25 Years Ago This Week: April 9, 1995
Sometimes it's all just a matter of timing. One month's chart flop can be a massive hit at another time of year... as was the case with a song finally entering the ARIA top 50 this week in 1995.
Initially released in October 1994, the debut single for an up-and-coming female artist missed the top 100 then. But in April 1995, it ascended to the number 1 spot.
At number this week in 1995, "Here's Johnny" by Hocus Pocus spent its third week on top.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 99
A year after it had been released in the UK, Ce Ce Peniston slipped into the top 100 with this track, which was also included on the soundtrack to Prêt-à-Porter.
Number 96 "Big Empty" by Stone Temple Pilots
Peak: number 63
Another year-old single - this time the song that had been the first release from STP's second album, Purple, overseas. "Big Empty" was unable to match the top 50 success of the album's other two singles.
Number 92 "Connection" by Elastica
Peak: number 71
Fronted by Justine Frischmann (the then-girlfriend of Blur's Damon Albarn), Elastica had reached number 1 in the UK with their self-titled debut album, but despite "Connection" being one of the best Britpop tracks, they didn't, er, connect in the same way here.
Number 86 Sleepwalking by Ammonia
Peak: number 86
Another five-track EP from the Perth trio, another peak outside the top 50. Could third time be the charm for Ammonia?
Number 81 "Mr Personality" by Gillette
Peak: number 80
Not content with ridiculing the size of a man's appendage, "Short Dick Man" singer Gillette took aim at someone who was called Mr Personality "because you're so ugly".
Peak: number 6
They'd enjoyed two hits on the ARIA top 50 in 1994 with trance tracks "Right In The Night (Fall In Love With Music)" and "Find Me (Odyssey To Anyoona)" but German duo Rolf Ellmer and Markus Lӧffel traded in their Jam & Spoon moniker for Tokyo Ghetto Pussy on this much more hyper Eurodance track - although they went under the pseudonyms Trancy Spacer and Spacy Trancer for this release. As big a fan as I was of dance music in the '90s, I put this track in the same category as Melodie MC's "Dum Da Dum": more irritating than enjoyable.
Number 47 "The Sweetest Days" by Vanessa Williams
Peak: number 47
Here's a song I did like, but unfortunately not enough other people did and Vanessa Williams ended up with another ballad that stalled in the 40s, like her 90210 duet, "Love Is". The title track of her third album was even written by the same team that had penned "Save The Best For Last", but it would take a little bit of Disney magic to boost the former beauty queen's fortunes later in the year.
Peak: number 30
Here's a song I had completely forgotten about - and what an odd pairing it is. Fresh from his comeback success with "If I Only Knew", Welsh legend Tom Jones teamed up with Tori Amos on this Diane Warren ballad, with Tom's voice sounding a bit like a foghorn compared to Tori's "Don't Give Up"-style backing vocals. Also included on the CD single were a couple of mixes of Tom's cover of Yazoo's "Situtation", a song I would have preferred he'd left alone.
Number 44 "Strong Enough" by Sheryl Crow
Peak: number 3
Returning to the top 50 with the far less annoying follow-up to her number 1 hit, "All I Wanna Do", was Sheryl Crow, who would come close to repeating that achievement with "Strong Enough". Although it ultimately fell short of topping the chart, it did help propel her album Tuesday Night Music Club back up the top 50 and to the number 1 spot for two weeks in June. Despite such a strong start, Sheryl would never return to the ARIA top 10, and would only graze the bottom of the top 20 with one more significant hit in 1996.
Number 42 "Mouth" by Merril Bainbridge
Peak: number 1
Another artist who had an almost identical start to her chart career as Sheryl Crow is Australian singer-songwriter Merril Bainbridge. Although in Merril's case, it initially looked as if her debut single, "Mouth", wouldn't get up and running at all. Originally released in late 1994 by her label, John Farnham and producer Ross Fraser's Gotham Records, the bouncy tune sank without a trace. Reissued in 1995, the track picked up radio play and soon took off towards the number 1 spot, where it would spend six weeks in total. "Mouth" was also a hit in the US... eventually. It began its chart run there in late 1996. Like the Tom Jones single, Merril included a remake of an old synthpop song as a bonus track on "Mouth", although her cover of Pet Shop Boys' "Being Boring" included a lyric change - intentional or otherwise - when she sang "I came across some casual photos" instead of "I came across a a cache of old photos".
Number 5 "Bedtime Story" by Madonna
Peak: number 5
Blitzing all opposition this week in 1995 was Madonna with the third single from her Bedtime Stories album. A pulsating piece of electronica co-written by Bjӧrk with producers Nellee Hooper and Marius De Vries, "Bedtime Story" burst into the chart at number 5, just like the album's lead single "Secret", and progressed no further, also like "Secret". Following that song and Bedtime Stories' second single, "Take A Bow", "Bedtime Story" was another major shift in direction for Madonna, and it's likely if anyone other than her had performed this song it would not have come anywhere near the top 5. As it was, the single had a relatively brief stay on the chart - after three straight weeks at number 5, it quickly dropped down the listings. For my money - and I did buy the CD single - the Junior Vasquez single mix was the best version of the song, turning it into more of a straightforward pop track more in line with my sensibilities.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: another round in the battle of the British boy bands, but this time the ARIA chart underdogs get the upper hand. Plus, the return of the Fab Four.