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


  1. Triple M loved this Cracker song. I suspect it would have done better if it had've been called 'Like Being Stoned', but I suppose that may be a bit too risqué.

    I liked 'It's Me', though it's a bit sappy for Alice Cooper.

    The Robertson Brothers track, which I don't recall hearing before, sounds quite like a Rick Price/Human Nature hybrid, vocally.

    Fox FM in Melbourne loved the Francis Dunnery song. I didn't. I also would have assumed he was American.

    I'm one of those people who think 'Find Me' is even better than 'Right In the Night'. I remember the sub title being back-announced as 'Odyssey to Anyone' on the Rock 40 Countdown (a radio show similar to Take 40, but based on some other chart, that I don't think was AMR either). I've never looked into who or what Anyoona is... it sounds like a Greek God.

    I found 'Stay (I Missed You)' slightly irritating. It was also inescapable.

    I first heard/saw the Youssou/Neneh duet on the Friday morning 2-hour new releases episodes of rage that aired at the time, at the start of July. I never expected it to become a hit, but was pleasantly surprised when it rocketed into the top 50 at #30, just over a month later. It was quite a slow burner in the UK, going by the chart run there, which was unusually long for their chart at the time. I liked Neneh's 'Trouble Me' and 'Together Now' side-project releases before 'Man' in 1996, but was quite disappointed when I got the album that it wasn't of the same high calibre as these 3 tracks.

    I assume 'Vasoline' was not 'Vaseline' because of potential trademark-infringing problems? Although, a lot of people (including myself, until that point in '94) would assume vaseline was spelt 'vasoline', anyway.

  2. Ah, 'Hungry For Stink'. Now there's a charming album you can play at your granny's birthday party.

    I'm assuming Anyoona is the name of a fictional place, like Xanadu, or Bondi Beach. Yeah, that Lisa Loeb song totally sucked! Well, it was alright, music-wise. But for a 16 year old dude at the time, it sucked.

    Stone Temple Pilots must have misspelled the name of a trademarked product to avoid legal action. Also in 1994, They Might Be Giants released their album 'John Henry' with a song on it called "AKA Driver". That song was supposed to have been called "NyQuil Driver", which is the name of a cold & flu medicine (I think). Rather than risk legal action, TMBG decided to change the title, and omit the lyrics from the CD booklet (anyone know if STP did the same?).

    1. You would think these companies would appreciate the increased brand recognition/publicity - and without them needing to outlay a cent - from a successful recording act naming one of their songs after their product.

    2. Yeah, you would -- Mercedes Benz got some recognition out of Janis Joplin's song in the '70s, and MTV out of Dire Straits in the '80s...but I guess Stone T. Pilots were playing it safe. Not like now, where a typical hip hop song namechecks at least 85 trademarks.