I've previously looked at the albums of 1993, but now it's time to look through the most successful singles of the year, which include plenty of songs that got their start in 1992 but truly flourished the following year. That's just how things work.
1993 was also a year where we said goodbye to Frank Zappa, GG Allin, Mick Ronson, Sun Ra and Arthur Alexander, who'd just gotten around to making his first record since forever.
But let's get the party started with the songs that the Billboard magazine says were popular with the people.
25) Two Steps Behind -- Def Leppard: From their Retro Active album of mostly b-sides and leftovers, the song was more importantly featured on the Last Action Hero soundtrack and everyone knows that's the way to get people to know your song, since what the hell is a radio, right?
24) If I Ever Lose My Faith In You -- Sting: Der Stingle won the 1994 Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male with this track from his album Ten Summoner's Tales. Once in the Grammy rolodex, always in the Grammy rolodex.
23) Hey Jealousy -- Gin Blossoms: Their songwriter Doug Hopkins killed himself in 1993, having been kicked out of the band for the very same things that made him irascible ol' Doug just a few years earlier and that gave the band their hits.
22) What Is Love -- Haddaway: Many of us know this song as being part of that comedy bit with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan where they make those weird stationary dance moves together in the club. Had Haddaway's second single "Life" moved up one slot (it stopped at #41), he wouldn't be a one-hit wonder in the U.S.
21) It Was A Good Day -- Ice Cube: I suppose if you made Ice Cube mad, he might be a scary dude again. But this one-time gangsta-rapper sure seems to have adapted well to his life as a friendly leading man of silly cinema. I think dealing Hugs Not Drugs might be the answer for some people.
20) Deeper and Deeper -- Madonna: These were still the days when people took Madonna seriously. It was, after all, her first decade of fame. At the time it seemed she'd never stumble far enough off the podium of human consciousness to be a footnote to a young person's guide to pop music. But kids today have Lady Gaga and the next one coming.
19) Insane in the Brain -- Cypress Hill: Should marijuana become legal in all 50 states, Cypress Hill should consider doing a tour of all 50 states. Otherwise, they should stick to the ones where they can breathe the air around them without penalty. Leaders in Glaucoma Rap.
18) Bed of Roses -- Bon Jovi: I admit I'd always hoped that the 1990s would knock out a purebred 1980s band like Bon Jovi. But good looks are pliable and hair can be brought down a few inches. And lessons from Desmond Child weather all trends, eventually.
17) Dre Day -- Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg: The 'featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg' is near the beginning of a trend that stays with us to this day, where most of us can't figure out whose record it is anyway. Are the guests just the guests or are they doing all the work on the front line and the artist is in the back sleeping?
16) Have I Told You Lately -- Rod Stewart: Van Morrison wrote it, but people are more comfortable with Rod singing it. I don't blame them. If you're going to take a run at full sentimentality, you go all the way.
15) Two Princes -- Spin Doctors: It doesn't seem possible to me that this track did better than the Steve Miller Band re-write "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong." Yet, the second single did better and then the third single "Jimmy Olsen's Blues" did worse. So, perhaps, it was people showing up too late to fully celebrate the first single. Surely, the band were thinking they had a career in front of them.
14) I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) -- The Proclaimers: Yet another song that divided the masses into happy humming piles of humanity and teeth-gnashing pistons of hate.
13) The River of Dreams -- Billy Joel: Billy was on his way out, which surely panicked radio people who always looked forward to slotting a new Billy Joel song into the playlist. Joel was right, though. Had he stuck around, he likely would've gone out of favor even more than he had. He can still come back from time to time. But it's going to be with his old hits on a stage. The album era ended just a little too late to make Joel look like he was right on time.
12) Runaway Train -- Soul Asylum: There's a truism about indie/alternative rock that says that most bands who make it to the major labels are going to lose whatever made them special in the first place. Or maybe these guys really just always dreamed of being Journey.
11) Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang -- Dr. Dre: Who didn't at least find themselves nodding to this one? Everyone expected Dre to make louder, angrier albums after what went down with N.W.A. But Dre found another way to the pile of money. No matter how you feel about hip-hop, you must admit that a music that centers on words would never seem to have the chance to be this commercial.
10) Informer -- Snow: Oh, forget it, he's a Canadian reggae musician. What is that?
9) Rump Shaker -- Wreckx-n-Effect: This song about the effects of gravity on body mass was one of the few songs that dared to address science in a way easily understandable to people from all walks of life and educational background.
8) Dreamlover -- Mariah Carey: Mariah Carey is one of those artists, like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, where it's important to read what people said about her records the first time around and not just what they say now that the band is an institution.
7) If I Ever Fall In Love -- Shai: This song could've been even bigger had Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" not hogged the #1 slot for a mini-eternity.
6) Weak -- SMV: Most impressive here is that this #1 single had the fewest number of characters needed to make up the title and artist name at just 7. Makes me feel it's all the more important for my band 'Pu' to have a #1 hit with my song 'Z.' That would be 3 total. Finally, success!
5) Freak Me -- Silk: I always expect there to be a handful of songs that never reach me. But I never expect them to be in the top 10. Yet, this is the highest ranking song I don't know. Chalk it up to me not being a Keith Sweat fan, though I really like his name.
4) That's The Way Love Goes -- Janet Jackson: Every era has those artists who release just about anything and it takes over the charts. Elvis did it. The Beatles. Michael Jackson. But who thought that magic would be transferable within families? Had Jesse Garon Presley lived maybe things would've been different. Can I interest anyone in a few Mike McGear albums?
3) Can't Help Falling In Love -- UB40: It never surprises me all that much when I see songs that were once huge hits become huge hits again. When my band finally unleashes our remake of "I'm Henry the VIII, I Am, I Am," I know it will dominate the charts and bring back a Herman and his Hermits revival. It's all in the numbers!
2) Whoomp! (There It Is) -- Tag Team: It's nearly impossible to find anyone -- besides, ironic hipsters -- who says they like this song twenty years after. Actually, it was impossible when the song was a hit. When did people buy this record? In the middle of the night?
1) I Will Always Love You -- Whitney Houston: It's always interesting to see how a song that touches the hearts of so many also inspires such rage and hatred in those who do not enjoy it that a near civil war is feared in the aisles of record stores that actually sell this stuff. No wonder the government disbanded record stores and sent everyone home to buy things on the internet.