25 Years Ago This Week: July 9, 1995
In 1995, debuting at number 1 on the ARIA singles chart was still a rarity. Even rarer: an act managing to do it twice.
In fact, up until this week in 1995, no one had debuted at the top of the chart on two separate occasions. But if anyone was going to do it, it made sense that it was the biggest band in the world.
Not only that, but the single debuting at number 1 broke another record, which you can find out about at the bottom of the post...
Off The Chart
Number 95 "Dreamer" by Livin' Joy
Peak: number 90
A UK chart-topper when remixed and re-released in 1995 (after the original version placed in the top 20 in 1994), "Dreamer" didn't become a hit in Australia for the Visnadi brothers (who were also involved in Alex Party).
Peak: number 94
This British dance track was the latest single reworked by the reformed production team of Mike Stock and Matt Aitken after an initial release in 1994. DJ Scott featuring Lorna B would also release a dance update of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" in 1995.
Peak: number 59
Although the latest Jam & Spoon single didn't become the third hit by Rolf Ellmer and Markus Löffel in this guise, they did have a current top 20 hit under the Tokyo Ghetto Pussy moniker.
Number 48 "Let Her Cry" by Hootie & The Blowfish
Peak: number 4
I don't think people in Australia realise just how massive Hootie & The Blowfish were in the US in the mid-'90s. I certainly wasn't aware until now that their debut album, Cracked Rear View, is among the 20 highest-selling albums of all time, with 21 million copies sold. And although second single "Let Her Cry" was their only susbstantial hit in Australia, four tracks from the album reached the top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100. Clearly there was a massive market there for listeners who liked their rock a bit mellower than the music offered by all the post-grunge bands popping up. This song was inspired by singer Darius Rucker's alcoholism, although he flipped the genders in the lyrics to make it about a man dealing with his wife's drinking.
Number 42 "Misery" by Soul Asylum
Peak: number 22
Their breakthrough hit, "Runaway Train", had been unlucky to miss the top 10 in 1993, peaking at number 11, and the American rock band's only other song to reach the ARIA top 50 just missed the top 20. Taken from Soul Asylum's seventh album, Let Your Dim Light Shine, "Misery" is one of those nondescript alt-rock songs that goes in one ear and out the other for me, but I'm sure it has its fans among regular readers.
Number 31 "Lay Down Your Love" by 4PM
Peak: number 31
Most one-week wonder hits sneak in and out of the top 50 much lower down, but this follow-up to 4PM's cover of "Sukiyaki" bounded up from number 87 before dropping down to number 69 the following week. The reason for the brief burst of sales? The vocal harmony group had visited Australia for a promotional visit so I'm guessing they might have made some in-store appearances. As a song, "Lay Down Your Love" was a pleasant enough but fairly generic R&B ballad.
Number 19 "Human Nature" by Madonna
Peak: number 17
She might have made a deliberate attempt to move away from the sexually charged material she's released earlier in the decade, but Madonna wasn't about to apologise for the likes of Erotica, Sex and her various other envelope-pushing endeavours. Indeed, on this fourth single from Bedtime Stories, she addressed the media backlash she'd received as a result and literally said she was not sorry. With its pointed lyrics - "Oops, I didn't know I couldn't talk about sex" - and striking music video, "Human Nature" worked incredibly well as a statement, but as a song, I have to say the sample-driven R&B track is among my least favourite Madonna singles.
Number 18 "This Is A Call" by Foo Fighters
Peak: number 9
You can keep your Hooties and Soul Asylums, when it comes to American rock bands, this is more like it. The debut single by Dave Grohl's post-Nirvana musical outlet, "This Is A Call" was an instant success, charging to number 9 within three weeks - progressing 69-18-9 - despite not having a music video. And despite Dave not intending the whole Foo Fighters project to be a major deal. Unlike the majority of the album, which was comprised of songs he'd written before and during his time in Nirvana, "This Is A Call" was written while on his honeymoon in 1994, and deliberately used mostly meaningless lyrics since he expected anything he released in the aftermath of Kurt Cobain's suicide to be overanalysed - the line "this is a call to all my past resignations" is the only nod to that event. I'm quite partial to a bit of Foo Fighters, and this was definitely a good start by a band that has gone on to become one of the biggest in the world in the past couple of decades.
Peak: number 1
And here's the biggest band in the world in 1995 with their second single to debut atop the ARIA singles chart. In 1991, U2's "The Fly" had arrived at number 1 in its first week, giving instant approval for the Irish band's radical new sound and image. Four years later, Bono et al. earned themselves a second instant chart-topper with their contribution to the soundtrack of Batman Forever. Since debuting at number 1 in itself was nothing new for U2, they raised the stakes even further with "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" becoming the first ever release to also debut at number 1 on every individual state chart - previous releases by Midnight Oil, Kylie Minogue, Meat Loaf and U2 themselves had all debuted on most but not all state charts at number 1 in the week they debuted nationally at the top.
As for the song itself, "Hold Me..." had its genesis in the sessions for the band's previous album, Zooropa, and was completed when the band agreed to contribute a song to the superhero film's soundtrack. Compared to the three singles released from Zooropa in Australia, "Hold Me..." was a much more straightforward pop/rock track, with a title that played on "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me", recently covered by Gloria Estefan. It also became their 10th straight top 11 hit in Australia, with "Even Better Than The Real Thing" having been the only song to just miss the top 10 in that time.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: the latest battle of the vocal harmony groups, with three new entries by R&B boy bands from around the world.