Being a child of the late 80s/early 90s, my memories of that time are of long lazy BMX rides in the local woods, hours of frustration as I grappled with my high score on the Spectrum (the game was normally Jet Set Willy - remember that one?), and weeks of conversation about Scott and Charlene's wedding day on the Australian soap Neighbours.
But it is the soundtrack to this time that sticks with me most of all; I was a sucker for anything Stock, Aitken and Waterman and, even to this day, I can remember every word to Kylie Minogue's I Should Be So Lucky (should I be admitting this?). There are of course other songs that I had no memory of until I started researching this article; the forgotten gems. I thought I'd take this opportunity to explore some of the one hit wonders of the early 1990s in the hope that they'll evoke more memories for me, and hopefully some for you too!
I should point out that I grew up in the UK, so if you are reading this elsewhere no doubt there will be some hits that are familiar, others maybe less so. I also just want to state that these artists only ever had one major hit in England, which is not to say they didn't have strings of number one singles in other countries!
1, Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U
Nothing Compares 2 U is a powerful yearning ballad of lost love and was a major one hit wonder for Irish-born Sinead O'Connor. It reached number 1 in the UK in early 1990, and was a massive international hit, topping the charts in several countries including Ireland, Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. The song was originally written and recorded by Prince, and covered by Sinead O'Connor on her second studio album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. However, it wasn't until she recorded and produced a version in co-ordination with Nellee Hooper that it received public and critical acclaim.
2, Deee-Lite - Groove Is In the Heart
Groove Is In the Heart is an up-beat funky pop classic, and compares the feelings of a disco beat with infatuation and new love. The song takes elements of house, disco, and hip-hop, and is still played frequently in UK clubs to this day. It was recorded by the dance music band Deee-Lite and came from their debut album, World Clique. Although it reached number one in several countries (including Australia), it failed to claim the top spot in the UK, being kept down by the Steve Miller Band and their single The Joker.
3, Right Said Fred - I'm Too Sexy
This is one of those 'so bad it's good' songs. Curiously I'm Too Sexy was a big hit both sides of the Atlantic, spending three weeks at number one in the American Charts in 1992, having peaked at number two in the UK less than six months earlier (being held off the top spot by the record-breaking (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams). Dubbed by music critics as a novelty tune, I'm Too Sexy was a favourite of fashion shows and tacky night clubs the country over. Although Right Said Fred firmly deserve their place on my list of favourite one hit wonders, they did have another minor success with the follow-up single, Deeply Dippy. In 2010, I'm Too Sexy was ranked the 8th worst song of all time by AOL Radio.
4, Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart
I'm aware that Billy Ray Cyrus has enjoyed quite a lot of international success, so some might dispute his place on this list. In the UK, this was the only time he made any real impact. Achy Breaky Heart was written by Don Von Tress, and is very much in the traditional country music style. It hit the UK chart in 1992, peaking at number 3, and spurred an emergence of line dancing events across the country. This version of the song was in fact a cover; it had been previously released by The Marcy Brothers under the title Don't Tell My Heart. Billy Ray Cyrus is the father of singer and actress Mylie Cyrus.
5, Tasmin Archer - Sleeping Satellite
Released in 1992 and reaching number one in the UK charts, Sleeping Satellite was the debut single from British singer-songwriter Tasmin Archer. Although it didn't have a release until 1992, the song was actually written in the late 80s, but Archer was still struggling to get a record deal at the time. After two weeks at the top of the UK charts, the song was eclipsed by End of the Road by Boyz II Men. It enjoyed some international success, but Tasmin Archer never managed to follow the success with another big hit.