Wednesday, 28 March 2018

This Week In 1993: March 28, 1993

Remember the time, just over a year ago, when we'd marvelled at how Michael Jackson had debuted on the ARIA top 50 with two different singles. This week in 1993, he just went and did it again.

When it came to Michael Jackson's Dangerous album, we took the bad with the good

Except this time, instead of one of those songs being a remix of a previous chart-topper, they were both completely new hits - the latest two tracks lifted from his indefatigable Dangerous album.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending March 28, 1993

Also this week in 1993, the first of our three recent rock cover versions took over at number 1. But with Lenny Kravitz breathing down their neck, "Cats In The Cradle" by Ugly Kid Joe would only last one week in the top spot.

Off The Chart
Number 96 "Who's Lovin' You" by Jackson 5
Peak: number 96
Released to coincide with miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream, the Jackson brothers' version of the song originally recorded by The Miracles first appeared on the B-side to debut single "I Want You Back" in 1969.

Number 93 "Jump (live)" by Van Halen
Peak: number 93
Another oldie - the studio version of this single from 1984 reached number 2 originally. This live recording was lifted from concert album Live: Right Here, Right Now.

New Entries
Number 50 "Black Stick" by The Cruel Sea
Peak: number 25
Unlike anything they'd released before, "Black Stick" jumped straight into the top 50, giving The Cruel Sea their first mainstream hit. It would turn out to be a big year for the genre-blurring rock band fronted by Tex Perkins, with their upcoming third album, The Honeymoon Is Over, reaching the top 5 and resulting in them taking home a handful of ARIA Awards at the 1994 ceremony.

Number 49 "Heal The World" by Michael Jackson
Peak: number 20
I wouldn't have minded one bit if this sixth single from Dangerous had peaked at number 60, the position it reached in mid-December before falling back out of the chart. After five excellent pop/R&B tracks in "Black Or White", "Remember The Time", "In The Closet", "Jam" and "Who Is It", this nauseating, sickly sweet, nursery rhyme-like ballad was the worst single of Michael Jackson's career up until that point. Yes, including "Ben". Now before you all have a go at me, yes, the sentiment behind "Heal The World" is admirable, as were Michael's charitable efforts that went along with the song, but as a piece of music, it's unbearable. Its chart reversal is no doubt partly due to it being the climax of the King of Pop's Super Bowl halftime show at the end of January, and it went on to give him another top 20 hit from Dangerous.

Number 43 "Constant Craving" by kd lang
Peak: number 38
Her duet with Roy Orbison on a remake of The Big O's "Crying" had made slight inroads into the top 100 when it was re-released in late 1992, but things slowly started picking up for kd lang in 1993 when her second solo album, Ingénue, gathered momentum following its Grammy nominations. Almost a year after its initial release, award-winning lead single "Constant Craving", which signalled kd's move away from her original country sound to a more produced adult contemporary feel, crept into the top 40, although I feel like it was one of those songs that was everywhere at the time. Interestingly, Ingénue was only a modest success locally in 1993, reaching number 25 in May. Its top 3 peak wouldn't come for another year, when it bounded back into the chart following kd's visit to Australia in early 1994 to promote her soundtrack for Even Cowgirls Get The Blues

Number 40 "Bad Girl" by Madonna
Peak: number 32
It's probably one of Madonna's least remembered singles, but "Bad Girl" was, nevertheless, another top 40 hit for the Queen of Pop - her 28th overall and the third from Erotica. The David Fincher-directed, Christopher Walken-featuring video brought the lyrics to life, depicting the story of the titular bad girl, who indulges in hedonistic behaviour following the breakdown of a relationship. Given the fact that two subsequent singles from Erotica outperformed "Bad Girl" in Australia, the usual excuse that fans already had the album can't explain the fact that this was Madonna's lowest-charting top 50 hit since "Lucky Star". I'd suggest the song's melancholy feel probably had more to do with it.

Number 38 "Deep Forest" by Deep Forest
Peak: number 32
There were more pan pipes and beats being blended on this second hit from - and named after - French electronic duo Deep Forest. "Deep Forest" was also the title track of the pair's debut album, which was re-released a couple of years later as World Mix. There wasn't as strong a hook on this single as on "Sweet Lullaby", and therefore it was a significantly smaller hit - although it should be noted, the album was by now into its sixth week in the top 10.

Number 13 "Give In To Me" by Michael Jackson
Peak: number 4
Now this is more like it. Michael Jackson finally got around to releasing one of the highlights from Dangerous - although, oddly, not in the US - as its seventh single. And despite coming out so late in the campaign, "Give In The Me" ended up being the album's second biggest hit in Australia. Just shows what a bit of rock can do for you in this country. The natural successor to "Beat It" (which featured Eddie Van Halen) and "Dirty Diana" (Steve Stevens), "Give In To Me" boasted a guitar solo from Guns n' Roses axeman Slash and saw Michael in pop/rock mode - and, unlike "Heal The World", this was a refreshing change from the slew of R&B singles that'd come before it. As a bonus, those two previous guitar-influenced hits were included on the "Give It To Me" single.

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

Next week: one Australian pop/rock group scores after a series of flops, while another sees its chart struggles continue.

Back to: Mar 21, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Apr 4, 1993


  1. Gotta lurve that crappy cover art on the Heal the World single. A band-aid on a cracked globe. I wonder how many squillion dollars some hack artist got paid to dream that one up.

    The first thing I thought when I heard Bad Girl was "man Madonna is totally lame". That song was absolute crud.

    I never knew why Black Stick was called that. Anyone else know?

  2. Back in 1990 The Notting Hillbillies released a snoozeworthy single called "Your Own Sweet Way". When that was recapped, Nathan made a comment about how no one under 25 would have been buying it…I agree, and now I feel the same way about "Constant Craving". How old were the people who were buying this stuff?

    Another single (along with "Unchained Melody", "Achy Breaky Heart" and "Amigos Para Siempre") to add to the 'Only Bought By Over-50s' list.

  3. At least "Heal the world" had meaning to it. When I was a teen I absolutely loved the single. It's a little sappy now but not his worst single. MJ had better ballads though.

    I'm by no means a heavy rock fan but I've loved the majority of MJ's stuff including rock classics "Beat it", "Dirty Diana", and Give in to me is another top song. He was a legend.

  4. It was a shame that "Bad Girl" stalled where it did. It was a clever, well-written song (sorry to disagree with you, Anonymous #1) and it was also lucky enough to score a rare (for the time) live TV performance on Saturday Night Live, featuring an amazing vocal (it's still the only time she's performed it live).

    I was well under 25 back in 1993 (let alone 50 - that's still many years away, too) and I bought all of the singles Pete mentioned (except for "Your Own Sweet Way"), so I guess that blows that theory out of the water ;-)

    1. No worries Carta, it was only a theory!

      Do you still like all of those singles?

    2. I do, actually, Pete :-) Sorry for the belated reply!!

  5. Someone could liven up that boring KDLang song by giving it an EDM makeover [possibly hard house/dubstep remix] and call it CONSTANT RAVING. Whaddya think?

    1. This dance cover version by Abigail was released in 1993:

    2. 'Constant Raving' is genius!

  6. I had never heard 'Black Stick' until it entered the chart. I found the concept of the song interesting; singing about what all your different body parts do. Something about the singer in the video disturbed me slightly, though. They could have just called the song "I", ha ha.

    'Heal the World' sounds like it could be being sung by Big Bird.

    It's kind of sad really that sometimes things needed to have Grammy Award hype before breaking locally, such as 'Constant Craving', which had been released in Australia nearly a year before its top 50 debut. Back when this sort of appeals-to-your-parents music was the kind of thing that would win Grammys. Although I pay no attention to these Awards shows now (not that I ever did), but my impression is that Grammys today are given to acts that the 'youth' like, as though it's an effort by the Grammys to appear 'cool' (relevant?).

    'Bad Girl' failed in part no doubt due to the backlash Madonna was receiving at this point. The song is OK, but I don't think it would have done that much better had she not released 'Sex' just 6 months beforehand. I remember arguing with someone at school over whether the lyric was "drunk by six" or "drugged by sex" (lol). I was right.

    I preferred 'Deep Forest' to 'Sweet Lullaby'; though 'White Whisper' was probably better than both.

    It is odd that 'Give In To Me' didn't get a US release. It was a relative highlight amongst the 'Dangerous' singles.

  7. "Constant craving … has always been"

    Yeah. That's why it's called "constant", kd lang, you dipshit!