Wednesday, 30 January 2019

This Week In 1994: January 30, 1994

Few would have guessed this week in 1994 that the rapper making his first appearance on the ARIA top 50 would go on to have one of the most successful careers in modern music, appearing on no less than 26 hits to date.

Before long, "What's My Name" isn't a question this rapper would need to ask

Yes, many of those appearances were as a guest on someone else's track or in collaboration with other performers, but his impact is not to be denied, especially since the turn of the century when he finally made the top 10 and even went as far as number 1. 

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending January 30, 1994

Three performers who all know a thing or two about enduring careers were together at the top of the chart this week in 1994. "All For Love" by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting stayed at number 1 for a second week.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "I Love Music" by Rozalla
Peak: number 90
Unfortunately for the dance singer, not many Australians loved her remake of The O'Jays song from 1975. Rozalla's update of "I Love Music" had featured in 1993 film Carlito's Way

Number 93 "Going Nowhere" by Gabrielle
Peak: number 77
In the UK, Gabrielle's second single gave her another top 10 hit to follow "Dreams", which fell out of the ARIA top 20 this week. In Australia, she wouldn't reach that high again until 2001.

Number 85 "I Got You Babe" by Cher with Beavis & Butt-head
Peak: number 69
Ever the good sport, Cher revisited her debut single with ex-husband Sonny Bono on this irreverent cover duet with animated sensations Beavis & Butt-head.

Number 76 "Creep" by Stone Temple Pilots
Peak: number 76
Released in the wake of the identically named hit by Radiohead (which was still inside the top 20 this week), this "Creep" didn't follow "Plush" into the top 50 for STP.

Number 68 "Hey Joe" by Body Count
Peak: number 67
Another remake, this time of a rock standard once performed by Jimi Hendrix that was included on tribute album Stone Free by the band led by Ice-T.

New Entries
Number 44 "Estranged" by Guns n' Roses
Peak: number 40
Two-and-a-half years after the Use Your Illusion era of Guns n' Roses' career began with "You Could Be Mine", the band finally finished extracting singles from their double albums, with nine-minute epic "Estranged" becoming the eighth lifted from either of the two volumes. A return to the top 40 after previous single "Civil War" peaked at number 45, "Estranged" came with another large-scale production music video that formed the third part in the trilogy that had begun with "Don't Cry" and "November Rain".

Number 39 "Will You Be There (In The Morning)" by Heart
Peak: number 24
The last time we saw the Wilson sisters (and band-mates) on the ARIA top 50 was with chart-topper "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You" (or, as I like think of it, "All I Wanna Do Is Never Hear This Song Again"). For the lead commercial single from 11th album Desire Walks On, Heart turned once again to Robert "Mutt" Lange, who had written their number 1 hit, but "Will You Be There (In The Morning)", despite having a decent chorus, didn't rank as one of the band's or the songwriter's most successful tracks. This would be the final time we'd see Heart on the chart.

Number 37 "What's My Name?" by Snoop Doggy Dogg
Peak: number 13
He'd slipped into the top 100 in mid-1993 alongside the man who'd discovered him and would go on to produce his debut album, Dr Dre, and this week in 1994, the rapper born Calvin Broadus Jr became a star in his own right with his first solo single, "What's My Name?". The sample-heavy tune made use of elements from tracks by the likes of Parliament and George Clinton, taking the West Coast-born G-funk genre into the mainstream and becoming one of the most influential hip-hop tunes of the decade. Thousands of miles away in suburban Australia, I feel like Snoop Doggy Dogg was viewed as something of a novelty at first, with that moniker and the sing-song hook in "What's My Name?" no doubt helping the song cross over to a more mainstream market than many just as credible rap tracks managed at the time.

Number 34 "Now & Forever" by Richard Marx
Peak: number 16
Quite surprisingly, since I generally wasn't a fan of Richard Marx's slushier material, I bought the CD single of this lead release from fourth album Paid Vacation at the time. Like former chart-topper "Right Here Waiting", "Now & Forever" was written about Richard's then-wife, Cynthia Rhodes. Unfortunately, the "forever" part of the title didn't pan out, with the couple divorcing in 2014.

Number 29 "Dirty Dawg" by NKOTB
Peak: number 20
Exactly two years since their last single, "If You Go Away", entered the ARIA top 50, New Kids On The Block were back, except they were now going by NKOTB in an effort to appear all cool and grown up (well, they were all in their 20s by now). Unlike the last time they'd attempted to go in an edgier direction, their new jack swing-flavoured, James Brown-sampling, Nice & Smooth-featuring comeback track, "Dirty Dawg", was met with a relatively warm reception, returning them to the top 20 for the first time since 1990's "Tonight". But when follow-up "Never Let You Go" flopped and Jonathan Knight quit the band due to panic attacks, the band split before the year was out, not reforming for 14 years. 

Number 27 "Daughter" by Pearl Jam
Peak: number 18
Also returning to the top 20 for only the second time so far in their career was Pearl Jam with this second single from second album Vs about a girl with dyslexia whose learning disability is misunderstood by an abusive parent.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994:

Next week: a number 1 ballad from 1985 receives an energetic makeover, plus two music veterans return to the top 50 with a little help from some much more modern artists.

Back to: Jan 23, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 6, 1994

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

This Week In 1994: January 23, 1994

Where New Edition and New Kids On The Block led in the '80s, countless other boy bands followed in the '90s. And this week in 1994, a trio of easy-on-the-eye, all-singing, all-dancing Americans became the latest guy group to visit the ARIA top 50.

(From left) Damon, Dave and Trey got off to a great start

While pop fans embraced the new act, music fans of a different kind snapped up the week's biggest new single, which ended up as the number 1 song on a very different type of countdown.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending January 23, 1994

This week in 1994, Bryan Adams was back at number 1, alongside Rod Stewart and Sting, with soundtrack hit "All For Love" spending its first week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 80 "Pure Killer" by Defryme
Peak: number 70
Their last single had just missed the top 50 and the latest from the Australian hard rock band was another chart also-ran, but a hit would come in the months ahead.

Number 78 "Just Keep Me Moving" by kd lang
Peak: number 63
She had yet to produce another top 50 single to follow "Constant Craving", and it wouldn't be this lead release from Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, although the soundtrack album would go on to yield a hit.

Number 75 "Lights Out At Eleven" by Baby Animals
Peak: number 54
Another single from Shaved And Dangerous and another top 50 miss for this song that dealt with suicide. On the plus side, the album did re-enter the chart in the weeks to come, returning to the top 20.

Number 69 "Barren Ground" by Daryl Braithwaite
Peak: number 61
It was back to the beach for this music video for Daryl Braithwaite's second single from Taste The Salt, but the Bruce Hornsby And The Range cover didn't come close to matching the success of his other song with an oceanside clip, "The Horses".

New Entries
Number 50 "She Don't Let Nobody" by Chaka Demus & Pliers
Peak: number 37
A couple of months earlier, the ARIA top 50 had been littered with reggae hits, but aside from Inner Circle's lingering smash and a couple of pop/reggae hybrids from Ace Of Base and Peter Andre, the picture was very different in 1994. Former top 5 act Chaka Demus & Pliers limped into the top 40 with the follow-up to "Tease Me" despite their cover of Curtis Mayfield's 1981 single "She Don't Let Nobody (But Me)" being, in my opinion, a much better song.

Number 42 "Feelin' Alright" by E.Y.C.
Peak: number 7
In a tale that would become quite familiar throughout the '90s, American trio E.Y.C. (which stood for Express Yourself Clearly) were actually way more successful outside their homeland than in the US. Debut single "Feelin' Alright" was the type of watered down new jack swing which would form the template for early Backstreet Boys singles, and gave Damon Butler, Dave Loeffler and Trey Parker a top 10 hit locally. The success wouldn't last, although we'll see the guys with a couple of less shouty hits in the months to come. Interestingly, I just discovered Dave is still in the boy band game, being one of the mastermind behind new quintet Why Don't We.

Number 38 "Can We Talk" by Tevin Campbell
Peak: number 12
While E.Y.C. quickly became teen heartthrobs, this singer was still in his teens. Seventeen-year-old Tevin Campbell had been releasing music since 1990, when his Prince-written and -produced debut single, "Round And Round", peaked just outside the US top 10. For the lead single from his second album, I'm Ready, Tevin turned to another prolific hitmaker, Babyface, who co-wrote and produced this R&B ballad, which almost made the ARIA top 10. Tevin's story would end up being much more interesting than this fairly safe hit would suggest, but more on that when we see him on the chart for a second time...

Number 30 "Asshole" by Denis Leary
Peak: number 2
If there's one thing certain to propel a song up the chart it's profanity. And it was little surprise that a novelty track called "Asshole" from a stand-up comedian became an instant hit in Australia - it was like it was the mid-'80s all over again. While I could take a certain satisfaction that Denis Leary's foray into the charts would be denied a number 1 placing by a Eurodance cover version, "Asshole" did end up as the number 1 song on the very first Triple J Hottest 100 that wasn't an all-time ranking but was limited to releases from the previous year. Triple J listeners were welcome to it.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994:

Next week: the return of a chart-topping boy band and the arrival of a rap superstar.

Back to: Jan 16, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 30, 1994

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

This Week In 1994: January 16, 1994

There's always one - the pop group member who breaks from the band to explore new musical opportunities. From Siobhan Fahey to Geri Halliwell to Camila Cabello; Robbie Williams to Brian McFadden to Zayn Malik, music history is littered with early departures. 

Girlfriend would've been wishing for a bigger hit with this ballad

This week in 1994, Australia's biggest girl group of the decade charted with their final single as a five-piece. Perhaps it was a good time to jump ship - its performance was a far cry for their chart-topping debut two years earlier.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending January 16, 1994

At the top of the ARIA singles chart this week in 1994, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince provided some respite from Bryan Adams with "Boom! Shake The Room" climbing to number 1 for a solitary week.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Tear It Up" by Usura
Peak: number 99
Second single "Sweat" had just sneaked into the top 50 and this third slice of Italo dance did the same with the top 100. Surprisingly given my taste at the time, I don't think I've ever actually heard this song before.

Number 93 "Hundreds Of Languages" by GANGgajang
Peak: number 62
Back with their first new music in six years, the Australian band recruited a host of newsreaders and reporters (including Anne Fulwood, George Negus, Mary Kostakidis, Jeff McMullen and Richard Morecroft) to lip sync the song's lyrics in the music video.

Number 92 "Venus As A Boy" by Bj√∂rk
Peak: number 92
A second top 100 entry for the Icelandic singer, "Venus As A Boy" came with a video directed by Sophie Muller, who'd worked on clips for Eurythmics (and Annie Lennox solo) and Shakespears Sister, among others.

Number 74 "Give It Up" by The Goodmen
Peak: number 65
I wonder how many people bought this mistakenly thinking they were purchasing Cut 'n' Move's much more successful single of the same name. Originally released in 1992, "Give It Up" reached the UK top once reissued in late 1993. The sample-ridden track was in turn sampled by Simply Red for "Fairground", while Dutch duo The Goodmen have also released music as Chocolate Puma and Riva.

New Entries
Number 49 "Into Your Arms" by The Lemonheads
Peak: number 46
How quickly The Lemonheads' chart fortunes faded. The first single from Come On Feel The Lemonheads, the follow-up to breakthrough album It's A Shame About Ray"Into Your Arms" was a surprisingly small hit. I remember it quite distinctly from the time, and if you'd asked me before I sat down to write this post, I would've guessed it had been much more successful. The song was written by former The Hummingbirds member Robyn St Clare, who'd recorded it five years earlier with The Lemonheads' bassist Nic Dalton in their guise as duo Love Positions. This would be the last time the band would see the inside of the ARIA top 50.

Number 47 "Green Limousine" by The Badloves
Peak: number 35
Another act making their final top 50 appearance are Australia's The Badloves with what would be their most successful single, although I'd argue "Lost" is much better known. No doubt benefitting from their recent guest spot on Jimmy Barnes' cover of "The Weight", the band ventured into the top 40 for the only time with this track, which pokes fun at celebrities that champion on-trend causes.

Number 44 "Wishing On The Same Star" by Girlfriend
Peak: number 44
Robyn Loau must have known which way the wind was blowing as far as Girlfriend was concerned. How could she not? "Heartbeat", the lead single from the girl group's second album, It's Up To You, had just scraped into the top 40, while the album itself barely made a dent on the top 30 - a major comedown from their first album. Then came this second single, written by big ballad legend Diane Warren and previously recorded by American pop singer Keedy (whose "Save Some Love" was criminally overlooked in Australia). Apart from being fairly insipid, it's a good pop song and its underperformance pretty much established Girlfriend's time was over. At least, in this form. As it would turn out, Robyn's decision to depart later in 1994 was the best thing she could have done - for both her and her former bandmates.

Number 40 "Maximum Overdrive" by 2 Unlimited
Peak: number 32
While the three previous acts all visited the top 50 for the final time - either at all or in their original form - dance duo 2 Unlimited returned to that section of the chart after the disappointment that was "Faces" and added another hit to a tally that would continue to grow in coming months. It wasn't all good news for "Maximum Overdrive", which was not Anita and Ray's greatest song, but certainly not their worst - it was a damn sight better than "Faces", for one thing. The track would turn out to be the first of three singles by the pair to peak within the 30s that all deserved better, especially the next two...

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994:

Next week: a long-forgotten boy band arrives, as does a teen act of a different kind. Plus, the song that would go on to take out the first ever year-based Triple J Hottest 100.

Back to: Jan 9, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 23, 1994

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

This Week In 1994: January 9, 1994

Welcome to 1994, with our look at the ARIA singles charts from years gone by firmly in the mid-'90s - a post-grunge explosion, pre-girl power era where anything went on the top 50. Although compared to 1993, there was a lot less reggae.

Music's three musketeers swashbuckled their way to number 1

And what better way to start off the year than with the arrival of one of 1994's top 10 highest-selling singles - a three-way sing-off by a trio of superstars who'd all visited number 1 previously.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - three weeks ending January 9, 1994

One of them was even at number 1 this week in 1994 by himself. "Please Forgive Me" by Bryan Adams continued its reign, registering its fifth, sixth and seventh weeks at the summit due to the chart's Christmas shutdown.

And yes, I realise the chart is dated January 8, 1994 - a Saturday - but since the previous chart was dated December 19, 1993 and the next is January 16, 1993 - both Sundays - I'm putting it down as a typo.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Today" by The Smashing Pumpkins
Peak: number 57
The rock band edged ever closer to their first big song in Australia, and as it happens, this Siamese Dreams single wouldn't reach its final peak until later in the year in the wake of that upcoming top 20 hit.

Number 97 "Let Her Down Easy" by Terence Trent D'Arby
Peak: number 97
It's a shame this one-time hit-maker didn't sustain chart success for longer, with this ballad, which was later covered by George Michael, giving him one last top 100 appearance. 

Number 89 "Don't Give It Up" by Juice
Peak: number 89
Australian record companies really did snap up a lot of bands that aspired to be the next Red Hot Chili Peppers, didn't they? This was the only top 100 visit by Sydney's Juice.

Number 87 "My Cutie" by Wreckx-n-Effect
Peak: number 85
Also finishing off their top 100 career were one-hit wonders Wreckx-n-Effect, who couldn't match the highs achieved by "Rump Shaker" despite this being possible their best effort.

Single Of The Week
"Daddy Long Legs" by Tumbleweed
Peak: number 53
Their previous single, "Sundial", had made the top 50, but Wollongong's Tumbleweed just fell short with with "Daddy Long Legs" despite it being (as far as I can tell) a brand new song not included on their self-titled debut album - and one that wouldn't feature on their next album, from which they'd start releasing music later in 1994.

New Entries
Number 41 "I've Been Loving You Too Long" by Diesel
Peak: number 41
The first of only two new entries on the first chart of the year was the final single taken from Diesel's The Lobbyist album and it saw him venturing into territory he'd visited before, being a remake of an old soul ballad by Otis Redding. Diesel had previously delved into the soul and blues catalogue for singles "Since I Fell For You" and "Please Send Me Someone To Love" during his time with The Injectors. A one-place improvement on his previous single, "The Masterplan", the cover version's chart performance meant Diesel missed the top 40 with two consecutive singles for the first time in his career. Alarm bells must have been ringing somewhere.

Number 5 "All For Love" by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting
Peak: number 1
Right up at the other end of the top 50, the trio of Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting shot straight into the top 5 with their soundtrack single from the latest film version of The Three Musketeers (starring Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen and Chris O'Donnell as the titular sword-wielding heroes). Written by another trio, Bryan, Michael Kamen and Mutt Lange - the same team behind "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" - the power ballad was only ever going to be massive, and it was number 1 within three weeks. 
For Bryan, it was his third chart-topping single in Australia (following his Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves theme and current number 1 "Please Forgive Me"), while it was Rod's fourth visit to the top and first since "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" got there in early 1979. Sting, meanwhile, had actually only ever been to number 1 on the singles chart as part of Band Aid, peaking at number 2 twice with The Police, who did, however, score four consecutive number 1 albums. 
At a time when duets weren't anywhere near as frequent as they are now, a collaboration of this nature was incredibly rare - another factor that gave "All For Love" the buzz it needed to be among the year's biggest hits.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994:

Next week: the final top 50 appearance for the original line-up of an Australian pop act, and two rock bands also score their last chart hit.

Back to: Dec 19, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 16, 1994