This Week In 1994: March 27, 1994
I've probably said this before - I do tend to repeat myself a bit - but when it comes to cover versions, if you're going to bother remaking a song, you may as well do something interesting with it rather than just record it in exactly the same way as the original.
This week in 1994, three of the week's new entries on the ARIA singles chart were updates of old songs - two from the '70s and one from the '60s - and all of them did something quite different with them than what had been done before.
There was nothing different about the number 1 spot on the top 50 this week in 1994 as East 17 stayed on top for a fourth week with "It's Alright".
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Heard So Much About You" by Nick Barker
Peak: number 88
With Nick Barker & The Reptiles having never really got off the ground, their frontman went it alone on this single produced by Richard Pleasance, but didn't manage to attract much more interest.
Number 94 "Thinking Of You '94" by Sister Sledge
Peak: number 88
It was actually a 1993 remix that took its time to come out in Australia, but this revamp of the girl group's 1984 single managed to do something the original hadn't - it made the top 100.
Peak: number 45
Our first remake of the week was actually revived by the man who originally performed it. In 1976, Elton John and Kiki Dee went all the way to number 1 in Australia, the UK and the US with "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" - the song that remained Elton's only British chart-topper right up until 1990's re-release of "Sacrifice/Healing Hands" there. In 1994, Elton revisited the track for his Duets album and took it in a new direction. Kiki Dee was out (although she performed on the album's lead single, "True Love") and in was future Emmy Award-winning reality TV host RuPaul. I can't say I loved what they did with what is one of the best pop songs of all time, but the video was kind of fun, with the pair dressing up as iconic duos from history, including Sonny and Cher, the latter of whom had recently bastardised one of her own classic tracks in a remake with Beavis and Butt-head.
Number 49 "Feel Like Making Love" by Pauline Henry
Peak: number 13
Her former band, The Chimes, had scored their biggest hit with a soulful remake of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", and Pauline Henry did the same in her solo career with her cover of Bad Company's "Feel Like Making Love", a song from 1975 that never charted in Australia. The big-voiced singer retained some of the rock punch of the track, but gave it a slick pop/R&B feel as well. As big a fan as I was of The Chimes, I have to say this single left me a bit cold.
Peak: number 39
I was, however, still big into 2 Unlimited in 1994, but it seemed their fans were drying up in Australia with this fifth and final single from No Limits barely making the top 40 despite the single version of "Let The Beat Control Your Body" being quite different from the album version. Perhaps a new album in a few months would help matters... (or perhaps not).
Peak: number 43
In The Name Of The Father (about the Guildford Four and starring Daniel Day-Lewis) was one of my favourite films of the 1990s, and this haunting song taken from the soundtrack prompted me to do something I'd never done before - buy a Sinéad O'Connor single. Co-written by Bono and produced by Bomb The Bass's Tim Simenon, it captured the anger and fury of the movie, and managed to make several seemingly incongruous elements - the singer's lilting vocal, stirring strings and a cool beat - all fit together perfectly. Unfortunately for Sinéad, her days of managing big hits in Australia were behind her.
Peak: number 13
We finish off with another cover, by a reggae group whose last hit has also been a remake. A song that has been performed by numerous artists in a whole range of genres, "Twist And Shout" is best known in its version by The Beatles, but they weren't the first act to record it. Vocal groups The Top Notes and The Isley Brothers got to it before the Fab Four. In the UK, Chaka Demus & Pliers managed something The Beatles didn't - they reached number 1 on the singles chart with "Twist And Shout" (although The Beatles' version of the song had been originally released there on a three-track EP which topped the EP chart instead).
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994:
Next week: a band who hit the top of the chart in 1993 return to do the same in 1994.