First Hit #1: July 24, 1993
The second trend of 1993, somewhat uninspiring reggae. At least Snow had an original track – albeit a somewhat incomprehensible one – UB40 has done a bland cover of a pretty decent Elvis Presley song, and has rode that low-effort train to the top of the chart.
On one hand, UB40 does follow part one of the golden rule of good covers, that being you need to add something unique to the proceedings. Making it reggae is a change from the original, and does take it in a new, more electronic, and even arguably more eclectic direction.
On the other hand, part two of the golden rule is you have to make it better, and the group’s reggae affectations don’t really do much for the song. The song is undoubtedly stronger with Elvis singing lead, it’s actually one of his most vulnerable performances. UB40 replaces this vulnerability with their standard sound, but doesn’t really enhance it. It’s a band that assumes that a popular song made reggae is enough of a reward, but there’s nothing genuinely vital or interesting about their Elvis cover. It takes the song in a new direction, but without a reason to go there.