This Week In 1992: June 21, 1992
"A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)". "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?". "Let It Go". Disney animated films have been responsible for some sizable chart hits in the past few decades - and it's all thanks to the song that debuted on the ARIA top 50 this week in 1992.
The first Disney song to be transformed into a pop version, the track was also the international launchpad for a singer with a decade's worth of releases already under her belt.
Meanwhile, for the second and final week, the number 1 single in Australia this week in 1992 was "Take It From Me" by Girlfriend.
Off The Chart
Number 71 Blink by Def FX
Peak: number 71
A slight chart improvement, but nevertheless still a minor entry for the genre-blurring band with their third EP, which was led by the track "Sex Game Sucker".
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 60
Another band making their second appearance on the ARIA top 100 was American rock act Dramarama, with this single from their major label debut, Vinyl. The lyrics of "What Are We Gonna Do?" refer to Earth Day, although they're off by a day, apparently because the band played an Earth Day gig on April 21, 1991 (when the environmental awareness day is actually April 22). Whether or not it was intended to be one, the song has been adopted as an environmentalist anthem.
Number 50 "Too Funky" by George Michael
Peak: number 3
George Michael had intended to follow Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 with a second volume, but then things became messy with his record label, Sony Music, who he sued later in 1992 claiming an unreasonable restraint of trade. Rather than waste the music he'd already been working on, he donated "Too Funky" to the Red Hot + Dance album, a follow-up to 1990's Red Hot + Blue collection.
Lyrically, it was his sexiest release since, not surprisingly, "I Want Your Sex", while musically, it was his most upbeat single "Freedom '90" - and came with another supermodel-featuring music video. The funky track matched the peak of his most recent stand-alone single, "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" (with Elton John), and proved yet again that, despite contractual issues causing his releases to slow to a trickle, he had as many fans as ever.
Peak: number 17
Disney decided to do something they'd never done before with the soundtrack of their 1991 animated film, Beauty And The Beast - they released a pop version of its theme tune. In the movie, Angela Lansbury performed the title song, but while her sweet rendition worked perfectly in that context, it was never going to fly on radio.
And so up-and-coming singer Celine Dion (who'd only had one US top 10 hit at that point) and soul star Peabo Bryson (best known in Australia for "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" and sharing a name with a fly spray) were recruited to turn the song into a soaring power ballad. With lush production courtesy of frequent Mariah Carey collaborator Walter Afanasieff, "Beauty And The Beast" was transformed into a belt-it-out anthem - and set the standard for those other Disney tunes I mentioned at the start and so many more.
A Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe winner, "Beauty And The Beast" was an unmitigated success story. It also gave Celine some much-needed exposure to bring her one step closer to becoming the chart-hogging behemoth she'd be throughout the rest of the decade. As for Peabo... well, he wasn't done with Disney ballads just yet.
Number 44 "Just Take My Heart" by Mr Big
Peak: number 27
As we've seen numerous times over the past few years, American rock power ballads had incredibly mixed fortunes on the ARIA chart - and I doubt this pretty pedestrian example would've been anywhere near as successful locally if it wasn't following up number 1 smash "To Be With You". Written by singer Eric Martin about the breakdown of his first marriage, "Just Take My Heart" was Mr Big's final appearance on the top 50, although we'll see them come close with a remake in 1993.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1992:
Next week: regular readers know about my obsession with one-hit wonders - well, how about a bunch of one-week wonders? And they're all by acts that had other much more successful singles.