Wednesday, 18 December 2019

25 Years Ago This Week: December 18, 1994

1994 will always be remembered for giving us modern Christmas classic "All I Want For Christmas", which shot into the top 10 this week that year. But it also gave us another festive favourite - a song that actually has nothing to do with the holidays.

East 17 rugged up for the Christmas market

Proof that all you have to do is whack some Christmas bells on a big ballad for it to be classed as a Christmas tune, the single capped off a huge year for the British boy band responsible.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending December 18, 1994

Having a huge week at this point in 1994, The Cranberries rose to the number 1 spot with "Zombie", and would stay there for eight long weeks.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "I Remember" by Coolio featuring J-Ro & Billy Boy
Peak: number 92
He'd breached the top 40 with "Fantastic Voyage", but couldn't do the same with this other sample-heavy track from debut album It Takes A Thief.

Number 99 In A Box by Ammonia
Peak: number 78
Label-mates silverchair had hit the top with their debut release, but this next signing to Murmur didn't make as big a splash with their five-track EP. Bigger things would come in 1995.

Number 95 "People In Tha Middle" by Spearhead
Peak: number 69
With the Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy having folded, Michael Franti moved on to his next (and still current) musical project, while was less political and more laidback.

Number 90 "Pretty Good Year" by Tori Amos
Peak: number 85
Under The Pink's third single, "Past The Mission", had missed the top 100, but Tori ventured back onto the chart with this delicate (except for a bit in the middle) fourth release from the album.

Number 79 "Yeha-Noha (Wishes Of Happiness And Prosperity)" by Sacred Spirit
Peak: number 76
Jumping on the Enigma and Deep Forrest bandwagon, this German new age-meets-electronic project incorporated Native American music - and sold millions of albums around the world.

New Entries
Number 47 "Bang And Blame" by R.E.M.
Peak: number 29
Just as "Man On The Moon" had peaked five places lower than "Drive", so too did this second single from Monster reach a chart high that was five places below the peak achieved by "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?". For me, "Bang And Blame" is one of my favourite songs by R.E.M. from the '90s, possibly beaten only by "Shiny Happy People". (Come on, did you expect a pop fan like me not to favour that one?) Funnily enough, both tracks were left off In Time: The Best Of R.E.M. 1988-2003.

Number 40 "Coma" by Max Sharam
Peak: number 14
She doesn't seem like the kind of artist who would have received her big break on New Faces, which was the exactly the reason Max Sharam went on the talent show in the first place. Following her 1992 appearance on the '90s version of The X Factor or The Voice, Max, whose real first name is Leanna, was signed by Warner Music and released an updated version of the song she had performed on TV as her debut single. Part of the mid-'90s move towards quirkier and less conventional female artists, Max went all the way to the top 20, aided by Triple J support but also airplay on more mainstream stations as well. 

Number 32 "You Want This" by Janet Jackson
Peak: number 16
The singles released so far from janet had peaked at numbers 1, 18, 19, 25 and 37, which meant this debut position for the album's sixth single had already bucked the downward trend. The fact that Janet Jackson was about to embark on her first ever Australian tour, which began in February 1995, might have had something to do with "You Want This" becoming the second most successful track lifted from the album. The song's chances might also have been helped by it being remixed to include a rap by MC Lyte and a previously unreleased track, "70's Love Groove", featuring as a B-side.

Number 20 "Stay Another Day" by East 17
Peak: number 3
They would end 1994 with one of the biggest hits of the year in the form of chart-topper "It's Alright" and one of the summer's most successful singles thanks to this third release from the Steam album. An epic ballad that became the UK's Christmas number 1 for 1994, keeping Mariah Carey stuck at number 2 in the process, "Stay Another Day" is a straight out love song that took on a festive feel thanks to the presence of church bells at the song's climax and, at least in Britain, a rugged up music video. The fact that it was summer in Australia didn't hurt the song's chances and it became the second biggest hit of the boy band's career - and their final top 10 single.

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

Next week: the final chart for 1994, including new entries from a music superstar and one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Plus, a look at the year-end top 100.

Back to: Dec 11, 1994 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Dec 25, 1994


  1. Pretty rare to get a chart on christmas day. Aria took a much shorter break between 1994 and 1995(it would go back to being 3 weeks between 1995 and 1996) Max sharam was one of those artists who was so talented because she didn't really have a gimmick. A shame she didn't have many hits. Tori was right,1994 was a pretty good year but 1995 would be even better.

  2. I had no recollection of that Coolio track when it aired on rage recently.

    I like it, but 'Pretty Good Year' probably only charted (given the sharply diminishing returns for singles 2 and 3 from 'Under the Pink' here) because Tori toured here in December 1994... one show of which was my first concert!

    I liked 'Yeha-Nova', but it was obvious that they were marketing it to a 'new-age' demographic, with that subtitle.

    My favourite R.E.M. single from the 90s would be 'E-bow the Letter', closely followed by 'Drive'. 'Bang and Blame' is another good one.

    I clearly wasn't listening to Triple J properly yet, as I hadn't heard, or even heard of, 'Coma' until it rocketed into the rage top 50 at #40. I think my first thought was... 'what is this?!' (in a good way). I was more a fan of the kooky verses than the more bog-standard, guitar-heavy chorus, though. It's weird how she only had one album.

    For me, 'You Want This' is a (another) nothing song from Janet that only did as well as it did here because it coincided with a tour.

    I'm not a huge fan of 'Stay Another Day', despite its popularity.