This Week In 1994: October 30, 1994
There comes a time in every pop group's life when one member wants to leave for a solo career. And those left behind have to decide whether to carry on without them or give up and dissolve the group.
This week in 1994, Australia's premier girl group returned to the ARIA top 50 after losing the member who was effectively their lead singer. As it would turn out, it was the best thing that had happened to them in quite some time, even if it didn't return them to the number 1 spot.
At number 1 this week in 1994, "Tomorrow" by silverchair ascended to the top spot for the first of six weeks.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 97
Three-and-a-half years after they first made the top 100, the British industrial band paid another brief visit to our chart with the song that would also give them their final UK hit before they broke up in 1996.
Number 95 "Omaha" by Counting Crows
Peak: number 85
"Round Here" hadn't delivered Counting Crows another hit here, so their Australian record company deviated from overseas singles and instead went with this track, seemingly only released locally. Didn't make much difference.
Peak: number 94
Australia followed Europe's lead and released the first two singles from Ill Communication as a double A-side, but that didn't really help its performance. The Spike Jonze-directed, '70s crime show-referencing video for "Sabotage" was nominated for five MTV VMAs.
Number 80 "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star
Peak: number 72
Although it was never a big hit here or overseas - it scraped into the US and UK top 50s - this dreamy song stuck around in the ARIA top 100 until March and has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed songs of the decade.
Number 75 "(Don't Need) Mercy" by The Angels
Peak: number 75
Two years after their last career retrospective, the pub rock veterans released another, Evidence, which included some of their more recent hits and two new tracks, of which this was one.
Peak: number 64
Speaking of veterans, the rock 'n' roll legends lifted another single off their Voodoo Lounge album and even enlisted the Perfecto team for a dance remix.
Peak: number 34
The last couple of years hadn't been kind to INXS, so what better time - in the lead-up to Christmas - to remind people how great they had once been? The world-conquering band released their first ever best of, The Greatest Hits, and even tailor-made different tracklistings for different countries depending on what songs had done well there. In Australia, we got the biggest hits all the way back to "Just Keep Walking" - and this new tune, which for me was one of the best songs they released all decade. Unfortunately it didn't get any further up the chart, although perhaps people, like me, decided to buy the album, which debuted at number 2 in three weeks' time.
Number 33 "Sooner Or Later" by gf4
Peak: number 11
Like INXS (in pretty much only this way), Girlfriend hadn't had much joy on the ARIA chart for some time. Their two singles from second album It's Up To You were nowhere near as successful as the biggest songs from their debut. Robyn Loau, who'd done the lion's share of the lead vocals on the girl group's best known songs, obviously thought it was time to get out while the going was good, leaving her former band-mates to regroup and rebrand as gf4. Gone were the flower hats and perky smiles, replaced with sexy pouts and shirtless guys in the music video for this relaunch single. The song itself was also a million miles away from what had come before. A radical reworking of a 1971 US top 10 hit by The Grass Roots, "Sooner Or Later" had an on-trend galloping bassline, Eurodance synths, a rap in the middle and was really very good. Not surprisingly, it became their biggest hit since their chart-topping debut, "Take It From Me".
The good times didn't last, however. Another member, Jacqui Cowell, quit the band following "Sooner Or Later" and was replaced by future Bardot member Belinda Chapple for the follow-up single, "Need Love (To Make The Sex Right)", a remake of "I Need Love", a 1992 single for Olivia Newton-John. When that song peaked at number 101, it was essentially over for gf4 and their third album never saw the light of day - all of which was accomplished before Robyn released her debut solo single, which wouldn't end up happening until 1997.
Number 31 "Nothing But You" by Cold Chisel
Peak: number 16
The second single from Cold Chisel's vault-clearing release, Teenage Love, had an even shorter lifespan than "Hands Out Of My Pocket". "Nothing But You" shot up to its peak position in its second week on the chart and then fell back down, spending six weeks in the top 50. Clearly one for the diehards - something the album would prove to be when it had a similarly brief chart trajectory in a couple of weeks' time.
Number 24 "All Come Together" by Diesel
Peak: number 17
As the pre-Christmas market heated up, one of Australia's favourite male performers returned with a new album, Solid State Rhyme, in November and previewed it with this lead single. Classic Diesel, "All Come Together" blended blues and rock in a FM radio-friendly package, and so effectively captured that throwback vibe that it sounded to me like it must have been another cover like "I've Been Loving You Too Long". It wasn't.
Number 16 "All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow
Peak: number 1
There were some songs I loved in the summer of '94-'95. There were also two massive hits you couldn't escape that I loathed. We'll see the second next week, but this is the first one. The breakthrough hit for former backing singer Sheryl Crow, "All I Wanna Do" kick-started her own career a year after the release of her debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club. With lyrics based on a poem called "Fun" by Wyn Cooper and a sound that encapsulated the laidback Los Angeles lifestyle, the song was, in Sheryl's own words, "a throwaway - it wasn't even going to be on the album".
As soon as I heard those opening seconds of the song, with that sound like a record being played at the wrong speed and Sheryl's spoken word intro, I would jump for the off switch. If I could. I had to endure the song at my local gym, which played 2Day FM - one of many stations that had "All I Wanna Do" on constant rotation - until I realised there was a tape player in the cardio room I could put my own cassettes into and drown out the sound of Sheryl going on about the sun coming up over Santa Monica Boulevard. As is so often the case, everyone else seemed to like the song a lot more than me, with it spending a week at number 1 and winning the Grammy Award for Record Of The Year.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994:
Next week: the other massive number 1 from the summer of '94-'95 I couldn't stand, plus a disco classic is covered by a Latin superstar.