25 Years Ago This Week: October 1, 1995
You've got to love a chart battle. Record company marketing teams certainly do. But I must say I've been swept up in the past when two artists are pitted against each other as rivals — a situation that may or may not actually be the case — and their latest releases go head to head on the chart.
Chart battles are definitely more of a thing in the UK, where there was Spiller vs Victoria Beckham (with True Steppers & Dane Bowers) in 2000, Geri Halliwell vs Emma Bunton in 1999, any race for the Christmas number 1 spot... and the two Britpop bands who also had a chart battle of sorts this week in 1995 in Australia.
Seal continued to win the battle for the number 1 spot in Australia this week in 1995... for the time being. "Kiss From A Rose" spent its sixth and final week at the top, with future chart-toppers by Mariah Carey and N-Trance closing in.
Off The Chart
Number 90 "Pull Up To The Bumper" by Patra
Peak: number 78
Grace Jones's 1981 original gave her the first top 100 appearance of her career, and this reggae remake did the same for fellow Jamaican singer Patra — although in her case, it would be her only visit to the Australian chart.
Number 49 "Eye Hate U" by Prince
Peak: number 33
With a title that could only come from Prince — who was still going by that unpronounceable symbol at this point — "Eye Hate U" was the lead single from The Gold Experience (although 1994 chart-topper "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" would also be included on the album). Part-sung, part-spoken by Prince, "Eye Hate U" was a classic Prince slow jam, dipping in and out of falsetto, but it probably peaked at about the right position since it wasn't one of his standout singles.
Number 46 "Boom Boom Boom" by The Outhere Brothers
Peak: number 2
As "Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)" spent its 20th week in the top 50, a follow-up that was just as catchy/irritating (depending on your point of view) joined it on the chart. And "Boom Boom Boom" would do even better, falling one place short of the top spot. Like its predecessor, this new hit came in clean and explicit versions, which no doubt helped its cause. For me, it was yet another of 1995's dance duds. Thankfully, there was a bumper crop of excellent dance tracks that year, so a few duds didn't spoil things too much.
Peak: number 27 (for now)
Here's another song that gained attention for being racy — although in quite a different way to The Outhere Brothers. The follow-up to top 5 smash "Somebody's Crying", this second single from Chris Isaak's Forever Blue album was a medium-sized hit in 1995. Four years later, it became even more sexually charged when used in Eyes Wide Shut and re-released with the raunchy Herbs Ritts-directed music video below — going all the way to number 9 as a result.
Number 44 "Country House" by Blur
Peak: number 28
The first of the two bands who fought a hotly contested chart battle in the UK, Blur triumphed over bitter rivals Oasis with this track, which was the lead single from their fourth album, The Great Escape. Whether or not "Country House" (or "Roll With It", the Oasis song it beat to number 1 in the UK) would have been quite as big without the hype surrounding the chart battle — and the general animosity between the two bands — is moot. It is certainly not one of my favourite Blur songs and I can think of many other tracks by the band deserving of topping the chart. In Australia, "Country House", which was inspired by the band's former manager quitting the music industry to go and live in the country, became Blur's second hit, falling nine spots short of matching "Girls And Boys". So how did Oasis do? Keep reading...
Number 42 "Wasn't It Good" by Tina Arena
Peak: number 11
But first, the latest single from Tina Arena's Don't Ask, which almost gave her a third top 10 hit from the album. An improvement on the number 22 peak of "Heaven Help My Heart", "Wasn't It Good" no doubt benefitted from the buzz surrounding Tina later in October when she dominated at that year's ARIA Awards. One minute was chopped off the album version for the single release, which may also have prompted some sales from fans wanting the new mix.
Number 37 "Morning Glory" by Oasis
Peak: number 25
OK, here's Oasis, with a song from second album (What's The Story) Morning Glory? that wasn't even issued as a single in the UK, but did have a music video made for its release in Australia and New Zealand (and promo release in North America). For me, "Morning Glory" is a much better song than "Roll With It", although I can see why the latter would have been chosen for the UK. ("Roll With It" would eventually come out locally in a year's time.) "Morning Glory" also took Oasis into the ARIA top 30 for the first time, with the Battle Of Britpop: Australian edition ending up more as a race to the middle of the chart. Although soon enough, Oasis would be heading much higher up the listings.
Number 27 "Something For The Pain" by Bon Jovi
Peak: number 14
Any lingering interest I had in Bon Jovi had completely dried up by this point, so much so that I have no recollection of this second single from the These Days album. And listening to it now, I don't feel like I've been missing out on much all this time. That said, I did quite enjoy watching the music video for "Something For The Pain" as I write this — not so much for the look-alikes (or should that be look-not-that-alikes) of artists like Eddie Vedder and Snoop Dogg lip syncing along to the song. Instead, it was watching the kid go into the music megastore that made me feel all nostalgic for the hours I would spend browsing through CDs during the '90s.
Number 14 "Hard As A Rock" by AC/DC
Peak: number 14
Another song that peaked at number 14 that I've been completely oblivious to all this time was the lead single of AC/DC's 13th album, Ballbreaker. As a brand new song from the veteran rock band, "Hard As A Rock" made a typically high-flying debut on the ARIA chart, but it fell quickly out, spending only four weeks on the top 50. And unlike the AC/DC classic that debuted 40 years ago this week, "Hard As A Rock" was clearly a fanbase purchase rather than a song by the band that crossed over to a wider audience.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: one of the longest-running number 1 singles of all time, plus the return of a British band who'd reached the top in 1989.