Wednesday, 26 February 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: February 26, 1995

1995 was turning out to be a big year for cover versions. Already, we've seen hit remakes by Urge Overkill, Nicki French, Janet Jackson and, just last week, Annie Lennox.

Newton's remake didn't get quite as high as the British Jigsaw original

This week in 1995, two more cover versions debuted on the ARIA singles chart - and one was the number 1 song on my year-end chart (and it did pretty well nationally as well).

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending February 26, 1995

A song continuing to do very well nationally was "Another Night" by MC Sar & The Real McCoy, which spent a third week at number 1.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Something About You" by All-4-One
Peak: number 98
Something about this uptempo new jack swing track didn't work for the vocal quartet in the way mega ballad "I Swear" had, and it got no further on the top 100.

Number 97 "The Celts" by Enya
Peak: number 97
The Irish new age star's self-titled debut album had been re-released as The Celts in 1992 and was currently in the top 10, prompting this song, which was now the title track, to pop its head inside the top 100.

Number 95 "Turn It On" by The Angels
Peak: number 77
Peaking two places below the other new song on Evidence, this second release coincided with the band performing acoustic shows on their Never Before And Never Again tour.

Number 88 "Beggars And Hangers-On" by Slash's Snakepit
Peak: number 85
Unable to match what former band-mate Izzy Stradlin had managed, the latest Guns n' Roses member to strike out with solo music missed the top 50 with this debut effort.

New Entries
Number 50 "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" by Gloria Estefan
Peak: number 48
The first of two remakes debuting on the top 50 was the second single from and title track of Gloria Estefan's covers album, which had already yielded a big hit in the form of "Turn The Beat Around". "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" had been originally released by Karen Chandler in 1952 and reached number 4 in Australia the next year, and also turned into a number 21 hit in 1965 by Mel Carter. Gloria's version wasn't as successful as either of those or her previous single, only spending two weeks in the top 50, but she'd be back in a matter of weeks with the third single from the album.

Number 43 "When I Come Around" by Green Day
Peak: number 7
They'd warmed Australia up with a couple of singles, and now Green Day exploded into action, with this song about singer Billie Joe Armstrong's long-distance relationship with future-wife Adrienne Nesser giving the band their first top 10 hit. Speaking of top 10 hits, parent album Dookie finally became one this week as it jumped up to number 9 on its way to a three-week stint at number 1.

Number 42 "Sky High" by Newton
Peak: number 8
In 1975, the original had reached number 3 for British Jigsaw - so named to distinguish them from Australian band Jigsaw - and two decades later, "Sky High" was back in the chart thanks to a Stock and Aikten-produced remake by Newton (real name: Billy Myers). I say "by Newton", although there is a rumour that the vocals on this track were by original singer Des Dyer - they do sound quite similar, but I can't find a definitive answer on this one. Like Stock and Aitken's other hit remake, Nicki French's version of "Total Eclipse Of The Heart", "Sky High" had initially been released in the UK in 1994 but could only manage a peak of number 78 there. It would be released another twice, but without success, while in Australia, Newton's version returned the song to the top 10. It was also my favourite song for 1995 - hardly surprising given my track record with the producers' previous work as part of the PWL Hit Factory, where the Jigsaw version had also been remixed in 1989.

Number 35 "Not For You" by Pearl Jam
Peak: number 29
We finish off this week's new entries with two bands who would kick off Australian tours in the first week of March and each charted with the second single from their latest album. In Pearl Jam's case, "Not For You" was the follow-up to their biggest hit to date, "Spin The Black Circle", and was about all the parts of the music industry and media that got between them and their fans

Number 31 "Ode To My Family" by The Cranberries
Peak: number 5
Also following up their biggest hit to date (and of all time) were The Cranberries, whose "Zombie" actually moved back up a spot to number 3 this week. Clearly there were people who weren't completely sick of that song by now. The gentle, lullaby-like "Ode To My Family", meanwhile, was more in line with the Irish band's earlier hits, and it's one I don't mind listening to at all. Written about the disconnect between Dolores O'Riordan's new life as a rock star and her upbringing in County Limerick, the song gave the band a second consecutive top 5 hit.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):

Next week: the return of one of the most successful girl groups of all time, plus a second 90s hit involving vaseline.

Back to: Feb 19, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 5, 1995

Monday, 24 February 2020

This Week In 1980: February 24, 1980

Who said disco was dead? This week in 1980, the dance genre that was facing a backlash around the world was proving as popular as ever in Australia - but then we were about six months behind the UK and the US at that stage.

Christie Allen wasn't our number 1, but she came close

Three of the week's six new entries on the top 50 singles chart were disco tracks (or disco-influenced). And given the other three were new wave tunes, it was a pretty good week for a pop fan like me.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending February 24, 1980

At number 1 this week in 1980, disco act KC & The Sunshine Band remained on top for a second week with ballad "Please Don't Go".

Off The Chart
Number 93 "Drinking Piña Colada" by Freefall
Peak: number 68
Seems everyone was downing rum, coconut milk and pineapple juice cocktails in 1980. With Rupert Holmes' "Escape..." in the top 3, Brisbane band Freefall released their own ode to the drink.

Number 90 "Jane" by Jefferson Starship
Peak: number 72
The band's only charting single in the Jefferson Starship era in Australia, this track from fifth album Freedom At Point Zero had been a top 20 hit in the US.

Number 89 "You Are Australia" by Two-Man Band
Peak: number 85
The Mojo Singers had reached the top 10 with their follow-up to "C'mon Aussie C'mon", but the team behind "Up There Cazaly" didn't have anywhere near as much luck with their next (presumably) patriotic anthem.

New Entries
Number 50 "Fly Too High" by Janis Ian
Peak: number 7
Co-written by Giorgio Moroder and produced by Harold Faltermeyer, this single from Janis Ian's Night Rains album was her first major Australian hit since her first, "At Seventeen", in 1975. Disco-influenced track "Fly Too High", which was a change of pace, also appeared on the soundtrack to a film I'm only now hearing of called Foxes, which starred Jodie Foster, Scott Baio and Randy Quaid. Anyone remember it?

Number 42 "Diamond Smiles" by The Boomtown Rats
Peak: number 42
Entering the top 50 where it would peak, this follow-up to chart-topper "I Don't Like Mondays" was another song inspired by a real-life tragedy, in this case the suicide of a debutante who strangled herself to death. This time, however, the Irish band's tale didn't translate into chart success, and I dare say "Diamond Smiles" probably only did as well as it did since the band were coming off a number 1 hit.

Number 39 "Under Fire" by Jackie
Peak: number 28
This song sure was popular in 1979, recorded by no less than three different artists. Written by Terry Britten and B.A. Robertson, who were also responsible for Cliff Richard's current hit, "Carrie", "Under Fire" was released by female singers Jackie and Fern Kinney (on her album Groove Me), and South African girl band Clout. Jackie's version, which was also produced by Terry, was the one that became a hit in Australia - her only chart appearance.

Number 38 "Space Invaders" by Player [1]
Peak: number 3
As Mi-Sex's "Computer Games" fell out of the top 10, it was joined on the top 50 by another song inspired by video games - in this case one of the most popular games in the world. The Australian disco track veered more towards being a novelty record and Player [1] ended up as the first one-hit wonder of the new decade, although the production duo behind it, Bruce Brown and Russell Dunlop, both had many more credits to their names.

Number 35 "He's My Number One" by Christie Allen
Peak: number 4
Here's another new hit written by Terry Britten and B.A. Robertson, who clearly had their fingers on the pulse at this point in time. The follow-up to one of my favourite songs of all time, "Goose Bumps" (which had also been written by the pair), the poppy "He's My Number One" was Christie Allen's first single since the release of her debut album, Magic Rhythm, which had come out in November, and became her second consecutive top 5 single. Despite featuring both tracks, as well as previous number 20 hit "Falling In Love With Only You", the album missed the top 50, and Christie, who was named Most Popular Female Performer at back-to-back TV WEEK/Countdown Music Awards in 1979-80, never enjoyed such chart highs again, as we'll see in coming months.

Number 34 "Money" by The Flying Lizards
Peak: number 11
Interesting chart quirk: two singles by The Flying Lizards had entered the Australian top 100 in the same week in October 1979 - and both of them were cover versions. The British new wave band's take on "Summertime Blues" (originally recorded by Eddie Cochran) didn't end up getting any higher than number 75, but their spin on "Money (That's What I Want)" by Barrett Strong (and also previously remade by The Beatles) gradually found its way into the top 50 and almost made the top 10. Thanks especially to the deadpan delivery of vocalist Deborah Evans-Stickland, The Flying Lizard's version on "Money" was a radical reworking of the song, but it's one that has aged quite well, still popping up in ads and on soundtracks today.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: the follow-ups to two of the biggest hits of the summer, both of which would follow their predecessors into the top 10.

Back to: Feb 17, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 2, 1980

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: February 19, 1995

I've talked before about covers albums being an interesting choice for artists still in the prime of their careers to make, and this week in 1995, we saw a female singer up to only her second solo album deciding to release a batch of remakes.

Annie Lennox dialled up the crazy factor... again

The difference was that she kicked off the exercise with a song that very few people would have heard before since the original version was not a hit. It certainly wasn't a song I knew.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending February 19, 1995

A song that I did know, together with an awful lot of the country, remained at number 1 this week in 1995. "Another Night" by MC Sar & The Real McCoy stayed on top for a second week.

Off The Chart
Number 97 "Hard Love" by Vika & Linda
Peak: number 81
The Bull sisters were having no luck landing a hit single, with this Paul Kelly-written third release from their self-titled debut album also missing the top 50. The album, which had been re-released with a bonus live disc, did re-enter the top 50 this week, however.

New Entries
Number 50 "Inside" by Stiltskin
Peak: number 40
This song started out as the musical accompaniment for a British ad for Levi's jeans, with songwriter Peter Lawlor putting a band together to release it as a single. So popular was the ad in the UK that "Inside" duly went to number 1 there. In Australia, where I don't believe the ad was shown, the grungy rock track barely made the top 40. "Inside" was actually one of the few rock songs I liked in 1995, and I'm not sure why it didn't perform better here given Australia's love for all things rock.

Number 43 "She's A River" by Simple Minds
Peak: number 29
Back with their first studio album since 1991's Real Life and first album of any type since the chart-topping best of compilation Glittering Prize 81-92, Simple Minds slipped into the top 30 with this lead single from Good News From The Next World. The bad news was this song, which had lyrics inspired by the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, would be the Scottish band's final top 50 hit in Australia.

Number 42 "Churchill's Black Dog" by Things Of Stone And Wood
Peak: number 34
Also charting with what would be their final hit were Things Of Stone And Wood, who released this follow-up to "Wild Flowers" ahead of their second album, Junk Theatre. I have no memory of this song at all at the time, but it's pleasant enough in a Party Of Five theme song kind of way.

Number 41 "15 Feet Of Snow" by Diesel
Peak: number 29
I didn't think I recalled this single either, but listening to it now, the chorus is definitely familiar, although I can't think of the last time I would have heard it played anywhere. "15 Feet Of Snow" was the second release from Solid State Rhyme and would end up being the singer's final top 50 appearance for over a decade as Diesel (although he'd slip in a hit under his real name, Mark Lizotte, in 1999).

Number 35 "No More "I Love You's"" by Annie Lennox
Peak: number 16
Annie Lennox's debut solo offering, Diva, had been a success around the world, although its singles could have done better in Australia. Somewhat unexpectedly, the Eurythmics singer decided to put out an album of cover versions as her second album. Medusa contained reworkings of songs previously recorded by everyone from Al Green to The Clash, but the first single, "No More "I Love You's"", was a little-known song by duo The Lover Speaks from 1986. Her biggest success locally since 1992's "Why", the cover would also become her last hit in Australia, with subsequent tracks taken from Medusa failing to reach the top 50.

Number 34 "You Suck" by The Murmurs
Peak: number 25
You couldn't go wrong with an indie song containing an insult in the mid-'90s, could you? Although most of them, like "Creep", "Asshole", "Loser" and the upcoming "Bitch", were self-directed, this one-and-only-hit by the American duo comprised of Heather Grody and Lesiha Hailey kept its venom for the listener. Given its straight-shooting lyrics, "You Suck" was always going to be successful, and hard to follow with a subsequent, less-novel hit. The Murmurs released a couple more albums before dissolving at the end of the decade.

Number 27 "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" by Bon Jovi
Peak: number 10
Despite the fact that Cross Road - The Best Of Bon Jovi had only just dropped out of the top 10 after debuting at number 1 back in October, it's a little surprising the greatest hits album's other new song (besides mega-hit "Always") also went top 10. Then again, Bon Jovi were (still) one of the most popular bands in Australia at the time. The song itself took the band further away from their hair metal roots with its almost country-sounding hard luck story.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):

Next week: Gloria Estefan's next single from her covers album arrives, while the follow-up to the number 1 song of summer and my personal number 1 single for 1995 debut.

Back to: Feb 12, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 26, 1995

Monday, 17 February 2020

This Week In 1980: February 17, 1980

These days, some artists don't even bother with albums, opting to release a series of singles and EPs instead, but back in the 1970s, the album was king - and some bands didn't trouble themselves with putting out many (or any) singles. 

Pink Floyd were never part of the singles chart sausage factory

This week in 1980, a British band that'd helped define music over the previous decade-and-a-bit entered the Australian top 50 singles chart for the first time in their career - and almost went to number 1.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending February 17, 1980

There was a new number 1 in the country this week in 1980, as KC & The Sunshine Band moved up with "Please Don't Go".

Off The Chart
Number 96 "Street Life" by Crusaders
Peak: number 79
Guest vocals on this track by the American jazz-funk band were handled by Randy Crawford, whose solo career would take off towards the end of the year.

Number 95 "Such A Night" by Racey
Peak: number 94
They'd dominated the chart in 1979, with two number 1 singles, but this fourth track from top 5 album Smash And Grab proved one release too many for the British group.

New Entries
Number 49 "Drac's Back" by Andy Forray
Peak: number 23
Why was a Halloween-themed disco track charting in February? Well, it had first featured on the top 100 in early November before slowly catching on, eventually peaking in the upper half of the top 50. Actor Andy Forray wrote the novelty song with risque (for the time) lyrics, which probably didn't get much radio play as a result. It's certainly not a song I ever heard as a kid, but I imagine some of you have very clear memories of this track so feel free to comment below.

Number 48 "I Go To Pieces" by Rachel Sweet
Peak: number 36
The biggest of Rachel Sweet's four singles to make the top 100 (all but one of which reached the top 50), "I Go To Pieces" was a cover of a song written by Del Shannon and originally recorded by British duo Peter And Gordon in 1964. The remake was one of two tracks added to the US version of the teenager's debut album, which had come out in the UK first. Another slow burn, "I Go To Pieces" had entered the top 100 in August and ended up spending 39 weeks on the chart despite only having a modest peak.

Number 47 "I Love You So Rebecca" by Johnny Chester And Hotspur
Peak: number 33
He'd been having hits since 1961, but the Australian musician and TV and radio personality hadn't seen the inside of the top 50 since 1974's "She's My Kind Of Woman". From what I can determine, this gentle pop/country song seems to have been Johnny Chester's first release with his latest band Hotspur, taken from their self-titled album.

Number 44 "September Morn" by Neil Diamond
Peak: number 23
Another chart veteran now - Neil Diamond's first hit had been "Cherry, Cherry" in 1966 and his Beautiful Noise album was one of the few my parents owned, so I was familiar-ish with him at the age of five. "September Morn" was the title track of Neil's 13th album and was co-written with Gilbert Bécaud, with whom he'd work more extensively on The Jazz Singer soundtrack released later in the year.

Number 34 "Another Brick In The Wall (Part II)" by Pink Floyd
Peak: number 2
Here it is: the first Pink Floyd song to reach the Australian top 50, fresh from hitting number in the UK at the end of 1979. Of course, the British progressive rock band didn't often release singles, but had spent plenty of weeks on the albums chart, especially with 1973's The Dark Side Of The Moon. The middle part of a three-part sequence on rock opera album The Wall, "Another Brick In The Wall (Part II)" dealt with songwriter Roger Waters' views towards education, in particular restrictive private and boarding schools. 
Producer Bob Ezrin is credited with the ideas to include a children's choir - he'd done the same on Alice Cooper's "School's Out" - and to incorporate a disco-influenced beat in an effort to make the song more catchy. As indicated by its chart position, the latter idea certainly worked. As for the vocals by the 23 kids from Islington Green School - which I found irritating at the time (and still do) - they were recorded without the music teacher showing the head teacher the lyrics, and she banned them from appearing in the music video once she heard the finished song. The students were offered concert tickets and studio time in return for their performance, while the school was given £1000. Fun fact: years later, a change in the law meant the chorus were entitled to royalties and a group of them were tracked down using social media to make their claim. Pink Floyd, meanwhile, wouldn't return to the top 50 for another seven years.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: a much better selection of new entries, including yet another video game-related song and the follow-up to one of my favourite songs of 1979 (and all time).

Back to: Feb 10, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 24, 1980

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: February 12, 1995

There had been successful female artists in previous decades, but there was a whole army of female megastars in the 1990s, when singers like Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Toni Braxton regularly sold huge amounts of albums.

Janet Jackson and Tina Arena added to their hit tally

Two more female singers who were part of that group returned to the ARIA singles chart this week in 1995 with their latest hits, both taken from albums that did incredibly well in Australia and around the world.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending February 12, 1995

Also this week in 1995, there was finally some relief at the top of the chart as MC Sar & The Real McCoy dislodged "Zombie" and took "Another Night" to number 1 for the first of six weeks.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Give It Up (For The Melodie)" by Melodie MC
Peak: number 98
Yet another Eurodance artist proving to be a one-album wonder, Sweden's Melodie MC only just made the top 100 with this lead single from second album The Return. From memory, I actually bought the CD single of this, before deciding I didn't really like it and getting rid of it.

Number 97 "Viva La Megababes" by Shampoo
Peak: number 97
I actually found this follow-up to "Trouble" less irritating, but not even a cover of East 17's "House Of Love" as a bonus track could help this single become mega.

Number 91 "Protection" by Massive Attack with Tracey Thorn
Peak: number 91
Just as "Unfinished Sympathy" and "Sly" had done before it, this Massive Attack classic, which features the Everything But The Girl singer on vocals, inexplicably landed in the 90s on the ARIA chart. 

Number 90 "Planet Caravan" by Pantera
Peak: number 90
Originally recorded by Black Sabbath in 1970, "Planet Caravan" became the third single lifted from Far Beyond Driven in Australia - and Pantera's final top 100 appearance.

Number 88 "Cuban Pete" by Jim Carrey
Peak: number 88
Confession time: I have never seen The Mask. This song (made famous by Desi Arnaz) that Jim Carrey peformed in the movie was given a makeover by C+C Music Factory for single release - and does not convince me that I've missed out on anything.

Number 58 "Fell On Black Days" by Soundgarden
Peak: number 52
"My Wave" had just scraped into the top 50 in November, and this final single from Superunknown, which is about a sudden realisation that you're unhappy, just missed it.

New Entries
Number 48 "(I'm Gonna) Cry Myself Blind" by Primal Scream
Peak: number 48
It might be stating the obvious, but touring Australia can do wonders for a band's fortunes on the ARIA chart, as demonstrated by this understated third single Give Out But Don't Give Up reaching the top 50 in the wake of Primal Scream being part of 1995's Big Day Out. Having the much more commerical "Rocks", which had only managed a peak of number 43 in May 1994, as a bonus track on "(I'm Gonna) Cry Myself Blind" can't have hurt its chances, either.

Number 46 "Sorrento Moon (I Remember)" by Tina Arena
Peak: number 7
"Chains" dropped out of the top 40 in its 22nd week on the chart this week, which made it perfect timing for this follow-up to start its ascent towards the top 10 - the only time Tina Arena has managed back-to-back top 10 singles in her career. After the melodrama of "Chains", "Sorrento Moon (I Remember)" was a more laidback, summery offering, inspired by Tina's holidays in coastal Sorrento, Victoria. And its success helped spur Don't Ask, which was currently hovering around the lower reaches of the top 50, back up the chart, where it would remain for the rest of the year.

Number 45 "Cathy's Clown" by You Am I
Peak: number 36
After a couple of top 50 misses - including "Berlin Chair" - from debut album Sound As Ever and a limited edition 7" single in late 1994, You Am I landed their first hit with this track from second album Hi Fi Way, which debuted at number 1 in early March before exiting the chart 10 weeks later. Despite sharing a title with The Everly Brothers hit from 1960, this was a different song.

Number 25 "Tongue Tied" by Boom Crash Opera
Peak: number 25
On the Chart Beats Facebook page, I recently posted a video compile of my favourite Australian bands of the 1980s. Spoiler alert: Boom Crash Opera came in at number 4. I also liked their '90s output. Well, I did up until this second single from Born. What a mess. I'm all for bands being musically adventurous, and I guess BCO had to do something after their business-as-usual third album, Fabulous Beast, had under-performed. But you still need to produce good songs. "Tongue Tied" was not a good song, and it's little surprise it only last one week in the top 50, with its chart progression going 89-63-25-55-61-66. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of the end for BCO, who never returned to the top 100.

Number 24 "What'll I Do" by Janet Jackson
Peak: number 14
Like Primal Scream, Janet Jackson was also in the country around this time, but it's likely this seventh single from janet would have charted regardless, especially since its rocky feel distinguished it from the previous tracks to have been lifted from the 1993 album (just as "Black Cat" had stood out late in the run of Rhythm Nation 1814 singles). A remake of 1967 single "What'll I Do For Satisfaction" by Johnny Daye, Janet's version also featured a sample of The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and she even ended up with a writing credit on the track as well. And although you would have been excused for thinking this would be the last single taken from janet, you would also have been wrong, with an eighth hit still to come.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):

Next week: another female artist scores a hit with a cover of an obscure song, while a female duo tell it exactly like it is with their one and only hit.

Back to: Feb 5, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 19, 1995

Monday, 10 February 2020

This Week In 1980: February 10, 1980

In "Paninaro", Pet Shop Boys' Chris Lowe listed rockabilly as one of the genres he doesn't like - there's quite a list (but what he does like, he loves passionately). And I have to say I agree with him. For the most part. 

Are you ready? Ready, Freddie

This week in 1980, one of the biggest bands in the world released a rockabilly song that not only was quite unlike anything they'd put out before, but it became their longest-running number 1 in Australia. I even liked it.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending February 10, 1980

Still at number 1 this week in 1980 was "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson, but its days on top were numbered.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Living On An Island" by Status Quo
Peak: number 62
Previous single "Whatever You Want" continued to hover in the 20s, but this follow-up about living outside the UK for tax purposes (and taking drugs) - what a topic! - was not what the Australian public wanted.

Number 88 "Bobby And The Space Invaders" by Dennis Wilson
Peak: number 82
Hitting the top 100 between massive hits "Computer Games" and "Space Invaders", this unsuccessful video game-themed track was by an Australian musician, not the Beach Boy. 

New Entries
Number 50 "My Knight In Black Leather" by Bette Midler
Peak: number 29
Australia was one of the few places this Boney M-sounding disco track was lifted as a single from Bette Midler's fifth album, Thighs And Whispers. And it's a good thing it was, since it performed better than lead single "Married Men" (number 39 in 1979) and gave Bette, who looks like she's having a whale of a time in the video below, her biggest hit since "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" in 1973.

Number 48 "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen
Peak: number 1
From a song about leather we now come to a band wearing the material in the video for this lead single from their eighth album, The Game. A short and sweet rockabilly track that was a change in direction from the epic anthems Queen had become known for, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" channelled vintage Elvis Presley and was perfectly timed to slot into the rockabilly revival led by The Stray Cats and Shakin' Stevens. Written by frontman Freddie Mercury while he was in the bath, the song came together quickly but enjoyed one of the longest stays at number 1 in 1980, clocking up seven weeks on top, five weeks more than they'd managed with "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Number 47 "I Want You Tonight" by Pablo Cruise
Peak: number 43
Their previous album, Worlds Away, had yielded top 10 hit "Love Will Find A Way" (and also featured a cover of Peter Allen's "I Go To Rio"), and San Francisco soft rock band Pablo Cruise were hoping for a similar response to this lead single from next album Part Of The Game. Despite being a catchy piece of disco-influenced rock - or maybe because of that fact since the genre was on the wane - "I Want You Tonight" ended up as only a minor top 50 entry.

Number 45 "Carrie" by Cliff Richard
Peak: number 18
The Cliff Richard comeback continued as the music industry veteran scored another hit from Rock 'n' Roll Juvenile. Although not as big as "We Don't Talk Anymore", which reached number 3 and fell out of the top 50 just weeks earlier, "Carrie" did Cliff his first back-to-back top 20 singles for the first time since the late 1960s. The song was co-written by Terry Britten, who'd also co-written 1976's "Devil Woman", and B.A. Robertson, and was one of a string of hits for Cliff in the coming years.

Number 42 "Moonlight And Muzak" by M
Peak: number 37
A new wave project fronted by Robin Scott, M had spent three weeks at number 1 in mid-1979 with "Pop Muzik", and I tend to think this belated follow-up owed it chart success, such as it was, to the lingering good will associated with that track rather than due to the fact that "Moonlight and Muzak" is any good.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: the decade's first UK chart-topper debuts - could it reach number 1 in Australia as well? Plus, a vampire-themed novelty hit.

Back to: Feb 3, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 17, 1980

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: February 5, 1995

Most weekends during the mid-'90s, you could be guaranteed to find me out clubbing. (Do people still call it going clubbing?) And there was one sound that was guaranteed to get me on the dance floor (or podium, if I'm being honest).

In 1995, there was nothing in the world I liked more than a Motiv8 mix

This week in 1995, the latest single to boast a galloping bassline courtesy of remix team (and sometimes artist in their own right) Motiv8 debuted on the ARIA top 50, but I'd already been hammering it all summer.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending February 5, 1995

A song I was sick of being hammered spent its final week at number 1 this week in 1995. "Zombie" by The Cranberries registered an eighth week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 71 "Star" by The Cult
Peak: number 70
Peaking 30 places lower than the first single from The Cult's self-titled album, this would be the British band's final top 100 appearance.

Number 64 "This Generation" by Roachford
Peak: number 53
It got close, but this third single from Permanent Shade Of Blue couldn't crack the top 50 despite spending 21 weeks in the bottom half of the top 100. During that time, the album re-entered the chart and made it all the way to number 2, and the band toured the country in May.

New Entries
Number 49 "Let The Dream Come True" by DJ BoBo
Peak: number 49
A year is a long time in dance music. In late 1993, "Somebody Dance With Me" had been a gold-certified top 20 hit for Swiss performer DJ BoBo. But this lead single from his second album, There Is A Party, only just made the top 50 after a slow climb since mid-December. "Let The Dream Come True" didn't stray from the formula of DJ BoBo's earlier singles, and maybe that was the problem, with other he raps, she sings acts like 2 Unlimited, Snap! and Culture Beat also past their hit-making days. That doesn't account for MC Sar & The Real McCoy, though...

Number 47 "Nothing In The World" by Mozaic
Peak: number 20
Maybe the problem with DJ BoBo was that it sounded like 1993, whereas this song, which did make the top 20, was a better reflection of where pop/dance music was at in 1995. Big piano chords, a racing bassline and a massive, hands-in-the-air chorus. Those elements came courtesy of Motiv8, who'd reached the top 10 in their own right with "Rockin' For Myself" and remixed this track. The music video for "Nothing In The World" featured an edit of the Motiv8 Full On Pumping Mix, but it's nowhere near as good as the Motiv8 Radio Edit (below), which was the first track on the CD single and one I played to death over summer '94-'95. Soon, I would be scouring Music Week magazine from the UK for information about Motiv8 mixes and buying a lot of them on import. As for the actual group, Mozaic, I know little about them other than they consisted of three female singers and a male producer type, and while "Nothing In The World" flopped in the UK, they did have a hit there with a sub-standard remake of "Sing Hallelujah" called "Sing It (The Hallelujah Song)".

Number 46 "Gallows Pole" by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant
Peak: number 46
Rock fans rejoiced when former Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Planet reunited in 1994 for No Quarter, a live album which featured a handful of new songs among tracks their band had previously recorded. "Gallows Pole" was one of the latter, having previously appeared on 1970's Led Zeppelin III, although the song itself dated back much further, having originated as an old folk tune.

Number 45 "Can't Get Enough" by Supergroove
Peak: number 32
A chart-topper at home in New Zealand, where it came in the middle of a string of five consecutive top 10 hits, this slice of funk/rock was the band's only song to cross over in Australia. I haven't listened to "Can't Get Enough" since 1995, and checking it out again now, it sounds like a cross between Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Cat Empire. Make of that what you will.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):

Next week: yet another single from an album released in 1993, plus a one-week wonder that zoomed into the top 25 and then out the following week.

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