This Week In 1993: January 17, 1993
By this point in 1993, American R&B hits were more readily snapped up by Australian music fans than they had been just a few years earlier. But just because a song had done well in the US, it didn't automatically mean it would be big locally.
This week in 1993, two US top 10 hits entered the ARIA singles chart - and neither charted anywhere near as high here. One was the latest by a female vocal harmony quartet who were still waiting for their big Australian hit, while the other was from a male vocal harmony quintet who'd never take off here.
An American singer whose record-breaking Billboard chart hit had translated down under was still at number 1 this week in 1993. "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston spent its fifth week on top.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Cowboy Lover" by Rhapsody
Peak: number 95
Some abysmal locally produced pop to start us off, with this single from Australian duo Rhapsody. The barely in tune "Cowboy Lover" was co-produced by Ashley Cadell, who did much better work for Kate Ceberano.
Peak: number 97
Not even a return to the ballad style of "Stay" could provide Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit with another hit. This would be the duo's final top 100 appearance in Australia. Marcella's days in the act were also numbered, dismissed via a letter from Siobhan that was read out at the Ivor Novello Awards in May.
Peak: number 64
One of the best songs from 1983 transformed into the best thing released in 1992 - but unfortunately this remix didn't match the original's top 50 performance in Australia.
Peak: number 73
Rockmelons' hit streak came to an end as this title track from their second album, which contained a resung hook from John Lennon's "Power To The People", failed to match the chart highs climbed by the three Deni Hines-featuring singles that preceded it.
Number 73 "Run To You" by Rage
Peak: number 56
Another '80s song given a new lease of life - this time, Bryan Adams's number 24 hit from early 1985 had a pumping Eurodance makeover by the British group renamed En-Rage in Germany to avoid confusion with another act.
Number 48 "She's Playing Hard To Get" by Hi-Five
Peak: number 46
Seems Australia was playing hard to get for this five-piece boy band from Texas, who registered three top 10 hits in the US, including this lead single from second album Keep It Goin' On. Here, "She's Playing Hard To Get" peaked just one place higher than previous hit "I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)". Later in 1993, tragedy struck the group when one member, Roderick "Pooh" Clark, was involved in a car accident that left him paralysed. By 1994, Hi-Five, who are not to be confused with the later Australian children's act of the same name, had disbanded.
Number 44 "Free Your Mind" by En Vogue
Peak: number 39
Also making the US top 10 (number 8) but only becoming a minor hit in Australia was the latest from the consistently good and continually underappreciated (locally) En Vogue. The kind of fiery funk/R&B track that made you sit up and take notice, especially after the snoozesome "Giving Him Something He Can Feel", "Free Your Mind" saw the four-piece tackling racism and prejudice - especially timely given the LA riots that had occured in mid-1992. Basing its hook on "Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow", a 1970 track by Funkadelic, the slightly reworded "Free Your Mind" ("and the rest will follow") also featured lead vocals from all four members, whose fierce performance in the music video helped it go on to win three MTV Video Music Awards.
Number 38 "Do You Believe In Us" by Jon Secada
Peak: number 38
Our final new entry for the week was yet another single that under-performed here compared to its American success (number 13). I actually prefer this follow-up to Jon Secada's first hit, "Just Another Day", but seems Australia didn't agree, with "Do You Believe In Us" progressing no further on the chart. A Spanish version of the song, titled "Cree En Nuestro Amor", appeared on Jon's album Otro Día Más Sin Verte, which he'd released shortly after his self-titled English-language debut.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993:
Next week: another brilliant American R&B act finally breaks into the top 50. Plus, the arrival of Britain's baddest boy band and the latest return of a duo who burst onto the scene in the mid-'80s.