Wednesday, 17 July 2019

This Week In 1994: July 17, 1994

Sometimes the difference between a song being a flop or a hit is all down to what genre it is. That point was demonstrated by two of the new entries on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1994.

All-4-One took a country hit and turned it into a mainstream mega-hit

In one case, an R&B group took a country song and turned it into a worldwide chart-topper. In the other, a pop song that was only deemed worthy enough to be a B-side originally became a hit for a second time as a reggae track.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending July 17, 1994

A more or less straightforward cover version was still at number 1 this week in 1994. "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet spent a third week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Rock My Heart" by Haddaway
Peak: number 83
Haddaway's Australian record company skipped over his trip to Balladsville with third single "I Miss You" for something more along the lines of "What Is Love" and "Life", but "Rock My Heart" didn't follow them into the top 50.

Number 91 "My Sharona" by The Knack
Peak: number 72 (Original peak: number 1)
Fifteen years after it ruled the roost for five weeks, the debut single by the American new wave band was back in the top 100 thanks to its use in Reality Bites.  

Number 83 "Sanity" by Defryme
Peak: number 70
More mellow than their usual efforts, this follow-up to their hit remake of "Mama Said Knock You Out" didn't benefit from that track's top 50 exposure. This would be Defryme's final top 100 appearance.

Number 76 "Too Many People" by Pauline Henry
Peak: number 76
Just like her work with The Chimes, Pauline Henry had more success with a remake ("Feel Like Making Love" fell out of the top 50 this week) than this original track, which had been her debut solo single and was given a second shot in Australia.

New Entries
Number 47 "Love Is Strong" by The Rolling Stones
Peak: number 47
By 1994, rock legends The Rolling Stones had entered the phase of their career where they'd put out a new album - in this case, Voodoo Lounge - and embark on a hugely successful world tour. But as for hit singles - well, those days were over, with this lead single from the Don Was co-produced album just creeping into the top 50.

Number 45 "Don't Turn Around" by Ace Of Base
Peak: number 19
As "The Sign" made its way down the top 50 after 16 weeks, Swedish pop quartet Ace Of Base arrived with another of the tracks that had been added to the revised version of their debut album. Originally performed by Tina Turner, and appearing on the B-side to her 1986 single "Typical Male", "Don't Turn Around" had been transformed into a reggae song by Aswad, who took it all the way to the UK number 1 spot in 1988 and had a more modest hit with it here in Australia. Six years later, Ace Of Base's version was also in a reggae vein, although the band's Eurodance spin on reggae. Again, "Don't Turn Around" would prove more successful overseas, making the UK and US top 5, while in Australia, it gave Ace Of Base a third top 20 hit.

Number 41 "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" by Elton John
Peak: number 9
With the new live action(-ish) version of The Lion King in cinemas today, what better time to look back exactly 25 years to the theme song from the original animated version arriving on the ARIA chart? Written by Elton John and Tim Rice, "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" is performed in the movie by the voice actors behind Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa, as well as an offscreen voice (Kristle Edwards) - although the song was originally going to be more of a comedic interlude by just the latter two until Elton nixed that idea. As a result, it became the romantic love song we now know it to be. Elton's own version of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" played over the movie's closing credits and was released as a single, giving him his first solo top 10 hit since 1990's "Sacrifice", as well as an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Grammy.

Number 28 "I Swear" by All-4-One
Peak: number 1
Like "Don't Turn Around", this future chart-topper started life in a completely different genre. First recorded by country singer John Michael Montgomery, "I Swear" had been released at the end of 1993 and went on to top Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. On the mainstream Hot 100, John's version peaked at number 42 in March 1994 before being eclipsed by All-4-One's R&B remake, which shot to number 1 and stayed there for 11 weeks. 
In Australia, the second single by the four-piece vocal harmony group also topped the chart (for "only" five weeks) - a vast improvement on their debut single, "So Much In Love", which had also been a cover (and a hit in the US). Subsequent original tracks by the quartet comprised of Tony Borowiak, Jamie Jones, Delious Kennedy and Alfred Nevarez didn't do anywhere near as well, suggesting their ploy with "I Swear" was the way to go... and so they did, turning another John Michael Montogomery track into a pop hit in 1995.

Number 24 "Don't Be Shy" by Kulcha
Peak: number 13
Proving their instant success with debut single "Shaka Jam" was no fluke, local vocal harmony group Kulcha peaked just outside the top 10 with their second track heavily influenced by American new jack swing. In fact, "Don't Be Shy" - which I probably haven't heard since 1994 - reminds me a bit of "I Want Her" by Keith Sweat. It also stands up pretty well given it's definitely a product of its time.

Number 14 "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden
Peak: number 6
Here's another product of its time - my favourite grunge single of all time. (I say that, but it's not like I own it or anything.) The third track lifted from Superunknown, "Black Hole Sun" gave Soundgarden the big chart hit they'd been building up to, except in the US where it wasn't released as a commercial single. Singer Chris Cornell came up with the song while he was driving - the title came from something he misheard a radio accouncer say and he composed the tune in the car, getting it onto a dictaphone as soon as he reached his destination. The lyrics followed soon after.

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

Next week: the theme song to a fabulous TV comedy gives the duo behind it their biggest hit.

Back to: Jul 10, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 24, 1994


  1. Interesting that Haddaway's "I Miss You" wasn't released as a single here in Oz, but was included on the track list of Hit Machine 7. It must have been considered at least?

    1. It was - just not as the third single. It'll show up next. (Sorry, I try to keep those Off The Chart blurbs as brief as possible.)

  2. 'Rock My Heart' is my favourite Haddaway single, so of course it performed the worst on the chart from those released from his first album.

    I actually liked this Defryme track.

    I am surprised that the local branch of Pauline Henry's record company bothered to re-release 'Too Many People', instead of opting for the rockier 'Can't Take Your Love' (and slightly bigger UK 'hit'), as it probably would have had a better chance of giving her a second solo hit here.

    I never cared much for Ace of Base's rendition of 'Don't Turn Around'. A strange choice to go with a cover, recorded specifically for the US market, after two massive self-penned worldwide hits.

    As far as Kulcha songs go, 'Don't Be Shy' isn't bad. It's slightly amusing seeing an obviously US r&b-influenced track juxtaposed against the backdrop of a low budget video filmed in 90s Australia.

    I have never seen the appeal of 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight'... or 'I Swear', for that matter. Well, I can see how the latter would appeal to lovers of schmaltzy, affected r&b tinged ballads. Both songs seemed inescapable, as did 'Black Hole Sun' - none of which I cared for at all.