Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published August 1st 2022
1992 was a very good year for music
Well, this is depressing. 1992 is now 30 years ago! I'm sorry, how did that happen? And it's not like 1992 was a minor year in world history, either. Yugoslavia started the painful process of breaking up, the Cold War was declared officially over, John Major became UK PM, the Rodney King riots occurred, Sinead O'Connor was bizarrely condemned for tearing up a photo (later revelations would indicate she was right), and in Australia one and two cent pieces started their phase-out.
Musically, 1992 saw the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert (which I stayed up to watch all night). Nirvana released Nevermind at the end of 1991, and over the next year the influence of that album would come to dominate rock, while pop was inundated by the burgeoning euro-pop sound, and in Australia, we acted like none of that mattered.
1992 was quite the year! While doing research for this, I discovered that many writers looking back declared it the best year for popular music in the 1990s, and it is hard to argue with that when you look at the tracks released.
So, this is the first of 2 columns looking at 1992's music. Rules – the song had to be released in 1992 initially. If the album came out in 1991, then singles don't count. If the album came out in 1993, then 1992 singles do count. In the main list, one song per artist, I need to like the song, normal rules. Oh, and comedy songs are included as well.
Here are the honourable mentions! '57 Channels (And Nothin' On)' by Bruce Springsteen; 'Accidently Kelly Street' by Frente; 'Ain't No Doubt' by Jimmy Nail; 'Bed Of Roses' by Bon Jovi; 'Big Boys Bickering' by Paul McCartney (close, this one); 'Boys From The Bush' by Lee Kernaghan; 'Detachable Penis' by King Missile; 'Digging In The Dirt' by Peter Gabriel; 'Drive' by R.E.M.; 'Everything About You' by Ugly Kid Joe; 'Fear Of The Dark' by Iron Maiden; 'Feel' by The Church; 'Human Touch' by Bruce Springsteen; 'I Don't Care As Long As We Beat New Zealand' by Andrew Denton & The Cast of Live And Sweaty (another close call); 'Informer' by Snow; 'Let's Get Rocked' by Def Leppard; 'Love Is Holy' by Kim Wilde; 'Man On the Moon' by R.E.M.; 'Marvellous' by The 12th Man; 'Motor City (I Get Lost)' by Company Of Strangers; 'Neighbor' by Ugly Kid Joe; 'Nightswimming' by R.E.M.; 'Pretend We're Dead' by L7; 'Room 19 (Sha La La La Lee)' by Bob Geldof; 'Shakin' The Cage' by Zoo; 'Steam' by Peter Gabriel; 'Summer In Paradise' by The Beach Boys (yes, really); 'Take A Chance' by Bonnie Tyler; 'The Lumberjack' by Jackyl (with chainsaw solo!); 'Trigger Happy' by Weird Al Yankovic; 'Wake Up' by Rage Against the Machine; 'Walking On Broken Glass' by Annie Lennox; 'Weight Of The World' by Ringo Starr; 'What God Wants (Part 1)' by Roger Waters; 'What's Up' by 4 Non Blondes; 'You Don't Treat Me No Good' by Sonia Dada; 'You're The Greatest' by Bonnie Tyler. Whew! What a list already!
Okay, let's start this list with an instrumental. Eric Carr died in 1991, and the band included this track on their 1992 Revenge album, and it is a stunning bit of drumming and a great piece of rock music. 'Carr Jam 1981' by Kiss
So, to the full list! 15 songs, in alphabetical order of title. Enjoy!
'Baby Don't Cry' by INXS
INXS are one of those bands I am not sure about. I saw them live only once, I own a heap of their albums and a few singles, and yet I would not call myself a fan as such. However, songs like this are so good that anyone could like them. The chorus gets me in this song – it is just great.
'Baby Got Back' by Sir Mix-A-Lot
Yeah, this won't be the first song to make many scratch their head at my selections, but I have enjoyed this since it first came out. I have it on 45 (vinyl), and I still know every word. Politically incorrect, but a great song. Oh, and for the record, I cannot stand what Nicki Minaj did to it.
'Constant Craving' by k.d. lang
k.d. lang has an amazing voice. I first heard her on the Roy Orbison Black & White Night show, and this is, to me, the highlight of her second album. I find her singing so smooth and natural. Love listening to her.
'Everybody Hurts' by R.E.M.
A look through the honourable mentions will indicate a few R.E.M. songs; Automatic For The People was a stunning album. But this is my favourite track from it. The lyrics are amazing and the music behind them swells with as much emotion as Michael Stipe's voice. Wow.
'Friday I'm In Love' by The Cure
I was sure this song came out earlier, but the date on the album indicates 1992 is it. This is The Cure in rare cheery mode, and it works really well. The music is great here.
'Happy Birthday Helen' by Things Of Stone & Wood
Another band I've seen live, this is a song I have on CD Single. It is an unheralded Australian classic, not known outside our borders. And I still remember the D-Generation's parody – "I'm running out of Melbourne clichés…".
'Holy Grail' by Hunters & Collectors
Third band I've seen live on the list. Hunters And Collectors were a band that released great song after great song. And this track is an interesting one, being about Napoleon and France! I guess you can write a song about anything and make it work!
'Jump Around' by House Of Pain
This is an amazing song that, at this time, you heard every St Patrick's day and at a lot of sporting events. I used to know all the lyrics, but trying to sing it while doing this, I've forgotten them. This is still one of the great "jock jams" of my lifetime.
'Smells Like Nirvana' by Weird Al Yankovic
And this is the final artist in this list I've seen live. Twice, in fact. From the album Off The Deep End, this is a song poking fun at Nirvana and the song itself, but in a way that is not nasty. Yankovic's band have the music down so perfectly, the video clip is spot on, and the lyrics are amazing… and probably mean nothing to anyone who doesn't remember the original.
'Something Good' by Utah Saints fest. Kate Bush
Taking a sample of Kate Bush from 'Cloudbusting', adding a techno beat and some yelled lyrics, and this track became a hit and something you could not avoid at the time. It is just a fun track. They remade it in 2008, and it doesn't seem the same with Kate. Sorry.
'Stay' by Shakespears Sister
This is a stunning song, with two voices complementing one another and a song that is at once beautiful and yet menacing at the same time. This is close to my favourite track from the year; I can listen to this over and over. So very good.
'The Majesty Of Rock' by Spinal Tap
Spinal Tap! The Tap are Back! The lyrics of this are so good, taking rock clichés and tweaking them into something wholly unique, and with a video clip that is stunning. For a band made up of actors and comedians, they certainly know how to play! And remember: "The more it stays the same, the less it changes…"
'Too Funky' by George Michael
I was not a huge fan of Wham!, but when George Michael went solo, his music became so much more interesting. This song is the sort that, if I had been going to nightclubs at the time, I know I would have heard and danced to. Too funky, indeed.
'Too Much Love Will Kill You' by Brian May
Weird song story. Queen recorded this song for the 1989 album The Miracle, being about the end of Brian May's first marriage. But it was set aside. When Freddie Mercury passed away, May released it as a solo recording, and I bought it on cassingle. It is a beautiful track. Then, Queen re-recorded the instrumentation behind Freddie's 1989 vocals for the Made In Heaven album, so there is a Queen version as well! But I still prefer the May version.
'Why' by Annie Lennox
Diva was a magnificent album, an Annie Lennox solo outing, that really took full advantage of her magnificent voice. And this track is my pick from the collection. Her vocals soar and this just hits so well.
There we are, 15 (plus one) songs from the year 1992. There will be a collection of cover songs from the year to come as well, but I hope you enjoyed this first look at what was a really strong year for music.