Pop Shots – A Look At The Charts … From 30 Years Ago
Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week I’m hopping into my time machine again, this time setting the coordinates for 30 years ago this week.
Touching down in September of 1992, I find myself at the very beginning of my high school experience. I also find myself listening to a mix of music that could’ve only happened in the ‘90s. Hip-hop, rock, pop, R&B, dance, we had it all (which, as an aside, is why I consider this to be the best era of music), and it was all in rotation together on the radio, and on MTV.
I could legitimately write about nearly every song on the Billboard Hot 100 from this week back in 1992, and while I normally try to limit these columns to 10 to 12 songs, I couldn’t chop this own down any further than 15. There’s just so much great music here!
So let’s get into the exploration in chart history! Of course, since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
1. Boyz II Men – End of the Road
I’m not sure people who weren’t around during the peak of Boyz II Men fully understand just how big the foursome were. Let me put it this way – the soundtrack to the movie Boomerang went triple platinum, and it was almost entirely because it featured Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road.” The classic breakup song would spend a then-record 14 weeks at #1, and inspire an entire generation to attempt to say “girl” in the deepest voice possible.
2. TLC – Baby-Baby-Baby
In 1992 TLC were in the process of becoming the next great girl group, and with “Baby-Baby-Baby” at #2 this week back in ‘92, and “What About Your Friends” debuting at #95, Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip was a must-have album for everyone’s collection.
3. Guns N’ Roses – November Rain
Easily one of the most epic music videos of all-time, whenever “November Rain” came on we all stayed glued to our TVs for the full 9+ minutes … even if we never really figured the entire video out. Thanks to YouTube, we’re still tuning in, as “November Rain” is currently approaching 2 billion views.
4. Bobby Brown – Humpin’ Around
He may never fully receive the credit he deserves, but as a solo artist Bobby Brown changed the game. Case in point – watch “Humpin’ Around,” and you’ll see where a significant percentage of ‘90s, and even ‘00s, R&B artists found their inspiration.
8. Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back
Even your grandmother can rap the lyric, “I like big butts and I cannot lie.”
9. En Vogue – Giving Him Something He Can Feel
En Vogue were crushing it in the early ‘90s, and this week back in ’92 they had “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” at #9, and “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” at #41. Yes, those songs are conflicting messages, but I’m pretty sure they’re aimed at different people.
As an aside, when it comes to “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” the red dresses they wore in the video were … well … let’s just say Jessica Rabbit ain’t got nothin’ on En Vogue!
11. House of Pain – Jump Around
A monster hit in 1992, thirty years later “Jump Around" still whips a crowd into a frenzy as soon as the first bagpipe hits. Having seen House of Pain perform this live, the insanity is real!
12. Tom Cochrane – Life is a Highway
Life is a highway … sometimes there’s road work, and occasionally you’ll need a GPS to figure out where you’re going. Wait, that’s not how the song goes (but it is kinda true).
15. Jodeci – Come & Talk to Me
Remember when R&B artists knew how to approach a woman respectfully? Here’s some classic Jodeci to remind everyone how it’s done.
17. Toad the Wet Sprocket – All I Want
Toad the Wet Sprocket – a band name that made you say, “What???” Honestly, with a name like that they could’ve been ANY genre of music, but they went with radio friendly rock, and with songs like “All I Want,” I think we can all agree that was a good decision.
44. Rozalla – Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)
Back in the early ‘90s we didn’t just dance, we danced hard! Just this week alone we had Snap at #62 with “Rhythm is a Dancer,” 2 Unlimited at #59 with “Twilight Zone,” and Rozalla at #44 with her feel good hit, “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good).”
I really need a party with THESE songs being spun by the DJ.
47. Das EFX – They Want EFX
Das EFX will always be special to me because their debut album, Dead Serious was, what I consider to be, the album the transitioned me from being a pop rap fan, to a hip-hop fan. A long time ago I wrote about how pop rap can be a gateway to hip-hop, and this was certainly the case for me.
As an aside, my Jewish grandfather once pronounced Das EFX as Das Kvetch. If Das EFX were to ever record an album in Hebrew they could use that as the title.
54. The Soup Dragons – Divine Thing
Before anyone was Bowling for Soup, we had The Soup Dragons. A band that probably only the most ardent ‘90s fans remember, giving “Divine Thing” a play will make you go, “Oh yeah, I know that song!”
61. Shabba Ranks – Mr. Loverman
There’s an entire generation that will shout “SHABBA!” for virtually no reason because of this song, and I am a card carrying member of that generation.
An especially memorable In Living Color skit elevated both “Mr. Loverman,” and Shabba Ranks, to legendary status (and I really hope he had a good sense of humor about it).
82. Nirvana – Lithium
By this time in 1992 Nirvana had essentially delivered a kill shot to hair metal, having ushered in the age of grunge. When you listen to “Lithium” it’s pretty clear as to why it happened so quickly. We’d never heard anything like this before, and it was incredible.
That’s all for this edition of Pop Shots, but come back next Monday for more shots on all things pop.