Tuesday, 8 September 2020

The New Journey

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Monday, 31 August 2020

This Week In 1980: August 31, 1980

Sometimes a record company has got to do whatever it takes to turn a song into a hit, even if that means misrepresenting the artist in question.

One-hit wonders Skatt Bros: no actual members pictured

That was the case this week in 1980, when a song landed on the Australian singles top 50 thanks to the efforts of the local record company in producing a video that wasn't exactly what you'd call accurate in its depiction of the one-hit wonder band.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending August 31, 1980

Fellow one-hit wonders Genghis Khan continued their reign at number 1 this week in 1980, with "Moscow" staying on top for a second week.


Off The Chart
Number 99 "We Know Who Done It" by Barron Knights
Peak: number 99
The biggest TV cliff-hanger of all time, Dallas' "Who shot JR?" mystery was the subject of this novelty record, which for some unfathomable reason used Gary Numan's "Cars" as its musical basis.

Number 98 "Get Back To The Shelter" by Richard Clapton
Peak: number 94
The lead single from his sixth album, Dark Spaces, was another chart disappointment for the artist whose only big hit remained 1975's "Girls On The Avenue".

Number 89 "Let My Love Open The Door" by Pete Townshend
Peak: number 82
He'd achieve solo success in 1986 with "Face The Face", but in 1980, The Who guitarist and singer had to settle for cracking the top 100 for the first time with this second single from Empty Glass

Number 85 "Who Shot J.R.?" by Gary Burbank with Band McNally
Peak: number 85
Here's another Dalls-themed single, this time from American radio star Gary Burbank. This record listed the culprit (whose identity wasn't revealed until November) in its list of suspects.

Number 74 "Theme From M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)" by The Mash
Peak: number 52
Although the TV spin-off of M*A*S*H was still on air at this point, this single was a re-release of the original film theme, which had originally been issued without success in 1970. It also reached number 1 in the UK in 1980.


New Entries
Number 50 "Over You" by Roxy Music
Peak: number 45
With the exception of 1975 single "Love Is The Drug" (which reached number 18), Roxy Music had never been anywhere near as successful in Australia as at home in the UK, where this lead single from Flesh And Blood was their seventh top 10 hit. By contrast, lead singer Bryan Ferry had three top 10 singles to his name locally, including chart-topper "Let's Stick Together (Let's Work Together)". And while it would take until 1981 - and the tragic death of a music legend - for Bryan's band to achieve a similar chart high, "Over You" did at least bring them back into the top 50.




Number 47 "Come Around" by Mental As Anything
Peak: number 18
They'd reached the top 20 straight out of the gate with debut single "The Nips Are Getting Bigger", but Mental As Anything had been unable to match that with anything else from debut album Get Wet. They were back amongst it with this sole single from second album Espresso Bongo, written and sung by Martin Plaza. Despite "Come Around" being among the band's 10 biggest hits, it's not a song you really hear very much anymore, with retro radio favouring the likes of "If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?" and "Live It Up".




Number 43 "Rock 'N' Roll High School" by The Ramones
Peak: number 41
Australia were a bit late to the party when it came to this soundtrack single by punk rockers The Ramones, who were sounding more and more pop as time went on. Released a year earlier in the US, "Rock 'N' Roll High School" was taken from the film of the same name and became the band's only charting single locally. In the decades since, acclaim for the band would only increase, with The Ramones now considered one of the most influential bands of the punk era.




Number 42 "Life At The Outpost" by Skatt Bros.
Peak: number 13
One of those songs that was only big in Australia, disco/rock anthem "Life At The Outpost" was helped up the chart by its music video, which was filmed locally when the band's US label refused to make one. As a result, the thirsty cowboys you see awkwardly dancing in scenes reminiscent of Ian Roberts' stint on Dancing With The Stars aren't actually the members of Skatt Bros. Instead they were actors hired to mime along to the record, a song which is like Village People, Boys Don't Cry and Frankie Goes To Hollywood all rolled into one. More proof that despite whatever homophobic sentiments there were in Australia in the 1980s, when it came to music, camp often went down a treat.




Number 29 "Xanadu" by Olivia Newton-John / Electric Light Orchestra
Peak: number 2
Speaking of camp classics... the latest single from  Xanadu - the title track, no less - stormed into the chart on its way to join "Magic" in the top 10. In fact, the two songs performed by the film's rollerskating star, Olivia Newton-John, would sit side-by-side at numbers 4 and 5 in a couple of weeks' time. Unlike "Magic", however, "Xanadu" was a collaboration between ONJ and the soundtrack's other main contributors, Electric Light Orchestra, with the song written and produced by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne. With "I'm Alive" also inside the top 30 this week, that made three simultaneous hits from the soundtrack, which began a six-week stint at number 1 on the albums chart this week.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):





Next week: two future chart-toppers and the latest from a band who were more than familiar with the number 1 spot.


Back to: Aug 24, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 7, 1980


Thursday, 27 August 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: August 27, 1995

If you're a regular reader, you'll know I had little time for grunge and "alternative rock" in the '90s. But there's an exception to every rule. 

Garbage: anything but

This week in 1995, a rock band with links to the biggest grunge album of all time made its debut on the ARIA singles chart - and I've been a fan ever since. Score one for genre diversity.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 27, 1995

Meanwhile, an underrated artist in Australia took over at the top of the chart with one of his two big hits here. "Kiss From A Rose" by Seal set up shop for a six-week run at number 1.


Off The Chart
Number 99 "Love Triangle" by Diana King
Peak: number 73
"Shy Guy" fell out of the top 20 this week, but it would take another soundtrack single a couple of years later for the Jamaican singer to enjoy anywhere near as successful a chart trajectory. 

Number 98 "Love Enuff" by Soul II Soul
Peak: number 76
Their globe-conquering hits of the late '80s had gone under-appreciated in Australia, so what hope did this excellent song from Volume V Believe have?

Number 96 "Good" by Better Than Ezra
Peak: number 86
By this stage signed to a major label deal, the New Orleans rock band broke through with this debut single lifted from their re-released Deluxe album

Number 95 "Caught By The Fuzz" by Supergrass
Peak: number 95
Another debut single by a band making the transition from a small label to a major, "Caught By The Fuzz" was inspired by singer Gaz Coombes' run-in with the police ("the fuzz") for drug possession.

Number 94 "Futures" by D.I.G.
Peak: number 83
Relegated to being an albums act, Directions In Groove charted for a fourth time outside the singles top 50 with this single from Speakeasy, which was released around the same time and gave them a second top 10 hit on the albums chart.

Number 86 "Who Fell In Love? / Down By The Water" by Nick Howard
Peak: number 52
Also destined to never reach the top 50, Australian singer Nick Howard just missed the chart with this single, which featured the theme to Channel 10 soap Echo Point on the double A-side.

Number 81 Aquamarine by Clouds
Peak: number 72
Clouds had reached the top 50 before, but the Sydney band spent more time outside it, like with this EP, which became their seventh and final top 100 appearance.

Number 79 "Shoot Me With Your Love" by D:Ream
Peak: number 73
Finally finished releasing, re-releasing and remixing songs from their debut album, dance act D:Ream moved on to their second, although this UK top 10 hit didn't shoot up the ARIA chart (sorry!).


New Entries
Number 48 New by Regurgitator
Peak: number 30
Like Clouds, Brisbane band Regurgitator's first couple of releases were EPs, with this second five-track collection improving on the number 45 placing of their self-titled debut offering. Featuring radio cuts "Track 1" and "Blubber Boy", New would remain the Triple J favourites' highest charting release until 1998.




Number 46 "Vow" by Garbage
Peak: number 32
Calling your band Garbage is the equivalent of Michael Jackson releasing an album titled Bad - but when you have music as good as this debut single by the American rock four-piece, you probably don't need to worry too much that your name will be used against you. Formed by Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Nevermind producer Butch Vig in 1993, Garbage's line-up was complete when Scottish singer Shirley Manson joined. Not originally intended to be their first single - or even feature on their self-titled debut album - "Vow" created enough hype to receive an official release and took the band into the ARIA top 40 for the first time. The song about taking revenge on an abusive partner would end up as the most successful single from Garbage in Australia, despite a string of excellent tracks that followed, although the album would debut in the top 5 in September and return there in October 1996 as part of a 69-week top 50 run.




Number 40 "Mysterious Girl" by Peter Andre
Peak: number 8
Because when I go to the beach, I leave my jeans on to go swimming... Accompanied by a music video that took even more advantage of Peter Andre's physical attributes than ever before, "Mysterious Girl" brought the gyrating singer back to the ARIA top 10. The first taste of his upcoming second album, Natural, the reggae-infused track featured an uncredited (in Australia) rap from Bubbler Ranx (also shirtless; also in the water in jeans). It would also be the song that would make Peter a star in the UK when it was eventually released there in 1996, reaching number 2 - a position he bettered in 2004 when a post-I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! re-release took it all the way to the top of the UK chart.




Number 31 "Where Is The Feeling?" by Kylie Minogue
Peak: number 31
I'm going to just get this out of the way: I don't like this single. I know! What a bizarro situation when I like a new rock band but not a new Kylie single. Well, to be more exact: I don't like the single version of this song. Originally recorded by duo Within A Dream, "Where Is The Feeling?" was covered reasonably faithfully by Kylie Minogue on her self-titled 1994 album. But when it came time to release the track as the third single, it was given a major overhaul. The verses were now spoken - seductively - instead of sung, and, overall, it became less song and more experimental trip-hop track. I don't think I was the only one not to really get the new "Where Is The Feeling?", since it only spent three weeks on the top 50, becoming one of Kylie's least successful singles up until this point. That said, I did literally get (i.e. purchase) the CD single since I liked one of the remixes - the BIR Bish Bosh Mix, which was a much more straightforward piano house rendering of the tune.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):





Next week: the second-biggest single in America for 1995 arrives in Australia and the best use of an ellipsis in a song title... ever.


Back to: Aug 20, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 3, 1995


Monday, 24 August 2020

This Week In 1980: August 24, 1980

Despite being only five years old at the time, I have some clear memories from 1980, one of which was starting school. I also remember going to the movies for what was possibly the first time to see The Empire Strikes Back.

Meco turned his hand to the latest Star Wars film in 1980

I don't recall whether I'd previously seen Star Wars - certainly not at the cinema, but would it have aired on TV by 1980? Anyway, enough about me. This week in 1980, the music from Episode V was transformed into a disco record, just as the theme from A New Hope had been in 1977, when it reached the top 3. How would the sequel remix fare?

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending August 24, 1980

There was a new number 1 in Australia this week in 1980. As the recent Olympics faded into history, "Moscow" by Genghis Khan kept the spirit of the Games alive as it began a six-week reign at the top of the singles chart.


Off The Chart
Number 100 "Poor Baby" by The Angels
Peak: number 72
Starting off sounding more than a little like "Wild Thing", this follow-up to the rock band's first top 10 single found them back outside the top 50, where they would remain for the time being.

Number 97 "Cities" by Outline
Peak: number 82
This Sydney band certainly had the right sound - as one commenter on the YouTube clip describes it, like a cross between Mi-Sex and INXS - but their debut single would give Outline their only visit to the top 100.

Number 96 "Once Or Twice" by Dorothy Moore
Peak: number 52
She'd reached the top 5 here and in the US with 1976 single "Misty Blue", but American soul singer Dorothy Moore was kept just outside the top 50 with this track from her Definitely Dorothy album.

Number 91 "Living After Midnight" by Judas Priest
Peak: number 91
The only song by the British metal band to breach the top 100, the lead single from sixth album British Steel was also Judas Priest's equal-highest-charting hit in the UK - both it and follow-up "Breaking The Law" reached number 12 there.

Number 89 "Dark Island" by Tim Renwick
Peak: number 80
This instrumental track was taken from the self-titled debut album of the British guitarist, who has played with Elton John and Pink Floyd during his career.

Number 88 "Magic Night" by Village People
Peak: number 88
Quite why this song from Can't Stop The Music would have been released when they had "Milkshake" sitting right there is unclear. Although given the soundtrack had spent the past nine weeks at number 1, perhaps no track lifted from it would have been a hit.

Number 87 "Empire Strikes Back (Medley)" by Meco
Peak: number 68
In 1977, Meco's transformation of the Star Wars theme into a disco track was a top 3 success, but the production group masterminded by Domenico Monardo couldn't repeat the trick with music from The Empire Strikes Back

Number 83 "Jojo" by Boz Scaggs
Peak: number 73
Like "Breakdown Dead Ahead", the latest cut from Middle Man peaked outside the top 50. It would be eight years before the American singer released more music - and returned to the Australian top 100.

Number 82 "Puppet On A String (Let Her Go)" by Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons
Peak: number 53
Released at the same time as fifth album Hats Off Step Lively, this perky tune was unlucky not to reach the top 50, although the album did make it into the top 20.


New Entries
Number 45 "It Hurts Too Much" by Eric Carmen
Peak: number 45
After that onslaught of chart flops, there were only two debuts inside the top 50 this week in 1980. And the first is a song I've never heard until now - but it's one of those tunes you feel you've known for years the first time you hear it. The lead single from Eric Carmen's fourth album, Tonight You're Mine, "It Hurts Too Much" sounds like a cross between his own 1988 hit "Make Me Lose Control" and any number of Billy Joel songs - which is a good thing.  Unfortunately for Eric, who had struggled to live up to his solo debut smash "All By Myself" ever since 1976, the song was another not very big hit, getting no further than this entry position.




Number 42 "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone" by Manhattan Transfer
Peak: number 28
The week's only other new entry came from a second act that hadn't been able to place another song in the top 10 since their 1976 hit, "Chanson D'Amour". And they were on the right track with this single, given the number of recent synth-based hits. Instead, it was another top 30 placing for Manhattan Transfer for this track from the Extensions album, which paid tribute (and royalties) to the theme from sci-fi series The Twilight Zone. The long-running vocal group had welcomed new singer Cheryl Bentyne into the line-up following the departure of Laurel Massé, and would score another couple of hits in 1981.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):





Next week: more action inside the top 50 than this week, with a big soundtrack hit and a memorable one-hit wonder among the new entries.


Back to: Aug 17, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 31, 1980


Thursday, 20 August 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: August 20, 1995

Of all the odd things to occur during the life of Michael Jackson, his short-lived marriage to Lisa Marie Presley must be among the top 10 most bizarre. And this week in 1995, the two flaunted their relationship in the music video for his latest single.

Gruesome twosome: Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson 

The song wasn't only noteworthy for that PDA, it also became the first single to ever debut at number 1 in the US - something that had first happened in Australia a decade earlier.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 20, 1995

This week in 1995, the departure of the latest single to debut at number 1 resulted in a three-way tussle for the top spot, with Jann Arden's "Insensitive" the victor. But for how long?


Off The Chart
Number 96 "Whoomph! (There It Is)" by Clock
Peak: number 96
Their rendition of "Axel F" had done so well overseas that Eurodance duo Clock (or the people behind them) decided another cover was order - this time of the Tag Team hit, which came with an added 'h' for extra oomph.

Number 94 "I Love It Loud / Chuck" by Phunk Junkeez
Peak: number 88
The A-side of this single by the American hip-hop/rock band was a cover of a 1982 top 50 miss by KISS and was used in comedy film Tommy Boy. The AA-side was an original track.

Number 90 "Heroin Girl" by Everclear
Peak: number 76
They'd have more luck with subsequent singles from Sparkle And Fade, but this lead release from the American rock band's breakthrough second album got their top 100 career started.

Number 89 "There Is A Party" by DJ BoBo
Peak: number 89
The first two singles from There Is A Party had reached the top 50, but this more laidback title track was the first of a series of chart misses for the Swiss dance act.

Number 84 "I Wonder..." by Renegade Funktrain
Peak: number 68
Their former band, Sound Unlimited (Posse), had managed a couple of hits, but the top 50 eluded Rosano and Tina Martinez (and this song) for the time being in their new outfit.

Number 79 "Max Don't Have Sex With Your Ex" by E-Rotic
Peak: number 67
Australia showed the good taste not to reward this textbook Eurodance duo with a hit for their summer holiday tune, which was big on the continent in 1995.

Number 72 "Greg! The Stop Sign!!" by TISM
Peak: number 59
This follow-up to "(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River" was as close as TISM came to the top 50 again, and was probably more relevant to Victorians given it was based on a public service announcement screened there.


New Entries
Number 50 "Search For The Hero" by M-People
Peak: number 37
With the exception of "Moving On Up", M-People really under-performed in Australia, with this latest UK top 10 hit - the dance group's eighth in a row - only just scraping into the top 40. A change of pace from their usual party-starters, "Search For The Hero" has had one of the greatest afterlives of an M-People song, popping up in TV series and ads in the decades since.




Number 48 "Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Bop-Dop)" by Scatman John
Peak: number 8
And while a classy downtempo dance track like "Search For The Hero" didn't find that many takers, this nonsense did. The latest in 1995's series of novelty dance smashes, the scat singing tune took 53-year-old John Larkin all the way to the top 10. And while I acknowledge that the melody of "Scatman" was catchy enough, the rapped verses and, well, all that scatting was enough to turn me off. It almost goes without saying that the professional jazz musician-turned-dance artist, who passed away in 1999, was a one-hit wonder in Australia.




Number 47 "Trick With A Knife" by Strawpeople
Peak: number 37
Formed in the late '80s by Paul Casserly and Mark Tierney, New Zealand's Strawpeople achieved their only ARIA chart success with this second single from third album Broadcast, which featured Headless Chickens' Fiona McDonald on vocals (and was co-written by her). The sort of cool dance track that Triple J championed at the time, "Trick With A Knife" had a rather lengthy journey to the top 50, having been released back in May and first charting on the top 100 in early July. The song dated back even further in New Zealand, where it was released in 1994 and was inspired by the infamous knife-wielding skills of Lorena Bobbitt. In Australia, it was followed by the band's cover of The Church's "Under The Milky Way", which had been the first single from Broadcast in NZ, but the remake missed our top 100.




Number 16 "Never Forget" by Take That
Peak: number 12
How typical - after years of waiting for Take That to properly take off in Australia, they had to go and start disintegrating just as they reached their full potential on the ARIA chart. As the five-piece were gearing up to release this follow-up to chart-topper "Back For Good", Robbie Williams decided to quit the band in July - the first step in what would ultimately be the demise (for the time being) of the boy band. By August 1995, the group's resident bad boy had embarked on his journey of partying at Glastonbury, getting into fights with Oasis and beginning a solo career, leaving his former band-mates to soldier on with a song that could easily have served as their swansong given its nostalgic sentiments. Unusually for a Take That single, lead vocals on "Never Forget" were handled by Howard, with some prominent ad libs towards the end by Robbie, which the remaining members would have to cover when they toured Australia the following month.




Number 10 "You Are Not Alone" by Michael Jackson
Peak: number 7
I don't know about you but I can't get through very much of the music video for this second single from HIStory without needing to turn it off. About a minute, in fact. It's not that it's a bad song - although, I much prefer the Frankie Knuckles dance remix - it's just that the sight of Michael Jackson's semi-naked body cavorting with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley, in a similar state of undress, is fairly unsettling. I'm not entirely sure what the aim of such a video was - if it was to convince the world that the unexpected union between the King Of Pop and the King's daughter was legit, that was undone while the song was still on the chart, with the couple separating by the end of the year. 
Perhaps it was to undo the damage done by child abuse allegations by showing Michael as just a regular guy getting it on with his wife. Whatever the motivation, it definitely seemed like a point was being made and I think that's why it feels so forced and unconvincing to me. None of that seemed to put off his American fans, who sent the R. Kelly composition straight in at number 1 - the first time a single had debuted at the top on the Billboard Hot 100 - while in Australia, it instantly became Michael's latest top 10 hit.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):





Next week: the return of an ab-tastic Australian pop star and the debut of one of my favourite rock bands of all time.


Back to: Aug 13, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 27, 1995


Monday, 17 August 2020

This Week In 1980: August 17, 1980

Standing out from a famous family can be tricky, especially when one of your brothers is the most famous pop star in the world. But this week in 1980, the second most successful singer from the Jackson clan (at that point) gave it a red hot go.

The other Jackson solo star was back on the charts in 1980

Returning to the top 50 for the first time in seven years, he didn't manage to sell anywhere near as many records as his brother (or brothers), but he did score the biggest hit of his solo career.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending August 17, 1980

At number 1 this week in 1980, Australia was still enjoying the sounds of "Funkytown", which stayed on top for a second week, but  "Moscow" was closing in fast.


Off The Chart
Number 99 "Sooner Or Later" by The Innocents
Peak: number 58
Formed in Tasmania but based in Sydney, The Innocents deserved a lot better than this power pop debut single achieved. Follow-up "Come Tonight" missed the top 100 altogether.

Number 97 "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again" by Roy Orbison / Emmylou Harris
Peak: number 97
Taken from the soundtrack to Roadie, in which Roy Orbison made a cameo appearance, this duet with country singer Emmylou Harris would be followed by a five-year gap between singles for the Big O.

Number 96 "New Romance (It's A Mystery)" by Spider
Peak: number 56
One of two bands named Spider around at the time, this one came from America and featured future hit songwriter Holly Knight in its line-up. This was their debut single.

Number 85 "Power" by The Temptations
Peak: number 85
The first single following the male vocal group's return to Motown Records (and Dennis Edwards' return to the line-up) was a top 50 hit in the US, but did not progress any further locally.


New Entries
Number 50 "Clones (We're All)" by Alice Cooper
Peak: number 36
Sounding more than a little like Gary Numan's "Cars", this single from Alice Cooper's Flush The Fashion album saw the rock star take his music in a new (wave) direction, with help from producer Roy Thomas Baker (The Cars, Queen). With lyrics warning of the dangers of conformity, the song would be Alice's last top 50 hit until his triumphant return with "Poison" at the end of the decade.




Number 49 "Let's Get Serious" by Jermaine Jackson
Peak: number 24
In between The Jacksons' "Blame It On The Boogie" and brother Michael's run of solo hits from Off The Wall, there had been plenty of chart action from Jermaine Jackson's family already in 1980. And this week, the former Jackson 5 member, who had quit the sibling group when they left Motown Records in 1975, joined in the fun with the title track of his sixth album. One of three songs on Let's Get Serious co-written and produced by Stevie Wonder, "Let's Get Serious" also featured Jermaine's Motown label-mate on backing vocals, which Jermaine amusingly lip syncs to in the performance below. The US top 10 hit matched the number 9 peak of Jermaine's 1973 cover of "Daddy's Home" there, while in Australia, "Let's Get Serious" gave him a second top 30 hit and the biggest solo single of his career.




Number 48 "Clancy Of The Overflow" by Wallis & Matilda
Peak: number 30
Some Australiana now, and this musical version of the Banjo Patterson poem might have only just reached the top 30, but it appealed to the patriotism of record buyers enough for it to stay in the top 100 for half a year.




Number 46 "Waterfalls" by Paul McCartney
Peak: number 31
"Coming Up" was one of the biggest hits of the year - and still inside the top 20 after 14 weeks on the chart - but this follow-up had a more understated reaction, which was appropriate enough since "Waterfalls" was a much more subdued song. Sounding almost like something from a kids' movie, the ballad was more successful in the UK, where it gave Paul yet another top 10 hit.




Number 41 "Private Idaho" by The B-52's
Peak: number 11
Just missing out on giving The B-52's another top 10 hit in Australia, "Private Idaho" was the lead single from the band's second album, Wild Planet, which featured a number of tracks the band had been playing live for a couple of years but had yet to commit to record. The US state of Idaho was used as a metaphor for being in a state of paranoia.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):





Next week: only a couple of entries on the top 50 but nine songs that peaked between numbers 51 and 100, including the follow-up to a chart-topping single and a song linked to one of the biggest movies of 1980.


Back to: Aug 10, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 24, 1980


Thursday, 13 August 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: August 13, 1995

In the mid-'90s, it seemed like dance acts were trying to outdo each other with the bizarre and unexpected things they could turn into club records. A snatch of dialogue from an old film, a decades-old dance craze, an obscenity-ridden take on a '70s rock song and, this week in 1995, a piece of music from a cantata written in the 1930s.

The words "remixed by Nick Skitz" were peak '90s dance music

Like those other inventive (and often quite terrible) dance tracks, the song that debuted on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1995 was massive... and only just kept off the number 1 spot.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 13, 1995

That number 1 spot was occupied this week, as it had been for the previous five weeks, by U2's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me". Also noteworthy was that behind the Batman Forever single for the entirety of its six-week run on top was Bryan Adams' own soundtrack hit "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?", which spent a total of eight non-consecutive weeks at number 2, broken up by its one-week stint at number 1 in the week prior to U2's debut.


Off The Chart
Number 100 "December" by Collective Soul
Peak: number 97
Just like the second single from their debut album, this follow-up to "Gel" peaked in the 90s, but it wasn't all over for Collective Soul's self-titled second album.

Number 99 "Remember Me This Way" by Jordan Hill
Peak: number 99
Signed by super producer David Foster, this teenage singer belted out this big ballad from the soundtrack to live action-meets-CGI film Casper, but although the film was a hit, the song was not.

Number 92 "Rock Dog" by Swoop
Peak: number 83
A third top 100 entry for the Australian funk/rock band, this noisy single from upcoming album The Woxo Principle was not going to be the one to give them a hit.

Number 89 "Feel Me Flow" by Naughty By Nature
Peak: number 89
Their previous two albums has each yielded a top 40 hit, but Naughty By Nature were out of favour with the singles from Poverty's Paradise


New Entries
Number 50 "Try Me Out" by Lee Marrow featuring Charme
Peak: number 37
We saw the remake by Corona debut last week, but some people clearly favoured the original "Try Me Out" (or bought it by mistake). First released in 1993, the Lee Marrow version of the Eurodance track featured vocals by Annerley Gordon under the alias Charme (although I'm not sure that's her in the music video). After many years performing behind-the-scenes, Annerley would have a hit in her own right - as Ann Lee - with "2 Times", an ARIA top 5 hit in 1999. Quite why anyone would purposely choose to buy this version of "Try Me Out" over the far superior Corona version is unclear to me, although I assume it has its supporters. As I noted last week, Lee Marrow (aka Francesco Bontempi, who was behind Corona) was a winner either way.




Number 45 "Can't Cry Anymore" by Sheryl Crow
Peak: number 41
After two back-to-back top 3 hits, Sheryl Crow's latest release from Tuesday Night Music Club peaked just outside the top 40 - and I can see why. Not as strong a single as "All I Wanna Do" or "Strong Enough", "Can't Cry Anymore" did about as well as it should have, especially since the album had been on the top 50 since October 1994 and spent two weeks at number 1 in June 1995.




Number 14 "Excalibur" by F.C.B.
Peak: number 2
Australia couldn't get enough of novelty-ish techno tracks in 1995, with this "O Fortuna"-sampling epic blasting into the top 100 at number 14 before making the leap to number 2 the following week. Making use of the piece of music from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana made a lot of sense since it seemed to be everywhere in the '90s (including in an ad for coffee), but that didn't make it pleasant to listen to - and this is coming from someone whose personal year-end countdown for 1995 is littered with dance tracks (playlist here). 
Remixed by Nick Skitz (who was the first person I ever conducted a face-to-face interview with a couple of years later), "Excalibur" came out of Italy - where else? - with the F.C.B. coming from the surnames of the three men responsible: Carlo Favilli, Maurizio Cristofori and Alex Bresil. And it's been pointed out to me on the ChartBeat Facebook page that I wasn't the only one who didn't care for "Excalibur", with action taken in 1997 by the late Orff's publishers to claim the track was a debasement of his original work. The claim was unsuccessful. Side note: this wasn't the first techno track to take on "O Fortuna" - a 1991 song by Apotheosis also transformed the operatic anthem.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):





Next week: another awful dance smash, the end of an era for a big boy band and an event ballad with an interesting video from the King of Pop.


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