Matt’s Music Spot: whatever happened to 2005?

Lots of big stuff happened in 2005, which began with the world reeling from the Boxing Day tsunami. Hurricane Katrina devastated coastal areas of three south-eastern American states. George W started his second term as President. Pope John Paul II died. The Civil Partnership Act came into effect in the UK. Bird Flu continued to terrorise the world. London won the rights to the 2012 Olympics. The Airbus A380 made its first flight and Microsoft released the first Xbox 360.  Closer to home, John Howard was in his tenth year as Australian Prime Minister. Just when it seemed bad enough that great chunks of our population were being arrested, convicted or executed for drug offenses in south-east Asia, the year was then rounded out by the infamous Cronulla Riots.

It was quite the momentous year, all told. Can it really be a full decade ago already?

2005 was a memorable year in music too, with big-hitters from local artists Missy Higgins, Bernard Fanning, Pete Murray, Delta Goodrem and Human Nature. Overseas artists including Jack Johnson, Coldplay, Green Day and The Foo Fighters had significant success during 2005, the year that also saw the first big local hits from the likes of James Blunt, Ben Lee, The Veronicas, The Rogue Traders, Rob Thomas, Scissor Sisters and The Killers.

So ten years on, how are they faring now? How many of 2005’s biggest-selling artists went on to even bigger things? Are any of them still going strong? Do any of these top-selling releases from a decade ago deserve the ‘classic’ tag? Or are they best left, buried and forgotten, in the past?

Let’s look at Australia’s 5 highest-selling singles and albums from 2005 and find out…

 

THE 5 HIGHEST SELLING SINGLES OF 2005

1. THE PRAYER by Anthony Callea

2005-Anthony Callea

  • Peak position: #1 (5 weeks)
  • Time in Top 50: 17 weeks (20/12/04 – 11/04/05)
  • End Of Decade Chart position:  #2

In November 2004, Anthony Callea was crowned Australian Idol Series 2 runner-up and enjoyed a brief period of chart success. In recent years it seems his only work has been Carols By Candlelight and outer-suburban RSL Club gigs. It’s a sad end for an artist who started out with such promise, albeit on a public vote talent show.

In December ’04, the immense popularity of both Callea and Idol sent The Prayer straight into the chart at #1, where it stayed for five weeks. It had already been certified 4 x Platinum after just two weeks on sale. While commonplace today, that volume of single sales was almost unheard of in the exclusively physical market of 2005, even more so after only two weeks.

Callea’s second single also hit #1 and another three went Top 10, but it’s been eight years since his last appearance. His first album also hit #1, but its 2006 follow-up only reached #9. His third album, released in June 2013, just made the Top 20 and in December that year a Christmas album – so often the bread-and-butter of washed up pop stars – only just cracked the Top 40.

[On a side-note, it’s indicative of Australian Idol’s colossal popularity at the time that only two other singles were certified 4 x Platinum in 2004, by Idol Series 1 winner Guy Sebastian and Idol Series 1 runner-up Shannon Noll, while The Prayer was the only single to be accredited with sales of greater than 2 x Platinum in 2005.]

  • Likelihood of future chart success: That ship has sailed… barring a miraculous reinvention, which isn’t impossible, just unlikely.

2. DON’T CHA by The Pussycat Dolls

2005-Pussycat Dolls

  • Peak position: #1 (7 weeks)
  • Time in Top 50: 22 weeks (29/08/05 – 23/01/06)
  • End Of Decade Chart position:  #31

Don’t Cha was the début single for the sassy, many-membered US girl group and dance troupe The Pussycat Dolls. It pounced straight into the chart at #1 in August ’05 and stayed there for seven non-consecutive weeks. Don’t Cha was the first of eleven Pussycat Dolls singles that reached the local chart between August ’05 and June 2009. All but two of them made the Top 10, with six of those peaking within the Top 3.

The Pussycat Dolls only released two albums but certainly had their fair share of success over that four-year period. A ‘hiatus’, called in mid-2009, was ostensibly to allow various members to explore solo (if not entirely unrelated) opportunities. The group’s split was a long, drawn-out affair. First, two members announced they’d quit the group, then several more also departed in quick succession and it seemed clear that the Dolls had called stumps. But it wasn’t until late 2010 that the group’s unofficial lead vocalist Nicole Scherzinger finally announced that she too had formally left the group.

In 2013 a brand new line up of The Pussycat Dolls was announced, but rather than being just another variation on the old group, they were described as “the next generation” and released their début single Ugly Heart in June 2014 – to much success in Australia – under the name G.R.L.

Meanwhile Don’t Cha still reigns as something of a classic of ‘noughties’ pop.

  • Likelihood of future chart success: None. PCD are done and dusted, so it’s not gonna happen.

3. LONELY by Akon

2005-Akon

  • Peak position: #1 (3 weeks)
  • Time in Top 50: 17 weeks (11/07/05 – 31/10/05)
  • End Of Decade Chart position:  #49

The gimmick that helped Lonely all the way to worldwide success was the sped-up sample of the chorus from a 1964 song called “Mr Lonely”, by American songster Bobby Vinton.  The fact that the altered vocal sounded like The Chipmunks apparently didn’t detract from the song’s – or Akon’s – street cred in any way.

Released in the US in February ’05, Lonely was the third single from Akon’s début album and the first to achieve significant, widespread commercial success, hitting #1 in eleven countries.  Here in Australia, Lonely debuted at #1 in July. It spent three non-consecutive weeks at the top and was the first of ten Top 10 singles in Australia for Akon between ’05 and 2011 – five of his own singles and five others as the featured artist. His first three albums also reached the Australian Top 20.

Akon had two even higher-selling solo singles in 2006, but went on to achieve his biggest successes as a featured artist – first on Gwen Stefani’s The Sweet Escape (6 weeks at #2 in 2007) and then on David Guetta’s Sexy Bitch (7 weeks at #1 in 2009) – but the big hits dried up shortly afterwards.

Akon’s last local Top 40 placing as primary artist was in 2010, while as a featured artist his last appearance was with David Guetta in 2013.

Lonely still ranks as one of the more memorable Akon efforts, though whether its considered a certifiable ‘classic’ is proably questionable.

  • Likelihood of future chart success: Possible. His greatest successes have been as a featured artist and everyone seems to get a ‘feat.’ gig these days, but a solo comeback – while possible – appears unlikely.

 

4. AXEL F by Crazy Frog

2005-Crazy Frog

  • Peak position: #1 (3 weeks)
  • Time in Top 50: 21 weeks (25/07/05 – 12/12/05)
  • End Of Decade Chart position:  #52

In 2005-2006 Crazy Frog inexplicably had five hit singles. The first Crazy Frog release was Axel F, a cover of Harold Faltermeyer’s 1984 classic from Beverly Hills Cop. It somehow managed to reach #1 in 14 countries and debuted at #1 in Australia in July ’05, staying there for three weeks. Australians kept on knowingly spending their hard-earned cash on this schlock for more than five months!

Crazy Frog’s next equally ludicrous offering was a cover of the 1972 Hot Butter hit Popcorn which, intriguingly, stalled at #11 on the charts in seven countries, including Australia. Single #3 was the most rancid rendition of a Christmas song ever produced, but the music-buying public took Jingle Bells to greater chart heights than it deserved. Most Christmas fare mercifully disappears from the chart as soon as the festive season is over. Jingle Bells didn’t, more’s the pity.

June ’06 saw a cover of We Are The Champions ding-a-dang-dong its way to #13, followed by an eye-wateringly bad version of Wham’s Last Christmas, which at least attempted to only trouble the charts briefly… but then, for unknown reasons, made a comeback and hung around until April ’07.

Thankfully, that was it. The Crazy Frog bubble had finally burst. Thank you, overkill.

  • Likelihood of future chart success: Dead and buried. Next…

5. OVER AND OVER by Nelly feat. Tim McGraw

2005-Nelly Tim McGraw

  • Peak position: #1 (5 weeks)
  • Time in Top 50: 16 weeks (24/01/05 – 09/05/05)
  • End Of Decade Chart position:  #65

Over And Over was straight into the Australian singles chart at #2 in January 2005 and, in week three, hit the chart peak for the first of five weeks.

It was Nelly’s third #1 single (his first, Dilemma, featuring Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child, was arguably his most memorable) and his 15th single – as either lead or featured artist – to chart in Australia since his 2000 début Country Grammar (Hot Shit) made the Top 20.

Subsequently, of his ten singles to chart between 2005 and 2013, only two managed to reach the Top 10 while two others stalled outside the Top 50 altogether.

Over And Over was also the first of only two appearances on the local mainstream singles chart by US country singer Tim McGraw (the other being with Taylor Swift in 2013), although sixteen of his albums have hit the Australian chart since 1994.

The last time Nelly appeared in the local singles chart was with the #5 hit Hey Porsche in 2013. Of his seven albums to chart in Australia since Country Grammar in June 2000, the first four reached the Top 10, the fifth and sixth peaked within the Top 20, while the most recent, in September 2013, didn’t make it any higher than #81 and spent just a single week in the chart.

  • Likelihood of future chart success: Possible. His featured artist days look to be behind him so, despite limited recent success, solo seems more likely. Although like Akon, pretty much everyone gets a ‘featured artist’ gig these days, so who can say?

 

 

THE 5 HIGHEST SELLING ALBUMS OF 2005

1. THE SOUND OF WHITE by Missy Higgins

2005-Missy Higgins

  • Peak position: #1 (7 weeks)
  • Sales accreditation: 9 x Platinum
  • Time in Top 50: 85 weeks (13/09/04 – 12/02/07)
  • 2004 Year End Chart position: #15
  • 2006 Year End Chart position: #59
  • End Of Decade Chart position:  #5

The Sound Of White was Missy Higgins’ debut album and remains one of the ten highest-selling albums by an Australian artist of all-time. It spent seven weeks at the top of the Australian chart during 2004 and 2005 and continued to sell in sufficient quantities to reappear in the Top 50 during 2006 and 2007. It consequently featured in the end of year highest-seller lists for 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Higgins’ has had most success as an album artist. Her first single Scar (released as a four track EP) pre-empted The Sound Of White and hit #1 on début in August 2004, but neither of the album’s other two singles matched Scar’s success; the album itself continued to sell like hotcakes though, so it hardly mattered.

Her second album On A Clear Night was released in April 2007 and also went to #1, spawning a couple of (briefly charting) Top 10 singles. It had a much shorter shelf life than The Sound Of White and was only certified 3 x Platinum, although it was still the fourth highest-selling album of 2007. After five years, Higgins returned to the charts with her third album, The Ole’ Razzle Dazzle, in June 2012. Of its two singles, the first stopped outside the Top 50, but the second fell only one place short of a Top 10 placing and went Platinum. The album itself also achieved Platinum sales status and was ranked the 22nd highest-seller of the year.

In September 2014 Higgins released her fourth album, Oz, a collection of reworked covers of material by other Australian artists’. It was her first album to be released as a vinyl LP, while at the same time also her first to feature a digital-only single release. Oz spent just eight weeks in the Top 50 and, as of 1 March 2015, fewer than 35,000 units have been sold to-date.

  • Likelihood of future chart success: Probable, assuming Higgins actually continues with music beyond Oz, although it seems unlikely she’ll ever scale the lofty heights of The Sound Of White again.

2. BREAKAWAY by Kelly Clarkson

2005-Kelly Clarkson

  • Peak position: #2 (5 weeks)
  • Sales accreditation: 6 x Platinum
  • Time in Top 50: 73 weeks (03/01/05 – 22/05/06)
  • 2006 Year End Chart position: #29
  • End Of Decade Chart position:  #21

Kelly Clarkson was the winner of the first season of American Idol in 2002, but it wasn’t until the release of her first non-Idol single, Miss Independent in 2003, that Clarkson came to wider international attention. That single went Top 3 in Australia and was followed by three consecutive Top 11 singles.

Breakaway was the second of eight albums released by Clarkson to-date. Its release was preceded by a single of the same name, ostensibly from The Princess Diaries 2 soundtrack, and was immediately followed by its first official single Since U Been Gone, which entered the local chart at #3 in February 2005. The second and third singles from Breakaway also hit the Australian Top 10, with a fourth scraping into the Top 30 in April ’06.

The enormous success of Breakaway was followed by My December in June 2007, which peaked at #4 and was certified Gold. Only two of its four US singles were released in Australia, with the first of those reaching the Top 5. Clarkson’s fourth and fifth albums, All I Ever Wanted (March ’09) and Stronger (October ’11) were both certified Platinum. All I Ever Wanted produced three Top 12 singles, while Stronger generated two of Clarkson’s highest local sellers, including the 3 x Platinum #1 single Mr. Know It All. In November 2012 her first compilation album Greatest Hits – Chapter One reached #20.

Clarkson’s most recent album, Wrapped In Red, a collection of both original and popular Christmas standards, just scraped into the Top 30 at the end of December 2013. No singles from the album had local release.

  • Likelihood of future chart success: Probable. After a strong start, as with many artists her subsequent performance has seen diminishing returns, although it seems unlikely she’ll give it all up any time soon.

3. IT’S TIME by Michael Bublé

2005-Michael Buble

  • Peak position: #2 (5 weeks)
  • Sales accreditation: 5 x Platinum
  • Time in Top 50: 67 weeks (07/03/05 – 30/11/09)
  • 2008 Year End Chart position: #78
  • End Of Decade Chart position:  #30

Initially it seemed Michael Bublé might be a fad, but he’s still going strong.  His first major label album was a huge success in 2003 and, to-date, it’s been certified 7 x Platinum and spent nearly 200 weeks in the chart between ’03 and 2011.  It’s Time’s success was thusly guaranteed and between March ’05 and March 2011 it racked up 144 weeks in the chart and was certified 5 x Platinum.

Thanks largely to the somewhat genre-agnostic nature of his music, early Bublé albums tended towards longer than average shelf lives. His huge fan base also ensures his back-catalogue re-charts whenever he’s in the country. It’s Time is no exception, initially charting until January 2006, then resurfacing multiple times until the end of 2009.

His third and fourth albums, Call Me Irresponsible and Crazy Love, were both certified 5 x Platinum. Call Me Irresponsible charted for 110 weeks between May ’07 and July 2010, while the more pop-influenced Crazy Love amassed 90 weeks between October ’09 and July  2011 and featured Bublé’s only local Top 10 single, Haven’t Met You Yet.

His highest-selling album is the perennially successful Christmas, released in October 2011. It took five weeks to reach the top, seeing off competition from Susan Boyle, Nickelback, Adele, Rihanna and an X-Factor winner. Many artists are finding it increasingly difficult to be successful with festive recordings, but Christmas not only hit #1 on its first release, but also hit #1 again at Christmas in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

While his most recent album, 2013’s To Be Loved, was by far his lowest-selling and shortest-charted, given the collective sales of his back-catalogue Bublé’s future success seems assured for many years to come.

  • Likelihood of future chart success: Almost inevitable.

4. LOVE, ANGEL, MUSIC, BABY by Gwen Stefani

2005-Gwen Stefani

  • Peak position: #1 (2 weeks)
  • Sales accreditation: 5 x Platinum
  • Time in Top 50: 56 weeks (29/11/04 – 23/01/06)
  • 2004 Year End Chart position: #89
  • End Of Decade Chart position:  #49

After fronting No Doubt for 16 years, Gwen Stefani took advantage of the band’s 2004 hiatus to kick-start her solo career. The result was Love. Angel. Music. Baby. in November 2004. It took two months for the album to crack the Top 10 and it finally made #1 after 12 weeks in the chart, after which it spent most of the next eight months inside the Top 10.

Love. Angel. Music. Baby. featured four Top 10 singles (two of which went to #1 and a third peaking at #2), collectively achieving four Platinum certifications.

With No Doubt still on hiatus, Stefani’s second solo album The Sweet Escape followed in December 2006. It also featured multiple Top 10 singles, the most successful being its title track, which spent six weeks at #2 in early 2007 and was that year’s 9th highest-selling single.

After her 2008 tour Stefani returned to working with No Doubt. Following their initial success with Tragic Kingdom in 1995-96, No Doubt charted with numerous short-lived albums between 2000 and 2003, followed by a comeback album which charted briefly in 2012. Meanwhile the last significantly successful No Doubt single to chart in Australia was It’s My Life in 2003.

In November 2014 the first single from Stefani’s as yet untitled third album peaked just outside the Top 50.

  • Likelihood of future chart success: Who can say? It’s been a very long time between drinks for No Doubt hits, but it’s now almost as long since Stefani’s last solo hit.

5. MONKEY BUSINESS by The Black Eyed Peas

2005-The Black Eyed Peas

  • Peak position: #1 (3 weeks)
  • Sales accreditation: 5 x Platinum
  • Time in Top 50: 68 weeks (06/06/05 – 09/10/06)
  • 2006 Year End Chart position: #19
  • End Of Decade Chart position:  #27

Monkey Business was The Black Eyed Peas’ fourth album. Their third, Elephunk, had been the first to achieve wide-reaching success, generating two #1s and four consecutive Top 4 singles in Australia. Monkey Business almost replicated that, with two #1s and four consecutive Top 6 singles. The album was first week in at #1, then another two weeks at the top during August and went on to spend an entire year inside the Top 20. It also upped the ante on its 4 x Platinum predecessor by achieving 6 x Platinum certifications by mid-2006.

In June ’09 the Peas followed Monkey Business with the 4 x Platinum The E.N.D. Despite fewer sales, The E.N.D. was the third biggest-selling album of 2009 and beat both of its predecessors with all five singles reaching the Top 8, with the first three all going to #1. Collectively, its five singles earned 14 Platinum certifications; in total, the three #1s – Boom Boom Pow , I Gotta Feeling and Meet Me Halfway – charted for 194 weeks, with I Gotta Feeling  alone spending an astonishing 105 weeks in the chart between 2009 and 2012.

The somewhat ominous title of the previous album was borne out by its relatively less successful follow-up, conversely titled The Beginning and released in November 2010. Three singles were released from The Beginning: the first made #1, the second peaked at #3 and the third peaked a #16, becoming the Peas’ lowest-charting single in a decade. The Beginning, meanwhile, met its own ‘E.N.D.’ faster than any of its three predecessors, leaving the Top 50 after just 23 weeks with only a single Platinum certification.

It’s nearly four years since the Peas charted new material in Australia. According to numerous sources, most notably band member will.i.am, the group is set to reunite this year in celebration of its 20th anniversary. Mind you, Mr i.am. is the same source who previously stated they’d start recording their seventh studio album in 2013 which, to the best of the internet’s knowledge, never actually happened.

  • Likelihood of future chart success: It should be likely. It could be possible. But it’s nearly impossible to predict.

 

There they are, then – the biggest hitters of the commercial music year that was 2005.

Arguably, fans of music – and anyone old enough to clearly remember 2005 – would likely have The Black Eyed Peas and Missy Higgins edge the other three out for ‘most memorable’ or ‘classic’ honours, while, on the singles front, Don’t Cha is possibly the only one of the five that, a decade on, would be considered a true pop classic of its day.

I can hardly wait to look back on 2006… only 42 weeks to go until another full decade has passed!

 

 

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