This Week In 1993: August 22, 1993
There are some songs you know will be hits eventually. All it takes is the right version by the right performer at the right time - like the remake that debuted on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1993.
For the singer in question, it was her biggest single since her debut offering three years earlier, while for the song itself, it became a long overdue chart success in Australia.
This week in 1993, another cover version spent its seventh and final week at number 1. "(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You" by UB40 surpassed "Are You Gonna Go My Way" to become the longest-running chart-topper of the year (not including 1992's hangover from Whitney Houston). But not for long...
Off The Chart
Peak: number 100
On paper, this had the makings of a massive hit - well-known song, big-name guest vocalist, early-'90s pop/dance production. For some reason the cover of the Carole King classic bombed.
Number 99 "Mysterious Ways" by James Blundell
Peak: number 84
Speaking of covers, this wasn't a version of the U2 song of the same name - perhaps that would've been interesting! - but the lead single from James Blundell's Touch Of Water album.
Number 90 "Imaginary Girl" by Hunters & Collectors
Peak: number 82
Following a career-best two consecutive top 20 singles, the sixth track lifted from Cut established Hunters & Collectors had milked the album of all potential hits.
Number 49 "Tease Me" by Chaka Demus & Pliers
Peak: number 5
The great reggae conspiracy of 1993 continued with the arrival of a new Caribbean hit from the duo comprised of DJ/producer John Taylor (aka Chaka Demus) and singer Everton Bonner (yep, that'd be Pliers' real name). Fresh off its top 3 placing in the UK, breakthrough hit "Tease Me" reached almost as high in Australia for the pair of Jamaicans.
Number 43 "Right By Your Side" by Jimmy Barnes
Peak: number 43
"Stone Cold" had ensured Jimmy Barnes' track record of landing one top 5 hit from each of his studio albums all the way back to For The Working Class Man was maintained with Heat, which initially looked as if it was going to buck the trend. Naturally, there had to be a follow-up, and this similarly downtempo fourth single from his first album to miss the number 1 spot made a lot of sense given Heat's rockier tracks hadn't quite connected. Not to be confused with 1988's "I'm Still On Your Side", "Right By Your Side" is a song I have absolutely no memory of - and its brief top 50 run would suggest I'm not alone in that.
Number 37 "This Is It" by Dannii Minogue
Peak: number 13
It seemed like I'd been hearing "This Is It" all decade before it became Dannii Minogue's triumphant return to the upper reaches of the ARIA chart. I'd bought an earlier cover version of the 1976 Melba Moore tune (never originally a hit in Australia) by Ruth Campbell in 1992, but that had also flopped locally. At the start of 1992, Toni Pearen had performed the song in a Channel 10 promo but never released it commercially, debuting later in the year with "In Your Room". Finally, Dannii tried her hand at the joyous pop tune and it became one of her most successful singles locally.
A move away from the American-influenced pop/R&B with which she'd launched her music career, Dannii's take on "This Is It" was her third remake in a row to make the top 50 (following "Jump To The Beat" and "Baby Love"), but it actually came in the wake of two less than successful singles - a version of The Jacksons' "Show You The Way To Go", which peaked outside the top 100, and the D-Mob-produced "Love's On Every Corner", which wasn't even released locally. "This Is It" got things right back on track for Dannii.
As well as being a great version of a fantastic pop song, "This Is It" is also memorable for its music video, which featured Dannii frolicking on the beach with then-boyfriend and future-husband Julian McMahon (and all his chest hair). Always a risky move to incorporate a real-life partner into a music video (see also: "Jenny From The Block" by Jennifer Lopez and The Veronicas' "This Love"), the clip was ripe for sending up... and so it was. Still, there was something infectious about seeing Dannii wearing her heart on her ruffled sleeve and the public clearly connected with her in a way they hadn't in quite a while.
Number 21 "Rain" by Madonna
Peak: number 5
After the disappointing performance of her previous two singles, Madonna was back where she belonged - in the ARIA top 5 - with the fifth single (and second highest charting release) from Erotica. The least sexually charged track to come from the album, "Rain" had much greater success than you'd expect a single released at this stage of an album's lifespan to have, although it's likely the very fact that it wasn't another "Justify My Love", "Erotica" or "Bad Girl" had something to do with its broader appeal. We weren't quite done with Erotica yet, with one more single to come in Australia to coincide with Madonna's first tour here (and the first concert I ever attended) later in the year.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993:
Next week: the point at which a music star turned supernova, with the debut of the lead single from an album of which I personally sold a stack of copies.