This Week In 1994: November 6, 1994
The decision for an artist to record a covers album is an interesting one, because it suggests they have run out of their own ideas and/or are in need of a boost to their lagging career. That's not always the case but, like Christmas albums, a collection of remakes often feels a bit desperate.
This week in 1994, a singer who'd done reasonably well on the Australian charts up until then did something she'd never managed before - released a top 10 single that just happened to be the lead release from her first covers album.
Meanwhile, at number 1 for a second week this week in 1994, silverchair's "Tomorrow" continued to keep "Always" by Bon Jovi in second place.\
Off The Chart
Number 99 "2 Way Dreamtime" by DIG
Peak: number 99
Another top 100 entry for Australia's premier acid jazz outfit - this time, a track with an Indigenous flavour in terms of its lyrics and instrumentation.
Number 97 "This D.J." by Warren G
Peak: number 95
A second top 10 hit for the West Coast rapper in the US, this cruisy follow-up to "Regulate" didn't catch on locally.
Number 82 "Everybody Needs Somebody" by Nick Howard
Peak: number 71
Not to be confused with the more recent British singer of the same name, this Nick Howard came from Australia and was our next big pop hopeful. This was not a great start to his chart career.
Number 81 "Neighbourhood Freak" by Swoop
Peak: number 62
A harder track than the one they'd made their top 100 debut with earlier in the year, this was the Australian band's last release before moving from Freakzone to Mushroom Records.
Number 77 Mc Skunk by Skunkhour
Peak: number 52
Another local band that blended rock with funk (and hip-hop), Lismore's Skunkhour made their top 100 debut with this EP, their second since singing with Mercury Records.
Number 75 "Fall" by Single Gun Theory
Peak: number 64
Two years after "From A Million Miles", this chilled dance act found themselves peaking at number 64 once again with a song that was, for me, one of the year's best.
Number 50 "Turn The Beat Around" by Gloria Estefan
Peak: number 8
Never quite as big in Australia as in the US, Gloria Estefan's previous best singles chart peak locally had been number 11, which she had reached (with Miami Sound Machine) on two separate occasions - in 1984 with "Dr Beat" and in 1988 with "Anything For You". But it had been four years since Gloria had seen the inside of the ARIA top 40 - her last hit here was 1990's "Cuts Both Ways" - and so a covers album was a great way for her to reignite interest. The lead single from Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Gloria's take on Vicki Sue Robinson's disco classic, "Turn The Beat Around", became her first ever top 10 hit in Australia. Outperforming the original, which had peaked at number 28 in mid-1978, the song was also included on the soundtrack to Sylvester Stallone/Sharon Stone movie The Specialist. Fun fact: Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me was Gloria's fifth solo album. Her fourth? Festive album Christmas Through Your Eyes.
Number 45 "Zombie" by The Cranberries
Peak: number 1
Last week, I mentioned I wasn't too fond of Sheryl Crow's number 1 hit, "All I Wanna Do". Here's the other chart-topper from summer '94-'95 that I couldn't stand. A musical change of direction for the Irish band who had so far been known for dreamy pop tunes like "Linger" and "Dreams", "Zombie" was written about a 1993 IRA bombing in which two young boys had been killed and was, as you would expect, an angry piece of music. While I can't fault the sentiment behind the track, it was not a song I really wanted to listen to. Yet again, Australia disagreed with me and sent it to the top of the chart for eight long weeks. Fun fact: I actually bought the CD single of the dance cover of "Zombie" by A.D.A.M. featuring Amy, but I can't say I like that much either (what was I thinking?).
Number 39 "Lucas With The Lid Off" by Lucas
Peak: number 15
Earlier in 1994, Eurodance had collided with The Charleston in "Doop", and now Danish rapper Lucas Secon blended a Benny Goodman track from the 1930s with hip-hop on this top 20 single, which for some reason I can never remember. The Michel Gondry-directed music video was notable for being one continuous take (on the 17th take).
Number 4 "About A Girl" by Nirvana
Peak: number 4
Seven months after the death of frontman Kurt Cobain, the album of Nirvana's MTV Unplugged performance, which had been recorded in November 1993, was released and, in seven days' time, would debut at number 1. Before that, this limited edition single blasted into the top 5. A track from Nirvana's debut album, Bleach, "About A Girl" was considered one of the band's poppier numbers, so it was only fitting that it would become their highest-charting single. Due to the fact that it only spent one week on the top 50 - only 5000 copies were produced in total - it would have been outsold by "Smells Like Teen Spirit", however.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1994:
Next week: another new Australian vocal harmony group arrives, as does a mouthy British duo.