This Week In 1994: January 23, 1994
Where New Edition and New Kids On The Block led in the '80s, countless other boy bands followed in the '90s. And this week in 1994, a trio of easy-on-the-eye, all-singing, all-dancing Americans became the latest guy group to visit the ARIA top 50.
While pop fans embraced the new act, music fans of a different kind snapped up the week's biggest new single, which ended up as the number 1 song on a very different type of countdown.
This week in 1994, Bryan Adams was back at number 1, alongside Rod Stewart and Sting, with soundtrack hit "All For Love" spending its first week on top.
Off The Chart
Number 80 "Pure Killer" by Defryme
Peak: number 70
Their last single had just missed the top 50 and the latest from the Australian hard rock band was another chart also-ran, but a hit would come in the months ahead.
Number 78 "Just Keep Me Moving" by kd lang
Peak: number 63
She had yet to produce another top 50 single to follow "Constant Craving", and it wouldn't be this lead release from Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, although the soundtrack album would go on to yield a hit.
Number 75 "Lights Out At Eleven" by Baby Animals
Peak: number 54
Another single from Shaved And Dangerous and another top 50 miss for this song that dealt with suicide. On the plus side, the album did re-enter the chart in the weeks to come, returning to the top 20.
Number 69 "Barren Ground" by Daryl Braithwaite
Peak: number 61
It was back to the beach for this music video for Daryl Braithwaite's second single from Taste The Salt, but the Bruce Hornsby And The Range cover didn't come close to matching the success of his other song with an oceanside clip, "The Horses".
Peak: number 37
A couple of months earlier, the ARIA top 50 had been littered with reggae hits, but aside from Inner Circle's lingering smash and a couple of pop/reggae hybrids from Ace Of Base and Peter Andre, the picture was very different in 1994. Former top 5 act Chaka Demus & Pliers limped into the top 40 with the follow-up to "Tease Me" despite their cover of Curtis Mayfield's 1981 single "She Don't Let Nobody (But Me)" being, in my opinion, a much better song.
Number 42 "Feelin' Alright" by E.Y.C.
Peak: number 7
In a tale that would become quite familiar throughout the '90s, American trio E.Y.C. (which stood for Express Yourself Clearly) were actually way more successful outside their homeland than in the US. Debut single "Feelin' Alright" was the type of watered down new jack swing which would form the template for early Backstreet Boys singles, and gave Damon Butler, Dave Loeffler and Trey Parker a top 10 hit locally. The success wouldn't last, although we'll see the guys with a couple of less shouty hits in the months to come. Interestingly, I just discovered Dave is still in the boy band game, being one of the mastermind behind new quintet Why Don't We.
Number 38 "Can We Talk" by Tevin Campbell
Peak: number 12
While E.Y.C. quickly became teen heartthrobs, this singer was still in his teens. Seventeen-year-old Tevin Campbell had been releasing music since 1990, when his Prince-written and -produced debut single, "Round And Round", peaked just outside the US top 10. For the lead single from his second album, I'm Ready, Tevin turned to another prolific hitmaker, Babyface, who co-wrote and produced this R&B ballad, which almost made the ARIA top 10. Tevin's story would end up being much more interesting than this fairly safe hit would suggest, but more on that when we see him on the chart for a second time...
Number 30 "Asshole" by Denis Leary
Peak: number 2
If there's one thing certain to propel a song up the chart it's profanity. And it was little surprise that a novelty track called "Asshole" from a stand-up comedian became an instant hit in Australia - it was like it was the mid-'80s all over again. While I could take a certain satisfaction that Denis Leary's foray into the charts would be denied a number 1 placing by a Eurodance cover version, "Asshole" did end up as the number 1 song on the very first Triple J Hottest 100 that wasn't an all-time ranking but was limited to releases from the previous year. Triple J listeners were welcome to it.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994:
Next week: the return of a chart-topping boy band and the arrival of a rap superstar.