This Week In 1994: August 28, 1994
If I could sum up my favourite mid-'90s music in one phrase it would be "Motiv8 remixes". And the song that got the ball rolling for producer Steve Rodway debuted on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1994.
Funnily enough, the release was itself a remix, with the tune having originally come out the previous year. Soon enough, Motiv8's trademark Hi-NRG sound would be very much in demand.
The most in-demand song in Australia this week in 1994 was still "I Swear" by All-4-One, which spent a third week at number 1.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Caution To The Wind" by Elastic
Peak: number 61
The brains behind Euphoria, Andrew Klippel, took things in a more laidback direction for his next musical project - but didn't have as much chart success under this name.
Peak: number 80
As well as being similarly named, Anticappella and Cappella shared a few other things in common - their frenetic Eurodance sound; being formed by Gianfranco Bortolotti and missing the ARIA top 50.
Number 76 "I Ain't Movin'" by Des'ree
Peak: number 59
With "You Gotta Be" still firmly inside the top 20, Des'ree released her second album's title track as the follow-up, but found herself firmly outside the top 50 with this single.
Peak: number 40
Here it is - the song that stopped Crash Test Dummies becoming a one-hit wonder in Australia. So little did I enjoy the dirge that was "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" that I don't think I ever listened to "Afternoons & Coffeespoons" at the time. But it's actually a lot more up than I was expecting, but still with singer Brad Roberts' sonorous voice blasting out like a foghorn. In Canada, "Swimming In Your Ocean" had been released between "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" and "Afternoons & Coffeespoons".
Peak: number 47
This should have been a much bigger deal. This week marked the return of Australian (by way of America) music royalty - literally, she was TV Week's Queen Of Pop for three years running in the late '70s - with her first new album in over a decade. But the lead single from Marcia Hines' Right Here And Now barely made the top 50 - somewhere she hadn't visited since 1981 with "Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees". Written and produced by Robyn Smith, who'd been responsible for Margaret Urlich's "Escaping" and "Only My Heart Calling", "Rain (Let The Children Play)" has aspirations of being an epic, uplifting anthem, but something about it falls short, despite there even being a key change at the end and Marcia giving it her all.
Number 41 "Rockin' For Myself" by Motiv8
Peak: number 9
Originally released in 1993 (and featuring among my year-end favourites), "Rockin' For Myself" had missed the UK top 40. Re-energised with a raft of remixes in 1994, it reached the UK top 20 in May and did even better a few months later in Australia, finding its way into the top 10. An explosive dance track with vocals by Angie Brown, "Rockin' For Myself" became my second favourite song for 1994 - although I slightly favoured a different remix than the one in the music video below. British producer Steve Rodway (who was Motiv8) would quickly become one of the most popular remixers in pop and dance music, with a number of songs over the next couple of years receiving the trademark galloping bassline - many of which you can find in my year-end countdowns, since I pretty much snapped up anything Motiv8 touched over the next few years.
Peak: number 16
I don't think anyone would argue that this is one of the best hip-hop tracks of all time. A collaboration between Warren Griffin III and Nathaniel Hale (and the debut hit for both), the Michael McDonald-sampling "Regulate" took the West Coast sound to a whole new level, reaching number 2 in the US and a more modest top 20 placing in Australia. The back-and-forth lyrics tell the story of a car-jacking and were recorded in Warren G's apartment, with Nate Dogg laying down his vocals in a cupboard. For a longer read on the song, try this Rolling Stone article.
Peak: number 35
From one of the freshest sounds of 1994, we turn now to two Australian bands that were well past their used by date. Joining forces for a one-off single release featuring two songs by each band, Daddy Cool and Skyhooks had, of course, been instrumental in shaping the Australian music scene decades earlier. But while Skyhooks' reunion in 1990 had produced a number 1 single, by 1994, there were few takers for new music from both bands - and a planned joint stadium tour was abandoned.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994:
Next week: a disco duet is given a remake by two different duelling divas, plus the biggest American male country star of the '90s makes his presence felt in Australia.