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Backwards Bullets: This Week In Charts 1991

This week in 1991, Roxette ruled the Billboard Hot 100, Color Me Badd soared toward the top 10 and Paula Abdul "Rush"-ed into the top 40.

ROX-Y MUSIC: On the Billboard Hot 100 dated May 11, 1991, Roxette earned its fourth No. 1, as “Joyride” motored 2-1. The Swedish pop duo had previously led with “The Look” and “Listen to Your Heart” in 1989 and “It Must Have Been Love” in 1990.

While Roxette hasn’t recorded a new album since 2001 – the pair went on hiatus after Marie Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002 – the twosome reunited last year on-stage on Per Gessle’s European tour. Warmly received, Roxette is now planning a series of live dates.


“Both Marie and myself want a total live situation these days, no click tracks, no sequencers or computers on stage,” says Gessle. “This is by far the best power pop combo we know. Lots of ad lib, great harmonies and silly jokes in the dressing rooms.

“Not long ago I was totally convinced there wouldn’t be any more Roxette-shows ever, but Marie proved me wrong. I’m very grateful for that.”

The Roxette revival extends to the studio, as a new album is due next year.

“Marie’s vocals are terrific; I’m writing the poetry,” says Gessle.

“We’re looking at recording 16 tracks of pure elegance.”

BADD BOYS: 19 years ago this week, Billboard’s “New on the Charts” column shined the spotlight on a quartet of then-21-year-olds, Color Me Badd.

As the group jumped 20-12 on the Hot 100 with its debut hit, “I Wanna Sex You Up,” from the “New Jack City” soundtrack,” then-Giant Records head of urban A&R told Billboard of the label’s new hip-hop signing, “There’s a chemistry here. Add to that a great song, producer and act, and you have all the elements of perfect timing. That’s the part of this business that no one can plan.”

“I Wanna Sex You Up” would go on to peak at No. 2 on the Hot 100. The group would then score two No. 1s: “I Adore Mi Amor” in September 1991 and “All 4 Love” in 1992. It collected nine top 40 hits in all through 1996.

Color Me Badd split in 2000, with Sam Watters since maintaining the highest profile of the foursome. Not only has he produced tracks by such “American Idol” graduates as Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia and Blake Lewis, he also married one: first season finalist Tamyra Gray, in 2006. The couple is expecting its first child this July. “I’m just trying to take care of myself,” a joyous Gray said recently. “This is way harder than ‘Idol’.”

‘TOUCH’-Y SUBJECT: While Roxette reigned on the Hot 100 this week in 1991, two similar (yet opposite) songs placed back-to-back in the top 10: Cathy Dennis’ “Touch Me (All Night Long)” and Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself.”

The same week, two then-future No. 1s entered the top 40: EMF’s “Unbelievable” (43-32) and Paula Abdul‘s “Rush Rush,” the chart’s Hot Shot Debut at No. 36. Also new to the top 40 on the May 11, 1991, Hot 100 were two tracks that remain modern R&B classics: Luther Vandross‘ “Power of Love/Love Power” (42-33) and LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” (46-39).

Here is the top 10 on the Hot 100 19 years ago this week:

Position, Title, Artist(s)
No. 1, “Joyride,” Roxette
No. 2, “Baby Baby,” Amy Grant
No. 3, “I Like the Way (the Kissing Game),” Hi-Five
No. 4, “Here We Go,” C&C Music Factory featuring Freedom Williams & Zelma Davis
No. 5, “Touch Me (All Night Long),” Cathy Dennis
No. 6, “I Touch Myself,” Divinyls
No. 7, “Rhythm of My Heart,” Rod Stewart
No. 8, “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” Mariah Carey
No. 9, “More Than Words,” Extreme
No. 10, “Cry for Help,” Rick Astley

Backwards Bullets: This Week In Charts 1991

'Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,' indeed. Eighteen years ago this week, P.M. Dawn led the Hot 100, and Michael Jackson ranked at No. 3.

‘THE LONG-AWAITED DAY HAS ARRIVED’ read the headline in the “Hot 100 Singles Spotlight” column in the Billboard issue dated Nov. 30, 1991.

Eighteen years ago this week, the Billboard Hot 100 transformed from a tally combining ranked airplay and sales reports submitted by radio stations and retailers, respectively, to one based on electronically-monitored airplay by Nielsen BDS and piece counts of singles sales according to Nielsen SoundScan. (Playlists submitted by small-market radio stations continued to contribute to the chart).

Wrote then-Billboard director of charts Michael Ellis, “for the first time, the music industry has a singles chart based on actual radio airplay and actual number of singles sold.”

The Hot 100 continued Billboard’s evolution to a chart menu based on BDS and/or SoundScan information. Country Songs had converted to BDS data for the chart week ending Jan. 20, 1990, and the Billboard 200 segued to SoundScan-powered figures on May 25, 1991. The Mainstream Rock chart (then-titled Album Rock Tracks) converted to BDS-fueled rankings in the Nov. 23, 1991, issue, a week before the Hot 100’s makeover.

P.M. Dawn led the first revamped Hot 100, as “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,” featuring a sample of Spandau Ballet‘s 1983 hit “True,” rose 3-1. Rounding out the top five were “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Michael Bolton at No. 2, “Black or White” by Michael Jackson (pictured, above) at No. 3, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men at No. 4 and “Cream” by Prince at No. 5.

BIG HIT: A Billboard Singles Review this week in 1991 previewed a future No. 1 on the Hot 100: “To Be With You” by Mr. Big.

“Headbangers get folky on this harmonious strummer. Hand-clapping, sing-along chorus entices, while front man Eric Martin’s voice has rarely sounded sweeter,” touted the appraisal.

“The right push could turn this into a multiformat surprise.”

“To Be With You” went on to lead the Hot 100 for three weeks beginning in February 1992.

After 14 years, Mr. Big broke up in 2002 but reunited earlier this year. The band recently wrapped a European and Asian tour and released a new live CD/DVD, “Back to Budokan.”

PARTY ON, GARTH: The top 10 on the Billboard 200 this week in 1991 sported a wide variety of styles, from country and adult pop to rap, R&B and hard rock.

Garth Brooks led the list, as “Ropin’ the Wind” spent its eighth of 18 weeks at No. 1, while his prior album “No Fences” rebounded 12-9. Since 1991, Brooks has spent a chart-best 51 weeks atop the Billboard 200. Mariah Carey ranks second in that span with 30 frames in the lead.

Here are the Billboard 200’s top 10 albums 18 years ago this week:

No. 1, “Ropin’ the Wind,” Garth Brooks
No. 2, “Too Legit to Quit,” Hammer
No. 3, “Death Certificate,” Ice Cube
No. 4, “We Can’t Dance,” Genesis
No. 5, “Nevermind,” Nirvana
No. 6, “Use Your Illusion II,” Guns N’ Roses
No. 7, “Metallica,” Metallica
No. 8, “Time, Love and Tenderness,” Michael Bolton
No. 9, “No Fences,” Garth Brooks
No. 10, “Cooleyhighharmony,” Boyz II Men