Saturday, 6 January 2018

Number 2 Hits On The Australian Chart - The 90s part 1

JUMP TO: 1980-1984 II 1985-1989 II 1990-1994 II 1995-1999


OK, this has taken about six months longer than I predicted when I reached the end of all the number 2 hits from the '80s. But I've finally found time to look back at those songs that just missed out on topping the ARIA chart throughout the '90s.

Salt 'n' Pepa followed their number 1 with two number 2s - none of which were "Push It"

For the first few years of the decade, I've already recapped the songs in my weekly 25 Years Ago... posts, but it's nice to see the number 2 hits all gathered here together and consider what might have been if one pesky song hadn't been standing in their way. For one thing, Michael Bolton would have enjoyed two number 1 hits in Australia, so in some cases, we should be thankful for small mercies.


1990
"I Feel The Earth Move" by Martika
Date reached number 2: January 14, 1990
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Love Shack" by The B-52s
Having established herself with the serious "Toy Soldiers", Martika cut loose and had some fun with this spirited version of the Carole King classic. The former Kids Incorporated cast member would go all the way and top the ARIA chart in 1991.
Read more about "I Feel The Earth Move" here




"I Want That Man" by Deborah Harry
Date reached number 2: January 21, 1990
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by:"Love Shack" by The B-52s
Her last comeback had yielded top 5 single "French Kissin' In The USA", but Blondie frontwoman Deborah Harry achieved her biggest solo hit with this Thompson Twins-penned bop.
Read more about "I Want That Man" here




"Ride On Time" by Black Box
Date reached number 2: February 4, 1990
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by:"Love Shack" by The B-52s
One of the dance hits of the turn of the decade, this Italo house tune took the best bits of Loleatta Holloway's disco cut "Love Sensation"... and then paid dearly for not crediting them.
Read more about "Ride On Time" here





"Don't Know Much" by Linda Ronstadt / Aaron Neville
Date reached number 2: March 4, 1990
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinéad O'Connor
Blocked from the top by another ballad, this duet put Linda Ronstadt back near the top of the chart for the first time in 12 years and introduced Aaron Neville's distinct vocal style to a wider audience. 
Read more about "Don't Know Much" here





"How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" by Michael Bolton
Date reached number 2: March 11, 1990
Weeks at number 2: Four
Kept off number 1 by:"Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinéad O'Connor
A minor top 50 entry for Laura Branigan in 1983, Michael Bolton's remake of the emotional mega-ballad he'd written turned him from "that guy who covered Otis Redding" into a housewives' heartthrob.
Read more about "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" here





"Hold On" by Wilson Phillips

Date reached number 2: July 15, 1990
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette
Boasting impeccable musical heritage (The Beach Boys and The Mamas & The Papas) and flawless harmonies, this trio of second generation hit-makers were huge in the US, but only had this one big single locally.
Read more about "Hold On" here





"Joey" by Concrete Blonde
Date reached number 2: September 2, 1990
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Epic" by Faith No More
Also landing just one major hit in Australia was alternative rock band Concrete Blonde - and even that success wasn't deliberate. An unlikely smash, "Joey" was about as much fun as you'd expect a song about an alcoholic to be.
Read more about "Joey" here





"Close To You" by Maxi Priest
Date reached number 2: September 23, 1990
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "Blaze Of Glory" by Jon Bon Jovi
The second of reggae singer Maxi Priest's three top 10 hits, "Close To You" came with two music videos - the desert-set one we got in Australia and another one I've never seen until just now.
Read more about "Close To You" here





"Suicide Blonde" by INXS
Date reached number 2: October 14, 1990
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by:"Blaze Of Glory" by Jon Bon Jovi
Not even INXS's first single since the Kick era could shift the immovable Jon Bon Jovi from the top of the chart. "Suicide Blonde" would turn out to be the Aussie band's final top 10 hit with Michael Hutchence as lead singer.
Read more about "Suicide Blonde" here





1991
"Sadness (Part 1)" by Enigma
Date reached number 2: March 24, 1991
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Sucker DJ" by Dimples D
Centuries after it was previously the coolest music trend in the world, Gregorian chant had a brief resurgence thanks to this dance track masterminded by producer Michael Cretu.
Read more about "Sadness (Part 1)" here





"Rhythm Of My Heart" by Rod Stewart
Date reached number 2: June 9, 1991
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "The Grease Megamix" by Olivia Newton-John / John Travolta
In the late '80s and early '90s, Rod Stewart made a habit of finding dreary, obscure songs to warble all over - like this cover of a tune first recorded by René Shuman. (Who? Exactly.)
Read more about "Rhythm Of My Heart" here





"Rush Rush" by Paula Abdul
Date reached number 2: June 23, 1991
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by:"The Grease Megamix" by Olivia Newton-John / John Travolta
Finally as big in Australia as she was in the US, choreographer-turned-pop star Paula Abdul traded pop/R&B for a timeless ballad, which was accompanied by a music video paying tribute to Rebel Without A Cause.
Read more about "Rush Rush" here





"Unforgettable" by Natalie Cole with Nat "King" Cole
Date reached number 2: August 11, 1991
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams
Speaking of paying tribute, Natalie Cole's version of one of her late father's classic tunes was a Grammy-winning phenomenon that, thanks to some studio wizardry, also featured Dad's original vocals.
Read more about "Unforgettable" here





"More Than Words" by Extreme
Date reached number 2: September 1, 1991
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by:"(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams
As their name suggests, they normally rocked much harder, but this acoustic ballad provided Extreme with major crossover success.
Read more about "More Than Words" here





"Break In The Weather" by Jenny Morris
Date reached number 2: October 27, 1991
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Rush" by Big Audio Dynamite II
A decade after her first solo single, Jenny Morris's chart pinnacle came with this single from the Honey Child album - although for me, it's far from her best song.
Read more about "Break In The Weather" here





1992
"Cream" by Prince & The New Power Generation
Date reached number 2: January 12, 1992
Weeks at number 2: Four
Kept off number 1 by: "Black Or White" by Michael Jackson for two weeks and "Let's Talk About Sex" by Salt 'n' Pepa for two weeks.
Not as brazen as some of his singles from this era, this innuendo-filled Diamonds & Pearls track was Prince's best performing single since 1989's "Batdance" - another number 2 hit.
Read more about "Cream" here





"Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long, Long Time)" by Kate Bush
Date reached number 2: March 22, 1992
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Saltwater" by Julian Lennon
Considered by some (well, readers of British newspaper The Observer) to be the best cover of all time, Kate Bush's take on the Elton John single from 1972 was lifted from the Two Rooms tribute album.
Read more about "Rocket Man..." here





"Get Ready For This" by 2 Unlimited
Date reached number 2: April 12, 1992
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Marvellous!" by The 12th Man featuring M.C.G. Hammer
By 1992, Australian was certainly ready for this Belgian-produced, Dutch-fronted duo to bring techno to the upper reaches of the chart. 
Read more about "Get Ready For This" here





"Way Out West" by James Blundell / James Reyne
Date reached number 2: April 26, 1992
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Under The Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
A very different kind of duo now - this remake of The Dingoes song from 1973 introduced country singer James Blundell to a mainstream audience, thanks in no small part to the involvement of a much more famous James.
Read more about "Way Out West" here





"Please Don't Go" by KWS
Date reached number 2: August 2, 1992
Weeks at number 2: Four (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Hazard" by Richard Marx for two weeks and "Amigos Para Siempre (Friends For Life)" by José Carreras / Sarah Brightman for two weeks
Frustrated for an entire month from repeating its UK chart-topping success in Australia, this reworking of the KC & The Sunshine Band tune was based on a rival cover version - a fact that led to legal wranglings.
Read more about "Please Don't Go" here





"Life Is A Highway" by Tom Cochrane
Date reached number 2: October 4, 1992
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus
Only marginally more enjoyable than the song that held it off the top spot, this was the biggest hit of Canadian Tom Cochrane's career. He wrote it after a trip to Africa on behalf of World Vision.
Read more about "Life Is A Highway" here





"The Best Things In Life Are Free" by Luther Vandross / Janet Jackson
Date reached number 2: October 11, 1992
Weeks at number 2: Five
Kept off number 1 by: "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus
Billy Ray Cyrus was also responsible for keeping this soundtrack hit at bay. The duet from Mo' Money also featured brief appearances by Bell Biv DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant.
Read more about "The Best Things In Life Are Free" here





"The Day You Went Away" by Wendy Matthews

Date reached number 2: December 6, 1992
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "End Of The Road" by Boyz II Men
Eclipsing anything she'd performed lead vocal on before, this ARIA Award-winning ballad became Wendy Matthews' signature song. What few - myself included - realised was that it was a cover.
Read more about "The Day You Went Away" here





1993
"Can't Get Enough Of Your Love" by Taylor Dayne
Date reached number 2: August 1, 1993
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You" by UB40
Here's another remake, which was blocked from number 1 by yet another cover. Taylor Dayne's version of the Barry White song placed her firmly back in dance diva territory.




"Sweat (A La La La La Long)" by Inner Circle
Date reached number 2: August 29, 1993
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "The River Of Dreams / No Man's Land" by Billy Joel
1993 was one of those years when reggae randomly took over the singles chart. Benefiting from the spike in interest in the genre was Jamaica's Inner Circle, active since the late '60s and finally landing a huge hit with this lyrically dodgy earworm.




"What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes
Date reached number 2: September 12, 1993
Weeks at number 2: Five
Kept off number 1 by: "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf
4 Non Blondes were fronted by future go-to songwriter Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful", "Get The Party Started" by Pink). I didn't love this, but thankfully we were spared the even worse hit dance remake by DJ Miko.
Read more about "What's Up" here




"Dreams" by Gabrielle
Date reached number 2: November 14, 1993
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "All That She Wants" by Ace Of Base
She debuted at number 2 in the UK (a record for a new female artist at the time) and progressed to the top the following week, but the eye patch-sporting R&B singer stalled in second place here. Also unlike in Britain, where she embarked on a string of successes, Gabrielle would have a long wait until her next Australian hit.




1994
"Shoop" by Salt 'n' Pepa
Date reached number 2: January 30, 1994
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "All For Love" by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting
Exactly two years after they hit the top of the ARIA chart, Salt 'n' Pepa were still talking about sex, with this racy, The Ikettes-sampling ode to a man who makes them want to "shoop", whatever that is.




"Asshole" by Denis Leary
Date reached number 2: February 13, 1994
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Give It Up" by Cut 'n' Move
Successful around the same time as "Creep" and "Loser", "Asshole" was the one and only foray into the chart for stand-up comedian and future serious actor Denis Leary.
Read more about "Asshole" here




"Slave To The Music" by Twenty 4 Seven featuring Stay-C & Nance
Date reached number 2: February 20, 1994
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by:"Give It Up" by Cut 'n' Move for one week and "It's Alright" by East 17 for one week
Earlier UK hit "I Can't Stand It" had done nothing here, but Dutch Eurodance group Twenty 4 Seven made up for it with "Slave To The Music" (which, conversely, flopped in Britain).




"Said I Loved You... But I Lied" by Michael Bolton
Date reached number 2: March 13, 1994
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "It's Alright" by East 17
Here he is again, mullet still intact, with the first of his mid-decade ellipsis-featuring creep-fests. A real slow burn, "Said I Loved You..." took 16 weeks to reach its peak.




"Whatta Man" by Salt 'n' Pepa with En Vogue
Date reached number 2: March 20, 1994
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by:"It's Alright" by East 17
And here Salt 'n' Pepa are again, with En Vogue helping them update an obscure soul song from 1968 by Linda Lyndell. Celebrating the best mankind has to offer, "Whatta Man" was a second straight number 2 for the rap trio, and featured rappers 2Pac and Naughty By Nature in the video.




"Breathe Again" by Toni Braxton
Date reached number 2: May 1, 1994
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "The Sign" by Ace Of Base
Before they brought us Pink and Avril Lavigne, LaFace Records launched R&B ballad queen Toni Braxton onto the world in 1993 (one year before debut albums by Usher and OutKast). "Breathe Again" was her first appearance on the ARIA top 50... but it would not be her last.




"Right In The Night (Fall In Love With Music)" by Jam & Spoon featuring Plavka
Date reached number 2: June 5, 1994
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" by Prince for one week and "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies for one week
They also landed a couple of big hits in their guise as Tokyo Ghetto Pussy, but this slice of Eurodance, which got its hook from classical piece "Leyenda" by composer Isaac Albéniz, was the biggest single for the German duo.  




"Absolutely Fabulous" by Absolutely Fabulous
Date reached number 2: July 24, 1994
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet
A Pet Shop Boys single in all but name, this Eurodance-inspired track featured snippets of dialogue from the British comedy series, which, in 1994, was still funny and hadn't yet worn out its welcome.




"100% Pure Love" by Crystal Waters
Date reached number 2: July 31, 1994
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by:"Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet
First big hit "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" had just missed the top 10 and American house vocalist Crystal Waters was unlucky again as the much less irritating "100% Pure Love" fell one spot short of number 1.




"Endless Love" by Luther Vandross / Mariah Carey
Date reached number 2: October 2, 1994
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Confide In Me" by Kylie Minogue
Poor Luther, no matter which big-name female star he duetted with, he couldn't quite reach number 1 - the position achieved by the original version of "Endless Love" by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross.




"Always" by Bon Jovi
Date reached number 2: October 23, 1994
Weeks at number 2: Seven
Kept off number 1 by: "I'll Make Love To You" by Boyz II Men for one week and "Tomorrow" by Silverchair for six weeks
Lead singer Jon Bon Jovi is responsible for a couple of entries on this list not reaching the chart summit, but karma struck his band, who spent the decade's highest number of weeks waiting in the wings with this power ballad.




"All I Want For Christmas" by Mariah Carey
Date reached number 2: December 25, 1994
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Zombie" by The Cranberries
The original peak of this song couldn't have happened on a more perfect date - and, like the Ghost Of Christmas Omnipresent, Mariah Carey's festive favourite has returned to high rotation each holiday season ever since.





In Part 2: a handful of game-changing duets, some truly horrendous dance music and a bunch of two-time chart runners-up. 


1 comment:

  1. I love these runner's up hits. Best of the 2's!!

    A few of these songs went to No.1 on the Australian Music Report (used by rage's TV rival Video Hits in its Saturday morning countdowns).

    Oh, the memories................

    ReplyDelete