Friday, 4 July 2014

One-Hit Wonders On The Australian Chart - The 90s part 1

JUMP TO: Part 1 II Part 2 II Part 3 II Part 4

Back in February, I compiled a list of genuine one-hit wonders on the Australian singles chart during the 1980s. I won't rehash everything I said there about one-hit wonders - you can read it here, instead. Now, as promised, it's time to tackle the 1990s - and I'll do things in a similar way.

Julee Cruise fitted into the quirky world of Twin Peaks perfectly

In this post, I'll look at artists who had one number 1 single and then no other top 50 appearances. Then, in Part 2, I'll move on to acts that had a solitary top 10 single and no further top 50 hits - and I'll wrap it up with a list of two-hit wonders (including a potentially controversial showing by Los Del Rio).

But first, our chart-topping one-hit wonders from the '90s, a list that doesn't include Sarah Brightman and Jose Carreras' six-week number 1, "Amigos Para Siempre (Friends For Life)", since Sarah had previously visited the top 50 (on 1986's "All I Ask Of You"). You ready to kick some ass?

"Sucker DJ" by Dimples D
Year of release: 1991
Weeks at number 1: Two
No other top 100 entries
By the early '90s, Australia had finally got its collective head around rap music - even if it was only the ultra-commercial end of the hip-hop spectrum, and songs like this, Heavy D & The Boyz' "Now That We Found Love" and Young MC's "Bust A Move" that tended to feature on the ARIA chart. "Sucker DJ" dated back to 1983, when hip-hop legend Marley Marl (who is name-checked in the lyrics) recruited vocalist Crystal Smith to front the track, then called "Sucker D.J.'s (I Will Survive)". That version of the song did approximately nothing, but a Ben Liebrand remix, which added the theme tune to I Dream Of Jeannie to the track, turned it into a smash hit in a handful of countries, including Australia.

"Falling" by Julee Cruise
Year of release: 1991
Weeks at number 1: One
No other top 50 entries
There was no bigger TV show in 1991 than Twin Peaks - well, as far as I was concerned, although a certain chart-topping animated family (see below) might beg to differ. So much of the creepy atmosphere of the cult series was created by Angelo Badalamenti's memorable score, which in turn took its inspiration from the 1989 Julee Cruise album, Floating Into The Night, that Angelo had written and produced with Twin Peaks creator David Lynch. Julee performed "Falling" on the show, while an instrumental version of the song served as the series' main theme tune.

"Here's Johnny" by Hocus Pocus
Year of release: 1995
Weeks at number 1: Six
No other top 100 entries
From one musical extreme to the other... like rap, dance music also broke through in a big way in the '90s and techno was just one of the many genres to cross over from the clubs to the charts. But, like "Sucker DJ", it was a track with a novelty bent that became techno's biggest hit. "Here's Johnny" featured Jack Nicholson dialogue from The Shining over the top of its relentless beat, and achieved what other acts like Ultra-sonic and Scooter (at least at this stage in their career) couldn't by breaking into the ARIA top 50. The song appears to have been around as early as 1992, before Central Station Records licensed it for release in Australia in late 1994. As for Hocus Pocus, they were Dutch duo Peter Garnefski and Ferry Ridderhof, who we'll see under a different alias in Part 2.

"Insensitive" by Jann Arden
Year of release: 1995
Weeks at number 1: One
No other top 100 entries
She may be a one-hit wonder in Australia, but Canadian singer Jann Arden has had a long and successful career back home, with multiple top 10 singles on the Canadian chart over the past two decades. However, it was her 1994 single "Insensitive" which broke through in Australia after its release and high-rotation radio play the following year. The song ended up having quite a long lifespan, finally cracking the US top 20 in 1996 after its use in the Christian Slater/Mary Stuart Masterson film, Bed Of Roses.

"How Bizarre" by OMC
Year of release: 1996
Weeks at number 1: Five
No other top 50 entries
Here's another act that had more success at home - in this case, New Zealand - but as far as most of the world is concerned, OMC had only one hit: global smash "How Bizarre". By the time the song was released, the band, whose name stood for Otara Millionaires Club, consisted of frontman Pauly Fuemana and producer Alan Jansson. The pair would later fall out over royalties, and with good reason - for a long time, the song was the highest-selling track ever to emerge from New Zealand, although it's now been overtaken by Lorde's "Royals".

"Crush" by Jennifer Paige
Year of release: 1998
Weeks at number 1: Two
No other top 50 entries
There's not much to the Jennifer Paige story - it's really just the classic case of an artist striking gold (or double platinum, as was the case in Australia) first time out and then being unable to better that performance. After failing to follow-up this lead single from her debut album with another hit, Jennifer was dropped by her original label in the early '00s, but returned in 2008 with a European-only album and then a Christmas collection in 2012.

Almost one-hit wonders
Compared to the '80s tally of 16 genuine one-hit wonders, the '90s only had 6 - but there are quite a number of chart-topping artists whose next best effort was so fleeting that they can almost be classed as one-hit wonders.

Number 1 single: "Groove Is In The Heart" (1990)
Next biggest single: "Power Of Love" (number 47, 1990)

The Simpsons
Number 1 single: "Do The Bartman" (1991)
Next biggest single: "Deep, Deep Trouble" (number 35, 1991)

Cut 'n' Move
Number 1 single: "Give It Up" (1994)
Next biggest single: "Peace, Love And Harmony" (number 35, 1994)

Crash Test Dummies
Number 1 single: "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (1994)
Next biggest single: "Afternoons And Coffeespoons" (number 40, 1994)

Joan Osbourne
Number 1 single: "One Of Us" (1996)
Next biggest single: "St Teresa" (number 43, 1996)

Number 1 single: "Tubthumping" (1997)
Next biggest single: "Amnesia" (number 34, 1998)

Sixpence None The Richer
Number 1 single: "Kiss Me" (1999)
Next biggest single: "There She Goes" (number 47, 1999)

Lou Bega
Number 1 single: "Mambo No.5 (A Little Bit Of...)" (1999)
Next biggest single: "I Got A Girl" (number 31, 1999)

Relive all those acts' one shining moment on my Spotify playlist - or as many as you can get the whole way through without skipping ahead...

In Part 2 and Part 3, I'll take a look at artists with one top 10 hit and no further top 50 placing. Stay tuned!


1 comment:

  1. I'd never heard the original 'Sucker DJ' until now. Very interesting... though I knew there was an earlier, 1983 (which would have seemed practically ancient to me then) version. Dimples D mentions cocaine in one part - odd that it wasn't censored on the radio version. The 'I Dream of Jeannie' theme didn't turn DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's 'Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble' into a hit in 1989 (or 1986-7 when it was originally released); I wonder why it worked this time.