20 years ago. 1993. Bill Clinton was in his first year of his presidency. “Beavis and Butt-Head”, “The X-Files,” “Saved by the Bell,” “Frasier,” “Boy Meets World” and “Beverly Hills 90210” were all over TV… and let’s not forget “Walker, Texas Ranger”. The Cowboys had won their second Super Bowl in a row, 52-17 over the Buffalo Bills. Tennis was dominated by Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles had been stabbed by a deranged fan. And future star Miley Cyrus was a toddler getting ready to celebrate her first birthday while her daddy tended his prodigious mullet. Yeah, it’s time to feel old. Here are the Top 10 Pop Singles on the Billboard Hot 100 this week 20 years ago, in 1993:
10. “If” – Janet Jackson, [peaked #4]
From the album “Janet”
The follow-up to the #1 single “That’s The Way Love Goes” which was, by the way, still hanging on at #15. This was the summer of the “Janet “album, and Ms. Jackson has never again matched the commercial success she enjoyed 20 summers ago. “If” is one her best singles – a thunderous beat, electric guitar samples, and rapid-fire half-spoken vocal during the verse in her lower register before giving way to ah uber-catchy chorus.
9. “I Don’t Wanna Fight” – Tina Turner, [peaked #9]
From the Soundtrack to “What’s Love Got to Do With It”
Yet another comeback single by the ever-young Tina Turner. This was one of the new tracks she recorded for her brilliant biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” featuring a memorable performance by Angela Bassett. Trivia: this track was co-written by legendary British songstress Lulu and was originally offered to Sade, who passed on it.
8. “Runaway Train” – Soul Asylum [peaked #5]
From the album “Grave Dancers Union”
Minnesota rock band Soul Asylum’s popularity had been building for months thanks to their “Grave Dancers Union” album and heavy support on MTV for alternative radio hits “Somebody to Shove” and “Black Gold”. They had been swept up in the grunge craze, and were reaping the rewards. By the time the winsomely catching “Runaway Train” was released as the 3rd single, with its striking video featuring actual missing children, radio was primed and ready and the song became a surprise crossover smash, eventually landing all the way into the Top 5 of the pop charts and earning the band a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
7. “If I Had No Loot” – Tony! Toni! Toné! [peaked #7]
From the album “Sons of Soul”
“If I Had No Loot” was the biggest pop hit for R&B trio Tony! Toni! Toné!, who scored multiple #1 singles on the R&B charts and also hit the pop Top 10 with “Feels Good” in 1990 and the 2nd single from “Sons of Soul”, “Anniversary”, later in 1993. Former member Raphael Saadiq has gone on to because a successful producer and solo artist.
6. “Lately” – Jodeci [peaked #4]
From the album Uptown MTV Unplugged
Jodeci was an R&B group that scored numerous pop and R&B hits during the 90s, including “Come and Talk To Me”, “Cry For You” and “Freek’n You.” Their biggest hit was a live cover of Stevie Wonder’s 1981 ballad “Lately.” Jodeci performed it as part of the Uptown MTV Unplugged show which featured a number of popular R&B artists. A promotional single was released for “Lately,” and it proved popular enough to hit #1 on the R&B charts and #4 on the pop charts, a rare achievment for a live recording.
5. “Slam” – Onyx [peaked #4]
From the Album “Bacdafucup”
Onyx was a New York-area rap group that broke big with their debut album “Bacdafucup,” which went platinum in 1993 and landed their only crossover hit, “Slam.” They would go on to release several more successful albums but would never again approach the The 40 on the pop charts. “Slam” was one of the more hard-core rap tracks to successfully crossover to the pop charts, and it sold enough copies to be declared a platinum single by the RIAA in August 1993.
4. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers [peaked #3]
From the “Benny & Joon” Soundtrack and the album “Sunshine on Leith”
Scottish twin brothers Charlie and Craig Ried – The Proclaimers – scored a surprise smash with their charming single “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” after it was included in the film “Benny & Joon” starring Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson. The track was originally recorded in the 80s and was a single from their 1988 album “Sunshine on Leith” before being resurrected 5 years later for the film. It has since become an iconic song in pop culture and has appeared in numerous films and TV shows. It was The Proclaimers’ only US hit, but they’ve scored multiple Top 40 hits in the UK and Ireland (and a newly recorded version of this track hit #1 in the UK in 2007).
3. “Weak” – SWV [peaked #1]
From the album “It’s About Time”
SWV (Sisters With Voice) were an R&B trio that landed multiple pop and R&B his in the 90s, including “I’m So Into You,”, “Right Here,” “You’re The One” and their lone #1 on the pop charts, the ballad “Weak,” which also topped the R&B charts. It became a platinum single and the trio’s biggest hit.
2. “Whoomp! (There It Is)” – Tag Team [peaked #2]
From the album “Whoomp! (There It Is)
Miami-area rap duo Tag Team entered the one-hit-wonder hall of fame with their novelty smash “Whoomp! (There it Is)” which was inescapable during the Summer of 1993 and for some time thereafter. The track spent an amazing 7 weeks at #2, blocked from the top spot by UB40 and Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover”. The song is an instantly recognizable pop cultural phenomenon and has been featured in many films, commercials, TV shows and has been a regular fixture at sporting events over the years.
1. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – UB40
From the “Sliver” soundtrack and the album “Promises and Lies”
UB40 had scored four Top 40 hits in the US prior to hitting #1 with “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and – like this track originally recorded by Elvis Presley – all of them were covers. “Red Red Wine” (#34 in 1983 and then #1 when re-released in 1988), “I Got You Babe”, a duet with Chrissie Hynde (#28 in 1985), “Here I Am” (#7 in 1990), and “The Way You Do The Things You Do” (#6 in 1990). Their easy-going pop-reggae take on “Can’t Help Falling in Love” would prove to be their biggest hit yet, spending a remarkable 7 weeks at the top spot and topping the charts in numerous countries around the world. The track had the indignity of being included in the laughably bad Sharon Stone thriller “Sliver”, but fortunately more people remember the song than the movie. UB40’s smash cover would remain #1 until overtaken by Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover” on September 11, 1993, and would prove to be their final US hit although they have continued to record and have scored hits internationally.