The top ten singles of 2005… 10 years on

In the life cycle of the average pop song, going to #1 on the charts is far from inevitable. But even ascending the dizzy heights of the pop music summit is no guarantee of a big, timeless and/or fondly remembered hit. Conversely, neither does not reaching #1 necessarily mean sinking like a stone, never to be heard of again. It’s a complex and, at times, random equation. You might be surprised to learn that many of today’s most well-known and best-loved songs – the ones that get trotted out, almost by default, at birthdays, christmas parties, wedding receptions and wherever there’s a jukebox – have never actually been big chart hits. Some were only minor successes when originally released, while others were never released as singles at all. Why they became so popular years afterwards is sometimes as mysterious as why they were never deemed release-worthy to begin with.

A decade ago the music landscape was in flux. While legitimate digital sales account for 60% of all music sold in Australia today, in 2005 digital downloads were more a source of controversy than anything else. The number of paid download providers was gradually increasing, but the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) didn’t even bother publishing digital sales charts until June 2006, so – at least for the time being – the status quo was still largely unchallenged and music sales were still predominantly physical.

In 2005 most suburban shopping centres were still home to at least one music retailer. Historically, Australians had always bought more full albums than singles, and this was still very much the case ten years ago. And while our voracious consumption of CD Singles had waned somewhat from the halcyon days of the ’90s, throughout 2005 we still snapped up 7½ million of them.

Of those 7½ million sales, commercial pop was dominated by ten songs that sold more copies than thousands of other singles released that year. Where are they now? What became of these songs and the artists that performed them? Did we ever hear from them again? Or would we rather forget ever hearing from them in the first place?

2005SinglesBlackEyedPEas

#10. DON’T PHUNK WITH MY HEART Black Eyed Peas

Released: April 2005

Oz chart peak: #1 (3 weeks)

Don’t Phunk With My Heart was the first single from the Black Eyed Peas’ fourth studio album Monkey Business. It was their third #1 single in Australia and the first of two #1 singles from the album, with the album’s third single My Humps also hitting the top spot, while second single Don’t Lie and fourth single Pump It both peaked at #6. They’d already had four consecutive Top 4 singles – including two #1s – from their previous album and went on to achieve another four #1 singles from their following two albums.

Over four albums and eight years, the BEPs achieved a level of consistent and sustained success that’s rarely seen in pop music today. Indeed, until May 2015 BEPs held the record for the longest continuously charting single in Australia – a whopping 102 consecutive weeks for I Gotta Feeling between 2009 and 2012.

2005SinglesGorillaz

#9. FEEL GOOD INC. Gorillaz

Released: May 2005

Oz chart peak: #3 (5 weeks)

The totally ‘virtual’ (aka animated) band Gorillaz had previously charted in Australia during 2001 with two Top 40 singles (the first, Clint Eastwood, went to #17) and one Top 20 album.

Feel Good Inc. was the lead single from their second album Demon Days. They followed it up with two more Top 15 singles (Dare went to #11 and Dirty Harry peaked at #15).

Beyond 2005, Gorillaz haven’t had any other significant commercial success and no chart activity at all since 2010.

2005SinglesNitty

#8. NASTY GIRL Nitty

Released: January 2005

Oz chart peak: #1 (2 weeks)

Nasty Girl was the first single from Nitty’s début album It’s Not A Game. Nitty had no previous chart history in Australia but, nonetheless, Nasty Girl managed to hit #1 on début, primarily thanks to the wall-to-wall radio and video airplay it received after having gone to #1 on the U.S. Billboard chart in late 2004.

The song’s commercial success was arguably driven by its annoyingly toe-tapping chorus, an interpolation of The Archies’ 1969 hit Sugar, Sugar.

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, Nitty apparently told the Australian music television show So Fresh that he ‘did not want to jump into rap as a mean, edgy type of rapper that is the current trend, but more of a nice guy rapper, with lighthearted songs and videos. He calls this style “playboy rap”.’ This could’ve been a career-limiting move, because after the follow-up single Hey Bitty went to #11, Nitty was never heard from again.

2005SinglesMario(500x500)

#7. LET ME LOVE YOU Mario

Released: February 2005

Oz chart peak: #3 (1 week)

Let Me Love You was the first single from Mario Lee’s second album and his first to chart in Australia. When it was released in early 2005 it was the subject of much online intrigue, with people all over the world trying to work out where the apparent ‘sample’, heard at the end of each phrase throughout the song’s verses, had been taken from. It seemed so reminiscent of *something*, presumably from the 80s but which nobody could quite put their finger on, that to this day the internet is still littered with hundreds of forum posts discussing its origin. There were countless suggestions that it had been lifted from Tina Turner’s Private Dancer or What’s Love Got To Do With It, both of which featured similar synth or woodwind lines; it was also suggested that it was from Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing, with which Let Me Love You shared a generally similar sound. It didn’t actually come from any of those songs, but nor did I ever find any definitive reference to it being a sample at all. Ten years on, I can only assume that it wasn’t.

Mario’s next two singles both hit the Australian Top 40 during 2005, followed by the first single from his third album in 2007. But in the subsequent eight years, there’s been nothing. But, as a sidenote, Let Me Love You was written by Ne-Yo, who’d already had some success as a songwriter and also went on to solo success as an artist, scoring three Top 10 singles in Australia between 2006 and 2012.

2005SinglesWillSmith

#6. SWITCH Will Smith

Released: March 2005

Oz chart peak: #1 (1 week)

Switch was the first single from Will Smith’s last studio album to-date, Lost and Found. It made the Top 10 in nine countries, but only reached #1 in Canada and Australia. Locally, it was Smith’s second #1 and his fifth Top 8 single.

Will Smith songs always tended more towards the comical or gimmicky and most of his biggest local hits borrowed heavily from the basslines, melodies and backbeats of other songs. Switch broke the mould somewhat, at least where his hits were concerned, in that it didn’t feature any recognisable element from any other song.

Will Smith hasn’t released any new music since 2005.

2005SinglesNellyTimMcGRaw

#5. OVER AND OVER Nelly featuring Tim McGraw

Released: December 2004

Oz chart peak: #1 (5 weeks)

Over And Over was Nelly’s seventh Australian Top 10 and third #1 single since 2001 and featured the vocals of American country singer Tim McGraw. Since Over And Over, Nelly’s only scored two further Top 5 singles in Australia – one in 2010 and the most recent in 2013.

Meanwhile, despite superstar status in the U.S., by 2005 Tim McGraw had never had significant local success, with only two of his seven albums since 1994 having scraped into the Australian Top 40. He’d also never featured on the local singles chart, suggesting that his presence as featured artist on Over And Over was, at best, a negligible contribution to its local success.

2005SinglesCrzzyFrog

#4. AXEL F Crazy Frog

Released: July 2005

Oz chart peak: #1 (3 weeks)

There are few things I’ve ever loathed quite as much as Crazy Frog. Five years after a Swedish teenager recorded his vocal impression of a two-stroke lawnmower engine, in 2003 a so-called ‘artist’, who apparently had no knowledge of the noise’s background, came across the annoying sound and created an animated character to go along with it. Things took off the following year when the character was given a name and the Crazy Frog sound was marketed as a mobile phone ringtone. Perhaps inevitably, given the unfathomable success of the mobile ringtone, a Crazy Frog single was an obvious progression for the utterly pointless project.

Over eighteen months during 2005-2006, five Top 30 singles and two Top 40 albums charted in Australia under the Crazy Frog moniker. Axel F, a cover of the 1984 Harold Faltermeyer classic from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, was the first of them.

Mercifully, beyond 2006 the charts have never been troubled by Crazy Frog again.

2005SinglesAkon

#3. LONELY Akon

Released: July 2005

Oz chart peak: #1 (3 weeks)

Lonely was the third single (but only the second to chart in Australia) from Akon’s début album Trouble.

It was the first of five solo Top 10 singles in Australia between 2005 and 2008, while five others with Akon as featured artist also hit the Top 10 between 2005 and 2011.

The distinctive chorus of Lonely comprised of a re-pitched sample of the 1964 U.S. #1 single Mr. Lonely by Bobby Vinton. Despite the Chipmunk-esque tones, it was arguably a significant driver of the song’s local success.

2005SinglesPCD

#2. DON’T CHA The Pussycat Dolls

Released: April 2005

Oz chart peak: #1 (7 weeks)

Don’t Cha was the first of two #1s, the first of five consecutive Top 6 singles and the first of eleven consecutive Top 17 hits (nine of which went Top 10) for the Pussycat Dolls in Australia.

It went Top 10 in twenty countries and to #1 in fifteen of them. Ranked the second-highest selling single in Australia for 2005, it also sold more than three million copies in the U.S. alone and six million worldwide, subsequently becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time.

The PCD only ever released two albums. Despite achieving unusually consistent commercial success, their last single disappeared from the charts little more than four years after the début of Don’t Cha. As a going concern, the PCD were officially disbanded in late 2010.

2005SinglesAnthonyCallea

#1. THE PRAYER Anthony Callea

Released: December 2004

Oz chart peak: #1 (5 weeks)

The Prayer was released a month after Anthony Callea was announced as runner-up of the second season of Australian Idol. He’d performed the song, to much popular and critical acclaim, about halfway through his three-month stint on the show. The single went to #1 on début, was certified 4 x Platinum by its second week in the chart and was ranked the 82nd highest-selling single of 2004 on the basis of a solitary week’s sales.

Subsequently, it became the highest-selling single of 2005.

Callea’s début album was released in March 2005 and was followed-up by a second album in November ’06. There was nothing further from Callea until 2013, during which he released two albums to only minimal success.

Arguably, Callea is now best known for touring RSL and Workers’ Clubs and for his annual Carols by Candlelight performance, often with his husband, fellow performer Tim Campbell.

 

So that’s it – the ten biggest sellers of 2005. How many of them do you actually remember? I’ll admit it right now – I had to go looking online for a handful of them just to remember what they sounded like!

And in case you’re wondering what the rest of the 2005 best-sellers list looked like, here’s all 100 of them. I don’t know about you, but there’s definitely more than a few outside the Top 10 that I still recall – and still enjoy – far more than some of the year’s highest sellers!

Pos TITLE Artist
1 THE PRAYER Anthony Callea
2 DON’T CHA The Pussycat Dolls
3 LONELY Akon
4 AXEL F Crazy Frog
5 OVER AND OVER Nelly feat. Tim McGraw
6 SWITCH Will Smith
7 LET ME LOVE YOU Mario
8 NASTY GIRL Nitty
9 FEEL GOOD INC. Gorillaz
10 DON’T PHUNK WITH MY HEART Black Eyed Peas
11 YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL James Blunt
12 GHETTO GOSPEL 2Pac
13 1, 2 STEP Ciara
14 ALMOST HERE Delta Goodrem and Brian McFadden
15 4EVER The Veronicas
16 THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKIN’ Jessica Simpson
17 WE BELONG TOGETHER Mariah Carey
18 BAD DAY Daniel Powter
19 BEAUTIFUL SOUL Jesse McCartney
20 VOODOO CHILD Rogue Traders
21 HOLLABACK GIRL Gwen Stefani
22 SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE Kelly Clarkson
23 LONELY NO MORE Rob Thomas
24 CANDY SHOP 50 Cent
25 INCOMPLETE Backstreet Boys
26 RICH GIRL Gwen Stefani
27 DAS KLEINE KROKADIL (CROCODILE SONG) Schnappi
28 THE SPECIAL TWO EP Missy Higgins
29 GET RIGHT Jennifer Lopez
30 NUMB / ENCORE Linkin Park / Jay-Z
31 BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS Green Day
32 OBSESSION (NO ES AMOR) Frankie J
33 GOLD DIGGER Kanye West
34 RAIN / BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Anthony Callea
35 SHINE Shannon Noll
36 DROP IT LIKE IT’S HOT Snoop Dogg
37 SIGNS Snoop Dogg
38 STOP THE MUSIC P-Money & Scribe
39 PON DE REPLAY Rihanna
40 WHAT YOU WAITING FOR? Gwen Stefani
41 LOSE CONTROL Missy Elliott
42 WONDERFUL Ja Rule Featuring Ashanti
43 COME ON AUSSIE, COME ON Shannon Noll
44 MY HUMPS Black Eyed Peas
45 PHOTOGRAPH Nickelback
46 UNTITLED (HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN TO ME?) Simple Plan
47 EVIE PARTS 1, 2 & 3 The Wrights
48 DON’T LIE Black Eyed Peas
49 HUNG UP Madonna
50 SOLDIER Destiny’s Child
51 MAYBE TONIGHT Kate DeAraugo
52 I JUST WANNA LIVE Good Charlotte
53 GIRL Destiny’s Child
54 LA LA Ashlee Simpson
55 I LIKE THE WAY Bodyrockers
56 UNDERWEAR GOES INSIDE THE PANTS Lazyboy
57 WELCOME TO MY LIFE Simple Plan
58 LOSE MY BREATH Destiny’s Child
59 THESE KIDS Joel Turner & The Modern Day Poets
60 IT’S LIKE THAT Mariah Carey
61 OH Ciara feat. Ludacris
62 SHUT UP Simple Plan
63 LIKE TOY SOLDIERS Eminem
64 DARE Gorillaz
65 RUMOURS Lindsay Lohan
66 TILT YA HEAD BACK Nelly Feat. Christina Aguilera
67 DO SOMETHIN’ Britney Spears
68 HAVE A NICE DAY Bon Jovi
69 ASS LIKE THAT Eminem
70 JUST A LIL BIT 50 Cent
71 PUSH THE BUTTON Sugababes
72 LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART Casey Donovan
73 MOCKINGBIRD Eminem
74 TEN DAYS Missy Higgins
75 HELL NO! Ricki-Lee
76 WAY TO GO! Rogue Traders
77 1 THING Amerie
78 PONY Kasey Chambers
79 POPCORN Crazy Frog
80 SUNSHINE Ricki-Lee
81 BETTER DAYS Pete Murray
82 FLASHDANCE Deep Dish
83 MIDAS TOUCH Midnight Star
84 SHAKE IT OFF Mariah Carey
85 POINTLESS RELATIONSHIP Tammin
86 HEY BITTY Nitty
87 WAKE ME UP WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS Green Day
88 OOH AAH Tamara Jaber
89 SO GOOD Bratz Rock Angelz
90 JUST LOSE IT Eminem
91 TRIPPING Robbie Williams
92 CAUGHT UP Usher
93 CATCH MY DISEASE Ben Lee
94 PUT YOUR HANDS UP Random
95 HATE IT OR LOVE IT The Game
96 THIS IS HOW A HEART BREAKS Rob Thomas
97 SHE’S NO YOU Jesse McCartney
98 WHATEVER WILL BE Tammin
99 N DEY SAY Nelly
100 WAKE UP Hilary Duff
2005 ARIA End of Year Top 100 Singles Chart is Copyright 2005-2015 © ARIA – Australian Recording Industry Association Ltd.

One thought on “The top ten singles of 2005… 10 years on

  1. James Blunt You’re Beautiful send Lee’s catch my disease is all I recognise from a scan on that list. While I’ve heard of a handful of the artists I’m struggling to recall those tunes. Great recap of the times Matt for what it’s worth.

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