Nov 11

Popular ’92

Popular92 comments • 4,494 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?

View Results

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!


  1. 1
    Billy Smart on 25 Nov 2011 #

    Three out of twelve! (Shamen, Tasmin, Charles & Eddie) Although there are a few things in there that I can objectively see as being sort of good and might have given a six rather than a five to… In number one terms, 1992 strikes me as being a pretty dull transitional year. Roll on the rapid turnover of sparky chart-toppers of the mid-nineties.

  2. 2
    Billy Smart on 25 Nov 2011 #

    The NME Critics’ Poll for 1992 seems to feature a disproportionate amount of long-forgotten indie to me. The Joyriders? Moonshake?

    1. The Drowners – Suede
    2. Sheela Na Gig – PJ Harvey
    3. Motorcycle Emptiness – Manic Street Preachers
    4. Creep – Radiohead
    5. Drive – REM
    6. Jump Around – House Of Pain
    7. Television – The Drug Of The Nation – Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy
    8. My Loving – En Vogue
    9. Pretend We’re Dead – L7
    10. Metal Mickey – Suede
    11. Babes – Pulp
    12. Straight To You – Nick Cave
    13. Avenue – St Etienne
    14. Changes – Sugar
    15. Armchair Anarchist – Kingmaker
    16. Connected – Stereo MC’s
    17. Free Range – The Fall
    18. Little Baby Nothing – Manic Street Preachers
    19. Didgeridoo – Aphex Twin
    20. Old Red Eyes Is Back – The Beautiful South
    21. Revenge – The Jesus & Mary Chain
    22. Deeply Dippy – Right Said Fred
    23. Would I Lie To You? – Charles & Eddie
    24. Goin’ Out West – Tom Waits
    25. It’s A Shame About Ray – The Lemonheads
    26. It’s Not What You Know – New Fast Automatic Daffodils
    27. King Of Gasoline – The Joyriders
    28. Second-Hand Clothes – Moonshake
    29. Steamroller – The Family Cat
    30. Brenda’s Got A Baby – 2-Pac
    31. Dixie-Narco Ep – Primal Scream
    32. Middle Of The Road – Denim
    33. Remedy – The Black Crowes
    34. Geek Love – Bang Bang Machine
    35. I’m On My Way – Betty Boo
    36. Rich & Strange – Cud
    37. Hold It Down – Senseless Things
    38. People Everyday – Arrested Development
    39. Mid-Life Crisis – Faith No More
    40. Little Bird – Moose
    41. The Impossible Dream – Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine
    42. Summer Babe – Pavement
    43. Theme From M*A*S*H – Manic Street Preachers
    44. Medication – Spiritulized
    45. Join Our Club – St Etienne
    46. Gradually Learning – The Rockingbirds
    47. Everybody Loves Me But You – Juliana Hatfield
    48. This Is Not A Song – The Frank & Walters
    49. Slow Dog – Belly
    50. I Love Your Smile – Shanice

  3. 3
    Billy Smart on 25 Nov 2011 #

    Much of the Melody Maker critics’ poll for 1992 has little truck with commercial mass appeal.

    1. The Drowners – Suede
    2. Sheela Na Gig – PJ Harvey
    3. Taillight Fade – Buffalo Tom
    4. Metal Mickey – Suede
    5. Fast Piss Blues – Come
    6. Trigger Cut – Pavement
    7. Scum – Bark Psychosis
    8. My World Is Empty Without You – The Afghan Whigs
    9. Weekender – Flowered Up
    10. Car – Come
    11. Avenue – St Etienne
    12. Drive – REM
    13. Papua New Guinea – The Future Sound Of London
    14. Pretend We’re Dead – L7
    15. Dusted – Belly
    16. Leave Them All Behind – Ride
    17. The Blue Room – The Orb
    18. Gravity Grave – Verve
    19. Connected – Stereo MC’s
    20. Rubbing The Impossible To Burst EP – Huggy Bear

  4. 4
    Kat but logged out innit on 25 Nov 2011 #

    BUMPER year! Also is this in the Blog 92 series on purpose?

  5. 5
    Tom on 25 Nov 2011 #

    No! Gosh I wonder how it ended up there.

    I was back into reading the weekly music press by this point, for sure – I remember almost all of the tracks in #2 and #3. History has not smiled on some of them: I am fonder of more than I probably should be. A pretty fair snapshot of how much – 6 years after the hip-hop wars, 4 years after acid house – dance music and black music had dropped off the inkies’ agenda.

    Here’s the Select list – my favourite music mag at the time, and probably the most trusted by my fellow students too.

    1. Suede – Metal Mickey
    2. The Orb – The Blue Room
    3. The Klf – America: What Time Is Love?
    4. Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy – Television (The Drug Of The Nation)
    5. Stereo Mcs – Connected
    6. L7 – Pretend We’re Dead
    7. Future Sound Of London – Papua New Guinea
    8. Erasure – Abba-Esque
    9. Primal Scream -Dixie-Narco Ep
    10. Rem – Drive
    11. Pj Harvey – Sheela-Na-Gig
    12. Mouse Of Pain – Jump Around
    13. Denim – Middle Of The Road
    14. Arrested Development – Tennessee
    15. The Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode
    16. Sugar – Changes
    17. Suede – The Drowners
    18. Electronic – Disappointed
    19. Jesus And Mary Chain – Reverence
    20. Julian Cope – Fear Loves This Place
    21. U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (Perfectomix)
    22. Flowered Up – Weekender
    23. The Levellers – 15 Years
    24. Nick Cave – Straight To You
    25. En Vogue – My Lovin” (You’re Never Gonna Get It)
    26. Spiritualized – Medication
    27. Frank And Walters – The Happy Busman
    28. Joey Negro – Enter Your Fantasy Ep
    29. St Etienne – Join Our Club
    30. Madonna – Erotica
    31. Sonic Youth -Youth Against Fascism
    32. The Aphex Twin -Digeridoo Ep
    33. Morrissey – You’re The One For Me, Fatty
    34. Nirvana – Lithium
    35. The Shamen – Boss Drum
    36. Orbital – Halcyon
    37. Opus 3 – It’s A Fine Day
    38. Finitribe – Forevergreen
    39. Paul Weller – Uh-Huh Oh Yeah
    40. Carlene Davis – Dial My Number (Morales Mix)
    41. Ce Ce Peniston – Finally
    42. Come – Fast Piss Blues
    43. Right Said Fred – Deeply Dippy
    44. Shut Up And Dance – Raving I’m Raving
    45. Model 500 – The Passage
    46. Sl2 – On A Ragga Tip
    47. Smashing Pumpkins – I Am One
    48. The Sisters Of Mercy – Temple Of Love 1992
    49. Tc1992 – Funky Guitar
    50. Strangelove – Visionary Ep

    Uncomfortably straddling an NME/Face/Smash Hits/Q audience there.

  6. 6
    Rory on 25 Nov 2011 #

    Four from me: Shakespear’s Sister, Shamen, Charles & Eddie and Jimmy Nail.

    Australia’s number ones of 1992 had little overlap with the UK’s – some of which you should be very happy about indeed:

    Michael Jackson, “Black or White”, 3 weeks (after 5 in 1991)
    Salt-n-Pepa, “Let’s Talk About Sex”, 4 weeks
    Euphoria, “Love You Right”, 2 weeks
    Julian Lennon, “Saltwater”, 4 weeks
    The Twelfth Man featuring MCG Hammer, “Marvellous!”, 2 weeks
    Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Under the Bridge”, 4 weeks
    Mr. Big, “To Be with You”, 3 weeks
    Euphoria, “One in a Million”, 1 week
    Girlfriend, “Take It from Me”, 2 weeks
    Kris Kross, “Jump”, 3 weeks
    Vanessa Williams, “Save the Best for Last”, 1 week
    Richard Marx, “Hazard”, 3 weeks
    José Carreras and Sarah Brightman, “Amigos Para Siempre”, 6 weeks
    Bobby Brown, “Humpin’ Around”, 1 week
    Billy Ray Cyrus, “Achy Breaky Heart”, 7 weeks. Highest seller of the year.
    Boyz II Men, “End of the Road”, 4 weeks
    Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You”, 2 weeks (plus 8 in 1993)

  7. 7
    lex on 25 Nov 2011 #

    A year that finished strong after a largely dreadful start: Shakespear’s Sister is the only thing in the first 7 months that isn’t repulsive, but after that it’s all amazing all the time with Snap/Shamen/Tasmin Archer/Boyz II Men/Charles & Eddie/Whitney.

    Those critic lists are mostly dreadful (Suede at No 1, kmt) but some awesome memories dotted among them: En Vogue, Madonna, PJ Harvey (first step on her way to National Treasure status 19 years later!), Shanice (how this wasn’t every publication’s No 1 I have NO IDEA kmt), Pac, St Etienne, Opus III, CeCe Peniston, SL2…

  8. 8
    Billy Hicks on 25 Nov 2011 #

    Voted for Shakespear’s Sister, Shamen, Charles & Eddie, Snap, and the quirky awesomeness of Jimmy Nail. Felt awful not voting for Erasure, one of my fave bands ever, but it really isn’t one of their best releases.

    For me it’s another year where the rave ruled all, my fave track of ’92 is ‘Out of Space’ by The Prodigy. I didn’t discover it until 2004, but when it did it introduced me to a whole era of music I still love today – from there I discovered Opus III, SL2, etc, totally kicking ass over the mundane dross in the then-current pop charts.

    Praga Khan’s ‘Injected With A Poison’, Felix’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’ and KLF’s ‘America: What Time Is Love’ also all stand out for me!

  9. 9
    lonepilgrim on 25 Nov 2011 #

    Voted for four – and one of those was a sympathy vote.

    The Face singles of 1992 (courtesy of http://www.rocklist.net) were:

    1. Jamiroquai – When You Gonna Learn
    2. Arrested Development – People Everyday
    3. Prince – Sexy MF
    4. Us3 – Cantaloop
    5. Martine Girault – Revival
    6. Arrested Development – Tennessee
    7. House Of Pain – Jump Around
    8. Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod
    9. Flowered Up – Weekender
    10. Inner City – Hallelujah
    11. Stereo MC’s – Connected
    12. Yothu Yindi – Treaty
    13. St Etienne – Avenue
    14. Paul Weller – Uh Huh Oh Yeh
    15. DOP – Rockin’ To The Rhythm
    16. Jah Wobble – Vision Of You
    17. Future Sound Of London – Papua New Guinea
    18. Right Said Fred – Deeply Dippy
    19. Pete Rock and CL Smooth – Troy (They Reminisce…)
    20. Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness
    21. One Dove – Transient Truth
    22. Chaka Demus & Pliers – Murder She Wrote
    23. Tito Puente – Ran Kan Kan
    24. Primal Scream – Dixie Narco EP
    25. Nirvana – Lithium
    26. The Rockingbirds/St Etienne/Flowered Up – The Fred EP
    27. The Sandals – Nothing
    28. Kriss Kross – Jump
    29. Dina Carroll – Ain’t No Man
    30. Secret Life – As Always
    31. Young Disciples – Move On EP
    32. Inner City – Pennies From Heaven
    33. Wreckx N’ Effect – Rumpshaker
    34. Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy – Television
    35. Mombassa – Cry Freedom
    36. U2 – One
    37. Brand New Heavies – Stay This Way (remix)
    38. Sylvian/Sakamoto – Heartbeat
    39. Degrees Of Motion – Do You Want It Right Now
    40. L7 – Pretend We’re Dead
    41. Madonna – This Used To Be My Playground
    42. Melissa Morgan – Still In Love With You
    43. Des’ree – Feel So High
    44. EPMD – Crossover
    45. Teenage Fanclub – What You Do To Me
    46. Tom Waits – Goin’ Out West
    47. The Orb – Assassin
    48. The Rockingbirds – Gradually Learning
    49. World Series Of Life – Spread Love
    50. Shabba Ranks – Mr Loverman

  10. 10
    weej on 25 Nov 2011 #

    A SEVEN for me, though to be honest most of them were 6/10 jobs.

    Some great stuff in those magazine polls – Jump Around, Metal Mickey, Babies, Avenue, Didgeridoo, Middle Of The Road, Scum, Weekender, Jump, Papua New Guinea, Television (The Drug Of The Nation), The Blue Room… and elsewhere a great year for rap (Dr Dre, Snoop, Ice Cube) and rave (The Prodigy and many others we talked about on another thread)

  11. 11
    Steve Mannion on 25 Nov 2011 #

    Nice surprise to see ‘The Passage’ crept into that Select list – gorgeous work. Can’t say I am familar with ‘Fast Piss Blues’ tho.

    Ticked eight but only Snap and the Shamen are 8+

  12. 12
    LondonLee on 25 Nov 2011 #

    Only four for me. A combination of getting old, moving to the States/being disengaged from charts, and a lot of them being rubbish.

  13. 13
    Billy Smart on 25 Nov 2011 #

    Re #11. Neither was I… I was intrigued;


    Hm. I can see how if you really liked Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr and Nirvana, you’d think that all of your Christmases had come at once if you heard this. For someone like myself, I can’t say that its a towering work on the scale of Avenue or Weekender, though.

  14. 14
    thefatgit on 25 Nov 2011 #

    Peel list here:

    1. Bang Bang Machine Geek Love
    2. PJ Harvey Shee-La-Na-Gig
    3. Ministry Jesus Built My Hotrod
    4. Wedding Present Come Play With Me
    5. The Fall The Legend Of Xanadu
    6. The Fall Free Range
    7. Sonic Youth Youth Against Fascism
    8. Pavement Trigger Cut
    9. Babes In Toyland Bruise Violet
    10. Pavement Here
    11. Future Sound Of London Papua New Guinea
    12. The Fall Ed’s Babe
    13. The Jesus And Mary Chain Reverence
    14. Wedding Present Flying Saucer
    15. Suede The Drowners
    16. Sugar Changes
    17. Sonic Youth Sugar Kane
    18. Wedding Present Silver Shorts
    19. Wedding Present Love Slave
    20. The Orb Blue Room
    21. Sugar A Good Idea
    22. Babes In Toyland Handsome & Gretel
    23. Sonic Youth 100%
    24. Wedding Present Blue Eyes
    25. Dr Devious Cyber Dream
    26. Sonic Youth Theresa’s Sound World
    27. Pond Young Splendor
    28. Drop Nineteens Wynnona
    29. Datblygu Popeth
    30. Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy The Language Of Violence
    31. Frank & Walters Happy Bus Man
    32. Arcwelder Favour
    33. Therapy? Teethgrinder
    34. The Fall Kimble
    35. Pavement In The Mouth A Desert
    36. Love Cup Tearing Water
    37. Pavement Summer Babe
    38. Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy Television The Drug Of A Nation
    39. Boo Radleys Lazarus
    40. Ride Leave Them All Behind
    41. Wedding Present Sticky
    42. Pavement Circa 1762
    43. Drag Racing Underground On The Road Again
    44. KLF & Extreme Noise Terror 3AM Eternal
    45. Buffalo Tom Tailights Fade
    46. Wedding Present Falling
    47. Pavement Conduit For Sale
    48. Sugar Helpless
    49. Verve All In The Mind
    50. The Fall The Birmingham School Of Business School

  15. 15
    Billy Smart on 25 Nov 2011 #

    #5 MOUSE of Pain?

  16. 16
    tonya on 25 Nov 2011 #

    With swelling national pride over having a record about big butts atop the charts for FIVE weeks I present the US #1s:

    “Black or White” – Michael Jackson
    “All 4 Love” – Color Me Badd
    “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” – George Michael and Elton John
    “I’m Too Sexy” – Right Said Fred
    “To Be with You” – Mr. Big
    “Save the Best for Last” – Vanessa Williams
    “Jump” – Kris Kross
    “I’ll Be There” – Mariah Carey
    “Baby Got Back” – Sir Mix-a-Lot
    “This Used to Be My Playground” – Madonna
    “End of the Road” – Boyz II Men
    “How Do You Talk to an Angel” – The Heights
    “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston

  17. 17
    tonya on 25 Nov 2011 #

    And here’s Pazz and Jop:

    1.Arrested Development – Tennessee
    2.House Of Pain – Jump Around
    3.Kris Kross – Jump
    4.En Vogue – My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)
    5. Arrested Development – People Everyday
    5. Cypress Hill – How I Could Just Kill A Man/The Phuncky Feel One
    7.Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back
    8.U2 – One
    9.The Klf – Justified And Ancient
    10.Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover
    11.L7 – Pretend We’re Dead
    12.Tlc – Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg
    13.R.E.M. – Drive
    14. Das Efx – They Want Efx
    14. K.D. Lang – Constant Craving
    14. Prince & The New Power Generation – Sexy M.F.
    14. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under The Bridge
    14. Pete Rock & Cl Smooth – They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)
    14. Wreckx-N-Effect – Rump Shaker
    20. Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod
    20. Nirvana – Lithium
    20. Lisa Stansfield – Real Love
    20. Utah Saints – Something Good
    24. Arrested Development – Revolution
    24. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love
    24. Madonna – Erotica
    24. Bruce Springsteen – Human Touch
    24. Paul Westerberg – Dyslexic Heart

  18. 18
    AndyPandy on 25 Nov 2011 #

    My first ever “None of Them”* – very ironic considering the vast amounts of 1992 hardcore I have – nb the amount of music I really love released this year probably rivals any other year…I even found Number 1’s to tick in the overall musically dire years of 1985 and 1986.

    *The nearest was Jimmy Nail but I’m quite a strict judge and ‘AND’ isn’t really a 6.

  19. 19
    heather on 26 Nov 2011 #

    Looking at that MM list, this was actually my indiest year, not 1989 as I previously thought. I think I could sing you about 85% of that list even now.

  20. 20
    Mark M on 26 Nov 2011 #

    Not a great year, was it? When records as weary and wearying as the Mary Chain’s Reverence and REM’s Drive score so highly in various charts, you have to worry. Obviously, as in any year, there are some blinders: the Rockingbirds’ Gradually Learning, Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s TROY, Jump & Jump Around, My Lovin’, Arrested Development’s Tennessee…

  21. 21
    Mark M on 26 Nov 2011 #

    Re 2: Moonshake were formed by Dave Callahan, once of The Wolfhounds (combative C86 band much loved by the Manic Street Preachers). They leant in a then-fashionable Krautrock-and-dub direction, and as I remember were more admirable than actually enjoyable.

  22. 22
    swanstep on 26 Nov 2011 #

    @20, Mark M.. Reverence and Drive seemed pretty great to me at the time and I still play ’em today, but, hey, pace Lex, The Drowners b/w My Insatiable One & To the Birds is (on balance) the best single I’ve ever actually bought, so I’m in agreement with the UK critics lists on that front too.

    When I look at the lists, however, I’m struck by no Alice In Chains, Dirt, no NIN, Broken and no Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes. These were transformative records where I was (and they remain in pretty high rotation).

  23. 23
    swanstep on 27 Nov 2011 #

    Looking back, 1992 was Alison Krauss’s breakthrough year. I wasn’t listening to Bluegrass at the time, but Every time you say goodbye is the 1992 release I listen to most often now.

  24. 24
    DV on 29 Nov 2011 #

    hi dere. I am shocked at how well Shakespeare’s Sister (or SS – DYS?) are doing. They are enemies of pop, the ultimate rockist bollocks of someone leaving a much loved pop act to start making music for grown ups and suddenly reap critical kudos.

  25. 25
    weej on 30 Nov 2011 #

    If “rockist bollocks” is respecting someone because they’ve left a much loved pop act to start making music for grown-ups, then does “popist bollocks” mean automatically hating someone for doing the same?

  26. 26
    Pete on 30 Nov 2011 #

    Like Charlie Busted?

  27. 27

    The Vicar asserts that pop is only for kids: none more rockist! Indeed, #TROLLFAIL

  28. 28
    wichita lineman on 30 Nov 2011 #

    Drive, an odd first single, was apparently written with David Essex’s Rock On in mind. I can’t say that Drive or Reverence are REM or J&MC’s best singles but there’s plenty more to love, and experimentation to admire, in those lists.

  29. 29
    Tom on 30 Nov 2011 #

    Oddly enough I do think Drive is my favourite REM song, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why as clearly it’s also a dirge, but I keep coming back to it in a way I never do the rest of their stuff.

  30. 30
    Tom on 30 Nov 2011 #

    Single, not song. “You Are The Everything” is my favourite REM song I’m pretty sure.

  31. 31
    wichita lineman on 30 Nov 2011 #

    Good call on YATE. Truly evocative lyric; it reminds me of being to driven to my Nan’s house in Dorking at night, lying on the backseat, watching the streetlights whizzing past, with David Bowie’s terrifying Bewlay Brothers on the car radio.

    I’ve been doing a lot of REM re-appraising recently, so much easier now they are no longer functioning (conclusion largely as expected: cut-off point is Automatic For The People, with Up as the true ‘comeback album’). I was trying to think of someone else whose stock would rise if they quit tomorrow and thought of Stereolab (aware that I might be in a glasshouse with a brick in my hand).

  32. 32
    LondonLee on 30 Nov 2011 #


    REM-wise I remember being quite surprised that a lot of people hated ‘Shiny Happy People’ (indie snobbery maybe?) because I loved it.

  33. 33
    wichita lineman on 30 Nov 2011 #

    Pre-Automatic For The People, REM had a habit of sticking out singles which were clearly aimed at breaking out of their ‘indie’ fanbase. The reason I didn’t like them is that, for such an oblique and atmospheric group, these songs were so grindingly obvious. Some were ok (It’s The End Of The World As We Know It), but Stand and Shiny Happy People came over as nursery rhymes that spelt out i.r.o.n.i.c. for the ignoramus. “Look everybody! It’s a POP song! Like an advertising JINGLE! Geddit??!!!”

    Patronising to their (presumed as anti-pop) fanbase and condescending to actual pop fans, I think these tracks really mar the 87-92 albums. I prefer my irony from Homer Simpson (“ooooh! and what is this magical beast?”), which is no less subtle.

  34. 34
    Ed on 1 Dec 2011 #

    #30 and 31. Yes! ‘You Are The Everything’ is not my favorite REM song (that is ‘Perfect Circle’, probably), but it is their (Stipe’s?) greatest lyric, I think. They often aim for that everyday epiphany, but on YATE they achieve it more idiosyncratically, and more vividly, than anywhere else. “And you’re drifting off to sleep, with your teeth in your mouth” is pretty close to perfection: one of those phrases that just embeds itself in your consciousness.

  35. 35
    DietMondrian on 1 Dec 2011 #

    ~#34 – reading the front page, where in the “latest comments” section it says “#30 and 31. Yes! ‘You Are The Everything’ is not my favorite REM song…”, as I moved the cursor to click on the link the line “with your teeth in your mouth” immediately popped into my mind.

  36. 36
    Ed on 2 Dec 2011 #

    #8 And amen to that, too. ‘Out of Space’ is probably my favourite of the year, tied with ‘Avenue’. (Just ahead of ‘One’ and ‘Baby Got Back’.)

    But check all those critics’ lists: it is not on any of them. I don’t really remember the early critical reaction to the Prodigy, but were they a case of Stooges-scale “getting it wrong”, in the sense of initial disdain having to be reversed in the face of manifest brilliance?

    Wikipedia describes ‘Experience’ as “critically acclaimed”, but I am not sure I believe it. Of the reviews I have found online, Christgau called it “irritating”, and Q gave it three stars, in a classic case of not wanting to be fusty about this new-fangled “rave” business.

  37. 37
    Izzy on 2 Dec 2011 #

    They got some perfunctory coverage in the music press I think, on basis of being actually popular with young people presumably, but as I recall it wasn’t ’til they dirtied up their image a bit around the likes of ‘Poison’ that they started to get taken seriously. I’d guess this because they could then be lumped in with crustiness and kill the bill and all that, rather than frivolities like incredible tunes, genuine popularity and having a good time.

    Another reason is that it’s hard to know what to do with an act that breaks with a novelty record. It’s ludicrous nowadays, when ‘Charly’, ‘Everybody In The Place’ and ‘Out Of Space’ (those opening chords!) are as thrilling a triptych as it’s possible to imagine, but I reckon the press couldn’t tell the difference between them and Smart-Es or whoever did the Roobarb & Custard song.

  38. 38
    Tom on 2 Dec 2011 #

    “Out Of Space” was the highlight of every student disco I went to in my first year at University (a lot of them DJed by FT’s own Pete Baran, to be fair). I think that single was what primed the music press to pay more attention when “No Good (Start The Dance)”, “Poison” etc rolled round.

    I think Select was pretty keen on Experience though so it wasn’t total press dismissiveness. But IIRC that review was quite combatitively contrarian – as if the idea that rave was brilliant pop was something which had to be sold hard to a wary public, rather than an obvious ‘fact on the ground’.

    Roobarb And Custard was Shaft, who turned out to be respected ambient bods in disguise I think: Global Communication, wasn’t it?

  39. 39
    punctum on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Yep, Tom Middleton and the other bloke.

    Experience got 4 out of 10 in the NME from old hippie Kris Needs. The Expanded 2CD version with all the single mixes is on a good day in my all-time top ten albums.

    Also, fact fans, Experience is the all-time favourite album of Des O’Connor!

  40. 40
    hilker on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Tom Middleton wasn’t in Shaft, it was Mark Pritchard (the other one from Global Communication, more recently Harmonic 313 and Africa HiTech on Warp) and someone called Adrian Hughes.

  41. 41
    AndyPandy on 3 Dec 2011 #

    And the strange thing is that with the rock press taking notice of the Prodigy the fanbase/raves/pirates no longer no longer had any interest in him (I’ll not say “them” as I always found the whole idea that it was a “group” and not just Liam Howlett also may have had something to do with “impressing” the rock critics/rock audience/America.

    I suppose a brief period ending with ‘Start The Dance’ (if the music press had started to listen by then) was the only time when the ravers and the rock world overlapped.

  42. 42
    lex on 3 Dec 2011 #

    Even at the age of 14 I though the music press suddenly jumping on the Prodigy’s dick in ’97 was gross. Like, just as their music became heavy-handed and terrible (though I do love “Breathe”) people finally caught up just because of the stupid “Firestarter” video? UGHHH.

  43. 43
    Izzy on 3 Dec 2011 #

    If ‘Out Of Space’ is what softened up the press for them (#38), it must have been the sample what done it. A kids’ safety ad and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown spell novelty and therefore ‘not serious’, but an obscurish reggae tune would be just the hook nme needed to make them okay to like.

    I’m sure there have been other novelty-to-credible career paths, but I can’t think of any right now. Stevie Wonder, sort of?

  44. 44
    Billy Smart on 8 Dec 2011 #

    NME Readers Poll Best Single of 1992

    1 The Drowners – Suede
    2 Motorcycle Emptiness – Manic Street Preachers
    3 Metal Mickey – Suede
    4 The Only Living Boy In New Cross – Carter USM
    5 Drive – REM
    6 Changes – Sugar
    7 Lithium – Nirvana
    8 Ebeneezer Goode – The Shamen
    9 Armchair Anarchist – Kingmaker
    10 The Blue Room – The Orb
    = Leave Them All Behind – Ride
    = Goodbye – The Sundays

  45. 45
    Billy Smart on 8 Dec 2011 #

    Melody Maker Readers Poll Best Single of 1992

    1 The Drowners – Suede
    2 Metal Mickey – Suede
    3 Friday I’m In Love – The Cure
    4 Motorcycle Emptiness – Manic Street Preachers
    5 Drive – REM
    6 Youth Against Fascism – Sonic Youth
    7 Sheela Na Gig – PJ Harvey
    8 All In The Mind – Verve
    9 The Blue Room – The Orb
    10 Connected – Stereo MC’s

  46. 46
    chelovek na lune on 8 Dec 2011 #

    #43, Depeche Mode come periliously close to fitting that template I’d say.

    Plinky-plonky keyboard-pop with rather twee and overly cute lyrics > odd hint of something more > pseudo-political pop with naive but oh-so-well-intentioned lyrics (and the odd S&M reference) > BLACK CELEBRATION AND ALL THAT FOLLOWED SHEER WONDERFULNESS

    (Correction: SHAKE THE DISEASE was the first fully-formed hint of just how very very very brilliant they could be)

    1992 wasn’t really such a great year for music, was it?

  47. 47
    anto on 8 Dec 2011 #

    Am I looking at the same lists as everyone else? If anything this is the point where I really get interested. I can see several songs in those polls that basically made my school days bearable.

  48. 48
    Mark M on 9 Dec 2011 #

    Re 47: No, you’re not looking at the same list as most of the other people responding to the list
    insofar as you were at a different point in your life, with different needs. You were at the point where music often matters most – my equivalent would have been 1986-7. In 1992 I finished university and climbed on to the very lowest rungs of professional writing about music, something that almost put me off recorded sound for good…

  49. 49
    DietMondrian on 9 Dec 2011 #

    #43 – might I suggest David Bowie?

    Novelty hit – Space Oddity*. Early history of similar novelty stuff (e.g. The Laughing Gnome, Please Mr Gravedigger). Then a gap of a couple of years before critical approval starts building around Hunky Dory/Ziggy Stardust.**

    * I love Space Oddity, but it can be seen as a novelty, no? Title punning on 2001: A Space Odyssey, song cashing in on same and moon landing, gimmicky use of Stylophone.

    ** I admit I don’t know if this is a true reflection of Bowie’s critical status at the time.

  50. 50
    Mark G on 9 Dec 2011 #

    Novelty to Srs? Blimey endless:

    Jeff Beck, Kraftwerk, Mike Batt, etc..

    How about Novelty to “attempted to be srs”, Babylon Zoo for example?

  51. 51
    Steve Mannion on 9 Dec 2011 #

    #46 re ’1992 wasn’t really such a great year for music, was it?’

    Maybe we should do a ‘tick all the years you think featured a sufficient amount of great music’ poll as I wouldn’t mind seeing just how many people think otherwise.

  52. 52
    wichita lineman on 11 Dec 2011 #

    That would be interesting, Steve – I wonder about consensus good/bad years. I think because of my age, and the average age of commenters, I’d swim against the tide by saying 1984 was a rotten year – not necessarily for its no.1s, though, but beyond the rise of the Smiths and the odd electro or hi-NRG record it felt like the heart of the eighties vacuum.

    Is there already a way of seeing how people rate years by their no.1s?

  53. 53
    AndyPandy on 11 Dec 2011 #

    1984 still had enough electro/early hiphop and the very very end of the old jazz-funk scene to put it ahead of 1985 and 1986 – IMHO they were absolutely abysmal although I agree 1984 was pretty dire too.

    Ironic really that I dislike those years so intensely when the 1980’s was “my decade” (ie the whole of my youth falling amongst those ten years) and with 1980-83 and 1988-89 as good as it gets in any decade for me.

  54. 54
    thefatgit on 12 Dec 2011 #

    I’d be inclined to suggest 1981 – 1984 were very good years, but 1985 saw the Old Guard (courtesy of Live Aid) barge New Pop off the road. 1987 – 1989 sees the next decade ushered in early IMO.

  55. 55
    lex on 12 Dec 2011 #

    There is no such thing as a good or bad year for music! Every year I’ve been a music fan has been an AMAZING year for music. Sometimes you have to look in different directions to other years but that’s your responsibility, not the music’s.

  56. 56
    wichita lineman on 12 Dec 2011 #

    Oh, Lex. Of course you’re right, but try picking the bones out of ’75!

    Andy and Fatgit, I’m guessing we’re all of a similar age. If I’d been 12 in 1984 I’d probably have found Frankie more interesting (I like the idea way more than the music) and would’ve by Live Aid in a John Cravens Newsround kind of way. I was 19, though, and quite aware that a golden era was ending with my teens.

    1985 and ’86 saw me embrace fanzine culture and C86 so I found a lot there to get excited about. But outside of that, zip. Jack The Groove was a way out of a black hole, followed by Beat Dis, Acid Tracks, Strings Of Life…

  57. 57
    Mark G on 12 Dec 2011 #

    1975 means ‘UK pop’ reggae, Soul before it became Disco, and teh Glam.

  58. 58
    punctum on 12 Dec 2011 #

    #55: That’s not the point. The general wellbeing is what is absorbed and recalled. There were a thousand great records released in 1983 for example but it was still a shit year for music.

  59. 59
    thefatgit on 12 Dec 2011 #

    I don’t think it would have mattered if I was 12 or 22 (I was 18 fwiw), I was totally sucked in by ZTT’s studio-trickery and neo-constructivism. The music varied in quality, but I still get goosebumps with Frankie and Propaganda.

    And Lex, I don’t think I singled out a particularly “bad” year. You’re right about looking in the right places for thrills, but unless you are really committed in your search, some years have fewer thrills than others.

  60. 60
    wichita lineman on 12 Dec 2011 #

    And other stuff happens in your life.

    Dr Mabuse was one of my absolute favourite singles of ’84 by the way FG.

    Mark, soul before disco? I’d say not. But I love Shame Shame Shame and The Moments’ Girls regardless. Early disco, more like, with soul singers trying to squeeze into the newly regimented beat. Glam was dead in the water.

  61. 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

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 65
    AndyPandy on 13 Dec 2011 #

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

  66. 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?)

  67. 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.

  68. 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!).

  69. 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.

  70. 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”.

  71. 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.

  72. 72
    punctum on 13 Dec 2011 #

    Since when is any of these a “novelty”?

  73. 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.

  74. 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).

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 77
    Mark G on 13 Dec 2011 #

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

  78. 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

  79. 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!

  80. 80
    punctum on 14 Dec 2011 #

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

  81. 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.

  82. 82
    punctum on 14 Dec 2011 #

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

  83. 83
    Weej on 14 Dec 2011 #

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

  84. 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.

  85. 85
    wichita lineman on 14 Dec 2011 #

    Signifier, I meant.

  86. 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!

  87. 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:

  88. 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

  89. 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.

  90. 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.

  91. 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!!


  92. 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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