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Epochal moments in my life, I’ve often remarked, have coincided with presidential election years. In 1992 I graduated from high school, thoroughly enmeshed in the Bush-Clinton-Perot contest and the kind of incestuous melodrama among friends that puts modern romances to shame. My top forty listening, which peaked the previous autumn, waned in the spring as the Soundscan methodology also introduced in fall ’91 ensured weeks-long dominions. Fortunately “Jump” and “Save The Best For Last” remain two of my favorite songs, and age hasn’t made me less indifferent to “End of the Road.”

1992 was also the year of Hurricane Andrew. Now that we understand the power of these storms, it’s worth returning to local TV and newspaper accounts of the period and reflect on how new this level of devastation was. We were lucky: no major damage other than the collapse of a rather sad and dessicated baby pine and the loss of power for ten days, which if you’ve been in Miami in August is nothing to sneeze at. With the first day of college delayed a couple of weeks, I worked at my part-time job at a sub shop, the only place with power and hence air conditioning: my first experience making more money than I could spend. Over a battery-powered radio I tuned in to WVUM, the University of Miami’s student radio station. A revolution akin to Soundscan’s happened on the so-called modern rock chart as the process whereby college and modern rock programming became indistinguishable had just begun. This was the last year that the likes of XTC, Talking Heads (!), Lou Reed (!!), and the Charlatans (!!!) would top the chart. It was also the last time programmers allowed old people. How else explain Peter Gabriel’s two number ones (pent-up demand, six years after So, helped too). Nirvana’s success made life easier for Alice in Chains, Seattle, and combat boots but worse for any act that used a second keyboard instead of a third rhythm guitar.

1. Utah Saints – Something Good
2. The Cure – High
3. Madonna – Deeper and Deeper
4. Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover
5. Prince and the NPG – Money Don’t Matter 2 Nite
6. Kriss Kross – Jump
7. Shanice – I Love Your Smile
8. Pete Rock and CL Smooth – They Reminisce Over You
9. Ministry – N.W.O.
10. Arrested Development – Tennessee
11. Electronic – Disappointed
12. The B-52’s – Good Stuff
13. Annie Lennox – Walking on Broken Glass
14. Peter Gabriel – Digging in the Dirt
15. Rush – Ghost of a Chance
16. Suzanne Vega – Blood Makes Noise
17. En Vogue – My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)
18. PM Dawn – I’d Die Without You
19. The KLF ft. Tammy Wynette – Justified and Ancient
20. George MIchael – Too Funky
21. Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson – The Best Things in Life Are Free
22. Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart
23. Suede – The Drowners
24. Michael Jackson – Who Is It
25. CeCe Peniston – We Got a Love Thang
26. Clivilles & Cole – A Deeper Love
27. Vanessa Williams – Save The Best For Last
28. Mary J. Blige – You Remind Me
29. Jody Watley – I’m The One You Need
30. Jesus & Mary Chain – Far Gone and Out
31. 10,000 Maniacs – These Are Days
32. Restless Heart – When She Cries
33. Amy Grant – Good For Me
34. L7 – Pretend We’re Dead
35. Sugar – Helpless
36. Dr. Dre – Nuthin’ But a G Thang
37. Alan Jackson – Midnight in Montgomery
38. The Pharycde – Passin’ Me By
39. U2 – Even Better Than the Real Thing
40. A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario
41. Soul Asylum – Somebody to Shove
42. Morrissey – Tomorrow
43. Nirvana – Lithium
44. Alice in Chains – Would
45. Shakespeare’s Sister – Stay
46. Curve – Horror Head
47. Ride – Leave Them All Behind
48. Sade – No Ordinary Love
49. Altern-8 – E-Vapor-8
50. Ice Cube – It was a Good Day