Sunday, 6 July 2014

One-Hit Wonders On The Australian Charts - The 90s part 2

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


Only six artists achieved the ultimate in one-hit wonderdom (one number 1 single, no further top 50 hits) on the ARIA charts during the 1990s - and you can read about them in Part 1. But, there were 80 different acts that did the next best thing - landing a solitary top 10 hit and never gracing the top 50 (and sometimes the top 100) with their presence again. Over two posts, I'll list those 80 one-hit wonders. Wish me luck.

1990s: time for some one-hit wonders

In the '90s, we started to see more collaborations and featured artists on tracks - so, for the purposes of this list, an act can only be a one-hit wonder if all artists credited had only one hit. That means DNA featuring Suzanne Vega (1990's "Tom's Diner") don't make the cut since she had three top 50 records in the 1980s and they were credited as "featuring" on Kylie Minogue's "Shocked". Neither does Regina Belle - although she only hit the top 50 once, it was on 1993's "A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)", a duet with four-time top 20 hitmaker Peabo Bryson.

It'll all make sense as we proceed - and it's only the odd case where there could be any debate over an artist's one-hit wonder status. So, I'll get on with it since there are 40 one-hit wonders to get through in this post - all of whom had one top 10 hit and no further top 50 entries on the Australian chart between 1990 and 1994.


"Lambada" by Kaoma
Entered the Australian chart: December 25, 1989
Peak position: number 5
No other top 100 entries
Not only was the dance forbidden, but this summer smash lifted elements (unauthorised, of course) from three different songs - the original Bolivian folk tune, the accordion arrangement from a dance version and the Portuguese lyrics from yet another version. Cue: legal action.




"Infinity (1990s: Time For The Guru)" by Guru Josh
Entered the Australian chart: April 29, 1990
Peak position: number 4
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Whose Law (Is It Anyway?)" (number 64 in 1990)
Declaring a whole decade as yours is pretty ambitious, and as it turned out Paul Walden couldn't even dominate one entire year, with follow-ups to the mostly instrumental "Infinity" falling way short.




"Lily Was Here" by David A Stewart & Candy Dulfer
Entered the Australian chart: June 10, 1990
Peak position: number 10
David A Stewart - no other top 50 entries / Candy Dulfer - no other top 100 entries
David A Stewart - next biggest single: "Jack Talking" (as Dave Stewart & The Spiritual Cowboys, number 57 in 1990)
1990 was the year of the saxophone-led instrumental hit, with this track from the Dutch film of the same name (original title: De Kassière) providing saxophonist Candy Dulfer with her one and only chart hit in Australia. Meanwhile, Dave Stewart is possibly the only artist to be a one-hit wonder twice - here in his own right and as a member of The Tourists. Yes, he was half of the incredibly successful Eurythmics, but his career before and after that is a very different thing.




"Spin That Wheel" by Hi Tek 3 featuring Ya Kid K
Entered the Australian chart: June 17, 1990
Peak position: number 5
Hi Tek 3 - no other top 100 entries / Ya Kid K - no other top 50 entries
Ya Kid K - next biggest single: "Move It To The Rhythm" (as Technotronic featuring Ya Kid K, number 52 in 1995)
If you think calling Dave Stewart a one-hit wonder is problematic, here's another conundrum. Rapper Ya Kid K was part of two other ARIA top 10 hits: Technotronic's "Pump Up The Jam" and "Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over)", but she was not credited in her own right on either track (despite being given "featuring" billing in the UK on "Get Up!"). Therefore, "Spin That Wheel" is her only Australian top 50 credit. Uncontroversially, the track was also the only chart hit for Dutch trio Hi Tek 3. Don't worry, none of the other one-hit wonders are as complicated as the last two.




"Show Me Heaven" by Maria McKee
Entered the Australian chart: November 4, 1990
Peak position: number 3
No other top 100 entries
Taken from the soundtrack to the Nicole Kidman/Tom Cruise film Days Of Thunder, big ballad "Show Me Heaven" was the only hit performed by former Lone Justice frontwoman Maria McKee. She did, however, also write "A Good Heart" for everyone's favourite two-hit wonder Feargal Sharkey (a song which was produced by Dave Stewart!). Bizarrely, "Show Me Heaven" was not at all successful in America.




"I'm Free" by The Soup Dragons featuring Junior Reid
Entered the Australian chart: November 25, 1990
Peak position: number 9
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Mother Universe" (number 67 in 1991)
The words Madchester and baggy don't mean so much in Australia, with The Soup Dragons one of the only acts from those British music scenes to make much impact in Australia - and that was only because of this remake of the 1965 song by The Rolling Stones.




"Wiggle It" by 2 In A Room
Entered the Australian chart: January 20, 1991
Peak position: number 3
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "She's Got Me Going Crazy" (number 72 in 1991)
As I mentioned in Part 1, rap music was finally making headway into the Australian chart on a regular basis in the early '90s, thanks in no small part to the chart-topping success of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice - without whom Rafael "Dose" Vargas and Roger "Rog Nice" Pauletta (the two in 2 In A Room) might have found themselves to be no-hit wonders in this country.




"Because I Love You (The Postman Song)" by Stevie B
Entered the Australian chart: February 10, 1991
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "I'll Be By Your Side" (number 73 in 1991)
He was the king of freestyle (the Miami-based dance sound that never took off in Australia), but Steven Hill (the B came from middle name Bernard) did succeed with this syrupy ballad - a US number 1 - that I always thought was slightly out of tune.




"How To Dance" by Bingoboys featuring Princessa
Entered the Australian chart: April 14, 1991
Peak position: number 3
No other top 100 entries
The Austrian trio used so many samples in their debut single that they can't have made much money from "How To Dance". And, despite the ambitious title of the accompanying album, The Best Of Bingoboys, their dance instruction ended here.




"Love Rears Its Ugly Head" by Living Colour
Entered the Australian chart: May 19, 1991
Peak position: number 10
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Cult Of Personality" (number 54 in 1989)
With four top 30 albums to their name, Living Colour were more a long-player kind of band. In fact, the top 10 success of "Love Rears Its Ugly Head" was largely due to the Soulpower remix (which you can hear in the link above) - and not the album version (which features in the music video below). The remix was a softer version that likely appealed to an entirely different audience than the ones buying their albums.




"Pump It (Nice An' Hard)" by Icy Blu
Entered the Australian chart: July 28, 1991
Peak position: number 10
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "I Wanna Be Your Girl" (number 88 in 1991)
With a stage name that matched her positioning as the female Vanilla Ice, Icy Blu (real name: Laurel Yurchick) really owed her success (such as it was) to the liberal use of Salt 'n' Pepa's "Push It" in this debut single.







"Now That We Found Love" by Heavy D & The Boyz
Entered the Australian chart: August 4, 1991
Peak position: number 6
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Is It Good To You" (number 71 in 1991)
See, I told you rap became a thing in Australia in the early '90s - and there were few rappers who were literally bigger than Heavy D (real name: Dwight Myers), who weighed over 150 kilos at his death in 2011 and made, er, light of his size with his stage name and album titles. While more successful in the US, Heavy D's only Australian hit was this O'Jays remake.




"Wind Of Change" by Scorpions
Entered the Australian chart: August 4, 1991
Peak position: number 7
No other top 100 entries
Every hard rock act needs its power ballad, and this trip "down to Gorky Pa-ark" had fans waving their cigarette lighters in the air to a topical tune as the German band sang about the end of the Cold War.




"Do Anything" by Natural Selection
Entered the Australian chart: November 3, 1991
Peak position: number 10
No other top 100 entries
Besides being a long-forgotten pop gem, this US number 2 hit is notable for featuring spoken interjections throughout by regular Madonna backing singer Niki Harris. Niki would end up having further success (although not in Australia) with some guest spots on Snap! singles "Exterminate" and "Do You See The Light (Looking For)".




"Stop The War In Croatia" by Tomislav Ivčić
Entered the Australian chart: December 1, 1991
Peak position: number 7
No other top 100 entries
Two years after this protest song surprisingly hit the Australian top 10, the Croatian folk singer got even more political and was elected to the Croatian parliament. Tragically, he died in a car accident before he could take office.




"James Brown Is Dead" by L.A. Style
Entered the Australian chart: March 29, 1992
Peak position: number 7
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "I'm Raving" (number 65 in 1993)
Like rap, dance music crossed over onto the ARIA top 50 in the early '90s, with the likes of The KLF, C&C Music Factory, 2 Unlimited, KWS and Snap! all scoring big chart hits. At the harder end of the spectrum was this slice of Dutch techno which pre-empted the demise of the Godfather of Soul by some 14 years.




"Cry" by Lisa Edwards
Entered the Australian chart: May 3, 1992
Peak position: number 5
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Until The Day" (number 86 in 1993)
Being one of John Farnham's backing singers hadn't been enough for Venetta Fields to land herself a hit with 1987's "Only One" but perhaps she should have recorded a cover version instead - like fellow backup performer Lisa Edwards, who took this 1985 track by Godley & Crème 38 places higher on the Australian chart than the original had managed.




"Sesame's Treet" by Smart E's
Entered the Australian chart: August 23, 1992
Peak position: number 6
No other top 100 entries
The Prodigy had done it first - turning a 1970s British animated public information commercial into a rave hit with "Charly", spawning imitators in the form of Urban Hype's "A Trip To Trumpton" and this breakbeat spin on the theme to Sesame Street, which was the only one of the three to find success in Australia. Guess we should count ourselves lucky.




"Ain't No Doubt" by Jimmy Nail
Entered the Australian chart: September 6, 1992
Peak position: number 5
No other top 100 entries
Another song that had a greater backstory in the UK was this single by the Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Spender star, who'd already reached the British top 3 with his 1985 cover of "Love Don't Live Here Anymore". As far as Australia was concerned, he was that guy who mumbled his way through this top 5 hit.




"White Men Can't Jump" by Riff
Entered the Australian chart: September 13, 1992
Peak position: number 6
No other top 100 entries
Criminally, their US top 30 Boyz II Men-style ballad "My Heart Is Failing Me" made no impact in Australia, but this Boyz II Men-style new jack swing track taken from the Wesley Snipes/Woody Harrelson basketball film of the same name did the business instead.




"Would I Lie To You" by Charles & Eddie
Entered the Australian chart: November 1, 1992
Peak position: number 3
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "NYC (Can You Believe This City?)" (number 73 in 1993)
The musical equivalent of chocolate milk (don't blame me - it's what they called their second album), Eddie Chacon and the late Charles Pettigrew showed much promise but never outdid this smooth throwback soul track. 




"Jump!" by The Movement
Entered the Australian chart: November 8, 1992
Peak position: number 7
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "B.I.N.G.O." (number 84 in 1993)
It was only for the hardcore - or so the lyrics of this techno track claimed. As well as replacing "motherfucker" for "everybody" for the radio version, "Jump!" featured the word "jump" no less than 92 times.





"Tequila" by A.L.T. & The Lost Civilization
Entered the Australian chart: November 15, 1992
Peak position: number 8
No other top 100 entries
In a lot of ways it was a genius move to remake a party song everybody's familiar with - and it gave the Mexican-American rapper born Alvin Lowell Trivette an easy hit single across the '92-'93 festive season. In a lot of other ways it was just awful.




"If I Ever Fall In Love" by Shai
Entered the Australian chart: January 24, 1993
Peak position: number 4
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Baby I'm Yours" (number 70 in 1993)
We've already seen Riff, and by 1993 there were a heap of four-piece vocal harmony R&B groups coming out of the States, none of whom managed the kind of longevity Boyz II Men did. There was a version of "If I Ever Fall In Love" with musical accompaniment, but the song (which would be covered by Gabrielle & East 17 in the UK) always sounded better a cappella.




"How Do You Talk To An Angel" by The Heights
Entered the Australian chart: January 31, 1993
Peak position: number 3
No other top 100 entries
The fictional band from the short-lived TV series of the same name featured Charlotte Ross (Eve Donovan on Days Of Our Lives) and future Beverly Hills, 90210 star Jamie Walters (who, as Ray Pruit, pushed Donna down a flight of stairs) among its members. But, by the time the former US chart-topper debuted on the ARIA chart, The Heights had been axed in the States.




"Rump Shaker" by Wreckx-N-Effect
Entered the Australian chart: February 7, 1993
Peak position: number 10
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Wreckx Shop" (number 81 in 1993)
The song was co-written and co-produced by new jack swing pioneer Teddy Riley, and the trio responsible featured his brother Markell in the line-up, but a lot of the attention "Rump Shaker" received was due to its babes-in-bikinis music video. Side point: another of the song's co-writers was Pharrell Williams, who'd been discovered by Teddy. 




"The Hitman" by AB Logic
Entered the Australian chart: May 16, 1993
Peak position: number 6
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "AB Logic" (number 60 in 1993)
There were more Eurodance acts than you could poke a stick at (and many music fans would've liked to do a lot more serious damage than that) in the mid-'90s. Belgian duo AB Logic had the requisite composition of female singer Marianne Festraets and male rapper K-Swing.




"Freak Me" by Silk
Entered the Australian chart: May 30, 1993
Peak position: number 3
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Girl U For Me" (number 57 in 1993)
Joining Shai in the Australian top 5 in 1993 were fellow vocal harmony group Silk, who raunched things up a notch with this seductive track co-written and co-produced by Keith Sweat. Just like the Shai song, "Freak Me" would find success in Britain following a pop cover version by boy band Another Level.




"What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes
Entered the Australian chart: August 1, 1993
Peak position: number 2
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Misty Mountain" (number 78 in 1995)
Stuck in the runner-up position for five weeks behind Meatloaf's "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" (an awful top 2 if ever there was one), "What's Up?" was the second and most successful single by the group that spawned future superstar songwriter and producer Linda Perry.




"The Floor" by Johnny Gill
Entered the Australian chart: August 1, 1993
Peak position: number 6
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Rub You The Right Way" (number 59 in 1990)
The singer who replaced Bobby Brown in New Edition had failed to ignite the Australian charts with any of his previous solo efforts, but this lead single from fourth album Provocative more than made up for it - even if, conversely, it was one of his worst performing singles in the States since New Edition's split.




"Three Little Pigs" by Green Jelly
Entered the Australian chart: August 1, 1993
Peak position: number 6
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Anarchy In The UK" (number 94 in 1993)
Owing much of its popularity to the accompanying claymation video clip, this nightmare version of "Three Little Pigs" (which was initially only released in the States as a video single) by the comedy heavy metal act was mercifully their only chart foray.




"No Rain" by Blind Melon
Entered the Australian chart: November 14, 1993
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Tones Of Home" (number 83 in 1994)
Another song with a memorable music video (which you can watch via the link above), "No Rain" and its tap-dancing Bee Girl charmed the world, but not enough for Blind Melon to manage another hit. Heather DeLoach, who starred in the clip, is now 31.




"Asshole" by Denis Leary
Entered the Australian chart: January 23, 1994
Peak position: number 2
No other top 100 entries
1994 got off to a foul-mouthed start with this single from comedian Denis Leary which, of course, became a massive hit thanks to its profanity-laden lyrics and controversial music video. The song came from his stand-up album No Cure For Cancer.




"Loser" by Beck
Entered the Australian chart: March 20, 1994
Peak position: number 8
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Where It's At" (number 71 in 1996)
The insults were flying thick and fast in 1994, even if Beck was referring to himself and his rapping ability with "Loser", which is, somewhat surprisingly, the prolific alt-rock star's only top 50 hit in Australia. He's had much more success on the albums chart, with five top 20 appearances.




"I Believe" by Marcella Detroit
Entered the Australian chart: April 17, 1994
Peak position: number 10
No other top 100 entries
She'd featured on a handful of hits as one-half of Shakespear's Sister, but when it came time for Marcella Detroit to put her piercing voice to use on a solo career (a side-project which became permanent when Siobhan Fahey effectively sacked her from Shakespear's Sister), she never bettered this lead single from the Jewel album.




"Doop" by Doop
Entered the Australian chart: April 24, 1994
Peak position: number 5
No other top 100 entries
In Part 1, they appeared under the guise of Hocus Pocus with number 1 hit "Here's Johnny" - and with this Charleston-influenced dance track, Dutch duo Ferry Ridderhof and Peter Garnefski reached the same position in the UK as well as registering an ARIA top 5 hit. Had the two tracks been released under the same name, they'd be a two-hit wonder, but since they weren't, I guess that makes them a one-hit wonder twice over.




"I Like To Move It" by Reel 2 Real featuring The Mad Stuntman
Entered the Australian chart: May 15, 1994
Peak position: number 6
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Jazz It Up" (number 69 in 1996)
Reel 2 Real was essentially DJ/producer Erick Morillo, while ragga toaster The Mad Stuntman was the alias of Trinidad and Tobago-born Mark Quashie, who together did notch up a few other hits in the UK. These days, "I Like To Move It" is loved by a new generation following its use in the Madagascar films.




"Baby, I Love Your Way" by Big Mountain
Entered the Australian chart: June 12, 1994
Peak position: number 4
No other top 100 entries
Taken from the soundtrack to one of 1994's most buzz-worthy films, Reality Bites, this cover version gave the Peter Frampton track a reggae spin only a few short years after Will To Power's mash-up remake. It was also included on Unity, one of Big Mountain's 10 studio albums, none of which yielded anything anywhere near as successful.




"The Winner Is..." by Southend with Nik Fish
Entered the Australian chart: June 19, 1994
Peak position: number 9
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "The Winner Is... 2000" (number 69 in 2000)
The Sydney-based dance act crossed over from the club scene with this patriotic single, which wove snatches of the 1993 announcement of the host city for the 2000 Olympics and the coverage by local radio station 2UE into a furious techno track. It's a shame it's all they're known for since their non-gimmicky songs were quite good, too.




"Swamp Thing" by The Grid
Entered the Australian chart: August 14, 1994
Peak position: number 3
No other top 50 entries
Next biggest single: "Rollercoaster" (number 59 in 1994)
Doop, Reel 2 Real and now this... there really were some infuriating dance songs in 1994 - with this banjo-led track inspiring imitators like "Everybody Gonfi-Gon" by 2 Cowboys. The Grid was comprised of Richard Norris and David Bell, who, as a member of Soft Cell, was a one-hit wonder in the '80s in Australia.




In Part 3, we'll continue our trip through one-hit wonders of the '90s with another 40 acts who shone brightly - and briefly - between 1995 and 1999. Included in the list are one of two rival versions of a big Diane Warren ballad, the song that helped put French dance music on the map, and more raunchy R&B songs and infuriating Eurodance tracks.


1 comment:

  1. I always wanted to see the 'Lily Was Here' after liking the song and seeing snippets from the movie in the video. I haven't yet, though.

    I didn't know 'I'm Free' was a Rolling Stones cover. It's not that surprising, though.

    I tried to (re-)upload Icy Blu's 'Pump It (Nice 'An Hard)' video to youtube in 2011 (after it originally appeared on a since-suspended channel in 2008), but it's been blocked worldwide since then. Yes, because the record company would be deprived of so much money if it could be seen. She was in jail a few years back apparently.

    I really hated 'Tequila' at the time. It seemed to spend aeons on the chart, too. Actually, I hated most of the late '92 and 1993 one-hit wonders at the time (probably exacerbated by their long chart runs)... though all but a few I've since grown to like. That will never happen for the Big Mountain version of 'Baby I Love Your Way', though.

    ReplyDelete