25 Years Ago This Week: July 16, 1995
I'm sure I've written before about the proliferation of vocal harmony groups in the mid-'90s, but you need look no further than the new entries on the ARIA top 50 this week in 1995 for proof I wasn't making it up.
Three different R&B quartets - one American, one British and one Australian - all entered the singles chart with new tunes, although none of them got any further than the 30s. Was the trend overexposed?
Still at number 1 this week in 1995 after their high-flying debut last week were U2, with soundtrack single "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" staying put.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Hold On" by Jamie Walters
Peak: number 76
With the demise of The Heights, the TV band's singer moved on to another Aaron Spelling soap, playing Donna's domestically violent boyfriend, Ray. This was his debut solo single.
Peak: number 62
This double A-side release was the biggest hit from the British band's second album, The Bends. Three more singles - including their first UK top 5, "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" - missed the top 100.
Number 97 "Best Friend" by Adam Reily
Peak: number 76
A decade before he was the go-to guy to write and produce singles by Australian Idol winners and runners-up, a 22-year-old Adam Reily (then the host of Channel 9 video game show The Zone) had no luck with his own singing career.
Number 84 "Hold My Body Tight" by East 17
Peak: number 73
After eight top 20 hits, East 17's latest made a suprisingly low bow on the chart. In all fairness, it was the fifth single from the Steam album.
Number 48 "Water Runs Dry" by Boyz II Men
Peak: number 36
After their side-trip out of Balladsville with "Thank You", Boyz II Men were firmly back in more regular territory with the fourth single from II. Written and produced by Babyface, "Water Runs Dry" also put them back near the top of the US chart, reaching number 2 - their seventh top 3 hit there up until that point. In Australia, they had to make do with just making it into the top 40... for now.
Number 43 "Everytime You Go Away" by Kulcha
Peak: number 35
After four top 30 hits from their self-titled debut album, Kulcha had established themselves as Australia's premier vocal harmony group (although CDB were hot on their heels). So it's a little surprising this cover of the Hall & Oates ballad made famous by Paul Young didn't do better. Not included on the original release of Kulcha, "Everytime You Go Away" was one of three new songs added to a revised track-listing of the album - and even though it's not one of my favourite songs (either in Paul's hit version or this remake), I would have thought the recognition factor alone might have helped its chances.
Number 38 "If You Only Let Me In" by MN8
Peak: number 30
Surpassing both Boyz II Men and Kulcha were Brit boy band MN8 with the follow-up to "I"ve Got A Little Something For You", which fell out of the top 20 this week. Less of a new jack swing clone than its predecessor, "If You Only Let Me In" came from the British R&B style that I favoured (see also: First Avenue label-mates Eternal, Michelle Gayle), and was co-written by Conner Reeves (whose debut as a singer a couple of years later I also enjoyed) and Arthur Baker.
Number 34 "Lightning Crashes" by Live
Peak: number 13
And just like that, our trip down R&B memory lane comes to a - wait for it - crashing halt with the week's highest new entry. After two singles from Throwing Copper that just crept into the top 50 ("Selling The Drama") and top 100 ("I Alone"), Live finally kicked into gear in Australia with the album's third release, which would end up as their biggest hit of all on the ARIA chart. Dedicated to a friend of the band who died in a car crash around the time "Lightning Crashes" was written and was an organ donor, the song's circle of life theme was depicted in the accompanying music video. Also this week, Throwing Copper took flight, leaping up 21 places to number 5 as part of a massive 119-week (non-consecutive) run in the top 50 that didn't end until September 1997.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: a batch of dreadful dance tracks, including a horrendous, crowd participation version of an old rock tune.