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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1992: September 13, 1992

Sometimes there's nothing better than a good ballad. Other music trends may come and go, but a heartfelt slow song can connect with people unlike anything else, stirring the emotions and setting the chart alight.

Wendy Matthews released her signature song in 1992

This week in 1992, a homegrown artist kicked off their second album with the biggest hit of their career - and one of the most successful ballads of the year. What I didn't know at the time was that it was a cover version, but what I did know was that it was a beautiful tune only blocked from the top spot by another of the year's monster ballads.

For every good ballad, there's a bad one - and that song was still at number 1 this week in 1992. Yep, "Amigos Para Siempre (Friends For Life)" by José Carreras and Sarah Brightman stayed put for a fifth week.

Off The Chart

Number 99 "Be My Downfall" by Del Amitri

Peak: number 86

This follow-up to fourth top 50 single "Always The Last To Know" didn't become the Scottish band's fifth hit - and in fact they'd never see the inside of the top 50 again.

Number 97 "Symphony Of Destruction" by Megadeath

Peak: number 58

Three years after they slipped into the top 50 with "No More Mr Nice Guy", American heavy metal band Megadeath just missed out on a second hit with this Countdown To Extinction single.

Number 93 "All Shook Up" by Billy Joel

Peak: number 54

It'd be almost another year before Billy Joel's next studio album. In the meantime, his version of the Elvis Presley classic was one of many remakes on the Honeymoon In Vegas soundtrack.

Number 90 "Restless Heart" by Peter Cetera

Peak: number 89

He'd been a reasonably reliable hitmaker in the '70s and '80s - with and without Chicago - but there was little love for the MOR balladeer in the '90s with this lead single from World Falling Down.

Number 77 "Walking On Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox

Peak: number 58

These singles from Diva really weren't connecting, were they? The excellent third release did improve slightly on the peak of "Precious" and pushed the album back in the top 40 for a brief spell, so that's something.

New Entries

Number 49 "Ain't Love The Strangest Thing" by The Black Sorrows

Peak: number 46

The Black Sorrows had reached their commercial peak with 1990's Harley & Rose and probably thought their existing fanbase would go with them when they released this bluesy number as the lead single from Better Times. But it might have been safer to stick with what'd worked and gone with the album's more upbeat title track, which shared more in common musically with "Hold On To Me" and "Harley & Rose". Perhaps then, Better Times would've given the band their third top 10 album in a row when it debuted later in the month - as it was, they had to be satisfied with a number 13 placing.

Number 48 "Motor City (I Get Lost)" by Company Of Strangers

Peak: number 26

You might've thought a supergroup comprising Daryl Braithwaite and James Reyne, who'd both had an exceptionally successful few years as solo artists, would cause a bigger splash on the chart than this top 30 single. The singers were joined in Company Of Strangers by guitarist Jef Scott and producer/multi-instrumentalist Simon Hussey (formerly of Cats Under Pressure), who'd worked on Daryl and James's solo efforts since 1987. Despite the fact the band all clearly knew their way around a hit or several, the hook-laden "Motor City (I Get Lost)", which I actually quite like, wasn't the sensation they probably hoped it would be.

Number 45 "Breaking The Girl" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Peak: number 30

Just as Blood Sugar Sex Magik was beginning to slide down the chart, this fourth and final single from the album not only gave Red Hot Chili Peppers another hit to add to their rapidly growing tally, but pushed the album back into the top 30 for another couple of months. Written about singer Anthony Kiedis's breakup with model Carmen Hawk, "Breaking The Girl" had more in common musically with chart-topper "Under The Bridge" than its frenetic predecessor, "Suck My Kiss" - and I for one much preferred this more melodic side of the band.

Number 43 "The Day You Went Away" by Wendy Matthews

Peak: number 2

Originally recorded by British group Soul Family Sensation in 1991 - this is new information to me, too - "The Day You Went Away" is the type of song that creeps up on you. The first time you hear it, you think, "Oh yeah, that's nice enough." But the more you listen to it, the more it sinks in, its subtlety a huge part of its appeal. Performed by Wendy Matthews with remarkable restraint and backed by only the sparsest of accompaniments, the song feels like it was a bit of a risk - it could well have slipped under the radar since it's not as immediate as her previous biggest hits, "Let's Kiss (Like Angels Do)" or Absent Friends' "I Don't Want To Be With Nobody But You". But it paid off - big time. The lead single from her second album, Lily, it became easily the biggest hit of her solo career and her only single to reach the top 10, where it spent 15 weeks. As a result, it won the ARIA Award for Highest Selling Single, as well as the one for Single Of The Year.

Number 42 "Proove" by Radio Freedom

Peak: number 30

Whatever its faults, I could at least clearly remember Radio Freedom's debut single, "I Can Feel It", all these years later. The same can't be said of follow-up "Proove", with only the vague lasting impression that it was a better song remaining in my mind. It's not, so I'm not sure where I got that idea from. Unlike the party starter that'd come before, "Proove" was a slinkier, groovier number with added brass and soulful backing vocals - and another cheesy rap from model frontman Pehl, who smouldered his way around a basketball court in the music video way before Jeremy Jordan.

It's also worth noting that "November Rain" by Guns n' Roses, which now had that flashy, lengthy music video, re-entered the top 50 this week for the first time since May and would quickly shoot past its earlier peak of number 21 to take up permanent residence in the top 10 until February 1993.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1992:

Next week: the artist behind 1990's highest-selling single returns, while the fifth hit from an album that had more than a few singles left in it and one of the best dance tracks of the year also arrive.

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