Friday, February 11, 1994

Ace of Base “The Sign” hit #1

The Sign

Ace of Base

Writer(s): Jonas “Joker” Berggren (see lyrics here)


Released: December 21, 1993


First Charted: January 1, 1994


Peak: 16 US, 113 BA, 13 CB, 13 GR, 19 RR, 2 AC, 2 UK, 15 CN, 14 AU, 14 DF (Click for codes to charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.1 US, 0.4 UK, 2.15 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 125.40 video, 241.07 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Ace of Base hit #1 on four U.S. pop charts with “The Sign.” On February 11, 1994, they reached the pinnacle on the Radio & Records chart and followed suit a week later on the Gavin Report. On March 12, the song ascended to the throne on the Billboard Hot 100 and accomplished the same feat on the Cashbox charts a week later. The song also spent thirteen weeks at #1 on the Billboard radio airplay chart. It ended up the song of the year on Billboard’s year-end chart. Idolator ranked it the best pop song of 1994. WK

The song experienced international success as well, going to the top slot in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Spain, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe. WK Interestingly, the Swedish group did not top the Swedish charts or the UK charts, stalling at #2 in both cases. “The Sign” “featured a disco-esque beat and harmonies reminiscent of the earlier Swedish pop sensation, Abba,” DJ another group comprised of two female singers alongside two male musicians. However, a People magazine reviewer said that “The Sign” proved Ace of Base was more than just an Abba clone. WK

Their debut album, Happy Nation, came out in 1992 but American labels weren’t interested until iconic record executive Clive Davis heard “All That She Wants” while on a yacht on vacation. That song was the group’s first single released outside of Scandinavia FB and went to #1 in multiple countries and reached #2 in the United States. Davis signed the band and revamped the album with three new songs, including “The Sign,” and a new album title – also The Sign. TB The album sold nine million copies in the United States.

“The Sign” is about “a couple contemplating the state of their relationship and deciding to split up as a result.” WK As singer Jenny Berggren said, “You see signs in your life, and that’s why you change direction.” WK Musically, “the song has a simple, memorable, endlessly catchy chorus.” TB It “sounded like some streamlined, futuristic version of pop music.” TB


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First posted 8/11/2023.

Monday, February 7, 1994

Marillion Brave released

Brave

Marillion


Released: February 7, 1994


Peak: -- US, 10 UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: neo-progressive rock


Tracks:

Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Bridge [2:52]
  2. Living with the Big Lie [6:46]
  3. Runaway [4:40]
  4. Goodbye to All That [12:26]
    i. Wave
    ii. Mad
    iii. The Opium Den
    iv. The Slide
    v. Standing in the Swing
  5. Hard As Love [6:41]
  6. The Hollow Man [4:08] (3/21/94, 30 UK)
  7. Along Again in the Lap of Luxury [8:12] (4/15/94, 53 UK)
    i. Now Wash Your Hands
  8. Paper Lies [5:49]
  9. Brave [7:54]
  10. The Great Escape [6:29] (1/10/94, --)
    i. The Last of You
    ii. Fallin’ from the Moon
  11. Made Again [5:01]

Lyrics by Steve Hogarth and John Helmer; music by Marillion (Hogarth/ Kelly/ Mosley/ Rothery/ Trewavas).


The Players:

  • Steve Hogarth (vocals, percussion)
  • Steve Rothery (guitar)
  • Pete Trewavas (bass)
  • Mark Kelly (keyboards)
  • Ian Mosley (drums)

Rating:

3.804 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“In a climate of constantly evolving trends in popular music, [Marillion] has maintained an identity as leaders in the echelon of progressive rock…Brave is a distillation of everything special about the band.” MB

“With all of their recordings, Marillion have offered consistently effortlessly expressive rock-pop of the highest caliber. More intricate and emotionally willing than previous recordings, Brave is an unashamed concept album that works on numerous levels. A return to the roots tempered with maturity and hindsight. The songs shine with a new vitality, as breathtaking as any previous release by the band.” MB

“Recorded at Miles Copeland's 14th-century chateau in Bordeaux in a block of two months of intensive work, Brave grew in body and wealth. Produced by Dave Meegan, the startlingly powerful and evocative recording addresses the concept of truth and the fact that truth has become more difficult to unravel than ever before. Vocalist and principal lyricist Steve Hogarth explains, ‘…I think we're in more danger than we ever were of losing faith in everything. Brave is about a loss of faith.’” MB

“The story which unfolds within Brave is fictitious, but it is based upon the real-life event of a teenage girl with amnesia found wandering on the Severn bridge, and her subsequent search for a past. The album is about how we get here, what we're doing here, what we're doing with our lives, and how the crumbling of the edifices on which we construct our sense of reality can radically alter our perception of life. Musically, the band mirror the uncertainty and confusion that dog the central character's trawl through her subconscious with baffling agility.” MB

“Within this soul-searching journey for identity, the album hits some timeless highs, especially in the gentle The Slide, the elegiac Now Wash Your Hands, and the heart-stopping The Great Escape,” MB the latter being “one of the most dynamic showcases for vocalist Steve Hogarth and guitarist Steve Rothery.” AMG

Brave “is a solid mix of symphonic tracks with a pronounced rock edge.” AMG It “is moody, ambient and graceful all at once. Certainly too much for a solitary listen, reveling in the reality that it is an album made without boundaries, rules or concern for fashionable acceptability.” MB It “remains the most complex Marillion release to date, with layers and layers of sound.” AMG

“On the question of being out of touch, guitarist Steve Rothery acknowledges, ‘Oh, we are totally! But then being in touch means having to immerse yourself in what's trendy that week. We don't chase fashionability.’ Keyboardist Mark Kelly added, ‘People don't like the fact that we're still around. We never set ourselves up to be trendy for five seconds. We exist outside of the scene. But we can laugh at ourselves.’” MB

“Be brave. It's okay to like Marillion.” MB


Notes: A 2-disc reissue includes non-album cuts "Marouatte Jam," "Winter Trees" (instrumental), and "Dream Sequence" as well as alternate versions of "The Great Escape" (2 versions – one of which is more than 32 minutes long), “The Hollow Man," "Along Again in the Lap of Luxury” (2 versions), “Runaway,” “Hard As Love,” and “Living with the Big Lie.”

Also, “a full-length movie of Brave, directed by Richard Stanley, was released in Europe in conjunction with the album.” AMG

In 2018, Brave was reissued as a box set with the original Dave Meegan album mix, the 2018 Steven Wilson remix, and a two-CD live set recorded on April 29, 1994 at La Cigale.

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First posted 3/14/2008; last updated 3/6/2022.

Wednesday, February 2, 1994

Bruce Springsteen released “Streets of Philadelphia”

Streets of Philadelphia

Bruce Springsteen

Writer(s): Bruce Springsteen (see lyrics here)


Released: February 2, 1994


First Charted: February 12, 1994


Peak: 9 US, 6 CB, 10 RR, 3 AC, 25 AR, 2 UK, 11 CN, 4 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.6 UK, 1.48 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 158.5 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Movie director Jonathan Demme met Bruce Springsteen in 1985 on the video shoot for “Sun City.” They hadn’t seen each other since, but Demme reached out to Springsteen when he needed a song for Philadelphia, his 1993 movie starring Tom Hanks as a lawyer dying of AIDS. Springsteen told him “I’m interested so I’d like to come up with a song for you…but I can’t promise…I’m not very good at scores.” WK He had, in fact, never written a song specifically for a movie SF although he had given the song “Light of Day” to director Paul Schrader for his 1987 movie of the same name. SF

Springsteen reworked some lyrics he’d written about the death of a friend, but couldn’t get the song to work with a rock beat. SF He sent what he considered a demo to Demme. He and his wife sat and listened to it “and we were literally weeping by the end.” WK Demme thought it was perfect just the way it was. SF

Writer Christopher Sanford called it “the saddest track cut this decade.” WK The “moody ballad” AMG was “a surprising commercial comeback for Springsteen.” AMG It was his first top 10 hit since 1987’s “Tunnel of Love” and first gold single since 1985’s “My Hometown.” The song was a top 10 in the U.S. and hit #1 in Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, and Norway. WK

“Streets of Philadelphia” won the Oscar for Best Original Song and Grammys for Song of the Year, Best Rock Song, Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television. Springsteen performed it at the Academy Awards in March 1994, the MTV Video Music Awards in September 1994, and at the Grammy Awards in March 1995.


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First posted 2/27/2021; last updated 8/16/2022.

Tuesday, February 1, 1994

Green Day Dookie released

Dookie

Green Day


Released: February 1, 1994


Peak: 2 US, 13 UK, 18 CN, 113 AU


Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 0.9 UK, 20.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: punk rock


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. Burnout
  2. Having a Blast
  3. Chump
  4. Longview (2/1/94, 36 BA, 87 CB, 35 RR, 13 AR, 1 MR, 30 UK, 33 AU, 9 DF)
  5. Welcome to Paradise (9/24/94, 56 BA, 7 MR, 20 UK, 44 AU, 31 DF)
  6. Pulling Teeth
  7. Basket Case (7/16/94, 26 BA, 23 GR, 20 RR, 9 AR, 1 MR, 7 UK, 12 CN, 85 AU, 15 DF)
  8. She (4/15/95, 41 BA, 18 AR, 5 MR, 23 DF)
  9. Sassafras Roots
  10. When I Come Around (12/3/94, 6 BA, 4 RR, 2 AR, 1 MR, 27 UK, 3 CN, 7 AU, 7 DF)
  11. Coming Clean
  12. Emenius Sleepus
  13. In the End
  14. F.O.D./All by Myself


Total Running Time: 39:35


The Players:

  • Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals, guitar)
  • Mike “Dirnt” Pritchard (bass
  • Frank “TrĂ© Cool” Wright (drums)

Rating:

4.340 out of 5.00 (average of 33 ratings)


Quotable:

“A stellar piece of modern punk that many tried to emulate but nobody bettered.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Awards:

(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Green Day formed in 1987 and over the next five years released two albums and three EPs. Major labels started courting them and they signed with Reprise Records in 1993. Their third album and major label debut, Dookie, proved to be a landmark. “On their first couple records, they showed promise, but with Dookie, they delivered a record that found Billie Joe Armstrong bursting into full flower as a songwriter, spitting out melodic ravers that could have comfortable sat alongside Singles Going Steady, but infused with an ironic self-loathing popularized by Nirvana, whose clean sound on Nevermind is also emulated here.” AMG

The album was “nearly as revolutionary as Nevermind.” AMG “Like Nevermind, this was accidental success, the sound of a promising underground group suddenly hitting its stride just as they got their first professional, big-budget, big-label production. Really, that’s where the similarities end, since if Nirvana were indebted to the weirdness of indie rock, Green Day were straight-ahead punk revivalists through and through.” AMG

It became “one of the defining albums of the 1990s and punk rock in general.” WK It sent “a wave of imitators up the charts” AMG that included Blink-182, Sum 41, and Fall Out Boy, but Dookie stood out as “a stellar piece of modern punk that many tried to emulate but nobody bettered.” AMG In 2017, Rolling Stone named it the greatest pop-punk album of all time. WK

“Where Nirvana had weight, Green Day are deliberately adolescent here, treating nearly everything as joke and having as much fun as snotty punkers should.” AMG The album brought “melodic rock sound to the mainstream with relatable lyrics” WK about “boredom, anxiety, relationships,” WK “masturbation, sexual orientation, …divorce, domestic abuse and ex-girlfriends” WK “that reached a universal audience.” WK The themes were heavily based on singer Billie Joe Armstrong’s personal experiences. WK

The first single released from the album was Longview. Armstrong said the song’s main character was based on himself during his time living in Rodeo, California. He said there was nothing to do there. The character “does nothing but watch television, smoke mariuana, and masturbate, and has little motivation to change these habits despite tiring of the same cycle of behaviors.” WK The song features a signature bassline from Mike Dirnt that he wrote under the influence of LSD. WK

The second single was Basket Case. Like its predecessor, it topped the alternative rock chart and was a top 40 hit on the Billboard airplay charts. “The song deals with Armstrong’s anxiety attacks and feelings of ‘going crazy’ prior to being diagnosed with a panic disorder.” WK

Welcome to Paradise first appeared on Kerplunk!, the band’s second studio album. It was one of three earlier songs that the band re-recorded, but it was the only one to make the album. “It bears noticeable improvements in sound quality.” WK It was the third single released from Dookie.

The song She was written by Armstrong about Amanda, a former girlfriend. She showed him a feminist poem with the same title and he in turn wrote lyrics and showed them to her. The song is similar to “Basket Case” but slightly faster. It was released as the fourth single from the album.

“They demonstrate a bit of depth with When I Come Around, but that just varies the pace slightly, since the key to this is their flippant, infectious attitude – something they maintain throughout the record.” AMG It was the fifth and final single from the album. It was inspired by Adrienne, Armstrong’s former girlfriend and future wife. Armstong left her after they had an argument to spend time alone.

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First posted 3/28/2011; last updated 12/8/2023.