This Week In 1994: June 5, 1994
They had been landing top 10 singles at home in the UK for the previous couple of years, but Britain's premier boy band had yet to really connect in Australia. That all changed this week in 1994, with a song that was almost a year old.
A timely re-release gave the five-piece their first ARIA chart top 10. Things weren't quite at the level of the four UK number 1s they'd racked up in 1993-94, but it was a start, with a local chart-topper to come in 1995.
Enjoying a second week at the top with his second number 1 single was The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, who stayed firm with "The Most Beautiful GIrl In The World".
Off The Chart
Peak: number 51
Their voices had been heard for years as part of The Black Sorrows, but sisters Vika and Linda Bull went it alone with this debut single written by Mark Seymour which fell just short of giving them a top 50 hit.
Number 79 "Locked Out" by Crowded House
Peak: number 79
A surprisingly low peak for this energetic third single from Together Alone, which was also used on the soundtrack to one of 1994's biggest films, Reality Bites. It became the band's first single to miss the top 50 since "I Feel Possessed" in 1990.
Number 72 "Take It Back" by Pink Floyd
Peak: number 61
Their first album in seven years, The Division Bell, had topped the chart for three weeks in April, taking them back to number 1 for the first time since 1979's The Wall, but this lead single had significantly less impact.
Number 48 "Disarm" by The Smashing Pumpkins
Peak: number 16
The song that always comes to mind when I think of The Smashing Pumpkins - and with good reason: it was their breakthrough hit in Australia, finally pushing them into the mainstream after the previous two singles from Siamese Dream had missed the top 50. One of those songs known by many (including me) for a lyric - in this case, "the killer in me is the killer in you" - rather than its title, "Disarm" is about parricide, with singer Billy Corgan admitting he wrote the song about the terrible relationship he had with his mother and father growing up.
Number 37 "I Wanna Dance" by Melodie MC
Peak: number 21
"Dum Da Dum", which was still in the top 20 after 15 weeks, was on the borderline of my taste in Eurodance. I kind of liked it, but I also found it kind of infuriating. There was no such equivocating when it came to this follow-up by the Swedish rapper - I was not a fan of it at all. But enough Australians were for it to almost make the top 20. Vocals on "I Wanna Dance" were handled by Lotta Sundgren.
Number 28 "Pray" by Take That
Peak: number 10
When it was released in mid-1993, "Pray" stormed straight into the UK chart at number 1 and stayed there for four weeks, giving Take That their first chart-topper in Britain. In Australia, the first brand new song from second album Everything Changes puttered out at number 62. I say "first brand new song" because previous single "Why Can't I Wake Up With You" had been a remix of a track that originally appeared on debut Take That And Party The new version was included on Everything Changes and was therefore its lead single.
Earlier in 1994, Take That's cover of "Relight My Fire", the follow-up to "Pray", had finally reached the ARIA top 50 but it was going to take more than a disco remake to break the boy band down under. Cue: promotional tour. With Gary, Robbie, Mark, Jason and Howard flying in for a week's visit, their record company opted to go back and try again with "Pray" rather than push ballad "Babe" or upcoming single "Everything Changes" (which would be released in July). Live versions of their three remakes to date were added as bonus tracks and "Pray" finally became a top 10 hit in Australia. They would never be as big here as back at home, but the time and effort spent coming here paid off.
Peak: number 7
Here's another single that didn't work first time around. At the start of the year, brand new song "Lonely" only got as far as number 88, which was a clear a sign as any that Frente! still had not recovered from the polarising "Accidently Kelly Street". But all was not lost. The band repackaged "Lonely" as an EP with an acoustic remake of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" as a bonus track, and found themselves back in the ARIA top 10 for a third (and, ultimately, final) time. I'd suggest the chart peak was entirely down to "Bizarre Love Triangle" rather than some new-found appreciation of "Lonely". The delicate remake of the New Order track, that had been a big hit in Australia in early 1987 (and is one of my favourite songs of all time), was inspired - a precursor to all those YouTube and reality TV show stripped down versions of familiar songs.
Number 16 Beautiful Experience by Prince
Peak: number 14
As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince held down the number 1 spot for a second week, a separate EP of mixes of "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" flew into the top 20, similar to the situation that had occured just over two years earlier when a separate remix single joined "Black Or White" on the chart for Michael Jackson. As well as including the hit version of Prince's chart-topper, Beautiful Experience also featured the Mustang Mix of the song, on which Prince sang in his normal register instead of using falsetto. All seven mixes can be heard in the YouTube video below - something that never would have been allowed to occur during Prince's lifetime.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994:
Next week: Australia's favourite UK boy band returns with a brand new song, plus another British quartet once marketed to teens debuts with the song that'd sell more copies than any other in 1994. Plus, my favourite single for the year arrives.