Monday, 29 July 2013

The Best Of 1995 - part 4

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1


It's been interesting recapping my favourite songs from 1995. Unlike in the '80s, when many of the artists I liked had personality, so much of the music I was into in the mid-'90s was by faceless dance acts or club divas with great voices but no story.

Even Saint Etienne caught the Motiv8 bug in 1995

Often the most interesting thing about a song from that year is how many times it was released until it became a hit or who remixed it. Meanwhile, pop acts were few and far between as grunge, rap, R&B and Britpop took over. It really was the calm before the storm, with 1996 ushering in a new era of pop - but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Here are my top 25 songs for 1995...


Number 25 "Baby Baby" by Corona
Once again proving my theory that all good Eurodance acts had one album's worth of hit singles in them is Italian combo Corona, who we saw on my 1994 countdown with "The Rhythm Of The Night". "Baby Baby" was a remake of 1991 track "Babe Babe" by Joy And Joyce (which in turn got its hook from a 1988 Siedah Garrett single called "K.I.S.S.I.N.G."), and became another Australian and UK top 10 hit.
"Baby Baby" was followed by "Try Me Out" (number 83 on this list), which hit the Australia top 40 in two versions - one by Corona and one credited to Lee Marrow (featuring Charme). Lee was another pseudonym for Checco Bontempi, the brains behind Corona, and that other version of "Try Me Out" had been released in 1993. Then, there was the whole matter of who actually sang on the Corona tracks - but I might leave that for my 1996 countdown...




Number 24 "Freedom" by Shiva
Mentioned below

Number 23 "Lucky You" by The Lightning Seeds
Like The Boo Radleys, who we saw back in Part 3, The Lightning Seeds had been around well before Britpop took a stranglehold of the UK music scene - and although Ian Broudie's group was quite different in style, I can't help but think they benefitted from the love for all types of guitar music that year. The Jollification album went platinum and lead single "Lucky You" eventually became a UK top 20 hit on its re-release towards the end of 1995. Other singles "Change" (number 58 on this list), "Marvellous" (number 144) and "Perfect" (number 182) all reached the UK top 25.




Number 22 "Stars" by Dubstar
When I first read about Dubstar in Music Week magazine, a British version of Billboard that I was buying on import in 1995, I decided they were going to be my next favourite band. I hadn't even heard debut single "Stars", but the involvement of producer Stephen Hague and the description of the group's music assured me I'd love them. I made a resolution to buy every album and CD single issue by Dubstar so, in years to come, I'd have every B-side and album track. I think I must have started buying up box sets of Duran Duran and Depeche Mode singles that year, and thought it would be so much easier to start a complete collection from the beginning with Dubstar. Luckily (for me), I did love "Stars" and follow-up "Anywhere" (number 35 on this list), and the band had some good bonus tracks. Unluckily (for Dubstar), both singles only scraped into the UK top 40 - but bigger things were to come in 1996...




Number 21 "Don't Give Me Your Life" by Alex Party
Those Italians really did make great dance records in the late '80s/early '90s - and after flying under the radar with club anthem "Saturday Night Party" (aka "Read My Lips") in 1994, Alex Party exploded in 1995 with this track as well as follow-up "Wrap Me Up" (number 26 on this list). Both singles were top 15 hits in Australia, but the momentum didn't last - probably due to the fact that half of Alex Party were involved in another, far more successful act that we'll come to in a minute...




Number 20 "Work It Out" by Shiva
In 1995, a new British vocal house group look poised to rival Loveland as my favourite exponents of the genre, thanks to both this debut single and "Freedom" (number 24 on this list). Tragically, singer Louise Dean was killed in a hit and run accident in the middle of the year and Shiva did not continue without her.




Number 19 "Set You Free" by N-Trance
Before they made dodgy (but incredibly successful) covers of disco hits, N-Trance were actually quite a cool dance act, who, like so many others from the same era, had to release a song over and over until it finally stuck. "Set You Free" was originally recorded in 1992 and finally received a full release in 1993. It sank without a trace (well, number 83 in the UK) prompting a remix and re-release in 1994. The result: number 39. Finally, after another track, "Turn Up The Power" (number 122 on this list), was released, "Set You Free" was reissued again and flew to the runner-up spot in the UK and to number 11 in Australia. Then, they took on "Stayin' Alive" and it was all downhill from there.




Number 18 "Tell Me When" by The Human League
Their 1990 comeback had been underwhelming, despite "Heart Like A Wheel" being quite a good song, but original '80s synthpop legends The Human League made up for it by landing what would be their final UK top 10 single and US hit of any kind with this track. The lead single from their seventh studio album, Octopus, "Tell Me When" was as good as pretty much anything the band had ever released, and reignited interest in them for the next couple of years.




Number 17 "On The Bible / Wand mix" by Deuce
Mentioned below

Number 16 "Don't Make Me Wait" by Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
Mentioned below

Number 15 "Dreamer" by Livin' Joy
Here's the dance act that featured one half of Alex Party - brothers Paolo and Gianni Visnadi teamed up with vocalist Janice Robinson on this track, a number 1 hit in the UK in 1995. But, surprise surprise, that wasn't the first time it had been released - it had originally peaked at number 18 in 1994. We'd be hearing more from Livin' Joy over the next couple of years, although not from Janice, who departed the group after this single.




Number 14 "Open Your Heart" by M-People
Another year, another raft of M-People singles landing in my year-end tally - and in 1995, it was hits from the Bizarre Fruit album that made the grade. "Open Your Heart" was the second track lifted from the album and was followed by "Search For The Hero" (number 72 on this list) and "Love Rendezvous" (number 142). Bizarre Fruit became Bizarre Fruit II when the group's cover of The Small Faces' "Itchycoo Park" (number 34) was added to the tracklisting - their version no doubt horrifying fans of the original.




Number 13 "I Need Somebody" by Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
I was pretty much obsessed with Loveland in 1995. Their album, The Wonder Of Love, contained one great track after another - and singles like this and "Don't Make Me Wait" (number 16 on this list) were everything I looked for in a house track. Incidentally, one of the three producers who formed Loveland was Paul Waterman, son of Pete (from Stock Aitken Waterman), who passed away in 2005.




Number 12 "Shoot Me With Your Love" by D:Ream
Besides releasing their own songs, Loveland also remixed tracks for other artists - and this lead single from D:Ream's second album was one that received the Loveland touch. Originally a group, then a duo, D:Ream progressively became pretty much a solo project for singer Peter Cunnah - and just as steadily the success of D:Ream singles decreased, with "The Power (Of All The Love In The World)" (number 39 on this list) only just scraping into the UK top 40. I'm not saying the two things were related.




Number 11 "I Need You" by Deuce
Before Steps there was Deuce, a boy-girl pop act with cheery pop ditties and even a music video featuring the girls in the group in wedding dresses. That song was "On The Bible" (number 17 on this list), which gave the quartet their only chart appearance in Australia. "I Need You" was Deuce's biggest UK hit and was originally in the running to represent the UK at that year's Eurovision Song Contest. It wasn't successful on that front ("Love City Groove" by the group of the same name competed in Ireland), but it was the act's only song to reach the British top 10. Kicking it all off had been "Call It Love" (number 33 on this list).




Number 10 "U Sure Do" by Strike
Sampling Donna Allen's 1987 hit, "Serious", the second single from the UK-based dance act eventually hit the British top 10 after (you guessed it) struggling when initially released in 1994. The song also did well in Australia (singer Victoria Newton's home country), where it reached number 9. It was the biggest but not the only hit the trio would have over the next few years.




Number 9 "Back For Good" by Take That
The song for which they'll always be remembered, "Back For Good" was the sound of the British boy band maturing into a pop act it was OK for people over the age of 16 to like (not that that ever stopped me). Their best ballad by a mile (I'd never really been a fan of songs like "A Million Love Songs" and "Babe"), it even gave them a top 10 hit in the US. Of course, we all know what happened next... Robbie Williams left the group around the same time as "Never Forget" (number 96 on this list) came out as a single and the band split completely within a year.




Number 8 "He's On The Phone" by Saint Etienne featuring √Čtienne Daho
For years, they'd released singles that flirted with dance music, but on this track - Saint Etienne embraced the dance floor like never before (at least, they hired Motiv8 to remix the song, "Accident", from an earlier EP and they embraced it). The new track was included on their first greatest hits collection, Too Young To Die.




Number 7 "Paninaro 95" by Pet Shop Boys
Previously featured here

Number 6 "Heartbeat" by Jimmy Somerville
It had been five years since he'd released any new music - even longer between studio albums - but in 1995, the former Bronski Beat and Communards singer returned with the Dare To Love album and this lead single. I couldn't get enough of "Heartbeat", but the single was a chart disappointment. So, Jimmy did what he'd been doing his whole career - turned to a cover version. His remake of Millie Jackson's "It Hurts So Good" (minus the "It") returned him to the UK top 20 for what would be the last time.




Number 5 "Love Come Rescue Me" by Lovestation
I've already remarked on the proliferation of vocal house acts with the word "love" in their name - and here's another. Incredibly similar in style to Loveland, although not as successful, the British group also released the overlooked "Shine On Me" (number 51 on this list), but wouldn't receive much attention until 1998, when they took on Womack & Womack's "Teardrops".




Number 4 "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by Nicki French
Speaking of taking on classic songs, former session singer Nicki stepped into the spotlight with this take on the 1983 Bonnie Tyler mega-hit. Once again, it originally surfaced in 1994 but it took a second boost in 1995 for it to fly up charts in the UK, the US and Australia. In the UK, a "Flashdance... What A Feeling"-style slow-to-fast mix was the lead version, but in Australia, we had a mix which was upbeat from the very start - and that's the one you can hear below. Responsible for the production? My old friends Mike Stock and Matt Aitken - and the partnership with Nicki proved so successful that they even completed an album with her, with also featured "Is There Anybody Out There?" (number 60 on this list).




Number 3 "Fingers And Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day)" by Erasure
Erasure's 1995 self-titled album might have been the biggest mistake the band ever made - from a purely commercial point of view. Much more experimental in style than their previous albums, it featured lengthy tracks (future single "Rock Me Gently" came in at 10 minutes) and the weirdly titled "Sono Luminus". It was also their first album not to reach the UK number 1 spot since 1987's The Circus. I still enjoyed it, but I liked the edited version of this track, which became the album's second single, even more!




Number 2 "Break The Chain" by Motiv8
Here they are: the dance act responsible for transforming so many OK songs into storming club tracks - and their original singles weren't bad either. Just edging out "Rockin' For Myself" as my favourite, "Break The Chain" unfortunately didn't do very well in either the UK or Australia. Another 1995 single by the group, "Searching For The Golden Eye" (number 46 on this list), was submitted for consideration to be the theme to that year's James Bond movie, GoldenEye. Tina Turner was chosen instead.




Number 1 "Sky High" by Newton
The song was originally released in 1975 by Jigsaw. This version was produced by Stock and Aitken. And, the singer was a former fireman called Billy Myers who I met when he was doing the promo rounds of record stores in Sydney the following year. The combination (at least of the first two elements) was always going to appeal to me - and "Sky High" became my favourite for the year in a top 10 that was the strongest it had been in quite a number of years. Like the Nicki French song, "Sky High" received more than one release in an attempt to turn it into a hit - but it still bombed out in the UK. In Australia, Newton had more luck, with a peak of number 8.




My top 200 for 1995 in full:

1        SKY HIGH Newton
2        BREAK THE CHAIN Motiv8
3        FINGERS AND THUMBS (COLD SUMMER'S DAY) / TIN TIN OUT MIX Erasure
4        TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART Nicki French
5        LOVE COME RESCUE ME Lovestation
6        HEARTBEAT Jimmy Somerville
7        PANINARO 95 / IN THE NIGHT Pet Shop Boys
8        HE'S ON THE PHONE Saint Etienne
9        BACK FOR GOOD Take That
10      U SURE DO Strike
11      I NEED YOU Deuce
12      SHOOT ME WITH YOUR LOVE D:Ream
13      I NEED SOMEBODY Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
14      OPEN YOUR HEART M-People
15      DREAMER Livin' Joy
16      DON'T MAKE ME WAIT Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
17      ON THE BIBLE / WAND MIX Deuce
18      TELL ME WHEN The Human League
19      SET YOU FREE N-Trance
20      WORK IT OUT Shiva
21      DON'T GIVE ME YOUR LIFE Alex Party
22      STARS Dubstar
23      LUCKY YOU The Lightning Seeds
24      FREEDOM Shiva
25      BABY BABY Corona
26      WRAP ME UP Alex Party
27      THE SUNSHINE AFTER THE RAIN Berri
28      ATOMIC (DIDDY REMIX) Blondie
29      WAITING FOR YOU Think Twice
30      LET ME BE YOUR FANTASY Baby D
31      I LUV U BABY The Original
32      I AM BLESSED Eternal
33      CALL IT LOVE Deuce
34      ITCHYCOO PARK M-People
35      ANYWHERE Dubstar
36      GOT TO GIVE ME LOVE Dana Dawson
37      TINGLY Pop! featuring Angie Hart
38      ONLY HAPPY WHEN IT RAINS Garbage
39      THE POWER (OF ALL THE LOVE IN THE WORLD) D:Ream
40      MISSING (TODD TERRY REMIX) Everything But The Girl
41      3 IS FAMILY / DANCING DIVAZ MIX Dana Dawson
42      LOOK UP TO THE LIGHT Evolution
43      YOU'LL SEE Madonna
44      YOUR LOVING ARMS Billie Ray Martin
45      LOVE LOVE LOVE - HERE I COME Rollo Goes Mystic
46      SEARCHING FOR THE GOLDEN EYE Motiv8 and Kym Mazelle
47      RUNAWAY / WHEN I THINK OF YOU (DAVID MORALES REMIX) Janet Jackson
48      CLOSER Liquid
49      WAKE UP BOO Boo Radleys
50      DON'T BRING ME DOWN Spirits
51      SHINE ON ME Lovestation
52      EVERYTIME YOU TOUCH ME Moby
53      SHINE LIKE A STAR Berri
54      RISE Hannah Jones
55      MY LOVE IS FOR REAL / STRIKE MIX Paula Abdul
56      WHERE IS THE FEELING? Kylie Minogue
57      KEY TO MY LIFE Boyzone
58      CHANGE The Lightning Seeds
59      STUCK ON U PJ & Duncan
60      IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? Nicki French
61      HAPPY JUST TO BE WITH YOU Michelle Gayle
62      MESSAGE OF LOVE Love Happy
63      YOU ARE NOT ALONE / FRANKIE KNUCKLES MIX Michael Jackson
64      ABSOLUTE E-SENSUAL / SLEAZESISTERS MIX Jaki Graham
65      BELIEVE IN ME Raw Stylus
66      GOING ROUND / DANCING DIVAZ MIX D'Bora
67      MOVIN’ UP Dreamworld
68      CLOSE TO YOU Brand New Heavies
69      LOVE ENUFF Soul II Soul
70      SANTA MARIA Tatjana
71      THE BOMB! (THESE SOUNDS FALL INTO MY MIND) Kenny 'Dope' presents The Bucketheads
72      SEARCH FOR THE HERO M-People
73      SWEET HARMONY Liquid
74      YOU'RE THE STORY OF MY LIFE / AS LONG AS YOU'RE GOOD TO ME Judy Cheeks
75      I CARE (SOUL II SOUL) Soul II Soul
76      ALL TIME HIGH Count Basic
77      REAL LOVE (NUSH REMIX) Drizabone
78      SPIRIT INSIDE Spirits
79      TELL ME Groove Theory
80      WHAT'LL I DO Janet Jackson
81      THE SWEETEST DAYS Vanessa Williams
82      HERE I GO 2 Unlimited
83      TRY ME OUT Corona
84      NOT OVER YET Grace
85      KEEP WARM Jinny
86      DON'T LET THE FEELING GO / TIN TIN OUT MIX The Nightcrawlers
87      YOU BELONG TO ME JX
88      SCREAM / DAVID MORALES MIX Michael Jackson / Janet Jackson
89      THE WONDER OF LOVE Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
90      KEEP LOVE TOGETHER Love To Infinity
91      REACH UP (PAPA'S GOT A BRAND NEW PIG BAG) Perfecto Allstarz
92      I GET LIFTED Barbara Tucker
93      HIDEAWAY De'lacy 
94      ADORED AND EXPLORED Marc Almond
95      CREEP TLC
96      NEVER FORGET Take That
97      FATHER AND SON Boyzone
98      PROTECTION Massive Attack featuring Tracey Thorn
99      CRAZY COOL Paula Abdul
100    THANK YOU Boyz II Men
101      JOY Toni Pearen
102      FEEL THE SPIRIT Giant Spirit
103      U MAKE ME FEEL ALRIGHT Amadin
104      IF YOU LOVE ME Brownstone
105      WHOOPS NOW Janet Jackson
106      LET IT RAIN East 17
107      SWEET DREAMS DJ Scott featuring Lorna B
108      THE MORNING AFTER (FREE AT LAST) Strike
109      DO YOU WANNA PARTY DJ Scott featuring Lorna B
110      I HEAR YOUR NAME Incognito
111      EVERY SHADE OF BLUE Bananarama
112      THE SUN ALWAYS SHINES ON TV Diva
113      VOW Garbage
114      SEX Sleazesisters with Vicki Shepherd
115      REACH ME (WITH YOUR LOVE) Nova
116      OVER MY SHOULDER Mike & The Mechanics
117      FOR ALL WE KNOW Nicki French
118      EVERYBODY SAY, EVERYBODY DO / MOTIV8 MIX Let Loose
119      BURNING UP Tony De Vit
120      RUNAWAY (ORIGINAL MIX) E'voke
121      TURN UP THE POWER / MOTIV8 MIX N-Trance
122      AUTOMATIC LOVER (CALL FOR LOVE) Real McCoy
123      TELL ME THE WAY Cappella
124      WHEN Sunscreem
125      ALWAYS SOMETHING THERE TO REMIND ME Tin Tin Out featuring Espiritu
126      EARTH SONG Michael Jackson
127      PERFECT PJ & Duncan
128      HOLD MY BODY TIGHT East 17
129      HOLD ME, THRILL ME, KISS ME, KILL ME U2
130      GIRL FROM MARS Ash
131      INDEPENDENT LOVE SONG Scarlet
132      WATER RUNS DRY Boyz II Men
133      STAY WITH ME Erasure
134      KEEP GIVING ME YOUR LOVE Ce Ce Peniston
135      DEEPER Escrima
136      DO U FEEL 4 ME Eden
137      LOST IN LOVE Up Yer Ronson
138      YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL Eve Gallagher
139      SOMEONE TO LOVE Jon B featuring Babyface
140      RUNNING AROUND TOWN Billie Ray Martin
141      LOVE RENDEZVOUS M-People
142      TOO MANY FISH Frankie Knuckles featuring Adeva
143      MARVELLOUS The Lightning Seeds
144      EVERYDAY Incognito
145      LIGHT OF MY LIFE Louise
146      NO TURNING BACK Jayne Collins
147      LOVING YOU MORE BT featuring Vincent Covello
148      LET LOVE SHINE Amos
149      ALL OVER ME Suzi Carr
150      SOMEBODY REAL Bit Machine featuring Daisy Dee
151      DREAMING OF YOU Selena
152      YOU NEVER LOVE THE SAME WAY TWICE Rozalla
153      BRILLIANT FEELING Full Monty Allstars featuring TJ
154      ONE NIGHT STAND Let Loose
155      YOU OUGHTA KNOW Alanis Morissette
156      WHEN I CALL YOUR NAME / MOTIV8 MIX Mary Kiani
157      DESTINATION ESCHATON The Shamen
158      PUSH THE FEELING ON The Nightcrawlers
159      HERE I GO AGAIN bnd
160      RUNAWAY The Corrs
161      LOVE WILL FIND A WAY Bass Culture featuring Susie Ahern
162      GOLD Prince
163      CONFESSION / THE DREAM Southend
164      IF YOU ONLY LET ME IN MN8
165      I KNOW Dionne Farris
166      TURN ME OUT Praxis featuring Kathy Brown
167      APPLE EYES Swoop
168      BREAKIN' AWAY Kim Wilde
169      RESPECT / THIS TIME Judy Cheeks
170      NOT ANYONE Black Box
171      YOU PUT A MOVE ON MY HEART Quincy Jones featuring Tamia
172      SHY GUY Diana King
173      I BELIEVE Happy Clappers
174      TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME (K-KLASS MIX) Bobby Brown
175      WONDERWALL Oasis
176      FREEDOM Michelle Gayle
177      WHEN I THINK OF YOU / LOVE TO INFINITY MIX Kenny Thomas
178      AS I LAY ME DOWN Sophie B Hawkins
179      DOWNTOWN VENUS PM Dawn
180      1963 New Order
181      PERFECT The Lightning Seeds
182      LOVE CAN BUILD A BRIDGE Cher, Neneh Cherry, Chrissie Hynde and Eric Clapton
183      DID YOU EVER REALLY LOVE ME Nicki French
184      ONLY ME Hyperlogic
185      BOY I GOTTA HAVE YOU Rio & Mars
186      MOUTH Merril Bainbridge
187      ISLAND HOME Christine Anu
188      THINK OF YOU Whigfield
189      I WANT TO LIVE Grace
190      QUEER Garbage
191      SURRENDER YOUR LOVE The Nightcrawlers
192      IT’S ALRIGHT Deni Hines
193      BABY Rozalla
194      NEVER KNEW LOVE Oleta Adams
195      LUCKY LOVE Ace Of Base
196      COME AND GET YOUR LOVE Real McCoy
197      PARTY Christine Anu
198      I’M ALIVE Seal
199      SING IT TO YOU (DEE-DOOB-DEE DOO) Lavinia Jones
200      EVERY LITTLE THING I DO Soul For Real


As usual, this Wednesday I'll take a look back at what was making the Australian singles chart in 1988. See you then. 


MY YEAR-END CHARTS
1979 II 1980 II 1981 II 1982 II 1983 II 1984 II 1985 II 1986 II 1987 II 1988 II 1989
1990 II 1991 II 1992 II 1993 II 1994 II 1995 II 1996 II 1997 II 1998 II 1999
2000 II 2001 II 2002 II 2003 II 2004 II 2005 II 2006 II 2007 II 2008 II 2009
2010 II 2011 II 2012 II 2013 II 2014 II 2015 II 2016

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