25 Years Ago This Week: September 24, 1995
As if to prove my point last week that pretty much any song was fair game for a dance cover in the mid-'90s, this week in 1995, two new entries on the ARIA top 50 singles chart were... dance remakes.
One was an update of a song that originally packed dance floors almost two decades earlier, while the other was a Eurodance version of a funk/rock song from the mid-'70s. One of the singles reached number 1 and joined a select group of songs to reach the top for two different artists.
Still at number 1 this week in 1995 was "Kiss From A Rose" by Seal, which spent its fifth week in the top spot.
Number 50 "Who Farted?" by The Vaughans
Peak: number 43
I'm actually surprised this song didn't perform better since it's the type of novelty that Australian music-buyers used to love. But while people couldn't get enough of dance tracks with scat-singing and swearing about someone called Alice, a rap song about flatulence was too on the nose? I'm not complaining — the only top 50 hit by the Sydney band is not the type of thing I would have rushed out and bought — it's just unexpected that "Who Farted?" had such a low-key chart career.
Number 49 "Come And Get Your Love" by Real McCoy
Peak: number 18
Here's the first dance cover of the week, and it was the latest hit from Germany's Real McCoy — their fourth in Australia and first to miss the top 10. Originally recorded by Redbone, who'd also released "The Witch Queen Of New Orleans" (later covered by Chantoozies), "Come And Get Your Love" had reached the US top 5 in 1974. And it was one of a handful of songs commissioned by A&R executive Clive Davis to be included on Real McCoy's debut album in America. The result: a US top 20 placing. Even though "Come And Get Your Love" hadn't been a hit in Australia the first time around, Real McCoy's remake also reached our top 20, continuing the trio's successful run.
Number 20 "Runaway" by Janet Jackson
Peak: number 8
Speaking of successful runs, Janet Jackson was coming off eight top 50 singles from one album (janet) — a much better result than she'd managed with earlier releases, when US hits like "When I Think Of You" and "Rhythm Nation" missed our top 50. Throw in a couple of number 2 duets in the past few years, and it's little surprise that a brand new single from the superstar shot straight into the top 20. Released to promote her first career retrospective, Design Of A Decade: 1986-1996, "Runaway" saw Janet in laidback mode, with a light and playful song that name-checked Australia among its many international destinations. In 2014, co-writer and co-producer Jimmy Jam revealed "Runaway" had been pitched to Janet and brother Michael for their duet, but they went for "Scream" instead.
Peak: number 1
Back in 1978, Bee Gees ruled the Australian chart for seven weeks with the original version of "Stayin' Alive", from the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. By 1995, the disco classic was pretty much due for a revival, and UK dance act N-Trance brought it right up to date with a rap courtesy of Ricard Da Force (who'd featured on The KLF's big hits). In that sense, it wasn't a straight cover version, with the rapped verses replacing much of the original track. Still, enough of the song was intact for it to count on the list of songs to reach number 1 twice in Australia (see also: "Venus", "Funkytown"). Like Clock before them, N-Trance's success with "Stayin' Alive" resulted in a shift in their business model, with remakes soon to be the order of the day,
Number 2 "Fantasy" by Mariah Carey
Peak: number 1
Dance remakes weren't the only big news on the ARIA chart this week in 1995. Blasting straight in at number 2 on its way to becoming her first Australian chart-topper was a song that also owed a great debt to an earlier song. Sampling extensively from "Genius Of Love" by Tom Tom Club, "Fantasy" was the lead single from Mariah Carey's fifth album, Daydream — and a major step in her progression from big ballad diva to R&B singer. An official remix by Puff Daddy (as he was then called) that featured rapper O.D.B. gave the song even more of a hip-hop bent, which was a pretty savvy move give the direction US music was headed at the time. Almost needless to say, "Fantasy" reached number 1 in America — her ninth song to do so — but what was new this time was that it became her first single (and only the second song ever) to debut atop the Billboard Hot 100.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: the two bands involved a massive UK chart battle in 1995, plus the latest in the year's irritating dance tracks.