This Week In 1992: February 2, 1992
Back in the '80s, I'd assumed collaborations happened because the artists were friends and wanted to record together. They'd get together in the studio, then work out what they wanted to do in the music video for their song. Little did I know how it really worked a lot of the time.
This week in 1992, a duet that was pretty much the opposite of how I imagined things to be debuted on the ARIA singles top 50. For one of the singers involved, it was a very different situation than the last time she'd had a ballad duet on the chart
For a second time, the number 1 single in Australia this week in 1992 was "Let's Talk About Sex" by Salt 'n' Pepa. Right behind, Prince & The New Power Generation spent their fourth and final week at number 2 with "Cream".
Off The Chart
Number 95 "Top Of The Pops" by The Smithereens
Peak: number 77
The first single in five years by the American rock band to reach the top 100 would probably have done better towards the end of the decade when similar sounding songs by Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray were huge.
Number 48 "Peace" by Sabrina Johnston
Peak: number 24
The summer of '91-'92 was a great time for club tracks with wailing female vocals crossing over into the mainstream. Rozalla and Euphoria were already up towards the top of the chart, and finally joining them this week were two more dance tunes that made my year-end top 40 for 1991. First up, it's feel-good anthem "Peace", which had made the UK top 10 in September for American singer Sabrina Johnston. For some reason, the ARIA chart gave the song the title "Peace (Brothers In Rhythm)", but BIR were actually the remixers behind the main single version and the song was just called "Peace". Incidentally, the track did have a subtitle in the US, where it was known as "Peace (In The Valley)".
Peak: number 26
Given the fact New Kids On The Block had only been successful in Australia for a couple of years, their Australian record company shied away from releasing their American best of collection, H.I.T.S., locally. Instead, the boy band's 11 chart entries to date (and a few remixes) were packaged together as Tour Souvenir Collection. Included on both the US and Australian compilations was a new song, ballad "If You Go Away". Co-written and produced by Mariah Carey collaborator Walter Afanasieff (and with Mariah's future duet partner Trey Lorenz also a co-writer), the song gave the guys their biggest Australian and US hit since "Tonight", but still fell some way short of the peak of their biggest ballad, "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)".
Peak: number 23
Up until this point, "Tears On My Pillow" had been Kylie Minogue lowest-charting single in Australia. And so it's understandable that, with another ballad slated for release, her Australian record company hedged their bets and promoted B-side "I Guess I Like It Like That" to double A-side status. As of next week, the 2 Unlimited-sampling dance track was also listed on the chart alongside "If You Were With Me Now". Kylie had done well with one of her previous ballads, "Especially For You" — and it'd been a duet too, but it came about under very different circumstances. Instead of singing with her boyfriend, Kylie performed alongside relatively unknown US soul singer Keith Washington on "If You Were With Me Now". And when I say "alongside", I mean they both recorded their parts separately and didn't meet until it was time to shoot the music video — and then didn't appear in a single scene together.
Keith had reached the US top 40 in 1991 with his track "Kissing You" and it was hoped this single would help break him in the UK. Similarly, Kylie hadn't registered on the American chart since early 1989 when "It's No Secret" reached number 37 and this duet was clearly designed to remedy that. Despite all the behind-the-scenes planning, neither of those things ended up happening. "If You Were With Me Now" did reach the UK top 5 — a turnaround for Kylie after the career-low (at the time) peak of "Word Is Out" there — but Keith didn't go on to have any further UK chart success. And Kylie would have to wait until 2002 for her next US hit. In Australia, even with the help of "I Guess...", the single didn't generate the usual amount of enthusiasm from Australian fans and Kylie now had a new chart low here.
Peak: number 28
After releasing covers of two soul songs I wasn't familiar with, Jimmy Barnes's third single from Soul Deep was a remake of a track most people would've heard previously since it'd already been recorded on at least three different occasions. First up, there was the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell version, which surprisingly only reached number 63 in Australia in 1967. Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Temptations recorded their own version of the Ashford & Simpson-penned tune the following year for a collaborative album. Then, in 1970, Diana Ross released a new version as her second solo single, which peaked at number 25 locally and topped the US chart. I'd rather listen to any of those previous versions than hear Jimmy Barnes scream his way through it ever again.
Peak: number 12
The week's highest new entry was a cover version I was happy with — and it's the second club track with wailing female vocals I mentioned when I talked about "Peace". It was also the latest release from the C+C in C+C Music Factory. With the Gonna Make You Sweat album exhausted of singles, producers Robert Clivillés and David Cole put out Greatest Remixes Vol. 1, a compilation that also featured some of their work for other acts like girl group Seduction and US chart-toppers Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam. Included on the album was the duo's dance remake of U2's "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" — a cover version that was every bit as radical as Pet Shop Boys' take on "Where The Streets Have No Name". With its techno synths and diva vocals from Deborah Cooper (the male vocals were provided by Paul Pesco), this spin on "Pride..." horrified U2 purists and delighted me.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1992:
Next week: two new singles by the biggest male artist in the world — one, a remix of an existing hit and the other, the follow-up. Plus, the biggest hit by one of the biggest male singers in Australia.
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