These posts are about the songs that just barely failed to cross the key line of chart success, entering the Billboard Top 40. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 41.
Beginning in 1987, the Scottish pop group Wet Wet Wet had a string of hits on the U.K. charts, while causing barely a ripple in the U.S. Each of their first ten singles landed in the U.K. Top 40, only one of which — their debut, “Wishing I Was Lucky” — appeared on the Billboard Hot 100. And that song peaked at a lackluster #58. If there any single that was going to change that dynamic, it was probably “Love Is All Around.”
It certainly helped that the song was a cover. The original version of “Love Is All Around” was a Top 10 hit for the Troggs in 1968, and it endured as a staple of oldies radio stations. Maybe a bigger boost to its prospects was its inclusion on the soundtrack to a hit romantic comedy, at a time when having a music video that doubled as a movie trailer was almost a guarantee of extra airplay. (Screenwriter Richard Curtis gave Wet Wet Wet the choice of three different songs they could cover for Four Weddings and a Funeral, and they bypassed Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You” in favor of the Troggs song.) And then there was the track’s massive success in the U.K. Wet Wet Wet spent fifteen weeks on top of the singles chart there, second only to Bryan Adams’s smash “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” in the record book.
“Love Is All Around” was indeed Wet Wet Wet’s most successful single in the U.S. It peaked at #41.
Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Top 40 Smash Near Misses” tag.