This Week In 1993: October 24, 1993
From Dame Edna to Priscilla, Australia has always liked a bit of camp. And there was no camper song in 1993 than one of the new entries on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1993.
It was a remake of a track originally recorded by the group behind disco classics "Y.M.C.A." and "In The Navy" by a duo who, although normally less flamboyant, knew how to camp it up when the occasion called for it. And it became their biggest hit in a couple of years.
For the last of eight interminable weeks, the biggest hit in Australia was "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf.
Off The Chart
Number 86 "Alive And Brilliant" by Deborah Conway
Peak: number 64
Her solo career had got off to a good beginning in 1991, but the same couldn't be said of the former Do-Re-Mi singer's second album, Bitch Epic, with this lead single missing the top 50.
Number 76 "Disco Inferno" by Tina Turner
Peak: number 56
This disco classic — which surprisingly only peaked at number 32 for The Trammps in Australia in 1978 — was covered by Tina Turner for the soundtrack to What's Love Got To Do With It.
Number 48 "Rubberband Girl" by Kate Bush
Peak: number 39
Last seen almost topping the ARIA chart with her remake of "Rocket Man" at the very start of 1992, Kate Bush returned with The Red Shoes, her first full album since 1989's The Sensual World. Beating the peak of that previous album's title track, "Rubberband Girl" took Kate into the top 40 for a final time. Well, with a new song. Her chart-topping debut single, "Wuthering Heights" popped its head back onto the chart in 2012 thanks to digital sales.
Number 47 "Plush" by Stone Temple Pilots
Peak: number 47
Next up, the first top 50 appearance by grunge band Stone Temple Pilots, and if you'd asked me before today to sing "Plush", I would've said I didn't know how it went. But that would've been a lie — listening to it again now, it's incredibly familiar, although I think I always thought it was called "Tomorrow". Like "Black Hole Sun" and "Jeremy", it's one of the few grunge songs I like — and although "Plush" wasn't the biggest of hits in Australia, Scott Weiland and co. would make up for that in 1994.
Number 41 "Somebody Dance With Me" by DJ BoBo
Peak: number 13
Now this is more my speed — a palate-cleasning taste of Eurodance from the Swiss performer born Peter Baumann. The Rockwell-sampling "Somebody Dance With Me" was DJ BoBo's breakthrough single, massive across continental Europe and almost a top 10 hit in Australia. Featuring vocals from female singer Emel Aykanat, it stuck to the he raps, she sings format favoured by the genre and would be the first of three top 50 hits for him locally.
Number 31 "Peach" by Prince
Peak: number 28
Here's a man with way more than three hits in Australia, and for the first time, many of them were collected on best of collections The Hits 1, The Hits 2 and The Hits/The B-Sides, released by Warner Bros with as little input from Prince as possible thanks to the strained relationship between artist and record company. Having only ever owned Diamonds And Pearls previously, I was thrilled to get my hands on a greatest hits collection by Prince and shelled out for the three-disc set only to be annoyed by the inclusion of a) non-7" versions of songs like "Alphabet St" and b) too many new and live tracks, including previously unreleased single "Peach", which was OK, I guess. I did end up buying the "Peach" CD single that was released in Australia for the bonus tracks — three earlier hits not included on the best of release.
Number 27 "Go West" by Pet Shop Boys
Peak: number 10
Now if anyone knows how to put together a retrospective it's Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, but in 1993, they were between 1991's singles collection, Discography (every single in order in its 7" version), and 1995's comprehensive B-sides set, Alternative. Released as the second single from Very, "Go West" was a camp-as-you-like cover of a lesser-known (especially in Australia) Village People song from 1979. Originally recorded by Pet Shop Boys in 1992 and intended as a stand-alone single, the remake ended up being held back (and remixed) for Very and followed "Can You Forgive Her?" in preceeding the album. With its male chorus and key change, "Go West" was Pet Shop Boys at their most over-the-top and it took them back into the ARIA top 10 for the first time since their last cover version, "Where The Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes Off You)" in 1991.
Number 22 "Go" by Pearl Jam
Peak: number 22
Our second grunge debut this week was the first single lifted from Pearl Jam's second album, Vs. And once again, it's a song I didn't think I knew until it hit the chorus — but unlike "Plush", I can't say "Go" does anything for me. And I may not be alone in this since the song didn't proceed any further from this high-flying debut.
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 alternative anthems of the decade debuts, and just when you thought you'd seen the last reggae hit of 1993, another one arrives.