This Week In 1992: January 26, 1992
There are some songs you just know are going to be massive. Then there are those singles that climb all the way up the chart, defying any and all expectations.
This week in 1992, a remake of a song first released 20 years earlier was a much bigger hit than I would've thought. In fact, it almost reached number 1.
A song I always knew was going to be big - it had the word "sex" in the title, after all - reached number 1 this week in 1992. "Let's Talk About Sex" by Salt 'n' Pepa leapfrogged Prince's "Cream" to knock Michael Jackson off the top spot.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "All I Need Is You" by Blue Train
Peak: number 91
Like Wang Chung and The Escape Club, Blue Train were a British band that sounded American and had more success in the US than at home. Unlike those other groups, they didn't cross over in Australia with this catchy track.
Number 97 "Pop That Pussy" by 2 Live Crew
Peak: number 97
With the exception of a Jason Nevins remix of "We Want Some Pussy" in 1998, this was the only charting single by the controversial hip-hop group in Australia. It was released here with its original title as opposed to the "clean" version, "Pop That Coochie".
Peak: number 81
In between albums, The Black Sorrows renamed themselves The Revelators for a covers side-project. This version of the Jr Walker & The All Stars track was the first single from the album, Amazing Stories.
Peak: number 74
Unlike previous efforts The Rose and Beaches, Bette Midler's latest musical vehicle, For The Boys, proved as much of a commercial disappointment as this ballad from the soundtrack.
Peak: number 58
Will Smith and Jeffery Townes couldn't catch a break in Australia. Their early comic records had been ahead of their time as far as this country's acceptance of rap music went. I've no doubt that the likes of "Parents Just Don't Understand" and "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble" would've done far better had they been released in 1990 alongside hits by Young MC and MC Hammer. As for this single, which samples the Anita Ward disco classic, "Ring My Bell", the hip-hop duo were a few years too late, since Collette's 1989 cover version had stolen their thunder. When their time did come on the ARIA chart, they'd make it worth the wait...
Peak: number 2
It still surprises me that this single was as big as it was. For one thing, the tribute album it was taken from, Two Rooms: Celebrating The Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin, had come and gone at the end of 1991, peaking at number 15. It probably didn't help that the lead single chosen was Oleta Adams's version of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", which had the misfortune to come out around the same time as the George Michael and Elton John duet version.
But then, Kate Bush's typically quirky take on "Rocket Man" emerged and almost topped the chart - her biggest hit since "Babooshka" did the same in 1980. Besides it being a while since Kate had enjoyed such a presence on the top 50, her reggae-influenced cover of Elton's number 13 hit from 1972 didn't sound like the kind of song that would be successful in 1992. Perhaps that's what worked in its favour. Kate went all out for the single release, including another Elton remake, "Candle In The Wind", on the flip side.
Number 46 "I Adore Mi Amor" by Color Me Badd
Peak: number 27
Years before the Spanglish explosion in the late '90s and early '00s thanks to global hits by Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias, Color Me Badd landed their first number 1 single in the US with a song that blended the two languages in its title and lyrics. In America, silky ballad "I Adore Mi Amor" had been the follow-up to CMB's debut single, "I Wanna Sex You Up", but in Australia, it came out third after "All 4 Love".
The switcheroo was probably a good move. America had a built-in audience for "I Adore Mi Amor" with the country's significant Latino community, while in Australia, it made sense to play it safe with the pop confection of "All 4 Love". Spanish lyrics aside, sensual ballads like "I Adore Mi Amor" weren't generally as successful locally - something that was borne out by this single's chart peak. Speaking of "sensual", try getting through the video for "I Adore Mi Amor" without bursting out laughing at the vocal group's attempts to smoulder.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1992:
Next week: another U2 classic receives a radical makeover, plus under-appreciated ballads from a pop singer and a boy band who'd seen better chart days.