Welcome to Part Two of my grand gazetteer of the year 1993 in music through its UK Top 75 hit singles. I listened to around 1,100 – which is to say, virtually all – singles that charted that year. I have appeared on David Lichfield’s STORMERS podcast here, where I introduce and talk about five of my favourites – while also being put on the spot about every number 1 that year! In this article, I reveal my loosely ordered Top 25, plus a separate Top 25 of my favourites which are just available via YouTube videos. Here is my full Spotify playlist will all 75 selections; please listen!
Firstly, some other tracks which struck me, whether good, bad, baffling or surprisingly better than expected…
Let’s get the truly woeful over with first! The following three veer on Worst 200 Songs territory:
- Go West – STILL IN LOVE (just dismal)
- Garry Lee and Showdown – THE RODEO SONG (objectionable attitude to this and banal swearing! Shite),
- Covidiots Right Said Fred – BUMPED. (Awful leery cover of HITS! shows on Spotify. Whoever tells you they are mad or whacky totally isn’t. A lesson again proved by this dismal tripe. “Timbuktu. De ja vu, hoooo!” “Turtle dove”… How punchable is the singer due to his forced laugh and smug tone (see 1:15-1:38)!?)
These were actually considerably better than I’d have expected beforehand! I don’t care about credibility, one iota! 😉
- Genesis – TELL ME WHY (a left-wing or at least social liberal conscience after all that went down in the 1980s?)
- Phil Collins – BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY (ditto)
- World Party – IS IT LIKE TODAY? (slacker Americana type ramshackle and affable feel, a more mainstream Sufjan Stevens even!? And YOU’VE GOT ME THINKING is serene stuff, hints of dance)
- Duran Duran – COME UNDONE (deft liquid melancholy)
- Jellyfish – THE GHOST AT NUMBER ONE (a fair Beach Boys pastiche) & ‘New Mistake’ (similar, if a bit more Supertramp)
- The Time Frequency per se; theirs is a great, very 1993 album cover, and their music, while unremarkable is breezy Scottish eurodance pop.
- M. People – HOW CAN I LOVE YOU MORE? (actually, this is tremendous; I’d also really disliked them via just how prevalent and overplayed certain songs were in the mid and late-1990s.
As with probably any year, there were a wearying number of pointless, crap, cash-in cover versions. By far the best reissued song in 1993 was Edwin Starr – WAR. Co-written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Temptations and it is on the Psychedelic Shack album (released June 1970). An utterly magnificent track that loses none of its power: Whitfield produces. Other notable “oldies”: Prince – CONTROVERSY, Barry Manilow – COPACABANA, Sister Sledge – THINKING OF YOU, Sophie B. Hawkins – I WANT YOU (Bob Dylan).
I also found the following interesting or notable in varied ways:
– The Shamen – RE:EVOLUTION (what does it sound like? Malcolm Clarke’s out-there soundtrack to 1972 Doctor Who serial ‘The Sea Devils’, that’s what!) & POSSIBLE WORLDS – IMAGINARY MIX (ace psychedelic dance)
– Fluke – SLID (odd Jagger-esque vocal amid a lengthy dance track)
– Hardfloor TRANCESCRIPT (proper hypnotic techno, sliding into trance?)
– Belly – GEPETTO (excellent)
– Donald Fagen – TOMORROW’S GIRLS (nifty enough from the Steely Dan player)
– k.d. Lang – MISS CHATELAINE (Francophile with accordions)
– Buju Banton – MAKE MY DAY (hazy eerie high vocals behind the chorus. Dancehall from Kingston, Jamaica. He has apologised for a 1992 homophobic track)
– Mad Cobra – LEGACY (Ewart Everett Brown, aka. Mad Cobra doesn’t really sound like the name! Chilled soul uncoils. Ragga type vocalist too, or is that the MC Mad Cobra? Pretty good. Sadly, he was yet another dancehall vocalist guilty of writing homophobic lyrics, though)
– McKoy – FIGHT (CITY LICK MIX) (bit baffling, funk, hip hop with prominent vibraphone, which is always good. Interesting curio!)
– David Sylvian & Robert Fripp – JEAN THE BIRDMAN (as odd as you’d hope!)
– Spiritualized – ELECTRIC MAINLINE (psychedelic drone from Rugby; very good stuff)
– The Cat – TONGUE TIED (it features in a Red Dwarf episode ‘Parallel Universe’, 1988, in a dream sequence; Danny John Jules sings, Naylor and Grant lyrics and Howard Goodall music. Fairly acute RnB pastiche. Key change!)
– Eskimos & Egypt – FALL FROM GRACE (sounds very like Super Hans and Jez’s music from the Channel Four sitcom Peep Show. It has its moments, but is over-egged. “I’m talking to the human race!”; there’s another one that rants on about “UK-USA”…)
– Dina Carroll – EXPRESS (Dina had as many as five hits in 1993, four of which feel like identical ballads, but this is more upbeat. It is archetypal libertarian neoliberal stuff. Freedom of choice. A focus on openly showing emotions. Quite body-centric too. This is individualism writ large, in its heyday)
– Lisa B. – GLAM (notable instance of enticing 1990s hedonism)
– Freak Power – TURN ON, TUNE IN, COP OUT (This has Ashley Slater vocal and Norman Cook produces. Massive in 1995 due to featuring in a Levi’s ad. Very retro, more than acid jazz or trip hop which they are supposed to be. Admittedly well done.
– Midnight Oil – IN THE VALLEY (and several other pleasingly earnest ones)
– Chumbawamba & Credit To The Nation – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (I don’t like most of Chumbawamba’s hits from 1993, but this one is damnably catchy!)
– Blaggers I.T.A. – STRESSS & OXYGEN (Riot Grrrl is rightly now remembered a bit more, e.g. the enjoyable, thoughtful film Moxie; this sort of thing is very much in parallel, I suppose. Carter USM but not as mainstream)
– Marxman feat. Sinead O’Connor – SHIP AHOY (more leftist hits; The Levellers with flute and dance beats. More anarcho-punk than Marxist?)
– Dinosaur Jr. – OUT THERE (a trudging, slacker grunge type tune. Closer to the sort of melancholy of a Daniel Johnston or Sparklehorse. GOOD)
– Brad – 20TH CENTURY (Grunge, nicely organ led. Bit psychedelic. The album cover is a fine, weird photograph of masked figures)
– Iron Maiden – HALLOWED BE THY NAME (I am not into heavy metal on the whole, but would say this is a good melancholy tune and plays up the melodrama)
– Little Angels – SAIL AWAY (sailor boys, Quayside. This is deft, very strings and harmonica based. [Alan Bennett voice]: They’re from Scarborough. Not many bands are…)
Now, for that moment every discerning 1993 reader and listener has been waiting for. My Top 25 hit singles from 1993 that are on Spotify…! Seasonally, such a mix, 9 of these are actually from the autumn months… While 3 were Top 10 hits, a further 8 reached between #11-40 in the charts and 14 charted from #41-75.
#25: Pet Shop Boys – I WOULDN’T NORMALLY DO THIS KIND OF THING
(11/12/1993, #13, 7 weeks; Parlophone, CSR 6370)
There had to be something from Messrs Tennant and Lowe here: Northerners transplanted to London; this is from one of their finest albums, Very (1993).
#24: DJ Hype – SHOT IN THE DARK (Gunshot Mix)
(20/03/1993, #63, 1 week; Suburban Base, SUBBASE 20CD)
Hardcore, DnB, why aye. DJ Hype is Kevin Elliot Ford, a DJ and record producer who also founded the pirate radio station Fantasy FM. Suburban Base was started from the Boogie Times record shop in Romford by Dan Donnelly and had released Smart E’s ‘Sesame’s Treet’ (1992).
#23: Martyn Joseph – PLEASE SIR
(09/01/1993, #45, 3 weeks; Epic, 6588552)
This is among the earliest songs on my Spotify playlist. Joseph was born in the coastal town of Penarth in South Wales in 1960. This reflects on family, working-class community and deindustrialisation and contains an anger at social class inequalities and powerlessness to rival the Manics, frankly. Folk anger from the UK’s Celtic fringe, again an anti-establishment release from Epic.
#22: Ground Level – DREAMS OF HEAVEN (Candlelight Mix 7″)
(30/01/1993, #54, 2 weeks; Faze 2, CDFAZE 14)
This opens as almost early 1980s synth pop – OMD et al – but from 1:15 picks up as an exciting dance tune. Ground Level were an Australian duo: David Walker from Melbourne and singer Jean Marie Guilfoil from Wisconsin, USA. This has a ood, straightforward lyric and expectant music. Faze 2 was a house/rave label based in London NW1.
#21: Duran Duran – ORDINARY WORLD
(30/01/1993, #6, 9 weeks; Parlophone, CDDDS 16)
One of a few other early 1980s mainstays still to be charting, like OMD and Simple Minds. Though the latter certainly never produced a song of this calibre post-1982. They were formed in Birmingham in 1978, with singer Simon Le Bon born in 1958 in Bushey, Hertfordshire. This is a song of real gracefulness and heft.
#20: 10,000 Maniacs – CANDY EVERYBODY WANTS
(10/04/1993, #47, 3 weeks; Elektra EKR, 160CD1)
This is, as the video emphasises, a barbed critique of consumerism and advertising in ‘sweet-centred’ indie pop form. This band were formed in 1981 in Jamestown, NY, where singer Natalie Merchant was born in 1963. The attitude and musical style reminds me of Mary Margaret O’Hara and Kirsty MacColl: high praise. There is a fine live version with Michael Stipe singing with Merchant here.
#19: TC 1993 – HARMONY
(10/07/1993, #51, 2 weeks; Union City, UCRD 20)
Seems more proper house stuff than most. Good, very danceable. “Everybody shake a hand, make a friend” is a part of the song and this and “harmony, my sisters and brothers” is sampled from The Temptations’s ‘Friendship Train’ from Psychedelic Shack album recorded at the turn of the decade and released on 06/03/1970. Italo. Bergamo, North East of Milan in Lombardy region of Italy. Mark Fisher’s psychedelic Acid Communism writ large!
This is my favourite mix of it, the most spacious, with best nifty synth work and most use of varied parts of The Temptations track. MASSIVE! :
#18: The Boo Radleys – WISH I WAS SKINNY
(23/10/1993, #75, 1 week; Creation, CRESCD 169)
Underdog indie, openly so in the lyric. This band, active from 1988-1999 (and who I think have returned this year?), were founded in Wallasey, Merseyside. Singer Martin Carr was born in Thurso, Scotland but raised on the Wirral Peninsula. The label, of course, was founded in 1983 by Alan McGee, Dick Green and Joe Foster. Likeably jangly, this, from an expansive, fine LP Giant Steps.
#17: Caron Wheeler – BEACH OF THE WAR GODDESS
(11/09/1993, #75, 1 week; EMI, CDEM 282)
This is good, unusual. ‘A contender!’ I said in my notes and, aye, it deserves this high placing. Wheeler was born in 1963 in Acton, London. This song is from the album of the same title (1992); it is impossible to pigeonhole, with Acid Jazz, RnB and chanting of the Yoruba Victory Prayer from Fabemi Fashina – Yoruba is a language associated with parts of Nigeria, Benin and Togo. There are raps too from Kundalini and Cinderella MC. This is brilliantly produced by Derek Johnson, a guitarist who has worked with Alton Ellis and John Holt among others and has a fascination from the African Diaspora’s musical styles.
#16: Staxx feat. Carol Leeming – JOY
(02/10/1993, #25, 6 weeks; Champion, CHAMPCD 303)
A paradox of major key title and minor key chords. Great perennial early 1990s synth sounds. This feels like a particular mix of De’Lacy’s ‘Hideaway’ (1995) with the pinched, unique horizons of Bassline House. Or, a British take on Eurodance with its commanding vocal from Leicester-born Carol Leeming vocal. The song was written by Staxx who were Simon Thorne and Tom Jones (not that one!). Their four singles from 1993-97 were released by Mel Medalie’s Champion, a London label which generally put out soul, dance and house. The video has Carol and others in an abandoned swimming pool. The version there is more upbeat than the one I listened to via Spotify… Both are excellent, though. The initial one I listened to seemed to be a 2009 version. StoneBridge do a remix of it on that single too. 1997 remix reached #14, did 4 weeks then.
This is a great expanded version with added scat vocals, house piano, orchestra hit and an organ which feels akin to Bark Psychosis:
#15: System 7 – 7:7 EXPANSION
(13/02/1993, #39, 1 week; Butterfly, BFLD 2)
Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy’s techno and plangent prog interface, founded in 1990. Both had been former members of the psychedelic space rock collective Gong. That it spent just one week in the Top 75 despite entering in the Top 40 suggests a notable fanbase. Clearly, Hillage was one veteran (born London in 1951) very much able to reinvent himself and expand his musical reach, as evinced by his collaborations with The Orb. His 1979 LP Rainbow Dome Musick is tremendous new age ambient. This is more than good stuff: it almost invents Forest Swords in the evocative sampled choral vocals – twenty years before the Wirral’s Matthew Barnes released Engravings.
#14: Shakespears Sister – MY 16TH APOLOGY
(27/02/1993, #61, 1 week; London, LONCD 337)
I love this gleefully messy voicing of erring, apologising humanity. They were ‘formed’ in 1988 with Bananarama’s Siobhan Fahey joined in 1989 by Marcella Detroit. They were from Dublin (born 1958) and Detroit, MI (1952) respectively: great cities yielding great performers. This, from later in the same month as #15, was the lead track of an EP and feels – perhaps just to me – like a unique brew of Kate Bush, The Beautiful South and The Shangri-Las: also charting ground later traversed very well by Alisha’s Attic and Sing Sing.
#13: P. J. Harvey – MAN-SIZE
(17/07/1993, #42, 2 weeks; Island, CID 569)
This is just extraordinary. It feels like Polly Jean Harvey (born Bridport, Somerset, 1969) represents a new generation fully breaking through – using a unique rock idiom that isn’t slavishly tied to the past, Godot, or anything… The same year’s 50ft QUEENIE is also great.
#12: Urban Cookie Collective – THE KEY, THE SECRET
(10/07/1993, #2, 16 weeks; Pulse 8, CDLOSE 48)
This is a bit rave, bit Eurodance; vocals Diane Charlemagne. Written by Rohan Heath (born 1964), son of Guyanese Roy Heath, supposed to be a great short story writer and author of The Georgetown Trilogy. This song was actually about taking magic mushrooms. Also good: ‘Feels Like Heaven’, again with Diane Charlemagne vocals. Excellent dance pop. There was a remix that charted in 1996. For me, Manchester’s Diane Charlemagne (1964-2019) is one of the voices of the 1990s, singing the remarkable lead vocal to Goldie’s ‘Inner City Life’.
#11: Björk & David Arnold – PLAY DEAD
(23/10/1993, #12, 6 weeks; Island, CID 573)
This is co-written by Jah Wobble (born Stepney, London, 1958) and Björk (born Reykjavík, Iceland, 1965) featuring David Arnold (born Luton, 1962). Björk was asked to write the melody and lyrics for the song, while Wobble wrote the bass part and Arnold composed the score – with these vast strings – which Björk described as a “greatest hits of what’s in the film” – crime drama The Young Americans (dir. Danny Cannon, 1993). If #8 is a reaching out to a non-existent, idealised spacey other, this is the grounded answer song from an actual woman mired in “A place called Hate, the City of Fear”, playing dead to “stop the hurting”.
#10: Sybil – WHEN I’M GOOD AND READY
(20/03/1993, #5, 13 weeks; PWL International, PWCD 260)
I am delighted that this did so well in the charts: tastes converging! Sybil was born in Paterson, NJ in 1966 and this flows with waterfall-like pop modernism. It is assertive, plaintive and deftly produced by Mike Stock (born Margate, Kent, 1951) and Pete Waterman (born Coventry, 1947). I am hearing not just waterfalls, but mills, jaunty boozers and car factories. There is nothing ‘lightweight’ about a song speaking of love and consent. Hedonism and escape? Yes, but with clear, mutual human dialogue. A remix in 1997 reached #66.
#9: The Lemonheads – IT’S ABOUT TIME
(27/11/1993, #57, 2 weeks; Atlantic A, 7296CD)
One of my favourite songs from the excellent Boston, MA band, led by Evan Dando (born Essex, MA, 1967). Not an official answer record to #10, but a tremendous burst of “SUNSHINE!” as Juliana Hatfield sings as part of her glorious backing vocals.
#8: The Beloved – OUTERSPACE GIRL
(14/08/1993, #38, 2 weeks; East West, YZ 726CD)
The aqueous video to this dance stormer also has a motif of clocks and time, alongside copious flora. A Cambridge band who released 3 albums from 1990 to 1996. Originally formed as the Journey Through in 1983, they were renamed The Beloved in 1984 doing two Peel sessions the next year. Jon Marsh on vocals. His wife Helena Marsh had joined by this point, and they were now a duo. EastWest label was originally launched in 1957 by Atlantic Recording Corporation, but disappeared a year later, only to return in 1990. Of course they remain best known for the sublime ‘The Sun Rising’ from autumn 1989. Also on the 1993 album Conscience, ‘You’ve Got Me Thinking’ is serene dance stuff. The languid but propulsive ‘Outerspace Girl’ is at the sort of winsome, expansive interface between song and techno later shown by The Aloof in 1996. Or perhaps a less abrasive Underworld…
#7: Björk – VENUS AS A BOY
(04/09/1993, #29, 4 weeks; One Little Indian, 122 TP7CD)
#6: Monie Love – IN A WORD OR 2
(12/06/1993, #33, 3 weeks; Cooltempo CDCOOL 273)
This is lovely loving stuff, serene music, like Prince blended with Saint Etienne; Monie born Simone Gooden in Battersea, London on 2 July 1970. A protégé of Queen Latifah. She recorded 2 albums. Cooltempo was a London W6 label which started releasing stuff in 1984. Sylvester, Phil Fearon, Doug E. Fresh, Paul Hardcastle, later… Adeva, Gang Starr, Kenny Thomas, Danny B, Innocence. This is the sound of love.
Now for my top 5 from the year, as unveiled on David Lichfield’s stormers podcast: 1993. Only one reached the Top 40, the other 4 charting in the Top 75.
#5: The Other Two – SELFISH
(06/11/1993, #46, 2 weeks; London, TWOCD 1)
The Other Two were Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, Macclesfield, Cheshire. New Order side project. Gilbert, born 1961 in Whalley Range, Manchester, is lead vocalist. Gillian’s are Mekons or Alison Statton (Young Marble Giants) type vocals alongside deft, synth pop. Buoyant chords underscore lyrics which I assume concern romantic jealousy, paranoia and suspicion, with “No sense of reason”. New Order had several singles in 1993. I’ll go out on a limb and argue that this Strawberry Switchblade-like delight is up there with ‘Regret’ and much better than the others.
#4: Meat Beat Manifesto – MINDSTREAM
(20/02/1993, #55, 1 week; Play It Again Sam, BIAS 232CD)
John Stephen Corrigan aka. Jack Dangers, a vintage synthesiser enthusiast, born in Swindon in 1965. Jonny Stevens aka. Fire Escape. The band formed in Swindon in 1987. This is industrial hip hop, even leading to big beat and trip hop. Some have even said Illbient! El-P, Dalek, Locust, though I think the best comparison for this has to be the great Underworld. Corrigan had been part of Swindon band Perennial Divide who released Purge (1986) LP. MBM have released 12 albums over their 34 years, the last so far in 2019. Play It Again Sam Records was based in Brussels in Belgium, founded in 1984. It’s now known as PIAS and has an SE1, London base; they have released Front 242, The Young Gods, Vitalic, Simian Mobile Disco, New Fast Automatic Daffodils and, best of all, the Legendary Pink Dots’ Island of Jewels (1986) LP. On 13 December 1992, they’d done a pretty sound Peel Session, but for me, nothing on that quite matches ‘Mindstream’.
The video seems to be a different version to the album version on Spotify. Whichever, though, well, wow… Sublime lap steel guitar. This speaks to 2021 with its lyrics concerning sensory overload and things so easily slipping from the mind. But, “PEACE” and “LOVE” emerge to the surface repeatedly towards the end. As they must, more broadly.
#3: Back to the Planet – DAYDREAM
(04/09/1993, #52, 1 week; Parallel, LLLCD 8)
Erik Satie Gymnopedies opening loomed. Anarcho-punk band from Peckham, this is an oddity. Punk dance wistfulness, has a plangent hazy rawness to it. The Geezer on keyboards. The great vocals are by Fil Walters, aka. Fil Planet. In 1994 they contributed to an anti-Criminal Justice Bill compilation, putting them into the company of the righteous. They met squatting in Peckham in 1989, Rodney Trotter just out of shot. This was actually one of two #52 hits they had in 1993 after ‘Teenage Turtles’, a trenchant attack on the early 90s pop culture phenomenon. Both were on Parallel Records, a short-lived 1990s UK label. They did three or four cassettes or albums of art pop, alternative dance or anarcho-indie finishing up with Messages After the Bleep… in 1995.
Revel in sublime dreams from a squat. Try and remember this 1990s and live anew through its inspiration.
Here’s a TV appearance of them performing ‘Daydream’ on the top of a roof.
#2: One Dove – BREAKDOWN (radio mix)
(16/10/1993, #24, 3 weeks; Boy’s Own, BOICD 15)
This was One Dove’s biggest hit, with a Stephen Hague radio mix. Good lyric and vocal from Dot Allison (born in 1969), amid dub reggae swirling alongside enveloping strings. They were a Glasgow band but Dot was born in Edinburgh. Musical giant, DJ and psychedelic techno tastemaker Andrew Weatherall produced their album of this year. Member Ian Carmichael produced The Orchids and The Pastels. This evokes ‘Pale Sceptre’ by The Wake in its downbeat Gothic lyrics of “the moon”, “only dark can wax and wane” and “Tides and werewolves”. In contrast to the shimmering jangling synth pop there, this is spacious spacey dub electronica to a reggae beat. With Allison’s ghostly lovelorn vocals equidistant between a lone Shangri-la and Anna Meredith. Magnificent…
#1: Urban Hype – LIVING IN A FANTASY
(09/01/1993, #57, 3 weeks; Faze 2, CDFAZE 13)
And my no 1 of 1993 has to be… Rave pop, so it is…
This is woeful. NOT! Urban Hype’s ‘Living in a Fantasy’ just hits the mark, in every single way. A more concise lyrical variant on the escapist dreaming of The Beloved’s fine ‘Outerspace Girl’. Lyrical and musical and beat repetition, wistful synths, deftly balanced between jubilation and regret. It samples Taylor Dayne’s ‘Tell It To Your Heart’. And it has perhaps the best pan pipe solo in recorded sound of the early 1990s. Lent giddy glee by the lass’s cry of “Yeaaaahhh!”
It was recorded at Greystoke Studios XX. Faze 2 was a London, NW1 label, 1992 to 1997. The main members of Urban Hype, whose origins were in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, on the Winchester to Southampton road, were Bob Dibden and Mark Lewis. The latter produced or mixed Rozalla and Malaika and Goa trance. They were both also in Universal State of Mind, a later trance project. Bafflingly, Urban Hype did a version of Andy Stewart’s comedic Tartanry novelty hit ‘Donald Where’s Your Troosers’, also on Faze 2, in 1995!
Now, for the even lost-er continent of YouTube-only singles which charted Top 75 in 1993…
I think the following were all good in different ways and deserve shout-outs:
- Sydney Youngblood – ‘Anything’
- Saffron – ‘Circles’
- Undercover ft. John Matthews – ‘Lovesick’
- Gayle and Gillian – ‘Mad If You Don’t’
- Suzette Charles – ‘Free to Love Again’
- Mother – ‘All Funked Up’
- Sister Sledge – ‘Thinking of You (1993 Ramp Radio Mix)’
- Motorhead – ‘Ace of Spades (CCN Remix)’, SFX – ‘Lemmings’
- Gary Clail, On-U Sound System – ‘These Things Are Worth Fighting For’
- Dee Fredrix – ‘Dirty Money’
- Subterrania – ‘Do It For Love (StoneBridge Club Mix)’
- The Carl Cox Concept – ‘The Planet of Love’.
Now, what were the most notable 1993 curios hidden away on YouTube?
Well, there’s a horrendous Worst 200 Songs Ever contender in Hulk Hogan’s version of a horribly creepy song. Produced by Simon Cowell, no less. There is also Stan – ‘Suntan’. A terrible summer novelty hit: closer to Garry Bushell than Roy Ayers. One of the – thankfully – perishingly small number of artists who have followed Right Said Fred’s example of tabloid pop. This actually reached the Top 40, unlike the vast majority of my Top 25 selections below, reaching a high of #40, and spending a total of 3 weeks in the Top 75. Leery shite, released without any sense of shame or irony, by a record label called Hug.
As well as wrestlers – at least 3 tracks involve the massively popular WWF figures – there is… Well, Bill Tarmey doing his attempt at Frank Sinatra or Richard Harris crooning of a Barry Manilow song, with a Stock and Waterman production which, I suppose, can’t not include a saccharine kiddies’ choir and power ballad percussion… Now, Manilow is an overlooked omnipresent figure through the 1970s to 1990s and Tarmey was a fine soap actor who even appeared in a Brian Glover-written Play for Today, but this… well… I suppose it’s no worse than Tom Jones’s corporate junket-on-a-budget cover version of ‘All You Need Is Love’…
More baffling and somewhat more interesting is Bill – ‘Car Boot Sale’. This was apparently endorsed by Steve Wright and his posse. The main force behind this is a comedian and writer Richard Easter. It spent a mere week in the Top 75, at #73. Fucking hell… It is unique, I suppose, clearly better than Stan’s ‘Suntan’, with an unusual blend of electronic aesthetics and home-brewed, deliberately annoying catchiness . Someone has made a decent stab of comparing it to Half Man Half Biscuit – but I’d say it is limp buffoonery. A real curiosity that Mercury put out this strained, ultimately exasperating ordinariness!
As you might expect, given Spotify’s stranglehold over the music industry, the sort of artists on my YouTube Top 25 aren’t as prominent. Thus, it follows that only four of my 25 charted in the Top 40, while none reached the Top 10! 21 of these utter gems reached the lower reaches and thus didn’t get Mark Goodier or whoever it was in 1993 reading them out in the chart.
#25: Ian Wright – DO THE RIGHT THING
(charted 28/08/1993, reached #43, spent 2 weeks in the Top 75; M&G, MAGCD 45)
“I’m no saint or sinner”… “If you’ve nothing good to say, keep the peace”. Wise and salient words from Wrighty, then and now. He sings “Keep the peace” as it fades out. The M&G label was founded by Lord Michael Levy with backing from Polygram Records in 1990. Ian Wright was born in Woolwich, London in 1963. Chris Lowe appears in the video! Among more direct footer songs, this low-rent soul oddity by Arsenal 93, Tippa Irie and Peter Hunnigale is not bad either: though Wrighty takes the honours. Great tune, banger territory.
#24: Wendy James – LONDON’S BRILLIANT
(17/04/1993, #62, 1 week; MCA, MCSTD 1763)
“Revolutionary days were sadly over…” Written by Elvis Costello and Cait O’Riordan. Wry stuff! Lesley Ann Down in the tube station! Unusual film centric lyrics, funk undertow. James’s other single was good too. She was born in London in 1966. MCA Records was founded in Chicago in 1924 as a talent agency, though now is based in Los Angeles and has a London base.
#23: Revolting Cocks – DO YA THINK I’M SEXY?’
(18/09/1993, #61, 1 week; Devotion, CDDVN 111)
This is an out-there, aesthetically extreme shrieked cover of the Rod Stewart disco “classic”, remoulded, detonated by Belgian-American band. Formed in 1985 in Chicago, IL. Devotion was in NW3, London, now defunct. It was put out by Sire elsewhere.
#22: Lindy Layton – WE GOT THE LOVE
(24/04/1993, #38, 3 weeks; PWL International, PWCD 250)
Lindy is cool, a pop artist born in Hammersmith, London in 1970 and singer on Beats International’s 1990 number one hit, ‘Dub Be Good To Me’. This is mildly racy pop soul, less urban than Beats International, but it works very well. The label is owned by Pete Waterman and based in SE1, London.
#21: Sultans of Ping F.C. – MICHIKO
(30/10/1993, #43, 2 weeks; Epic, 6598222)
Peelite stuff from this Cork, Ireland band, who had been formed on 1988. It feels a bit like a band The Hitchers I heard via the Peel show in 1997/98. Their album of this year has a track about Old Big ‘Ead Brian Clough, this one isn’t on that album. It is odd, really, that this was put out by a New York record label founded in 1953 and one of the majors.
#20: Zero B – LOVE TO BE IN LOVE
(24/07/1993, #54, 2 weeks; Internal, LIECD 6)
This has a very serene repeated bit! Starts off the Reconnection EP from William Dorez and Nick Coles. The record label is a London W6 one, established by Christian Tattersfield.
#19: Dannielle Gaha, now Dannielle DeAndrea – DO IT FOR LOVE
(27/02/1993, #52, 2 weeks; Epic, 6584612)
I’d say this was fine pop soul. ‘Secret Love’ is also very good. She was born in Australia in 1967, she is now Sydney-based.
#18: Ten City – FANTASY
(11/09/1993, #45, 2 weeks; Columbia, 6595042)
Good. Strings and vocals. Elegant bliss. A Chicago, IL House act from 1987 to 1994 with Byron Stingily, Herb Lawson and Byron Burke. ‘That’s the Way Love Is’ (1989) is their best known. Columbia is the oldest brand name in recorded sound, founded in 1889 in Washington, DC. Its US base is in New York, UK in London, W8.
#17: Bryan Powell – IT’S ALRIGHT
(13/03/1993, #73, 1 week; Talkin’ Loud, TLKCD 34)
This is an atmospheric New Jack Swing tune. Cool. Powell was born on Rugby, Warwickshire, but raised in Hackney, London. The record label Talkin’ Loud was founded by DJs Gilles Peterson and Norman Jay in 1990, in London. Gilles hasn’t been involved since 2001. Galliano and others released on it.
#16: Rhythm N Bass – CAN’T STOP THIS FEELING
(03/07/1993, #59, 2 weeks; Epic, 6592002)
‘Can’t Stop This Feeling’ is a demonstrative RnB banger; a UK response to US RnB, led by Alistair Tennant and Wayne Hector. Irrepressible stuff. Good judgement from Epic to put this out: a shame it wasn’t bigger. Tennant was born in London in 1973 and has released albums and singles. Hector became a Sony ATV songwriting and doing vocals for the likes of Boyzone, Peter Andre, Five, Damage, Westlife and Gareth Gates.
#15: Aftershock – SLAVE TO THE VIBE
(21/08/1993, #11, 8 weeks; Virgin America, VUSCD 75)
The multi-ethnic pair of Guy Routte and Jose Rivera, aka. Frost were behind Aftershock and this fine mix of Prince and New Jack Swing. At least I felt that; RateYourMusic says this is garage house. Virgin is a major label founded by Richard Branson in London in 1972. It is now art of Universal, having been part of Thorn EMI. This is by far the biggest hit in my non-Spotify list! Unfairly elided since.
#14: Krush Perspective – LET’S GET TOGETHER (SO GROOVY NOW)
(16/01/1993, #61, 2 weeks; Perspective, PERD 7416)
Mint production, this. Krush were comprised of Angie Smith, Ashley Jackson and Christy Williams who, sadly, and unaccountably, only released this one single. The label was formed in Edina, MN by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in partnership with the parent label A&M in 1991 and closed in 1997. It’s no surprise to learn the ace production on this is Jam and Lewis.
#13: Serious Rope feat. Sharon Dee Clarke – HAPPINESS
(22/05/1993, #54, 2 weeks; Rumour, RUMACD 64)
Serious Rope were Aron Friedman and Damon Rochefort, a UK based duo. Rochefort was a journalist for Smash Hits and the Sun who loved Black music. Friedman a regular producer, remixer, arranger orchestrator and musician on records by Steve Hackett, Bad Boys Inc., Jonathan King and Take That and many more. Sharon Dee Clarke, born in London in 1966, is a singer songwriter who released a range of singles from 1986 to 1999; as well as a theatre and TV actor. With Rochefort and Steve McCutcheon, Clarke was a member of the house group Nomad. This has a good, long intro and a memorable hook.
#12: Sandy B. – FEEL LIKE SINGIN (Def Classic Mix)
(20/02/1993, #60, 1 week; Nervous, SANCD 1)
Sandy, also known as Sandra Barber, was born in New York in 1955 and attended high school in New Jersey. She had released a soul funk disco LP The Best Is Yet To Come as far back as 1978 and had also been in the band Chew and on Rare Pleasure’s ‘Let Me Down Easy’. Nervous Records was formed in NY in 1990 by veteran Sam Weiss and his son Mike Weiss. This is delightful stuff. What organ! Such woozy wheezing.
#11: JC-001 – NEVER AGAIN
(24/04/1993, #67, 2 weeks; Anxious, ANX 1012CD)
Strong track, opposing ethnic purity and strongly advocating anti-racism, anti-fascism and anti-ethnic cleansing. The Specials are sampled. We hear Jonathan Chandra Pandy, an Asian-Irish rapper from Ladbroke Grove in London, born in 1966, the son of historian Bob Pandy who stood as a Labour candidate in the 1979 General Election. Bob’s sister Gloria is Killing Joke’s Black Jester Jaz Coleman’s mother. So JC and JCP are cousins. Anxious Records is a record label belonging to David A. Stewart of the Eurythmics. Founded in 1985, it is based in London, EC4N, its parent label is Warner.
#10: Jomanda – NEVER (Band of Gypsies Original Mix)
(13/11/1993, #40, 2 weeks; Big Beat, A 8347CD)
Jomanda were an RnB house act from NJ, USA, consisting of Renee Washington, Cheri Williams and Yavahn (died October 2003.Actually their only UK top 40, this. ‘I Like It’ is also decent. Their label is New York based, with an emphasis on house and hip hop, having been founded by 22 year old Craig Kallman in 1987.
#9: Shades of Rhythm – SWEET REVIVAL (KEEP IT COMIN’)
(20/02/1993, #61, 1 week; ZTT, ZANG 40CD)
I love this – classic rave house stuff with Fairlit, collaged vocals. Dance act from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, consisting of Kevin Lancaster, Nick Slater and Rayan “Gee” Hepburn. The Zang Tumb Tuum (ZTT) label was founded by Trevor Horn, Jill Sinclair and Paul Morley in 1983. This is good!
#8: Bizarre Inc. feat. Angie Brown – TOOK MY LOVE
(27/02/1993, #19, 5 weeks; Vinyl Solution, STORM 60CD)
Bizarre Inc. were formed in Stafford, Staffordshire in 1989. Angie Brown was born in Brixton, London in 1963. The label Vinyl Solution, now defunct, was run from Portobello Road, London, W11. This is more good pop: excellent, lascivious sounds.
#7: JTQ with Noel McKoy – SEE A BRIGHTER DAY
(03/07/1993, #49, 2 weeks; Big Life, BLRDA 97)
Flute. Uplift. A jazz-funk for 1993. Wise lyrics deepen the effect of what are wonderful chord changes. And that hazy Barry Briggs synth undertow. The James Taylor Quartet was formed in Rochester, Kent in 1985 and vocalist Noel McKoy was born in Clapham, South London. Their previous 1993 hit ‘Love the Life’ is canny too. The flipside to this includes a soul jazz version of the TV theme, ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’, no less. They did loads more in that ilk. This Acid Jazz emerged from The Prisoners who had been on Stiff Records. Taylor played Hammond organ for them. Big Life Records was founded in 1986 by Jazz Summers and Tim Parry and is based in London, NW1.
#6: Moodswings feat. Chrissie Hynde – SPIRITUAL HIGH (STATE OF INDEPENDENCE) (Remix)
(23/01/1993, #47, 2 weeks; Arista, 74321127712)
A UK downtempo or New age band who started in 1989. They were James F.T. Hood and Grant Showbiz, aka Grant Cunliffe who had produced The Fall, The Smiths and Billy Bragg. Hynde was born in Akron, OH in 1951. The New York label was founded by Clive Davis in November 1974, subsumed within RCA in 2004. Just class, this record.
#5: Efua – SOMEWHERE
(03/07/1993, #42, 5 weeks; Virgin, VSCDT 1463)
Efua Baker, who is married to Jazzie B, was born in Ghana, 1967 and has appeared in a recent FKA twigs video. Efua’s delivery of spoken word type vocals is engaging, matched by myriad expressive gestures including judicious eye rolling in the video. The ethereal chorus almost evokes Young Marble Giants or the Shangri-Las, curiously enough. “I live my penthouse, my happening career… I would not like it ever again!” Unusual and refreshing! Should’ve been massive, but then at least it did stay in the lower reaches for over a month.
#4: Inner City – BACK TOGETHER AGAIN
(14/08/1993, #49, 1 week; Six6, SIXCD 104)
Inner City here are Paris Grey (real name Shanna V. Jackson, born 1965 in Glencoe, IL) on vocals and Kevin Saunderson (born 1964 in Brooklyn, NY) as the mixer. The Detroit, MI group formed in 1988. The label is in Surrey, UK, KT14. While this is oddly unheralded, it is actually fantastic: circling, crystalline soul with an ace vocal hook and chorus. ‘Till We Meet Again (Brothers in Rhythm Remix)’ is also good.
#3: Brothers Like Outlaw feat. Alison Evelyn – GOOD VIBRATIONS
(23/01/1993, #74, 1 week; Gee Street, GESCD 44)
London, jazz hip HOP group consisted of Isaac Bello and Karl “K-Gee” Gordon, who later did mixes of George Michael, All Saints and Sugababes singles. BLO released two albums in 1990-92, and then a third in 2018. Bello had rapped on The KLF’s ‘America: What Time is Love?’ (1992). The label, founded by Richie Rich and Jon Baker, was a subsidiary of Island Records, and also was home to Jungle Brothers, PM Dawn and others. Alison Evelyn later writes and sings on Ty’s Upwards (2003): ‘Inner Love (Samba)’. This is a fine tune. Evocative as owt.
#2: Rapination feat. Carol Kenyon – HERE’S MY A
(10/07/1993, #69, 1 week; Logic, 74321153092)
An Italian House pop duo Charlie Mallozi and Marco Sabiu (born Forli in Italy’s Romagna region in 1963) who relocated to London in 1988/89. Carol Kenyon was born in the UK in 1959 and had contributed backing vocals as part of the Sisters of Scarlet with Katie Kissoon and Samantha Brown to Dexys Midnight Runners’ Too-Rye-Ay (1982). Sabiu worked with Take That, Kylie Minogue, Leee John, Tanita Tikaram, Ennio Morricone, Luciano Pavarotti and Barry Blue – and in 2010 composed actor Christopher Lee’s first concept album. The label was founded by Michael Munzing and Luca Anzilotti in 1989, has offices in Offenbach, Germany and London W1V, Berwick Street. “We should all love disillusion…” Fantastic line. Should have been massive, like the same label’s Dr Alban track ‘It’s My Life’ rightly was. Has a good track sampled too in one bit.
#1: Seven Grand Housing Authority – THE QUESTION (ORIGINAL MIX)
(23/10/1993, #70, 1 week; Olympic, ELYCD 010)
Sublime house from Terrence Parker. Born and raised in Detroit, MI, Parker has been a DJ since 1980 and recorded music under a vast array of aliases, including this evocative moniker: Seven Grand Housing Authority. The label was created in Liverpool, L1 in 1992 by Andy Carroll and James Barton. Both involved in managing K-Klass who did a remix of this. This is on ANOTHER LEVEL to so much else, even among everything else I have praised in my Spotify and YouTube lists. A brisk, forceful slice of distended techno disco, this draws on gospel and samples ‘Make My Day’ by Grace Under Pressure. Utterly magnificent stuff.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and listening to this range of music which charted in the UK in the year of 1993. Please let me know: (a) if you agree with my choices, (b) if you have any personal favourites from 1993 I’ve not mentioned…