This Week In 1992: December 13, 1992
It's the part of the year record shops used to live for: the pre-Christmas period, during which all the biggest albums would hit stores. Many superstar acts would release their latest studio albums in the final three months of the year, while plenty of others would put out greatest hits collections, covers albums, live albums or something else to cash in on the period of biggest music sales.
It's not quite the same in the digital age - do best ofs even exist anymore for current artists? - but this week in 1992, that seasonal release schedule was in full effect. All five of the new entries on the singles chart came from big Christmas priorities.
It wasn't always big new releases that did well at Christmas time. For Boyz II Men, their recent surge in success meant their year-old debut album, Cooleyhighharmony, was among the season's big sellers as it moved in to the top 10 for the first time this week. It was, however, the end of the road for them as singles chart-toppers as "End Of The Road" spent its fourth and final week on top.
Off The Chart
Number 94 "(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop" by N93
Peak: number 71
First released back in 1988, this update of the Fatback Band club classic (itself remixed in 1987) was revisited locally in 1992, but failed to reignite the dance craze.
Number 81 "It Will Make Me Crazy" by Felix
Peak: number 55
"Don't You Want Me" had been a crossover success in Australia (and was still just inside the top 40 this week), but DJ/producer Francis Wright wasn't as lucky second time around.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 110
Even though Genesis's latest live collection, The Way We Walk, Vol I: The Shorts, made its debut on the albums chart this week, the band weren't quite done milking previous studio album We Can Dance of singles. One of two tracks chosen for release as the fifth single in different parts of the world, "Tell Me Why" was another issue-driven song from the band, who addressed hunger and homelessness in the lyrics and accompanying music video. The surprisingly upbeat tune (given its subject matter) was released in Europe - in the UK it came out following a live version of "Invisible Touch" from The Way We Walk. In the US, "Never A Time" was released instead. Whatever the choice, it marked the final Genesis single to be performed by Phil Collins.
Number 50 "To Love Somebody" by Michael Bolton
Peak: number 39
For his Christmas contribution, Mr Mullet unleashed covers album Timeless: The Classics, which shot up to number 11 on the albums chart this week. Alongside remakes of tracks like "Yesterday", "Knock On Wood" and token festive favourite "White Christmas" was Michael Bolton's version of Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody", a number 6 hit here in 1967. The much-covered track (a UK top 10 hit for Jimmy Somerville as recently as 1990) broke Michael's ARIA top 50 drought stretching back to "Love Is A Wonderful Thing", but it was even longer since he'd had a major hit in Australia. Fear not, 1993 would deliver one of those... and that's no lie.
Number 49 "Celebration" by Kylie Minogue
Peak: number 21
On the one hand, it felt way to soon for Kylie Minogue to be up to releasing an album called Greatest Hits, but on the other, she'd amassed 17 top 30 singles taken from four studio albums in a little over five years. And with her contract with PWL Records in the UK coming to an end, it was the perfect time to take stock (no pun intended). Her remake of the Kool & The Gang party anthem was the second single released from the best of and had actually been intended for previous album Let's Get To It, but ended up being left off.
The song and its suitably celebratory Rio de Janeiro-shot music video - in which Kylie looked pretty stunning - came out at the perfect time of year, but surprisingly stalled just shot of the top 20. Interestingly, as her final single for PWL, "Celebration" was produced not by Stock Aitken Waterman (or Stock Waterman, since Aitken had now left the Hit Factory) but by B Team Harding & Curnow, although SW were credited with additional production. As we all know, Kylie took a well-earned rest in 1993 and returned the following year with a whole new sound.
Number 25 "7" by Prince & The New Power Generation
Peak: number 25
In 1991-92, Prince had enjoyed his most consistent hit streak ever in Australia, with six consecutive top 20 hits (four of them top 10). That came to a halt with this third single from the Love Symbol Album, which progressed no further than this debut position. The Middle Eastern-tinged "7" showcased the belly dancing of NPG member and the future Mrs Prince, Mayte, in the music video - and one thing I didn't know until now was that she would go on to choreograph the clip for Britney Spears's "I'm A Slave 4 U".
Peak: number 9
While Prince's top 20 run came to an end, there was no stopping U2's, with the fifth single from Achtung Baby giving them yet another top 10. It's not a bad song, but perhaps the real reason fans rushed out to buy "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" was that they all wanted to complete the picture formed by the covers of the album's singles (except "One"). The chart feat would've been even more impressive if the five Achtung Baby tracks had all reached the top 10, but previous single "Even Better Than The Real Thing" had let the side down by peaking at an unlucky number 11.
Number 11 "Deeper And Deeper" by Madonna
Peak: number 11
This second single from Erotica was also pretty unlucky not to become another top 10 hit for Madonna, stranded at number 11 for five straight weeks (thanks partly to the ARIA chart shutting down for three weeks). The disco-flavoured and "Vogue"-referencing "Deeper And Deeper" was, however, the first single of hers I'd really loved since that 1990 chart-topper. After a series of sexual or snoozy singles over the past couple of years, she was back in dancefloor form. In the decade-hopping, homage-laden music video, she also traded in her Mistress Dita persona to channel Andy Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick instead.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1992:
Next week: a double dose of Australian pop, including the top 50 debut of a man who'd go on to become a glossy mag favourite in the UK.