1991 featured some fantastic music from really well-known acts such as Rick Astley, Genesis, U2, Kylie Minogue, Sting, Beverly Craven, Crowded House, Michael Jackson and, of course, the number one that went on forever from Bryan Adams.
As I am now a radio presenter on Radio Ninesprings, and I will be sharing my Top 10 all week and sharing 1 track from the list each day, Monday to Friday, on my show from 3pm. Plus, there is now a compilation show on Sunday’s at 6pm.
10. Everything About You by Ugly Kid Joe
If I am ever in a bad mood, this song is very cathartic! You can sing it at the top of your voice – or shout it – and it isn’t too offensive!
The song was written about a cynical childhood friend of the bands and it lists a number of things, in an uptempo, a number of things that he might hate or not care about. Rolling Stone magazine placed this song and its follow up “Cats in the Cradle” on their list of the “20 Greatest Two-Hit Wonders of All Time”! It reached number 3 here in the UK and ends well-known couplet “Shave and a Haircut”.
9. Mad About You by Sting
I have to admit that I much prefer Sting’s solo work than that of when he was with The Police. I had his debut album Dream of the Blue Turtles when that was released and, all of a sudden, a few years later he was coming out with some fantastic stuff.
This very dark ballad from his third solo album was inspired by the biblical tale of King David and Bathsheba, whose adulterous affair led to murder. Sting has stated that it took him a long time to realise that whilst political songs can become dated and go out of fashion, love songs are immortal and stand the test of time.
It only reached number 56 here in the UK but I think it is worthy of FAR more.
8. Crazy by Seal
Seal had first come onto my radar thanks to Adamski and Killer. I always thought he had a fantastic voice and then, when he started to release his own songs, I knew he did.
Ross and I have been to see him twice in concert. The first was at the Hammersmith Apollo – where he got very close as he came off the stage and into the audience. The second time was in Bristol where he did the same thing coming into the audience but, this time he stood on Ross’s chair (as we were standing up dancing!) and had to hold onto Ross’s shoulder for support.
The song was written by Seal, and British songwriter Guy Sigsworth and produced by Trevor Horn. It was inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 and I think the lyrics are fantastic. It reached number 2 in the charts.
7. Heal the Pain by George Michael
This has to be one of my most favourite George Michael songs. Not least for the fact that he was inspired by – and used the style of – one of my favourite songwriters, Paul McCartney. And, when you listen to it, it has him written all over it.
It was the fourth of five UK singles taken from the album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 and incredibly only reached number 31. In 2005, George re-recorded the song with Paul. They sing it together beautifully and that is the version I am sharing here.
6. Cry for Help by Rick Astley
This was the beginning of the end for the first time out for Rick Astley. He started to step away from the Stock Aitken and Waterman machine and this was his first single from his third studio album, Free. It was written by Rick Astley and Rob Fisher of Climie Fisher fame. The Andraé Crouch Choir provided backing vocals.
I have to admit that I much preferred to the SAW music which had started to become a bit tiresome for me. I thought it was the start of something big for him. But we then didn’t see him until he come back with his number one album 50 in 2015. It reached number 7 in the UK.
5. I Can’t Dance by Genesis
If you haven’t tried to reenact the in a line 3 person dance from this video then you need to! This song came out and I loved the renewed energy from this band. They never seemed to put a foot wrong in the past and here, once again, they had a comeback song which was fantastic. I also loved that they seemed to be taking the mickey out of themselves. All of the songs from this album are just great and I could have chosen any of them.
Lyrics were written by Phil Collins and the music was written by the whole band. It peaked at number seven on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals in 1993.
4. One by U2
I think this has to be one of (excuse the pun) if not THE best track by this band. It is both haunting and beautiful and came at a time when the band were struggling. The Edge found the riff when he was putting the guitar piece together for ‘Mysterious Ways’. Once he came up with this, the song quickly followed.
With Freddie Mercury now confirming that he had AIDS and the fact that proceeds from the single were donated to AIDS research, it was all very much in the news and people were becoming much more understanding of the facts surrounding the condition. The cover of the single is a photograph by the American artist David Wojnarowicz and depicts how Indians hunted buffalo by causing them to run off cliffs. He identifies people as the buffalo – pushed into the unknown by forces we cannot control or even understand. Sounds a bit like Covid!
3. What Do I Have To Do by Kylie Minogue
When Kylie came out with the song at number 3 on my chart, I just thought WOW. I could not stop playing it at the time and I still love it even now. It is easy to see in the video that she – just like Rick Astley – was starting to move away from the song churning machine of SAW – even though this is one of her songs. Much of this, I believe, was down to Michael Hutchence’s influence. I still think that she is the success she is today in part due to him.
It is the third song from her third studio album Rhythm of Love and it peaked at number 6 in the UK.
2. These Are The Days Of Our Lives by Queen
If it hadn’t been for the song which I class as the most perfect love song of all time in this year, then this would have been my number one hands down. It is the one I class as Freddie Mercury’s swan song. The one where he knew he was dying from AIDS and where the lyrics are just so perfect. It made me cry at the time – and still does now. Such a waste of a talent that he left us so early.
The video was Freddie Mercury’s last filmed performance. The song was released in May and he in November. Brian May even speculated that Freddie was “saying his goodbye” in that video, knowing that he would likely not be healthy enough to perform anymore.
The song itself was written by Roger Taylor about his children and how parenthood made him look back on his own life but took on a new meaning with Freddie.
1. True Companion by Marc Cohn
Sometimes a song comes along which is just so perfect in summing up how you feel about a situation – and this song is how I feel the perfect love story should go. The lyrics are written about first marriage, then the relationship growing old together then one of the pair passing away and waiting with the angels for the other to join them.
Marc Cohn’s greater known track for that year was ‘Walking in Memphis’ and, in fact, the whole of this album is brilliant. But this had to be the song which would be my number one. He apparently wrote the song in the back of a cab going to meet his girlfriend. He had being living with her for about seven years and all she had asked him for the last three was, ‘How come we’re not yet?'” He said that he didn’t really have the answer and he had written this track before he knew he was ready to be a married man. He sang this tune to her in the restaurant and was excited because he thought it was a great lyric and she was excited because she thought it was a proposal!
There would be a love songs segment on each evening on Capital Radio at the time at about 11.30pm and I would always stay up for it. This was where I first came across this song and it was one of their regulars. I love the piano, the violins, the vocal and the sentiment.