Wednesday, 31 May 2017

This Week In 1992: May 31, 1992

Regular readers will know I'm no fan of novelty records, but I don't mind it all when a non-humorous song has something novel about it.

Teen rap stars Kris Kross had a lot to look forward to in 1992

In the case of the highest new entry on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1992, the fact that the duo behind it were barely teenagers and had a kooky way of wearing their jeans in no way detracted it being a great song - although those facts probably did help it reach number 1.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending May 31, 1992

Once again, the number 1 single in Australia this week in 1992 was "To Be With You" by Mr Big, which stayed on top for a third and final week.

Off The Chart
Number 96 "Stevie's Blues" by Tommy Emmanuel
Peak: number 93
He'd racked up three top 20 albums by this stage, but this was the first top 100 singles appearance by the guitar virtuoso.

Number 95 Live At Wemley Stadium by Metallica
Peak: number 95
Just the one week on the chart for this three-track EP, which contained live versions of hits "Enter Sandman" and "Nothing Else Matters", and upcoming single "Sad But True".

Number 92 Return Of The Dudes by Scatterbrain
Peak: number 92
Another EP now, this five-track release coincided with a tour by the thrash band and was led by previous hit "Don't Call Me Dude". It also featured three live recordings.

Number 87 "Superman's Song" by Crash Test Dummies
Peak: number 87
A brief visit for the Canadian band we'd next see on the chart with the chart-topping "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". "Superman's Song" was Crash Test Dummies' debut single.

Number 81 "You Just Gotta Know My Mind" by The Hummingbirds
Peak: number 81
Written by '60s star Donovan for his girlfriend Dana Gillespie, but released first by Karen Verros, this jangly tune should've put The Humminbirds back in the top 50, but instead it ended up being their final rooArt release.

Number 75 "The Only Living Boy In New Cross" by Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine
Peak: number 70
The only single by the British indie dance act to reach the UK top 10. The title of this track from 1992 - The Love Album is a play on Simon & Garfunkel's "The Only Living Boy In New York".

Number 63 "Little Egypt" by Nathan Cavaleri featuring Chris Bailey
Peak: number 63
We started this section with one local guitar hero and we end with a very different one. As a child, Nathan Cavaleri had learnt - and mastered - guitar as he battled leukaemia. Released when he was still nine, this collaboration with The Saints singer was a cover of the Elvis Presley song.

"Accident Waiting To Happen" by Billy Bragg
Peak: number 62
He'd landed a top 50 single with "Sexuality" and almost did the same with this subsequent single from Don't Try This At Home, but Billy Bragg's efforts to break into the mainstream would take their toll. Constant touring and promotion for the album - including a visit to Australia, as evidenced by the late night TV appearance below - left him wanting to get out of his record deal. He'd succeed in leaving Go! Discs and wouldn't release new music for another four years.

"Watching The Wind Blow" by Tall Tales & True
Peak: number 53
When we saw them fall one place short of reaching the top 50 with "Summer Of Love", I asked whether Tall Tales & True could improve on that performance. Turns out the answer was no, with "Watching The Wind Blow" also just missing the chart. Not a great week for the once unstoppable rooArt.

New Entries
Number 50 "Cry" by Lisa Edwards
Peak: number 5
She'd been one of Australia's go-to session singers and backup vocalists for years, most recognisably as part of John Farnham's band in recent years - that's her in the "Two Strong Hearts" music video. Finally in 1992, Lisa Edwards did a Wendy Matthews and stepped into the spotlight with this cover version of Godley & Creme's minor hit from 1985. Lisa transformed "Cry" into a rousing pop song and made it all the way to the top 5. Unfortunately, her follow-up single, the rocky "So Dangerous", missed the top 100, which didn't augur well for her then-still upcoming debut album, Thru The Hoop

Number 45 "Even Flow" by Pearl Jam
Peak: number 22
They still weren't releasing singles commercially in the US, but Australia was one of the countries where Pearl Jam did issue songs from debut album Ten and "Even Flow" became the grunge band's second hit following "Alive", which sat at number 14 this week. Apparently an incredibly difficult song to record, the band updated the track in 1992 - and it's that new version that can be heard in the music video below. Lyrically, the song deals with homelessness.

Number 43 "Remedy" by The Black Crowes
Peak: number 21
Unlike Pearl Jam, who'd entered the top 10 first time out, The Black Crowes had been waiting for a hit since 1990. Their time came with this lead single from second album The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion, which sampled a riff from an old Parliament track. Hard enough to sit alongside the grunge stylings of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, but still firmly anchored in their blues rock roots, "Remedy" would be as good as it got for The Black Crowes, who never saw the inside of the top 50 again.

Number 41 "Friday I'm In Love" by The Cure
Peak: number 39
If they'd achieved a career best peak of number 5 with previous single "High", then surely The Cure would have another huge hit on their hands with this ultra-commercial second single from Wish, right? Nope, it barely made the top 40. While it should've crossed over to people who, as singer Robert Smith said, "aren't actually fans of The Cure" due to it being so far removed from the gloomy tunes people associate with the band, Australia didn't get behind "Friday I'm In Love". The poppy, optimistic tune did at least reach the top 10 in the UK, and gave The Cure their second - and final - top 20 hit in the US.

Number 31 "Innocence" by Deborah Blando
Peak: number 31
In recent weeks, there's been some chatter in the comments section - do stop by and leave a message some time, either here or on Facebook! - about singles being sold around this time for bargain basement prices. Or, about what you'd pay for a track on iTunes these days. One song I remember going for a pittance, because I bought it, was this ballad by Italian-born Brazilian singer Deborah Blando from her debut album, A Different Story. I always thought Deborah's surname was an unfortunate one for a pop star to have, especially when I decided "Innocence" was a fairly bland song and soon divested myself of my copy of it. Seems the price drop might have inspired others to give "Innocence" a try, but unable to sustain the initial interest, it quickly dropped out of the top 50 and Deborah was never to be seen on the top 100 again - although she's enjoyed a lengthy career in Brazil.

Number 25 "I Can Feel It" by Radio Freedom
Peak: number 7
Regular readers will also be aware of my pop obsession, so what do you think I made of this latest homegrown dance/pop effort? In short: I thought it was terrible. Yes, it had a great hook in the chorus and plenty of eye candy in the music video, whatever your persuasion. But the verses are pretty painful and as for the raps by shirtless Pehl (aka Paul Snashall, aka Paul Snatch)... well, Marky Mark he wasn't. "I Can Feel It" was the latest hit to emerge from Westside Records, who seemed to be almost single-handedly keeping the local pop music scene alive, having also been responsible for Teen Queens and Melissa. Whether they were intentionally named after the South African radio station, I'm not sure, but Radio Freedom duly joined those other acts in the Australian top 10 - and, as we'll see in coming months, had just as short-lived a chart lifespan..

Number 20 "Jump" by Kris Kross
Peak: number 1
Ultra-young African-American acts were nothing new - New Edition had reached the top 10 in 1983 and Another Bad Creation (although not The Boys) had enjoyed success in 1991, but the duo comprised of Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly and Chris "Daddy Mac" Smith did two things none of those other acts did: 1) they rapped and 2) they had a number 1 single in Australia. Three, if you include wearing their clothes backwards. Discovered by soon-to-be-huge producer Jermaine Dupri when he was still a teenager, the two Chrises were both 13 when their debut single, "Jump" blasted onto the ARIA chart and quickly ascended to the top. 
Their sample-ridden track also held down the number 1 spot for eight weeks in the US - the longest a rap tune had spent there up until that point. Would "Jump" have been as big if its performers weren't too cute kids with a funny way of dressing? Maybe not, although whatever novelty there was in Kris Kross as artists, their song was an accomplished track that established both the boys and their producer as major players on the hip-hop scene.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1992:

Next week: a significantly quieter week, with the top 50 debut of a trip-hop group and... not much more!

Back to: May 24, 1992 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: June 7, 1992


  1. I'd never heard of the Metallica live EP before. Quite a quick turnaround for our chart then - performed April 20-21, in the chart just over a month later.

    How odd that 'Don't Call Me Dude' charted again under this new name.

    An odd bunch of new entries outside the top 60 this week; I don't think I knew any of them at the time.

    'Watching the Wind Blow' has quite a good video, especially for an 'indie' Australian band who never really had a hit. The song grew on me, but not before it fell out of the top 60 on rage, so I don't think I've seen the video since then. It ends with 'to be continued...', but I never saw a follow-up (if there was one).

    I'm surprised Lisa Edwards became a one-hit wonder, given 'Cry's success. A long delay for the album after your first/only hit is usually a mistake.

    'Remedy' sounds very retro, like they were channelling late 60s/early 70s Rolling Stones.

    'Friday I'm In Love' stalling at #39 here was odd. I guess 'real' fans already had the album, and casual listeners didn't flock to it.

    I wonder if we suffered a singles sale slump in '92, as in the UK, prompting the heavy discounting of singles? I guess so, given we were in, or just out of, recession at the time. But I also think it may have been due to local record companies taking note of what was happening in the UK chart and trying to be savvy to get higher chart placings. 'Innocence' was good enough to have done 'well' on its own merits - well, as well as #31.

    I remember 'Pehl' saying in Smash Hits that Radio Freedom were named after the sample in The KLF's '3 a.m. Eternal' ("this... is radio freedom"). Snatch is quite an unfortunate surname...

    I hated 'Jump' at first, but it grew on me, and I appreciate it now. I think I started to feel 'old' after realising that Kris Kross were the same age, or a few months younger, than me, yet had a #1 single.

    1. Pehl! I knew Paul didn't sound right. From what I can determine Pehl = Paul Snashall = Paul Snatch. Wonder why all the different names.

    2. I can't make out all of the lyrics, but he name-checks the other group members (and himself) in the 'rap' following the first chorus. "...(someone), Ready, Pehl up front too." I'm pretty sure Paul was his real name though.

  2. Actually it's mentioned in the rap after the *2nd* chrous. "Tru, Backbeat, Ready, Pehl up front too." Another bit of info - the female chorus singer, at least in the (actually?) 'live' performances, was Kamahl's daughter (Rani?). Or at least that's what someone at school told me, or they mentioned on Hey Hey It's Saturday - I forget which.

  3. There was a whole slew of discount $1 and $2 CD singles in late 1991 and especially 1992. "Cry" by Lisa Edwards, "Remedy" by the Black Crowes, "Sound" by James, "See Right Through" by Kate Ceberano, "Innocence" by Deborah Blando... These were all ones my sister and I bought. Even though we sometimes hadn't even heard them, the 99cent price tag was a curious enough novelty to spur on an impulse purchase. Let's not forget that at CD singles were $8 at that time, which was an improvement from the $9.99 price tag from about 1989-90. At that stage we didn't bother buying them because cassingles were still comparatively cheaper at about $4-5. It's funny to look back at what we spent on music in those days - the first time I had to pay $30 for a regular CD album was 1993 (Sunscreem); just prior to that they had been $28 for a couple of years. Given what people earnt back then, it would be like spending more than $60 these days.

    1. Ah, that explains why 'Sound' did as 'well' as it did. I like it, but it's not the sort of thing that normally charted well here, then.

      One time while visiting Brashs, circa mid-late '91, I overheard a couple saying something like "$9.99 for a CD single? Who would pay that?!"

      And yes, once you factor in inflation, it's quite funny what we used to pay for music back then. Even more so for CD players. A JB Hi-Fi opened where I lived in '92, and it was a huge novelty paying 'only' $23.95 for a new CD album.