Wednesday, 7 March 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: March 7, 1993

Sometimes this blog truly is a labour of love, when "labour" is the operative word and there's not much to love at all. Like this week in 1993, which has to go down as one of the worst weeks for a pop fan like me to recap.

The eighth highest-selling single of 1993 in Australia

Not even the debut of a future chart-topping single can distract from the fact that it was a pretty lousy week for new pop music. Rock fans are well catered for, however.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending March 7, 1993

The presiding chart-topping single this week in 1993 was still "You Don't Treat Me No Good" by Sonia Dada, which spent its second week at number 1, while their other hit was at number 4.


Off The Chart
Number 93 Zillian And The Zig Zag Men by Zillian And The Zig Zag Men
Peak: number 93
There's very little info about this Australian rock band online - and I'm not 100 percent sure if "Stay With Me Tonight" was the lead track of this self-titled EP. As a song, it sounds like any number of pop/punk tracks from a decade later. Too ahead of their time?

Number 92 "Leave It Alone" by Living Colour
Peak: number 59
Not even the lead single from a brand new album could put Living Colour back inside the top 50, although they came close with this track from Stain.

Number 87 "I Will Always Love You" by Dekko
Peak: number 79
The '90s is littered with rush-job dance remakes of massive hits, and they don't come more awful than this painful version of the ballad recently made inescapable by Whitney Houston.

Number 73 "Is This Love" by Radio Freedom
Peak: number 51
Speaking of terrible and wholly unnecessary cover versions, Radio Freedom tried to do a Rockmelons and refresh the Bob Marley & The Wailers classic. They did not succeed.


New Entries
Number 50 "No Time" by Frente!
Peak: number 50
When Australia turns, we turn hard. A couple of months earlier, Frente! were enjoying a top 10 single - their second in a row - and album, but this follow-up to the much-reviled "Accidently Kelly Street" could only scrape the very bottom of the top 50. And it's not like people carried on buying the album instead, with Marvin The Album plummeting out of the top 50 by the beginning of April. Seems like Frente! were suddenly not cool, despite the fact that "No Time" is actually a really good song. I don't think I've ever noticed just what a jangly little pop gem it is before, because I, like much of the rest of the country, decided I wasn't interested in hearing anything else the band behind "Accidently..." had to offer. It was going to take something pretty spectacular for Frente! to get back in the game...




Number 49 "Forever In Love" by Kenny G
Peak: number 49
After flirting with the soothing sax sounds of Kenny G in the past, Australia really got on board with his Breathless album, sending it all the way to number 1. On the plus side, this Grammy-winning slice of instrumental muzak was his only singles top 50 appearance as a lead artist... and only for one week.




Number 47 "Sundial" by Tumbleweed
Peak: number 35
This breakthrough hit by Woolongong band Tumbleweed isn't so bad, actually. In among the distorted guitars, there's a catchy melody, but just as I paid "Sundial" little attention at the time, I doubt I'll be adding it to my collection now. Tumbleweed would go on to have top 10 albums success in the coming years, but this was their biggest hit on the singles chart.




Number 10 "Cats In The Cradle" by Ugly Kid Joe
Peak: number 1
1993 was quite the year for rock bands having big hits with remakes, and there was none bigger than this cover of the top 10 single released in 1974 by Harry Chapin (which came with an apostrophe in "Cat's"). Based on a poem written by Harry's wife, Sandy, the song told the story of the changing nature of a father and son's relationship over time. Save for a few lyrical tweaks, Ugly Kid Joe's version hewed quite closely to the original - just with a heavier rock feel than the folkier original. By reaching number 1 in Australia, "Cats In The Cradle" gave Ugly Kid Joe a second - and final - top 5 hit locally. Interesting chart quirk: Harry's original version reached number 6 locally and number 1 in America, while the peaks for this cover were exactly reversed.




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





Next week: another rock band covers a hit from decades past, while another future chart-topper blasts its way straight into the top 10.


Back to: Feb 28, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 14, 1993


4 comments:

  1. Other than on the printed chart, I've never heard of Zillian... The corresponding Chartifacts entry from this week's ARIA Report states that the press release describes the lead singer Nick as "exuding that rare sultry quality that drives girls mad". He does kind of have that Home & Away sun-bleached look that was popular then.

    'Leave It Alone' is one of those songs I must have heard/seen once in the rage top 60 and forgot forevermore thereafter. The chorus backing vocals don't sound too dissimilar from Steve Tyler.

    There was another dance cover of 'I Will Always Love You' by Tears N' Joy, though I think it was out later in the year. Don't think I've heard this Dekko version before.

    I don't mind 'Is This Love?' for what it is. I thought it was better than 'Proove'.

    I liked 'No Time' the most from the singles from 'Marvin the Album'; no doubt partly because it wasn't overplayed unlike the previous two. Angie Hart apparently said in a recent-ish interview (I didn't see it) that Frente! lost their indie credibility with 'Accidently Kelly Street', and I think that's definitely true; hence the backlash. Also, they appeared on 'Home & Away', playing 'live' in the surf club, towards the end of March 1993 (the first episode Angel appears), which was a puzzling and misguided move, I think. They were already 'big' and didn't need that kind of exposure (plus it was surely the wrong venue, given their indie-leanings). Maybe it was done to help get them recognition in the UK.

    My dad bought the CD 'Forever In Love' is from, and I was subjected to it in the background for much of '93. To me, it sounds like the soundtrack to a 'love' scene from an American daytime soap from that era.

    I actually really like 'Sundial'; mainly for the middle 8 wah-wah guitar instrumental key-change. I love that part, despite generally not being much of a 'grunge' fan at all.

    Can't say I'm overly fond of 'Cats In the Cradle', but I dislike it less now than I did at the time. Although not being a parent, I can relate to the theme of how quickly time seems to pass as a late 30-something adult.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also still can't figure out, 25 years later, why Frente were written into a Home And Away episode. I mean, at the time, 14 year old me thought it was great; definitely the best gig ever staged in the Summer Bay Surf Club. But I'm guessing that episode was filmed several months before it aired.

      And let's not forget that HAA episode in late 1992 where Damian is watching music videos on TV and says "They just played Frente. That lead singer is so hot!" He'd just watched the "Kelly Street" video…

      Not a parent here either, but "Cat's In The Cradle" does pull at the old heartstrings. Also, put in that missing apostrophe Ugly Kid Joe, you're not fooling anybody.

      Delete
    2. Ha ha, I remember that Damien "I'm just watching the clips" moment on H&A in the early years repeat from a few years ago now (already). It's like they were preparing the audience for the Frente! onslaught, including airplay in the diner. It's funny how they did such things, like playing Toni Pearen's 'I Want You' in the lead up to her stint on the show.

      Delete
    3. That "I'm just watching the clips" moment was one of the most puzzling moments on HAA in the '90s I think, but I thought it was great. I didn't know Toni Pearen got Summer Bay Diner airplay. I wonder if Craig McLachlan or Dannii Minogue did in 1990? Imagine Grant Mitchell being in a scene and "Mona" blasting from the jukebox.

      Delete