This Week In 1993: August 15, 1993
Back in 1993 when the release of a new album wasn't preceded by a dripfeed of tracks in the weeks prior, getting the order of singles right was crucial in setting up a successful album campaign. And no one knew that better than Janet Jackson, whose lead single from her then-current album had given her the first Australian chart-topper of her career.
As she arrived with the album's second single this week in 1993, it was worth reflecting what might have happened if the order of the two songs coming out had been reversed, as was mooted at one point. I guess we'll never know...
Earning themselves a chart-topping double this week in 1993 were UB40 who remained at number 1 for a sixth week with "(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You" and debuted at the top with album Promises And Lies.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Sometimes" by Southern Sons
Peak: number 99
"You Were There" had briefly put Southern Sons back on the radar, but it was back to the chart doldrums for this next single lifted from the Nothing But The Truth album.
Number 90 "A Prayer For Jane" by Jo-Beth Taylor
Peak: number 61
A couple of years after frothy pop confection "99 Reasons", the Australia's Funniest Home Video Show host tried to get her music career back on track with this song written about a friend who'd committed suicide.
Number 75 "Girl U For Me" by Silk
Peak: number 57
While "Freak Me" was lodged firmly at number 3, this nowhere near as good (or as racy) follow-up, a US top 30 single, peaked just outside the top 50.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 73
Like Silk, fellow R&B/hip-hop group Bell Biv DeVoe had seen better days on the ARIA chart, namely with top 20 hit "Gangsta", which had spent 20 weeks inside the top 50. Australia seemingly skipped over "Above The Rim", the lead single from the trio's second album, Hootie Mack, for this LA Reid & Babyface (and Daryl Simmons and BBD themselves) production - a slinky, sexy number at the opposite end of the R&B spectrum from "Gangsta". A top 40 single in the US, it failed to connect here.
Number 50 "Sweat" by Usura
Peak: number 48
Usura's album, Open Your Mind, featured two tracks called "Sweat" - one, a six-minute song that sampled U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name"and did little else; and another called "Sweat (Soakin' Wet)" which was a much more commercial slice of Italo house. The latter was released as the follow-up to "Open Your Mind" and poked its head just inside the ARIA top 50. To confuse matters, the CD single was titled just "Sweat" with the main track subtitled "Soakin' Wet mix edit".
Number 39 "If" by Janet Jackson
Peak: number 18
As "That's The Way Love Goes" spent its 14th and final week inside the top 5 (before tumbling rapidly out of the top 50 due, no doubt, to the single's deletion), the second of a mammoth eight hits from janet debuted at the other end of the top 50. Closer in style to previous tracks like "Rhythm Nation" and "State Of The World" than the laidback "That's The Way..." had been, "If" was earmarked by Janet Jackson's new label, Virgin, as the album's lead release - but she had other ideas. Keeping the club-oriented, crunching guitar-featuring song back for second single, Janet embraced her sexy side in both the song's lyrics ("If I was your girl/Oh the things I'd do to you") and accompanying music video. Nowhere near as big as "That's The Way..." - the album had already been out for a couple of months, after all - "If" was the first of four singles from janet that would make the ARIA top 20 over the coming months.
Number 33 "Bad Boys" by Inner Circle
Peak: number 25
Another week, another new reggae hit - and this week's entry came from a band who jumped into the top 10 with the other song called "Sweat" on the chart. First recorded by Inner Circle in 1987, a re-recorded version of "Bad Boys" had been used since 1989 as the theme song to long-running ride-along factual series Cops and, in the wake of the success of "Sweat (A La La La La Long)", was re-released and finally became a hit in its own right. Later to be featured in the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence movies of the same name, "Bad Boys" has become one of those songs with a much greater legacy than its chart peak would suggest, with the chorus hook becoming a pop culture reference point for people finding themselves in trouble with the law.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993:
Next week: yet another of 1993's big reggae hits arrive, while an Aussie pop star returns with her third top 50 cover version in a row.