Wednesday, 6 February 2019

25 Years Ago This Week: February 6, 1994

It's funny how some pop acts can be absolutely massive in one country and barely cause a ripple in another. That was the situaition with the boy band finally making it onto the ARIA top 50 with their latest single this week in 1994.

Not even the addition of Lulu could excite Australians too much about Take That

In the UK, they were starting to rack up number 1 hits like nobody's business, but in Australia, they couldn't even crack the top 30 - a problem that also faced a number of more established acts this week.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending February 6, 1994

Three well-established male performers vacated the number 1 spot this week, allowing Cut 'n' Move to move up to the top with their cover of "Give It Up"


Off The Chart
Number 100 "Born In The Ghetto" by Funky Poets
Peak: number 90
This single by the American four-piece comprised of brothers Paul and Ray Frazier and their cousins Gene Johnson and Christian Jordon passed me - and most others, it would seem - by at the time, but I like it.

Number 97 "Play Dead" by Björk & David Arnold
Peak: number 65
Another top 100 entry from the Icelandic singer, this single from the soundtrack to film The Young Americans became Björk's biggest international hit up until this point and was later added to the Debut album.

Number 96 "Show Me Love" by Robin S
Peak: number 78
Knocking around since the start of the decade, it took a while - and a remix from StoneBridge - for this dance classic to take off... everywhere except Australia. Endlessly sampled, remixed and covered ever since.

Number 88 "Lonely" by Frente!
Peak: number 88
A brief visit to the chart for this latest single from the Australian band, "Lonely" would be back in a couple of months thanks to a re-release and a remake on the B-side.

Number 87 "Songs From The Sixteenth Floor" by Paul Kelly
Peak: number 87
This was the lead single from Wanted Man, Paul Kelly's first album without former band The Messengers and first solo album in almost a decade. It was the only track to chart from the album.

Number 80 "That's How I'm Livin'" by Ice-T
Peak: number 56
Last week, we saw his band Body Count's cover of "Hey Joe" debut on the top 100 and this week, rapper Ice-T charted with the second single from his Home Invasion album.

Number 68 Tour Sampler by Teenage Fanclub
Peak: number 68
This Australian taster EP was led by the indie band's "Hang On" (the lead track from then-current album Thirteen) and would be their only release to chart locally.  


New Entries
Number 48 "The Power Of Love" by Beverly
Peak: number 16
The only one of this week's seven new entries to get beyond number 32 was an Italo dance remake of Jennifer Rush's 1985 chart-topper, "The Power Of Love", which hit the top 50 two weeks ahead of another, more traditional cover version of the song that would once and for all make a star of its performer. Media Records vocalist Beverley Skeete was drafted in for this cash-in effort, masterminded by Gianfranco Bortolotti, the man behind Eurodance acts like Cappella, 49ers and Club House - and although it was fairly cheesy and cheap-sounding, it did the job, transforming the monster ballad into a fun, dancefloor filler.




Number 47 "Open Up" by Leftfield & John Lydon
Peak: number 39
In the 1980s and early '90s, if you drew a Venn diagram with one circle showing fans of dance music and the other showing fans of rock music there would not have been much overlap. But as the '90s progressed, acts like this British electronic duo (and Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy) bridged the divide between the two genres. It obviously helped that guest vocals on this breakthrough hit from Neil Barnes and Paul Daley came from Sex Pistols and PiL member John Lydon. Not a massive single locally, "Open Up" is one of those songs whose stature has grown in the decades since and is regularly cited as one of the most influential tracks of the decade.




Number 45 "Nails In My Feet" by Crowded House
Peak: number 34
While Leftfield were breaking down musical barriers, it was business as usual for Crowded House with this second single from the Together Alone album - a pleasant, melodic pop/rock tune. Possibly a little too dull to have performed any better, "Nails In My Feet" wouldn't have been my choice to follow up "Distant Sun" and it may just have killed off the album campaign with Together Alone dropping out of the top 50 by the end of March, never to return despite three more singles to come (all but one of which missed the top 50).




Number 44 "Is There Any Love In Your Heart" by Lenny Kravitz
Peak: number 32
On the one hand, a peak outside the top 30 for Lenny Kravitz at this stage of his career could be viewed as somewhat of a disappointment; on the other, "Is There Any Love In Your Heart" took him back into the top 50 after the failure of "Heaven Help" and was the fourth single from Are You Gonna Go My Way. I actually quite like this track, which was a return to funk-tinged rock after a couple of ballad releases.




Number 39 "Relight My Fire" by Take That featuring Lulu
Peak: number 33
Their only other top 50 hit to date, their remake of "Could It Be Magic", couldn't climb any higher than number 30 back in mid-1993, and not even the addition of '60s hitmaker Lulu on another cover version, of Dan Hartman's "Relight My Fire", could transform Take That into the type of hit boy band they were back in Britain. At least UK number 1 "Relight My Fire" made the top 50, having slowly climbed the rankings since mid-December. Previous single "Pray", which had been their first UK chart-topper, had stalled here at number 62, although persistence would pay off for the group's Australian record company in the coming months.




Number 36 "Time" by INXS
Peak: number 36
Once as huge in Australia as Take That currently were in Britain, INXS must have been wondering just what they had to do to land another substantial hit. Not to be confused with "This Time" or "Not Enough Time", this third single from Full Moon, Dirty Hearts was classic INXS and easily my favourite single by the band from the entire decade. But like five of their previous releases, it sputtered out in the 30s. Still, that was better than the album's next single. "Freedom Deep", which became their first track to miss the top 100 since 1982.




Number 34 "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing" by Pet Shop Boys
Peak: number 34
Another song that deserved way better was the third single from Pet Shop Boys' Very album, with not even a remix from the album version enough incentive for people to rush out and buy it. Possibly the most joyous the duo had ever sounded - could that have been the reason it didn't do so well? - "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing" was later covered by Robbie Williams as part of an ongoing mutual admiration society between him and Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994 (updated weekly):





Next week: another instant top 5 for one of the world's most consistent bands, plus one of my favourite band returns to the top 40 in the lead-up to their national tour.


Back to: Jan 30, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 13, 1994


1 comment:

  1. I know 'Born In the Ghetto' primarily through its dubious (given the name) Hit Machine 4. I didn't really appreciate it at the time, with acid jazz (then) not really being my thing, but I like it now.

    I wanted the ‘Play Dead’ single, particuarly since earlier buying the original 11-track version of ‘Debut’ without it, but none of my local stores seemed to stock it. Thankfully, my sister found it for me a few months later on an interstate trip (yes, I made her check the record stores).

    'Show Me Love''s lack of success in Australia was baffling. But the only place I heard/saw it really at the time was a spin as a new release on rage. I always thought 'Can't Get You Out of My Head' ripped it off, musically.

    'Lonely' was a strange single choice, but they were probably trying to re-gain some 'indie' cred.

    The Beverly track's success is probably, if not entirely, due to its rotation on the Melbourne test-licence, youth-orientated, dance music radio station Hitz FM (89.9). The station had a couple of earlier broadcasts, but was on for about 3 months over the summer ’93-94, perhaps extending into early autumn. Checking the state charts for this week in The ARIA Report, Beverly is at #16, up from #40, on the Vic/Tas chart, and is not charting in any other state's top 50. There was also no music video to promote it, so airplay was the main exposure it received. The Dr. Alban track coming up in a month or so also received heavy rotation on Hitz FM, and I suspect that its national charting was initially due to that. Given Victorian FM radio at the time was either 'classic rock' or 'easy listening', a radio station playing club and current chart music was a novel thing, and the station quickly became a phenomenon rivaling the ratings of the majors, much to their dismay.

    I agree that 'Open Up''s stature has increased over time. I liked it, but didn't think it was that special probably until reading it was the single reviewer in a music street press paper I used to read's pick of the best single of '93. If I remember correctly, radio in the US wouldn't play it because of the "burn Hollywood, burn" lyric coinciding with the then-recent Californian 'wildfires'.

    'Nails In My Feet' is probably one of my favourite Crowded House singles. It's a rather quirky song that is now overlooked.

    Not being much of a fan of Take That, 'Relight My Fire' is probably my favourite song of theirs.

    rage mistakenly aired 'Not Enough Time' in place of 'Time' when it was in the top 60.

    I've never cared that much for 'I Wouldn't Normally...', and thought the album version was better.

    ReplyDelete