Friday, 11 July 2014

One-Hit Wonders On The Australian Charts - The 90s part 3

JUMP TO: Part 1 II Part 2 II Part 3 II Part 4


So far in my journey through one-hit wonders of the '90s on the ARIA chart, we've seen those acts that hit number 1 and then never troubled the top 50 with their presence again (in Part 1), as well as the second-string 1HWs who scored one top 10 hit and that's it between 1990 and 1994 (in Part 2).

Political satire came to the Australian top 10 in 1998

For my next trick, here are 40 more one-hit wonders who landed a top 10 single in Australia in the second half of the decade and never returned to the top 50 again. And, like all lists of 1HWs, there are some songs so brilliant you wonder how the artists in question couldn't repeat the feat and some tunes so terrible you'll be cursing me for reminding you of their existence.


"Here Comes The Hotstepper" by Ini Kamoze
Entered the Australian chart: December 4, 1994
Peak position: number 2
No other top 100 entries
He'd been making music since the early '80s but it wasn't until this sample-heavy song featured in the Robert Altman film Prêt-à-Porter that the reggae artist born Cecil Campbell crossed over to the mainstream. Expectations were high for Ini - especially from Elektra Records, who snapped him up for a multi-album deal - but no further chart action ensued.




"Hot Hot Hot (remix)" by Arrow
Entered the Australian chart: December 11, 1994
Peak position: number 9
No other top 100 entries
More music from the Caribbean, and a song that first came out around the same time Ini Kamoze began his career. "Hot Hot Hot" is the best known single by the artist born Alphonsus Cassell, but until this remix, the most famous version was by comic character Buster Poindexter.





"Short Dick Man" by 20 Fingers featuring Gillette
Entered the Australian chart: December 11, 1994
Peak position: number 4
20 Fingers - no other top 100 entries / Gillette - no other top 50 entries
Gillette - next biggest single: "Mr Personality" (number 80 in 1995)
Proof yet again that a song can be complete rubbish, but if it's controversial enough and/or packed with swear words, it's guaranteed to be a hit. This rap hit which turned the tables on all the genre's anti-female tracks was edited for radio play to become "Short Short Man".




"A Girl Like You" by Edwyn Collins
Entered the Australian chart: January 8, 1995
Peak position: number 6
No other top 100 entries
In the UK, his former group, Orange Juice, was a one-hit wonder in the '80s with "Rip It Up", but in Australia it was this solo hit for Scottish singer Edwyn Collins which gave him the 1HW tag. There are two music videos for the song - one's linked to in the song title above and the other is below.




"Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by Nicki French
Entered the Australian chart: January 22, 1995
Peak position: number 2
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "For All We Know" (number 89 in 1995)
The original had been a six-week chart-topper for Bonnie Tyler in 1983, and this remake became a hit for Nicki French on the third attempt. Her first version flopped, then it was reworked by producers Stock and Aitken into a high-energy romp. When that didn't work in the UK, they remixed it again, giving it a "Flashdance"-style slow-to-fast tempo change. That third version took off in the UK, while in Australia, we preferred the second mix.




"Cotton Eye Joe" by Rednex
Entered the Australian chart: February 5, 1995
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Old Pop In An Oak" (number 70 in 1995)
Brace yourselves: things are about to get incredibly tacky, with some of the worst dance tracks to ever enter the ARIA top 10 - and all in a matter of months back in 1995. This update of the American country standard came out of Sweden and was a hit all across Europe, spending lengthy runs at number 1 in some countries - something Australia thankfully wasn't subjected to.




"Right Type Of Mood" by Herbie
Entered the Australian chart: July 9, 1995
Peak position: number 10
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Gotta Be You" (as 3T featuring Herbie, number 61 in 1997)
He might have gone on to write and produce some quite fine pop moments for Backstreet Boys, Five and Robyn, but this debut single by Herbie Crichlow was the musical equivalent of being shouted at for three-and-a-bit minutes.




"Alice, Who The F*** Is Alice" by The Steppers
Entered the Australian chart: July 16, 1995
Peak position: number 2
No other top 100 entries
Better than being sworn at repeatedly, though. Once again - cursing on record resulted in a hit for this track, which is a cover version four-times removed. Originally recorded by New World in 1975, "Living Next Door To Alice" was a bigger hit for Smokie the following year. Two decades later, the "who the fuck is Alice?" refrain was added by Dutch group Gompie and it's this version that The Steppers turned into a holiday resort dance floor hit. Smokie even got back in on the act, recruiting comedian Roy "Chubby" Brown for a re-recorded version of their original hit - which meant the song existed in three different versions in 1995.




"Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)" by Scatman John
Entered the Australian chart: July 23, 1995
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Scatman's World" (number 84 in 1995)
Although he was American, John Larkin's chart success came after he moved to Germany (where else?) and fused scat singing, which he'd been doing since he was a teenager, with a dance beat. The Scatman enjoyed a second hit in Europe with the follow-up, but Australia thankfully left it at this abomination.




"Excalibur" by F.C.B.
Entered the Australian chart: August 13, 1995
Peak position: number 2
No other top 100 entries
The well-known piece of music which formed the basis of this techno track was Carl Orff's "O Fortuna", but the song was instead named after the 1981 King Arthur film, which also featured the composition. Interestingly, Orff's estate had sued Belgian act Apotheosis over a 1991 techno version of "O Fortuna" claiming copyright infringement - and succeeded in having that record removed from sale.




"Apple Eyes" by Swoop
Entered the Australian chart: November 12, 1995
Peak position: number 9
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Neighbourhood Freak" (number 62 in 1994)
In between Swoop and DiG (Directions In Groove), Australia discovered its funky side in the '90s - and the two bands even shared a common member in bassist Alex Hewetson. Swoop was more successful on the singles chart, with this surprise top 10 hit.




"Tell Me" by Groove Theory
Entered the Australian chart: December 3, 1995
Peak position: number 6
No other top 100 entries
A one-hit wonder if the US as well as here in Australia, R&B duo Groove Theory consisted of singer Amel Larrieux and producer Bryce Wilson. After a break of more than a decade the two reformed in 2010 - but no new music seems to have emerged yet.




"Miss Sarajevo" by Passengers
Entered the Australian chart: December 10, 1995
Peak position: number 7
No other top 100 entries
A collaboration between U2 and producer Brian Eno, the Passengers project spawned a one-off album, Original Soundtracks 1, which contained this lead single featuring tenor Luciano Pavarotti on guest vocals. The song was inspired by the documentary of the same name (which Bono produced) about a beauty pageant in the war-ravaged city. We'll be hearing another U2 side-project shortly...




"Breakfast At Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something

Entered the Australian chart: January 14, 1996
Peak position: number 3
No other top 100 entries
The Texas band obviously knew they were onto a winner with this tune about a couple on the verge of splitting up who recall that they both "kinda liked" the Audrey Hepburn film. The track was included it on their debut independently released album, 11th Song, before being re-recording for their major label debut, Home.




"Spaceman" by Babylon Zoo
Entered the Australian chart: February 25, 1996
Peak position: number 3
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Animal Army" (number 59 in 1996)
And now, yet another song that featured in an ad for Levi's jeans that topped the UK chart and almost did the same here. "Spaceman" was the possibly the biggest beneficiary of the commercial exposure, going on to sell over a million copies in the UK alone.




"Sexual Healing" by Max-A-Million
Entered the Australian chart: March 10, 1996
Peak position: number 5
No other top 100 entries
Produced by the team behind 20 Fingers, this American trio (comprised of the oddly named A'Lisa B, Duran Estevez and Tommye) took a Marvin Gaye classic and turned it into this reggae-infused travesty. The short-lived act also ruined The S.O.S. Band's "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" before calling it a day.




"X-Files Theme" by Triple X
Entered the Australian chart: April 21, 1996
Peak position: number 2
No other top 100 entries
Even in Australia, cult sci-fi series The X-Files was a couple of years into its nine-season run when all of a sudden the spooky theme music by Mark Snow and this dance version invaded the chart. The Triple X spin on the tune was much more successful locally, but overseas, it lost out to a rival dance version by DJ Dado.




"Nobody Knows" by The Tony Rich Project
Entered the Australian chart: April 28, 1996
Peak position: number 2
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Like A Woman" (number 71 in 1996)
After composing songs for the likes of Boyz II Men, Johnny Gill, TLC and Toni Braxton as in-house writer at LaFace, the artist born Antonio Jeffries got to release his own music and saw this debut single hit number 2 in the US and locally. Although Tony has continued to make albums, nothing has come close to matching the performance of this Grammy-nominated smash.




"Theme From Mission: Impossible" by Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen
Entered the Australian chart: June 16, 1996
Peak position: number 2
No other top 100 entries
The second of our U2 spin-off projects, the band's bassist and drummer collaborated on this revamped version of the iconic theme tune to TV's Mission: Impossible for the big-screen remake starring Tom Cruise. It's the only chart hit under either of their names, and so here it is as a one-hit wonder.





"Mother Mother" by Tracy Bonham
Entered the Australian chart: July 14, 1996
Peak position: number 5
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "The One" (number 87 in 1996)
In a post-Jagged Little Pill world, angsty female artists were all the rage - and rage is the operative word when it comes to this shout-fest from the American singer, who also happens to be a classically trained violinist.




"I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis
Entered the Australian chart: September 1, 1996
Peak position: number 2
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "At The Beginning" (with Richard Marx, number 64 in 1998)
Calming things down significantly was this sappy debut single by Welsh singer Donna Lewis - who actually cracked the Billboard chart before anyone back home in the UK took notice.




"Don't Stop Movin'" by Livin' Joy
Entered the Australian chart: September 8, 1996
Peak position: number 6
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Follow The Rules" (number 73 in 1997)
They managed five top 20 hits in the UK in the mid-'90s, but Australia only had ears for this second single by the Italian dance act. The group was comprised of half of Alex Party (the Visnadi brothers) and Tameka Starr, who took over from original vocalist Janice Robinson.




"Break My Stride" by Unique II
Entered the Australian chart: December 1, 1996
Peak position: number 2
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Do What You Please" (number 55 in 1997)
More Eurodance now from the Austrian outfit whose first single had been another cover - "Iko Iko" - but who found much more success with this remake of the 1983 hit by Matthew Wilder. Matthew was himself a one-hit wonder in Australia, thanks to his number 6 placing with "Break My Stride".




"Pony" by Ginuwine
Entered the Australian chart: December 22, 1996
Peak position: number 3
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Tell Me Do U Wanna" (number 100 in 1997)
Elgin Lumpkin just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it? But that's the real name of the R&B act behind this sexually charged pole dance anthem. "Pony" was also one of the earliest hits produced by the soon-to-be-ubiquitous Timbaland.




"Your Woman" by White Town
Entered the Australian chart: March 30, 1997
Peak position: number 2
No other top 100 entries
Sung by a man but generally assumed to be from the perspective of a woman, "Your Woman" was the breakthrough hit for Jyoti Prakash Mishra, who'd recorded under the White Town moniker since the early '90s and continues to do so, despite never landing another chart hit.




"Semi-Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind
Entered the Australian chart: June 15, 1997
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Never Let You Go" (number 63 in 2000)
With grunge on the way out, rock bands like Third Eye Blind, Semisonic and Fastball became the new sound of America. Another things the groups all had in common? Their time of scoring hit records was incredibly short.




"Bitch" by Meredith Brooks
Entered the Australian chart: July 13, 1997
Peak position: number 2
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "What Would Happen" (number 89 in 1997)
In Part 2, we saw "Asshole" and "Loser", and now "Bitch" completes our triumvirate of one-word insult songs by one-hit wonders. The feisty debut single came from yet another female singer who was no doubt snapped up by a record label (in this case, Capitol Records) in search of their own Alanis Morissette - but Meredith's career ran aground after this hit. The song did, however, give rise to a one-hit wonder of the '00s in Australia: Chris Franklin's "Bloke".




"When Doves Cry" by Quindon Tarver
Entered the Australian chart: July 13, 1997
Peak position: number 3
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "It's You That's On My Mind" (number 64 in 1997)
The soundtrack from which it was taken spawned a number of hits - and two volumes - but this vocally astonishing Prince cover from Romeo + Juliet was the only chart appearance by young Quindon Tarver, who featured as a choirboy in the Baz Luhrmann film.




"How Do I Live" by Trisha Yearwood
Entered the Australian chart: August 3, 1997
Peak position: number 3
No other top 100 entries
Speaking of soundtracks, this Diane Warren composition was written for the Nicolas Cage film Con Air and originally recorded by then-14-year-old LeAnn Rimes before studio execs insisted upon a more mature vocalist. Enter: fellow country performer Trisha Yearwood, who had a dozen Billboard country chart top 10 hits under her belt. When both versions were released simultaneously, LeAnn triumphed in the US and UK, while Australia opted for Trisha's take on the ballad.




"Coco Jamboo" by Mr President
Entered the Australian chart: August 24, 1997
Peak position: number 7
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Jojo Action" (number 78 in 1998)
Here we go again - get set for a double shot of tragic dance tracks, starting with this pan pipe-featuring Eurodance horror. Sounding like Ace Of Base on a bad day, the German trio enjoyed a number of subsequent hits back home and even released a Christmas version of this track.




"You Sexy Thing" by T-Shirt
Entered the Australian chart: October 19, 1997
Peak position: number 6
No other top 100 entries
Like the theme to The X-Files and "Alice, Who The F*** Is Alice?", a number of rival versions of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" sprang up in 1997 following the original's use in The Full Monty. Once again, Australia opted for the dark horse and championed this lazy version by British duo T-Shirt (half of whom was future Xenomania songwriting genius Miranda Cooper), who stayed at number 6 on the ARIA chart for six straight weeks. Hot Chocolate singer Errol Brown even popped up in the clip.




"Sex And Candy" by Marcy Playground
Entered the Australian chart: April 6, 1998
Peak position: number 8
No other top 100 entries
As grunge made way for post-grunge, bands like American rock trio Marcy Playground served up a more radio-ready version of the early-'90s genre - typified by the band's 1997 hit single "Sex And Candy" (which hit Australia several months later).




"Sway" by Bic Runga
Entered the Australian chart: July 27, 1998
Peak position: number 10
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Get Some Sleep" (number 92 in 2002)
She may not have enjoyed Lorde-like success, but Kiwi singer/songwriter did gain some exposure Stateside when this sweet Australian and NZ top 10 single was featured on the American Pie soundtrack a couple of years later.




"Music Sounds Better With You" by Stardust
Entered the Australian chart: August 23, 1998
Peak position: number 4
No other top 100 entries
When he wasn't busy launching French house onto an unsuspecting public as half of Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter was collaborating with countrymen Alan Braxe and vocalist Benjamin Diamond on this Chaka Khan-sampling masterpiece. Who knows what might have happened had Stardust released any further singles...




"I Don't Like It" by Pauline Pantsdown
Entered the Australian chart: September 6, 1998
Peak position: number 10
No other top 100 entries
If any political figure was just asking to be made fun of it's Pauline Hanson, the Queensland MP and fish-and-chip shop owner whose maiden speech caused a right old stir in late 1996. This comedy single by drag performer Simon Hunt, which sampled snippets of Hanson's voice, was actually his second release as Pauline Pantsdown - and despite the politican's protests, it shot into the top 10 around the same time as 1998's federal election.




"If You Could Read My Mind" by Stars On 54
Entered the Australian chart: October 11, 1998
Peak position: number 3
No other top 100 entries
This one-off collaboration by club singers Ultra Naté (biggest hit: "Free", number 31), Amber (biggest hit: "This Is Your Night", number 11) and Jocelyn Enriquez (no solo top 100 appearances) for the soundtrack to disco-era biopic 54 was a dance floor-ready remake of the 1970 tune by Gordon Lightfoot.




"Say It Once" by Ultra
Entered the Australian chart: February 8, 1999
Peak position: number 4
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Say You Do" (number 58 in 1999)
Don't call them a boy band! After all, British four-piece Ultra played their own instruments and wrote their own songs, including this single, which performed significant better locally than it did back at home (where it got no further than number 16).




"She's So High" by Tal Bachman
Entered the Australian chart: June 14, 1999
Peak position: number 8
No other top 100 entries
With a first name that's short for Talmage, Canadian singer Tal Bachman came from rock royalty - his dad, Randy, was lead singer for band Bachman-Turner Overdrive. "She's So High" would go on to be covered by the one and only World Idol champion, Norway's Kurt Nilsen.




"2 Times" by Ann Lee
Entered the Australian chart: July 12, 1999
Peak position: number 4
No other top 100 entries
Italian-based/British-born singer Annerley Gordon had co-written Eurodance smashes like Corona's "Rhythm Of The Night", and "Another Day" and "Think Of You" by Whigfield before briefly stepping into the spotlight with this debut single.




"Sweet Like Chocolate" by Shanks & Bigfoot
Entered the Australian chart: July 12, 1999
Peak position: number 6
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Sing-A-Long" (number 84 in 2000)
One of the biggest hits from the burgeoning UK garage scene, this track by duo Steven Meade and Danny Langsman featured vocals by Sharon Woolf, who'd also contributed to "Straight From The Heart", a song released under another of the pair's aliases: Doolally.




To conclude my look back at one-hit wonders of the '90s, I'll remember those artists that, although often mistaken as 1HWs, actually had two big hits on the ARIA chart.


3 comments:

  1. I thought 20 Fingers had another top 100 'hit' with 'Lick It', but see that that was just credited to Roula on the Australian pressing... and the US & Scandinavian pressings, but billed as 20 Fingers feat. Roula in Germany and Spain.

    I hadn't seen that version of the 'A Girl Like You' video before. Almost a literal interpretation (complete with xylophone playing); presumably for the benefit of the US market.

    Occasionally I visit the slightly morbid site The Dead Rock Stars Club. As the title suggests, it lists recording music artists who've 'croaked'. Through perusing it over the years, I have learned of Scatman John & the singer from Arrow's deaths, from this list, to my surprise.

    I thought that 'Apple Eyes' was a cover version at the time, and for many years later. It just sounds like it's a remake of some 70's hit to my ears, and fit in with the cover-an-old-song-for-a-hit that many less-established Australian acts of the time were doing, like CDB & Peter Andre. I was shocked to eventually learn that it wasn't!

    Babylon Zoo were one of those acts where you just knew at the time they weren't going to have another hit. Same with White Town.

    There really were some awful one-hit wonders among that lot.

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  2. I have a questions:
    1.) The video links of Nicki French's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and Shanks & Bigfoot's "Sweet Like Chocolate" are not exist. Please fix.

    2.) When will be posting the one-hit wonders of the 2000's in this site? Is that in late February?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting me know about the broken links. I've replaced those two songs in particular a couple of times but will do so again.

      I'm not sure when I'll get to the 2000s. Hopefully the first half of this year, but my 25 Years Ago and 30 Years Ago weekly posts are keeping me very busy, and the 1HWs posts are a lot of research and work. But I will get to them!

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