25 Years Ago This Week: April 30, 1995
What was it with covers albums in the mid-'90s? Hot on the heels of collections of remakes by Gloria Estefan and Annie Lennox, my favourite British band of the '80s also went down the covers route in 1995.
Included on the project was one of the most unlikely remakes of all time: their version of a seminal hip-hop track, which received a mixed response, to say the least.
A song that continues to receive a mixed response all these years later (judging by the comments on the Chart Beats Facebook page) continued its reign (of terror?) on the ARIA chart this week in 1995. "Here's Johnny" by Hocus Pocus spent a sixth week at number 1.
Off The Chart
Number 90 "Fire In The Head" by The Tea Party
Peak: number 79
Although this lead single from the Canadian rock band's second album became their latest to miss the top 50, The Edges Of Twilight was sitting inside the top 10 on the albums chart.
Peak: number 49
Her brother Michael had managed nine top 50 singles from one album between 1987 and 1989 - although, to be fair, "Leave Me Alone" had only been included on the CD version of Bad, which helped make it more appealing as a single for people who owned the LP or cassette. This week in 1995, Janet Jackson came just short of that achievement with this eighth and final hit from her two-year-old album, janet. And although "Whoops Now" wasn't listed on the back cover, it did feature on janet, tucked away as a hidden track after interlude "Sweet Dreams". The bouncy and playful tune was unlike anything else on the album - the closest would be "Because Of Love" - which is probably why "Whoops Now" was essentially a bonus track. Packaged up as a double A-side with recent hit "What'll I Do" (and a Dave Navarro remix of that song), the single spent only a solitary week on the chart.
Number 46 "Purple Medley" by Prince
Peak: number 40
I had completely forgotten about the existence of this release, which came a few years after the megamix craze of the late '80s and early '90s. Bringing together snippets from some of Prince's biggest hits, as well as fan favourites like "Erotic City" and "Darling Nikki", "Purple Medley" ran for 11 minutes in its full version (which featured additional songs) and a little over three in its radio edit (below). It also combined both the original performances with some re-recordings and additional music from the New Power Generation.
Peak: number 20
In early 1984, "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" was one of the earliest hip-hop hits in Australia. It was obviously a song that made an impression on Duran Duran, because they made the unexpected decision to cover the track on their 1995 remakes album, Thank You, so named because they paid tribute to songs and artists that'd influenced them. Their version of "White Lines" even featured Melle Mel and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. Also included on the album that was once called the worst of all time were versions of songs originally recorded by The Doors, Bob Dylan and Public Enemy. It was a curious move for Duran Duran to make after their triumphant comeback in 1993, and, especially in the case of "White Lines", one they've been living down ever since. It did bring them back to the top 20 for the 13th and final time in their career, so that's something.
Number 41 "I Can't Be With You" by The Cranberries
Peak: number 30
After two top 5 hits, The Cranberries' third single from No Need To Argue only just made it into the top 30 - no real surprise, since the album hadn't fallen lower than number 8 since its debut in November 1994. Despite its rather negative title, "I Can't Be With You" was the most upbeat single taken from the album up until this point.
Number 11 "Israel's Son" by silverchair
Peak: number 11
Like previous release "Pure Massacre", silverchair's third single had debuted much lower down the chart - number 88, in fact - before rocketing up to what it would be its peak position in its second week. I'm not sure what the reason for that was, although it may be that some early sales caused the singles to venture into the top 100 before their first full week on release. Whatever the reason, "Israel's Son" duly became the trio's third big hit and first to (only just) miss the top 10, which was probably down to the fact that album Frog Stomp had spent the previous three weeks at number 1. Inspired by a documentary songwriter Daniel Johns had seen about wartime attrocities, the song was involved in a 1996 murder trial, with the defendants claiming to have been motivated by the lyrics.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: a dance explosion, with three of the biggest club tracks of the year all arriving in the top 40 at once.