25 Years Ago This Week: January 29, 1995
In the mid-'90s, pretty much any song you could think of was turned into a dance track - from grunge hits to big ballads to current chart-topper "Zombie".
This week in 1995, a song that had held down the number 1 spot for six weeks in 1983 returned to the chart in a hi-NRG remake produced by Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, who'd already been responsible for a number of chart-toppers in their time.
As mentioned, the unconquerable "Zombie" by The Cranberries remained at number 1 this week in 1995 for a seventh week, despite another big new hit challenging it for the top spot.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 68
After the under-performance of "Standing Strong", this return to sensitive ballad territory was an attempt to course correct. "Love Will Keep My Alive" was co-written by Paul Carrack and had been recorded by Eagles (as "Love Will Keep Us Alive") on Hell Freezes Over in 1994.
Number 96 "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" by Baby D
Peak: number 54
Originally released in 1992 and a UK chart-topper on re-release in late 1994, this breakthrough single for the British breakbeat group was unlucky to miss the top 50.
Peak: number 52
Another dance track falling just short was the latest by one-time top 10 act Technotronic with regular vocalist Ya Kid K. "Move It To The Rhythm" came from the Belgian group's final album, Recall.
Number 86 "Day In The Sun" by James Reyne
Peak: number 86
Like Wendy Matthews, James Reyne had faltered with "Red Light Avenue", the lead single from his 1994 album, The Whiff Of Bedlam, stalling in the 30s. This follow-up similarly tanked.
Number 84 "Voodoo Lady" by Ween
Peak: number 58
Having not seen the inside of the top 100 since "Push Th' Little Daisies" in mid-1993, Ween's return with this track from second album Chocolate And Cheese may have had something to do with their impending appearance at Alternative Nation in April.
Peak: number 74
One of a string of sassy dance tracks released in the mid-'90s (see also: "Fee Fi Fo Fum" by Candy Girls), this tune from Faithless founding member Sister Bliss featured the vocals of Colette Vam Sertima.
Number 69 Days by Died Pretty
Peak: number 69
They'd made a few chart appearances in 1993 with songs from Trace - notably top 50 hit "Harness Up". This EP included "Stops 'N Starts", the first taste of follow-up Sold, which was released in February 1996.
Number 68 "Crush With Eyeliner" by R.E.M.
Peak: number 55
"Bang And Blame" was only in its sixth week in the top 50, but with R.E.M. having just wrapped up their Australian tour, a third single from Monster was rushed out in an attempt to capitalise on that.
Peak: number 63
This collaborative anti-logging single dated back to 1993, when the five acts had performed at that year's Another Roadside Attraction festival in Canada. I'm not sure why it made such a belated appearance on our chart. Anyone?
Number 50 "Run To You" by Roxette
Peak: number 49
The writing had been on the wall for a while for the once unstoppable Roxette, with their previous two singles missing the top 50. They back sneaked onto the chart with this fourth single from Crash! Boom! Bang! - a typically catchy mid-tempo tune that would end up being their final top 50 appearance. Unfortunately, not even 1999's excellent "Wish I Could Fly" was able to return them to chart glory in the years to come.
Peak: number 2
It took a long time for this remake of Bonnie Tyler's number 1 hit from 1983 to catch on. Originally released in 1993 and produced by John Springate, Nicki French's version of "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" came to the attention of producers Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, who'd previously made up two-thirds of Stock Aitken Waterman and were working together once again. In 1994, they gave it their magic touch and then... nothing. Well, number 54 in the UK in October that year.
Remixed in a slow-to-fast style and re-released in early 1995, it started to take off, which is when the fast-all-the-way-through second version began to gain attention in Australia. Released locally on Central Station Records (who I talked about last week), "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" almost made it to number 1 again, getting stuck behind label-mate Hocus Pocus for four non-consecutive weeks. It was the only hit for Nicki, who also released remakes of hits by Carpenters, Belinda Carlisle and The Supremes, and represented Britain at Eurovision in 2000.
Number 46 "Supernova" by Liz Phair
Peak: number 43
Rock music had been a boys' club since, well, rock was invented, but the mid-'90s saw the rise of a new breed of female rock singer-songwriters. Ahead of that curve was Liz Phair, who broke through in Australia with this single from second album Whip-Smart. This was the only time we saw Liz on the top 50, but where she (and others like Sheryl Crow) led, many more would follow.
Number 44 "Out Of Tears" by The Rolling Stones
Peak: number 43
One top 50 hit from a Rolling Stones album wasn't always a certainty by 1995, but two was definitely unexpected. Possiblly helped up the chart by the fact that the rock veterans were due in Australia in a matter of weeks for the Voodoo Lounge Tour, "Out Of Tears" may also have benefitted from sounding unlike what you'd expect from the band, being a piano-driven ballad.
Number 40 "Soul Feeling" by Kulcha
Peak: number 16
After a couple of new jack swing tracks and an R&B ballad, Kulcha dipped their toe into pop/reggae territory for this fourth and final single from their self-titled debut album. The genre switch worked. Not only did "Soul Feeling" return the Sydney boys to the top 20, but it helped Kulcha jump back into the same region of the albums chart in February.
Number 2 "Pure Massacre" by silverchair
Peak: number 2
This second single by teen rock trio silverchair had debuted on the top 100 the previous week at number 92 and rocketed up to its peak position of number 2 this week, ultimately unable to match the number 1 status of "Tomorrow". The song was inspired by the Bosnian War, which had been fought since 1992 and would end in December 1995.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: the second of my favourite dance tracks from summer '94-'95 arrives, plus the reunion of two rock legends.