Every Billboard Modern Rock/Alternative #1 Single (Part 2: The 1990s)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Parachute Woman, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. Electronic's tune "Getting Away With It" is cool track, but I think it works better the way Johnny Marr plays it live.
  2. Geee!

    Geee! Forum Resident

    "The Emperor's New Clothes" > "Nothing Compares 2 U", I think. One of the strongest tracks on the record.
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  3. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Forum Resident

    Enjoy the Silence... what a perfect title for my thoughts of that song -- silence is much more enjoyable than listening to that. After one minute I was skipping ahead trying to find anything interesting about it. There wasn't.

    I don't remember hearing The Emperor's New Clothes before. Totally boring song but O'Connor's voice almost saved it anyway. I did make it all the way through that song. Seems like a very odd song to release as a single though, it just sounds like an album filler-track.
  4. John54

    John54 Forum Resident

    I know some of the songs posted in this thread, but I actually stopped listening to the radio (that would be CFNY) in 1988. I have the Sundays LP, three or four by House of Love, quite a few by Depeche Mode, and one by the Church (Heyday), among others. I might even have a Sinead O'Connor LP somewhere, collecting dust. I will probably have heard of most of the acts, from reading Melody Maker and the NME until 2006 (the former was incorporated into the latter at the beginning of 2001) but not all.
  5. BadJack

    BadJack Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    The interesting thing about that arrangement is while the Electronic song seemed like a huge left turn for me, hearing it done like this reveals it to be really not that dissimilar to Marr's previous work. I could even imagine that old singer of his handling this tune quite well.

    And while we're still talking about "The Emperor's New Clothes" a bit, the bass player on that track is Marr's former Smiths colleague Andy Rourke.
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  6. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV Forum Resident

    "Enjoy The Silence"
    I came across this version awhile back, and man do I like it.

  7. george nadara

    george nadara Forum Resident

    Where are the Americans?

    Top 10 for the week of 5/12/90:

    01. "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Sinead O'Connor (from Ireland)
    02. "Forgotten Years" by Midnight Oil (Australia)
    03. "Here's Where the Story Ends" by the Sundays (UK)
    04. "Metropolis" by the Church (Australia)
    05. "Policy of Truth" by Depeche Mode (UK)
    06. "I Don't Know Why I Love You" by the House of Love (UK)
    07. "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode (UK)
    08. "Pure" by Lightning Seeds (UK)
    09. "Downtown" by Lloyd Cole (UK)
    10. "Cradle of Love" by Billy Idol (UK)
  8. george nadara

    george nadara Forum Resident

    This is a fine post meriting special kudos for historical accuracy. :edthumbs:
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  9. koshrecords

    koshrecords Forum Resident

    I loved this song as a kid - it was the theme song to the summer of cricket in '93, so I heard it a thousand times. Saw him live a couple of years ago - I went for Cheap Trick, who were supporting, but Billy was fantastic.
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  10. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes, very interesting. This has been true since the chart's inception. That's one thing we will start seeing more of as we roll deeper into the '90s--more American acts on the chart. Not necessarily today though! Next:

    30. "Forgotten Years" by Midnight Oil

    #1 for 1 week beginning May 19, 1990

    Forgotten Years was the second single from Midnight Oil's Blue Sky Mining album.

    Blue Sky Mining, produced by Warne Livesey, was released by CBS/Columbia on 9 February 1990.[1] It peaked at number one on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) albums chart.[2] It stayed at number one for two weeks in Australia and had Top 5 chart success in Sweden, Switzerland and Norway.[3] It peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200[4] and number 28 on the UK charts.[5] The album was "more defiant and outspoken" than their previous work;[6] the single "Blue Sky Mine" describes asbestos exposure in the Wittenoom mine tragedy.[6] The lead single peaked at number eight on the ARIA singles charts,[2] top 15 in Norway and Switzerland,[7]number 47 on Billboard Hot 100 and number one on both their Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks charts,[8] and appeared on the UK charts.[5] The second single, "Forgotten Years," was more moderately successful, reaching number 26 on the ARIA singles chart, number 97 in the UK, number 11 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks, and number one on the Modern Rock Tracks.

    Top 10 for the week of 5/19/90:
    01. "Forgotten Years" by Midnight Oil
    02. "Here's Where the Story Ends" by the Sundays *
    03. "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Sinead O'Connor
    04. "Policy of Truth" by Depeche Mode *
    05. "Way Down Now" by World Party *
    06. "Downtown" by Lloyd Cole
    07. "Cradle of Love" by Billy Idol
    08. "Book of Dreams" by Suzanne Vega
    09. "Hey Venus" by That Petrol Emotion
    10. "I Don't Know Why I Love You" by the House of Love

    * Future #1
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  11. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Forgotten Years
    I like 'Blue Sky Mine' better but this is another good single from Midnight Oil. It's a bit repetitive on the chorus, but I don't really have any other complaints. It seems like Blue Sky Mining was a pretty major success for this band. They have their own sound and perspective and I can certainly respect them for that. One more single from this album ('King of the Mountain') hit the top ten and got to #3. They had a few more top tens through 1993 but then they basically disappeared from this chart.

    From the rest of the top ten, I'll highlight 'Book of Dreams' from Suzanne Vega:

    I've always really liked Suzanne. She has the sweetest voice and her work in the '80s (along with a few other folks like Tracy Chapman and the aforementioned Sinead) really helped lay the groundwork for the explosion of female songwriters in the mainstream in the 1990s.
  12. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    "Forgotten Years" is all right. I think the political message is a little too strident; I didn't relate to it or even know what he was talking about. But it's a good rock track.

    "The Emperor's New Clothes"-- not as iconic as some of the other tracks on that album in my opinion; still it's naked emotion and utterly honest lyrics win me over.

    "Cradle of Love" --Billy Idol. I have issues with Billy Idol being "alternative",is there an ombudsman I can petition?

    But still this is a pretty good single.

    "Book of Dreams"--very much of its time but very good indeed. Her first album is one of my favorites from 1985 or so. She took a left turn after this album with 99.9F, but it worked for me. This one sounds a little dated in comparison. But she is one of those singer/songwriters who really can't turn out a bad album, no matter what. And yes, she helped lay the groundwork for all thsoe singer/songwriters that dominated the mid-nineties..
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  13. Retro Hound

    Retro Hound Forum Resident

    Pittsburg, KS
    Billy Idol was grandfathered in due to his punk background.
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  14. Planbee

    Planbee Nothing To See Here

    "Book of Dreams" is a nice tune. I should catch up with her stuff--I think she's made a couple records since Beauty & Crime, which is my favorite album of hers.

    Songs in Red and Gray might've been a contender with its stellar first half, but offhand I can't think of another album that fades so quickly once you flip it over, so to speak.

    Anyway, one of her best songs is from that album:

  15. WilliamWes

    WilliamWes Forum Resident

    New York
    Haven't posted any reviews on this new thread yet so here goes some:

    23. The Psychdelic Furs – House
    Another in the vein of so many alt. rock hits at this time, driving guitars and beat plus crooning emotional vocals (from Richard Butler here). Solid melody and sentiment and it works as one of their better 90’s singles. While I'm still just familiar with their bigger songs, I do think this is a strong band that had some staying power but I still don't know why by the late 80's, the UK dropped them when looking at the charts.

    The Mighty Lemondrops – Where Do We Go From Heaven
    Well, first you have to get to heaven but I guess that’s been cleared up. A bit too much repetition of the title but then again, there are lots of repetitive choruses in alt rock so it’s not as severe a problem. The problem might be the lack of lyrics in the other sections of the song. Can’t get into this one much-the music never changes up to a bridge or break.

    24. Peter Murphy – Cuts You Up
    A name from Bauhaus I’m not familiar with and Bauhaus I know only by name but I can tell Murphy’s got a distinctive voice that fits alt. rock well. The video shows a guy fiddling or bowing on a guitar but it’s really a violin playing on this and it works to set a calm but tense atmosphere. The lyrics go well with the 90’s alt scene as well as it has a dark edge to it. I thought this is one of the stronger tracks we’ve been through and I can hear this hitting #1 unlike a number of the other tracks where I felt they were more top 25 – ish.

    25. Sinead O’ Connor -Nothing Compares to U
    Great song, excellent performance, slow but stately, sound vocal and otherworldly, just the right emotion in the synth strings and Sinead deserved her fame for this- that strained ‘to U’ sounds like it’s approving of the individual but also resigning in the fact that she is vulnerable as a result. Nice Prince lyric but excellent interpretation to deepen the meaning.
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  16. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    Sinead O'Connor - The Emperor's New Clothes

    Seems like this song is a bit of a manifesto for her. Watching the video makes me really appreciate how original not only her voice was, but also her way of moving and presenting herself. It's refreshing to see someone completely doing her own thing. The song gets a bit repetitive, mostly just a I-IV chord progression over and over. The arrangement of the different sections help separate everything. The vibe is good, but it's mostly her voice and lyrics that sell the song. I like this song. It's not as good as a composition as Nothing Compares 2 U, but that's OK since Prince is an amazing songwriter.

    Midnight Oil - Forgotten Years

    It's interesting to me how many of these songs I remember once I hear them. Forgotten Years is one of those. I really don't think I've heard it since 1990, and yet it's still there in my brain. Good, driving song. It seems perfectly made for radio back then. It's hooky, but also different enough that it shows their own sound. Good song.
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  17. WilliamWes

    WilliamWes Forum Resident

    New York
    Morrissey – Oujia Board Oujia Board
    Oh geez, I have trouble with Morrissey but he was a big name around alt. rock and though his solo stuff wasn’t played here too much, I have his best of and this is on it. I’m still having trouble I guess as this wasn’t one of his better singles. The chorus about oujia boards isn’t worth it especially when he’s singing to them. I like the piano work that pans left and right and the guitar solos cut right through for some relief from the tepid atmosphere. Interesting textures and a couple of good lyrics but just okay for me.

    Laurie Anderson – Baby Doll
    Kind of what I thought a late 80’s Laurie Anderson track would sound like though I barely know her stuff. A bit weird but not totally experimental- this is really spiced up dub with a vocal without much melody. I was surprised at the Latin horns and Anderson talk-sung vocal has some character. Alright song. Funny how Laurie also had a Ouija board song.

    Kate Bush-Sensual World
    Wanted to try another Kate Bush song cause I keep seeing all the great comments about her, and again, the music here was impressive, I liked the Eastern influences on the song and it felt like its own sensual world. I’ll keep hearing her if she appears on the top ten again or at some point I’ll try her older stuff.

    26. Midnight Oil – Blue Sky Mine
    Finally, a song I knew before we started the threads. It sounds like a labored chorus but I do think it’s good enough to hold up the strong lyrics. Not one of my favorites from them, but solid and they were big for so long in the 80’s, they deserve some more chart success. Glad to see "Forgotten Years" at #1 too. I'll get to that one.
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  18. Hoover Factory

    Hoover Factory Old Dude Who Knows Things

    Spokane, WA
    Playing catch-up here:

    Midnight Oil - Never got into any of their music. I’m not big on political music and I couldn’t connect with them

    “The Emperor’s New Clothes”/Sinead O’Connor - great, great song - probably my favorite by Sinead

    “Metropolis”/The Church - did not really care for this one. I keep waiting for the song to kick in but it never does.

    “Enjoy the Silence”/Depeche Mode - I loved the Violator LP and this was one of my favorite tunes from it. I think I mentioned this before - my wife and I liked the tune so much, that we had the DJ play it as the last song to close out our wedding reception.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  19. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident Thread Starter


    31. "Here's Where the Story Ends" by the Sundays

    #1 for 1 week beginning May 26, 1990

    "Here's Where the Story Ends" is a song by English alternative rock band The Sundays, released as the second single from their debut album Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. It has been categorized as jangle pop.[1]

    Although it was the Sundays' biggest hit internationally, topping the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart for one week, the track was never released as a single in the group's native United Kingdom due to the collapse of the Rough Trade Records label. Nonetheless it achieved no. 36 placing in John Peel's Festive Fifty for 1990.[2]

    Many artists have covered this song, including Chinese star Faye Wong as "Being Criminal" on Ingratiate Oneself in 1994, and Tin Tin Out who reached number seven in the UK Singles Chart in 1998,[3] as well as no. 15 on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

    The top ten does not show much movement as, again, only 1 week has passed. We have a few multi-week #1s upcoming, which will allow for more chart movement.
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  20. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Here's Where the Story Ends
    Like @Fortysomething I absolutely LOVE the Sundays. They were actually my biggest musical 'discovery' of last year. I knew several of their songs (including this one) for years but it was just in 2018 that I got all the albums and actually became pretty much obsessed with them. They are in my top 10 favorite artists now. There is pure magic in the music of the Sundays. It is sweet and lush and pretty and catchy, without ever being twee or cliched. Harriet Wheeler has the voice of an angel and she and her husband guitarist David Gavurin wrote such wonderful songs that perfectly complement the timbre of that voice. They released three albums and all three are absolutely wonderful. They left the industry to focus on family but there is always the quiet hope that they will return someday. 'Here's Where the Story Ends' is a perfect jangle pop masterpiece in my opinion and the kind of song that instantly makes me feel great when I listen to it. I would not chance one thing about it and I'm so happy for the Sundays that they saw success in the '90s--because they absolutely deserved it.
  21. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    I love this song, love this album. This is the only album I know by the Sundays, but I really, really like it.

    I actually don't really remember this at the time, I got into it later; but when I hear it, it still has the power to really bring me back to that period of time. It is really great music.
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  22. Fortysomething

    Fortysomething Forum Resident

    Glad to see Here's Where The Story Ends was a #1!
  23. Fortysomething

    Fortysomething Forum Resident

    The chart, perhaps not.

    But I know it was all over the radio....to the exclusion of a lot of what we called "alternative" before that. Most of the stations that were playing the songs we're talking about (that weren't college stations) flipped to a more "grunge" sound.
  24. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I wasn't listening to radio in the early '90s so I cannot speak from experience, but this is an airplay only chart. Sales do not factor in at all on chart placement here. Perhaps the radio stations playing more grunge were categorized by Billboard as mainstream rock rather than modern rock and affected placement on that chart rather than this one.

    All I can gather from the evidence before me is that the radio stations being tracked for the Billboard Modern Rock chart in 1991-1994 were not playing grunge music to the exclusion of lighter fair. It got played, sure, but it did not dominate.
  25. BadJack

    BadJack Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    "Here's Where the Story Ends" absolutely blew me away when I first heard it. What a voice. They made some amazing music and I'm glad I got to see them live just before they vanished into the ether.
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