This Week In 1993: October 31, 1993
What do "Take On Me" by a-ha, Bros's "I Owe You Nothing" and "Creep" by Radiohead all have in common? Very little, but they were all unsuccessful the first time they were released.
That's right, the song that launched Radiohead to world fame and was eventually disavowed by the band flopped when it came out in 1992. As we all know, it was a different story in 1993...
And after eight insufferable weeks, there was a different story at the top of the ARIA singles chart as "Mr Vain" by Culture Beat took over at number 1 from He Who Must Not Be Named.
Off The Chart
Number 98 "Heal It Up" by Concrete Blonde
Peak: number 86
Not even a harder edge to suit the rock climate was enough to send this lead single from Mexican Moon into the top 50. This would be the band's final top 100 appearance.
Peak: number 93
Even Paul Kelly went reggae in 1993. This, the debut single for Christine Anu, was a reworking of "Last Train To Heaven", which had appeared on Paul's 1986 album, Gossip.
Peak: number 60
Releasing a song mostly sung in French as one half of the second single from Shaved And Dangerous was a bold move. Not surprisingly, it failed to make the top 50.
Number 68 "I'm The Only One" by Melissa Etheridge
Peak: number 58
Just as American finally got on board the Melissa Etheridge bandwagon, sending this Yes I Am single into the top 10, Australia's love affair with the recently out and proud singer seemed to have ended.
Also, "Dreams" by Cranberries debuted this week, spending two weeks on the top 100 and peaking at number 83, but it'd be back and do much better in 1994.
Number 47 "Two Steps Behind" by Def Leppard
Peak: number 33
A year earlier, it had featured as a B-side on "Make Love Like A Man", but in 1993, "Two Steps Behind" graduated to A-side status when it was released as the lead single from Def Leppard's B-sides collection, Retro Active. The song, which also came in an "electric version", was also included on the soundtrack to Arnold Schwarzenegger film Last Action Hero. For some reason, "Two Steps Behind" was re-released internationally in 1994 but didn't return to the top 100 as it did in some other countries.
Peak: number 38
Where were you on September 23, 1993? In a show of patriotism, I was at Circular Quay waiting to hear whether Sydney had won the big to host the 2000 Olympic Games. Apparently, Genevieve Davis performed this song at the festivities, although all I really remember is Kerri Anne Kennerley telling the tense crowd, who expected a Beijing win, not to go nuts and trash Chinatown if we lost - or words to that effect. That, and fronting up to a 9am uni class having stayed out all night. Anyway, enough about me. Here's Genevieve with her only chart appearance...
Number 40 Nuff Vibes by Apache Indian
Peak: number 34
Just what the ARIA chart needed in 1993 - another reggae hit, this time from British Indian artist Apache Indian (real name: Steven Kapur). The lead track on the Nuff Vibes EP was the "Oh Carolina"-esque "Boom Shack-A-Lak", which didn't mirror its UK top 5 success locally. Reggae fatigue perhaps?
Number 39 "Creep" by Radiohead
Peak: number 6
It's hard to imagine "Creep" not being successful, so ubiquitous did it become in the mid-'90s but it sank without much of a trace in the UK when it was released as Radiohead's debut single in September 1992. Slowly, the song started picking up steam in different corners of the globe, and a UK re-release a year later saw it reach the top 10 there. A month after that, Australia got on board and the song written about a girl with whom singer Thom Yorke was obssessed did the same here - the only time a Radiohead single did anywhere near that well locally. Due to the disproportionate success of the song - and because they're a little bit selfish, if you ask me - the band refused to play it live for many years because they were sick of it, although now wheel it out every so often.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993:
Next week: a triumphant return for one of hip-hop's biggest acts, while two classic Aussie rock acts struggle with their latest efforts.