphoria!

  2. Agree completely about Little Bird. My all time favourite, non Madonna song. Little Bird is pop perfection. It would have topped my list for this year.