Monday, 24 June 2013

The Best Of 1994 - part 4

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1

I started off this countdown by mentioning that big ballads were, well, big in 1994 - and none was more massive than a song I've already mentioned a couple of the times along the way. "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet ended up as the year's highest-selling single in Australia (where it spent six weeks at number 1 and another six at number 2) and the UK (15 weeks on top).

Vernie, Kelle, Easther and Louise were Eternal by name but not by nature 

Just to be contrary, the Four Weddings And A Funeral soundtrack hit is at number 146 on my personal list of favourites for the year (you can see the full top 200 at the very end of this post if you're interested), while many of this next batch of songs didn't even register inside the ARIA top 100.

Number 25 "Angel" by Sub Sub
In fact, this third single by the group who'd brought us "Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use)" didn't perform very well anywhere in the world and completely missed the UK chart. I liked the original version of this track as well as a remix by Love To Infinity, but Sub Sub's dance music days would soon be behind them as they continued their metamorphosis into Doves.

Number 24 "Choose" by Color Me Badd
Like Sub Sub, Color Me Badd couldn't cut a break in 1994, despite their second album, Time And Chance, being every bit as good as their debut record (and yes, that's a compliment). It probably wasn't a good idea to release the boring title track as the lead single, since second single "Choose" was far superior, but by the time it came out, the damage was done and it stalled at number 23 in the US. For many artists, that position would be fine, but CMB had reached number 2 and then number 1 twice with their first three singles - so it was quite a comedown.

Number 23 "Sight For Sore Eyes" by M-People
M-People were on a roll in 1994, so much so that they barely paused for breath between second album Elegant Slumming and its final single, "Renaissance" (number 56 on this list), and third album Bizarre Fruit, which featured this lead single. Having found a hit-making formula, the Manchester act didn't stray too far musically over the next few years, with "Sight For Sore Eyes" sounding like any number of other songs by the group. Obviously, it was a sound I liked.

Number 22 "Come In Out Of The Rain" by Wendy Moten
Here's a classic big ballad that did absolutely nothing in Australia, but did reach the UK top 10. Very much a product of its time - after all, 1994 was the year Celine Dion scored one of the biggest global hits with her remake of "The Power Of Love" - "Come In Out Of The Rain" has everything you want from an over-the-top tearjerker: an understated verse, a massive chorus, a dramatic bridge and, yes, a key change. Good times.

Number 21 "Sweetness" by Michelle Gayle
On the other end of the histrionic spectrum is this playful and, it has to be said, sweet tune from the actress/singer, who got around to releasing her debut album in 1994. "Sweetness" was far and away the biggest UK hit for Michelle, although she did release a handful of quite good pop songs over the next couple of years.

Number 20 "I've Learned To Cope" by Bass Culture featuring Lisa Maxwell
Australia was doing quite well on the dance music front in 1994. We've already seen songs by Culture Shock, Rockmelons, Southend, and Itch-E & Scratch-E on this countdown, and here's another local gem that was not the hit it deserved to be. Bass Culture would keep trying to land a hit over the next couple of years, while guest vocalist Lisa also released some solo singles that failed to ignite.

Number 19 "What Are You So Happy About?" by Boxcar
Another Australian dance track, another chart flop and a song that's only on YouTube in extended form - so you'll just have to take my word for how good a tune it is. I saw Boxcar play this track and more from their excellent second album, Algorhythm, a couple of times in 1994. Once, at a club gig at Kinsella's in Sydney, and another time, when they supported Pet Shop Boys in concert. Speaking of...

Number 18 "Liberation" by Pet Shop Boys
Previously featured here

Number 17 "Just A Step From Heaven" by Eternal
Girl group Eternal's debut album, Always & Forever, was laden with hits - well, at least the UK thought so. In Australia, only debut single "Stay" did well, while back in Britain, "Just A Step From Heaven" was their third straight top 10 following "Stay" and "Save Our Love" (number 51 on this list). "Oh Baby I..." (number 82) would go on to achieve the same result, while "So Good" (number 114) and "Crazy" (number 107) weren't far behind, both cracking the UK top 15. Not bad for a year's work.

Number 16 "Another Night" by MC Sar & The Real McCoy
Just when you thought there'd be no more Eurodance... this German act had been around since 1989 (when they recorded a version of "Pump Up The Jam" I've never heard until now) with only a couple of minor hits at home until they released this single, which changed everything for them. Mind you, it took its time. Originally released in mid-1993, "Another Night" wasn't successful in the US, UK or Australia until late-'94 and into 1995. A six-week number 1 in Australia, it was the start of a string of hits for the group who'd quickly drop the MC Sar bit from their name.

Number 15 "Do You Want It Right Now (remix)" by Degrees Of Motion
Here's another dance act that took its sweet time climbing charts, but in 1994, two of DOM's singles from 1992 finally cracked the UK top 30. "Shine On" (the original version of which featured on my 1992 top 100) was the better performer of the two, reaching number 8 in a substantially remixed form (which is at number 49 on this list). Meanwhile, "Do You Want It Right Now", which had previously been a single for Siedah Garrett in 1985 and an album track on Taylor Dayne's Tell It To My Heart, only improved marginally on its original number 31 peak by getting to number 26. I'm not sure if the clip below is the original or the 1994 remix - but it hardly matters since they were fairly similar.

Number 14 "I'll Remember" by Madonna
Funnily enough, this is probably one of the least remembered Madonna singles these days, despite spending four weeks at number 2 in the US and reaching number 7 in both Australia and the UK. But, the track from the soundtrack of the Joe Pesci film, With Honors (also long-forgotten, I imagine) hasn't been performed live by Madonna or featured on any of her greatest hits albums since 1995's Something To Remember. I still enjoy the ballad every time I hear it, and at the time, it was a change of pace that bridged the divide between the Erotica and Bedtime Stories albums. The latter was also released in 1994, spawning singles "Secret" (number 59 on this list) and "Take A Bow" (number 148).

Number 13 "Why?" By D-Mob featuring Cathy Dennis
A disclaimer: the video version of this song (which used the Todd Terry remix) is not the version I like of this track - a reunion between Cathy and the dance group that introduced her to the world back in 1989. But, since I can't find the album version (which also appeared on the Beverly Hills, 90210 soundtrack) on YouTube, you'll have to take my word for it.
By this point in her career, Cathy wasn't enjoying anywhere near the chart success she had with the singles from her first album, with tracks like "Irresistible" and "You Lied To Me" bombing. Even a performance on 90210 couldn't put her back in the UK or US top 10. A shift in direction for her third album didn't help matters too much, and Cathy eventually bowed out of the spotlight for a much more lucrative career as a songwriter of hits like "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" and "Toxic".

Number 12 "Ain't Nobody" by Jaki Graham
It only makes sense that a song that's been covered as often as this one was the subject of a chart battle between two rival versions in 1994. Interestingly, the other remake was recorded by KWS, who'd found themselves in a similar situation you can read about on my 1992 countdown. KWS' take on "Ain't Nobody" was the bigger hit in the UK, but in Australia, it was British singer Jaki Graham who performed better, reaching number 17. It was Jaki's first hit in Australia, although she'd reached the top 10 three times during the '80s in the UK. There's a link to the Love To Infinity remix (which I preferred) in the song title above, while the music video is below.

Number 11 "Reach" by Judy Cheeks
Up until this point, most releases on the Positiva label had been issued with the trademark blue and white single cover. No artist images, no variation from the stock standard artwork. I could be wrong, but from memory, Judy Cheeks was the first act that broke with tradition and, as you can see below, this song came out with a very different sleeve design. It didn't really help matters, since "Reach" only reached number 17 in the UK (and a remix and re-release two years later didn't improve upon that), but it was exactly the type of song I loved in 1994: wailing vocals, dance beat, handbag house feel.

Number 10 "Spend Some Time" by Brand New Heavies
The acid jazz group still weren't achieving major chart success with their singles, despite releasing some of their all-time best tracks in 1994, but their album, Brother Sister, was a big success. A top 5 album in the UK and even a top 20 hit in Australia, it featured this track, as well as "Dream On Dreamer" (number 42 on this list), "Back To Love" (number 45) and a cover of Maria Muldaur's 1974 single, "Midnight At The Oasis" (number 64).

Number 9 "Run To The Sun" by Erasure
Mentioned below

Number 8 "Caught In The Middle (Heart Beats Like A Drum) (remix)" by Juliet Roberts
Record companies really were persistent in the 1990s. Without remixes, re-releases and revamps, artists like D:Ream, Let Loose and M-People would never have gone on to enjoy the success they did. British singer Juliet Roberts was another act who tried and tried again, and this single was vastly improved thanks to a new mix. Unfortunately, the results weren't as impressive, with the remix of "Caught..." peaking at number 14 (compared to the original's number 24) and the reissued "I Want You" reaching number 28, a rise of only five places from the position reached by "I Want You/Again" (number 91 on this list) earlier in the year.

Number 7 "Let The Music (Lift You Up)" by Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
If there's one act that perfected the wailing vocal/piano house sound I loved in 1994, it was Loveland, with songs like this and the double A-side "(Keep On) Shining/Hope (Never Give Up)" (number 66 on this list). Tracks were actually billed as Loveland featuring the voice of Rachel McFarlane, clearly to avoid confusion with any other part of the singer, who also appeared on songs by N-Trance and Gems For Jem during the '90s - and in Rent.

Number 6 "Always" by Erasure
Fresh from reintroducing the world to ABBA and celebrating their own first 20 singles in 1992, Erasure returned with a new album in 1994 and one of their biggest US hits in the form of "Always". It's probably fair to say that I Say, I Say, I Say, which also featured "Run To The Sun" (number 9 above) and "I Love Saturday" (number 55 on this list), was the synthpop duo's last truly classic album, and it brought to an end their run of five UK number 1 albums. As well as the slower single version of "Always", I was also a fan of the Microbots remix, which you can listen to here.

Number 5 "Sex Drive" by Glam featuring Pete Burns
Any '80s music fan knows the Dead Or Alive singer, who teamed up with Italian house act Glam for this dance anthem in 1994. Glam had previously recorded "Hell's Party", which had in turn been sampled by Urban Cookie Collective on "The Key: The Secret", and some of the elements of "Hell's Party" can also be heard in "Sex Drive". Never a big hit, "Sex Drive" was a steady seller on import in Australia, and would eventually be re-recorded for Dead Or Alive's Nukleopatra album and released as a single under their own steam in 1996. That version was nowhere near as good as this one, however, which you can hear in the audio link above or watch in an Italian TV performance below.

Number 4 "Nothing In The World" by Mozaic
In 1994, I started my first music retail job. I was working in a department store and, when an opening in the music department came up, I bugged HR until they transferred me from the greetings card section. This was the song I became synonymous with - and it was all because of the Motiv8 mix, which I played to death. Alongside Loveland, Love To Infinity and Brothers In Rhythm, Motiv8 were my favourite remixers at the time and could transform any song into a galloping dance smash. The artist themselves, Mozaic, were a UK group and although this song flopped there, it was a top 20 hit in Australia. There's a link to an audio clip of the mix I prefer in the song title, while the music video, which features a harder, less poppier mix, is below.

Number 3 "Free Spirit" by Kim Appleby
It should have been massive - one half of one of Stock Aitken Waterman's biggest acts returned to work with Stock and Aitken. However, "Free Spirit" couldn't even crack the UK top 50. The production duo had recently reunited and formed Love This Records, and over the next few years would be behind brilliant tracks like this and an awful lot of terrible novelty records. For Kim, this was the end of the road for her music career for all intents and purposes.

Number 2 "Rockin' For Myself (remixes)" by Motiv8 featuring Angie Brown
And here's Motiv8 in their guise as artist, with a revamp of their 1993 single, which just earnt a place on my top 100 for that year. The new mixes of "Rockin' For Myself" turned a good song into a great one, and the record-buying public responded accordingly, sending the song into the UK top 20 and the Australian top 10. The video version of the track was fantastic, but I also liked a different remix, which ended up being used as the backing track for a Gina G song.

Number 1 "Light My Fire" by Clubhouse featuring Carl
My favourite song for 1994 is one I distinctly remember dancing to on New Year's Eve that year at a house party my friends and I dropped into on our way to an '80s music club night. Some things never change. An Italian house track that became popular in the UK thanks to a fairly ordinary Cappella remix, "Light My Fire" was best in its original form (which you can hear in the audio link above). The video below is of vocalist Carl performing on Top Of The Pops, during the era when all performers had to sing live. At a time when Eurodance and house tracks were increasingly in the charts, it must have made for some interesting dilemmas for the artists involved.

My top 200 for 1994 in full:

1         LIGHT MY FIRE Clubhouse featuring Carl
2         ROCKIN' FOR MYSELF (REMIXES) Motiv8 featuring Angie Brown
3         FREE SPIRIT Kim Appleby
4         NOTHING IN THE WORLD Mozaic
5         SEX DRIVE Glam featuring Pete Burns
6         ALWAYS / MICROBOTS MIX Erasure
7         LET THE MUSIC (LIFT YOU UP) Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
9         RUN TO THE SUN Erasure
10        SPEND SOME TIME Brand New Heavies
11        REACH Judy Cheeks
12        AIN'T NOBODY Jaki Graham
13        WHY? D-Mob featuring Cathy Dennis
14        I'LL REMEMBER Madonna
15        DO YOU WANT IT RIGHT NOW (REMIX) Degrees Of Motion
16        ANOTHER NIGHT M.C. Sar & The Real McCoy
17        JUST A STEP FROM HEAVEN Eternal
18        LIBERATION Pet Shop Boys
20        I'VE LEARNED TO COPE Bass Culture featuring Lisa Maxwell
21        SWEETNESS Michelle Gayle
22        COME IN OUT OF THE RAIN Wendy Moten
23        SIGHT FOR SORE EYES M-People
24        CHOOSE Color Me Badd
25        ANGEL Sub Sub
26        GIVE IT UP Cut 'n' Move
27        CRAZY FOR YOU Let Loose
28        ATOMIC (DIDDY REMIX) Blondie
29        THE REAL THING 2 Unlimited
30        MOVE ON BABY Cappella
32        YOU GOTTA BE Des'ree
33        KISS FROM A ROSE Seal
34        I SWEAR All-4-One
35        IT'S OVER NOW (IT'S ALRIGHT) Cause & Effect
36        LET THE BEAT CONTROL YOUR BODY 2 Unlimited
37        SATISFY THE GROOVE Culture Shock
40        STRONGER TOGETHER The Rockmelons
41        THE RHYTHM OF THE NIGHT Corona
42        DREAM ON DREAMER Brand New Heavies
43        CONFIDE IN ME / REMIX Kylie Minogue
45        BACK TO LOVE / GRAEME PARK MIX Brand New Heavies
46        EVERYTHING CHANGES Take That
47        CRUISE CONTROL (REMIX) Headless Chickens
48        ONLY TO BE WITH YOU Roachford
49        SHINE ON (REMIX) Degrees Of Motion featuring Biti
50        THE SIGN Ace of Base
51        SAVE OUR LOVE Eternal
52        SEARCHING China Black
53        FALL Single Gun Theory
54        SON OF A GUN JX
55        I LOVE SATURDAY Erasure
56        RENAISSANCE M-People
57        ANYTIME YOU NEED A FRIEND Mariah Carey
58        WALKAWAY LOVER Toni Pearen
59        SECRET / REMIX Madonna
60        ROUNDABOUT Caligula
61        TIME INXS
63        HOLD THAT SUCKER DOWN O.T. Quartet
64        MIDNIGHT AT THE OASIS Brand New Heavies
66        (KEEP ON) SHINING / HOPE (NEVER GIVE UP) Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
67        HIGHER GROUND Sasha
68        BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE Barbara Tucker
69        THE REAL THING Tony di Bart
70        HAVE MERCY Yazz
71        PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE Kylie Minogue
72        ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS Absolutely Fabulous
73        AROUND THE WORLD East 17
74        IT'S A LOVING THING C.B.Milton
75        SHE HOLDS THE KEY Secret Life
77        HERE WE GO Stakka Bo
78        SWEETNESS AND LIGHT Itch-e & Scratch-e
79        FOREVER NOW Level 42
80        POISON General Base
81        TRUST ME Pandora
82        OH BABY I... / SWEET FUNKY THING Eternal
83        I'LL MAKE LOVE TO YOU Boyz II Men
84        I WANT THE WORLD 2wo Third3
85        HIGH ON A HAPPY VIBE Urban Cookie Collective
86        ROCK MY HEART Haddaway
87        WINDOW OF HOPE Oleta Adams
88        LISTEN TO THE MUSIC (MOTIV8 REMIX) Doobie Brothers
89        THE WINNER IS... Southend featuring Nik Fish
90        EIGHTEEN STRINGS Tinman
91        I WANT YOU / AGAIN Juliet Roberts
92        BECAUSE OF LOVE Janet Jackson
93        ALRABAIYE (TAKE ME UP) Amadin featuring Swing
94        P.A.R.T.Y. The Urban Sound Of Amsterdam
95        GIMME ALL YOUR LOVIN' Kym Mazelle & Jocelyn Brown
96        EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK Jade
97        I BELIEVE Marcella Detroit
99        LOVE ME FOR A REASON Boyzone
100      NO MORE TEARS (ENOUGH IS ENOUGH) Kym Mazelle & Jocelyn Brown
101      RESPECT Sub Sub
102      WE GOT THE LOVE Erik
104      TIME OF OUR LIVES Alison Limerick
105      HOOK ME UP CDB
106      THIS GENERATION Roachford
107      CRAZY Eternal
108      PIECES OF A DREAM Incognito
109      GOT TO BE REAL Erik
110      SEVENTEEN Let Loose
111      CORNFLAKE GIRL Tori Amos
112      BECAUSE OF YOU Gabrielle
113      ON BENDED KNEE Boyz II Men
114      SO GOOD Eternal
115      NO GOOD (START THE DANCE) The Prodigy
116      DON’T SAY GOODBYE GIRL Tevin Campbell
117      MORE TO THIS WORLD Bad Boys Inc
118      MOVE IT UP / THE BIG BEAT Cappella
119      RAISE Hyper Go-Go
120      RIGHT BESIDE YOU Sophie B Hawkins
121      U & ME Cappella
122      TAKE ME AWAY D:Ream
123      YOU WANT THIS Janet Jackson
124      LAY YOUR LOVE ON ME Roachford
125      NEWBORN FRIEND Seal
126      STAY ANOTHER DAY East 17
127      CARRY ME HOME Gloworm
129      THUNDERDOME Messiah
130      IN THE NAME OF LOVE RTZ featuring Mistri
131      IT'S ALRIGHT Hyper Go-Go
132      WHAT YOU'RE MISSING K-klass
133      LIVING IN THE SUNSHINE Clubhouse featuring Carl
135      REGULATE Warren G featuring Nate Dogg
136      SOMEDAY Eddy
137      REMEMBER ME Smith & Mighty
138      SLEEPING IN MY CAR Roxette
139      LIVING IN DANGER Ace Of Base
140      DO YOU WANNA GET FUNKY C&C Music Factory
141      ROCK BOTTOM Babyface
142      LOVER Joe Roberts
143      HUG MY SOUL / MOTIV8 MIX Saint Etienne
144      LOVE IS ALL AROUND Wet Wet Wet
145      YOU MEAN THE WORLD TO ME Toni Braxton
146      I’LL STAND BY YOU Pretenders
147      I'M READY Tevin Campbell
148      TAKE A BOW Madonna
150      DON’T TURN AROUND Ace of Base
151      I LIKE IT DJH featuring Stefy
152      HEY DJ Lighter Shade Of Brown
153      MELODY OF LOVE (WANNA BE LOVED) Donna Summer
155      YOU & I JK
156      OMEN III Magic Affair
157      ANYTHING Culture Beat
158      SEETHER Veruca Salt
159      DO IT Tony Di Bart
160      MAKE IT RIGHT Lisa Stansfield
161      IF YOU GO Jon Secada
163      WORD UP Gun
164      GIMME Boom Crash Opera
165      YOU GOT ME FLOATIN’ PM Dawn
166      STARS China Black
167      FEEL WHAT YOU WANT Kristine W
168      YOUNG GIRL Darren Day
169      UPTIGHT Shara Nelson
170      LET’S START WITH FOREVER Color Me Badd
171      I’LL FIND YOU Michelle Gayle
172      AND OUR FEELINGS Babyface
174      CONNECTION Elastica
175      TRICK WITH A KNIFE Strawpeople
176      DESTINY Kenny Thomas
177      ALWAYS IN MY HEART Tevin Campbell
178      SUKIYAKI 4PM
179      I AIN’T MOVIN’ Des’ree
180      SURE Take That
181      COLD, COLD HEART Wet Wet Wet
182      HALF THE MAN Jamiroquai
183      WHEN CAN I SEE YOU Babyface
184      NOW AND FOREVER Richard Marx
185      NEVER LIE Immature
186      SPIRITUAL LOVE Urban Species
187      WHEN WE DANCE Sting
188      SO MUCH IN LOVE All-4-One
189      ALL OVER YOU Level 42
190      MORE TO LOVE Volcano
191      MY ENEMY Culture Shock
192      YESTERDAY WHEN I WAS MAD Pet Shop Boys
193      LOVE IN A PEACEFUL WORLD Level 42
195      IN YOUR ROOM Depeche Mode
196      SLAVE TO THE MUSIC Twenty 4 Seven
197      PEOPLE GET HIGH Boxcar
198      CANNONBALL The Breeders
199      WHATEVER Oasis

I'll move on to my top 100 for 1995 in about a month's time. But, this Wednesday, I'll look back at one of the most significant ARIA charts of all time.

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1 comment:

  1. '94 was a great year for dance music. I discovered the temporary-licence Hitz FM in Melbourne over the summer holiday break, and their stark contrast to the 'classic rock' obsession of the other local FM stations quickly seemed to have an influence on the Victoria & Tasmania state chart, spilling over into the national chart, with tracks like Beverly's 'The Power of Love', Dr. Alban's 'Sing Hallelujah', and (eventually) Clubhouse's 'Light My Fire' taking off. I too much preferred the original single mix of 'Light My Fire' to the Cappella remix.