25 Years Ago This Week: May 7, 1995
I'm currently counting down my favourite songs from 1995 on the Chart Beats Facebook page, and I'll tell you what: I listened to a lot of dance music that year. Probably because I spent a lot of time in clubs that year.
This week in 1995, three of the best dance tracks for the year all arrived on the ARIA singles chart. Interestingly, all of them just missed the top 10.
A dance track that had made itself well and truly at home at number 1 fell from the top this week in 1995. Replacing "Here's Johnny" was a song with a much slower BPM: "Back For Good" by Take That.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Hypnotised" by Simple Minds
Peak: number 85
This second single from Good News From The Next World became the final top 100 appearance by the Scottish band, although Jim Kerr featured on a charting remix of "Don't You (Forget About Me)" in 2004.
Number 97 "Glory Box" by Portishead
Peak: number 96
Australia's under-appreciation of Portishead continued, as the third single from Dummy also missed the top 50. Both "Glory Box" and "Sour Times" reached an unlucky number 13 in the UK.
Number 95 "Jewels And Bullets" by You Am I
Peak: number 93
After the success of "Cathy's Clown", it was back outside the top 50 for this second release from Hi Fi Way. Third single "Purple Sneakers" missed the top 100 entirely.
Number 92 "Secret Garden" by Bruce Springsteen
Peak: number 92
His Greatest Hits had been out for a couple of months (and debuted at number 1), so this new single, which would later feature in Jerry Maguire, seemed like a bit of an afterthought.
Number 90 "The Girlfriend Song" by Tlot Tlot
Peak: number 73
They'd been releasing music since the start of the decade, but duo Tlot Tlot saw some chart action after signing with EMI Records and releasing this jangly tune.
Number 80 "You Gotta Know" by Supergroove
Peak: number 57
Like "Can't Get Enough", this had been a top 5 hit at home in New Zealand - and actually, "You Gotta Know" had come out first across the Tasman, released back in 1993.
Number 50 "Welcome To Paradise" by Green Day
Peak: number 44
Speaking of reverting to old singles, this Dookie track had come out between "Basket Case" and "When I Come Around" in the US, and was released here to follow the latter, which fell out of the top 20 this week. The song is about the band's experience of moving out of home and into a share warehouse.
Number 48 "Everything Zen" by Bush
Peak: number 41
I have to say, I've always been more aware of the stories about Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale's personal life - Marilyn, Gwen Stefani and so on - than I have his band's music. To me, this debut single sounded like so many other bands around that I also didn't listen to. Bush also didn't make that much of an impression on the rest of Australia at this point, with "Everything Zen" just missing the top 40. But that would change significantly in a year's time.
Number 47 "Be Firm" by Max Sharam
Peak: number 25
Released shortly before her debut album, A Million Year Girl, this second single from the Victorian-born, Sydney-based singer/songwriter wasn't as quirky as debut "Coma" - and that may well be why it didn't attract as much attention or perform as well. That said, I actually prefer it.
Number 37 "Set You Free" by N-Trance
Peak: number 11
Finally, we get to the good stuff! And like so many other dance tracks, the debut single by N-Trance had been kicking around for a number of years, first issued to DJs in 1992, and had already been released once, venturing into the lower part of the UK top 40 in 1994. Re-released in 1995, it reached number 2 in Britain before finding its way to Australia and just missing out of a spot in the ARIA top 10. Although they would end up venturing off into dodgy remakes, the dance group were a lot more credible with earlier releases like "Set You Free", which teamed singer Kelly Llorenna's wailing vocal with breakbeat and rave elements.
Number 35 "Shy Guy" by Diana King
Peak: number 3
Appearing in the midst of a trio of dance tracks was the song that would end up as the biggest of this week's new entries. The breakthrough hit for soundtrack regular Diana King, "Shy Guy" featured in the original Bad Boys and was the lead single from her debut album, Tougher Than Love. The reggae-inflected tune was undeniably catchy and, like recent hits by Dionne Farris, Brandy and Brownstone, was part of a new wave of R&B taking the ARIA chart by storm.
Number 34 "Don't Give Me Your Life" by Alex Party
Peak: number 13
Those Italians really did know how to crank out the Eurodance in the '90s, didn't they? The latest dance act to follow in the footsteps of 49ers, Black Box, Cappella and Corona was Alex Party, who'd never quite been able to turn their debut single, which went by variations of "Read My Lips", "Alex Party" and "Saturday Night Party" over a couple of releases between 1993 and 1994, into a big hit. That changed with their long-awaited second offering, "Don't Give Me Your Life", which didn't sample a million old vocal hooks but got its lyrics from singer and songwriter Robin "Shanie" Campbell. Like "Set You Free", "Don't Give Me Your Life" peaked at number 2 in the UK and fell short of the ARIA top 10.
Peak: number 11
Our final new dance track did make use of samples - from "Street Player" by Chicago - to create one of the biggest house tracks of the decade. Masterminded by Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez, who is one half of Masters At Work (alongside "Little" Louie Vega), "The Bomb!" features that classic dance music trick of getting the lyrics it samples wrong. Like Loleatta Holloway's "you're right on time" becoming "Ride On Time" by Black Box, Chicago's "street sounds swirling through my mind" became "these sounds fall into my mind". With its horn blasts and big beats, the song's disco cut and paste job was imitated endlessly in the years to come, and is a song I always associate with Perfecto Allstarz's similarly brass- and drum-driven "Reach Up (Papa's Got A Brand New Pig)", which came out around the same time and was always sequenced alongside "The Bomb!" on UK dance compilations at the time.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: another of 1995's biggest dance tracks, plus the band behind 1994's highest selling single stop re-releasing old songs and put out something brand new.