Sunday, October 27, 2013

1991: the year in music

Well, I wasn't going to do another so soon, but my friend V, sent his best of 1991 through and I realised I had so much music I loved that year I had to write another piece!

1991 was a GREAT year for music, I was 20, going out a LOT, and finally having a full time job so I could afford lots of concerts and CDs! Yes CDs were a thing by now...still loved my vinyl though!

Really 1991 was the year of Nirvana! Though Nevermind was released late in 1991, so I guess 1992 could also be the year of Nirvana. Smells like Teen Spirit kicked A then and it still does, it has hardly dated in all these years. Stunning! Whilst that and Come As You Are were excellent tracks and hits, my favourites were Polly and Lithium. I recently watched Dave Grohl's Sound City, about the famed Sound City Studios in LA were Nevermind (and many other amazing albums) was recorded, and got to hear a lot of stories about it's making.

Whilst I loved that album, still do, for me 1991 was the year of REM. REM were a band I loved, but the release of Out of Time pushed them to worship status. I played and played that album, which you could with CDs. Not scratches, no wearing out of cassettes, no getting up to change sides, you could loop it forever! Favourite songs were Radio Song and Me In Honey. The hits were Shiny, Happy People and Losing My Religion, though both were overplayed on the radio...sigh. Though the Sesame Street version, Shiny, Happy Monsters is a bit cute!


Another juggernaut was released at the end of 1991 and that was U2's Achtung Baby. Produced by the wonderful Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lilywhite this album was perfect rock and changed U2's direction and style. Bono had credibility back then, even in leather trousers and those fabulous sunglasses - all sunglasses bought by me since are a version on those babies! Achtung Baby has the instant classic, One, and the big hits of Even Better Than The Real Thing and Mysterious Ways. Other favourites are Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses and Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World.

On the Australian scene the big album (for me anyway) was Crowded House's Woodface. It saw brother Tim join the band and gave us a number of hits. My favourites being Fall At Your Feet, Weather With You and Four Seasons In One Day.

Other big hits for the year were:

Enter Sandman - Metallica
I really like Metallica. Go check out their movie, Some Kind of Monster, which I love. Sandman rocks, has great rhythm, and a spooky spoken word section!

Black or White - Michael Jackson
First single off the Dangerous album. Very catchy, race related song with a ground breaking video.

Give It Away - Red hot Chili Peppers
From the great Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Under the Bridge was the big hit, but I loved this the best. Great mix of rock/funk. And the craziest film clip!!

Treaty - Yothu Yindi
Great dance track and a fabulous lesson in politics and indigenous culture.

Gett Off/Cream - Prince
From his 13th album, Diamonds and Pearls, Prince released these chart topping, sexy dance numbers. The following year I saw him live and my mind was blown!! He still ranks as the best live act I have ever seen (seen him twice) and whilst many come close, I doubt anyone will ever knock him off.

Something To Talk About - Bonnie Raitt
The fabulous Bonnie Raitt finally found fame in the early 90s, this great rocking track comes from her Grammy Award winning album, Luck of the Draw.

Don't let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John and George Michael.
A live recording from George's concert in Wembley Stadium, the song went on to become a massive hit all over again. I really love the fragility of this and whilst always loved the song anyway, hold this version close to my heart. Love it when the crowd goes wild at Elton's arrival! Also, how many romantic duets between two men do you know? Yeah, let that sink in for a bit...

The Australian Music Scene was also doing great, especially with indie releases, here are some of my favourites:

By My Side - INXS
From the X album, this beautiful tune was one of the songs played at Michael's funeral.

Miss Freelove '69 - Hoodoo Gurus
From the album Kinky, this is a great free spirited 60s style tune. Hoodoo Gurus are my favourite Australian band, and their debut album, Stoneage Romeos, one of my all time favourite albums. I have seen Hoodoo Gurus more times than any other band, I can't tell you how many times...a lot! I probably could write a book about these concerts/exploits, lol!

Labour of Love - Frente
Whirled, Frente's Debt EP was released with this as the single, I loved their harmonies. They went on to become bigger than Ben Hur and a tad annoying, but I still appreciate their smaller pieces. They re-released this again 1994 after they had fame, this version is from then.

D.C - Died Pretty
The magnificent Doughboy Hollow was released this year and it and the big single, D.C. and it's follow up, Sweetheart, still remains favourites.

If A Vow - The Hummingbirds
Loved this, great melodic pop!

Jennifer - Falling Joys
So many amazing female singers/led bands in Australia in the early 90s...what happened?? This is an early single, laid back rock I think I'd call it, their better known hits are still a good year away.

Soul Eater/Hieronymous - The Clouds
No list of 1991 would be complete without The Clouds. Soul eater was released earlier in the year on their Loot EP, followed by the wonderful Penny Century album with Hieronymous being released as a single later in the year. I really loved this band, but they just never really made it big. This could be said for quite a few bands in the early 90s, they had it all, yet somehow it just didn't happen. I personally think they were ahead of their time.

Other tunes of 1991 include:
Sexuality by Billy Bragg, Happy and Trust by Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Right here, right now by Jesus Jones, Unfinished Symphony by Massive Attack, Size of a Cow by The Wonder Stuff, More than Words, by Extreme, Dancin' by Chris Isaak, and Things that make you go mmm by C & C Music Factory.

I also loved:

Rush by Big Audio Dynamite II
Loved BAD and saw them when they toured with U2, closest I'd ever get to The Clash! This is a funky, loopy song that doesn't take itself too seriously! Not everything is singing you know! Rhythm and Melody!!

Monsters and Angels by Voice of the Beehive
This is another band I had forgotten but loved. They did a rocked up version of I Think I Love You too! The lead singers were sisters with amazing voices! The album was called Honey Lingers...rather apt!

Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
I do love this, and I think it was an instant classic. Great melody and clear piano, it packed a punch, referenced Elvis and Graceland. I have to say, this song played over and over in my head when I was in Memphis and it is fitting. The song, not only describes what Memphis is really like but the feel of the song is just perfect. I also like the Joe Cocker feel about halfway through.


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