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1992: Cover Songs of the Year

Home > Everywhere > Lists | Music | Performing Arts | Quirky | Vintage and Retro
by Steven G (subscribe)
Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published August 4th 2022
The cover songs of 1992 were amazing
The second of my columns about the music of 1992, this time looking at the cover versions that were rife at the time. So, what happened in 1992? How about some sports results? The Washington NFL team won the Superbowl, defeating the Buffalo Bills, the 2nd of four straight Superbowl losses for the Bills. In the Australian Football league, West Coast won their first grand final. The Unified (formerly USSR) team dominated the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. And in tennis Monica Seles was just Wimbledon away from winning the Grand Slam. There you go – 1992 sports trivia.

So, this list. I had an issue with this one. See, in 1992 an Australian concert version of Jesus Christ Superstar toured the country and, yes, I went to see it. The soundtrack album and several singles from it dominated the charts. And this was all cover versions, because in the 1970s we had had the first Australian touring version with Jon English as Judas (and disco versions of some of the songs). So, I was at a loss here, not wanting the one album to take over.
1992, jesus christ, superstar, music
Yes, the cause of my issues.

So, in the end, I decided on one track only from the album. This meant listening to the whole thing a few times and then making my choice. Here are the songs that missed out: 'Could We Start Again Please?' by Kate Ceberano & Dean Lotherington (actually a live version, the B-side to one of the singles); 'Gethsemane' by John Farnham; 'Heaven On Their Minds' by Jon Stevens; 'Superstar' by Jon Stevens. What made it? Well, read on and see! 15 songs all up, and a wide variety of genres.

I'll start with a comedy song, and a medley, with a heap of early 90s songs together in the way they were intended to be played – as an accordion-led polka.
'Polka Your Eyes Out' by 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Okay, let' hit the list proper!

'Cats In The Cradle' by Ugly Kid Joe

The original was done by Harry Chapin in 1974, and hearing it done in such a serious manner on an album filled with puerile pop-punk was quite jarring. But it is a faithful version and quite good for all that.

'Don't Be Cruel' by Ringo Starr

Weight Of The World was Ringo's first album in about a decade. As well as the wonderful title track, this cover version the 1956 Elvis Presley song is a definite highlight of the collection.

'Everything's Alright' by John Farnham, Kate Ceberano, and Jon Stevens

And we come to the song I ended up choosing from [I[Jesus Christ Superstar[/I], mainly because it has all three of the major roles singing in one song, and it just builds and sounds wonderful. This 1992 album version is possibly the best version of the rock opera I have heard… and I've heard quite a few.

'Hard To Handle' by The Commitments

Okay, the film and first volume of the soundtrack album came out in 1991, but volume 2 of the soundtrack was released in 1992, and this is my favourite song from that second set, a cover of the 1968 Otis Redding classic. The Commitments is an under-rated film, I reckon.

'I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore' by Divinyls

This is one of those surprising cover versions. I didn't realise it was a cover until I got a Young Rascals Greatest Hits album and heard the original by them, from 1965. Well, to me, Divinyls beat the original. What a great version.

'I Drove All Night' by Roy Orbison

Alright, another strange one, timeline-wise. This was written for Roy Orbison and he recorded it in 1987, but it wasn't released. In the meantime, Cyndi Lauper recorded and released her version in 1987. Orbison passed away, and the track was remixed and new instrumentation was recorded, and it was finally released in 1992, posthumously. Still, great version; Roy's voice is always amazing.

'I'm Not Like Everybody Else' by Candy Harlots

I first heard this song by Jimmy and the Boys, and a relative told me it was originally by the Kinks (1966). Well, in 1992, I got a four-track cassingle by this band free with a music magazine, this was my favourite track from it, more Jimmy than Kinks… and I have never heard of them since. Shame. They did a good job here.

'Mrs. Robinson' by The Lemonheads

A pretty faithful rendering of the 1968 Simon & Garfunkel hit from the film The Graduate, upping the electric instrumentation. It did well in the charts and, in Australia at least, stimulated an interest in discovering the music of the original duo.

'Take A Chance On Me' by Erasure

Abba-esque is a strange covers EP by Erasure, and there is a version of this song with a sort of reggae-rap in the middle. The single version doesn't have that, and is the better for it. The original, of course, was by Abba (1977), and was not as euro-pop as this.

'The Bell' by Mike Oldfield

In 1992 for whatever reason, Mike Oldfield re-recorded and released a new version of his seminal debut album Tubular Bells. Tubular Bells II was a fine piece of work, but to me the original is still the best. However, the album was split into more distinct tracks, and this song, the introduction of the instruments, was released with guest vocals by Billy Connolly. That made it for me. And, yes, he does play every instrument, like in the video clip.

'Tougher Than The Rest' by Everything But The Girl

Springsteen's 1987 hit is stripped back and loses nothing of its emotional impact in the hands of Everything But The Girl. This is a really nice version of the song, from the album Acoustic.

'Viva Las Vegas' by ZZ Top

Taking the 1964 Elvis Presley hit (two Elvis covers? Wow…) and giving it a southern boogie make-over, ZZ Top recorded this as one of two new tracks for a greatest hits album. They do a really good job of it as well, and sound like they are having fun.

'Way Out West' by James Blundell And James Reyne

A bit of classic Australiana country from the Dingoes (1973), James Blundell and James Reyne came together to record a loving and faithful version of the track. I think it even charted in Australia, showing that they did a pretty good job of it.

'Wild Thing' by Cheap Trick

Yes, a cover of the 1965 song by The Wild Ones, from the film Encino Man. They actually did something a little different to it, turning it into a Cheap Trick song and not just playing karaoke.

And there we are, 15 cover songs from 1992. It was a very good year for music all up, and I hope over the two columns you have found something that you enjoyed.


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Why? 1992 was a strong year
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