Section 1: The Ass End
Well, wait – I’ve seen these guys listed as Eurodance before – even though two of them are from Florida and one from New York. They really had more of a Latin dance flair to them and performed a lot of covers. Frank Farian put these guys together so is it any surprise to find out that “When I Die” was originally done by The Real Milli Vanilli! If you aren’t familiar with these guys, “Kiss You All Over” is indeed an Exile cover and isn’t half bad.
The Northern Pikes
“She Ain’t Pretty” 1992, #86 (5 weeks) (download)
Here’s a great song from the Canadian group, The Northern Pikes. It didn’t hit in the US until January of 1992 although it was released on their 1990 album, Snow In June. It has a very Georgia Satellites vibe to it and was a highlight on that very solid album. I prefer 1988’s Secrets of the Alibi but you can’t really go wrong with either of them.
“The Swalk” 1990, #90 (5 weeks) (download)
This would mark the only point where I’ve ever heard the word “Swalk” used. This was a short lived rock band featuring Robin George on guitar and Sean Harris on vocals. When this came out the only thing that struck me as odd was the uncanny INXS sound to this, but now it’s that Sean Harris was the singer. This is the same Sean Harris that fronted Diamond Head in the ‘80s and sang songs like “Helpless” and “Am I Evil?” which were a heavy influence on Metallica. It’s painful to watch him do his best Kip Winger in the video.
In my mind and many others I’m sure, Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls is the greatest rapper of all time. It all has to do with the flow. Very few rappers can rhyme so smooth and make any line fit in perfectly with the beat. Puff Daddy gave him the beats to make his music marketable and Biggie was able to maintain the gangsta edge while rhyming over classic R&B, pop and rock songs, like “Notorious” by Duran Duran. It’s a real shame he died so young as it would be interesting to see what music he’d be making today.
“I Drive Myself Crazy” 1999, #67 (12 weeks) (download)
I knew from the start of this group that Justin Timberlake would go on to be an A-List everything. Well, okay – so it was obvious he could sing but it’s pretty nuts what he’s gone on to become. As far as the group goes, I can’t lie, I was a fan. A big fan in fact. Never really had any sort of love for the other boy bands but I actually bought *Nsync records the day they came out. As they moved forward and away from the sappy ballads and into more of a pop/hip-hop blend, I liked them even better. Hell, after they broke up I even bought the first JC Chasez solo record. And with that, I’ll stop making myself look bad.
“Toss-Up” 1993, #92 (4 weeks) (download)
I’m surprised to see these dudes were on Profile records. While they came across as hard, their music reminds me more of Vanilla Ice than any hardcore rappers.
“Stayin’ Alive” 1996, #62 (17 weeks) (download)
N-Trance were a Eurodance/House group led by Kevin O’Toole and Dale Longworth featuring Ricardo Da Force as the rapper. This came off their 1995 record, Electronic Pleasure.
Reprise jumped on the boy pop bandwagon with Nu Flavor, made up of four Latino dudes. Listening to the songs above will tell you all you need to know about why they weren’t a hit machine. They are a clear cut below the rest.
“Freak Out” 1998, #63 (11 weeks) (download)
Hands up if you remember Nutta Butta. No?
“Freak Out” interpolates “Le Freak” by Chic and since that’s one of my favorite songs of all time, it’s hard for me to dislike this track. It sounds like it would have been a Puff Daddy production but instead that distinction belongs to Teddy Riley. The song also has “Anonymous” on it but listening to the song, Wreckx N Effect adds a verse as well. The song was featured on the Bullworth soundtrack.
These ladies had the voices and sounded a bit like TLC. But when you call yourself Nuttin’ Nyce and then sing a song about doing it doggy style but change it to “Froggy Style” you’re sort of contradicting yourself.
“Who’s Got Your Love” 1992, #95 (6 weeks) (download)
Man, here’s one right up Nasty G’s alley. Before right now, I’d never heard the name Nyasia. Her real name is apparently Bianca and she was raised in Brooklyn before making dance tracks like this one.