Wednesday, 31 January 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: January 31, 1993

It seemed like the perfect recipe for TV success - pretty twentysomethings + angsty pop/rock + primetime drama = ratings gold. But for some reason, TV series The Heights didn't connect in the way Beverly Hills, 90210 had at the start of the decade or movie Reality Bites would the following year.

The Heights lived up to their name in terms of chart position if not TV ratings

The theme tune from the series, however, was a huge hit - and it made its impressive debut on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1993 in the wake of its chart-topping performance in the US.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending January 31, 1993

The song that had knocked the TV theme from the top of the American chart was still number 1 in Australia this week in 1993. "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston showed no sign of going anywhere as it spent its seventh week locked in position.


Off The Chart
Number 100 "Forever" by John Stamos with The Beach Boys
Peak: number 100
Four years after "Kokomo" had a stranglehold on number 1, The Beach Boys' now-famous occasional drummer took this new version of 1970 song "Forever" to the other end of the chart.

Number 92 "Mega Mix" by Boney M
Peak: number 70
Nowhere near as successful as the ABBA revival, this new medley (there'd been a different one in 1988) comprised "Rivers Of Babylon", "Sunny", "Ma Baker", "Daddy Cool" and "Rasputin".

Number 71 "The Devil You Know" by Jesus Jones
Peak: number 54
Previous album Doubt had yielded great international success, but the British techno rockers' less commercial sound on follow-up Perverse resulted in the chart peaks you'd expect.


New Entries
Number 50 "Behind The Sun" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Peak: number 37
With Red Hot Chili Peppers having achieved huge worldwide success in 1992, their former record company, EMI, was quick to cash in, releasing compilation album What Hits!? in time for the Christmas market. Oddly, the song chosen to promote the album, which consisted mostly of tracks taken from the band's first four studio albums (as well as Warner Bros hit "Under The Bridge"), didn't reach the top 50 until after Christmas. The sing-song "Behind The Sun" had originally appeared on 1987's The Uplift Mofo Party Plan and was passed over as a single when that album was out for being too catchy.




Number 46 "Love U More" by Sunscreem
Peak: number 30
They released three awesome singles in 1992 - all of which made my end-of-year top 20 - and British dance act Sunscreem finally gained some traction in Australia with the second of those as 1993 got going. A hit in the UK in mid-1992 and soon to be their only US success, "Love U More" was the perfect combination of dance beats, trance synths and singer Lucia Holm's crystal clear vocal. Unfortunately, it would be their only appearance on the ARIA top 50, although it's worth checking out those other two singles, "Perfect Motion" and "Pressure", the latter of which we'll see off the chart in an alternate version later in the year.




Number 37 "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" by Spin Doctors
Peak: number 16
Released in August 1991, it looked for a long time like nothing would happen with Pocket Full Of Kryptonite, the debut album for New York's Spin Doctors. Eventually, thanks to exposure in one part of the States, "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" started to catch on and had become a US top 20 hit over a year after the album was released. Australian followed suit, sending the song many assumed was about singer Chris Barron's ex-girlfriend into the top 20. The track was actually inspired by his stepmother, who told him he'd never amount to anything. Seems she could be wrong, after all.




Number 21 "Friday's Child / La Jour Ou Tu Est Partis" by Wendy Matthews
Peak: number 15
As "The Day You Went Away" fell out of the top 10 in its 21st week on the top 50, Wendy Matthews' latest single shot straight in at number 21, given a helping hand by a French version of her hugely popular ballad as a bonus track. I'm not sure just how many people rushed out to buy the single because of the foreign language version of "The Day You Went Away", but I'd suggest "Friday's Child" wouldn't have done anywhere near as well if it didn't follow the biggest hit of Wendy's career. It's a nice enough song, but kind of forgettable.




Number 3 "How Do You Talk To An Angel" by The Heights
Peak: number 3
Exactly two years earlier, a song from the soon-to-be-massive The Simpsons had made a  modest debut on the top 50 as the new TV ratings year was about to start. Before long, "Do The Bartman" had climbed to number 1. In 1993, Channel 10 had another spin-off hit from one of their shows, but while the theme song from musical drama The Heights became an instant top 3 smash, it climbed no higher. And the series itself had already been axed in the US after just 12 episodes had gone to air. 
Infinitely more successful than the Aaron Spelling-produced show it came from, "How Do You Talk To An Angel" had reached number 1 in America and wound up as the 24th biggest hit of 1993 in Australia. As for the fictional band themselves, two of The Heights wound up on another Spelling show, Beverly Hills, 90210 - lead singer Jamie Walters infamously pushed Donna down a flight of stairs as abusive muso Ray Pruitt, while Zachary Throne featured as Howard, who ran the campus radio station in season four.




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





Next week: the highest-charting single by a major Australian rock band - and it's not the song you might expect. Plus, one of the year's best music videos.


Back to: Jan 24, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 7, 1993


3 comments:

  1. I had no idea, or had forgotten, that Jon Stamos had a charting single here. LOL.

    'Behind the Sun' isn't listed in the ARIA Report new releases schedule until 18/1/93, so appears not to have been released when 'What Hits?!' was first out. I didn't mind the song.

    I love 'Love U More', although the "as fathers rape their daughters" line was a bit dodgy. I remember 'rape' being censored on the video on Video Smash Hits. What I can't figure out is why it took so long to enter the top 100 here, given it was released locally in early September 1992, and ‘Perfect Motion’ was released here just a fortnight before this chart! i.e. It doesn't appear to have been a re-release. 'Perfect Motion' should also have been a hit, and is on par with 'Love U More' for me. 'Walk On' was also released locally in '92 (in between 'Pressure' and 'Love U More'), and was a top 150 success. The LP version was a different mix, and I could never decide which version liked more. The song structure was also good - I love how it builds up throughout to reach the climax at the end.

    'Friday's Child' was a nice song, even if I can't quite figure out what it's about. A friend asked me if Siobhan Fahey wrote it, as it is credited to S. Stewart. Lyrically, it does seem like something she might write. I love the build-up in the middle 8 followed by the cello instrumental.

    Not being a fan of anything 90210 or Melrose Place-related, I didn't care for The Heights at all. I suppose it's OK in retrospect, but sounds a bit dated for 1993, as does ‘Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong’.

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  2. Ooh you got me googling. I would have loved it to be Siobhan (she’s amazing). It was actually written by Sandy Stewart. Great song

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    1. Oh, sorry, I realised after I posted that comment that I didn't make it clear that Siobhan is not the songwriter. Back in the mid 00s when she had her own website and a forum that she used to sometimes visit/post on, I asked whether she wrote the song and she said no. So that solves that question. I figured she wouldn't have, but it was nice to have it confirmed from the source.

      It was funny seeing the B-side of Marcella Detroit’s first solo single post-Shakespears Sister written by ‘S. Stewart’ (a cover of ‘I Want To Take You Higher’); but that’s nto her either. I wonder if that was deliberate?

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