Ten Songs That Just Missed The Top 10 In The 1990s

Ten Songs That Just Missed The Top 10 In The 1990s

chocolate starfish 90s
Adam Thompson of Chocolate Starfish, 1995 (Photo by Martin Philbey/Redferns/Getty Images)

For artists and fans that care about chart positions, number 11 must be one of the most frustrating positions of all for a song to reach. Whether it’s a performer’s only hit or one of many, a number 11 placing is agonisingly close to the hallowed top 10. Close, but no cigar.

Here are some examples of number 11 hits from throughout the 1990s.

“Roam” by The B-52s

Year: 1990

“Love Shack” had been the song of summer 1989-90, spending a massive eight weeks at number 1 in Australia. Follow-up “Roam” was less kitschy party tune and more straightforward pop track, with the vocals handled by Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. It was also the second number 11 peak for the band in Australia – “Private Idaho” had reached the same position in 1980.

“What Do I Have To Do” by Kylie Minogue

Year: 1991

With a music video that well and truly signalled Kylie Minogue’s transformation from girl next door to sex siren, this third single from Rhythm Of Love remains a fan and artist favourite – it still regularly gets performed live. Unfortunately, it just missed out on becoming Kylie’s ninth top 10 hit, something follow-up “Shocked” would do a few months later.

“Deeper And Deeper” by Madonna

Year: 1992

By this stage, Madonna had 21 top 10 hits under her belt, but this disco-infused track from Erotica didn’t become her 22nd, despite debuting on the chart at number 11. Stuck there for five straight weeks, the song was a return to her dancefloor-friendly sound after the sexually-charged title track and earlier single “Justify My Love”.

“You’re So Vain” by Chocolate Starfish

Year: 1993

Carly Simon’s original had topped the Australian chart for seven weeks in 1973 and led to endless speculation about who had inspired it. Although Chocolate Starfish’s rock update peaked just outside the top 10, it was a memorable introduction for the up-and-coming band.

“Sooner Or Later” by gf4

Year: 1994

They’d been Australia’s own Spice Girls, four years before Girl Power took over the world, but after acting as wholesome role models for tweens on their first two albums, Girlfriend raunched up their image with this remake of a 1971 song by The Grass Roots. Their first release without Robyn Loau, “Sooner Or Later” proved they could make it as a quartet (thus the name change), but not for long – their next (and final) single peaked at an even more frustrating number 101.

“The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)” by Kenny ‘Dope’ presents The Bucketheads

Year: 1995

Sampling 1979 track “Street Player” by Chicago (itself a remake of a song by Rufus), this club record from one half of production duo Masters At Work pioneered the mid-’90s trend of pulling apart disco tunes and reconstructing them as house anthems.

“Lump” by The Presidents Of The United States Of America

Year: 1996

All four singles from the American rock band’s self-titled debut album made the ARIA top 20, starting with this track – short and to the point at 2:14. It was followed by “Peaches” (number 13), “Kitty” (number  19) and “Dune Buggy” (number 16). “Lump” was parodied by “Weird Al” Yankovic as “Gump”, about the Tom Hanks film Forrest Gump.

“Lovefool” by The Cardigans

Year: 1997

Released in 1996, this single from the Swedish band’s third album, First Band On The Moon, became a hit the following year following its appearance on the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. “Lovefool” was one of two number 11 hits from the chart-topping soundtrack album – Kym Mazelle’s cover of “Young Hearts Run Free” also peaked just outside the top 10.

“The Impression That I Get” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Year: 1998

More than a decade after they formed, ska band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones benefitted from the post-No Doubt interest in the genre, breaking through with this lead single from fifth album Let’s Face It. The song itself dated back to 1995, when it had been included on a charity compilation. That year, the band had also appeared in the film Clueless.

“I Want You Back” by ‘N Sync

Year: 1999

The song that started it all for Justin Timberlake and his boy band-mates, “I Want You Back” was originally released in Europe in 1996, before slowly finding its way up charts around the world. It was one of the earliest successes for hit machine Max Martin, who wrote and produced it with the late Denniz Pop.

If you loved the 90s and the hits it bestowed upon us, check out our Hits of the 90s playlist here.  

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