Wednesday, 27 June 2018

This Week In 1993: June 27, 1993

On the ARIA singles chart this week in 1993, there were a handful of ho-hum entries in the top 50, but something much more interesting was going on lower down. The week's top 100 was filled with new arrivals from groups that'd seen better days. 

Wreckx-N-Effect and Felix flopped with their latest singles

From dance to rock to hip-hop, the acts had all had big hits relatively recently, but stumbled this time around. In most cases, it's because their material wasn't up to standard.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending June 27, 1993

An artist that was having a much better time of it was rapper Snow, whose unstoppable hit, "Informer", spent a fourth straight week at number 1.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Stars" by Felix
Peak: number 100
Sampling the 1979 song of the same name by disco singer Sylvester, this third release by British DJ/producer Francis Wright would be his final top 100 appearance - and only just!

Number 98 "Everything's Ruined" by Faith No More
Peak: number 63
Released ahead of "Easy" in other parts of the world, this track from Angel Dust finally got its turn in Australia, but couldn't keep Faith No More's hit tally going.

Number 96 "Eat The Rich" by Aerosmith
Peak: number 63
Following this Red Hot Chili Peppers-ish single's lack of success, it's little surprise Aerosmith went with power ballads instead for the next couple of releases from Get A Grip.

Number 93 "Wreckx Shop" by Wreckx-N-Effect
Peak: number 81
Hip-hop duo Wreckx-N-Effect were also unable to come up with the goods on the chart, with this follow-up to top 10 smash "Rump Shaker" ensuring they remained a one-hit wonder.

Number 84 "This Isn't Love" by Boom Crash Opera
Peak: number 69
Their previous two singles had massively underperformed, but this third release from Fabulous Beast probably did about as well as it deserved, especially considering the album featured much better songs.

Single Of The Week
"God Inside A Man" by Defryme
Peak: number 51
With bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More having proved (sometimes) so successful in Australia, it was inevitable that we got a funk metal outfit or two of our own. Melbourne's Defryme were on the rise at this point, just missing the top 50 with this actually quite catchy single. I'm sure I would've hated it at the time...

New Entries
Number 50 "Here We Go Again!" by Portrait
Peak: number 41
The R&B vocal groups were coming thick and fast at this point, with this second single by quartet Portrait following Boyz II Men, Riff, Shai and Silk into the top 50. At the new jack swing end of the spectrum, "Here We Go Again" sampled Michael Jackson's "I Can't Help It", a track from his Off The Wall album.

Number 49 "I Know Why" by Robertson Brothers
Peak: number 47
Before they became best known for their 2000 update of the Home And Away theme song, this trio comprised of siblings Ben, Geoff and Stuart Robertson sneaked into the top 50 with their Rick Price-esque debut single. This is as high as the brothers ever managed to reach on the singles chart, despite lifting four tracks from debut album Symmetry and, in the second phase of their career, issuing three singles from their second album, 2002's Here. The guys are still making music, albeit without Stuart, who was replaced in the line-up in 2004.

Number 42 "In These Arms" by Bon Jovi
Peak: number 10
Ten was proving to be a lucky number for Bon Jovi, who peaked there for the third time in a row with the third single taken from Keep The Faith. While I was happy it was time for another uptempo tune from the band after power ballad "Bed Of Roses", I have to say I've always found "In These Arms" kind of dated and generic, especially compared to the album's title track, which had embraced a more modern sound. There was plenty more life in the album yet, with three more singles to follow - all of which we'll see reach the top 40 in the months to come.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993:

Next week: our three new entries revisit the past - in two cases, thanks to some inspired samples, and in the other, due to a veteran artist delving into his own back catalogue.

Back to: Jun 20, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 4, 1993

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

This Week In 1993: June 20, 1993

Some bands steer well clear of cover versions, preferring to release only self-penned material. And then there's UB40, who early on in their career realised the power of a good remake, especially one that took a song in a new direction, as theirs often did.

The wise men of UB40 knew how to keep scoring hits

This week in 1993, the British reggae collective returned to the ARIA singles chart with their latest cover version - and it would prove so successful that it went all the way to number 1 for seven weeks.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending June 20, 1993

Another of the year's longest-running chart-toppers - and another reggae hit - was still at number 1 this week in 1993. "Informer" by Snow spent a third week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "When She Cries" by Restless Heart
Peak: number 97
Post-Billy Ray Cyrus, the idea of a country crossover hit was back on the table, but it wasn't to be in Australia for this US number 11-peaking lead single from the enduring band's fifth album, Big Iron Horses

Number 96 "Give It Up, Turn It Loose" by En Vogue
Peak: number 96
Another disappointing chart performance for the funky divas, with this fourth single from their second album barely denting the top 100 despite making number 15 in the US.

Number 95 "Fields Of Gold" by Sting
Peak: number 85
It's since become one of Sting's most beloved songs, but in 1993, the Ten Summoner's Tales track, released here as the album's third single, was not very loved at all.

Number 82 "29 Palms" by Robert Plant
Peak: number 79
He'd done OK on the ARIA chart during the '80s - both as a solo artist and with The Honeydrippers - but the '90s weren't so kind to Robert Plant, with this single from Fate Of Nations flopping and becoming his final top 100 appearance.

Number 74 "Black Tie White Noise" by David Bowie
Peak: number 74
Another male performer who'd been much more successful in previous decades, David Bowie struck out once again with the second single from the album of the same name, which features Al B Sure! on guest vocals.

New Entries
Number 49 "Busy Bee" by Ugly Kid Joe
Peak: number 39
With "Cats In The Cradle" still in the top 20 after 16 weeks on the chart, Ugly Kid Joe's next single with an animal in the title joined it on the chart. "Busy Bee", however, would end up as the least successful of the four top 50 hits from the band's debut album, America's Least Wanted. Still, they'd had a pretty good run up until this point. But in two years' time, when Ugly Kid Joe returned with their follow-up album, Menace To Sobriety, they wouldn't be that wanted in Australia, barely able to crack the singles top 40.

Number 44 "Push Th' Little Daisies" by Ween
Peak: number 18
Regular readers can probably guess my feelings about this track - the only top 50 appearance by alternative American duo Ween. It's as irritating now as it was in 1993, but of course, that was the whole point. Taken from the major label debut album by Dean and Gene Ween - aka Mickey Melchiondo and Aaron Freeman respectively - "Push Th' Little Daisies" was a hit on Triple J (of course), but I wonder how many people actually enjoyed listening to the strangled vocals and barely there musical accompaniment. 

Number 30 "Almost Unreal" by Roxette
Peak: number 17
The wheels hadn't quite fallen off the Roxette juggernaut yet, but the Swedish duo's previous flawless chart record had taken a battering thanks to the disappointing placings of the later singles from their Tourism album. They got things back on track with this soundtrack single, which had actually been written for the Bette Midler/Sarah Jessica Parker/Kathy Najimy supernatural comedy, Hocus Pocus, but ultimately ended up on the soundtrack to computer game spin-off Super Mario Bros. Although some of the song's lyrics were changed when the song found a new movie home, the words "hocus pocus" did remain in the chorus. Not quite classic Roxette, "Amost Unreal" was a nice enough song that saw Per and Marie back inside the top 20 for the first time since "How Do You Do!".

Number 27 "(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You" by UB40
Peak: number 1
Another soundtrack hit now, although despite featuring in Sharon Stone's latest erotic thriller, Sliver, UB40's pop/reggae remake of the Elvis Presley classic would have been massive with or without the movie tie-in. One of those songs that most people were familiar with, it ticked the nostalgia box for older music fans and was part of a resurgent wave of reggae hits that younger music buyers were clearly getting into, as evidenced by Snow and Shaggy's success. 
The slightly retitled version of "Can't Help Falling In Love With You" was just the latest remake by the British band, which followed hot on the heels of their second album comprised exclusively of covers, Labour Of Love II, and gave UB40 their second chart-topper in Australia - their first being 1985's update of "I Got You Babe" with Chrissie Hynde. Would they ever have another hit with an original song? They were clearly hoping so, with the rest of accompanying album Promises And Lies comprised of self-penned tracks.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993:

Next week: some big bands bomb out, while a couple of now-long-forgotten acts scrape into the top 50.

Back to: Jun 13, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 27, 1993

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

This Week In 1993: June 13, 1993

It's always disheartening when an artist you like decides to go down a musical path you don't. Not mentioning any names, but like when a pop star with decades of hits experiments with country music, for example. 

Taylor Dayne was back in my good graces in 1993

This week in 1993, a singer who found fame singing pop-dance anthems returned to the sound that had established her on the charts after a detour into MOR pop/rock territory.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending June 13, 1993

Meanwhile, at number 1 this week in 1993 was "Informer" by Snow. The reggae hit spent its second week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 91 "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" by Dr Dre featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg
Peak: number 63
In the US, this lead single from The Chronic had given both rappers their first major hit, peaking at number 2, but the influential hip-hop track flew under the radar locally.

Number 80 "One Of A Kind" by Bruce Samazan
Peak: number 80
The Stefan Dennis of E Street (which has just been axed). While his cast-mates were having hits, B-Man Samazan bombed out big time with his attempt at rap. Emphasis on "attempt".

Number 58 "Walk On The Wild Side" by Jimeoin
Peak: number 58
Two things worked against this cover of the Lou Reed classic being a hit. 1) The song had been taken into the top 30 in 1990 by Jamie J Morgan. 2) It's by Jimeoin. 

New Entries
Number 49 "Saving Forever For You" by Shanice
Peak: number 25
As Jeremy Jordan moved closer to his chart peak with "The Right Kind Of Love", a second single from the Beverly Hills, 90210 soundtrack joined it on the top 50. A big ballad from the dream team of songwriter Diane Warren and producer David Foster, "Saving Forever For You" showed a more mature side of the then-20-year-old singer known for the perky pop of "I Love Your Smile". Keep an eye out for 90210 star Brian Austin Green channeling his on-screen character, school DJ David Silver, in the music video.

Number 42 "Linger" by The Cranberries
Peak: number 33
It took a while for Ireland's The Cranberries to get going, with their first two singles, "Dreams" and "Linger" being released and re-released around the world over the course of 1993 and 1994. Australia took to "Linger" first time around, while it'd take "Dreams" until September 1994 to finally reach the top 50. A dreamy love song, it had been written by guitarist Noel Hogan before the late Dolores O'Riordan joined the band, with original lyrics by the band's former frontman, Niall Quinn. Once Dolores was hired as his replacement, she substituted her words. Not a hit in the UK or the US until 1994, "Linger" would eventually become one of their biggest global successes, even if it wasn't entirely indicative of what was to come from the band...

Number 38 "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love" by Taylor Dayne
Peak: number 2
I'd never been very happy about dance diva Taylor Dayne's move into more of an adult contemporary pop/rock direction on 1989's Can't Fight Fate, especially the decision to release "I'll Be Your Shelter" and "Heart Of Stone" as the album's third and fourth singles. Cut to 1993, and all was forgiven when she kicked off her third album, Soul Dancing, with this rousing remake of Barry White's "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe" from 1974. Produced by Clivillés & Cole, Taylor's version was a last-minute addition to the album at the behest of Arista bigwig Clive Davis, who correctly recognised that intended single "I'll Wait" just wasn't up to scratch - an appraisal that proved correct when it was released in two singles' time. Putting her firmly back in pop-dance mode, the cover eclipsed everything she'd previously released by climbing to number 2 for three weeks on the ARIA chart, kept from the top by UB40.

Number 20 "Funky Junky" by Peter Andre
Peak: number 13
My recent posts covering the "final' printed ARIA chart from 1998 featured an appearance by Peter Andre's last top 50 single, "All Night, All Right". Five years earlier, the 20-year-old was up to his second hit, which stormed straight into the top 20 accompanied by a music video in which Peter wore marginally more clothes than in the clip for "Gimme Little Sign". Unlike his breakthrough hit, which marked its 26th week on the chart just one spot higher at number 19, "Funky Junky" was an original song (instead of a remake) and one that Peter actually co-wrote. Produced by Ashley Cadell, who'd been behind some of Kate Ceberano's best songs, the sound was an adequate blend of '70s-style funk and modern R&B, but Peter's nasal vocal style pushed it over the edge of irritating for me.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993:

Next week: the reggae onslaught continues with a massive remake from a band that knew a thing or two about cover versions. Plus, one of the year's quirkiest (i.e. most annoying) songs.

Back to: Jun 6, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 20, 1993

Friday, 8 June 2018

20 Years Ago This Week: the "final" ARIA chart printout - part 2

JUMP TO: 50-26 II 25-1

We're halfway through our look back at the final ever* ARIA top 50 printout. (*until they changed their minds a few months later). See, here it is below.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending June 7, 1998

So let's continue our countdown with numbers 25 to 1, with the chart-topping single just happening to be the worst single by one of my favourite pop acts of all time.

Number 25 "Cleaopatra's Theme" by Cleopatra
Peak: number 25
With a name like Cleopatra Madonna Higgins, the lead singer of this trio of sisters was always going to be famous - and for a brief time she and siblings Yonah and Zainam were thanks to perky pop/R&B tunes like this debut single.

Number 24 "Twisted (Excuse Me)" by Wayne G featuring Stewart Who?
Peak: number 19
It was pretty unusual for a club record as dark as this to become such an enduring hit, but this trance track by the British DJ/producer spent almost half a year in the top 50. Probably had something to do with its F-bomb-featuring lyrics and risque music video. 

Number 23 "High" by Lighthouse Family
Peak: number 1
They'd been having hits in the UK for a couple of years with their radio-friendly pop/soul, but this future chart-topper from second album Postcards From Heaven was the first single by duo Lighthouse Family to crack the Australia market. And crack it "High" did, spending a mammoth 17 weeks in the top and ending 1998 as the year's 11th biggest seller.

Number 22 "Brick" by Ben Folds Five
Peak: number 13
I'm kind of suprised this single from the US college rock trio constitutes the only top 50 appearance by one-time honorary Australian Ben Folds, whether as part of this band or solo. One thing I didn't know until now: "Brick" is about an abortion Ben's high school girlfriend had.

Number 21 "You Make Me Wanna..." by Usher
Peak: number 6
We saw the follow-up in Part 1, and here is Usher's breakthrough single, which reached number 2 in the US and topped the UK chart. "You Make Me Wanna..." was not Mr Raymond's first single, however - he'd been releasing music since 1993.

Number 20 "All I Have To Give" by Backstreet Boys
Peak: number 4
Early 1998 was peak Backstreet Boys, with the best boy band of all time achieving a hat trick of top 5 hits, of which "All I Have To Give" was the third. They'd even reach the top 10 later in the year with a dreary ballad from 1995 that had originally appeared on their debut album.

Number 19 "Crush On You" by Aaron Carter
Peak: number 9
BSB were so big at this point that even this woeful cover of The Jets' US and UK top 5 hit by Nick Carter's 10-year-old brother made it into the top 10. And yes, it's still as painful to listen to as it was in 1998.

Number 18 "Teardrop" by Massive Attack
Peak: number 16
From the ridiculous to the sublime, trip hop pioneers Massive Attack finally landed a long overdue hit with this pristine piece featuring the haunting vocals of Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser. From 2004, "Teardrop" was used as the theme to medical drama House

Number 17 "Now I Can Dance" by Tina Arena
Peak: number 13
Since 1995, Tina Arena's singles had followed the pattern of big hit, not-so-big hit, big hit, not-so-big hit, and so after "If I Didn't Love You" just missed the top 40, this flamenco-tinged third release from Don't Ask performed as expected.

Number 16 "It's Like That" by Run-DMC vs Jason Nevins
Peak: number 1
The second highest-selling of 1998 had been in the top 20 since the very start of the year, and as well as topping the chart for a week in March, had spent six weeks at number 2. The remix of the hip-hop trio's debut single from 1983 would amass 37 weeks in the top 50 and sell millions of copies around the world.

Number 15 "Gotta Be... Movin' On Up" by P.M. Dawn featuring Ky-Mani
Peak: number 13
It'd been a while between hits for our next hip-hop act, who achieved their biggest single since 1991's "Set Adrift On Memory Bliss" with this track, which sampled Imagination's "Just An Illusion" and featured Bob Marley's son Ky-Mani. "Gotta Be... Movin' On Up" would end up being the duo's final top 50 appearance.

Number 14 "My Heart Will Go On (The Remixes)" by Celine Dion
Peak: number 1
The chart history of this mega-ballad was everything that was wrong with the music industry in 1998. Multiple versions of "My Heart Will Go On" were released and deleted over the course of the first half of the year - the original single, the "Valentine's version" (with a different range of bonus tracks) and the club mixes. But despite these being quite distinct releases, all of them contributed the one chart run for the song, which at one point saw the "single" progress 1-24-64-59-35-10-3. Ridiculous.

Number 13 "The Impression That I Get" by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Peak: number 11
They'd been around since ska was last big (as 2 tone) in the early '80s, but it wasn't until this lead single from fifth album Let's Face It that Boston's The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (briefly) reached a mainstream audience.

Number 12 "Fight For Your Right (To Party)" by N.Y.C.C.
Peak: number 12
The original version had given Beastie Boys their first (and, until July 1998, only) hit in Australia in 1987, just making the ARIA top 40. This cover by German DJ/producer Sören Schnakenberg was presumably inspired by the success of the Run-DMC remix, but came off sounding like the cynical cash-in it clearly was.

Number 11 "Maria" by Ricky Martin
Peak: number 1
Here's another single that received the Celine Dion treatment. At this point in its chart run, the CD single of Ricky Martin's breakthrough Spanglish hit consisted solely of versions of "Maria" and had been bobbing around the top 20 since March. But teamed with the recently released World Cup theme, "The Cup Of Life", it jumped from here to number 1 in two weeks and stayed there for six. Then, as it started to drop down the top 10, it was deleted and sped out of the top 50.

Number 10 "Sex And Candy" by Marcy Playground
Peak: number 8
One-hit wonder time. Alternative rock band Marcy Playground reached the same position in Australia and the US with this song, which got its title from something once said to singer John Wozniak when he was in his girlfriend's college dorm room.

Number 9 "Thinking Of You" by Hanson
Peak: number 6
Hanson are often wrongly described as a one-hit wonder thanks to the overwhelming success of "MmmBop", but this fifth and final single from Middle Of Nowhere was the trio's fourth (of five) top 10 hits in Australia. Its stay in the top 50 was limited to a brief seven-week run, dropping like a stone in the subsequent weeks.

Number 8 "Ray Of Light" by Madonna
Peak: number 6
Enjoying her 29th top 10 hit this week in 1998 was Madonna with the title track from her seventh album. "Ray Of Light" would go on to win two Grammy Awards (for Best Dance Recording and Best Short Form Music VIdeo), which was the first time she'd received a Grammy for one of her songs, having won previously for Blond Ambition World Tour Live (Best Long Form Music Video in 1992).

Number 7 "Big Mistake" by Natalie Imbruglia
Peak: number 6
Proving "Torn" had been no one-off, the ex-Neighbours star solidfied her musician cred by performing not only an original song, but one she co-wrote. The success of "Big Mistake" helped push the Left Of The Middle album into the top 10 for the first time and eventually to number 1 in August.

Number 6 "Never Ever" by All Saints
Peak: number 1
A seven-week number 1 in March and April, "Never Ever" was All Saints' first hit in Australia - a vast improvement on the number 67 peak of debut release "I Know Where It's At". That earlier single would do better second time around, eventually reaching number 12. Twenty years and several hiatuses later, All Saints are stil going, with a new album due in July.

Number 5 "Stop" by Spice Girls
Peak: number 5
While All Saints offered a cool alternative in the girl group market, Spice Girls continued their pure pop streak with their fifth top 10 hit, "Stop". In the UK, the Spice World track was the only one of their 10 singles released between 1996 and 2000 not to reach number 1 in the UK, blocked from the top by the Run-DMC remix.

Number 4 "Second Solution / Prisoner Of Society" by The Living End
Peak: number 4
Double A-sides were huge in 1998, accounting for three of the year's 10 highest-selling singles. In some cases, a previous single was deleted and whacked on the follow-up as added incentive; in others, two previous flops were repackaged together. But in cases like this breakthrough hit for Aussie rock The Living End, it was a genuine single that boasted two lead tracks. Although it didn't get higher than this number 4 position, the double header lasted 47 weeks in the top 50 and ended up as 1998's number 6 single overall.

Number 3 "You're Still The One" by Shania Twain
Peak: number 1
Our final three entries are all chart-toppers, starting with the only Australian number 1 for country crossover star Shania Twain. Ballad "You're Still The One" fell from the top spot this week, where it had spent four weeks ruling the roost (possibly helped by the appearance of 1996's top 5 entry "(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!" as a bonus track). Shania would come close to number 1 on two more occasions, ultimately falling just short.

Number 2 "All My Life" by K-Ci & JoJo
Peak: number 1
Spending a second week at number 2 this week was another big ballad, "All My Life" by brothers Cedric and Joel Hailey. Far outperforming their only hit in their guise as members of Jodeci ("Freek'n You" reached number 23 in 1995), the R&B anthem would claim the top spot in seven days' time.

Number 1 "5,6,7,8" by Steps
Peak: number 1
If you have a look at my personal year-end chart for 1998, you can't help but notice I was quite taken by Steps in 1998. (And in subsequent years. And last year, when they put out a new album.) But it wasn't love at first listen. I was not a fan of this line-dancing hit, which became the highest-selling single in the UK not to reach the top 10. The cheesy novelty was embraced whole-heartedly in Australia, and although it only spent one week at number 1, it was deleted and added as a bonus track on follow-up "Last Thing On My Mind", which stormed into the ARIA chart at the end of June on its way into the top 5. 
The five-piece had been put together Spice Girls-style, with the project adverstised in The Stage magazine, following which auditions for pop star wannabes were held. Were it not for the early involvement of Pete Waterman, Steps may well have gone down in music history as a one-hit wonder or kept flogging the country-meets-dance gimmick. Instead, they moved on from "5,6,7,8" to their "ABBA on speed" sound and became one of the UK's most successful pop acts of the late '90s and early 2000s. In Australia, they had a couple more top 10 hits and a few more minor ones before the general public lost interest.

Listen to my Spotify playlist of the top 50 from the "final" ARIA chart:

We continue our journey through the ARIA charts from 1993 next Wednesday. Join me then!

Thursday, 7 June 2018

20 Years Ago This Week: the "final" ARIA chart printout - part 1

JUMP TO: 50-26 II 25-1

As I mentioned in my very first blog post, I left Australia to go backpacking in May 1998. A few short weeks later, ARIA stopped producing the printed chart, with the last one dated June 7, 1998. Coincidence? 

Obviously I wasn't the only one obsessively collecting the top 50 printouts each week, because a couple of months later, the ARIA chart returned (due to popular demand?) to record stores like Sanity - although not Brashs, where I used to work casually during university, because that chain had also closed earlier in the year.

And so I thought it might be fun to mix things up and venture back 20 years to that "final" chart to see what songs were in the top 50 for the momentous occasion - the date of ARIA's most disastrous decision since they decided to scrap the collectable charts for a poster-size version in 1986.

We'll look at the first 25 songs in this post and complete the countdown in Part 2, when I will reveal the chart printout. Let's get to it...

Number 50 "When The Rain Begins To Fall" by Pappa Bear
Peak: number 50
His hit version of "Cherish" was still in the top 30 after 16 weeks, but the Dutch rapper born Godwijn June Orlando Ray Rollocks (yes, really) thankfully had no such luck with this terrible remake of the Pia Zadora/Jermaine Jackson tune from 1984.

Number 49 "You Sexy Thing" by T-Shirt
Peak: number 6
Speaking of terrible remakes, this dreadful rendering of the Hot Chocolate tune from 1975 clearly had the blessing of frontman Errol Brown, whose vocals can be heard (in between all the "do ya, do ya"s) and who put in an appearance at the end of the music video. This was the British one-hit wonder's 32nd and final week in the top 50.

Number 48 "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls
Peak: number 1
Next up, a song spending the first of what would be a 33-week run inside the top 50 (including five weeks at number 1). Taken from the Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan film, City Of Angels, "Iris" was the third biggest single of the year in Australia and easily the biggest thing Goo Goo Dolls ever released. The rock ballad probably would've reached number 1 in the US as well if it had been released there as a commercial single. Instead, it spent a record 18 straight weeks atop the airplay chart, and by the time the rules were changed at the end of the year to allow non-singles to feature in the Hot 100, the best it could manage was a number 9 placement. In the UK, where I was living by this time, "Iris" was never a hit, peaking at number 50 - and so it wasn't until I returned to Australia in 2000 that I began to appreciate just what a huge song it had been.

Number 47 "All Night All Right" by Peter Andre
Peak: number 30
Conversely, Peter Andre was by this point a much bigger deal in the UK, where he'd scored two number 1s, than at home. He managed one final top 50 hit with this Warren G and Coolio-featuring single from third album Time

Number 46 "I Don't Ever Want To See You Again" by Uncle Sam
Peak: number 36
There's a reason this only top 50 entry for Sam Turner sounded like a watered down "I'll Make Love To You" - it was written and produced by Nathan Morris from Boyz II Men, who'd signed the singer and provided backing vocals on the song.

Number 45 "Frozen" by Madonna
Peak: number 5
I always think this lead single from Madonna's first studio album in four years reached number 1 in Australia - again, blame the fact that I spent a lot of 1998 in the UK, where it did top the chart. Quite why it didn't do even better here is beyond me. Instead, "Frozen" had to settle for being her joint biggest hit (with "Bedtime Story", "Secret" and "Rain") since "Erotica".

Number 44 "Nice & Slow" by Usher
Peak: number 44
We'll see breakthrough hit "You Make Me Wanna..." in Part 2, but Usher's follow-up just couldn't get past number 44 as it re-entered the top 50 to spend a second week there. The 19-year-old would have a bit of a wait until he scored his second big hit, which wouldn't come until 2001.

Number 43 "Next Time" by Marie Wilson
Peak: number 21
In the post-Jagged Little Pill era, every record company jumped on the rock chick bandwagon - and Marie Wilson was Warner Music Australia's big hope. But "Next Time" would be as good as it got for the Melbourne singer, who managed one more top 40 hit later in the year.

Number 42 "I Get Lonely" by Janet Jackson
Peak: number 21
Also peaking at number 21 was this third single from Janet Jackson's Velvet Rope, which was remixed from the album version by Teddy Riley and featured Blackstreet on guest vocals. I preferred one of the other remixes - a dance version by remixer of the moment Jason Nevins.

Number 41 "La Primavera" by Sash!
Peak: number 36
Speaking of dance music, German club act Sash! had still to really break through in Australia, landing another mid-table hit with a song that had been much bigger in Europe. In the UK, this lead single from second album Life Goes On reached number 3, a slight dip after three consecutive number 2 singles. Fun fact: "La Primavera" is Spanish for "Spring".

Number 40 "Polyester Girl" by Regurgitator
Peak: number 14
The commercial peak of Regurgitator's career, "Polyester Girl" bounded up 10 places this week and would quickly find its way into the top 20 - the first and only time the genre-shifting Brisbane band would reach so high.

Number 39 "Show Me Love" by Robyn
Peak: number 34
In 2018, Scandipop fans eagerly await the return of Robin Carlsson with promised new music, but 20 years ago, she was just starting out on her career with fine Cheiron-produced numbers like this UK and US top 10 hit, which shockingly remains her most recent ARIA top 50 appearance.

Number 38 "Cry" by The Mavis's
Peak: number 13
Like Regurgitator, Victorian band The Mavis's achieved their greatest chart success with a shiny pop track that wasn't really indicative of the rest of their output. And "Cry" was an even more pronounced exception to the rule, ending up the band's only top 50 single. 

Number 37 "Brimful Of Asha" by Cornershop
Peak: number 35
Proof that all a song needs sometimes is a decent remix, a flop single from 1997 was turned into a UK chart-topper in 1998 thanks to the handywork of Norman Cook, who was soon to dominate the dance scene as Fatboy Slim. In Australia, "Brimful Of Asha" was a more modest success and the only hit for Cornershop.

Number 36 "It's Tricky" by Run-DMC vs Jason Nevins
Peak: number 15
His remix of "It's Like That" had done phenomenally well - and was still selling plenty of copies - but Jason Nevins' remix of 1987 track "It's Tricky" didn't have quite the same impact. In 2006, the song was the subject of a lawsuit when The Knack sued Run-DMC for the use of "My Sharona" without permission.

Number 35 "Turn Back Time" by Aqua
Peak: number 10
Proving they were more than just a novelty Eurodance act, Denmark's Aqua took a break from their string of campy pop tracks to go into serious mode with this ballad included on the soundtrack of Siliding Doors. The move paid off, going on to give Aqua a fourth (and final) top 10 hit.

Number 34 "Ava Adore" by Smashing Pumpkins
Peak: number 19
They'd scored what would be their only top 10 hit with 1997's Batman & Robin single, "The End Is The Beginning Is The End", but this lead single from fourth album Adore, which continued Smashing Pumpkins' embrace of more electronic sounds, just made the top 20.

Number 33 "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" by Will Smith
Peak: number 6
One of five songs on this chart to register over 20 weeks inside the top 50, this was Will Smith's second big solo success, following his chart-topping debut with "Men In Black". "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" made extensive use of two key samples - the instrumental hook from Sister Sledge's "He's The Greatest Dancer" and a vocal line from "Sang And Dance" by The Bar-Kays.

Number 32 "He Got Game" by Public Enemy
Peak: number 25
Four years after Australia finally awarded Public Enemy a top 50 single, the hip-hop group achieved a second and final hit with this title track from the Spike Lee film. Like "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It", "He Got Game" features prominent use of a sample, in this case from Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth", with vocalist Stephen Stills appearing in the music video.

Number 31 "The Unforgiven II" by Metallica
Peak: number 9
The first song in the series had reached number 10 back in 1991, and this sequel to "The Unforgiven", which flipped the heavy-then-soft structure of the original, had gone one better when it was released as the second single from ReLoad. A third part would follow in a decade's time, appearing as a track on Death Magnetic. Although not released as an official single, "The Unforgiven III" still managing to register inside the top 50.

Number 30 "The Way" by Fastball
Peak: number 14
Here's another song, like "Iris", that didn't qualify for the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released and was relegated to the airplay chart in the US instead. In Australia, Fastball's only local hit, which was inspired by real-life events, spent exactly half a year inside the top 50, and although it didn't quite reach the top 10, it sold enough to end up as one of 1998's 50 biggest sellers.

Number 29 "Grease - The Remix EP" by Olivia Newton-John / John Travolta
Peak: number 27
Like the Metallica song, here's another entry with a link back to 1991, the year when "The Grease Megamix" had topped the ARIA chart. This EP, released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the cinema release of Grease, included that PWL medley, two new remixes by Martian of "You're The One That I Want" and "Summer Nights", as well as the original versions of those two tunes. While this release might not have done so well, the re-released soundtrack did set up camp again inside the top 10 and even managed to get in another week at number 1.

Number 28 "Lollipop (Candyman)" by Aqua
Peak: number 3
Their first two hits in Australia had both reached number 1, but this third smash from Aquarium hadn't been able to dislodge "It's Like That" and "Never Ever" (both of which we'll see on Part 2), spending five straight weeks stuck at number 3 behind those two chart-toppers.

Number 27 "Breathe" by Kylie Minogue
Peak: number 23
She'd just kicked off her Intimate And Live tour, which would turn out to be a major turning point in her career in Australia, but this third single from Kylie Minogue's Impossible Princess album couldn't quite manage to break into the top 20 despite bubbling just under for a couple of months.

Number 26 "Cherish" by Pappa Bear
Peak: number 7
And so this post ends as it started - with a dodgy remake of an '80s tune by Pappa Bear. His take on the Kool & The Gang smash from 1985 was much better than the song we saw at number 50 and was working its way down the chart from its top 10 peak.

Listen to my Spotify playlist of the "final" ARIA chart (or as many of the songs as are available):

In Part 2: the top 25, including eight songs that reached number 1, some boy band and girl group greatness, and a couple of singles whose chart life was extended by some handy repackaging during their chart runs.