Monday, 11 March 2013

The Best Of 1992 - part 2

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1


Ballads were big business in 1992. Whether it was soundtrack hits (Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men), Olympics-related singles ("Amigos Para Siempre") or even rock acts like Guns 'n' Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Richard Marx taking things down a notch, downbeat hits cluttered the charts.
Tori Amos: proof you didn't have to be a perky pop star to make my chart

I like a good ballad as much as the next person, but my music collection in 1992 was dominated by UK dance hits, pop princesses and the odd bit of US R&B.

I've actually been waiting for the return of the big ballad for a while but, Adele aside, it hasn't really happened, despite it being clear that even people who don't normally buy music will waste no time snapping up their next wedding/anniversary/funeral theme.

Anyway, some ballads will pop up on this top 100, although not many in this batch of 25 songs...


Number 75 "When You Gonna Learn" by Jamiroquai
In 1992, Jamiroquai's lead singer, the silly hat-wearing Jay Kay, was only 22 years old and hailed as something of a musical prodigy when he burst onto the scene with this debut single. The band was quickly snapped up by Sony Music and Jamiroquai became the mainstream face of acid jazz, releasing a string of increasingly commercial albums throughout the decade and into the 2000s.




Number 74 "Beware" by Vivienne McKone
I don't know much about this British soul singer, but "Beware" is another track I heard on UK Chart Attack, despite the fact that its single week at number 69 doesn't really constitute much of an attack. I liked the song enough to track down Vivienne's album - and it's a CD I still play from time to time.




Number 73 "Boss Drum" by The Shamen
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 72 "It's A Fine Day" by Opus III
Spurred on by the success of 2 Unlimited in the UK, Pete Waterman's PWL label continued churning out dance releases in 1992. Many flopped, but this song was a top 5 hit in the UK for the group fronted by singer Kirsty Hawkshaw. It would be Opus III's only top 40 hit, although I also liked 1994's "When You Made The Mountain".




Number 71 "Dream Come True" by Brand New Heavies
With "Never Stop" having made a small splash in Britain, BNH released this remixed version of their 1990 single from a revamped version of their self-titled debut album and started making progress in the UK top 40. Two more 1992 singles, "Stay This Way" and "Don't Let It Go To Your Head", sit just outside my top 100.




Number 70 "Give Me Just A Little More Time / Do You Dare" by Kylie Minogue
Forget about the A-side of this single - Kylie's cover of The Chairmen Of The Board's song is one of my least favourite singles of hers and was her lowest-charting single at that point in Australia. Instead, this single makes an appearance on this list wholly as a result of "Do You Dare", which was listed on the ARIA chart as a double A-side.
Like Let's Get To It album track "I Guess I Like It Like That" (which had featured on the "If You Were With Me Now" single), "Do You Dare" embraced the sound of UK club music and even started life as a white label 12" credited to Angel K. Oblivious to the fact that it was actually a Kylie record, DJs played the song - something that also happened with "Closer", which turned up as the B-side to "Finer Feelings" (number 108 on this list).
Despite PWL Records making conscious efforts to diversify her sound, 1992 saw the end of Kylie's association with the label and her first Greatest Hits album was released, which included new track "What Kind Of Fool (Heard All That Before)" and a cover of "Celebration", which will appear much later on this list.




Number 69 "Crucify" by Tori Amos
Here's a female solo artist about as far away from Kylie as you could get, but two of the singles from Tori's debut album, Little Earthquakes, make this top 100 (this track and "Winter", at number 98). Tori (whose real name is actually Myra - who knew?) was one of 1992's most critically acclaimed artists and her piano-driven alternative anthems spawned a raft of imitators throughout the rest of the decade.




Number 68 "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover" by Sophie B Hawkins
Sophie is another female singer (the B stands for Ballantine) whose music wasn't as poppy as my normal fare - but there was no avoiding this song in 1992. A US and Australian top 10 smash, it would be another three years before she'd score another hit as big - with 1995's "As I Lay Me Down" equalling the number 7 peak of "Damn..." in Australia.




Number 67 "Special Kind Of Love" by Dina Carroll
Mentioned below

Number 66 "Excited" by M-People
They would go on to be one of the biggest dance/pop acts of the decade, but in 1992, the Manchester-based quartet were having trouble landing their first big hit. All four of the singles from their Northern Soul album (of which this track was my favourite) landed between numbers 29 and 38 on the UK chart, but their major breakthrough was just around the corner in 1993.




Number 65 "Love Can Moves Mountains" by Celine Dion
Admittedly, the YouTube screen grab below is not the most flattering of shots, but it's stating the obvious to say Canadian superstar Celine Dion looked pretty different in 1992. There's no mistaking that voice, however, and even though she hadn't yet become the chart dominator she'd turn into, she had started to rack up some hits in the US with songs like "Where Does My Heart Beat Now" and "If You Asked Me To". Soundtrack release "Beauty & The Beast" (which we saw in Part 1) even took her into the Australian top 20 for the first time. Those songs had one thing in common: they were all ballads - a sign of things to come - but my favourite release of Celine's has always been this upbeat song (complete with gospel choir), which narrowly missed the Australian top 50.




Number 64 "Don't Lose The Magic" by Shawn Christopher
Yes, there are a lot of female solo artists on this list, but you can't say I don't mix it up. This time, it's a club track by a singer who appeared on some versions of 1989's "French Kiss" by Lil Louis. Together with her 1991 single, "Another Sleepless Night", "Don't Lose The Magic" was the type of vocal house song I loved in the early '90s - good melody, prominent piano and soaring female vocal.




Number 63 "I Don't Know How To Love Him" by Kate Ceberano
The biggest music event in Australia in 1992 was the resurrection of stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar, with local pop/rock heavyweights John Farnham, Jon Stevens, Angry Anderson and Kate in key roles. The cast album was massive and "Everything's Alright" featuring John, Jon and Kate reached number 6 on the singles chart. Kate's version of "I Don't Know..." would be only the second to make the top 50 in Australia - in 1971, Helen Reddy reached number 2 with a cover of the song, despite Yvonne Elliman's soundtrack single also being available.




Number 62 "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" by TLC
With odd names like T-Boz, Left-Eye and Chilli, outfits that featured dummies and condoms as accessories, and this debut single, which was kind of a sonic mess, TLC were always going to grab the attention of the record-buying public. Just how big a group they'd turn out to be, I'm not sure anyone could have guessed back in 1992. Despite it being a big all over the place, I was a big fan of "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" and most of the singles from Ooooooohhh... On The TLC Tip, including "What About Your Friends" (number 86 on this list), even more so than those from their more successful follow-up album, CrazySexyCool.




Number 61 "My Destiny" by Lionel Richie
Six years after his Dancing On The Ceiling album, Motown legend Lionel Richie returned out of nowhere in 1992 to release a best of album, which featured three new tracks. "My Destiny" was far and away the best of the new offerings and gave Lionel his final (to date) top 10 hit in the UK.




Number 60 "Faithful" by Go West
After successfully reviving their career in 1990 with "King Of Wishful Thinking", pop duo Go West finally got around to releasing a follow-up single in 1992 - but luckily the two-year gap didn't hurt them, with "Faithful" becoming another US and UK top 20 hit for Peter and Richard.




Number 59 "Finally" by CeCe Peniston
Originally released in 1991, the Choice remix of "Finally" became a global mega-hit in 1992, reaching number 2 in the UK and number 8 in Australia. The song has never really died, completely overshadowing anything else Ce Ce did (and there were a few more good singles like "We Got A Love Thang" and "Keep Givin' Me Your Love"), and has been remixed and remodelled numerous times over the years.




Number 58 "Please Don't Go" by KWS
A number 1 hit in the UK (for five weeks) and a four-week number 2 in Australia (behind Richard Marx and then Jose Carreras & Sarah Brightman), this dance update of the KC & The Sunshine Band ballad from 1979 was the cause of major legal wranglings due to the existence of another version of "Please Don't Go" by German act Double You. The Double You cover predated the KWS version - and British group KWS took advantage of the fact that Double You didn't have a distributor in the UK to record what was essentially the same re-interpretation. In the end, a new concept of "copyright in an arrangement" was created, KWS had to pay Double You some of their royalties and I wrote an assignment about the case in law school a few years later.




Number 57 "Coloured Kisses" by Martika
After a pretty impressive start to her career over the previous three years, it all came to a sudden halt for the singer born Marta Marrero, who made her final appearance on charts around the world in 1992 with this third and final (relatively minor) hit from Martika's Kitchen.




Number 56 "Man Alive" by Diesel
Meanwhile, here's an act who'd been around slightly longer than Martika and also had a good start to his career as frontman for Johnny Diesel & The Injectors and, since 1991, as just Diesel. His real name, of course, is Mark Lizotte, and despite notching up a string of hits in Australia by that stage, I'd been immune to his charms... until this track from his Australian number 1 album, Hepfidelity.




Number 55 "Jesus He Knows Me" by Genesis
Daggy as it might be to admit it, I'd been quite a fan of Phil Collins and Genesis throughout most of the '80s, but from 1989 on, I'd only really cared for solo track "Something Happened On The Way To Heaven". It took until this fourth single from Genesis' We Can't Dance album for me to like a song by either him or his group again. The tune about TV evangelists felt like a return to the style of "Land Of Confusion" with its catchy chorus and tongue-in-cheek video. It wouldn't last, however - this is the last release I've enjoyed by either the group or Phil, who briefly stepped down as singer in 1996.




Number 54 "Money Love" by Neneh Cherry
She'd taken the world by storm with her debut album, Raw Like Sushi, but, if we continue the metaphor, Neneh's second album, Homebrew, made as much impact as a light drizzle. That's not to say it wasn't good - it was - but singles like this and "Buddy X" failed to take off, and album tracks "Trout" and "Sometimes" never got to become the singles they should have been.




Number 53 "Sleeping Satellite" by Tasmin Archer
One-hit wonder alert! A number 1 in the UK and a more modest number 14 in Australia, "Sleeping Satellite" had everyone talking about Tasmin Archer in 1992. But, despite the title of her debut album, Great Expectations, that hype didn't translate into a long-term career, with subsequent singles tailing off in the UK and failing to chart completely in Australia.




Number 52 "The Best Things In Life Are Free" Janet Jackson / Luther Vandross with BBD and Ralph Tresvant
There were two big R&B soundtrack albums in 1992 - Boomerang (which featured the all-conquering "End Of The Road") and Mo' Money, from which this duet was lifted. The original US version of the track (which you can hear by clicking the link in the song title) had a much grittier feel and a greater input from Bell Biv Devoe and Ralph Trevsant, but it was remixed into a glossier pop track (below) for Europe and Australia. The US version peaked at number 10 while the song flew to number 2 in both the UK and Australia (where it held the runner-up slot for five weeks).




Number 51 "Don't Stop" by K-klass
If nothing else, dance act K-klass were consistent, releasing one killer track in each year from 1991 to 1994. Although their other 1992 single, "So Right", was the bigger hit in the UK, I preferred this track, which made a disappointing number 32.




On Wednesday, we return to 1988 for this week's ARIA chart recap, and then it's into my top 50 for 1992, where we'll find a handful of those ballads that I actually liked from 1992.


MY YEAR-END CHARTS
1979 II 1980 II 1981 II 1982 II 1983 II 1984 II 1985 II 1986 II 1987 II 1988 II 1989
1990 II 1991 II 1992 II 1993 II 1994 II 1995 II 1996 II 1997 II 1998 II 1999
2000 II 2001 II 2002 II 2003 II 2004 II 2005 II 2006 II 2007 II 2008 II 2009
2010 II 2011 II 2012 II 2013 II 2014 II 2015 II 2016


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