August 19, 2015

Top Ten Flashback: August 19, 1995

Time once again for another flashback to the Australian top ten of 20 years ago. This time it's the week ending August 19, 1995 – when I was in my final year of high school. A month before, four friends and I had gone to see the movie Batman Forever, a film I still really enjoy, and especially its soundtrack, which creates vivid memories. Speaking of the soundtrack, it yielded two number one singles, both of which feature in the top ten below.

10.  Michael Jackson – "You Are Not Alone" ºº
Those two little circles mean a chart debut, by the way. Ol' Mick Jackson had yet another hit on his hands. It spent 13 weeks in the top ten despite only reaching number 7, which it did on two separate occasions.

9.  Merril Bainbridge – "Under The Water"
I'll just get this out of the way first – that cover art is bloody awful. Why any record company wunk would think members of the public would buy a single when it had such a crappy cover image is beyond me. That said, I preferred this single to Merril Bainbridge's previous one, the irritating "Mouth", which had reached number 1. This one managed to get to number 4, higher than I remember.

8.  Chris Isaak – "Somebody's Crying"
A bit more up-tempo than his usual stuff. Not a bad tune. I'm not really into Chris Isaak's music, but the man himself is a pretty entertaining guy.

7.  The Steppers – "Alice, Who The F..k Is Alice?"
This song has a rich and colourful history, if your definition of "rich and colourful" is "mildly entertaining to a music nerd". It began life as "Living Next Door To Alice", by Australian band New World, and charted at number 35 in 1972. They must have been annoyed when British MOR band Smokie covered the song in 1976 and their version topped the Australian charts. In 1995, Dutch novelty act Gompie (named after the nightclub where the crowd would shout the titular expletive chant) put out a cover, as did Smokie again with 'comedian' Roy "Chubby" Brown (who should be shot for being so "funny", as TV Hits magazine so memorably put it). The Steppers' dance version reached number 2, stuck behind Seal for two weeks.

6.  Bryan Adams – "Have You Ever Really…"zzzzzzzz
I can't be bothered typing out the stupid song title, or putting the cover art in. Why? Because it's turgid dreck that should be long-forgotten. From its incredibly condescending and patronizing lyrics to its video with those idiotic masks, everything about this is just plain awful. And yet, it even got to number 1 for a week. Dreadful. This guy was really wearing out his welcome on our charts as far as I was concerned.

5.  Hootie & The Blowfish – "Let Her Cry"
I know everyone rags on these guys, but I don't think this song is all that bad. It's definitely more listenable than the previous rubbish.

4.  U2 – "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me"
Having just dropped from number 1, where it debuted and stayed for 6 weeks, U2's ace Batman Forever single evokes strong memories of the closing months of high school for me. It had a great video too, with animated band members doing crazy Batman-like things, plus scenes from the film. It's still one of my favourite U2 songs.

3.  Seal – "Kiss From A Rose"
Continuing with Batman, this soon-to-be number 1 single was racing up the charts. A tuneful ballad, it's one of the few ballads I can stand, due to its unusual lyrics, plus Seal's range of harmonies. I should watch the movie again to see exactly which scene it can be heard in.

2.  F.C.B. – "Excalibur"
Utilizing the harmonics from Carl Orff's 13th century choral piece sung in Latin, "O Fortuna", this Italian group made a hard dance version of the classical tune. Shooting up to number 2 from last week's debut at number 14, Australia was apparently the only country where the track was a hit. I like it more for its memorable video, which used footage from Paul Terry's black and white 'Terrytoons' cartoons from the early 1920s.

1.  Jann Arden – "Insensitive"
Meh, more unmemorable pap. The only thing I can say about this is that in its solitary week at number 1, it interrupted a 12-week run of Batman Forever singles being at the top. Also, I hate it for preventing "Excalibur" from having a shot at number 1. And now this 'song' is duly forgotten. Seriously, who ever talks about 'Jann Arden' anymore? Nobody, that's who.