25 Years Ago This Week: June 11, 1995
It's rare for a family to have one superstar performer, but for two music icons to emerge from the one household is even more unusual. So when two massively successful singers, who were also siblings, got together for a duet, it was a monumental occasion.
This week in 1995, a brother and sister who each had a huge catalogue of hits to their names added one more big single to their discography when they teamed up for a duet. With interest in the song sky high, it almost became only the fifth release in Australian chart history to debut at number 1.
The song that stopped the star siblings from debuting at (and getting to) number 1 was "Mouth"by Merril Bainbridge, which spent its fourth week on top.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 96
Taken from his album of remakes, Cover To Cover, this update of the 1973 number 16 hit by Stealers Wheel was Jeff Healy's third and final top 100 appearance.
Peak: number 95
Although her debut album, Violin Player, had reached number 2 in May, there was less interest in the 16-year-old virtuoso's single release of her take on Bach's piece (that had also been reinterpreted by Sky 15 years earlier).
Number 84 "Red Light Special" by TLC
Peak: number 53
Like "Baby-Baby-Baby" from their debut album, this slow jam follow-up to "Creep" was much more successful in the US, where it reached number 2, than locally.
Number 71 "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" by Annie Lennox
Peak: number 56
The latest single from Annie Lennox's covers album was a new version of the 1967 single by British rock band Procol Harum, which was a number 1 hit in Australia.
Number 49 "Blue" by The Jayhawks
Peak: number 49
There might have been a big new entry near the top of the chart this week, but there were also a bunch of songs slipping into the bottom of the top 50 and not getting any further. Case in point: this single from The Jayhawks' fourth album, Tomorrow The Green Grass. I'm not sure why "Blue" suddenly received attention when nothing the American country band had released before (or since) came anywhere near the top 50 - I can only assume its MOR rock stylings picked it up some airplay.
Number 47 "If I Wanted To" by Melissa Etheridge
Peak: number 47
Also briefly popping into the top 50 was this single from Melissa Etheridge's 20-month-old fourth album, Yes I Am - the first track from the album to get as far, with earlier singles "I'm The Only One" and "Come To My Window" bombing despite both being top 25 hits in the US. Similarly, "If I Wanted To" peformed much better in America, where it reached number 16.
Peak: number 46
After two big hits in the form of "Jesse" and "Beautiful In My Eyes", Joshua Kadison made one final visit to the top 50 with this minor hit - another Elton John-style piano ballad lifted from debut album Painted Desert Serenade.
Number 40 "Whatever" by Oasis
Peak: number 40
Like their pop contemporaries Take That, Oasis had struggle to find a foothold on the Australian charts despite becoming a phenomenon back home in the UK. Nothing from debut album Definitely Maybe had entered the top 100, and almost sixth months after it had become their first top 5 hit in Britain, "Whatever" got no further than number 40 locally. It was a start, of course, with the stand-alone single released between Definitely Maybe and (What's The Story) Morning Glory? getting the momentum going for the Britpop band locally. Things would quickly snowball with the frenzy surrounding Morning Glory translating here later in the year. It should be noted that although "Whatever" was only in the top 50 for seven weeks, it spent an additional 15 weeks between numbers 51 and 100, which mirrored its constant seller status in the UK, where its continued availability on CD single allowed it to rack up 110 weeks in the British top 100 between its release and early 1998 - an impressive feat in the pre-digital age.
Number 34 "Only One Road" by Celine Dion
Peak: number 23
By this stage, Celine Dion's record company clearly realised they should stick to ballads if they wanted the Canadian singer to keep having hits, and "Only One Road" was another belter to follow up "Think Twice". The fact The Colour Of My Love had spent the previous four weeks at number 1 likely had something to do with "Only One Road" falling short of the top 20, but although this wasn't one of Celine's biggest hits, it no doubt helped the album enjoy another couple of runs at the top over the next couple of months.
Number 32 "Shade" by silverchair
Peak: number 28
What a year it had been for silverchair, who returned to the chart with this fourth and final single from their debut album. Its chart placement was about as good as it was going to get given Frogstomp had been out for a few months now and would remain on the top 50 well into 1996, but four top 30 hits is not a bad start to a career.
Peak: number 2
Speaking of chart careers, between them brother and sister Michael and Janet Jackson had so far amassed 48 top 50 hits in Australia (with quite a few more to come), so their collaboration on this brand new single was always going to be a big deal. The lead single from Michael Jackson's Epic Records-era career retrospective, HIStory: Past, Present And Future, Book I, "Scream" was the first time the siblings had released a track together, although Janet had previously provided backing vocals on Michael's "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" from Thriller. Befitting this new song's status, it was accompanied by what was claimed to be the most expensive music video ever made up until that point.
Lyrically, "Scream" dealt with Michael's feelings towards the press coverage he'd received in recent years. Whereas the 1989 video for "Leave Me Alone" had poked fun at the way the media portrayed him, by 1995, he was tired of the type of attention he received, especially in the wake of the 1993 child sex abuse allegations. Any controversy surrounding Michael at the time didn't hurt the success of "Scream" one little bit, with it shooting into the ARIA top 2 and the Billboard top 5, although in both cases, it was unable to improve on its debut position.
One thing I overlooked in the first version of this post, thanks in part to it not being credited on the ARIA chart until the following week, is that the single was actually a double A-side release, with "Childhood" receiving billing alongside "Scream". One of Michael's nauseatingly sickly but well intentioned ballads (see also: "Heal The World", "Gone Too Soon"), "Childhood" dealt with the troubles he had faced in his younger years, including the abuse he allegedly suffered from his father - a topic he had begun to speak about in the years prior to the song's release. "Childhood" also featured on the soundtrack to Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: another high-flying top 5 debut, plus two dance remakes of very well known songs.