Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Best Of 1995 - part 3

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

I'm halfway through my countdown of my favourite songs from 1995 - and it was a year in which something happened on the Australian chart that hadn't before: a rap song finished up as the year's highest-selling single. That song was "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio featuring LV, and I distinctly remember warning the full-time sales assistant at my casual music retail job that she should order up big just as the single was starting to take off. She ordered 10 copies, which we sold in a matter of minutes - and it then took us two weeks to get more stock in since every other record store had bled the distributor dry. Yep, I was that know-it-all employee.

Madonna turned serious in 1995

Rap had an even bigger year in the US, with The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac fuelling that rivalry by both hitting the top 10 for the first time with "Big Poppa" and "Dear Mama" respectively. Australia was still quite picky when it came to rap - unless there was a catchy Stevie Wonder sample or it was a single by the awful Outhere Brothers, hip-hop artists had trouble making a similar kind of impact on our chart. Here are the next batch of songs making an impact in my world in 1995...

Number 50 "Shine On Me" by Lovestation
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 49 "Don't Bring Me Down" by Spirits
More vocal garage music here (and also at number 80 on this list with follow-up "Spirit Inside"), but Spirits were slightly different from the rest of the pack in that they had a male and female vocalist. The unique selling point didn't help their fortunes, with both tracks only managing a peak of just inside the UK top 40. 

Number 48 "Wake Up Boo" by The Boo Radleys
Finally some Britpop - kind of. The Boo Radleys had been releasing music since the start of the decade (well before Britpop even became a thing), but this song (which came out in the year Britpop was the biggest thing) was the band's most successful single and so they get lumped in with the likes of Blur and Oasis even though I'd compare them more to The Wonder Stuff. A delightfully cheery song, "Wake Up Boo" gave the northern English group their one and only UK top 10 hit.

Number 47 "Closer" by Liquid
After a gap of three years, breakbeat/rave act Liquid returned to the UK top 20 with a remix of their 1992 hit, "Sweet Harmony" (number 72 on this list), but unfortunately this follow-up missed the top 40 entirely, despite being just as good and, in my opinion, even better.

Number 46 "Runaway" by Janet Jackson
In 1995, Janet finally exhausted all the single options from 1993's janet album (including this list's number 80, "What'll I Do"). Next up, a new track to celebrate a decade of making music that people wanted to buy (since Janet had actually released two flop albums before 1986's Control, which were conveniently forgotten about), "Runaway" became yet another big hit for Ms Jackson. It even name-checked Australia and featured the Sydney Opera House in the CGI-filled music video, which always earns points from us Australians.

Number 45 "Searching For The Golden Eye" by Motiv8 & Kym Mazelle
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 44 "Love Love Love - Here I Come" by Rollo Goes Mystic
Faithless kicked off their career in 1995, but it was this club track by another of Rollo Armstrong's projects that I liked from the same year. Given the track also featured Sister Bliss and Pauline Taylor, it was essentially a Faithless track under a different name - and it was a name that changed to Rollo Goes Camping and Rollo Goes Spiritual for other singles. Talk about over-complicating matters.

Number 43 "Your Loving Arms" by Billie Ray Martin
In the late '80s/early '90s, German-born Billie Ray Martin was the singer for dance act Electribe 101, but by the mid-'90s she'd struck out on her own and this song (which had originally been released in 1994, flopped, received a remix and became a hit in 1995) was her signature tune.

Number 42 "You'll See" by Madonna
After the titillation of Erotica and the experimentation of Bedtime Stories, Madonna toned it right down in 1995, releasing a retrospective collection of ballads called Something To Remember, which featured this new track and a cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You". The new "serious" phase of Madonna's career would last for the next couple of years and take in the release of her first (and only) critically favoured film performance in Evita.

Number 41 "Look Up To The Light" by Evolution
Another excellent track from the Deconstruction label by a group who'd been putting out under-the-radar club records like "Love Thing" and a cover of Chic's "Everybody Dance" for the previous couple of years.

Number 40 "3 Is Family" by Dana Dawson
Mentioned below

Number 39 "Missing (Todd Terry remix)" by Everything But The Girl
I've been mentioning remixes a fair bit in my recaps for 1994 and 1995, but if ever a remix completely changed the career of an artist, it's this revamp of the EBTG track. It came out in its original form, which was fairly consistent with the duo's normal smoothy, jazzy sound, in 1994 to universal disinterest. Then, in 1995, Todd Terry's dance overhaul became a massive global hit and steered the group towards a totally new musical direction.

Number 38 "The Power (Of All The Love In The World)" by D:Ream
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 37 "Only Happy When It Rains" by Garbage
The indie music press were falling over themselves in praise of new band Garbage in 1995 - and with songs like this, "Vow" and "Queer", even I could see why. I've been a fan of the Scottish/American band ever since.

Number 36 "Tingly" by Pop! featuring Angie Hart
Time for some Australian pop and this perky single by the aptly named Pop! (with Frente's Angie Hart on guest vocals) was not the hit it deserved to be. I blame "Accidentally Kelly Street", which most of us had still not forgiven Angie and her band for.

Number 35 "Got To Give Me Love" by Dana Dawson
She featured prominently on my top 100 for 1991, and in 1995, Dana returned with album number two and even managed to score a UK top 10 single with "3 Is Family" (number 41 above). I marginally preferred this second single from Black Butterfly - and the singles would keep coming in 1996.

Number 34 "Anywhere" by Dubstar
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 33 "Itchycoo Park" by M-People
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 32 "Call It Love" by Deuce
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 31 "I Am Blessed" by Eternal
They'd dropped a member (Louise Nurding, as she was then known, got out while the going was good) but without missing a beat, the new three-piece Eternal carried on releasing hit records in 1995 as they moved on to album number two: Power Of A Woman. The title track even returned them to the Australian top 10 for the first time since "Stay". But, I never really warmed to that song and much preferred this slushy ballad.

Number 30 "I Luv U Baby" by The Original
Like "Missing" and "Your Loving Arms", this club hit originally came out in 1994 (in the year's dying days) but was a much bigger success in 1995 - and like both those songs it was due to a remix.

Number 29 "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" by Baby D
If there's one thing this list is proving it's that persistence plays off. This breakbeat anthem came out in 1992 but didn't hit the UK number 1 spot until late in 1994.

Number 28 "Waiting For You" by Think Twice
Yet another in the seemingly endless stream of acid jazz also-rans, this track by British group Think Twice benefitted from a great Roger Sanchez remix, although the original mix was also pretty good.

Number 27 "The Sunshine After The Rain" by Berri
Sometimes a good remix can turn a flop into a hit, but sometimes the mix is fine and the record-buying public just don't know a good song when they first hear it. That was the case with this single, a cover of a 1977 hit by Elkie Brooks (which had originally been recorded by Ellie Greenwich eight years earlier). Perhaps the fact that this new version, which didn't progress further than number 26 in the UK in 1994, was issued under the cumbersome name of New Atlantic/U4EA featuring Berri might have had something to do with the initial lack of success. Coming out in 1995 credited simply to Berri, the song became a UK top 5 hit and got to number 12 in Australia. Follow-up "Shine Like A Star" (number 52 on this list) was also a modest hit, but then Berri's career ended as (relatively) quickly as it had began.

Number 26 "Wrap Me Up" by Alex Party
Mentioned in Part 4

In Part 4, a pop band that served as a precursor to Steps, and two tracks produced by Stock and Aitken that were successful - in Australia, at least.

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