Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Top 100 Songs of 1991*: #10-1

In 1991, the U.S. federal debt had reached $3.5 billion and the unemployment rate was 6.8% heading into the 1992 presidential campaign.  Also the Chicago Bulls stopped the Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 1 to win the NBA Championship while the Minnesota Twins stopped the Atlanta Braves 4 games to 3 in the World Series.


All The Man That I Need
Whitney Houston

This song gave Whitney Houston a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and achieved a difficult triple #1 on the Popular, Adult Contemporary and R&B charts.


Baby, Baby
Amy Grant

Here's a multi-format smash, #1 on the Popular chart and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for two and three weeks, respectively, in the U.S., #2 in the U.K. and Canada, #5 in Australia and Sweden, #6 in Norway, #7 in Ireland and #8 in West Germany.  The song proved it was among the year's best when it was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards.  Facing some of the top competition of the year, the song helped sell over five million albums in the United States alone.


I've Been Thinking About You

This British Dance group enjoyed some success in Europe with their debut album, but the first single from their follow-up album In the Blood had people all over the world dancing and turning up their radios.  If you look at worldwide chart numbers, there weren't too many bigger songs in 1991.  It went to #1 in the U.S., West Germany, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Spain and #2 in the U.K. and Norway.  


When A Man Loves A Woman
Michael Bolton

The general rule in music is "never remake a classic".  Michael Bolton did that in his recording of this Percy Sledge song.  When the dust settled, he did about as good as anyone could have.  Like Sledge, Bolton also took this song to #1 (on both the Popular and Adult Contemporary formats) and also won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist and Favorite Pop/Rock Album


Mariah Carey

Given that this artist has only achieved six Top 10 hits since 2002, it's easy to forget how successful she was before she changed musical styles.  She ran off a string of 11 Top 10 songs in a row to begin her career and had a shot to become the most successful artist of all-time before the change.  This is the first of three in the Top 10 for 1991*, a song that became her third consecutive #1 song overall and reached #3 on the R&B chart and #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart.  Her incredible debut album led to a Grammy Award for Best New Artist and Carey was also nominated for Producer of the Year.  


I Don't Wanna' Cry
Mariah Carey

At #5, the song that followed up "Someday" above.  It too hit #1 on the Popular chart and also reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.  At the conclusion of the year, it was the #10 AC song according to Billboard, but has gained considerably in the 25 years since.


Mariah Carey

After the four huge hits on her debut, Mariah recorded her second album and released the title song in 1991.  The song raced to #1 on the Popular chart for three weeks and also went to #1 on the R&B and Dance charts and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.  With its #1 ranking, Carey thus set a Rock Era record as the only artist to reach #1 with each of the first five releases.  Mariah showed her amazing vocal ability and extensive use of the whistle register that earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.


Rush, Rush
Paula Abdul

The former Los Angeles Laker cheerleader and world-renowned choreographer placed another song from her album Spellbound ("Blowing Kisses In The Wind") in The Top 100 Songs of 1991* at #52.  This smash resided at the #1 position for five weeks against strong competition, the longest tenure for a song at the top since Madonna's "Like A Virgin" in 1985.  Proving its endless appeal, Abdul also scored a #1 song for five weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart.  


Black Or White
Michael Jackson

The lead single from the album Dangerous rocketed to #1 in just three weeks, becoming the fastest riser to the top since "Get Back" by the Beatles in 1969.  Jackson thus became the first artist to score #1 songs in the 1970's, the '80s and the '90s.  When "Black Or White" extended its reign to seven weeks at #1, it tied The #1 Song of 1991* for weeks at the top.  But this was far from just a United States phenomenon, going to #1 in the U.K. Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Cuba, Israel, Italy, Mexico and Turkey and reaching #2 in West Germany and the Netherlands. The song continues to be very relevant today, ranking #5 among songs from 1991 for YouTube views.  


(Everything I Do) I Do It For You
Bryan Adams

As you can see from the facts above, it was a tight race for #1 for the year.  You see what "Black Or White" has going for it--this song reached #1 in every major country in the world:  the United States, the U.K., West Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Spain.  Bryan Adams led this song to #1 for seven weeks, the longest stay at #1 since the eight weeks for "Every Breath You Take" by the Police in 1983.  In the U.K., however, this song had a lock on #1 for 16 weeks, an all-time record, and it spent nine weeks at #1 in Canada.  Prominently featured in the great movie Robin Hood:  Prince of Thieves, it has now sold over 15 million singles, one of the best-sellers in history.  Adams won a Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television.

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