90s Chart Pop

In the first two years 90/91 the Top 10 of the German charts featured a lot of brilliant songs from various genres and sources. But when on January 6th 1992 Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' entered the charts it was not the start of a new era for successful indie music like it was in the UK. Over there the artists of the Britpop wave were responsible for about 60 Top 10 hits between 93 and 97 where in Germany their greatest success was a #17 placing for Oasis' 'Wonderwall'. So in Germany the years 92 to 94 witnessed a steady decrease of great Top 10 hits and consequently, in the second half of the decade, there was not much left to be enthusiastic about.

Part 1: 1990 - 1991

Top 3
Record Sleeves Eurodance
Highest Weeks in Top 10
number one Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit 2 12
number two Sinead O'Connor Nothing Compares 2 U 1 16
number three Nick Kamen I Promised Myself 5 12
As with Blue Monday in the 80s we have a clear winner here. Although Sinead O'Connor's mighty ballad was a serious contender. And in third place we find a perfect pure pop song performed by a former Levi's jeans model. Also a very 80s concept.
  The Biggest Hits In Germany In That Period Weeks at #1 Weeks In Top 10
   Scorpions Wind Of Change 11 26
   Matthias Reim Verdammt, ich lieb' Dich 16 23
   Bryan Adams (Everything I Do) I Do It For You 5 23
   U96 Das Boot 13 19
   Enigma Sadness - Part 1 11 16
   Salt'n'Pepa Let's Talk About Sex 10 17
   Sinead O'Connor Nothing Compares 2 U 11 16
   Roxette Joyride 8 15
   Kate Yanai Bacardi Feeling 8 15
   Torfrock Beinhart 5 14
Melody Maker Logo
At the start of the 90s the German charts and the British music press reached their uttermost congruence. The Top 20 singles lists of the years 1990 and 1991 as published by music magazine Melody Maker featured 9 singles which also reached the German Top 10. 8 of those are presented on this page. The ninth, Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' has been omitted, because, well, let's say it doesn't suit the occasion.
Melody Maker Singles Of The Year 1990 Melody Maker Singles Of The Year 1991
1990 1991
Euro Dance
Record Sleeves Eurodance Highest Weeks in Top 10
Snap! The Power 9 3 weeks
The years 90/91 only witnessed the start of the Euro Dance movement which then would dominate the charts in the following years. But Snap's The Power layed out the template for it, so blame them if you want.
Dance Pop
Record Sleeves Dancepop Highest Weeks in Top 10
Beats International Dub Be Good To Me 4 9
Adamski Killer 2 10
DNA feat. Suzanne Vega Tom's Diner 1 13
Madonna Justify My Love 10 2
At the start of the 90s it was very hip to have some dance beats in your songs even for artists that were usually more the acoustic type. Of course this was done purely for artistic reasons.
Record Sleeves KLF Highest Pos. Weeks in Top 10
The KLF What Time Is Love? 6 8
The KLF Last Train To Trancentral 4 9
Not a genre but just one band, albeit a very prolific one. They managed to have 5 Top 10 hits in that period with two of them being a cut above the rest. The band history of the KLF is a tale rich in tragedy and comedy.
Techno / House
Record Sleeves Techno/House Highest Pos. Weeks in Top 10
Guru Josh Infinity 2 14
LA Style James Brown Is Dead 6 9
U96 Das Boot 1 19
It was just a question of time when House & Techno would reach the mainstream and therefore the higher reaches of the German charts. Purists will lament this trend of course.
80s Pop
Record Sleeves 80s Pop Highest Pos. Weeks in Top 10
Depeche Mode Enjoy The Silence 2 12
Pet Shop Boys So Hard 3 9
Pet Shop Boys Where The Streets Have ... 7 5
After dominating 80s pop both Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys continued their supremacy of the charts at the start of the new decade. Sadly the Pet Shop Boys stopped having Top 10 hits after 93's 'Go West' whereas Depeche Mode, due to a very loyal fanbase, managed to have high chart entries up to this day.
Guitar Pop
Record Sleeves Guitar Pop Highest Pos. Weeks in Top 10
EMF Unbelievable 9 3
The Farm All Together Now 5 8
Chris Isaak Wicked Game 9 4
U2 The Fly 5 3
Amidst all the electronic stuff there were also a few successful guitar based songs to be found. The British Baggy hype only briefly touched the German charts in form of songs by The Farm and EMF. And after struggling for a decade even U2 managed to come up with a decent song.
    Hits That Only The German Top 10 Could Contain     Sample lyric Reached #
   Werner Wichtig Pump ab das Bier "Irgendwann läuft's sicher besser, hauen wir uns die Birne voll!" 1
   Sandra Hiroshima The lyrics are OK as it's a cover version. The rest is the problem. 4
   Frank Zander Hier kommt Kurt "Ohne Helm und ohne Gurt! Einfach Kurt!" 7
   Die Wildecker Herzbuben Herzilein "Alles bewegt sich. Der Kirchturm, er dreht sich, das hat der Wein gemacht." 9
   Erste Allgemeine Verunsicherung Ding Dong "Der Plattenspieler dudelt, Mark Knopfler zärtlich fudelt." 7
   David Hanselmann Go Get The Cup "We wanna hold it up. We wanna give it a try. We're gonna make it. We're gonna take it." 4
   Norbert und die Feiglinge Manta "Mein Manta is wie'n Verwandter, gehört zur Family wie ich." 7
   Time To Time Zehn kleine Negerlein The record company withdraw this song due to the controversial lyrics. So no sample for this one. 2
   Dieter Krebs & Gundula Ich bin der Martin, ne "Aber bei uns in der Männergruppe haben wir diese Problematik auch schon mal durchdiskutiert." 3
   Hape Kerkeling Das ganze Leben ist ein Quiz "Denn im Quiz passiert was wir so gern seh'n, es lebe hoch, das Deutsche Fernsehen." 7

Part 2: 1992 - 1994
  Chart Entry Highest Pos. Weeks In Top 10
  Shakespears Sister   Stay   02.03.92 3 11  
  The Sisters Of Mercy   Temple Of Love (1992)   04.05.92 5 14  
Because the Sister Of Mercy failed to have big hits in the 80s they changed their tactic in the 90s and used successful female singers as co-vocalists. In the case of this song which featured Israeli singer Ofra Haza (#1 in 1988 with 'Im Nin'alu') it payed off well. But when they tried to repeat this formula with singer Terri Nunn (#2 with her band Berlin and song 'Take My Breath Away' in 1986) on the song 'Under The Gun" a year later they only reached #40. Frustrated they stopped releasing singles for good and limited themselves to touring.
  2 Unlimited   No Limit   15.02.93 2 14  
  The Beloved   Sweet Harmony   15.03.93 6 6  
  Soul Asylum   Runaway Train   12.07.93 4 13  
  Pet Shop Boys   Go West   04.10.93 1 14  
  Cappella   U Got 2 Let The Music   08.11.93 3 12  
This song builds a bridge to my 80s list as this song samples Alphaville's 'Sounds Like A Melody'. But contrary to the dozen other songs derived from 80s hits this adds enough own elements create a real new piece of music.
  The Prodigy   No Good (Start The Dance)   20.06.94 4 7  
One of three top 10 hits for The Prodigy, the other being 'Firestarter' and 'Breathe' in 1996 . Their success had a lot to do with their strong visual identity via their videos in a time when music television was still a major force in promoting bands.
  Sparks   When Do I Get To Sing "My Way"   19.12.94 7 6  
Two decades after there last chart entry 70s cult stars Sparks surprisingly hat another hit, the biggest one of their career. Fast forward another 20 years and they are still en vogue with their collaboration with "youngsters" Franz Ferdinand.

Part 3: 1995 - 1999

In the second half of the 90s chart music finally got as worthless as it always was supposed to be. So in this period there are only five Top 10 hits worth mentioning:

TLC's metaphor-heavy 'Waterfalls', Faithless' 'Insomnia' (which was for electro riffs what Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid' had been to guitar riffs), the two further hits by The Prodigy mentioned above and finally, anticipating the state of the charts in the new century, Moby's 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?'.