Spring! And time for another chart retrospective. This time around I wanted to pluck a tape from the archive dating from the early 1990s and the one from March 1993 seemed to leap out as an obvious choice. With the charts of 2009 showing a distinct 80s flavour, this particular period by contrast was one where the 1970s were very much in vogue and with a disco and funk influence showing up in many of the big selling songs. Plus the Top 3 of this chart represented a unique clean sweep for a particular genre of music which until that point was about as far from the mainstream as it was possible to get. Such are the ways of musical fashion.

So here it is then, the Top 40 show as recorded from Radio One on March 21st 1993. Bruno Brookes is hosting in the middle of his second stint on the show and proudly brands it as "the biggest radio show in Europe". As an extra innovation I'll also compile Spotify playlists featuring all the tracks mentioned if they are in the catalogue. This could be a bit hit and miss as fly by night 90s dance acts tend not to feature on the online jukeboxes as much as they should, but hopefully the strike rate will be enough to get a flavour of the era.

With that out of the way, and a quick recap of last week's Top 3 done and dusted, it is time for the brand new chart.

40: Take That - Why Can't I Wake Up With You

On its way out of the chart after an initial Number 2 chart peak, this R&B inspired seduction track with Gary Barlow on lead vocals was arguably the single that pushed Take That over the top as superstars. After initial struggles their chart career was up and running by the end of 1992 and they had already had three Top 10 hits by the time the year was out. Although Why Can't I Wake Up With You had originally featured on their debut album Take That And Party this was a brand new version recorded for single release and marked the start of promotion for their second album. Its release coincided with a memorable booking for the entire group as guest hosts of the Big Breakfast, with all five members taking it in turns to deputise for the holidaying Chris Evans. It was during this run that the star power of Robbie Williams began to come to the fore. One morning as Gaby Roslin read out an item about a new hotline for men suffering from impotence he tapped her on the shoulder and announced he had to make a quick phone call. By their next single Take That were hitting Number One every time and their legend was assured.

39: Grid - Crystal Clear

The first ever Top 40 hit single for The Grid, a dance duo formed by Richard Norris and David Ball (better known as the one from Soft Cell who wasn't Mark Almond). Despite copious club and airplay for their 1990 singles Flotation and A Beat Called Love it wasn't until the release of Crystal Clear that they finally had a mainstream hit. A minor Number 27 hit at the time, history now regards the instrumental as one of the defining moments of the development of trance, even if you would be hard-pressed to pick it out in the middle of the most retro of club sets. Their next single was Texas Cowboys which paved the way for the country and techno fusion which led to their most famous hit Swamp Thing in 1994.

38: Michael Bolton - Reach Out I'll Be There

Another single from old mullet-head's Timeless (The Classics) album which saw him croon and holler his way through a series of soul classics in a manner which sounds to most ears like a wholesale demolition of some legendary songs but which at the time was inexplicably popular. Give the man credit, it is hard to ruin songs such as Reach Out I'll Be There but on this single he very nearly managed it. A minor hit, thank heavens.

37: Portrait - Here We Go Again

A fun curiosity this, the one and only UK hit single for American R&B group Portrait whose American career would last with moderate success throughout most of the next decade. Here We Go Again wasn't half bad really, a breezy track that mixed hip hop beats with the ever-reliable New Jack Swing groove in a manner that was far from unpleasant.

36: Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

Yep, still selling after about five months in the shops by this point, this being its last week in the Top 40 until it returned for another quick wander around at the end of the year to coincide with the video release of 'The Bodyguard'. Overplayed these days to the extent of tedium, it is easy to overlook the impact this single had when first released, remaining Number One for an astonishing ten weeks over the Christmas period, giving Whitney Houston's career a huge shot in the arm after abominations like My Name Is Not Susan and naturally turning The Bodyguard into an iconic movie of its time rather than the hamfisted b-flick it would otherwise have been. Perhaps more importantly it is one of three film soundtrack megahits (Everything I Do and Love Is All Around the others) whose record-knackering successes in the early 90s helped to keep the concept of the singles market alive. People who didn't usually buy singles raced to the shops to buy these ones anyway and in the process were kept in the habit of collecting their favourite hits. The megahits paved the way for the singles boom of the late 90s and for that reason alone deserve their place in chart history, no matter how annoying they are now.

35: West End featuring Sybil - The Love I Lost

Welcome then to the 1970s, or at least an up to date take on them. American singer Sybil had been making records since 1987 and had landed a few hits during that time, most notably her 1990 cover of Walk On By which hit Number 6. It was when she teamed up with the still-potent Stock/Aitken/Waterman hit factory that she finally hit her groove, landing her biggest hit ever with this sparkling cover of the Harold Melvin classic. Why the single was credited to "West End featuring Sybil" is lost in the mists of time for now - her next single When I'm Good And Ready would be listed as being by her alone.

34: Sister Sledge - Lost In Music

70s mania hits again with a rather clunky Sure Is Pure remix of this iconic disco record, the new production somehow managing to swamp the original Rogers and Edwards production with a pow-pow-pow synth line that borders on the offensive. This was the second in a series of Sister Sledge remixes to chart in the early 90s, the natural follow-up to a more respectful treatment of We Are Family which had been a Top 5 hit earlier in the year. What made these re-releases so intriguing was that they marked the second time the Sister Sledge back catalogue had been reworked for modern ears, a straight re-release of Lost In Music which went Top 10 in 1984 prompting the release of a remix of We Are Family. When the 1993 version charted it meant the track was the first in chart history to become a Top 40 hit in three different mixes. To complete the circle, the 1984 hits prompted Sister Sledge to return to the studio and land their first original hit in three years with Thinking Of You. No prizes for guessing which track was remixed for the third Sister Sledge release of 1993.

33: Hot Chocolate -It Started With A Kiss

Not quite the 1970s this time as It Started With A Kiss was originally a hit in 1982, but in the minds of most Hot Chocolate are an essential 70s group. Its appearance here was to promote yet another Greatest Hits collection which had been compiled of some of their best moments and which during the spring of 1993 was proving remarkably popular - this some four years before the Full Monty turned them into chart icons all over again. The strange thing was it had only been six years since the last Hot Chocolate hits collection, the 1987 version being promoted by the famous Ben Liebrand remix of You Sexy Thing which in an all too rare occurrence managed to improve on the original.

32: Apache Indian - Chok There

A new entry, and the second Top 40 hit for Birmingham lad Steve Kapur, better known to the world as Apache Indian. His inspired fusion of bhangra and ragga (which he termed bhangramuffin) briefly turned him into a subcontinental superstar in the early 90s. Taken from his first album No Reservations, the ethereal yet enormously appealing Chok There was surprisingly only a minor hit, its eventual Number 30 peak something of a disappointment after his previous single Arranged Marriage had easily gone Top 20. Better was to come later in the summer when the Nuff Vibes EP and its lead track Boom Shack-A-Lack helped him storm the Top 5.

31: Hue And Cry - Labour Of Love (remix)

What was it about the early 90s that meant you couldn't just re-release an old hit and hope for the best. Every retrospective revival had to be remixed in some way, which meant that the promotion of a Greatest Hits collection for Hue and Cry was heralded by this grotesque reworking of one of their best ever songs. Hue and Cry had been absent from the Top 40 since 1989 and so it was good to see the Kane brothers back on the chart in whatever form. No less a figure than Joey Negro handled the remix duties on the single (originally a Number 6 hit in the summer of 1987) and in fairness you can see what he was trying to do, stripping the original of everything but the vocals and strings and turning the track into an up to the minute and relevant club hit. Had it been an original track it would have been massive, but compared to the original it bordered on the offensive. Credit for the organ solo in the middle though - that was a moment and a half. 

OK, so nothing so exciting so far really. Stick with me, it gets better than this.


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