This Week In 1993: October 17, 1993
When it comes to chart success, some artists have the misfortune of being ahead of their time. Although great for their legacy, it doesn't help when they're trying to sell music at that time.
This week in 1993, a hip-hop duo that'd been ahead of the curve when it came to Australia's taste for rap with their earlier releases debuted on the ARIA chart with the single that'd finally give them a local hit, going all the way to number 1.
Still at number 1 this week in 1993 was "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf, which spent a seventh week on top.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "My Sister" by Juliana Hatfield Three
Peak: number 99
Rather than being ahead of its time, this jangly single from Juliana Hatfield's first album fronting a trio sounded about two years late — I can't help but think it would've fared better back when Clouds and The Hummingbirds were popular.
Number 96 "I Wanna Love You" by Jade
Peak: number 96
A year after it was released in the US, R&B trio Jade's debut single reached the ARIA top 100, but couldn't improve on the performance of prior minor hit "Don't Walk Away".
Peak: number 80
The first top 100 solo appearance by the former N.W.A. member featured hip-hop duo Das EFX and, in remixed form, a sample from "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five.
Number 81 "Breakadawn" by De La Soul
Peak: number 73
Another hip-hop act that had mostly been ahead of its time as far as Australian success was concerned (apart from one almost novelty smash) sampled Michael Jackson on this lead single from third album Buhloone Mindstate.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 56
Up until now, Belinda Carlisle had always been able to rely on landing at least one big hit per album, but that all changed with her fifth long-player, Real. Possibly suffering due to its terrible title, "Big Scary Animal", which was co-written by fellow Go-Go Charlotte Caffey, became Belinda's first lead single to miss the ARIA top 50 despite having a big, catchy chorus to rival many of her other hits.
Number 49 "What Is Love" by Haddaway
Peak: number 12
I'm actually quite surprised to recall that the debut single by Eurodance artist Nestor Haddaway didn't reach the ARIA top 10. A massive hit across Europe — and one of those songs that has lived on in the decades since — "What Is Love" even did better in the US (peaking one place higher) than in Australia. But sometimes chart peaks don't tell the full story, with the much-covered and -sampled track spending exactly half a year inside the top 50 and taking up residency in the top 15 throughout most of summer '93-'94.
Peak: number 48
When we saw "Lost" just miss the top 50 back in May, I commented that I was sure it had also been a bigger hit — and it was. Kind of. When follow-up "I Remember" also looked like it was going to peak outside the top 50, it was repackaged with "Lost" as a bonus track and together the two songs edged just onto the printed chart for a single week. I have no recollection of "I Remember" whatsoever and I suspect the single's presence here had everything to do with the slow burn success of "Lost".
Peak: number 1
In the late '80s, when rap hits were few and far between in Australia, Will Smith and Jeff Townes were unlucky not to have done better with singles like "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble" and "Parents Just Don't Understand" despite both being the kind of songs that would've been huge a couple of years later when the likes of MC Hammer, Young MC and Tone Lōc enjoyed major chart action. Then, when they shifted to a less gimmicky sound in the the early 90s with tracks like "Summertime" and "Ring My Bell", the Grammy-winning duo continued to miss the top 50.
Finally in 1993, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (the latter of whom was by now a well-established sitcom star as well as a rapper) made up for previous disappointments by going all the way to number 1 in Australia with "Boom! Shake The Room" from what would end up being their fifth and final album, Code Red. Featuring a harder sound than any of the songs already mentioned, it was the right song at the right time as far as Australia was concerned. Although the duo went their separate ways when the album had been milked of follow-up singles, Will would be back at the top of the chart in a few years' time.
Number 34 "Distant Sun" by Crowded House
Peak: number 23
As on their last album, Woodface, Crowded House were once again a four-piece, but this time it was Mark Hart joining the permanent line-up for Together Alone, the band's fourth release. Lead single "Distant Sun" had everything you could hope for in a Crowded House song, including a big, sing-alongable chorus, and while it failed to crack the top 20, the album was another number 2 success.
Number 29 "Right Here (Human Nature Remix)" by SWV
Peak: number 20
Our second song this week to make use of an old Michael Jackson track, "Right Here" in its original form had been Sisters With Voices' debut release in 1992. A US top 30 single, it was given a new lease of life following even bigger American hits "I'm So Into You" and "Weak" when remixer Teddy Riley fused it with Thriller single "Human Nature". The combination was perfect and saw "Right Here" become a number 2 hit in the US (backed by "Downtown") and the trio's only significant success in Australia.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993:
Next week: one of the biggest artists in the world releases a career retrospective, while a pop duo also look back in time and revisit a song first recorded by Village People.