This Week In 1992: July 19, 1992
A brand new single by a megastar performer was always a cause for excitement. What would they do this time? Could they possibly top what they'd done already?
This week in 1992, two of the biggest musical acts in the world debuted on the ARIA singles chart with completely new songs. For one, it was the type of raunchy funk for which the artist was known, while for the other, its subdued tone contrasted quite dramatically in style with their releases either side of it. Both would naturally become big hits.
The biggest hit in Australia this week in 1992 was "Save The Best For Last" by Vanessa Williams, which moved up into the top spot vacated by Kris Kross - and would move back down in seven days' time.
Off The Chart
Number 97 "Your Love" by Girl Overboard
Peak: number 70
Almost a year after we last saw them, Girl Overboard were back with this first taste of their Charles Fisher-produced second album, Go. Despite being quite good, it didn't improve matters for them on the chart.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 96
By this point, I'd pretty much given up hope that Soul II Soul would ever have anything resembling a decent-sized hit in Australia - an assumption that was backed up by the failure of their latest single to get even close to the top 50. A cover version of a song first recorded by Love Unlimited in 1974, and later covered by Dionne Warwick and Chaka Khan, "Move Me No Mountain" was another slide of sophisticated UK R&B from the British band. Lead vocals on the track were handled by Kofi (aka Carol Simms), who was once in a group called Brown Sugar with fellow Soul II Soul featured performer Caron Wheeler.
Peak: number 64
I guess I should be thankful for small mercies - that this atrocity, which somehow had the blessing of The Flintstones producers Hanna Barbera, didn't give Jimmy Barnes's offspring a second top 50 single. Nevertheless, this kiddie version of "Walk The Dinosaur" effectively ruined the Was (Not Was) classic from 1987 and is Exhibit A in the case against children being allowed to record music. It took a while longer for the "brains" behind The Tin Lids to get the hint and desist with the project, but we were, however, spared any further top 100 entries.
Peak: number 9
In between "Justify My Love" and the upcoming Erotica album, the early '90s were a sexually charged time for Madonna - even more so than usual. But in the midst of all that she released this sentimental ballad from A League Of Their Own, the latest film in which she had a role. After being asked for a song to include in the movie, Madonna and Erotica producer Shep Pettibone got to work and came up with "This Used To Be My Playground" in a couple of days.
The result: a US chart-topper (her 10th) and an ARIA top 10 hit (her 20th), although the song has tended to be swept under the carpet a bit since then. At the time, I thought it would be the perfect song to play at my Year 12 class's final assembly at the end of 1992. Instead, we got to graduate to the strains of a rock song we'll see debut on the top 50 next week.
Number 42 "I Can't Help Myself" by Teen Queens
Peak: number 28
For some reason, people had been quite receptive to Teen Queens' debut effort, "Be My Baby", sending it all the way into the top 10. So the female trio did what any other manufactured pop group would do - released more of the same. Kind of. "I Can't Help Myself" was yet another cover of a well-known '60s song - originally released in 1965 by The Four Tops - but the production and styling was decidedly more 1992 than last time. Regardless, it was still horrible.
Number 31 "Perfect Place" by Voice Of The Beehive
Peak: number 31
Over the past few months, we've seen a number of top 50 entries that owed their presence on the chart to some pretty hefty price discounting. Songs like "Innocence" and "Love Is Holy". I'm pretty sure this latest single from Voice Of The Beehive was another one. It was, I'm reliably informed, also aided by a promo visit by the band around the time. Problem was: once those initial factors wore off, "Perfect Place" dropped like a stone back out of the chart. Still, it was another lovely original single from the band whose biggest hit remained their remake of "I Think I Love You".
Peak: number 5
Even though he'd launched his previous album with the sexed up double whammy of "Gett Off" and "Cream", and had been known to get particularly ribald on the odd B-side, I don't think anything quite prepared the world for "Sexy MF", the lead single from the Love Symbol Album. A brazen appreciation of the object of Prince's desire, the funk/R&B track caused exactly the amount of controversy you'd expect a song with the line "you sexy motherfucker" would. It was also also exactly as big a hit as those types of songs always are - except in America, of course.
Number 20 "I Don't Care" by Shakespears Sister
Peak: number 18
Another single benefitting from a reduced recommended retail price was this follow-up to top 5 smash "Stay", which blasted straight in to the top 20 (higher than either Prince or Madonna). A cost of around $1 or $2 (depending on the format) compared to anywhere from $5 to $9 will help on that front. Price aside, "I Don't Care" is also a great song, which explains why it didn't immediately exit as quickly as it arrived.
As different to previous hits "Stay", "You're History" and "Run Silent" as they all were from each other, the jangly, upbeat "I Don't Care" was remixed significantly from the album version, but retained the portion of poetry ("Hornpipe" by Edith Sitwell) that Siobhan Fahey recites in the middle. This was the last time the duo would be seen on the ARIA top 50, but then again, Shakespears Sister's days as a two-piece were numbered anyway, with tension between Siobhan and Marcella Detroit as high as the music video for "I Don't Care" (lightheartedly) suggested.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1992:
Next week: brace yourselves - it's another of those weeks. Ten new entries in the top 50, including two of the hottest American girl groups, Australia's other girl group, one of the biggest dance anthems of all time and three of the country's most popular singers uniting for a spot of Andrew Lloyd Webber.