Wednesday, 19 July 2017

25 Years Ago This Week: July 19, 1992

A brand new single by a megastar performer was always a cause for excitement. What would they do this time? Could they possibly top what they'd done already?

No strangers to controversy, only one of Madonna and Prince caused any this time

This week in 1992, two of the biggest musical acts in the world debuted on the ARIA singles chart with completely new songs. For one, it was the type of raunchy funk for which the artist was known, while for the other, its subdued tone contrasted quite dramatically in style with their releases either side of it. Both would naturally become big hits.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending July 19, 1992

The biggest hit in Australia this week in 1992 was "Save The Best For Last" by Vanessa Williams, which moved up into the top spot vacated by Kris Kross - and would move back down in seven days' time.


Off The Chart
Number 97 "Your Love" by Girl Overboard
Peak: number 70
Almost a year after we last saw them, Girl Overboard were back with this first taste of their Charles Fisher-produced second album, Go. Despite being quite good, it didn't improve matters for them on the chart. 


Single Of The Week
"Move Me No Mountain" by Soul II Soul
Peak: number 96
By this point, I'd pretty much given up hope that Soul II Soul would ever have anything resembling a decent-sized hit in Australia - an assumption that was backed up by the failure of their latest single to get even close to the top 50. A cover version of a song first recorded by Love Unlimited in 1974, and later covered by Dionne Warwick and Chaka Khan, "Move Me No Mountain" was another slide of sophisticated UK R&B from the British band. Lead vocals on the track were handled by Kofi (aka Carol Simms), who was once in a group called Brown Sugar with fellow Soul II Soul featured performer Caron Wheeler. 




Breaker
"Walk The Dinosaur" by The Tin Lids
Peak: number 64
I guess I should be thankful for small mercies - that this atrocity, which somehow had the blessing of The Flintstones producers Hanna Barbera, didn't give Jimmy Barnes's offspring a second top 50 single. Nevertheless, this kiddie version of "Walk The Dinosaur" effectively ruined the Was (Not Was) classic from 1987 and is Exhibit A in the case against children being allowed to record music. It took a while longer for the "brains" behind The Tin Lids to get the hint and desist with the project, but we were, however, spared any further top 100 entries.




New Entries
Number 50 "This Used To Be My Playground" by Madonna
Peak: number 9
In between "Justify My Love" and the upcoming Erotica album, the early '90s were a sexually charged time for Madonna - even more so than usual. But in the midst of all that she released this sentimental ballad from A League Of Their Own, the latest film in which she had a role. After being asked for a song to include in the movie, Madonna and Erotica producer Shep Pettibone got to work and came up with "This Used To Be My Playground" in a couple of days. 
The result: a US chart-topper (her 10th) and an ARIA top 10 hit (her 20th), although the song has tended to be swept under the carpet a bit since then. At the time, I thought it would be the perfect song to play at my Year 12 class's final assembly at the end of 1992. Instead, we got to graduate to the strains of a rock song we'll see debut on the top 50 next week.




Number 42 "I Can't Help Myself" by Teen Queens
Peak: number 28
For some reason, people had been quite receptive to Teen Queens' debut effort, "Be My Baby", sending it all the way into the top 10. So the female trio did what any other manufactured pop group would do - released more of the same. Kind of. "I Can't Help Myself" was yet another cover of a well-known '60s song - originally released in 1965 by The Four Tops - but the production and styling was decidedly more 1992 than last time. Regardless, it was still horrible.




Number 31 "Perfect Place" by Voice Of The Beehive
Peak: number 31
Over the past few months, we've seen a number of top 50 entries that owed their presence on the chart to some pretty hefty price discounting. Songs like "Innocence" and "Love Is Holy". I'm pretty sure this latest single from Voice Of The Beehive was another one. It was, I'm reliably informed, also aided by a promo visit by the band around the time. Problem was: once those initial factors wore off, "Perfect Place" dropped like a stone back out of the chart. Still, it was another lovely original single from the band whose biggest hit remained their remake of "I Think I Love You".




Number 25 "Sexy MF" by Prince & The New Power Generation
Peak: number 5
Even though he'd launched his previous album with the sexed up double whammy of "Gett Off" and "Cream", and had been known to get particularly ribald on the odd B-side, I don't think anything quite prepared the world for "Sexy MF", the lead single from the Love Symbol Album. A brazen appreciation of the object of Prince's desire, the funk/R&B track caused exactly the amount of controversy you'd expect a song with the line "you sexy motherfucker" would. It was also also exactly as big a hit as those types of songs always are - except in America, of course.


Number 20 "I Don't Care" by Shakespears Sister
Peak: number 18
Another single benefitting from a reduced recommended retail price was this follow-up to top 5 smash "Stay", which blasted straight in to the top 20 (higher than either Prince or Madonna). A cost of around $1 or $2 (depending on the format) compared to anywhere from $5 to $9 will help on that front. Price aside, "I Don't Care" is also a great song, which explains why it didn't immediately exit as quickly as it arrived. 
As different to previous hits "Stay", "You're History" and "Run Silent" as they all were from each other, the jangly, upbeat "I Don't Care" was remixed significantly from the album version, but retained the portion of poetry ("Hornpipe" by Edith Sitwell) that Siobhan Fahey recites in the middle. This was the last time the duo would be seen on the ARIA top 50, but then again, Shakespears Sister's days as a two-piece were numbered anyway, with tension between Siobhan and Marcella Detroit as high as the music video for "I Don't Care" (lightheartedly) suggested.




Next week: brace yourselves - it's another of those weeks. Ten new entries in the top 50, including two of the hottest American girl groups, Australia's other girl group, one of the biggest dance anthems of all time and three of the country's most popular singers uniting for a spot of Andrew Lloyd Webber.


Back to: Jul 12, 1992 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 26, 1992


2 comments:

  1. I thought Girl Overboad's 'Your Love' was rubbish, but loved the flop follow-up, 'Chain of Fools', though didn't know it at the time.

    The single version of 'Move Me No Mountain' was great, but the LP version (which, for reasons unknown, was put on their '93 best-of that I bought, from memory) wasn't too good.

    Getting permission to use a Flintstones cartoon, and editing the Tin Lids into it for the video, can't have been cheap. The promo video this is ripped from actually has a full cartoon at the end of it, which I edited out. The song itself is pretty crap though, as you say.

    I liked 'This Used To Be My Playground', but it seems pretty much forgotten now, oddly. She (or whoever was the director) totally plagiarised the idea for the video from Boy George's 'To Be Reborn' though!

    'I Can't Help Myself' is pretty crap, but that's part of its appeal, I think.

    I love 'Perfect Place' and the sentiments it expresses. Although they apparently weren't too fond of all the record company's meddling with production on the album, and this song in particular, I think the single version betters the LP version.

    'Sexy MF' wouldn't have been nearly as big a hit if Prince wasn't singing it, and if it didn't have a controversial title. Or so I think.

    I read a comment on a UK chart recap (before blogs were a thing, I think) which stated that none of Shakespear's Sister's hits sounded like anything else, and I tend to agree. Again, I loved the "we hate each other" concept for the video, and the totally re-recorded single version was probably an improvement on the LP version, though both are quite different-sounding. I wasn't expecting them to score another hit from 'Hormonally Yours' after 'Stay' here, so was most pleasantly surprised when this debuted at #20.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Boy George was furious about the Madonna video, referring to it as "This Used to be my Video". The director of "To Be Reborn", Jean Baptiste Mondino, obviously wasn't overly concerned, as he went on to direct four videos for Madonna over the next decade (in addition to the two he had already directed for her previously). The song itself is beautiful and it's a shame that Madonna seems to have forgotten all about its existence.

    ReplyDelete