Everything I Do, part 1: The Journey Begins [July 7, 1991]
Plus Guns 'n' Roses, Whitney Houston, Carter USM, and Crowded House
This week’s Number 1 :
‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ — Bryan Adams
I’ve been wracking my brain for weeks, shaking it like a piggy bank in the hope that something of value will fall out. I’ve been reading articles, listening to songs, watching videos, talking to people, doing anything possible to coax my brain into recalling the answer to one question:
When did I first hear ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You?’
But nothing. Total blank
I wish it evoked a cool memory. I wish I’d been a confident 13-year old slow-dancing with a girl at a teenage disco, and Bryan Adams had been singing as I first felt what it was like to fall in love. Some people probably have memories like this, and good luck to them.
I spent June of 1991 on an island full of teenagers trying and failing to learn Irish. There was a lot of slow-dancing, a lot of hormonal, pubescent love, but sadly I was not party to any of that (something you probably just assumed when you subscribed to this newsletter.)
Actually, it’s quite likely that I first heard this song on the radio on the way home from that island. Or I heard it playing while I was bumming around in the days after, trying to readjust to life on the mainland. That’s probably the memory that my brain refuses to give up. I probably first heard the song while I was buying a comic or trying to finish Fantasy World Dizzy.
That’s possibly how most people first hear it. When (EID)IDIFY dropped, it wasn’t a
moment. This is the song’s third week in the charts, which means that it was outsold last week by the genuinely dreadful ‘Any Dream Will Do’ by Jason Donovon.
(EID)IDIFY was obviously bound to be a big hit, but I don’t think any of us appreciated how much of a hit it was going to be. Nobody knew it would dominate a summer that was mostly quite cold and grey, then run into the autumn, and finally have us asking if Bryan was going to be the Xmas Number One.
Saying “Bryan Adams is still Number One” became a cultural phenomenon in its own right - bigger than the song, much bigger than the movie it was allegedly promoting. People split into roughly two camps during his reign. One camp kept buying it and requesting it on the radio because they felt like they were part of history in the making. The others clapped their hands over their ears and begged for death whenever they heard the song.
Which was often. The song was everywhere.
Nobody’s ever broken Bryan Adams’ record. 16 weeks at the top. Drake came close a few years ago, but he was usurped with one week to go. Not that it would have mattered anyway. No one cared about the charts in 2016. But in 1991, being Number One meant a lot.
→ Part 2: What’s the big deal about being Number One? [July 14, 1991]
Elsewhere in the charts
Number 3: ‘You Could Be Mine’ — Guns ‘n’ Roses (New Entry)
To be honest, I probably wasn’t that interested in Bryan Adams, because my then-favourite band were BACK, baby! And they sounded better than ever! If the songs on the forthcoming Use Your Illusion were even half as good as ‘You Could Be Mine’, then it would be the greatest record of all time. What could possibly go wrong?
Also worth mention just how overwhelmingly excited we were by that Terminator 2 footage in the video.
Number 6: ‘Always There’ — Incognito ft Jocelyn Brown (↑9)
A cover of a minor hit by 70s soul group Side Effect, ‘Always There’ was elevated to dance floor supremacy by Incognito, who added some decent club beats and got Jocelyn Brown to belt the vocals. Did they pick this song because it subtly mentions ecstasy? The answer is yes, and Brothers In Rhythm were a lot less subtle when they sampled a different version of this song for ‘Such A Good Feeling’.
Number 24: ‘Sherriff Fatman’ — Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine (↓ 23)
Reissue of a 1989 single but it’s still good.
Number 28: ‘I Like It’ — DJ H feat. Stefy (↓8)
This is the wrong DJ H song but I can’t find ‘I Like It’ and I wanted to take a moment to marvel at the AUDACITY of trying to pass this skinny white girl off as Aretha Franklin.
Number 29: ‘My Name Is Not Susan’ — Whitney Houston (↑32)
A somewhat underrated Whitney track from between her first wave of stardom and her later, The Bodyguard-driven supermegastardom. It’s sassy.
Album of the Week
Woodface — Crowded House
The Australian Beatles were kind of in danger of being one-hit wonders at the start of the 90s. ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ was a global smash, especially in the States, but their follow-up record had disappointed. While Neil Finn was writing songs for the third Crowded House album, he also started work on some songs with his older brother, Tim.
The label rejected the proposed third Crowded House album, instead asking if they could instead please have the Finn Brothers songs. Although Woodface didn’t make much noise in the US, it still sold well around the world and gave the band some career-defining hits like ‘Weather With You’, ‘It’s Only Natural’, and ‘Fall At Your Feet’.
Calling them “The Australian Beatles” was always something of a joke (outside of Australia, anyway), but they’re extremely skilled songwriters. Plus, the best Crowded House song sounds a bit like ‘Norwegian Wood’.
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