Nov 11

Popular ’92

Popular92 comments • 4,477 views

I give a mark out of 10 to every track – this poll is for you to tick all the songs you’d have given 6 or more to, and you can discuss the year in general in the comments box.

Which of these Number Ones Of 1992 would you give 6 or more to?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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A year of few number ones, though it took me an age to finish. My highest marks were 8 for Shakespear’s Sister and Charles And Eddie; lowest was a 2 for Wet Wet Wet. Onwards!


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  1. 61
    Andy Pandy on 12 Dec 2011 #

    I agree with Punctum re general wellbeing having an effect. I admit that how good a year was for me personally may probably slightly influence my opinion – I had such a great time in 1983 that nostalgia may be making me more positive about stuff like ‘Baby Jane’*, ‘La Dolce Vita’, ‘Down Under”Club Tropicana’ and ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues’ than I would otherwise be. Having said that I don’t think any of them are bad pop records.

    And even with my most objective head on I believe there’s a real fall off in 1984 and by 1985/86 it’s all got pretty hideous.

    Yes Wichita I was 18 in 1983 so I am around the same age and to me Frankie just seemed like an ugly comedown after the pop splendour of the previous 2 or 3 years. I supposed I realised at the end of 1983 that 1982 was finally over…Throughout 1983 I had gradually been immersing myself in the jazz-funk (and emerging electro) clubbing culture and so was drawing away from mainstream pop anyway but in retrospect it looks like a good time as any to have got out.

    I don’t mind 1975 personally:
    Kraftwerk ‘Autobahn’,other good Krautrock, plenty of good modern soul/funk, early disco, big year for jazz-funk/fusion (‘Expansions’etc), ‘real’ and pop reggae, IMO last good Pink Floyd album. Not that the 10 year old me would have heard any of that aside from a bit of Capital Radio/Radio London played soul/disco/pop reggae at the time though.

    *nb I can’t hear or even think of this song without being transported to sitting at a table out the back of my local pub in the early evening sunshine of a Saturday night in the summer of 1983

  2. 62
    Steve Mannion on 13 Dec 2011 #

    I’m a “glass is as EMPTY AS IT IS FULL” guy when it comes to…every year of my life, including my young adulthood the late-90s which may be as maligned as the mid-80s tend to be.

    Some years might be better argued as good/bad for number ones or the charts in general (1992 DOES suffer in these respects due to factors such as the sales slump, the credibility struggles of TOTP and “1FM” (he he) at the time and fewer chart-toppers than previous years altho some may argue the latter as good especially as a dramatic shift would soon follow.

  3. 63
    Ed on 13 Dec 2011 #

    #56 1975 was a great year for music! All the ones Andy Pandy mentioned, plus Young Americans, Siren, Blood on the Tracks, Horses, Physical Graffiti, Red, Bob Marley and the Wailers Live. Also: Love to Love You Baby, Little Johnny Jewel, 30 Seconds Over Tokyo, Cortez the Kiler.

    And if you went out, you could catch Stevie Wonder in his pomp, the Wailers touring Natty Dread, and Miles Davis with his Agharta / Pangaea band.

    It was all there. As long as you could get yourself to downtown Manhattan / London / Osaka.

  4. 64
    punctum on 13 Dec 2011 #

    #63: Completely agree, and after one more MAJOR entry (and then nothing for a couple of weeks because I’m going on holiday. I’ll be back though) TPL will be diving into 1975, one of the most bizarre years for number one albums I can recall (no peeking ahead now!).

    Also bamboozling was the 1975 segment of Kid Jensen’s Double Top 20 show on Smooth FM this week; this weird Bermuda Triangle of a chart where various bits of pop history flotsam and jetsam met in limbo; see for yourself. And with all this great music around (as mentioned above). The answer, as usual, is music radio programming policies and chain store-biased chart data.

  5. 65
    AndyPandy on 13 Dec 2011 #

    And re 1975 I even missed Steely Dan at the top of their game.

  6. 66
    Mark G on 13 Dec 2011 #

    #60, Wichita: Yes, soul before disco, in the sense of “Disco” being the Bee Gees and all that sailed. Your two examples are exactly the sort of thing I liked and am talking about. Hamilton Bohannon!

    Glam wasn’t ‘over’ by 1975, it was certainly on its last legs (but who knew this at the time?)

  7. 67
    swanstep on 13 Dec 2011 #

    At least in some cases the ‘soul before disco’ idea is completely literal:
    Don’t leave me this way (1975)
    Don’t leave me this way (1976) (although it didn’t hit #1 until 1977)

    Anyhow, 1975 is a pretty fascinating crossover year for different sorts of dance music with all of Fire, Lady Marmalade, Jive Talkin’, (Bowie’s) Fame getting to #1 in the US.

  8. 68
    punctum on 13 Dec 2011 #

    Glam wasn’t ‘over’ by 1975, it was certainly on its last legs (but who knew this at the time?)

    John Craven did; there was a special edition of Search dealing with it, and another entitled “Are The Rollers Finished?” when “Love Me Like I Love You” got stuck at #17 in spring ’76 (after the programme the single vaulted to #4!).

  9. 69
    wichita lineman on 13 Dec 2011 #

    I’d say Don’t Leave Me This Way is full-on disco. In no way do I think this is a derogatory thing to say, but the regimented beat with the hissing hi-hat – well, that’s disco to me.

    Re 66: … but maybe I see “Disco” as something different to other commenters here… Hamilton Bohannon is SURELY more disco than soul? Disco Stomp sounds closer to Hello’s New York Groove than George Perkins’ Crying In The Streets.

    Re 68: Amazing! And two mentions for John Craven within 12 comments. And he was right, let’s see what Sweet got out and wrote their own hard rock songs, Fox On The Run and Action being their last Top 20 hits bar one in ’78; Gary Glitter scored one top 10 hit early in the year, his last til the 80s; Slade’s excellent How Does It Feel (no.15) saw them bow out of the Premier League, stats-wise at least (I LOVE the non-hit Nobody’s Fool from ’76); T Rex and Bowie had already shifted into soulful territory; The Rubettes and Mud alone carried the torch, the latter scoring six hits and an unforgettable performance in Never Too Young To Rock.

    ps Punctum, the Rollers’ Just A Little Love is one of my favourite ‘finds’ of the year, so cheers for that! It would slot easily onto a Fading Yellow pop-psych comp.

  10. 70
    Mark G on 13 Dec 2011 #

    Well, the “Disco” I was meaning was the “Saturday Night Fever” scene change.

    #68, like any scene extant, there’s someone saying “Is it all over?” before it is. Not much point afterwards. “Is the X-Factor 2011 over? Oh yes it is, thanks.”

    I used to say (still do, in fact), Punk was not dead when people said “Punk is Dead”, it was dead when people said “Punk’s not dead”.

  11. 71
    wichita lineman on 13 Dec 2011 #

    Another indicator of a scene in terminal decline is a novelty hit. Not necessarily a pisstake, or a bad record, but a novelty nonetheless:

    Rock’n’roll: The Champs – Tequila (1958)
    Girl groups: The Shangri La’s – Leader Of The Pack (1965)
    Flower power: Simon Dupree & the Big Sound – Kites (1967)
    Swinging London: Des O’Connor – Dick A Dum Dum (1968)
    Punk: Jilted John – Jilted John (1978)

    The major exception is Rick Dees’ Disco Duck in ’76 – the scene grew and grew regardless. And Glam was always too much of a pop playground to be satirised, La Glitter having already broken all barriers.

  12. 72
    punctum on 13 Dec 2011 #

    Since when is any of these a “novelty”?

  13. 73
    wichita lineman on 13 Dec 2011 #

    Since forever! Tequila?

    LOTP is high camp

    Kites was a psych cash-in, with a Chinese spoken passage.

    Dick A Dum Dum is, hmmm, light hearted?

    Jilted John is funny.

    Disco Duck is a disco novelty record.

  14. 74
    Mutley on 13 Dec 2011 #

    #71 – Wikipedia’s definition of a novelty song is “a comical or nonsensical song, performed principally for its comical effect. Humorous songs, or those containing humorous elements, are not necessarily novelty songs.” However, I’m not sure that gets us very far. Interestingly, the only rock’n’roll “novelty” song mentioned in the Wikipedia article is Yakety Yak (1958) – if that is “novelty” then so is Tutti Frutti!

    Sticking with the mid-to-late 50s rock’n’roll era, I think the way in which “novelty” makes most sense is as a “comical” way of mocking (and cashing in on) a genre that was replacing established genres and was largely unloved by the establishment. For rock’n’roll, such novelty songs were around right from the start – e.g. Stan Freeberg’s Heartbreak Hotel, the Goons’ Bloodnok’s Rock and Roll Call, Mitchell Torok’s When Mexico gave up the Rhumba (to do the Rock’n’Roll), or Kay Starr’s Rock’n’Roll Waltz (all 1956).

  15. 75
    wichita lineman on 13 Dec 2011 #

    Re 74: Thought I might open a can of worms there. I think you’re right on the songs that mock R&R. I picked Tequila because it’s made by R&R musicians, not mocking, just a bit… daft? I love it, but it doesn’t quite have the impact of Yakety Yak or Summertime Blues (both of which are built for ‘comical effect’), does it? It feels like the wind is going out of the sails.

  16. 76
    thefatgit on 13 Dec 2011 #

    Bobby “Boris” Pickett and The Crypt-Kickers “Monster Mash” stands out for me. 1962 might be a bit late for R&R parodies, but it’s really a parody of dance crazes than the music itself. It got the #3 slot in 1973 and has been a required feature of any Halloween party I’ve been to. Bobby Pickett has subsequently made a lucrative career from this one song or derivatives of it. It also works as a stand-alone pop song, which the best novelty records seem to achieve. I’d count “Yakety Yak” among those, definitely.

  17. 77
    Mark G on 13 Dec 2011 #

    There were novelty punk singles the very moment “Anarchy” was issued. jking, for one

  18. 78
    Weej on 14 Dec 2011 #

    What’s JK’s novelty punk single? None of his ’75-’76 releases seem to fit the bill. Perhaps it was a bit like this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELKb-lcW4e0&feature=player_detailpage#t=70s

  19. 79
    AndyPandy on 14 Dec 2011 #

    I’m surprised about the comments about disco above – I thought it was one of the (few?) musical developements when it was agreed on exactly what year it not only started (1974) and that it became very big (pop number 1’s etc) straight away (George McRae) by the end of 1975 it was so big there were already articles saying was it was on the way out. Little did they know!

  20. 80
    punctum on 14 Dec 2011 #

    #78: It was “God Save The Sex Pistols” by “Elizabeth.” Which wasn’t very funny.

  21. 81
    Mark G on 14 Dec 2011 #

    Yes. I’m assuming it wasn’t funny, never heard it.

    Mind you, as Jonathan King would doubtless be the first to tell you, he recorded a song called “Anarchy Rock” as a b-side to The Weathermen’s “Honey Bee keep on stinging me” (ooh if only!), back in 1971.

  22. 82
    punctum on 14 Dec 2011 #

    He also recorded a “punk” single in 1972 entitled “Supershit.”

  23. 83
    Weej on 14 Dec 2011 #

    Let’s not talk about him too much, he might turn up.

  24. 84
    wichita lineman on 14 Dec 2011 #

    He really might. Maybe here’s here already.

    Good spot FG, Monster Mash was the signified that the dance craze started by Chubby Checker was in decline. No hits for Chubby, Dee Dee Sharp, The Orlons or The Dovells – all Philly dance craze specialists – after MM.

    Is it ‘affectionate novelties’ I’m thinking of? Snidey ‘satire’, whether it’s J King or Stan Freberg, only tends to happen when a genre emerges. Not sure where Disco Duck fits into this pattern.

  25. 85
    wichita lineman on 14 Dec 2011 #

    Signifier, I meant.

  26. 86
    Mark G on 14 Dec 2011 #

    That’s probably it, yes: The “Think” sample of James Brown going “yeah, hoo!” never got used again after Bombalurina’s “Itsy bitsy”, also the “ah yeah” too,.

    Also, Aneka’s “Japanese Boy” killed the NME sponsored JapPop movement stone dead!

  27. 87
    lonepilgrim on 20 Mar 2012 #

    an article in this week’s edition of the New Statesman magazine identifies 1992, with John Major’s victory in the General election as the ‘end of socialism’ in the UK:

  28. 88
    wichita lineman on 5 Aug 2012 #

    Those Finnish 1992 no.1s in full:

    Good year for Felix. And Lithium at no.1! I’d like to hear Moogetmoogs. Neon 2 I’m guessing were a Finnish 2 Unltd-alike?

    Jan 20 The KLF – Justified & Ancient
    Feb 17 Moogetmoogs – Kolmen minuutin muna
    Mar 2 Hausmylly – Gigolo
    Mar 16 Popeda – Kersantti Karoliina
    Mar 30 Kurre – En rakkauttas saa
    Apr 13 J. Karjalainen – Telepatiaa
    Apr 27 ZZ Top – Viva Las Vegas
    May 11 DJ Konnat – 9700-Irma
    May 25 Wilson Phillips – You Won’t See Me Cry
    Jun 8 Kaivo – Kun olet mennyt
    Jun 22 Erasure – Abba-esque
    Jul 20 Nirvana – Lithium
    Aug 3 Madonna – This Used to Be My Playground
    Aug 17 Shamen – L.S.I.
    Aug 31 2 Unlimited – The Magic Friend
    Sep 14 Neon 2 – Polku
    Sep 28 Felix – Don’t You Want Me
    Oct 12 East 17 – House of Love
    Oct 26 Neljä Ruusua – Juppihippipunkkari (Remix)
    Nov 9 Felix – It Will Make Me Crazy
    Nov 23 KCD – Simo Goes Poing!
    Dec 21 Colours – Help Us Back Home Sarajevo

  29. 89
    Ed on 5 Aug 2012 #

    The final Number One of 1992 presumably a comment on the Bosnian war, which began in April of that year.

    Colours, whoever they were, beating U2 and Pavarotti to the punch by three years.

  30. 90
    wichita lineman on 5 Aug 2012 #

    Yes, intriguing. The official British line was still “they’re all as bad as each other”, and would be for some years.

    The penultimate no.1 was presumably a comment on Gabber.

  31. 91
    thefatgit on 24 Nov 2013 #

    Kat of this parish is doing OneWeekOneBand again. She’s going to be talking all week about The Fall!!


  32. 92
    Lee Saunders on 26 Nov 2017 #

    Going through all the Popular 1992 threads (mostly a month ago but as I have no order to how I read things, I only just got round to finishing it now) has seen me reconsider Ain’t No Doubt and Sleeping Satellite. I’d known, or at least known of (and barely listened to) each song for a very long time thanks to 90s number one specials on music TV. I cared for neither but now I really quite love them both.

    Recently, 1992 has become something of an in-joke year for me among certain friends, someone connecting the dots that albums I have been hooked on relatively recently (Jehovahkill, certain compilations, and not for the first time, Nonsuch) from 1992, as well me going on about numerous hits, mostly rave hits, from the same year. My favourite singles of 1992 are mostly fall into the latter category (Don’t Go, Injected with a Poison, Trip to Trumpton), though some aren’t (Leave Them All behind, Motorcycle Emptiness).

    Favourite songs from 1992 which weren’t singles
    The Cure – This Twilight Garden
    XTC – Rook
    Disco Inferno – Love Stepping Out
    Julian Cope – Necropolis
    Ween – Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy)
    Peter Gabriel – Love to Be Loved
    Alianza – Santiago
    Aphex Twin – Heliosphan
    The Prodigy – Hyperspeed (G-Force Part 2)
    Nicolette – O Si Nene

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