This Week In 1993: September 5, 1993
Yes, this week in 1993, a single debuted at number 1 for only the fourth time in ARIA chart history. But the less time I have to spend reliving that torturous part of musical history, the better.
Luckily for me, a number of other big singles also debuted that week, including another chart-topper that, instead of being an overblown rock opera, was a cool slice of Eurodance. So let's focus on the posititves, shall we?
With a new song charging straight in at number 1, Billy Joel's "The River Of Dreams" was forced to vacate the top spot after just one week - so I guess there was a silver lining...
Off The Chart
Number 97 "Alright" by Kris Kross
Peak: number 97
Fifteen months earlier, hip-hop duo Kris Kross jumped straight into the top 20 and up to number 1 with "Jump". But a lot can change in that time and this lead single from second album Da Bomb, er, bombed out.
Peak: number 93
Taken from 1993's big rom-com Sleepless In Seattle, this remake of the much-covered song made the US top 30 but didn't give Celine Dion a second Australian hit. As for her British duet partner, he'd previously been responsible for one of my favourite songs from 1989.
Peak: number 58
The debut single from the side project formed by Pixies' Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly from Throwing Muses might not have been a hit, but it became one of the decade's biggest indie rock anthems.
Number 83 "Faces" by 2 Unlimited
Peak: number 54
Well, this was totally the wrong single to release next from No Limits, especially considering what 2 Unlimited still had up their sleeves on the album. Way to ruin a hit streak.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 105
Just a few weeks ago, we saw Jamiroquai's second single, "Too Young To Die", enter the top 100, but the focus quickly shifted to their environmentally themed debut single, which had been released in late 1992 and done absolutely nothing locally. Coming out for the first time through Sony Music (the earlier release was through Shock Records), the didgeridoo-featuring "When You Gonna Learn" still missed the chart, however.
Peak: number 43
Clearly, given its peak position, this isn't the Eurodance song I was talking about at the start of this post, although it was co-written by one of the writers of the Cuture Beat single. Massive across Europe, "More And More" was the debut single by the dance act anchored by Tony Dawson-Harrison. On this track, female vocals were provided by Nina Gerhard.
Number 42 "If I Can't Have You" by Kim Wilde
Peak: number 3
After a couple of criminally overlooked albums packed with potentital hits, Kim Wilde's record company did the logical thing: they compiled a greatest hits collection in time for Christmas to try and reinvigorate the career of the once massive British singer. And it worked, thanks largely to Kim's remake of Yvonne Elliman's Saturday Night Fever track, "If I Can't Have You". One of two new songs on The Singles Collection 1981-1993, the cover of the disco tune written by the brothers Gibb and also recorded by Bee Gees as a B-side to "Stayin' Alive" became her biggest hit since her last big remake, 1986's "You Keep Me Hangin' On". Sadly, despite a career which continues to this day - check out 2018 album Here Come The Aliens - Kim has never returned to the ARIA top 50 since.
Number 41 "You're So Vain" by Chocolate Starfish
Peak: number 11
Next up, another cover version - this time from an act just starting out in their career. Following an EP released earlier in 1993, Chocolate Starfish unleashed their take on Carly Simon's 1973 Australian chart-topper. Their rambunctious rock version of the much-dissected song was a great choice for the band to release as their debut single, allowing flamboyant frontman Adam Thompson to literally strut his stuff and, thanks to its almost-top 10 success, ensuring people around the country came to know what a chocolate starfish is.
Number 36 "Mr Vain" by Culture Beat
Peak: number 1
There had been some great Eurodance singles so far in the 1990s. Tracks like "Rhythm Is A Dancer", "Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over)", "I Don't Know Anybody Else", "Get Ready For This" and so on. Achieving what none of those had managed was this song by German duo Culture Beat, which was taken from their second album, Serenity. With the classic Eurodance structure of rapped verses (courtesy of Jay Supreme) and a sung chorus (by Tania Evans), "Mr Vain" was hard enough to be credible but pop enough to be a major commercial hit. And, as a bonus, it knocked this week's other number 1 single off the top spot... eventually.
Number 29 "The Journey" by Tommy Emmanuel
Peak: number 29
Having released music since the late '70s, Australian guitar legend found himself with a top 5 album and, more suprisingly, a top 30 single with this title track from The Journey - a dramatic instrumental that kind of sounds like a cross between "One Night In Bangkok" and something by Queen (without any lyrics).
Number 7 "Numb" by U2
Peak: number 7
Here's the band behind the last song to debut on the ARIA chart at number 1. In 1991, Achtung Baby's lead single, "The Fly", shot straight in at the top - and if fans thought that was a radical departure for U2, then follow-up album Zooropa pushed things even further. Like lead release "Numb", which featured "vocals" by guitarist The Edge and was only available as a video single. Enough fans enjoyed the Kevin Godley-directed clip to snap "Numb" up in its first week and send it charging straight into the top 10, but the novelty of the release quickly wore off and it had dropped out of the top 50 after five weeks.
Peak: number 1
Let's get one thing out of the way first. No song needs to be 12 minutes long, which is the duration of the album version of this lead single from Meat Loaf's first new album in seven years, Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell. For single release, the typically wordy Jim Steinman composition was edited back to five-and-a-half minutes (although two extra minutes were retained for the music video) - and even then it felt like "I'd Do Anythng..." went on forever.
Given how massive the original Bat Out Of Hell album was - it edges out Whispering Jack to be the highest seller in Australian music history - the sequel album was always going to attract a lot of attention. Both single and album debuted at number 1, with the former spending eight weeks at the summit and ending 1993 as the year's biggest seller. For a man who hadn't had a hit locally since the late '70s, it was quite the comeback.
Mention must be made, of course, of female singer Lorraine Crosby, whose vocals went uncredited on the single and who didn't appear in the music video, with her part lip synced by Dana Patrick. And now, having done my due, I'll hope never to have to relive this musical monstrosity again.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993:
Next week: the arrival of another number 1 song from Europe, plus one of the most iconic hip-hop singles of all time.
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