Wednesday, 24 July 2019

This Week In 1994: 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's 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:

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


  1. The only place I heard 'Rebel Rebel' was on Hitz FM or another, similar temporary licence radio station aimed at youth. They also played the Glam version of 'Sex Drive'.

    Having bought the Björk album at the end of '93, 'Violently Happy' was one of my favourite tracks on it, so I was pleased to see it become a single - though they edited out the 'ba-ba-ba-ba-BY!' parts in the middle for the single/video version, which I was less pleased about.

    'If' was really the last Janet single I liked, so I didn't care for her 'sex Janet' phase... which seemed to last for eternity beyond this point.

    I loved 'Absolutely Fabulous'... the song, anyway. I had never heard of the show when I first heard this (yes, really), and actually thought some of the sampled-from-TV segments were Neil Tennant speaking in a funny/helium/studio-altered voice. I was kind of disappointed when I found out it wasn't him. The "pump up the volume" sample, in particular, sounds like him. I also thought the second verse was saying "French folk, bloody ABBA, bloody singing bloody folk, darling!"... for years.

  2. I'm sorry guys, but that Absolutely Fabulous song is one of the worst songs I've ever heard. As far as novelty songs go, even that ALF single from circa 1988 was better. It's not as bad as the Norman Gunston & Effie 'effort', though.