Wednesday, 12 December 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: December 12, 1993

I recently held a poll on the Chart Beats Facebook page about whether I should continue my journey through the ARIA singles charts of decades past into 1994 or skip back in time to carry on looking at the Australian top 50 from 1980. And it's weeks like this one from 1993 that had me questioning how much more time I wanted to spend in the mid-'90s.

Thank goodness for Caligula, who made this week in 1993 more bearable

Three of the five new entries are bloated five-minute ballads from male singers that clogged up the chart with their mega-selling MOR music. And a fourth is a pleasant but also quite bland remake by two local singers. Then in between all the grunge and reggae in 1993, it wasn't always the best time for a pop fan like me. But the people - well, those that voted - have spoken, and we'll tackle 1994 in early January.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending December 12, 1993

A song that remained at the top of the chart until early January was spending its third week at number 1 this week in 1993. Yep, "Please Forgive Me" by Bryan Adams was still the most popular song in the country.  

Off The Chart
Number 91 "In My Life" by Kim Wilde
Peak: number 78
As "If I Can't Have You" fell out of the top 10, the other new track on The Singles Collection 1981-1993 entered the top 100 but didn't perform anywhere near as well.

Number 85 "The Rain In My Heart" by Weddings Parties Anything
Peak: number 85
"Monday's Experts" had been a minor top 50 hit, but this jangly, bouncy second single from King Tide progressed no further.

Number 82 "Demolition Man" by Sting
Peak: number 71
A much bigger soundtrack effort was just around the corner for Sting, but this reworking of the song that had originally been recorded by Grace Jones and later by The Police for the Sylvester Stallone/Wesley Snipes movie of the same name fizzled out.

Number 69 "Always Coca-Cola" by Un Disco In Lattina
Peak: number 65
I had no idea this Eurodance version of the Coke ad existed before now. Unfortunately for the Italian act, this jingle ended up enjoying a Robin Beck rather than a New Seekers level of success.

New Entries
Number 50 "Tears Of A Clown" by Caligula
Peak: number 25
Before we get to our three musical bores, Sydney's Caligula crept into the very bottom of the top 50 this week with their radical revision of the Smokey Robinson & The Miracles tune from 1970, which had been a number 7 hit in Australia. I'm not sure what the band's following made of the thrashy update of the Motown classic, but I thought it was pretty great and even bought it on cassingle. Plus, I ended up getting the band's album Rubenesque on CD - admittedly, years later for a heavily reduced sum - but I probably would never have ventured anywhere near Caligula if not for this track. The song starts up at the 2:20 mark in the video below, after a particularly awkward interview on Video Smash Hits

Number 49 "Said I Loved You... But I Lied" by Michael Bolton
Peak: number 2
I'm not going to lie - I like the odd Michael Bolton tune. OK, pretty much just "How Can We Be Lovers". But with this first taste of ninth studio album The One Thing, the mulleted one was firmly back in dreary ballad territory. Co-written with Robert "Mutt" Lange, "Said I Loved You... But I Lied" sent Michael back to number 2 on the ARIA chart - his highest placing since he reached the same position in 1990 with "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You". If you can stand to listen to the song, the desert-set video is worth a look for its cliché-ridden shots of wild horses, soaring eagles, burning flames, and Michael astride the cliffs with his shirt wide open and hair gently blowing in the breeze. 

Number 47 "Angels" by John Farnham
Peak: number 36
Not to be confused with "We're No Angels", the fourth single from Age Of Reason, which had missed the top 100, this second single from Then Again... was a change of pace after the album's lead single "Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time". Despite having all the makings of another Farnsey smash, it only made the top 40 - another sign that John's popularity was on the wane. The song is essentially a duet with Annie Crummer, who appears in the music video but does not receive featured billing on the release.

Number 38 "Where Is The Love" by Rick Price / Margaret Urlich
Peak: number 31
Don't get me wrong, I really like this song - when performed by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway or Mica Paris and Will Downing. And while Rick Price and Maragaret Urlich do a decent rendition, it's also a bit like elevator music. Plus, with their matching flowing locks, it's hard to tell which is which in the music video. OK, I jest. Anyway, this type of bland muzak was hardly going to set the charts alight... and it peaked outside the top 30, which is not quite what you'd expect for a brand new recording from these two given their chart pedigree. It did, however, outperform the original, which only reached number 55 for Roberta and Donny in 1972.

Number 29 "Rock And Roll Dreams Come True" by Meat Loaf
Peak: number 18
The first single from Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell was still inside the top 20 after 15 weeks, and it was joined on the top 50 by this next song, which had originally been recorded by songwriter Jim Steinman on his 1981 album, Bad For Good. Less overblow than its predecessor, "Rock And Roll..." once again came with a Michael Bay-directed music video, which features a young Angelina Jolie as a teenage runaway.

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

Next week: things get better for the final chart of 1993, with a trio of new dance hits. As usual, we'll also take a look at the year-end top 100.

Back to: Dec 5, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Dec 19, 1993

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: December 5, 1993

Music history is littered with singles that never saw the light of day in Australia for one reason or another. From Madonna alone, the likes of "Everybody" and "The Look Of Love", which were released overseas, didn't come out here.

As Madonna bid bye bye to Australia, she left us with a bonus release

This week in 1993, Australia was one of the few territories in which a sixth single was lifted from Erotica, and it made a decent showing on the ARIA chart, helped along by the fact that the Queen of Pop had just recently wrapped up her first tour down under.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending December 5, 1993

Making a decent showing once again at the top of the chart this week in 1993 was Bryan Adams, with "Please Forgive Me" spending a second week at number 1.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Queen Of The Night" by Whitney Houston
Peak: number 88
Not even a change of pace after two ballads could help this latest single from The Bodyguard, which is a shame since the song is great in either its original LA Reid & Babyface-produced form or CJ Mackintosh remixed state

Number 97 "Pink Cashmere" by Prince
Peak: number 87
Another new track from Prince's The Hits/The B-Sides collection, "Pink Cashmere" got its name from a custom-made coat Prince gave girlfriend Anna Fantastic when she turned 18.

Number 96 "Paradise" by Sonia Dada
Peak: number 96
Proof the Sonia Dada phenomenon has passed - this brand new song (that would be added to the band's self-titled album for its US re-release in 1994) barely caused a blip on the top 100.

Number 92 "Bumped" by Right Said Fred
Peak: number 88
Ditto for Right Said Fred, with the once massive trio yesterday's news thanks to the under-performance of this dull lead single from second album Sex And Travel

Number 84 "Jurassic Park" by "Weird Al" Yankovic
Peak: number 84
Also on the outs, the comedian missed the mark with this track which set the plot of the recent dinosaur-themed blockbuster to the tune of "MacArthur Park"

Number 83 "Anniversary" by Tony! Toni! Toné!
Peak: number 70
"If I Had No Loot" had provided the R&B trio with their Australian breakthrough, but this US top 10 slow jam which followed wasn't really the type of song that went down well locally.

Number 72 "Try My Love" by Jeremy Jordan
Peak: number 72
Ditto for shirtless hunk Jeremy Jordan, with no amount of ab-flaunting (and stroking) able to make up for the fact that this third single was a snooze-inducing ballad. 

New Entries
Number 44 "Hey Mr DJ" by Zhané
Peak: number 9
While seven established acts tanked on this week's ARIA top 100, newcomers Zhané would go on to have the biggest new hit with their debut single - a slice of effortlessly cool R&B. Comprised of Renee Neufville and Jean Norris, the duo had previously performed together on "Ring My Bell" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince before going on to work on their album, which came with the helpful title, Pronounced Jah-Nay.

Number 42 "True Love" by Elton John / Kiki Dee
Peak: number 34
A very different duo now - one that had topped the Australian chart together 17 years previously. Reunited musically to remake a song first heard in the film High SocietyElton John and Kiki Dee recorded their version of "True Love" for Elton's just-in-time-for-Christmas album of duets called, funnily enough, Duets. Besides his and George Michael's previous hit update of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", the album featured new recordings of Elton partnered with everyone from Bonnie Raitt and kd lang to Paul Young and Nik Kershaw to future Emmy Award winner RuPaul, who helped transform Elton and Kiki's old hit, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart". 

Number 39 "Please (You Got That...)" by INXS
Peak: number 37
Next up, another collaboration - and not one that many people would have seen coming before this song appeared on INXS's ninth album, Full Moon Dirty Hearts. Lifted as its second single, "Please (You Got That...)" saw Michael Hutchence share vocal duties with soul legend Ray Charles, the combination working quite well, even if the single became the band's lowest charting since "Dancing On The Jetty" in early 1985.

Number 38 "Relax MCMXCIII" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Peak: number 22
Speaking of 1984, here's a song that was massive in Australia that year and was given a new lease of life in 1993 to celebrate its 10th anniversary, having been first released in 1983. Remixed by Gregg Jackman, "Relax MCMXCIII" wasn't a huge departure from the original and was used to promote the just-in-time-for-Christmas best of, Bang!... The Greatest Hits Of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. All four of the short-lived band's big hits from debut album Welcome To The Pleasuredome would end up being re-released in support of Bang! - and all of them would reach the UK top 20 again (with "Relax" returning to the top 5 there).

Number 32 "Let's Get It On / Do You Wanna Dance" by Peter Andre
Peak: number 17
Making up for the lengthy break since top 20 hit "Funky Junky", Peter Andre launched his - yep, you guessed it - just-in-time-for-Christmas self-titled debut album with a double whammy. The first track on his double A-side single was another slice of new jack swing, while sharing equal billing was his reggae remake of the much-covered song by Bobby Freeman. I can't say either did anything for me, but his fans rewarded him with another top 20 single.

Number 31 "Bye Bye Baby" by Madonna
Peak: number 15
Although it wasn't released in many other countries, it made perfect sense for "Bye Bye Baby" to be issued as a sixth single from Erotica in Australia. For one thing, Madonna was coming off a top 5 hit in the form of "Rain" (which had turned things around following flops "Bad Girl" and "Fever"). But more importantly, she had just completed her first ever tour of Australia - also, the first ever concert I attended - and "Bye Bye Baby" was one of the more memorable songs performed during The Girlie Show. Sure, I personally preferred "Why's It So Hard" and "Words" as songs, but "Bye Bye Baby" was a fun track that duly became her 28th top 20 hit.

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

Next week: three very different cover versions arrive - one, the follow-up to the year's biggest seller; the second, a remake of a soul classic by two local pop singers and the third, a radical reworking of a Motown tune.

Back to: Nov 28, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Dec 12, 1993