Wednesday, 14 August 2019

25 Years Ago This Week: August 14, 1994

I liked a lot of dance music in 1994 - from techno to Eurodance, dance-pop to hi-NRG, synthpop to trance. But there was one massive club track that year I couldn't stand.

Just what dance music needed: banjos

Debuting on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1994, the song gained more attention than your average dance track by virtue of it featuring a banjo. As a result of the added exposure and interest, it was among the year's 20 biggest hits in Australia.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 14, 1994

A song that was the second-biggest single of 1994 in Australia moved up to number 1 this week. "I Swear" by All-4-One deposed the year's top seller, "Love Is All Around", starting a five-week run at the top.

Off The Chart
Number 94 "Sometimes Always" by The Jesus & Mary Chain
Peak: number 62
This single from Stoned & Dethroned was a duet between Jesus & Mary Chain frontman Jim Reid and Mazzy Star's singer, Hope Sandoval. It was also the highest the Scottish indie band ever reached in Australia.

New Entries
Number 46 "Speed" by Billy Idol
Peak: number 33
Although the 1990s had started off pretty well for Billy Idol, with top 10 hit "Cradle Of Love", his music career took a major downturn with the release of 1993's Cyberpunk, leading to tensions with his record label. Away from music, the rock star was dealing with drug-related issues, brought to a head by his collapse outside an LA nightclub in early August. Could a one-off single for one of the biggest films of the year, Speed starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock and Dennis Hopper, turn things around? It would seem not. Written and produced with long-time collaborator Steve Stevens, "Speed" just wasn't up to standard, despite apparently being modelled on "Rebel Yell". Due to those record comapny problems, it would be Billy's last release for seven years - and remains his final hit in Australia.

Number 43 "Swamp Thing" by The Grid
Peak: number 3
I had actually liked some of The Grid's earlier releases - tracks like "A Beat Called Love" from 1990 and 1993's "Crystal Clear" - but I could not stand the one and only hit for the duo comprised of ex-Soft Cell member David Ball and Richard Norris in Australia. Featuring an irritating banjo line, "Swamp Thing" was so unique that it was only ever going to be a huge success, which meant it was inescapable in the second half of the year - especially in clubs, where I would always take a toilet break when it came on. For me, it felt like a novelty record but obviously enough other people liked it to send it number 3 and for it to end up as the year's 17th highest-selling single locally. Naturally, it also inspired a string of imitators, like "Everybody Gonfi-Gon" by 2 Cowboys, which we showed enough sense not to also turn into a hit (unlike in the UK). 

Number 39 "Heaven 'n Hell" by Salt 'n' Pepa
Peak: number 21
Their last two singles - which had both just missed out on topping the ARIA chart - had been playful and sexy, but rap trio Salt 'n' Pepa got political on this third hit from Very Necessary, tackling social issues like gun crime, drug abuse and poverty in the song's lyrics. One thing "Heaven 'n Hell" did share with its two predecessors, "Shoop" and "Whatta Man", was its throwback funk feel, courtesy of a handful of samples from the late '60s and '70s.

Number 37 "Give It Up" by Public Enemy
Peak: number 16
While Salt 'n' Pepa were up to the eighth hit, hip-hop legends Public Enemy had never quite been able to crack the top 50 despite coming close a couple of times. Until now. They not only entered the top 50 but made it all the way to the top 20 with this single from fifth album Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (say it quickly). Also their biggest hit in the US, "Give It Up" delved into the '60s and '70s for its multiple samples, with the song easily one of their most mainstream releases (thus its chart success, I guess).

Number 34 "Jessie" by Joshua Kadison
Peak: number 15
Let's shift gears totally for some adult contemporary soft rock and this debut single from singer/pianist Joshua Kadison. The definition of a slow burn, "Jessie" was released in the US in May 1993, entered the Billboard Hot 100 in October that year and did not reach its peak there until February 1994. In Australia, it had been slowly working its way up the top 100 since early June. Originally recorded with a full band by producers Rod Argent (of Argent fame) and Peter Van Hooke (from Mike + The Mechanics), they ended up opting for this more minimal sound. Joshua had been dating Sarah Jessica Parker before recording the song, with unconfirmed rumours that it is about her - a topic Joshua refuses to be drawn on.

Number 31 "Do You Wanna Get Funky" by C+C Music Factory
Peak: number 11
And it's back to the dancefloor for the week's final new entry, although this lead single from C+C Music Factory's second album, Anything Goes!, had more of a laidback R&B vibe than house-influenced party-starters like "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" and "Just A Touch Of Love". Featuring vocals by Martha Wash, Zelma Davis and Trilogy (who all appeared in the music video performing their relevant bits), "Do You Wanna Get Funky" almost gave the dance act a third top 10 hit - and would end up being their final chart appearance in Australia.

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

Next week: one of 1994's best dance tracks, plus the turning point in the career of a major music star.

Back to: Aug 7, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 21, 1994

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

25 Years Ago This Week: August 7, 1994

These days, unexpected musical collaborations are pretty common, so much so that it's more unexpected when an artist doesn't have one or two random featuring credits in their discography. But back in 1994, it was a big deal when two acts you wouldn't automatically put together made beautiful music.

Youssou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry made an unexpected match 

This week in 1994, a singer-songwriter from Senegal and a Swedish hip-hop star who came to fame while she was living in London debuted on the ARIA top 50 with a duet that would end up as one of the year's biggest hits.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 7, 1994

The actual biggest hit of 1994, "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet, spent its sixth and final week at number 1 this week. 

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Save Our Love" by Eternal
Peak: number 70
"Stay" was living up to its name by remaining near the top of the chart, but this follow-up was the first of five more UK top 15 singles from Always And Forever that did nothing here.

Number 99 "Low" by Cracker
Peak: number 63
This was the only top 100 hit - here and in the US, where it peaked one place lower - for the American rock band. The video features Roseanne star Sandra Bernhard in a boxing ring with Cracker's singer, David Lowery.

Number 96 "Andres" by L7
Peak: number 86
They'd just grazed the top 50 with their previous album, Bricks Are Heavy, and single "Pretend We're Dead", but this lead single from follow-up Hungry For Stink (and the album itself) fell short.

Number 84 "It's Me" by Alice Cooper
Peak: number 77
This power ballad second single from The Last Temptation was another flop for Alice Cooper, who would never return to the top 100 again.

Number 83 "Send A Message" by Robertson Brothers
Peak: number 68
Their debut single had ventured into the top 50; follow-up "Winter In America" had missed the top 100. This third single, released around the same time as debut album Symmetry, split the difference.

New Entries
Number 48 "American Life In The Summertime" by Francis Dunnery
Peak: number 18
You learn something new every day. Having never really been across It Bites or their UK top 10 hit from 1986, "Calling All The Heroes", I didn't realise until now that their former frontman, Francis Dunnery, was British and not American, as the title of his one and only solo hit would suggest. And is it just me, or is the genre-blurring "American Life In The Summertime" reminiscent of Beck's "Loser" (another reason why I didn't pay it or Francis's backstory too much attention)?

Number 43 "Find Me (Odyssey To Anyoona)" by Jam & Spoon featuring Plavka
Peak: number 22
I know people really like this song, and some even prefer it to the mammoth "Right In The Night (Fall In Love With Music)", which was in its 17th week on the top 50, but I've always found "Find Me (Odyssey To Anyoona)" kind of meh. It's a serviceable enough trance track, I guess, but I doubt it would've been anywhere near as big if it wasn't following the German duo's previous hit. Once again, vocals were provided by Plavka Lonich, who became a fixture in Jam & Spoon until the mid-2000s when member Markus Löffel died of a heart attack.

Number 39 "Stay (I Missed You)" by Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories
Peak: number 6
So far, the Reality Bites soundtrack had been responsible for Big Mountain's hit remake of "Baby, I Love Your Way" and "My Sharona" by The Knack re-entering the top 100, and also featured Crowded House's "Locked Out". The second top 10 hit from the album came from a singer who didn't even have a record deal when her song was selected for use in the film. A friend of Ethan Hawke (who starred in Reality Bites), Lisa Loeb and her song "Stay (I Missed You)" were brought to the attention of director Ben Stiller and a (fleeting) music star was born. A number 1 hit in the US, "Stay..." was written about a breakup with her boyfriend, who was also her co-producer. Although Lisa has continued to release music (and star in the odd reality show) ever since, she's never recaptured the chart heights climbed by this debut single.

Number 30 "7 Seconds" by Youssou N'Dour / Neneh Cherry
Peak: number 3
As a fan of Neneh Cherry's two studio albums up until this point, I have to admit to being a little suprised in 1994 when she returned with this elegant duet with renowned Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour. Co-written by Neneh and without a rap to be heard, "7 Seconds" is about the immediate aftermath of a baby being born, when they are unaware of the problems in the world. As well as the collaboration being unexpected, the song was novel thanks to it featuring three different languages: English, French and Wolof. Easily the biggest hit of Neneh Cherry's career in Australia, "7 Seconds" would end up being included on her 1996 album, Man, as well as appearing on Youssou's The Guide (Wommat) from 1994.

Number 24 "Vasoline" by Stone Temple Pilots
Peak: number 24
They'd charted a handful of songs lower down the top 100, but this second single from Purple finally gave Stone Temple Pilots a hit to call their own (even if it got no further than this entry position). Singer Scott Weiland has said he got the line "flies in the vasoline" when he misheard the title of "Life In The Fast Lane" by Eagles, while the song itself deals with his descent into drug addiction. Sub-editor's note: the title of "Vasoline" is spelt differently than Vaseline petroleum jelly.

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

Next week: one of the most annoying dance hits of the year, the not-so-big theme to one of the year's biggest movies and a legendary hip-hop group finally reaches the top 50.

Back to: Jul 31, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 14, 1994

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

25 Years Ago This Week: July 31, 1994

They would come to be two of the most influential and acclaimed bands of the decade (and beyond), but this week in 1994, a British dance act and an American pop/punk band made rather understated debuts on the ARIA top 50.

The Prodigy's debut top 50 appearance was, actually, pretty good

In the case of the former, it was their first hit after a couple of years of much greater success in the UK, while for the latter, it was their first commercially released single from their first major label album.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending July 31, 1994

Speaking of firsts, Wet Wet Wet showed no signs of going anywhere with their first number 1 single. "Love Is All Around" remained on top for a fifth week.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Trust Me" by Pandora
Peak: number 82
I was a big fan of this debut single by the Swedish Eurodance singer born Anneli Magnusson, but she wouldn't have a hit in Australia until 1998.

Number 92 "Everything Changes" by Take That
Peak: number 58
For the time being, the top 10 success of "Pray" was the exception rather than the rule as the title track from the boy band's second album took them back outside the top 50.

Number 88 "Many Rivers" by 3 The Hard Way
Peak: number 88
As "Hip Hop Holiday" fell out of the top 20 for good this week, the New Zealand act tried their luck with another update - this time of Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers To Cross" - but without the same success.

Number 74 "Sweetness And Light" by Itch-E & Scratch-E
Peak: number 65
The debut offering from the duo comprised of Paul Mac and Andy Rantzen, this trance classic won the ARIA Award for Best Dance Release, with Paul famously thanking Sydney's ecstasy dealers in his acceptance speech.

New Entries
Number 48 "Snake Skin Shoes" by The Black Sorrows
Peak: number 16
I can honestly say I have no recollection of this song at all, which is a little surprising given it's the second highest-charting song of The Black Sorrows' career. In my defence, the lead single from the band's eighth album, Lucky Charm, did have a fairly fleeting top 50 appearance, rocketing up to its top 20 peak within three weeks before dropping straight back out of the chart in another four weeks. Still, it's pretty surprising that out of The Black Sorrows' many singles, only "Chained To The Wheel" (which I do quite like) peaked higher.

Number 46 "You Got Me Floatin'" by P.M. Dawn
Peak: number 43
Here's a song I do remember, mostly because I still own it on CD single (granted, that's as a bonus track on upcoming P.M. Dawn single "Sometimes I Miss You So Much"). Lifted from the multi-artist album Stone Free: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix, this radical reworking of a track from The Jimi Hendrix Experience's second album, Axis: Bold As Love, brought the Cordes brothers back to the top 50 for the first time since "Looking Through Patient Eyes", despite having released a string of excellent singles from The Bliss Album...?, including a collaboration with Boy George and a Beatles cover.

Number 45 "No Good (Start The Dance)" by The Prodigy
Peak: number 45
Since the rave scene had never been as big a thing in Australia as it had in the UK, the first batch of singles by dance act The Prodigy had failed to connect locally. Apart from debut single "Charly", which spawned a host of sound-alikes (including ARIA top 10 single "Sesame's Treet"), I had actually been quite a fan of their output up until this point, with "Out Of Space" and "Wind It Up (Rewound)" particular favourites (thanks, UK Chart Attack). 
On second album Music For The Jilted Generation, The Prodigy started to tweak their sound, heading towards the genre-mashing feel of "Firestarter" and "Breathe". The album's first single, "One Love", had once again missed our chart, but follow-up "No Good (Start The Dance)" finally cracked not only the top 100 but the top 50 as well. Based around a sample of club track "You're No Good For Me" by Kelly Charles, "No Good..." was easily The Prodigy's most accessible track to date, while still retaining the edge that distinguished them from the plethora of Eurodance and he-raps, she-sings techno groups on the chart.

Number 44 "Longview" by Green Day
Peak: number 33
While The Prodigy would be pivotal in the evolution of electronic music in the 1990s, Green Day would open the door for countless pop punk bands that followed where they led with major label debut Dookie. But it was also a slow build for the American trio. Their third album overall, Dookie, would end up as the 10th highest-selling album of 1995 in Australia, but in 1994, it didn't get higher than number 26. And debut single "Longview" was the bigger of two singles released that year. Written about being bored, taking drugs and wanking, the song connected easily with the young disaffected youth of America and Australia, its raucous energy an antidote to the woe is me angst of grunge.

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

Next week: another Reality Bites-associated hit arrives, plus the follow-up to one of the year's biggest number 2 hits and a world music star joins forces with a hip-hop singer.

Back to: Jul 24, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 7, 1994

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

25 Years Ago This Week: July 24, 1994

An unusual thing happened this week in 1994 - a pop duo scored what would be the biggest hit of their career in Australia, but it wasn't under their own name. Instead, the charity release was credited to the British comedy series that inspired it.

The new ABBA? No, just Ab Fab cast members Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley with Pet Shop Boys

It's not the only time a music act has charted under different names (see also: Diddy, most DJ/producers), but by almost reaching number 1 in their alternate guise, it certainly is one of the most notable.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending July 24, 1994

The song responsible for keeping our newcomers off the number 1 spot was "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet, which remained on top for a fourth week.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Take Me Away" by D:Ream
Peak: number 52
After back-to-back top 10 singles, the hits dried up for D:Ream, although this follow-up to the remix of "U R The Best Thing", which itself was heavily altered from the album version, did its best to break into the top 50.

Number 97 "Rebel Rebel" by International Chrysis
Peak: number 97
A Dead Or Alive single in all but name - it ended up on 1995's Nukleopatra album - this was a remake of the David Bowie single from 1974, and saw Pete Burns and Steve Coy return to the PWL fold.

Number 94 "Violently Happy" by Björk
Peak: number 94
Like the previous four singles from Debut, this fifth release - a pulsating dance track about long-distance relationships - missed the top 50 and ended up the lowest-charting of them all. 

New Entries
Number 44 "Any Time, Any Place" by Janet Jackson
Peak: number 37
Like Björk, Janet Jackson was up to the fifth single from her album, but unlike "Violently Happy", "Any Time, Any Place" would be nowhere near the final release from janet. Given what singles she still had up her sleeve, this ultra-slow R&B jam would not have been my choice at this point, but it went down a treat in the US, reaching number 2 (after "Because Of Love" had peaked there at number 10). Remixed from the lengthy album version by R. Kelly, whose version (I think) is the one in the music video below, the song's cause was also helped by a number of bonus tracks, including additional remixes of "Any Time, Any Place" by CJ Mackintosh and a transformative club-friendly one by David Morales. Also part of the release were a couple of not quite double A-sides: sexy album track "Throb" and previously unreleased song "On And On" - nothing like getting your money's worth.

Number 2 "Absolutely Fabulous" by Absolutely Fabulous
Peak: number 2
It would eventually be included as part of Pet Shop Boys' extensive discography, but when it was released, this one-off Comic Relief song paying tribute to Jennifer Saunders/Joanna Lumley comedy series Absolutely Fabulous (which was in its second season - and still funny - in 1994) was credited to Absolutely Fabulous and not PSB. The Eurodance-inspired track, which incorporated snippets of dialogue from the BBC series, was also called "Absolutely Fabulous" - one of a small number of songs that share their title with the artist name (see also: "Living In A Box", "Talk Talk"). By blasting into the chart at number 2, it gave Pet Shop Boys the biggest hit of their career, although breakthrough single "West End Girls" has never been beaten as their highest-charting release under their own name.

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

Next week: two seminal '90s bands (one dance, one rock) make their debut appearances on the ARIA top 50 - one of them with their actual debut single.

Back to: Jul 17, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 31, 1994

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

25 Years Ago This Week: July 17, 1994

Sometimes the difference between a song being a flop or a hit is all down to what genre it is. That point was demonstrated by two of the new entries on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1994.

All-4-One took a country hit and turned it into a mainstream mega-hit

In one case, an R&B group took a country song and turned it into a worldwide chart-topper. In the other, a pop song that was only deemed worthy enough to be a B-side originally became a hit for a second time as a reggae track.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending July 17, 1994

A more or less straightforward cover version was still at number 1 this week in 1994. "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet spent a third week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Rock My Heart" by Haddaway
Peak: number 83
Haddaway's Australian record company skipped over his trip to Balladsville with third single "I Miss You" for something more along the lines of "What Is Love" and "Life", but "Rock My Heart" didn't follow them into the top 50.

Number 91 "My Sharona" by The Knack
Peak: number 72 (Original peak: number 1)
Fifteen years after it ruled the roost for five weeks, the debut single by the American new wave band was back in the top 100 thanks to its use in Reality Bites.  

Number 83 "Sanity" by Defryme
Peak: number 70
More mellow than their usual efforts, this follow-up to their hit remake of "Mama Said Knock You Out" didn't benefit from that track's top 50 exposure. This would be Defryme's final top 100 appearance.

Number 76 "Too Many People" by Pauline Henry
Peak: number 76
Just like her work with The Chimes, Pauline Henry had more success with a remake ("Feel Like Making Love" fell out of the top 50 this week) than this original track, which had been her debut solo single and was given a second shot in Australia.

New Entries
Number 47 "Love Is Strong" by The Rolling Stones
Peak: number 47
By 1994, rock legends The Rolling Stones had entered the phase of their career where they'd put out a new album - in this case, Voodoo Lounge - and embark on a hugely successful world tour. But as for hit singles - well, those days were over, with this lead single from the Don Was co-produced album just creeping into the top 50.

Number 45 "Don't Turn Around" by Ace Of Base
Peak: number 19
As "The Sign" made its way down the top 50 after 16 weeks, Swedish pop quartet Ace Of Base arrived with another of the tracks that had been added to the revised version of their debut album. Originally performed by Tina Turner, and appearing on the B-side to her 1986 single "Typical Male", "Don't Turn Around" had been transformed into a reggae song by Aswad, who took it all the way to the UK number 1 spot in 1988 and had a more modest hit with it here in Australia. Six years later, Ace Of Base's version was also in a reggae vein, although the band's Eurodance spin on reggae. Again, "Don't Turn Around" would prove more successful overseas, making the UK and US top 5, while in Australia, it gave Ace Of Base a third top 20 hit.

Number 41 "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" by Elton John
Peak: number 9
With the new live action(-ish) version of The Lion King in cinemas today, what better time to look back exactly 25 years to the theme song from the original animated version arriving on the ARIA chart? Written by Elton John and Tim Rice, "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" is performed in the movie by the voice actors behind Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa - although the song was originally going to be more of a comedic interlude by just the latter two until Elton nixed that idea. As a result, it became the romantic love song we now know it to be. Elton's own version of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" played over the movie's closing credits and was released as a single, giving him his first solo top 10 hit since 1990's "Sacrifice", as well as an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Grammy.

Number 28 "I Swear" by All-4-One
Peak: number 1
Like "Don't Turn Around", this future chart-topper started life in a completely different genre. First recorded by country singer John Michael Montgomery, "I Swear" had been released at the end of 1993 and went on to top Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. On the mainstream Hot 100, John's version peaked at number 42 in March 1994 before being eclipsed by All-4-One's R&B remake, which shot to number 1 and stayed there for 11 weeks. 
In Australia, the second single by the four-piece vocal harmony group also topped the chart (for "only" five weeks) - a vast improvement on their debut single, "So Much In Love", which had also been a cover (and a hit in the US). Subsequent original tracks by the quartet comprised of Tony Borowiak, Jamie Jones, Delious Kennedy and Alfred Nevarez didn't do anywhere near as well, suggesting their ploy with "I Swear" was the way to go... and so they did, turning another John Michael Montogomery track into a pop hit in 1995.

Number 24 "Don't Be Shy" by Kulcha
Peak: number 13
Proving their instant success with debut single "Shaka Jam" was no fluke, local vocal harmony group Kulcha peaked just outside the top 10 with their second track heavily influenced by American new jack swing. In fact, "Don't Be Shy" - which I probably haven't heard since 1994 - reminds me a bit of "I Want Her" by Keith Sweat. It also stands up pretty well given it's definitely a product of its time.

Number 14 "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden
Peak: number 6
Here's another product of its time - my favourite grunge single of all time. (I say that, but it's not like I own it or anything.) The third track lifted from Superunknown, "Black Hole Sun" gave Soundgarden the big chart hit they'd been building up to, except in the US where it wasn't released as a commercial single. Singer Chris Cornell came up with the song while he was driving - the title came from something he misheard a radio accouncer say and he composed the tune in the car, getting it onto a dictaphone as soon as he reached his destination. The lyrics followed soon after.

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

Next week: the theme song to a fabulous TV comedy gives the duo behind it their biggest hit.

Back to: Jul 10, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 24, 1994

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Number 2 Hits On The Australian Chart - The 2000s part 2

JUMP TO: 1980-1984 II 1985-1989 II 1990-1994 II 1995-1999 II 2000-2004 II 2005-2009

We're halfway through our look at every single to come just short of reaching the number 1 spot in Australia during the first decade of the 21st century.

Pussycat Dolls started their career with a chart-topper, but couldn't quite get back there

And with another 41 number 2s from 2005 to 2009 to recap, there is no time to waste...

"C'mon Aussie C'mon" by Shannon Noll
Date reached number 2: January 2, 2005
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "The Prayer" by Anthony Callea
In the years immediately following the inaugural season of Australian Idol, runner-up Shannon Noll could do no wrong, hitting the top 10 with his first 10 singles and almost earning his third number 1 with this charity cover version of the 1979 chart-topper - kept at bay by the runner-up of season two.

"Rich Girl" by Gwen Stefani featuring Eve
Date reached number 2: March 6, 2005
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Over And Over" by Nelly featuring Tim McGraw
I knew this second solo hit for the No Doubt frontwoman was a reworking of "If I Were A Rich Man" from musical Fiddler On The Roof, but what I didn't know until now was that somebody else had revamped the song originally - UK rappers Louchie Lou and Michie One in 1993.

"Evie" by The Wrights
Date reached number 2: March 13, 2005
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Over And Over" by Nelly featuring Tim McGraw
Speaking of revamps, this cover of The Easybeats' three-part rock classic was performed by Australian supergroup The Wrights at the WaveAid charity concert in January 2005 before being released commercially, with proceeds also going, in part, to victims of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami (as well as to other causes).

"The Special Two" by Missy Higgins
Date reached number 2: April 17, 2005
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Beautiful Soul" by Jesse McCartney
With a title like this, the third single lifted from Missy Higgins' debut album, The Sound Of White, was destined for number 2. The song was written by way of apology to Missy's older sister when both siblings liked the same guy - and he ended up going out with Missy.

"1, 2 Step" by Ciara featuring Missy Elliott
Date reached number 2: April 24, 2005
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Beautiful Soul" by Jesse McCartney
With a title like this, the second hit by crunk star Ciara was destined to spend one week at number 2. The singer repaid the favour to Missy Elliott by featuring on her 2005 top 10 hit, "Lose Control". 

"These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" by Jessica Simpson
Date reached number 2: October 2, 2005
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Don't Cha" by Pussycat Dolls
Finally achieving what her contemporaries, Britney, Christina and Mandy, had all already managed, Jessice Simpson boot scooted her way into the runner-up slot with this Nancy Sinatra cover produced by Jam & Lewis and taken from the soundtrack to the film adaptation of The Dukes Of Hazzard.

"4ever" by The Veronicas
Date reached number 2: November 6, 2005
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Gold Digger" by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
Written and produced by Max Martin and Dr Luke (who were also behind Pink's sound-alike "U + Ur Hand" the following year), "4ever" was the first of 10 (to date) ARIA top 10 hits twins Jess and Lisa Origliasso have to their names.

"You're Beautiful" by James Blunt
Date reached number 2: November 13, 2005
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Gold Digger" by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
A number 1 in the UK and the US, British singer-songwriter James Blunt's breakthrough single had to settle for second place (and a 14-week run in the top 10) in Australia. A song that was so inescapable at the time, it has since become a regular on "most annoying song" lists, even prompting James to apologise for it.

"Stickwitu" by Pussycat Dolls
Date reached number 2: January 15, 2006
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Wasabi / Eye Of The Tiger" by Lee Harding
One of the most consistent pop acts of the 2000s, Pussycat Dolls never charted lower than number 17 over 11 singles and appear on this list of number 2s three times. A change of pace from debut hit "Don't Cha", ballad "Stickwitu" showed the girl group's versatility early on.

"Far Away" by Nickelback
Date reached number 2: February 12, 2006
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Run It!" by Chris Brown featuring Juelz Santana
Five years after their first hit - and number 2 single - Chad Kroeger and pals were still registering massive hits in Australia, with this track lifted from fifth album All The Right Reasons following predecessor "Photograph" into the top 3. By 2006, I'd got quite good at tuning out Nickelback, so I think this is the first time I've ever listened to "Far Away".

"Together We Are One" by Delta Goodrem
Date reached number 2: April 16, 2006
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Flaunt It" by TV Rock featuring Seany B
A stand-alone track released between Mistaken Identity and Delta, inspirational ballad "Together We Are One" was performed by Delta Goodrem at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. The song was co-written by Delta with then-boyfriend Brian McFadden and Guy Chambers.

"This Time I Know It's For Real" by Young Divas
Date reached number 2: May 28, 2006
Weeks at number 2: Three (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "SOS" by Rihanna for two weeks and "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean for one week
The original Stock Aitken Waterman-produced single by Donna Summer criminally under-performed here in 1989, so it was the perfect track for a bunch of former Australian Idol contestants (including 2005's winner and runner-up) to tackle. It did so well, the one-off turned into an ongoing enterprise.

"Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley
Date reached number 2: June 11, 2006
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "SOS" by Rihanna
Famously the first song to reach number 1 in the UK on downloads alone (that was still some way off in Australia), "Crazy" was the debut single for the duo comprised by singer CeeLo Green and producer Danger Mouse. So massive it has over-shadowed everything else Gnarls Barkley have released, which is a shame since their other material is quite good, too.

"Who Knew" by Pink
Date reached number 2: July 9, 2006
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean
We saw her first number 2 in Part 1, and six years (and three number 1s) later, Pink was back there. With lyrics inspired by a friend of Pink's who'd died from a drug overdose when she was a teenager, "Who Knew" was the second single from her first number 1 album, I'm Not Dead, which marked her shift into the league of music superstars, spawned five top 5 hits and sold more copies than her previous three albums combined.

"Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland
Date reached number 2: July 23, 2006
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean for one week and "SexyBack" by Justin Timberlake for one week
Another female singer we saw reach number 2 with her debut single in Part 1, Nelly Furtado shifted gears for third album Loose, working with the world's top pop/R&B producer, Timbaland, who guested on this flirtatious lead single.

"Unfaithful" by Rihanna
Date reached number 2: July 30, 2006
Weeks at number 2: Two (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean
The follow-up to Rihanna's first number 1 hit, "SOS", mature ballad "Unfaithful" was co-written by Ne-Yo and production team StarGate. The song about regretting cheating on a partner was the third of four songs denied the top spot by the unstoppable Shakira.

"Buttons" by Pussycat Dolls featuring Snoop Dogg
Date reached number 2: August 6, 2006
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean
Continuing their remarkably consistent strike rate, Pussycat Dolls made it four top 3 singles in a row with their fourth hit, "Buttons". It was also their third hit with a featured rap, with Snoop Dogg's appearance following Busta Rhymes ("Don't Cha") and ("Beep").

"Don't Give Up" by Shannon Noll / Natalie Bassingthwaighte
Date reached number 2: December 24, 2006
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Night Of My Life" by Damien Leith
Another charity record by Shannon Noll, this remake of the Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush hit from 1987 was a duet with Neighbours star-turned-Rogue Traders singer Nat Bass, and out-peaked the original version by three places.

"Smack That" by Akon featuring Eminem
Date reached number 2: January 7, 2007
Weeks at number 2: Three (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Irreplaceable" by Beyoncé for two weeks and "Light Surrounding You" by Evermore for one week
Remember when you couldn't move without running into a song by or featuring rapper Akon? The lead single from his second album, Konvicted, "Smack That" not only featured Eminem but was co-written and produced by Mr Mathers as well.

"Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado
Date reached number 2: February 4, 2007
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "Lips Of An Angel" by Hinder
Following "Promiscuous", "Maneater" had reached number 3, but Nelly Furtado found herself back at number 2 with the next single from Loose. Although Timbaland didn't receive a featuring credit on "Say It Right", his made his presence felt on the song he co-wrote and co-produced by appearing prominently in the music video.   

"How To Save A Life" by The Fray
Date reached number 2: February 25, 2007
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Lips Of An Angel" by Hinder
A band beloved by late 2000s TV dramas, particularly Grey's Anatomy, which prominently featured this title track from The Fray's debut album. The song was inspired by singer Isaac Slade's work with troubled teens.

"The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani featuring Akon
Date reached number 2: March 4, 2007
Weeks at number 2: Six
Kept off number 1 by: "Lips Of An Angel" by Hinder for three weeks and "Straight Lines" by Silverchair for three weeks
Another number 2 each for Gwen Stefani and Akon, this time in the featured artist position. The title track of her second album, "The Sweet Escape" was Gwen's seventh solo top 10 hit. She has only managed one more - follow-up "4 In The Morning" - with her output ever since being less well received.

"Grace Kelly" by Mika
Date reached number 2: April 15, 2007
Weeks at number 2: Three (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Straight Lines" by Silverchair for one week and "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne for two weeks
Next up, another artist whose run of hits was confined to the 2000s, with this breakthrough single the response Mika (real name: Michael Penniman Jr) came up with when he was asked by record company executives to model himself on Craig David in order to be successful.

"Candyman" by Christina Aguilera
Date reached number 2: May 13, 2007
Weeks at number 2: Four (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne for three weeks and "Umbrella" by Rihanna for one week
The third single from her retro-influenced album, Back To Basics, "Candyman" saw Christina Aguilera in 1940s mode, with the song and accompanying music video taking their lead from "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by The Andrews Sisters. Although she's sung on big hits in a guest artist capacity (notably "Moves Like Jagger" and "Say Something") since this, "Candyman" remains her last top 20 hit as lead performer.

"Dance Floor Anthem" by Good Charlotte
Date reached number 2: July 15, 2007
Weeks at number 2: Three (non-consecutive)
Kept off number 1 by: "Umbrella" by Rihanna for one week and "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie for two weeks
Seven years before twins Joel and Benji Madden reached number 1 (with "We Are Done") away from the band that had launched them to fame, this track from Good Morning Revival marked Good Charlotte's singles chart career high.

"Can't Touch It" by Ricki Lee
Date reached number 2: August 19, 2007
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie
Having extricated herself from Young Divas, Ricki Lee returned to her solo career and achieved a career best with this lead single from second album Brand New Day. Soon back on TV as the host of the new season of Australia's Got Talent, Ricki Lee continues to release music but has not visited the top 50 since 2014.

"Stronger" by Kanye West
Date reached number 2: September 9, 2007
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie
If you look back at Kanye West's chart career in Australia, he hasn't had as many big hits as you might expect, with some well-known songs ("Jesus Walks", "Good Life", "Heartless") missing the top 20. "Stronger", which samples Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger", was one of the ones that made it.  

"Here I Am" by Natalie Gauci
Date reached number 2: December 9, 2007
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Apologize" by Timbaland presents OneRepublic
The winner of Australian Idol's fifth season hold the dubious distinction of being the reality show's first victor not to reach number 1 with her post-show single. Other than the obligatory album of songs performed on Idol, Natalie never did release any music through her deal with Sony Music, leaving the label in 2009.

"Untouched" by The Veronicas
Date reached number 2: December 30, 2007
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "Apologize" by Timbaland presents OneRepublic
The Veronicas were on fire in 2007, with this second single from Hook Me Up following hot on the heels of their first number 1 position with the album's title track. Synthpop classic "Untouched" also gave the duo a taste of overseas success, reaching the UK top 10 and US top 20.

"Piece Of Me" by Britney Spears
Date reached number 2: February 10, 2008
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis
In a career already packed with headlines, 2007 had been a particularly noteworthy year for Britney Spears, often not in a good way. Her response to the ever-present paparazzi and media hounding? This second single from fifth album Blackout - one of the most personal songs she has ever released.

"Viva La Vida" by Coldplay
Date reached number 2: July 6, 2008
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "No Air" by Jordin Sparks / Chris Brown
Arguably the biggest band in the world at this point in time, this almost title track of Coldplay's fourth album came a month after lead single "Violet Hill", which had returned to the top 10 for the first time in three years. Brash and bold, "Viva La Vida" remains their biggest hit in Australia, notching up 41 weeks in the top 50.

"When I Grow Up" by Pussycat Dolls
Date reached number 2: July 27, 2008
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "I Kissed A Girl" by Katy Perry
With her planned solo album shelved for the time being, Nicole Scherzinger returned to the girl group fold with this track, which she had already recorded (but nor released) on her own. Transformed into a Pussycat Dolls track, it became the lead single from their second album, Doll Domination.

"Shake It" by Metro Station
Date reached number 2: August 17, 2008
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "I Kissed A Girl" by Katy Perry
Given a boost by the fact that Miley Cyrus's half-brother, Trace, played guitar for the band, Metro Station struck gold with this catchy electro-rock single. Despite a debut album packed with decent songs, "Shake It" became their only substantial hit.

"Use Somebody" Kings Of Leon
Date reached number 2: January 11, 2009
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga
It could easily have been overshadowed by mega-hit "Sex On Fire", but the second single from the band's breakthrough fourth album, Only By The Night, became a chart force in its own right, spending a quarter of a year in the top 10.

"Get Shaky" by The Ian Carey Project
Date reached number 2: February 1, 2009
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "You Found Me" by The Fray
After years of releasing music to a somewhat underwhelming response, American DJ/producer Ian Carey suddenly found himself with a huge hit on his hands with this track, which also reached the UK top 10.

"Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga
Date reached number 2: July 12, 2009
Weeks at number 2: Three
Kept off number 1 by: "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas
Australia had led the way when it came to embracing Lady Gaga, sending her first two singles to number 1 in late 2008, and almost gave her a third chart-topper with the final single from debut album The Fame, which was the first to be accompanied by one of her soon-to-be trademark production number music videos.

"Sway Sway Baby" by Short Stack
Date reached number 2: August 2, 2009
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyes Peas
Supported by one of the most dedicated fanbases in Australia, pop/punk band Short Stack scored their first of three top 10 hits with this single taken from debut album Stack Is The New Black

"Sweet Dreams" by Beyoncé
Date reached number 2: August 9, 2009
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas
Since her two number 2 hits we saw in Part 1, Beyoncé had returned to the ARIA top 10 another seven times, topping it once with "Irreplaceable". Dark electronic single "Sweet Dreams" was the fourth and final top 5 hit from I Am... Sasha Fierce.

"Down" by Jay Sean featuring Lil Wayne
Date reached number 2: November 29, 2009
Weeks at number 2: One
Kept off number 1 by: "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha
He already had a number of British hits to his name, but after singing to US label Cash Money Records, British singer Jay Sean took his music to the world, with US chart-topper "Down" just missing the top spot here.

"Black Box" by Stan Walker
Date reached number 2: December 6, 2009
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha
The winner of the seventh and final season of Australian Idol, Stan Walker became the second champion not to reach number 1 with his debut single, despite "Black Box" being easily one of the best songs given to an Idol winner to launch themselves with.

"Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga
Date reached number 2: December 20, 2009
Weeks at number 2: Two
Kept off number 1 by: "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha
Quite shockingly not a number 1 single, the final number 2 hit of the 2000s was the first track lifted from Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster mini-album. The accompanying music video won the MTV VMA for Video Of The Year as well as the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.

Longest runs at number 2 in the 2000s (* = non-consecutive weeks)
Seven weeks: "Strawberry Kisses" by Nikki Webster*
Six weeks: "The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani featuring Akon
Five weeks: "Milkshake" by Kelis
Four weeks: "Ms Jackson" by OutKast, "Don't Stop Movin'" by S Club 7, "Angel" by Amanda Perez, "Leave (Get Out)" by JoJo*, "Candyman" by Christina Aguilera*

Biggest number 2 hit of each year in the 2000s
2000: "Shackles (Praise You)" by Mary Mary (number 10 for the year)
2001: "I'm Like A Bird" by Nelly Furtado (number 7)
2002: "Superman (It's Not Easy)" by Five For Fighting (number 24)
2003: "All I Have" by Jennifer Lopez featuring LL Cool J (number 11)
2004: "Milkshake" by Kelis (number 4)
2005: "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt (number 11)
2006: "This Time I Know It's For Real" by Young Divas (number 6)
2007: "Grace Kelly" by Mika (number 7)
2008: "Shake It" by Metro Station (number 11)
2009: "Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga (number 12)

Listen to all the number 2 hits of the 2000s (that are on Spotify) on my playlist: