Wednesday, 12 April 2017

25 Years Ago This Week: April 12, 1992

Girl groups had been around for decades, but so far in the early '90s, they'd been mostly going unnoticed in Australia. That was despite there being a veritable flood of female vocal groups coming out of the US - En Vogue, Sweet Sensation, Exposé, The Cover Girls, Seduction... Even Wilson Phillips had only had one hit here.

Teen Queens didn't stray too far from the girl group template

That changed in April 1992, with two local girl groups making a big splash on the ARIA singles chart. The first appeared 25 years ago this week, with a fairly horrendous cover of a classic girl group number from the 1960s.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending April 12, 1992

Meanwhile, at number 1 this week in 1992, "Marvellous" by The Twelfth Man spent a second week on top. It wouldn't stay there - one of the three songs speeding up the chart right behind it would topple it in seven days' time.


Off The Chart
Number 89 "Leave Them All Behind" by Ride
Peak: number 89
Another of the many British indie bands that went under the radar in Australia, shoegazers Ride enjoyed their biggest UK hit with this lead single from second album Going Blank Again.

Number 84 "Girlfriend" by Matthew Sweet
Peak: number 71
Another overlooked indie classic - this time from American alt rock singer/songwriter Matthew Sweet. "Girlfriend" was the title track of Matthew's breakthrough third album.

Number 73 "I Need Love" by Luka Bloom
Peak: number 73
An Irish folk musician covering LL Cool J's 1987 rap ballad? I've heard stranger things. Born Kevin Moore, Luka Bloom got his stage first name from another 1987 song - Suzanne Vega's "Luka".


Breakers
"The Way You Do The Things You Do" by UB40
Peak: number 63
UB40's record company really were taking the old adage "if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again" seriously. The reggae band's latest re-release had originally charted in early 1991 - around the same time as "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight". Although a slight improvement on its original number 78 placing, the fact "The Way You Do The Things You Do" didn't reach the top 50 was enough for it to be the last try at pushing songs from a two-and-a-half-year-old album.




"Faith (In The Power Of Love)" by Rozalla
Peak: number 62
"Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)" had been one of the dance hits of the summer, but brackets fan Rozalla didn't repeat the feat with follow-up "Faith (In The Power Of Love)". In truth, it wasn't anywhere near as good a song, although its piano house production was right on point. This wasn't the last we'd see of Rozalla hanging around outside the top 50 in April.




New Entries
Number 44 "I Love Your Smile" by Shanice
Peak: number 8
Former child star and Star Search contestant Shanice Wilson's first record deal with A&M had yielded little in the way of hits. In Australia, the closest she'd come was with 1988's "I'll Bet She's Got A Boyfriend". Things changed in 1992. Having switched label to Motown, Shanice returned (sans surname) with the breezy pop classic "I Love Your Smile", reaching number 2 in both the US and the UK, and the top 10 in Australia. 
Still only 19 when the song reached the Australian chart, Shanice's biggest hit was age-appropriate without seeming childish thanks to her mature vocals and slick production courtesy of Narada Michael Walden. Featuring one of the best bridges ever heard in pop music - the bit starting "Time came and showed me your direction..." - "I Love Your Smile" still sounds great today and never fails to put me in a good mood.




Number 40 "Give Me Just A Little More Time / Do You Dare" by Kylie Minogue
Peak: number 24
Whether or not "If You Were With Me Now" would've done as well without listing "I Guess I Like It Like That" as a double A-side, I don't know. But Kylie Minogue's Australian record company obviously thought her next single, a cover of Chairmen Of The Board's overseas hit but Australian flop "Give Me Just A Little More Time", also needed an extra selling point. And so, club-oriented B-side "Do You Dare" was elevated to double A-side status locally. 
In this case, since "Do You Dare" didn't already feature on the Let's Get To It album, I'm sure its presence had some impact. It certainly did for me, since "Give Me Just..." is one of my least favourite of her songs. Even with the previously unreleased track, the single became Kylie's new lowest-charting in Australia (by one spot). In the UK, "Give Me Just..." reached number 2 and gave Kylie her biggest hit since "Better The Devil You Know"




Number 30 "Be My Baby" by Teen Queens
Peak: number 6
Having already helped Melissa and Euphoria reach number 1 on the ARIA singles chart, the producers of primetime soap E Street turned their attentions to a new pop offering - a trio of singer/actresses calling themselves Teen Queens. Formed with the intentions of starring in a TV series set in the '60s, the threesome were modelled on classic girl groups of the era, right down to their name, which had been used by a pair of singing sisters in the 1950s.
Although the series was never picked up, Teen Queens went ahead with the musical side of the project, releasing their version of The Ronettes' classic from 1963 (with a bit of "(The Best Part Of) Breaking Up" thrown in for good measure) as their debut single. The trio, which comprised Roxanne Clarke, Kellie Hoggart and Liza Witt, got off to a flying start with the medley. We'll see a couple more hits in months to come, but these days, the act is best known as being the launchpad for future Hi-5 member Kellie, who just so happened to have played Nancy in my school's production of Oliver! in 1988. 




Next week: the latest single by another act with an E Street link, as well as a second Indigenous dance hit and the final chart appearance (to date) by one of the most revolutionary electronic acts of all time.


Back to: Apr 5, 1992 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Apr 19, 1992


1 comment:

  1. I'm familiar with the Luka Bloom song through Triple J playing it about 5 years later.

    'Faith...' was released before 'Everybody's Free' in the UK, but flopped on its initial release. There was a 2-for-1 deal with 'Everybody's Free' I remember seeing in the shops, but it didn't help much.

    'I Love Your Smile' was very American-sounding. Shanice also looked, to me, like she could have been one of the Cosby Kids with that wholesome image. The single was actually released here back in November '91 according to the ARIA Report, so certainly took its time to take off.

    I hadn't heard 'Give Me...' until it debuted on the rage top 60. Not one of my favourites of hers, but I like the syncopated verses and the Annie Lennox-esque 'brrrr' trills. I don't think I've ever heard 'Do You Dare' before.

    The Teen Queens song was another I hadn't heard until it hit the chart.

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