|The multi-Grammy Award winning "Unforgettable"|
Twenty-five years ago this week, possibly the most poignant duet between a father and daughter burst onto the ARIA singles chart on its way to stall at number 2 behind the unstoppable Bryan Adams.
|ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending July 28, 1991|
Speaking of... last week's big new entry, "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You", effortlessly moved up to number 1, where it would stay for the next 11 weeks.
Off the chart
Number 93 "2 Weeks With A Good Man In Niagara Falls" by The Hummingbirds
Peak: number 93
With each single release, the top 20 success of "Blush" was looking more and more like a fluke, as the indie pop/rock band charted yet another song in the depths of the top 100.
Number 71 "O.G. Original Gangster" by Ice-T
Peak: number 71
Previous single "New Jack Hustle" finally exited the top 100 this week and was replaced by this title track from Ice-T's fourth studio album.
"Slip Away" by Ian Moss
Peak: number 56
He'd slapped his knee bones right up to number 2 in 1989 with "Tucker's Daughter" and seen his debut solo album, Matchbook, top the chart and win the ARIA Award for Album Of The Year - so you might've expected better things for Ian Moss's return to the chart in 1991. Despite having a similarly upbeat feel as "Tucker's Daughter" and a chorus that was just as sing-along-able, "Slip Away" didn't even make it as far as the top 50. I'm not saying it's as good a song - I'm just surprised it flopped so monumentally.
Number 50 "Mama Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool J
Peak: number 37
LL Cool J had popped his head in and out (and in and out and in and out again) of the top 50 with "Around The Way Girl", but he had a more steady presence on the chart with this hard-edged follow-up, which won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. A shot back at the rappers who criticised him - a list which included Kool Moe Dee and, funnily enough, Ice-T - "Mama Said Knock You Out" was inspired by words of encouragement from his grandmother, who appears in the song's music video at the 4:50 mark. The track, which samples James Brown, Digital Underground, Sly & The Family Stone, his own "Rock The Bells" and about half a dozen other songs, would be LL Cool J's biggest hit on the ARIA chart as lead artist until 1997.
Number 43 "Walking In Memphis" by Marc Cohn
Peak: number 11
For me, the most interesting thing about this breakthrough (and only) hit for singer/songwriter Marc Cohn was the breakbeat version released in 1992 by British dance act Shut Up And Dance. Based substantially on 'Walking In Memphis" (especially that piano hook), "Raving I'm Raving" would likely have been a chart-topping single in the UK had it not been pulled from record stores since clearance hadn't been obtained. Four years later, irritating techno group Scooter released a similar cover - this time, with all the necessary legalities in place.
The original version had been written back in 1985 following a trip Marc made to Memphis and dealt with how he, as a Jewish man, felt a connection to the gospel music he heard there. His demo of the song resulted in him landing a major label record deal and, years later, it was the track used to launch his debut self-titled album. "Walking In Memphis" peaked just outside the Australian and US top 10, and is largely responsible for him winning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in early 1992.
Number 42 "The Motown Song" by Rod Stewart
Peak: number 26
I've spoken before of my dislike for Rod Stewart's output during the late '80s and early '90s - and next to his duet with Tina Turner on "It Takes Two", this single is one of the primary offenders. Like "Rhythm Of My Heart" and "Downtown Train", it was another cover version of an obscure song, in this case a 1986 track by Larry John McNally for the soundtrack to Quicksilver. The music video for "The Motown Song" came from the same production company that'd made Elton John's "Club At The End Of The Street", and as well as a cartoon Rod, featured animated versions of Motown acts The Temptations (who perform on the track), The Supremes and Michael Jackson, and, for some reason, Vanilla Ice, Sinead O'Connor. Madonna and Elton. Rod would next be in the top 50 in 1993 with another remake.
Number 40 Train Tracks by Southern Sons
Peak: number 40
After three top 20 hits, this might seem like a lowly placing for Australia's Southern Sons - but there are a few reasons five-track EP Train Tracks didn't do better. Firstly, it was a limited edition release, although how limited I'm not sure. Secondly, lead track "Waiting For That Train" had already appeared on the band's top 5 self-titled debut album. Thirdly, the other four tracks were live recordings, which would only have appealed to hardcore Southern Sons fans. It would be more than a year before we'd hear from the band again - with the first taste of their second album.
Number 39 "It's Only The Beginning" by Deborah Conway
Peak: number 19
Except, of course, it wasn't the beginning - since Deborah Conway had featured on the ARIA chart before as lead singer of Do-Re-Mi (biggest hit: debut single "Man Overboard", number 5 in 1985). After two albums with her former band, Deborah moved on to a solo career, launching herself with a song that was uncharacteristically optimistic and cheerful. Produced by Boom Crash Opera's Richard Pleasance, "It's Only The Beginning" had a broader appeal than anything Deborah had released with Do-Re-Mi and returned her to the top 20 for the first time since "Man Overboard". Similarly, it would turn out to be her most successful solo offering - and one Deborah is herself celebrating with upcoming shows to mark the 25th anniversary of the accompanying album, String Of Pearls.
Number 38 "Hey Stoopid" by Alice Cooper
Peak: number 32
Thanks to the brilliance of "Poison", the Trash album had resulted in an unexpected chart comeback for shock rocker Alice Cooper in 1989 - but could he do it again with follow-up Hey Stoopid? Seems like the novelty might have worn off with this title track and lead single falling short of the top 30 despite the presence of Slash, Ozzy Osbourne and Joe Satriani on the track and in the music video.
Number 10 "Unforgettable" by Natalie Cole with Nat "King" Cole
Peak: number 2
Since her musical debut in 1975 with number 28 hit "This Will Be", Natalie Cole had only really enjoyed one major hit single in Australia up until this point - and that was with her 1988 remake of "Pink Cadillac". But, in the US, she had seven top 20 hits to her name and so the decision to release an album of cover versions of songs previously performed by her father, Nat "King" Cole, came after she'd well and truly established herself as a singer in her own right.
That album, Unforgettable... With Love, was the first released as part of her new deal with Elektra Records and marked a change of heart by Natalie, who'd previously avoided performing songs associated with her dad, who'd passed away shortly after her 15th birthday in 1965. What made the project truly remarkable was a duet between Natalie and Nat on the song "Unforgettable" (a number 5 hit in Australia for him in 1952).
Achieved thanks to some recording studio wizardry, the track blended father and daughter's voices seamlessly - and was always going to be a massive hit once released. In Australia, "Unforgettable" spent three weeks stuck at number 2 behind Bryan Adams, while it and the Unforgettable... With Love album went on to win multiple Grammy Awards, including Record, Song and Album Of The Year.
Next week: her first solo pop album had been a huge success, but how would Kate Ceberano go second time around? Plus, a novelty record that thankfully just missed out on reaching the top 50.
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