This Week In 1992: November 29, 1992
By 1992, it was nothing new for a soap star to try their hand at a music career. We'd had Kylie, Jason, Craig, Melissa... and this week that year, another cast member from E Street joined the gang.
She didn't reach the chart highs of her fellow double threats, but she did manage a couple of top 10 singles, starting with her debut release - a song you never really hear much of anymore.
Meanwhile, at number 1 this week in 1992 were Boyz II Men, whose mega-ballad "End Of The Road" spent a second week on top.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Baby I Need Your Loving" by Movida
Peak: number 99
This Eurodance-style remake of the Four Tops classic (a US number 11 in 1964) actually originated out of Australia, but is yet to find its way online.
Number 99 "This Is It" by Ruth Campbell
Peak: number 99
Another commercial dance cover now - and this remake of the Melba Moore disco tune was a favourite of mine in 1992, despite dating back to 1990. Why the renewed interest? Keep reading...
Number 97 "Tears" by Jenny Morris
Peak: number 92
Another reworking, although Jenny Morris had been the singer of the previous version of "Tears" the debut single of her former band The Crocodiles. This update appeared on her best of album.
Peak: number 55
Hands up if you'd forgotten Mark Wahlberg (and friends) released a second album? I had, although I don't think I've ever listened to this poorly received lead single and title track before.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 111
If lead single "Lead Me To Water" had been a disappointment then this follow-up was a disaster as it became the first Southern Sons single to miss the top 100 completely. I actually think "Can't Wait Any Longer" is a better song than its predecessor - at least, the chorus is, but it's kind of boring until it gets there. Sitting on their Nothing But The Truth album, however, was a ballad that would save the band (for the time being) when it was released as single number three in 1993.
Number 46 "Scars" by 1927
Peak: number 46
While Southern Sons were doing a 1927 (i.e. going from major success on their first album to struggling second time around), the latter returned with their self-titled third album in 1992 and didn't find the Australian public any more receptive than when they'd last visited the ARIA chart in 1990. Yes, 1927's lead single, "Scars", did return them to the top 50, but only just and they too would see their next single, "It Ain't Love", miss the top 100 altogether.
Number 42 "The Last Song" by Elton John
Peak: number 32
Also returning to the top 50 was a man who'd visited it many times before, but not with previous single "Runaway Train". Written in the wake of the death of Freddie Mercury from an AIDS-related illness, "The Last Song" is a poignant ballad about a father getting to grips with the fact that his estranged son is dying from the deadly disease.
Peak: number 3
If there was one song that provided the soundtrack to school formals and summer parties across 1992-93, it was this track, which had originally reached number 2 in Australia in 1976. One of many songs to have received the Ben Liebrand remix treatment in 1988 (when it was released in Europe), the dance version of "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)" finally became a hit locally four years later. Although The Four Seasons member Frankie Valli receives a featuring credit on this single, much of the lead vocal is performed by drummer Gerri Polci and it was co-written by keyboard player Bob Gaudio, who originally set it in 1933 when Prohibition ended. The date was changed before it was recorded. It's not stated explicitly, but the song is about a guy having sex for the first time.
Peak: number 1
Another song that was massive the summer of '92-'93, finally reaching number 1 in the season's final week, was this debut single by American soul and R&B band Sonia Dada. Not successful at home, they were embraced wholeheartedly in Australia, with two top 3 singles and a number 2 self-titled album. "You Don't Treat Me No Good" was another song that benefitted from a dance remix, which opened it up to a much wider audience and helped it become the third highest-selling single of 1993.
Number 37 "Sweet Love" by Company Of Strangers
Peak: number 21
A change of pace now for Australian supergroup Company Of Strangers, who followed up the rousing sing-along "Motor City (I Get Lost)" with rock ballad "Sweet Love", which brought them even closer to the top 20. The song featured a solo lead vocal by James Reyne, with Daryl Braithwaite relegated to the background. In between scenes of the band performing, the music video also features different depictions of love, including, surprisingly for 1992, what seems to be a same-sex couple.
Number 36 "In Your Room" by Toni Pearen
Peak: number 10
Anyone who'd been watching Network Ten about a year earlier would've discovered E Street cast member Toni Pearen could sing - and a whole lot better than Melissa, if we're being honest. I always thought it was a wasted opportunity for Toni not to release the version of "This Is It" she performed on a Network Ten promo, but instead she waited until the end of 1992 as she was leaving the soap that had made her famous to launch her music career with top 10 hit "In Your Room". A cheery pop ditty co-written by Oliver Lieber (some of Paula Abdul's early singles) and Ellen Shipley (Belinda Carlisle's big hits), it steered clear of the sexy leanings of her chart-topping cast-mate and suited the 20-year-old's girl-next-door image perfectly. I was never sure about those coloured spanx, though.
Peak: number 6
They'd put themselves on the map with "Tennessee" and Arrested Development went one better by making the top 10 with second single "People Everyday". Based on the similarly named "Everyday People" by Sly & The Family Stone, the track featured verses written by Speech about his discovery of more diverse African-American culture than he'd grown up with in middle America. "People Everyday" remains the hip-hop band's biggest hit in Australia.
Number 33 "Faith" by The Dukes
Peak: number 29 While Wendy Matthews had embarked on a quite successful solo career - "The Day You Went Away" moved up to number 3 this week - some of the other Absent Friends, including her other half, Sean Kelly, formed The Dukes. After striking out with debut single "Gonna Get High", they found themselves in the right section of the chart with follow-up "Faith". A much more commercial offering, the brass-tinged "Faith" would be as good as it got in terms of chart success for the fledgling band, who had parted ways by 1994.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1992:
Next week: one of the greatest power ballads of all time debuts on its way to monopolise the number 1 spot, while a parody version of another long-running chart-topper also arrives.