This Week In 1993: January 31, 1993
It seemed like the perfect recipe for TV success - pretty twentysomethings + angsty pop/rock + primetime drama = ratings gold. But for some reason, TV series The Heights didn't connect in the way Beverly Hills, 90210 had at the start of the decade or movie Reality Bites would the following year.
The theme tune from the series, however, was a huge hit - and it made its impressive debut on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1993 in the wake of its chart-topping performance in the US.
The song that had knocked the TV theme from the top of the American chart was still number 1 in Australia this week in 1993. "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston showed no sign of going anywhere as it spent its seventh week locked in position.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Forever" by John Stamos with The Beach Boys
Peak: number 100
Four years after "Kokomo" had a stranglehold on number 1, The Beach Boys' now-famous occasional drummer took this new version of 1970 song "Forever" to the other end of the chart.
Number 92 "Mega Mix" by Boney M
Peak: number 70
Nowhere near as successful as the ABBA revival, this new medley (there'd been a different one that charted here in 1988) comprised "Rivers Of Babylon", "Sunny", "Ma Baker", "Daddy Cool" and "Rasputin".
Number 71 "The Devil You Know" by Jesus Jones
Peak: number 54
Previous album Doubt had yielded great international success, but the British techno rockers' less commercial sound on follow-up Perverse resulted in the chart peaks you'd expect.
Peak: number 37
With Red Hot Chili Peppers having achieved huge worldwide success in 1992, their former record company, EMI, was quick to cash in, releasing compilation album What Hits!? in time for the Christmas market. Oddly, the song chosen to promote the album, which consisted mostly of tracks taken from the band's first four studio albums (as well as Warner Bros hit "Under The Bridge"), didn't reach the top 50 until after Christmas. The sing-song "Behind The Sun" had originally appeared on 1987's The Uplift Mofo Party Plan and was passed over as a single when that album was out for being too catchy.
Number 46 "Love U More" by Sunscreem
Peak: number 30
They released three awesome singles in 1992 - all of which made my end-of-year top 20 - and British dance act Sunscreem finally gained some traction in Australia with the second of those as 1993 got going. A hit in the UK in mid-1992 and soon to be their only US success, "Love U More" was the perfect combination of dance beats, trance synths and singer Lucia Holm's crystal clear vocal. Unfortunately, it would be their only appearance on the ARIA top 50, although it's worth checking out those other two singles, "Perfect Motion" and "Pressure", the latter of which we'll see off the chart in an alternate version later in the year.
Peak: number 16
Released in August 1991, it looked for a long time like nothing would happen with Pocket Full Of Kryptonite, the debut album for New York's Spin Doctors. Eventually, thanks to exposure in one part of the States, "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" started to catch on and had become a US top 20 hit over a year after the album was released. Australian followed suit, sending the song many assumed was about singer Chris Barron's ex-girlfriend into the top 20. The track was actually inspired by his stepmother, who told him he'd never amount to anything. Seems she could be wrong, after all.
Peak: number 15
As "The Day You Went Away" fell out of the top 10 in its 21st week on the top 50, Wendy Matthews' latest single shot straight in at number 21, given a helping hand by a French version of her hugely popular ballad as a bonus track. I'm not sure just how many people rushed out to buy the single because of the foreign language version of "The Day You Went Away", but I'd suggest "Friday's Child" wouldn't have done anywhere near as well if it didn't follow the biggest hit of Wendy's career. It's a nice enough song, but kind of forgettable.
Peak: number 3
Exactly two years earlier, a song from the soon-to-be-massive The Simpsons had made a modest debut on the top 50 as the new TV ratings year was about to start. Before long, "Do The Bartman" had climbed to number 1. In 1993, Channel 10 had another spin-off hit from one of their shows, but while the theme song from musical drama The Heights became an instant top 3 smash, it climbed no higher. And the series itself had already been axed in the US after just 12 episodes had gone to air.
Infinitely more successful than the Aaron Spelling-produced show it came from, "How Do You Talk To An Angel" had reached number 1 in America and wound up as the 24th biggest hit of 1993 in Australia. As for the fictional band themselves, two of The Heights wound up on another Spelling show, Beverly Hills, 90210 - lead singer Jamie Walters infamously pushed Donna down a flight of stairs as abusive muso Ray Pruitt, while Zachary Throne featured as Howard, who ran the campus radio station in season four.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993:
Next week: the highest-charting single by a major Australian rock band - and it's not the song you might expect. Plus, one of the year's best music videos.