Wednesday, 19 February 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: February 19, 1995

I've talked before about covers albums being an interesting choice for artists still in the prime of their careers to make, and this week in 1995, we saw a female singer up to only her second solo album deciding to release a batch of remakes.

Annie Lennox dialled up the crazy factor... again

The difference was that she kicked off the exercise with a song that very few people would have heard before since the original version was not a hit. It certainly wasn't a song I knew.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending February 19, 1995

A song that I did know, together with an awful lot of the country, remained at number 1 this week in 1995. "Another Night" by MC Sar & The Real McCoy stayed on top for a second week.

Off The Chart
Number 97 "Hard Love" by Vika & Linda
Peak: number 81
The Bull sisters were having no luck landing a hit single, with this Paul Kelly-written third release from their self-titled debut album also missing the top 50. The album, which had been re-released with a bonus live disc, did re-enter the top 50 this week, however.

New Entries
Number 50 "Inside" by Stiltskin
Peak: number 40
This song started out as the musical accompaniment for a British ad for Levi's jeans, with songwriter Peter Lawlor putting a band together to release it as a single. So popular was the ad in the UK that "Inside" duly went to number 1 there. In Australia, where I don't believe the ad was shown, the grungy rock track barely made the top 40. "Inside" was actually one of the few rock songs I liked in 1995, and I'm not sure why it didn't perform better here given Australia's love for all things rock.

Number 43 "She's A River" by Simple Minds
Peak: number 29
Back with their first studio album since 1991's Real Life and first album of any type since the chart-topping best of compilation Glittering Prize 81-92, Simple Minds slipped into the top 30 with this lead single from Good News From The Next World. The bad news was this song, which had lyrics inspired by the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, would be the Scottish band's final top 50 hit in Australia.

Number 42 "Churchill's Black Dog" by Things Of Stone And Wood
Peak: number 34
Also charting with what would be their final hit were Things Of Stone And Wood, who released this follow-up to "Wild Flowers" ahead of their second album, Junk Theatre. I have no memory of this song at all at the time, but it's pleasant enough in a Party Of Five theme song kind of way.

Number 41 "15 Feet Of Snow" by Diesel
Peak: number 29
I didn't think I recalled this single either, but listening to it now, the chorus is definitely familiar, although I can't think of the last time I would have heard it played anywhere. "15 Feet Of Snow" was the second release from Solid State Rhyme and would end up being the singer's final top 50 appearance for over a decade as Diesel (although he'd slip in a hit under his real name, Mark Lizotte, in 1999).

Number 35 "No More "I Love You's"" by Annie Lennox
Peak: number 16
Annie Lennox's debut solo offering, Diva, had been a success around the world, although its singles could have done better in Australia. Somewhat unexpectedly, the Eurythmics singer decided to put out an album of cover versions as her second album. Medusa contained reworkings of songs previously recorded by everyone from Al Green to The Clash, but the first single, "No More "I Love You's"", was a little-known song by duo The Lover Speaks from 1986. Her biggest success locally since 1992's "Why", the cover would also become her last hit in Australia, with subsequent tracks taken from Medusa failing to reach the top 50.

Number 34 "You Suck" by The Murmurs
Peak: number 25
You couldn't go wrong with an indie song containing an insult in the mid-'90s, could you? Although most of them, like "Creep", "Asshole", "Loser" and the upcoming "Bitch", were self-directed, this one-and-only-hit by the American duo comprised of Heather Grody and Lesiha Hailey kept its venom for the listener. Given its straight-shooting lyrics, "You Suck" was always going to be successful, and hard to follow with a subsequent, less-novel hit. The Murmurs released a couple more albums before dissolving at the end of the decade.

Number 27 "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" by Bon Jovi
Peak: number 10
Despite the fact that Cross Road - The Best Of Bon Jovi had only just dropped out of the top 10 after debuting at number 1 back in October, it's a little surprising the greatest hits album's other new song (besides mega-hit "Always") also went top 10. Then again, Bon Jovi were (still) one of the most popular bands in Australia at the time. The song itself took the band further away from their hair metal roots with its almost country-sounding hard luck story.

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

Next week: Gloria Estefan's next single from her covers album arrives, while the follow-up to the number 1 song of summer and my personal number 1 single for 1995 debut.

Back to: Feb 12, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 26, 1995

Monday, 17 February 2020

This Week In 1980: February 17, 1980

These days, some artists don't even bother with albums, opting to release a series of singles and EPs instead, but back in the 1970s, the album was king - and some bands didn't trouble themselves with putting out many (or any) singles. 

Pink Floyd were never part of the singles chart sausage factory

This week in 1980, a British band that'd helped define music over the previous decade-and-a-bit entered the Australian top 50 singles chart for the first time in their career - and almost went to number 1.

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

There was a new number 1 in the country this week in 1980, as KC & The Sunshine Band moved up with "Please Don't Go".

Off The Chart
Number 96 "Street Life" by Crusaders
Peak: number 79
Guest vocals on this track by the American jazz-funk band were handled by Randy Crawford, whose solo career would take off towards the end of the year.

Number 95 "Such A Night" by Racey
Peak: number 94
They'd dominated the chart in 1979, with two number 1 singles, but this fourth track from top 5 album Smash And Grab proved one release too many for the British group.

New Entries
Number 49 "Drac's Back" by Andy Forray
Peak: number 23
Why was a Halloween-themed disco track charting in February? Well, it had first featured on the top 100 in early November before slowly catching on, eventually peaking in the upper half of the top 50. Actor Andy Forray wrote the novelty song with risque (for the time) lyrics, which probably didn't get much radio play as a result. It's certainly not a song I ever heard as a kid, but I imagine some of you have very clear memories of this track so feel free to comment below.

Number 48 "I Go To Pieces" by Rachel Sweet
Peak: number 36
The biggest of Rachel Sweet's four singles to make the top 100 (all but one of which reached the top 50), "I Go To Pieces" was a cover of a song written by Del Shannon and originally recorded by British duo Peter And Gordon in 1964. The remake was one of two tracks added to the US version of the teenager's debut album, which had come out in the UK first. Another slow burn, "I Go To Pieces" had entered the top 100 in August and ended up spending 39 weeks on the chart despite only having a modest peak.

Number 47 "I Love You So Rebecca" by Johnny Chester And Hotspur
Peak: number 33
He'd been having hits since 1961, but the Australian musician and TV and radio personality hadn't seen the inside of the top 50 since 1974's "She's My Kind Of Woman". From what I can determine, this gentle pop/country song seems to have been Johnny Chester's first release with his latest band Hotspur, taken from their self-titled album.

Number 44 "September Morn" by Neil Diamond
Peak: number 23
Another chart veteran now - Neil Diamond's first hit had been "Cherry, Cherry" in 1966 and his Beautiful Noise album was one of the few my parents owned, so I was familiar-ish with him at the age of five. "September Morn" was the title track of Neil's 13th album and was co-written with Gilbert Bécaud, with whom he'd work more extensively on The Jazz Singer soundtrack released later in the year.

Number 34 "Another Brick In The Wall (Part II)" by Pink Floyd
Peak: number 2
Here it is: the first Pink Floyd song to reach the Australian top 50, fresh from hitting number in the UK at the end of 1979. Of course, the British progressive rock band didn't often release singles, but had spent plenty of weeks on the albums chart, especially with 1973's The Dark Side Of The Moon. The middle part of a three-part sequence on rock opera album The Wall, "Another Brick In The Wall (Part II)" dealt with songwriter Roger Waters' views towards education, in particular restrictive private and boarding schools. 
Producer Bob Ezrin is credited with the ideas to include a children's choir - he'd done the same on Alice Cooper's "School's Out" - and to incorporate a disco-influenced beat in an effort to make the song more catchy. As indicated by its chart position, the latter idea certainly worked. As for the vocals by the 23 kids from Islington Green School - which I found irritating at the time (and still do) - they were recorded without the music teacher showing the head teacher the lyrics, and she banned them from appearing in the music video once she heard the finished song. The students were offered concert tickets and studio time in return for their performance, while the school was given £1000. Fun fact: years later, a change in the law meant the chorus were entitled to royalties and a group of them were tracked down using social media to make their claim. Pink Floyd, meanwhile, wouldn't return to the top 50 for another seven years.

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

Next week: a much better selection of new entries, including yet another video game-related song and the follow-up to one of my favourite songs of 1979 (and all time).

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

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: February 12, 1995

There had been successful female artists in previous decades, but there was a whole army of female megastars in the 1990s, when singers like Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Toni Braxton regularly sold huge amounts of albums.

Janet Jackson and Tina Arena added to their hit tally

Two more female singers who were part of that group returned to the ARIA singles chart this week in 1995 with their latest hits, both taken from albums that did incredibly well in Australia and around the world.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending February 12, 1995

Also this week in 1995, there was finally some relief at the top of the chart as MC Sar & The Real McCoy dislodged "Zombie" and took "Another Night" to number 1 for the first of six weeks.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Give It Up (For The Melodie)" by Melodie MC
Peak: number 98
Yet another Eurodance artist proving to be a one-album wonder, Sweden's Melodie MC only just made the top 100 with this lead single from second album The Return. From memory, I actually bought the CD single of this, before deciding I didn't really like it and getting rid of it.

Number 97 "Viva La Megababes" by Shampoo
Peak: number 97
I actually found this follow-up to "Trouble" less irritating, but not even a cover of East 17's "House Of Love" as a bonus track could help this single become mega.

Number 91 "Protection" by Massive Attack with Tracey Thorn
Peak: number 91
Just as "Unfinished Sympathy" and "Sly" had done before it, this Massive Attack classic, which features the Everything But The Girl singer on vocals, inexplicably landed in the 90s on the ARIA chart. 

Number 90 "Planet Caravan" by Pantera
Peak: number 90
Originally recorded by Black Sabbath in 1970, "Planet Caravan" became the third single lifted from Far Beyond Driven in Australia - and Pantera's final top 100 appearance.

Number 88 "Cuban Pete" by Jim Carrey
Peak: number 88
Confession time: I have never seen The Mask. This song (made famous by Desi Arnaz) that Jim Carrey peformed in the movie was given a makeover by C+C Music Factory for single release - and does not convince me that I've missed out on anything.

Number 58 "Fell On Black Days" by Soundgarden
Peak: number 52
"My Wave" had just scraped into the top 50 in November, and this final single from Superunknown, which is about a sudden realisation that you're unhappy, just missed it.

New Entries
Number 48 "(I'm Gonna) Cry Myself Blind" by Primal Scream
Peak: number 48
It might be stating the obvious, but touring Australia can do wonders for a band's fortunes on the ARIA chart, as demonstrated by this understated third single Give Out But Don't Give Up reaching the top 50 in the wake of Primal Scream being part of 1995's Big Day Out. Having the much more commerical "Rocks", which had only managed a peak of number 43 in May 1994, as a bonus track on "(I'm Gonna) Cry Myself Blind" can't have hurt its chances, either.

Number 46 "Sorrento Moon (I Remember)" by Tina Arena
Peak: number 7
"Chains" dropped out of the top 40 in its 22nd week on the chart this week, which made it perfect timing for this follow-up to start its ascent towards the top 10 - the only time Tina Arena has managed back-to-back top 10 singles in her career. After the melodrama of "Chains", "Sorrento Moon (I Remember)" was a more laidback, summery offering, inspired by Tina's holidays in coastal Sorrento, Victoria. And its success helped spur Don't Ask, which was currently hovering around the lower reaches of the top 50, back up the chart, where it would remain for the rest of the year.

Number 45 "Cathy's Clown" by You Am I
Peak: number 36
After a couple of top 50 misses - including "Berlin Chair" - from debut album Sound As Ever and a limited edition 7" single in late 1994, You Am I landed their first hit with this track from second album Hi Fi Way, which debuted at number 1 in early March before exiting the chart 10 weeks later. Despite sharing a title with The Everly Brothers hit from 1960, this was a different song.

Number 25 "Tongue Tied" by Boom Crash Opera
Peak: number 25
On the Chart Beats Facebook page, I recently posted a video compile of my favourite Australian bands of the 1980s. Spoiler alert: Boom Crash Opera came in at number 4. I also liked their '90s output. Well, I did up until this second single from Born. What a mess. I'm all for bands being musically adventurous, and I guess BCO had to do something after their business-as-usual third album, Fabulous Beast, had under-performed. But you still need to produce good songs. "Tongue Tied" was not a good song, and it's little surprise it only last one week in the top 50, with its chart progression going 89-63-25-55-61-66. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of the end for BCO, who never returned to the top 100.

Number 24 "What'll I Do" by Janet Jackson
Peak: number 14
Like Primal Scream, Janet Jackson was also in the country around this time, but it's likely this seventh single from janet would have charted regardless, especially since its rocky feel distinguished it from the previous tracks to have been lifted from the 1993 album (just as "Black Cat" had stood out late in the run of Rhythm Nation 1814 singles). A remake of 1967 single "What'll I Do For Satisfaction" by Johnny Daye, Janet's version also featured a sample of The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and she even ended up with a writing credit on the track as well. And although you would have been excused for thinking this would be the last single taken from janet, you would also have been wrong, with an eighth hit still to come.

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

Next week: another female artist scores a hit with a cover of an obscure song, while a female duo tell it exactly like it is with their one and only hit.

Back to: Feb 5, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 19, 1995

Monday, 10 February 2020

This Week In 1980: February 10, 1980

In "Paninaro", Pet Shop Boys' Chris Lowe listed rockabilly as one of the genres he doesn't like - there's quite a list (but what he does like, he loves passionately). And I have to say I agree with him. For the most part. 

Are you ready? Ready, Freddie

This week in 1980, one of the biggest bands in the world released a rockabilly song that not only was quite unlike anything they'd put out before, but it became their longest-running number 1 in Australia. I even liked it.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending February 10, 1980

Still at number 1 this week in 1980 was "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson, but its days on top were numbered.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Living On An Island" by Status Quo
Peak: number 62
Previous single "Whatever You Want" continued to hover in the 20s, but this follow-up about living outside the UK for tax purposes (and taking drugs) - what a topic! - was not what the Australian public wanted.

Number 88 "Bobby And The Space Invaders" by Dennis Wilson
Peak: number 82
Hitting the top 100 between massive hits "Computer Games" and "Space Invaders", this unsuccessful video game-themed track was by an Australian musician, not the Beach Boy. 

New Entries
Number 50 "My Knight In Black Leather" by Bette Midler
Peak: number 29
Australia was one of the few places this Boney M-sounding disco track was lifted as a single from Bette Midler's fifth album, Thighs And Whispers. And it's a good thing it was, since it performed better than lead single "Married Men" (number 39 in 1979) and gave Bette, who looks like she's having a whale of a time in the video below, her biggest hit since "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" in 1973.

Number 48 "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen
Peak: number 1
From a song about leather we now come to a band wearing the material in the video for this lead single from their eighth album, The Game. A short and sweet rockabilly track that was a change in direction from the epic anthems Queen had become known for, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" channelled vintage Elvis Presley and was perfectly timed to slot into the rockabilly revival led by The Stray Cats and Shakin' Stevens. Written by frontman Freddie Mercury while he was in the bath, the song came together quickly but enjoyed one of the longest stays at number 1 in 1980, clocking up seven weeks on top, five weeks more than they'd managed with "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Number 47 "I Want You Tonight" by Pablo Cruise
Peak: number 43
Their previous album, Worlds Away, had yielded top 10 hit "Love Will Find A Way" (and also featured a cover of Peter Allen's "I Go To Rio"), and San Francisco soft rock band Pablo Cruise were hoping for a similar response to this lead single from next album Part Of The Game. Despite being a catchy piece of disco-influenced rock - or maybe because of that fact since the genre was on the wane - "I Want You Tonight" ended up as only a minor top 50 entry.

Number 45 "Carrie" by Cliff Richard
Peak: number 18
The Cliff Richard comeback continued as the music industry veteran scored another hit from Rock 'n' Roll Juvenile. Although not as big as "We Don't Talk Anymore", which reached number 3 and fell out of the top 50 just weeks earlier, "Carrie" did Cliff his first back-to-back top 20 singles for the first time since the late 1960s. The song was co-written by Terry Britten, who'd also co-written 1976's "Devil Woman", and B.A. Robertson, and was one of a string of hits for Cliff in the coming years.

Number 42 "Moonlight And Muzak" by M
Peak: number 37
A new wave project fronted by Robin Scott, M had spent three weeks at number 1 in mid-1979 with "Pop Muzik", and I tend to think this belated follow-up owed it chart success, such as it was, to the lingering good will associated with that track rather than due to the fact that "Moonlight and Muzak" is any good.

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

Next week: the decade's first UK chart-topper debuts - could it reach number 1 in Australia as well? Plus, a vampire-themed novelty hit.

Back to: Feb 3, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 17, 1980

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: February 5, 1995

Most weekends during the mid-'90s, you could be guaranteed to find me out clubbing. (Do people still call it going clubbing?) And there was one sound that was guaranteed to get me on the dance floor (or podium, if I'm being honest).

In 1995, there was nothing in the world I liked more than a Motiv8 mix

This week in 1995, the latest single to boast a galloping bassline courtesy of remix team (and sometimes artist in their own right) Motiv8 debuted on the ARIA top 50, but I'd already been hammering it all summer.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending February 5, 1995

A song I was sick of being hammered spent its final week at number 1 this week in 1995. "Zombie" by The Cranberries registered an eighth week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 71 "Star" by The Cult
Peak: number 70
Peaking 30 places lower than the first single from The Cult's self-titled album, this would be the British band's final top 100 appearance.

Number 64 "This Generation" by Roachford
Peak: number 53
It got close, but this third single from Permanent Shade Of Blue couldn't crack the top 50 despite spending 21 weeks in the bottom half of the top 100. During that time, the album re-entered the chart and made it all the way to number 2, and the band toured the country in May.

New Entries
Number 49 "Let The Dream Come True" by DJ BoBo
Peak: number 49
A year is a long time in dance music. In late 1993, "Somebody Dance With Me" had been a gold-certified top 20 hit for Swiss performer DJ BoBo. But this lead single from his second album, There Is A Party, only just made the top 50 after a slow climb since mid-December. "Let The Dream Come True" didn't stray from the formula of DJ BoBo's earlier singles, and maybe that was the problem, with other he raps, she sings acts like 2 Unlimited, Snap! and Culture Beat also past their hit-making days. That doesn't account for MC Sar & The Real McCoy, though...

Number 47 "Nothing In The World" by Mozaic
Peak: number 20
Maybe the problem with DJ BoBo was that it sounded like 1993, whereas this song, which did make the top 20, was a better reflection of where pop/dance music was at in 1995. Big piano chords, a racing bassline and a massive, hands-in-the-air chorus. Those elements came courtesy of Motiv8, who'd reached the top 10 in their own right with "Rockin' For Myself" and remixed this track. The music video for "Nothing In The World" featured an edit of the Motiv8 Full On Pumping Mix, but it's nowhere near as good as the Motiv8 Radio Edit (below), which was the first track on the CD single and one I played to death over summer '94-'95. Soon, I would be scouring Music Week magazine from the UK for information about Motiv8 mixes and buying a lot of them on import. As for the actual group, Mozaic, I know little about them other than they consisted of three female singers and a male producer type, and while "Nothing In The World" flopped in the UK, they did have a hit there with a sub-standard remake of "Sing Hallelujah" called "Sing It (The Hallelujah Song)".

Number 46 "Gallows Pole" by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant
Peak: number 46
Rock fans rejoiced when former Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Planet reunited in 1994 for No Quarter, a live album which featured a handful of new songs among tracks their band had previously recorded. "Gallows Pole" was one of the latter, having previously appeared on 1970's Led Zeppelin III, although the song itself dated back much further, having originated as an old folk tune.

Number 45 "Can't Get Enough" by Supergroove
Peak: number 32
A chart-topper at home in New Zealand, where it came in the middle of a string of five consecutive top 10 hits, this slice of funk/rock was the band's only song to cross over in Australia. I haven't listened to "Can't Get Enough" since 1995, and checking it out again now, it sounds like a cross between Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Cat Empire. Make of that what you will.

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

Next week: yet another single from an album released in 1993, plus a one-week wonder that zoomed into the top 25 and then out the following week.

Back to: Jan 29, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 12, 1995

Monday, 3 February 2020

This Week In 1980: February 3, 1980

Husband and wife musical duos don't tend to end well. Look at Sonny & Cher and Ike & Tina Turner. But when the chemistry is right, they can make beautiful music together. Not a euphemism.

All aboard! Captain and Tennille cruised back into the top 10 in 1980

This week in 1980, a married couple who'd enjoyed a trio of top 10 hits in the mid-'70s returned to the Australian chart for - ready for it? - one more time.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending February 3, 1980

Also enjoying one more time, was Michael Jackson, who spent a second week at number 1 with "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough".

Off The Chart
Number 100 "This Night Won't Last Forever" by Michael Johnson
Peak: number 75
A year after co-writer Bill LaBounty released his version of this adult contemporary ballad, Michael Johnson made the Billboard top 20 with his remake. 

Number 93 "Every Day Hurts" by Sad Café
Peak: number 78
Sad is right. It gets more miserable this week with soft rockers Sad Café, who reached number 3 in the UK with this weepy breakup ballad.

Number 92 "The Chosen Few" by The Dooleys
Peak: number 65
Here's another UK top 10 hit under-performing locally for the British group so named because most members came from the Dooley family. This was their only top 100 appearance in Australia.

Number 73 "Where Did We Go Wrong" by Marcia Hines
Peak: number 62
Recorded by Diana Ross in 1973 and released, in remixed form, on her 1978 album, Ross, this ballad was covered by Marcia Hines and issued (somewhat belatedly) as the follow-up to top 10 hit "Something's Missing (In My Life)". A surprising flop.

New Entries
Number 47 "Sara" by Fleetwood Mac
Peak: number 11
It's hard to believe, but Fleetwood Mac have only had one top 10 hit in Australia. Not "Dreams" (number 19). Or "Go Your Own Way" (number 20). Or "Little Lies" (number 16). No, it was "Tusk", which reached number 3 and was currently working its way down the chart. This follow-up came closest to giving the band a second top 10 single. Quite a different song from its predecessor, "Sara" was written by Stevie Nicks, who has admitted that the title was the name she would have given to the child she conceived with Don Henley but chose to terminate - a fact he revealed years later. The name Sara also holds other meaning for Stevie - one of her close friends Sara Recor went on to marry Mick Fleetwood and, in 1986, Stevie checked in to the Betty Ford Clinic under the name Sara, which was referenced in the song "Welcome To The Room... Sara" on Tango In The Night.

Number 46 "Do That To Me One More Time" by Captain & Tennille
Peak: number 3
They'd topped the chart with debut single "Love Will Keep Us Together" in 1975, which was followed up by a couple of number 9 hits, and the title of that number 1 smash did ring true for "Captain" Daryl Dragon and his wife, Toni Tennille - until it all went wrong in the years before Daryl's death in 2019. But in 1980, the couple, who ended up being married for 39 years, were still very much in love and returned to the Australian top 50 for the first time since 1976's "Shop Around". Their comeback was thanks to a new deal with Casablanca, but despite "Do That To Me One More Time" restoring them to the upper reaches of the chart - and taking them all the way back to number 1 in America - it was a short-lived return to form, with the pair never returing to either the Australian or US top 50 again.

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

Next week: the follow-up to a massive number 1 from 1979 and the arrival of one of 1980's chart-topping singles.

Back to: Jan 27, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 10, 1980

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: January 29, 1995

In the mid-'90s, pretty much any song you could think of was turned into a dance track - from grunge hits to big ballads to current chart-topper "Zombie".

"Total Eclipse Of The Heart" almost hit number 1 a second time

This week in 1995, a song that had held down the number 1 spot for six weeks in 1983 returned to the chart in a hi-NRG remake produced by Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, who'd already been responsible for a number of chart-toppers in their time.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending January 29, 1995

As mentioned, the unconquerable "Zombie" by The Cranberries remained at number 1 this week in 1995 for a seventh week, despite another big new hit challenging it for the top spot.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Love Will Keep Me Alive" by Wendy Matthews
Peak: number 68
After the under-performance of "Standing Strong", this return to sensitive ballad territory was an attempt to course correct. "Love Will Keep My Alive" was co-written by Paul Carrack and had been recorded by Eagles (as "Love Will Keep Us Alive") on Hell Freezes Over in 1994.

Number 96 "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" by Baby D
Peak: number 54
Originally released in 1992 and a UK chart-topper on re-release in late 1994, this breakthrough single for the British breakbeat group was unlucky to miss the top 50.

Number 94 "Move It To The Rhythm" by Technotronic featuring Ya Kid K
Peak: number 52
Another dance track falling just short was the latest by one-time top 10 act Technotronic with regular vocalist Ya Kid K. "Move It To The Rhythm" came from the Belgian group's final album, Recall

Number 86 "Day In The Sun" by James Reyne
Peak: number 86
Like Wendy Matthews, James Reyne had faltered with "Red Light Avenue", the lead single from his 1994 album, The Whiff Of Bedlam, stalling in the 30s. This follow-up similarly tanked.

Number 84 "Voodoo Lady" by Ween
Peak: number 58
Having not seen the inside of the top 100 since "Push Th' Little Daisies" in mid-1993, Ween's return with this track from second album Chocolate And Cheese may have had something to do with their impending appearance at Alternative Nation in April.

Number 75 "Cantgetaman Cantgetajob (Life's A Bitch!)" by Sister Bliss with Colette
Peak: number 74
One of a string of sassy dance tracks released in the mid-'90s (see also: "Fee Fi Fo Fum" by Candy Girls), this tune from Faithless founding member Sister Bliss featured the vocals of Colette Vam Sertima.

Number 69 Days by Died Pretty
Peak: number 69
They'd made a few chart appearances in 1993 with songs from Trace - notably top 50 hit "Harness Up"This EP included "Stops 'N Starts", the first taste of follow-up Sold, which was released in February 1996.

Number 68 "Crush With Eyeliner" by R.E.M.
Peak: number 55
"Bang And Blame" was only in its sixth week in the top 50, but with R.E.M. having just wrapped up their Australian tour, a third single from Monster was rushed out in an attempt to capitalise on that.

Number 63 "Land" by Midnight Oil, Daniel Lanois, Hothouse Flowers, Crash Vegas and The Tragically Hip
Peak: number 63
This collaborative anti-logging single dated back to 1993, when the five acts had performed at that year's Another Roadside Attraction festival in Canada. I'm not sure why it made such a belated appearance on our chart. Anyone?

New Entries
Number 50 "Run To You" by Roxette
Peak: number 49
The writing had been on the wall for a while for the once unstoppable Roxette, with their previous two singles missing the top 50. They back sneaked onto the chart with this fourth single from Crash! Boom! Bang! - a typically catchy mid-tempo tune that would end up being their final top 50 appearance. Unfortunately, not even 1999's excellent "Wish I Could Fly" was able to return them to chart glory in the years to come.

Number 47 "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by Nicki French
Peak: number 2
It took a long time for this remake of Bonnie Tyler's number 1 hit from 1983 to catch on. Originally released in 1993 and produced by John Springate, Nicki French's version of "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" came to the attention of producers Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, who'd previously made up two-thirds of Stock Aitken Waterman and were working together once again. In 1994, they gave it their magic touch and then... nothing. Well, number 54 in the UK in October that year. 
Remixed in a slow-to-fast style and re-released in early 1995, it started to take off, which is when the fast-all-the-way-through second version began to gain attention in Australia. Released locally on Central Station Records (who I talked about last week), "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" almost made it to number 1 again, getting stuck behind label-mate Hocus Pocus for four non-consecutive weeks. It was the only hit for Nicki, who also released remakes of hits by Carpenters, Belinda Carlisle and The Supremes, and represented Britain at Eurovision in 2000.

Number 46 "Supernova" by Liz Phair
Peak: number 43
Rock music had been a boys' club since, well, rock was invented, but the mid-'90s saw the rise of a new breed of female rock singer-songwriters. Ahead of that curve was Liz Phair, who broke through in Australia with this single from second album Whip-Smart. This was the only time we saw Liz on the top 50, but where she (and others like Sheryl Crow) led, many more would follow.

Number 44 "Out Of Tears" by The Rolling Stones
Peak: number 43
One top 50 hit from a Rolling Stones album wasn't always a certainty by 1995, but two was definitely unexpected. Possiblly helped up the chart by the fact that the rock veterans were due in Australia in a matter of weeks for the Voodoo Lounge Tour, "Out Of Tears" may also have benefitted from sounding unlike what you'd expect from the band, being a piano-driven ballad.

Number 40 "Soul Feeling" by Kulcha
Peak: number 16
After a couple of new jack swing tracks and an R&B ballad, Kulcha dipped their toe into pop/reggae territory for this fourth and final single from their self-titled debut album. The genre switch worked. Not only did "Soul Feeling" return the Sydney boys to the top 20, but it helped Kulcha jump back into the same region of the albums chart in February.  

Number 2 "Pure Massacre" by silverchair
Peak: number 2
This second single by teen rock trio silverchair had debuted on the top 100 the previous week at number 92 and rocketed up to its peak position of number 2 this week, ultimately unable to match the number 1 status of "Tomorrow". The song was inspired by the Bosnian War, which had been fought since 1992 and would end in December 1995.

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 of my favourite dance tracks from summer '94-'95 arrives, plus the reunion of two rock legends.

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