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


5 comments:

  1. I became aware of the Pandora single via Video Smash Hits, through channel flicking between it and Video Hits. It's strange that it had male rap verses, when that wasn't a feature of most later Pandora singles.

    I remember thinking that Robbie Williams' voice was awful, upon hearing 'Everything Changes'. While it doesn't seem as bad as I remembered, listening to it again now, my opinion on his singing ability didn't really change.

    I had totally forgotten about 'Many Rivers'.

    'Sweetness and Light' should have been a decent-sized hit. Part of the problem was, no doubt, figuring out what the song was called, and who it was by. I remember taping it off Triple J and waiting for them to back-announce it, so I could find out what it was.

    I actually liked 'Snake Skin Shoes'.

    'You Got Me Floatin'' took a long time to take-off locally, having been released back in March '94.

    I first heard The Prodigy, via UK Chart Attack, with 'Fire', I think, and then 'Out of Space', which I loved. 'No Good...' was another I also liked a lot, and even bought the single. Though they would take a much 'harder' edge from hereon in.

    I remember reading a letter in Spin magazine, where the author felt that Green Day wouldn't be remembered by anyone in 15 years' time, unlike the Sex Pistols; and predicted that people would assume you were talking about a day where everyone went outside to pick up rubbish in their neighbourhood, when mentioning Green Day in 2009. It's funny that they were wrong - I would not have predicted Green Day's longevity in 1994.

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  2. When I first heard about Green Day, I thought, oh cool, they named themselves after the Japanese holiday that celebrates nature! Nope.

    The first place I heard the Prodigy track was on that classic compilation Betts & Betts Big Hits '94 (which I'm sure you all owned). If you happened to go into their store to buy a pair of shoes between 4:48pm and 4:53pm on August 28th 1994, you got it free.

    What's funny is that the CD has a 'shoe size' label on the back reading 'Size 0'. What's even funnier is that the Prodigy track appears AGAIN as a hidden track at the very end of the CD!

    I miss the '90s.

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    1. Correction -- the Betts & Betts CD wasn't free with shoe purchase. I am reliably informed that it cost $5. Just so you know.

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  3. Is anyone selling that Betts and Betts Hits cd?

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    1. I still have mine, but only the CD, not the case it came in or the front or back cover. Not really worth buying unless you really gotta have it.

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