Wednesday, 26 June 2013

This Week In 1988: June 26, 1988

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2013. Updated in 2018.

This week in 1988, it was a time of great change for the ARIA chart. After years of using the data compiled by the Kent Music Report (which later became known as the Australian Music Report), ARIA took their chart compiling in-house and a new era was born.

Crowded House were soon back at home at the top of the charts in 1988

To mark the occasion, the weekly chart printout was given a makeover - and a fancy new logo and cleaner font were revealed. Pretty, right?

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending June 26, 1988

The Australian Music Report continued for another decade, and confusion about what chart position songs reached in the years between 1988 and 1998 is usually attributable to one or other chart being referred to. For the purposes of this blog, I'll be continuing to look at the ARIA chart, which was readily available in record stores. 

Otherwise, it's business as usual, which was also the case at the top of the chart, with Cheap Trick spending another week (their fourth and final) at number 1 with "The Flame".

Off The Chart
Number 97 "Kiss Me Deadly" by Lita Ford
Peak: number 97
There were plenty of male hair metal singers, but former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford was one of the only female stars of the genre. Unfortunately for her, Australia wasn't interested in her US number 12 hit.

"Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)" by Samantha Fox
Peak: number 64
She really was a minx, wasn't she? Besides her fondness for brackets, Sam loved a saucy song title, but despite this song's semi-provocative name, "Naughty Girls" didn't manage a spot in the Australian top 50. Released as the final single from her second album, it did, however, become her highest-charting single in the US, reaching number 3 and beating debut hit "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" by one spot. The track was produced by Full Force, who'd also been behind big US hits by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam.

"All Right Now" by Pepsi & Shirlie
Peak: number 60
Here's another act who'd worked with producers Stock Aitken Waterman, but the production trio were nowhere near this cover of the 1970 rock classic by Free, which may explain its underwhelming chart performance around the world. The fourth single from the former Wham! backing singers, "All Right Now" was also the title of the duo's debut album - which was another sales disappointment.

"Stay On These Roads" by a-ha
Peak: number 56
In 1987, they'd been deemed big enough to record the theme to the latest Bond film, The Living Daylights, but in 1988, Norwegian pop trio a-ha started to struggle on the charts. This lead track from their third album of the same name did pretty well in Europe, but subsequent singles started to falter, despite tracks like "The Blood That Moves The Body", "You Are The One" and "Touchy!" being among their best singles of all time.

New Entries
Number 50 "Lost In You" by Rod Stewart
Peak: number 23
Number 23? I don't remember this song at all! But, then again, I did try to block out Rod Stewart's music as much as possible during the latter part of the '80s. And the '90s. This was the first single from Rod's Out Of Order album, which also contained the singles "My Heart Can't Tell You No" and "Forever Young" (neither of which cracked the ARIA chart), and was co-produced by Duran Duran's Andy Taylor and Chic's Bernard Edwards (both also involved in The Power Station). That enough facts for you? Can we move on now?

Number 46 "Struggle Town" by Choirboys
number 28
Number 28? OK, I'll stop that now, but I'd also forgotten that Choirboys had another chart hit after "Run To Paradise" and "Boys Will Be Boys". Number 28 would be as high as the Aussie rock band would get on the chart for 16 years, when a Nick Skitz remix of their most famous hit, "Run To Paradise", got to number 16 in 2004.

Number 41 "The Valley Road" by Bruce Hornsby & The Range
number 36
The piano-led MOR band were back with their second album, Scenes From The Southside, and this was the lead single - another smash for them in the US. In Australia, it didn't fare so well, but the album did peak at number 11, so that's something. Despite appearances, the drummer in the clip is not Jack Nicholson, but doppelgänger band member John Molo.

Number 36 "Better Be Home Soon" by Crowded House
number 2
It took them a while to get going first time around, but Crowded House had much quicker success with this lead single from their second album, Temple Of Low Men, which spent four frustrating non-consecutive weeks stuck at number 2 behind "Got To Be Certain" and "Age Of Reason". While their previous ballad single, "Don't Dream It's Over", would remain their biggest US hit, "Better Be Home Soon" was easily their top Australian seller - with no subsequent single even entering the top 10 locally until 1996.

Number 34 "Don't Turn Around" by Aswad
number 34
I was just writing about this song the other day when I counted down my list of favourite tracks from 1994, which was the year Ace Of Base had a worldwide hit with their cover version. This reggae version of the Diane Warren track wasn't the original - Tina Turner had originally released the song as the B-side of 1986's "Typical Male" and it's a typically overblown pop/rock take on the tune. Aswad's decision to remake the song paid off - with their much lighter interpretation making it all the way to number 1 in the UK.

Number 25 "Together Forever" by Rick Astley
number 19
Back with his fourth hit in under a year and the final single from Whenever You Need Somebody, Rick took "Together Forever" to the top of the US Hot 100 and to number 2 in the UK. For the first few weeks of its chart run here, it had "(30 cm)" listed after the song title, which indicated it was, initially at least, charting due to the 12" version.

Number 22 "Perfect Day" by Fischer Z
number 12
In a big week for new entries from some pretty well-known acts, this was probably the least likely song to be the highest debuting single, especially since Fischer Z hadn't had a top 20 hit since 1980. That was two more hits than they'd managed in their homeland of Britain, however, despite both this and "So Long" being classic pop tracks. Well done, Australia!

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1988:

Next week: the arrival of a big hair metal band, as well as new songs by some other artists with big hair. It was the '80s, after all.

Back to: Jun 19, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 3, 1988

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Best Of 1994 - part 4

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

I started off this countdown by mentioning that big ballads were, well, big in 1994 - and none was more massive than a song I've already mentioned a couple of the times along the way. "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet ended up as the year's highest-selling single in Australia (where it spent six weeks at number 1 and another six at number 2) and the UK (15 weeks on top).

Vernie, Kelle, Easther and Louise were Eternal by name but not by nature 

Just to be contrary, the Four Weddings And A Funeral soundtrack hit is at number 146 on my personal list of favourites for the year (you can see the full top 200 at the very end of this post if you're interested), while many of this next batch of songs didn't even register inside the ARIA top 100.

Number 25 "Angel" by Sub Sub
In fact, this third single by the group who'd brought us "Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use)" didn't perform very well anywhere in the world and completely missed the UK chart. I liked the original version of this track as well as a remix by Love To Infinity, but Sub Sub's dance music days would soon be behind them as they continued their metamorphosis into Doves.

Number 24 "Choose" by Color Me Badd
Like Sub Sub, Color Me Badd couldn't cut a break in 1994, despite their second album, Time And Chance, being every bit as good as their debut record (and yes, that's a compliment). It probably wasn't a good idea to release the boring title track as the lead single, since second single "Choose" was far superior, but by the time it came out, the damage was done and it stalled at number 23 in the US. For many artists, that position would be fine, but CMB had reached number 2 and then number 1 twice with their first three singles - so it was quite a comedown.

Number 23 "Sight For Sore Eyes" by M-People
M-People were on a roll in 1994, so much so that they barely paused for breath between second album Elegant Slumming and its final single, "Renaissance" (number 55 on this list), and third album Bizarre Fruit, which featured this lead single. Having found a hit-making formula, the Manchester act didn't stray too far musically over the next few years, with "Sight For Sore Eyes" sounding like any number of other songs by the group. Obviously, it was a sound I liked.

Number 22 "Come In Out Of The Rain" by Wendy Moten
Here's a classic big ballad that did absolutely nothing in Australia, but did reach the UK top 10. Very much a product of its time - after all, 1994 was the year Celine Dion scored one of the biggest global hits with her remake of "The Power Of Love" - "Come In Out Of The Rain" has everything you want from an over-the-top tearjerker: an understated verse, a massive chorus, a dramatic bridge and, yes, a key change. Good times.

Number 21 "Sweetness" by Michelle Gayle
On the other end of the histrionic spectrum is this playful and, it has to be said, sweet tune from the actress/singer, who got around to releasing her debut album in 1994. "Sweetness" was far and away the biggest UK hit for Michelle, although she did release a handful of quite good pop songs over the next couple of years.

Number 20 "I've Learned To Cope" by Bass Culture featuring Lisa Maxwell
Australia was doing quite well on the dance music front in 1994. We've already seen songs by Culture Shock, Rockmelons, Southend, and Itch-E & Scratch-E on this countdown, and here's another local gem that was not the hit it deserved to be. Bass Culture would keep trying to land a hit over the next couple of years, while guest vocalist Lisa also released some solo singles that failed to ignite.

Number 19 "What Are You So Happy About?" by Boxcar
Another Australian dance track, another chart flop and a song that's only on YouTube in extended form - so you'll just have to take my word for how good a tune it is. I saw Boxcar play this track and more from their excellent second album, Algorhythm, a couple of times in 1994. Once, at a club gig at Kinsella's in Sydney, and another time, when they supported Pet Shop Boys in concert. Speaking of...

Number 18 "Liberation" by Pet Shop Boys
Previously featured here

Number 17 "Just A Step From Heaven" by Eternal
Girl group Eternal's debut album, Always & Forever, was laden with hits - well, at least the UK thought so. In Australia, only debut single "Stay" did well, while back in Britain, "Just A Step From Heaven" was their third straight top 10 following "Stay" and "Save Our Love" (number 50 on this list). "Oh Baby I..." (number 72) would go on to achieve the same result, while "So Good" (number 114) and "Crazy" (number 108) weren't far behind, both cracking the UK top 15. Not bad for a year's work.

Number 16 "Another Night" by MC Sar & The Real McCoy
Just when you thought there'd be no more Eurodance... this German act had been around since 1989 (when they recorded a version of "Pump Up The Jam" I've never heard until now) with only a couple of minor hits at home until they released this single, which changed everything for them. Mind you, it took its time. Originally released in mid-1993, "Another Night" wasn't successful in the US, UK or Australia until late-'94 and into 1995. A six-week number 1 in Australia, it was the start of a string of hits for the group who'd quickly drop the MC Sar bit from their name.

Number 15 "Do You Want It Right Now (remix)" by Degrees Of Motion
Here's another dance act that took its sweet time climbing charts, but in 1994, two of DOM's singles from 1992 finally cracked the UK top 30. "Shine On" (the original version of which featured on my 1992 top 100) was the better performer of the two, reaching number 8 in a substantially remixed form (which is at number 48 on this list). Meanwhile, "Do You Want It Right Now", which had previously been a single for Siedah Garrett in 1985 and an album track on Taylor Dayne's Tell It To My Heart, only improved marginally on its original number 31 peak by getting to number 26. I'm not sure if the clip below is the original or the 1994 remix - but it hardly matters since they were fairly similar.

Number 14 "I'll Remember" by Madonna
Funnily enough, this is probably one of the least remembered Madonna singles these days, despite spending four weeks at number 2 in the US and reaching number 7 in both Australia and the UK. But, the track from the soundtrack of the Joe Pesci film, With Honors (also long-forgotten, I imagine) hasn't been performed live by Madonna or featured on any of her greatest hits albums since 1995's Something To Remember. I still enjoy the ballad every time I hear it, and at the time, it was a change of pace that bridged the divide between the Erotica and Bedtime Stories albums. The latter was also released in 1994, spawning singles "Secret" (number 58 on this list) and "Take A Bow" (number 147).

Number 13 "Why?" By D-Mob featuring Cathy Dennis
A disclaimer: the video version of this song (which used the Todd Terry remix) is not the version I like of this track - a reunion between Cathy and the dance group that introduced her to the world back in 1989. But, since I can't find the album version (which also appeared on the Beverly Hills, 90210 soundtrack) on YouTube, you'll have to take my word for it.
By this point in her career, Cathy wasn't enjoying anywhere near the chart success she had with the singles from her first album, with tracks like "Irresistible" and "You Lied To Me" bombing. Even a performance on 90210 couldn't put her back in the UK or US top 10. A shift in direction for her third album didn't help matters too much, and Cathy eventually bowed out of the spotlight for a much more lucrative career as a songwriter of hits like "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" and "Toxic".

Number 12 "Ain't Nobody" by Jaki Graham
It only makes sense that a song that's been covered as often as this one was the subject of a chart battle between two rival versions in 1994. Interestingly, the other remake was recorded by KWS, who'd found themselves in a similar situation you can read about on my 1992 countdown. KWS' take on "Ain't Nobody" was the bigger hit in the UK, but in Australia, it was British singer Jaki Graham who performed better, reaching number 17. It was Jaki's first hit in Australia, although she'd reached the top 10 three times during the '80s in the UK. There's a link to the Love To Infinity remix (which I preferred) in the song title above, while the music video is below.

Number 11 "Reach" by Judy Cheeks
Up until this point, most releases on the Positiva label had been issued with the trademark blue and white single cover. No artist images, no variation from the stock standard artwork. I could be wrong, but from memory, Judy Cheeks was the first act that broke with tradition and, as you can see below, this song came out with a very different sleeve design. It didn't really help matters, since "Reach" only reached number 17 in the UK (and a remix and re-release two years later didn't improve upon that), but it was exactly the type of song I loved in 1994: wailing vocals, dance beat, handbag house feel.

Number 10 "Spend Some Time" by Brand New Heavies
The acid jazz group still weren't achieving major chart success with their singles, despite releasing some of their all-time best tracks in 1994, but their album, Brother Sister, was a big success. A top 5 album in the UK and even a top 20 hit in Australia, it featured this track, as well as "Dream On Dreamer" (number 41 on this list), "Back To Love" (number 44) and a cover of Maria Muldaur's 1974 single, "Midnight At The Oasis" (number 63).

Number 9 "Run To The Sun" by Erasure
Mentioned below

Number 8 "Caught In The Middle (Heart Beats Like A Drum) (remix)" by Juliet Roberts
Record companies really were persistent in the 1990s. Without remixes, re-releases and revamps, artists like D:Ream, Let Loose and M-People would never have gone on to enjoy the success they did. British singer Juliet Roberts was another act who tried and tried again, and this single was vastly improved thanks to a new mix. Unfortunately, the results weren't as impressive, with the remix of "Caught..." peaking at number 14 (compared to the original's number 24) and the reissued "I Want You" reaching number 28, a rise of only five places from the position reached by "I Want You/Again" (number 90 on this list) earlier in the year.

Number 7 "Let The Music (Lift You Up)" by Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
If there's one act that perfected the wailing vocal/piano house sound I loved in 1994, it was Loveland, with songs like this and the double A-side "(Keep On) Shining/Hope (Never Give Up)" (number 65 on this list). Tracks were actually billed as Loveland featuring the voice of Rachel McFarlane, clearly to avoid confusion with any other part of the singer, who also appeared on songs by N-Trance and Gems For Jem during the '90s - and in Rent.

Number 6 "Always" by Erasure
Fresh from reintroducing the world to ABBA and celebrating their own first 20 singles in 1992, Erasure returned with a new album in 1994 and one of their biggest US hits in the form of "Always". It's probably fair to say that I Say, I Say, I Say, which also featured "Run To The Sun" (number 9 above) and "I Love Saturday" (number 54 on this list), was the synthpop duo's last truly classic album, and it brought to an end their run of five UK number 1 albums. As well as the slower single version of "Always", I was also a fan of the Microbots remix, which you can listen to here.

Number 5 "Sex Drive" by Glam featuring Pete Burns
Any '80s music fan knows the Dead Or Alive singer, who teamed up with Italian house act Glam for this dance anthem in 1994. Glam had previously recorded "Hell's Party", which had in turn been sampled by Urban Cookie Collective on "The Key: The Secret", and some of the elements of "Hell's Party" can also be heard in "Sex Drive". Never a big hit, "Sex Drive" was a steady seller on import in Australia, and would eventually be re-recorded for Dead Or Alive's Nukleopatra album and released as a single under their own steam in 1996. That version was nowhere near as good as this one, however, which you can hear in the audio link above or watch in an Italian TV performance below.

Number 4 "Nothing In The World" by Mozaic
In 1994, I started my first music retail job. I was working in a department store and, when an opening in the music department came up, I bugged HR until they transferred me from the greetings card section. This was the song I became synonymous with - and it was all because of the Motiv8 mix, which I played to death. Alongside Loveland, Love To Infinity and Brothers In Rhythm, Motiv8 were my favourite remixers at the time and could transform any song into a galloping dance smash. The artist themselves, Mozaic, were a UK group and although this song flopped there, it was a top 20 hit in Australia. There's a link to an audio clip of the mix I prefer in the song title, while the music video, which features a harder, less poppier mix, is below.

Number 3 "Free Spirit" by Kim Appleby
It should have been massive - one half of one of Stock Aitken Waterman's biggest acts returned to work with Stock and Aitken. However, "Free Spirit" couldn't even crack the UK top 50. The production duo had recently reunited and formed Love This Records, and over the next few years would be behind brilliant tracks like this and an awful lot of terrible novelty records. For Kim, this was the end of the road for her music career for all intents and purposes.

Number 2 "Rockin' For Myself (remixes)" by Motiv8 featuring Angie Brown
And here's Motiv8 in their guise as artist, with a revamp of their 1993 single, which just earnt a place on my top 100 for that year. The new mixes of "Rockin' For Myself" turned a good song into a great one, and the record-buying public responded accordingly, sending the song into the UK top 20 and the Australian top 10. The video version of the track was fantastic, but I also liked a different remix, which ended up being used as the backing track for a Gina G song.

Number 1 "Light My Fire" by Clubhouse featuring Carl
My favourite song for 1994 is one I distinctly remember dancing to on New Year's Eve that year at a house party my friends and I dropped into on our way to an '80s music club night. Some things never change. An Italian house track that became popular in the UK thanks to a fairly ordinary Cappella remix, "Light My Fire" was best in its original form (which you can hear in the audio link above). The video below is of vocalist Carl performing on Top Of The Pops, during the era when all performers had to sing live. At a time when Eurodance and house tracks were increasingly in the charts, it must have made for some interesting dilemmas for the artists involved.

My top 200 for 1994 in full:

1        LIGHT MY FIRE Clubhouse featuring Carl
2        ROCKIN' FOR MYSELF (REMIXES) Motiv8 featuring Angie Brown
3        FREE SPIRIT Kim Appleby
4        NOTHING IN THE WORLD Mozaic
5        SEX DRIVE Glam featuring Pete Burns
6        ALWAYS / MICROBOTS MIX Erasure
7        LET THE MUSIC (LIFT YOU UP) Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
9        RUN TO THE SUN Erasure
10      SPEND SOME TIME Brand New Heavies
11      REACH Judy Cheeks
12      AIN'T NOBODY Jaki Graham
13      WHY? D-Mob featuring Cathy Dennis
14      I'LL REMEMBER Madonna
15      DO YOU WANT IT RIGHT NOW (REMIX) Degrees Of Motion
16      ANOTHER NIGHT M.C. Sar & The Real McCoy
18      LIBERATION Pet Shop Boys
20      I'VE LEARNED TO COPE Bass Culture featuring Lisa Maxwell
21      SWEETNESS Michelle Gayle
22      COME IN OUT OF THE RAIN Wendy Moten
23      SIGHT FOR SORE EYES M-People
24      CHOOSE Color Me Badd
25      ANGEL Sub Sub
26      GIVE IT UP Cut 'n' Move
27      CRAZY FOR YOU Let Loose
28      THE REAL THING 2 Unlimited
29      MOVE ON BABY Cappella
31      YOU GOTTA BE Des'ree
32      KISS FROM A ROSE Seal
33      I SWEAR All-4-One
34      IT'S OVER NOW (IT'S ALRIGHT) Cause & Effect
36      SATISFY THE GROOVE Culture Shock
39      STRONGER TOGETHER The Rockmelons
41      DREAM ON DREAMER Brand New Heavies
42      CONFIDE IN ME / REMIX Kylie Minogue
44      BACK TO LOVE / GRAEME PARK MIX Brand New Heavies
46      CRUISE CONTROL (REMIX) Headless Chickens
47      ONLY TO BE WITH YOU Roachford
48      SHINE ON (REMIX) Degrees Of Motion featuring Biti
49      THE SIGN Ace of Base
50      SAVE OUR LOVE Eternal
51      SEARCHING China Black
52      FALL Single Gun Theory
53      SON OF A GUN JX
54      I LOVE SATURDAY Erasure
55      RENAISSANCE M-People
56      ANYTIME YOU NEED A FRIEND Mariah Carey
57      WALKAWAY LOVER Toni Pearen
58      SECRET / REMIX Madonna
59      ROUNDABOUT Caligula
60      TIME INXS
62      HOLD THAT SUCKER DOWN O.T. Quartet
63      MIDNIGHT AT THE OASIS Brand New Heavies
65      (KEEP ON) SHINING / HOPE (NEVER GIVE UP) Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane
66      HIGHER GROUND Sasha
67      BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE Barbara Tucker
68      THE REAL THING Tony di Bart
69      HAVE MERCY Yazz
70      PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE Kylie Minogue
71      ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS Absolutely Fabulous
72      AROUND THE WORLD East 17
73      IT'S A LOVING THING C.B.Milton
74      SHE HOLDS THE KEY Secret Life
76      HERE WE GO Stakka Bo
77      SWEETNESS AND LIGHT Itch-e & Scratch-e
78      FOREVER NOW Level 42
79      POISON General Base
80      TRUST ME Pandora
81      OH BABY I... / SWEET FUNKY THING Eternal
82      I'LL MAKE LOVE TO YOU Boyz II Men
83      I WANT THE WORLD 2wo Third3
84      HIGH ON A HAPPY VIBE Urban Cookie Collective
85      ROCK MY HEART Haddaway
86      WINDOW OF HOPE Oleta Adams
87      LISTEN TO THE MUSIC (MOTIV8 REMIX) Doobie Brothers
88      THE WINNER IS... Southend featuring Nik Fish
90      I WANT YOU / AGAIN Juliet Roberts
91      BECAUSE OF LOVE Janet Jackson
92      ALRABAIYE (TAKE ME UP) Amadin featuring Swing
93      P.A.R.T.Y. The Urban Sound Of Amsterdam
94      GIMME ALL YOUR LOVIN' Kym Mazelle & Jocelyn Brown
96      I BELIEVE Marcella Detroit
98      LOVE ME FOR A REASON Boyzone
99      NO MORE TEARS (ENOUGH IS ENOUGH) Kym Mazelle & Jocelyn Brown
100    RESPECT Sub Sub
101    WE GOT THE LOVE Erik
103    TIME OF OUR LIVES Alison Limerick
105    THIS GENERATION Roachford
106    CRAZY Eternal
107    PIECES OF A DREAM Incognito
108    GOT TO BE REAL Erik
109    SEVENTEEN Let Loose
110    CORNFLAKE GIRL Tori Amos
111    BECAUSE OF YOU Gabrielle
112    ON BENDED KNEE Boyz II Men
113    SO GOOD Eternal
114    NO GOOD (START THE DANCE) The Prodigy
115    DON’T SAY GOODBYE GIRL Tevin Campbell
116    MORE TO THIS WORLD Bad Boys Inc
117    MOVE IT UP / THE BIG BEAT Cappella
118    RAISE Hyper Go-Go
119    RIGHT BESIDE YOU Sophie B Hawkins
120    U & ME Cappella
121    TAKE ME AWAY D:Ream
122    YOU WANT THIS Janet Jackson
123    LAY YOUR LOVE ON ME Roachford
125    STAY ANOTHER DAY East 17
126    CARRY ME HOME Gloworm
128    THUNDERDOME Messiah
129    IN THE NAME OF LOVE RTZ featuring Mistri
130    IT'S ALRIGHT Hyper Go-Go
131    WHAT YOU'RE MISSING K-klass
132    LIVING IN THE SUNSHINE Clubhouse featuring Carl
134    REGULATE Warren G featuring Nate Dogg
135    SOMEDAY Eddy
136    REMEMBER ME Smith & Mighty
137    SLEEPING IN MY CAR Roxette
138    LIVING IN DANGER Ace Of Base
139    DO YOU WANNA GET FUNKY C&C Music Factory
140    ROCK BOTTOM Babyface
141    LOVER Joe Roberts
142    HUG MY SOUL / MOTIV8 MIX Saint Etienne
143    LOVE IS ALL AROUND Wet Wet Wet
144    YOU MEAN THE WORLD TO ME Toni Braxton
145    I’LL STAND BY YOU Pretenders
146    I'M READY Tevin Campbell
147    TAKE A BOW Madonna
149    DON’T TURN AROUND Ace of Base
150    I LIKE IT DJH featuring Stefy
151    HEY DJ Lighter Shade Of Brown
154    YOU & I JK
155    OMEN III Magic Affair
156    ANYTHING Culture Beat
157    SEETHER Veruca Salt
158    DO IT Tony Di Bart
159    MAKE IT RIGHT Lisa Stansfield
160    IF YOU GO Jon Secada
162    WORD UP Gun
163    GIMME Boom Crash Opera
165    STARS China Black
166    FEEL WHAT YOU WANT Kristine W
167    YOUNG GIRL Darren Day
168    UPTIGHT Shara Nelson
170    I’LL FIND YOU Michelle Gayle
171    AND OUR FEELINGS Babyface
173    CONNECTION Elastica
174    TRICK WITH A KNIFE Strawpeople
175    DESTINY Kenny Thomas
176    ALWAYS IN MY HEART Tevin Campbell
178    I AIN’T MOVIN’ Des’ree
179    SURE Take That
180    COLD, COLD HEART Wet Wet Wet
181    HALF THE MAN Jamiroquai
182    WHEN CAN I SEE YOU Babyface
183    NOW AND FOREVER Richard Marx
184    NEVER LIE Immature
185    SPIRITUAL LOVE Urban Species
186    WHEN WE DANCE Sting
187    SO MUCH IN LOVE All-4-One
188    ALL OVER YOU Level 42
189    MORE TO LOVE Volcano
190    MY ENEMY Culture Shock
194    IN YOUR ROOM Depeche Mode
195    SLAVE TO THE MUSIC Twenty 4 Seven
196    PEOPLE GET HIGH Boxcar
197    CANNONBALL The Breeders
198    WHATEVER Oasis
199    PALE MOVIE Saint Etienne

I'll move on to my top 100 for 1995 in about a month's time. But, this Wednesday, I'll look back at one of the most significant ARIA charts of all time.

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Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Best Of 1994 - part 3

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

Rain is pouring down outside here in Sydney, so there's no place I'd rather be than inside, counting down through my favourite songs from 1994. I spent a lot of time inside during those 12 months, from memory, since I was completing a double degree at university, so hours were spent at my desk.

Des'ree had a lot to grin about in 1994

I bought my very first computer around that time - an Apple Mac - which made compiling charts so much easier than it had been before. Although I'd been writing lists of my favourite songs since some time in the '80s, the archive I still have of my weekly favourites dates back to 1994. Quite why I ever threw out my earlier paper work, I'm not sure - although I do remember making several "weekly" charts a week in 1987 - so perhaps the earlier years' records wouldn't have been that accurate. Anyway, on with the top 50...

Number 50 "Save Our Love" by Eternal
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 49 "The Sign" by Ace Of Base
They'd had one of the biggest hits of 1993 with "All That She Wants", but the Swedish pop quartet couldn't manage another one despite releasing three more singles from their debut album (including a re-release of their debut single, "Wheel Of Fortune").
Then came this song, one of a handful of new tracks recorded for a revised version of Happy Nation (titled The Sign in the US and Happy Nation US Version everywhere else). "The Sign" surpassed "All That She Wants" to become the biggest hit of 1994 in the States, a number 1 in Australia and a top 5 hit just about everywhere else in the world.
On a roll, Ace Of Base landed more hits with a cover of the Tina Turner B-side/Aswad hit, "Don't Turn Around", and "Living In Danger", two more new songs included on the revamped album. They weren't quite the new ABBA they were being billed as, but at the very least, they were the new Roxette.

Number 48 "Shine On (remix)" by Degrees Of Motion featuring Biti
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 47 "Only To Be With You" by Roachford
Australia hadn't embraced soul/rock group Roachford first (or second) time round, but they finally hit pay dirt locally with the singles from third album Permanent Shade Of Blue. Songs like this lead single, "This Generation" (number 105 on this list) and "Lay Your Love On Me" (number 123) were on high rotation on FM radio, and although none became a top 10 hit, the album hit number 2 and sold double platinum. Their Australian success ended as abruptly as it started and their subsequent albums disappeared more or less without a trace.

Number 46 "Cruise Control (remix)" by Headless Chickens
A hit in New Zealand years before, the Eskimos In Egypt remix of "Cruise Control" became Headless Chickens' one and only top 50 hit across the Tasman (it reached number 26 in Australia). Singer Fiona McDonald was pretty busy in 1994 - she also provided vocals on Strawpeople's "Trick With A Knife", although that song wouldn't crack the ARIA top 50 until mid-1995.

Number 45 "Everything Changes" by Take That
They'd had a massive 1993, and although songs like this, "Love Ain't Here Anymore" and "Sure" continued their hot streak in the UK, 1994 now seems like the calm between two storms for the boy band. The title track of their second album, "Everything Changes" was one of a handful of singles to feature lead vocals by Robbie Williams, who'd be responsible for many of the headlines Take That would make the following year.

Number 44 "Back To Love" by Brand New Heavies
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 43 "Prayer For The Dying" by Seal
Mentioned below

Number 42 "Confide In Me" by Kylie Minogue
Unlike Take That, Kylie Minogue disappeared off the face of the earth in 1993, but the former Stock Aitken Waterman star returned with a new UK record label (Deconstruction) and a surprising new sound in 1994. The edgy "Confide In Me" was a stroke of genius - it returned her to the number 1 spot in Australia for the first time since 1988, and made pretty much all her critics sit up, take notice and rethink any assumptions they made about her in the past. Singles like this and "Put Yourself In My Place" (number 70 on this list), although not among my favourites from her back catalogue, were instrumental in making Kylie cool again. 

Number 41 "Dream On Dreamer" by Brand New Heavies
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 40 "The Rhythm Of The Night" by Corona
Here's a rare example of a Eurodance song that was a hit in Australia (it reached number 8 after debuting in July '94) before it was a success in the UK (a remixed single version by the Rapino Brothers peaked at number 2 after debuting in September the same year). As usual, the US was even further behind, with it taking until 1995 for the song to hit the top 20 there, but there's no denying "The Rhythm Of The Night" was one of the biggest Eurodance hits of the decade around the world. More hits were to come from the group masterminded by Checco Bontempi, who was also behind Lee Marrow ("To Go Crazy") - but like so many other Eurodance acts, major success was limited to one album.

Number 39 "Stronger Together" by Rockmelons
Two years on from Rockmelons' hits with Deni Hines and singles were still being lifted from the Form One Planet album. In this case, a remixed version of "Stronger Together" surfaced in 1994, but only managed one week on the top 100 (at number 96). Not surprisingly, the radio edit of the remix isn't on YouTube, but the full Paul Gotel extended mix is below for your listening pleasure.

Number 38 "Girls & Boys (Pet Shop Boys remix)" by Blur
Speaking of remixes - here's one of 1994's most genius pairings: Pet Shop Boys transforming Blur's Britpop classic into a dance floor anthem. The song, the lead single from the massive Parklife album, became the group's biggest UK hit at the time and also charted, thanks in no small part to the PSB mix, in Australia and the US. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe were clearly pleased with their handiwork since they performed the track during their Discovery tour, which I saw that year. The hook from the song would also resurface in two years' time as the basis for Pianoman's dance hit, "Blurred".

Number 37 "U R The Best Thing (Perfecto remix)" by D:Ream
Yep, remixes were everywhere in 1994 - and this revamp of the 1993 single by Paul Oakenfold gave D:Ream another chart hit to follow "Things Can Only Get Better". The group would enlist another top remix name, Brothers In Rhythm, for their next single, "Take Me Away" (number 121 on this list) and turn to Loveland when it finally came time for them to move on to releasing singles from album number two in 1995.

Number 36 "Satisfy The Groove" by Culture Shock
Even Australia wasn't immune to the remix trend and this dance act benefitted from having local DJ Pee Wee Ferris work his magic on this track, which finally became a top 40 hit in 1994. Following the Euphoria model of male musical mastermind (Paul Brandoli) and two female singers (Victoria Wu and former Young Talent Time member Lorena Novoa), Culture Shock had another minor hit that year with "My Enemy" and their debut album is still in my collection. In 1996, the group re-emerged as a male duo, with Paul and new vocalist Dominic Cincotta releasing "Who's Gonna Cry For You" - but it failed to chart. Meanwhile, Lorena still performs, singing in police band Code One.

Number 35 "Let The Beat Control Your Body" by 2 Unlimited
Mentioned below

Number 34 "It's Over Now (It's Alright)" by Cause & Effect
Compared to the '80s and early '90s, synthpop bands were few and far between by the middle of the decade, but this US group popped up on American Top 40 (yep, I was still listening) with this track, despite the fact it only reached number 67 on the Billboard Hot 100. Clearly, the syndicated radio show was playing one of Billboard's many other charts, but I'm not complaining, since otherwise I never would have come across this song.

Number 33 "I Swear" by All-4-One
Here's a song it was impossible not to come across in 1994 - it was a number 1 country hit in the US for original artist John Michael Montgomery and reached the same position in an R&B version by Boyz II Men clones All-4-One on the Hot 100, as well as in Australia (but not the UK, since it was stuck for seven weeks behind Wet Wet Wet's "Love Is All Around").
As saccharine as a ballad could be, it was always going to be a smash - and although most people probably consider All-4-One to be one hit wonders, they also scored with their debut single, "So Much In Love" (a cover of The Tymes' 1963 hit), and repeated their "I Swear" tactic in 1995 by covering another John Michael Montgomery song, "I Can Love You Like That".

Number 32 "Kiss From A Rose" by Seal
While his music may have been pretty original, Seal's choice of album titles was not, and in 1994 he released another album called Seal as the follow-up to his 1991 debut album (also called Seal). The 1994 Seal became known as Seal II and, besides being one of my 50 favourite albums of all time, featured two singles that make my top 50 for 1994: this track and "Prayer For The Dying" (above at number 43). Of course, "Kiss From A Rose" wasn't a huge hit on its original release as the second single from Seal II and it took until 1995, after the song had been featured in Batman Forever, for the tune to become the global chart-topper we all now know it as.

Number 31 "You Gotta Be" by Des'ree
Another song that was re-released in 1995 after underperforming (at least in the UK) on original release in 1994 was the first single lifted from Des'ree's I Ain't Movin' album. Reissuing had worked for her very first single, "Feel So High", back in 1991/92, but in the end, "You Gotta Be" only improved from being a number 20 hit to a number 14 hit in Britain the following year. In the US (number 5) and Australia (number 9), the song was a much more instant success - but it would take for a second remix of the song in 1999 for the track to finally crack the UK top 10.

Number 30 "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning" by T-Empo
Here's one of those dance tracks I know absolutely nothing about, apart from the fact that it's a really good song and the artist name popped up a lot around the time on remixes of one thing or another (including the re-release of Taylor Dayne's "Tell It To My Heart"). The fantastic Discogs site tells me T-Empo was comprised of Colin Thorpe, Simon Bradshaw and Tim Lennox, if that means anything to you.

Number 29 "Move On Baby" by Cappella
Proving the "Eurodance acts are only successful with songs from one album" theory are Cappella, who continued to lift hits from U Got 2 Know in 1994. Also proving that it's never wise to fix what isn't broken, the Italian dance act only released singles with titles starting with the word "Move" or letter "U", which included UK top 10 hits "Move On Baby" and "U & Me" (number 120 on this list), as well as "Move It Up" (number 117).

Number 28 "The Real Thing" by 2 Unlimited
Back in Part 2, we saw Tony Di Bart's "The Real Thing" and here we find 1994's other song with that title - the first single from 2 Unlimited's second album, Real Things. Sharing a similar hook with Jam & Spoon's "Right In The Night (Fall In Love With Music)" (number 148 on this list), "The Real Thing" matched the number 6 peak of previous single "Let The Beat Control Your Body" (number 35 above) in the UK and, bizarrely enough, equalled that song's number 39 position in Australia. "The Real Thing" would be the dance duo's final UK top 10 and Australian top 40 hit.

Number 27 "Crazy For You" by Let Loose
It missed the UK top 40 first time round in 1993, but "Crazy For You" made up for it in 1994 - peaking at number 2 and, like "I Swear", becoming another song that missed out on the number 1 spot thanks to Wet Wet Wet. It's a good thing it was eventually so successful, since, in the pre-download days, releasing a record twice and shooting two music videos can't have been a cheap exercise. Let Loose didn't have another song as big as "Crazy For You", but they did release a few more good tracks, including "Seventeen" (number 109 on this list), which was co-written and produced by Nik Kershaw.

Number 26 "Give It Up" by Cut 'N' Move
This Danish act should really be on the list of the decade's worst Eurodance groups, were it not for this inspired cover of the KC & The Sunshine Band hit from 1983. Of course, it wasn't that original an idea, since KWS had turned KC's "Please Don't Go" into a huge success all over again in 1992, but a good song is a good song - and this remake was a solid version of an already great track. Interestingly, Australia was far more impressed by Cut 'N' Move's efforts than the UK, where "Give It Up" tanked at number 61. Here, the song was a four-week chart-topper.

In Part 4, we'll tackle my favourite 25 songs from 1994, which features the return of one of the '80s most flamboyant stars and more tracks that didn't succeed first time around.

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