25 Years Ago This Week: November 5, 1995
There's no such thing as a sure thing in music. But the female singer who charted with her debut solo single this week in 1995 was as close as you'd get to one.
As well as being a second-generation performer, she'd also already graced the ARIA chart as featured vocalist on the biggest hits by a local group. Solo success was all but a given... and so it came to be.
Something else that was a given: the fact that "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio featuring L.V. was still going to be at number 1. This was its third week on top.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Inside Out" by Culture Beat
Peak: number 62
Like Technotronic, Black Box, Snap! and countless other briefly massive Eurodance acts before them, Culture Beat went from lifting three awesome top 12 hits from one album to... this.
Number 97 "I Feel Love (remix)" by Donna Summer
Peak: number 80
One of the most influential dance tracks of all time, Donna Summer's 1977 hit was dusted off for another outing with new remixes by Faithless' Rollo & Sister Bliss (who did the single version) and Masters At Work.
Number 91 "Sexuality" by Past To Present
Peak: number 79
Number 67 "Queer" by Garbage
Peak: number 55
Similarly, Garbage's debut single, "Vow", reached the top 50, but this follow-up didn't make it. Wonder what might have happened if Australia had gone with "Only Happy When It Rains", like elsewhere in the world, instead.
Number 47 "If I Were You" by k.d. lang
Peak: number 23
All but one of this week's entries debuted on the top 100 within the top 50, including the latest from Canada's k.d. lang, which had another thing in common with a couple more of the week's new hits — it was the lead single from an album that was already in the top 10. In the case of "If I Were You", parent album All You Can Eat — her third solo release — was spending its second week inside the top 10. It's not a song I thought I knew when I sat down to write this, although a quick listen established I was familiar with it. But it's certainly not something I've heard for at least 20 years, which is odd considering "If I Were You" was actually k.d.'s biggest chart hit locally right up until 2010, when a performance of "Hallelujah" from that year's Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony reached number 13.
Number 46 "Geek Stink Breath" by Green Day
Peak: number 40
Also debuting on the singles chart despite its album having been in the top 10 for three weeks was the lead single from Insomniac, the follow-up to Green Day's breakthrough album, Dookie. Whether its performance might have been improved by being released well in advance of the album, we'll never know, but the song about meth use was one of several singles by the band to peak in the lower half of the top 50 following "When I Come Around" and before they finally started having big hits again in late 1998.
Peak: number 11
The only song to move into the top 50 from outside the printed chart — it was number 54 the previous week — "Lump" was the breakthrough hit for Seattle's Presidents Of The United States Of America, who would achieve four consecutive top 20 hits off their debut self-titled album in Australia. Like "Geek Stink Breath", the song about an unfortunate woman referred to as Lump clocked in at around the 2:20 mark, so even if mid-'90s US rock wasn't your thing, at least it was over pretty quickly. (That said, I don't actually mind "Lump" that much.) With a title like "Lump", the song was just asking for a parody. "Weird Al" Yankovic proved as obliging as ever.
Number 38 "My Friends" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Peak: number 15
It really was a rock-fest this week in 1995, wasn't it? Making up for the ultra-brief chart career of "Warped", the second single from One Hot Minute spent a much more respectable 13 weeks inside the top 50. The fact that it was a much better and more accessible song no doubt had a lot to do with that.
Peak: number 33
And here's another one... Arriving in the same week as Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness debuted at number 1 on the albums chart, the second top 50 hit by The Smashing Pumpkins may also have benefitted from an earlier release since it didn't actually make it any further up the chart. The song, which I always remember as the one that begins "the world is a vampire", did spend 21 weeks inside the top 50, however.
Number 28 "It's Alright" by Deni Hines
Peak: number 4
Just when it was beginning to feel like I was drowing in rock, here's a burst of local pop to cleanse the palate. The debut solo single by Deni Hines, "It's Alright" was the type of song Eternal, Michelle Gayle and countless other British pop/R&B artists released in the '90s. That's not surprising, given it was co-written and produced by Ian Green, who'd worked on music by English acts Kenny Thomas and The Brand New Heavies, among others, and was clearly aimed at breaking her in the UK, where she did indeed spend a lot of time in the second half of the decade.
In Australia, Deni's solo career had quite the leg up on account of her musical heritage — being the daughter of pop royalty Marcia Hines — and the fact that she'd already established her own credentials via a series of guest appearances with Rockmelons, including top 5 hits "Ain't No Sunshine" and "That Word (L.O.V.E.)". I didn't think "It's Alright" was as good as either of those two tunes, but Australia got right behind the song and also sent it into the top 5. Unfortunately, Deni didn't enjoy another hit as big as this, despite releasing a series of consistently solid singles over the subsequent years.
Number 23 "Heaven For Everyone" by Queen
Peak: number 15
Next up, the first of two "event" releases coming out just in time for the Christmas market. Queen's first "new" song since 1991's Innuendo album, "Heaven For Everyone" featured vocals recorded by the late Freddie Mecury before his death later that same year. In fact, Freddie sang "Heaven For Everyone" as far back as 1987 or '88, when he recorded guest vocals on an album for Queen band-mate Roger Taylor's side-project, The Cross. Freddie recorded two versions of the tune — one as backing vocalist and one as lead, with his work incorporated into a new Queen version of the song and included on album Made In Heaven, which featured other tracks assembled to include material featuring the band's frontman.
Peak: number 7
It used to be the case that Meat Loaf didn't achieve hit singles other than from his Bat Out Of Hell albums, despite releasing a large chunk of material between 1977's original and 1993's Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell. That changed in 1995 when this lead single from the latter's follow-up, Welcome To The Neighbourhood, crashed straight into the top 10. Sounding more than a little like "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)", the similarly verbose "I'd Lie For You (And That's The Truth)" was actually written by Diane Warren and not Jim Steinman, although the prolific writer obviously knew her way around a melodramatic ballad. Thankfully, this new song, which features vocals by Patti Russo, was nowhere near as much of a chart nuisance as eight-week chart-topper "I'd Do Anything...:", dropping back out of the top 50 after 11 weeks.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: new singles from a bunch of artists who were accustomed to doing much better on the ARIA chart.