25 Years Ago This Week: August 6, 1995
Sometimes it just takes one song to change everything. This week in 1995, a new entry on the ARIA singles chart threw out the rulebook for female artists and paved the way for a new type of performer.
The song was bold and aggressive, and was a massive hit as well. It didn't quite reach number 1, but it helped its album top the chart and become one of the biggest releases of the decade.
U2 were still at number 1 this week in 1995, but "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" was under pressure in some states from The Steppers, who topped the Queensland and South Australian charts. But since "Alice, Who The F..k Is Alice?" hadn't yet entered the Victorian or New South Wales top 50s, it had to make do with a number 11 slot.
Just above that, "U Sure Do" by Strike blasted back into the top 50 at number 9 this week, after dropping off the chart from number 33 a couple of weeks earlier. The roller-coaster performance was due to the dance track's distributor changing from Possum Records, who released a three-track CD single in March, to Festival Records, who had the rights for the updated five-track CD single with all the new mixes from its UK re-release. That had come out locally in July, just as copies of the Possum single were drying up.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 92
Coinciding with a visit to Australia, Nigerian singer/songwriter Keziah Jones scored his only top 100 appearance in Australia with this track from second album African Space Craft.
Number 83 Mr Kneebone by Powderfinger
Peak: number 83
Another state chart oddity, Brisbane's Powderfinger had already reached the Queensland top 30 with two earlier releases, but this EP featuring "Swollen Tongue" became their first national top 100 placing.
Number 49 "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette
Peak: number 4
In the early '90s, Canadian singer Alanis Morissette was just one of an endless supply of dance-pop singers, releasing tunes like "Too Hot" and ballad "No Apologies", both of which reached the top 20 for her at home. But when her original two-album deal ended, Alanis changed direction, completely overhauling her sound for third album Jagged Little Pill. Out were the dance routines and stirring sentiments, and in their place were emotionally raw lyrics about sex acts in cinemas, grinding guitars and impassioned vocals unlike anyone else's. Case in point: the album's lead single, "You Oughta Know", in which Alanis let an ex-boyfriend have it. Who was the target of her fury and venom? She'll never say, but the attitude expressed, which had been recorded in one take, resonated with millions and the song became her international breakthrough hit. It also led to dozens of imitators in the years to come as every record company wanted their own rock chick. As we'll see in the coming months, "You Oughta Know" was just the beginning for Alanis...
Number 48 "The Ghost Song" by Jim Morrison
Peak: number 48
Spending just one week in the top 50 following a visit to Australia by surviving members of The Doors to promote the reissue of the band's final album from 1978, this spoken word track by the late singer had been updated with a new arrangement.
Number 44 "Colors Of The Wind" by Vanessa Williams
Peak: number 16
Third time - and a bit of help from Disney - was the charm for Vanessa Williams, who finally scored another decent-sized hit to follow "Save The Best For Last" after ballads "Love Is" and "The Sweetest Days" barely made the top 50. The theme to that year's animated hit from the House of Mouse, Pocahontas, "Colors Of The Wind" followed the newly established tradition of getting a pop star to perform the song for the film's closing credits, while it was sung in the movie by voice actor Judy Kuhn. The lyrics of the Grammy-, Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning song explored the relationship of humanity and nature, with Pocahontas pointing out John Smith's lack of understanding in that respect. It would be Vanessa's final hit in Australia.
Number 33 "Try Me Out" by Corona
Peak: number 10
Italo dance act Corona were really on a roll, with their third single becoming their third consecutive top 10 hit. And like both their previous successes, "The Rhythm Of The Night" and "Baby Baby", there is some backstory to this song. "Try Me Out" was originally released in 1993 by Lee Marrow featuring Charme and took its hook from 1987 track "Toy" by Teen Dream. That original version of the song was also on the top 100 this week in 1995, having been re-released in anticipation of the Corona remake charting. But Lee Marrow was essentially Corona, with both projects created by producer Francesco Bontempi - so whichever version of "Try Me Out" you preferred, it was win-win for him. As was so often the case for dance acts in the '90s, the hits dried up for Corona as rapidly as they began, and the group was unable to break into the top 100 again, not even with the '70s-influenced remix of The Rhythm Of The Night's fourth single, "I Don't Wanna Be A Star".
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: the original version of "Try Me Out" shows its face in the top 50, as does an operatic dance smash.