This Week In 1991: August 25, 1991
I don't know what was going on in 1991, but, Bryan Adams aside, it was a big year for songs taking forever to reach number 1. Whether it was singles that slowly but surely climbed a little bit further each week or ones that bounced around the chart for months, there were a number of chart-toppers that never seemed destined to end up atop the ARIA top 50... until they did
It had happened with Ratcat and Daryl Braithwaite, and this week in 1991, another song that took an inordinate amount of time to hit its chart-topping peak finally breached the top 50 after months of floating around between numbers 51 and 100.
As for Bryan Adams, he was, of course, still at number 1 with "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You". This was the soundtrack smash's fifth week on top.
Off The Chart
Number 87 "Song 27" by Push Push
Peak: number 62
"Trippin'" was still hanging around in the top 50, but this follow-up, which had also been a top 10 hit in New Zealand, didn't climb as high for them in Australia.
Peak: number 53
It hadn't even been a year since Vanilla Ice burst onto the chart with "Ice Ice Baby" and already his career seemed to be over. This brand new song, which linked back to a line from that breakthrough hit, peaked just outside the ARIA top 50 and didn't even register on the Billboard Hot 100. Based around a sample from "Fly Like An Eagle" by Steve Miller Band, "Rollin' In My 5.0" featured (in a live version) on concert album Extremely Live, which, like his film career and pretty much everything else Vanilla Ice was involved in at this point, received a critical mauling.
Number 50 "Rush" by Big Audio Dynamite II
Peak: number 1
This one had been a long time coming. "Rush" had entered the top 100 in mid-May as part of a double A-side single with The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go". In that capacity, the song made it into the breakers section in June before it was reissued as a single in its own right and continued to bounce around the lower half of the top 100 before finally creeping into the top 50 this week in 1991. From here, it would steadily move up the rankings before finally reaching number 1 in late October, a full 24 weeks after it first entered the chart (and just a few weeks shy of Ratcat's all-time record for the longest climb to the top).
"Rush" came from The Globe, the second album by the second incarnation of Big Audio Dynamite. We saw the first version of the band debut back in 1986, and this revamped lineup had been in place since 1990. The Globe was more or less a reworking of BAD II's first release, Kool-Aid, and "Rush" a revised version of a track on that album called "Change In Atmosphere". The sample-laden song borrowed from sources as diverse as The Who, The Sugarhill Gang and actor Peter Sellers.
Number 49 "Bad Boys" by Roxus
Peak: number 39
A rock power ballad had provided them with their chart breakthrough earlier in 1991, but it was back to hard rock business as usual for Roxus - and a return to the lower end of the top 50, where they were more usually found. There was better news for the band's debut album, Nightstreet, which would debut at number 5 the following week.
Peak: number 27
After the chart hiccup that had been "Turn It Up", Technotronic were back in the top 50 with this lead single from second album Body To Body. Joining the Belgian dance act on vocals was Zairean actress/singer Reggie (real name: Réjane Magloire), who'd previously been a member of Indeep (of "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" fame). Although it reached the same chart position as "This Beat Is Technotronic", "Move That Body" was hardly vintage Technotronic, with the "Hokey Pokey" part of the rap being particularly dire.
Number 45 "Do You Want Me" by Salt 'n' Pepa
Peak: number 19
This is more like it - like the Technotronic song, the latest from Salt 'n' Pepa was a blend of rap and dance music, but way less irritating. In Australia, the club-friendly Ben Liebrand remix of "Do You Want Me" was chosen as the main version, as opposed to the more traditionally hip-hop original mix. It was a good decision, giving Salt 'n' Pepa their second major hit locally, although an even bigger single was just around the corner for the rap trio.
Number 11 "Enter Sandman" by Metallica
Peak: number 10
Up until this point, Metallica had one top 40 single to their name (1989's "One") and one top 20 album (1988's And Justice For All). In 1991, the heavy metal legends went mainstream - in terms of sales if not their sound. Having previously appealed to a niche audience in Australia, the band were suddenly enjoying a top 10 hit and a chart-topping album in the form of fifth release Metallica.
Unlike many acts to cross over, they did it without losing any of their cred or watering down the sound that'd made their string of '80s albums steady sellers at least into the late '90s (when I worked in a record store) and probably to this day. Even so, a pop fan like me still found the chorus melody of "Enter Sandman" reasonably catchy. I didn't like the production around it or the heavy style of the song, but it definitely stuck in my brain at the time - and that may be one of the reasons why they suddenly found themselves with a wider audience than ever before.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1991:
Next week: the return of the band who'd hogged the number 1 spot on the albums chart for 34 (non-consecutive) weeks the last time we'd heard from them.