02 March 2023

Week commencing 2 March 1992

This week in 1992's new entries peaking outside the top 100 are an eclectic bunch.  Let's take a look at them.
Tori Amos: what's so amazing about really low chart positions?
Top 150 debuts:
Number 135 "After the Watershed (Early Learning the Hard Way)" by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine
Peak: number 124
Peak date: 23 March 1992
Weeks in top 150: 8 weeks

English indie punk band Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine formed in 1987.  While "After the Watershed..." was their first single to dent the ARIA top 150, an earlier album 30 Something (number 138, April 1991), had charted in Australia.

"After the Watershed..." was a non-album track, and peaked at number 11 in the UK in November 1991, and number 21 in Ireland.

The single fared better on the Australian Music Report singles chart where it reached number 97.

The Rolling Stones did not approve of the use of the "goodbye Ruby Tuesday" chorus lyrics or bassline resembling "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", and successfully sued the band... because they didn't already have enough money, right?  They now receive a co-writing credit on this track.
We'll next see Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine in August.

Number 139 "Silent All These Years" by Tori Amos
Peak: number 128
Peak date: 23 March 1992
Weeks in top 150: 6 weeks
Weeks on chart: 8 weeks
Occasionally, though not very often, I write about an artist I almost need to do no research for... because I know all about them already.  Here's one such example.
I was an obsessive fan of Tori Amos, born Myra Ellen Amos, between 1994 and about 2002.  I first became aware of her in early 1992 through her appearance on the cover of one of those free monthly Brashs magazines that were available in-store.  I skimmed the article, saw her mention God a few times, and assumed she was a God botherer (i.e. I wouldn't have liked her music).

When Tori's second Australian single, "Winter" (number 49, June 1992), crept into the lower region of the rage top 60 chart, it fell on a week that I had set my VCR to record the chart, rather than watch it live.  Going through the tape, I didn't bother listening to the song, and remember thinking, "Oh, her."

Fast forward a couple of weeks later, I eventually heard "Winter" in full on one of its weeks in the top 60, and realised that I liked it.  I decided that I was going to record it onto a tape where I kept music videos for songs I liked, the following week... except it fell out of the top 60.  I remember sometimes getting the chorus for "Winter" stuck in my head while walking my dog, but other than that, I pretty much forgot about Tori until "Cornflake Girl" (number 19, March 1994) was released.

Taking a chance with a Brashs gift voucher I had, I bought Tori's second album Under the Pink (number 5, March 1994) soon after hearing "Cornflake Girl", and was blown away by the album.  Less than a week later, I decided to buy Tori's debut album Little Earthquakes (number 14, June 1992), from which "Silent All These Years" is lifted, and liked it even more (at the time... Under the Pink nudges it out slightly for me now).
Well, strictly speaking, Little Earthquakes was not Tori's debut.  Her band Y Kant Tori Read (pronounced "why can't Tori read?"), containing future Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum, released a self-titled album in the US in 1988 which was a commercial failure, selling only 7000 copies.  Tori's image for this project was rather different to her later solo work - she looks like a metal chick, complete with big hair, pouty lips and skin-tight spandex pants, and she is wielding a sword.  But Y Kant Tori Read is well worth checking out if you like Tori and have not heard it before, with my personal faves from the album being "Fire on the Side" and "Etienne Trilogy".

My mum bought the sheet music book for Under the Pink for me later in 1994, and it contained an illustrated discography of Tori Amos' releases up until March 1994.  My mission in life then became to track down all of her earlier singles with umpteen non-album track B-sides on them, with interesting titles like "Flying Dutchman" and "Ode to the Banana King (Part One)".  It took almost a year, discovering Record Collector magazine, and having my mum telephone the UK at night to buy out of print limited edition CD singles using her credit card, but I succeeded with that quest.

The first concert I ever went to was Tori's first show in Melbourne on the Under the Pink tour in December 1994.  In fact, the only concerts I have been to have been Tori Amos ones - the others being her two Melbourne shows in May 2005.  I'm not really one for live music, but Tori's live shows are something else, with the setlist varying wildly each night.

As for "Silent All These Years"... it originally appeared as the lead track on the Me and a Gun EP, which was Tori's debut release in the UK, where her solo career was launched, in October 1991.  The single artwork was altered three weeks later with the title changed to "Silent All These Years", and the re-issued single peaked at number 51 in the UK in November 1991.
Domestically, on the state charts, "Silent All These Years" performed strongest in Victoria/Tasmania, where it reached number 108.

Following further singles "China" (not released in Australia), "Winter" and "Crucify" (number 83, August 1992), "Silent All These Years" was re-issued as a single in the UK (but not Australia), with new artwork and B-sides, in August 1992.  The re-released single reached a new peak of number 26 in the UK in August 1992.
"Silent All These Years" was Tori's debut solo single in her native US, and did not chart upon its original release.  However, the single was re-issued in 1997, to raise funds for RAINN - the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network anti sexual-assault organisation Tori was involved in setting up.  The 1997 release of "Silent All These Years" peaked at number 65 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in May 1997.

While I like "Silent All These Years", particularly the "years go by, will I still be waiting for somebody else to understand..." middle-8 section, it's not among my top-tier Tori tracks.  The partly animated video, though, is quite striking.

We shall next see Tori in 1994.

Number 141 "My Girl" by The Temptations (re-issue)
Peak: number 104
Peak date: 13 April 1992
Weeks in top 150: 12 weeks
Originally released in 1964, The Temptations' "My Girl" was re-released as a single as the title track of the late 1991 movie My Girl, starring Macaulay Culkin.  The accompanying soundtrack album peaked at number 4 in Australia in July 1992.  I assume, therefore, that the film had a later cinematic release here.

The 1992 release of "My Girl" peaked at number 2 in the UK in February 1992, number 2 in Ireland, and number 66 in Germany in March 1992.
Number 147 "Sweetheart" by Died Pretty
Peak: number 129
Peak date: 6 April 1992
Weeks in top 150: 7 weeks 
Weeks on chart: 11 weeks
We last saw Australian band Died Pretty in 1991.
"Sweetheart" was the third and final single lifted from the band's fourth studio album Doughboy Hollow (number 24, September 1991).
On the state charts, "Sweetheart" performed strongest in South Australia/Northern Territory, where it reached number 99.
We'll next see Died Pretty in 1994.

Bubbling WAY down under:
Number 165 "Driven by You" by Brian May
Peak: number 162
Peak date: 9 March 1992
Weeks on chart: 7 weeks
Queen's guitarist Brian May launched his solo career in 1983 with the Brian May + Friends mini-album, though only one single, "Star Fleet", which was released in Australia in February 1984 but did not chart, was issued from it.
"Driven by You" was the first single from Brian's first solo album proper, Back to the Light (number 94, December 1992).  Coincidentally, the single was released in the UK the day after Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's death.

Internationally, "Driven by You" peaked at number 6 in the UK in December 1991, number 14 in Ireland in December 1991, number 10 in the Netherlands in February 1992, number 35 in the Flanders region of Belgium in May 1992, and number 70 in Canada in April 1993.

Within Australia, "Driven by You" was most popular in Western Australia, where it reached number 122.

Brian would score a hit in Australia - his only solo one - with his next release, "Too Much Love Will Kill You" (number 18, November 1992); a song he co-wrote but was originally recorded by Queen in 1988 for possible inclusion on The Miracle (number 4, June 1989).

We shall next see Brian in 1993.

Next week (9 March): Another four top 150 debuts, plus three bubbling WAY down under entries.
< Previous week: 24 February 1992                                     Next week: 9 March 1992 >

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