Friday, October 4, 2013

The Biggest Singles Artists Year By Year

Every artist has their year, and every year has its artist. Sometimes a year can be shaped by that artist, or the artist by that particular year.


Since 1956, when 45's and Singles Charts were starting to establish themselves, we've seen many heroes in the pop world. Their music output, fashion style and political views, just to name a handful of elements, have helped shape pop music from its crackly beginnings to the crystal clear sounds of now.

This list is all about association. Everyone has their favourite year in music, and favourite star from that time. How many times have you heard someone reminisce about the good old days of The Beatles and Elvis, the fun times of Elton and Abba, the visual spectacle of Michael Jackson and Madonna, the diva power of Mariah and Celine, or the teen sensation of Britney and Justin. They remember the times and remember the exact years.

For me, there are a few particular years. 1984 saw the arrival of Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and George Michael's Wham!, three bright stars from a very rich field of entertainers whose colourful pop music was all hit and no miss. 1990 produced some brilliant and memorable music, with dance music starting to creep into the mainstream and CD singles market starting to make its impact on the charts. 2000 finally saw the death of novelty singles that had been selling bucketloads, and the return of pop heroes such as Kylie, Robbie Williams and, again, Madonna. And after a tragic few years during the mid-00's, dogged by instant stars producing mediocre music, 2007 saw the charts embracing more sensible pop music again, headlined by new stars Justin Timberlake and P!nk.

So what's your favourite year, and can you remember who was the brightest star?

Below we go through year to year from 1980 to see who made the most impact in the Australian Singles Top 100 charts, as well as award the Artist Of The Decade to two lucky artists (soon to be three).


The Biggest Singles Artists Year By Year
(1980-2008)

***




1980 Singles Artist Of The Year
SPLIT ENZ

The mother band of many future bands and solo acts, New Zealand's Split Enz had a little trouble establishing themselves as a serious act. For five years, the clown-like image of the band over-shadowed their musical output, however, they always sold solidly in Australia. The late 70's saw a slight line-up change with key member Tim Finn's brother, Neil, permanently joining, replacing guitarist Phil Judd who went on to form The Swingers. Tim used this shuffle to reshape the band into a more accessible outfit, with the resulting album, 1980's "True Colours". The lead single, "I Got You", was #1 in Australia for a full two months (and biggest selling single of the year), reached the British Top 20, and gave the band their first taste of US airplay. Another couple of Top 20 singles, "I Hope I Never" (#18) and "One Step Ahead" (#5 in 1981), rounded out their successful year. Split Enz would go on to enjoy another three Top Ten hits, and two #1 albums, before parting ways, with Tim Finn enjoying success as a solo artist, and Neil Finn forming Crowded House.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1980
1. Split Enz
2. Michael Jackson
3. Queen
4. The Vapors
5. Blondie
6. Rocky Burnette
7. Pretenders
8. Pink Floyd
9. Kiss
10. The Police

***


1981 Singles Artist Of The Year
ADAM & THE ANTS

With the New Romantic movement at its peak during 1981, the undisputed leaders would make the biggest impact in the Australian singles charts during the year. Adam & the Ants had only been together for a short time, eventually donning the pirate-like style they became famous for. It worked a treat as their fans, or "Antpeople", made almost any Ant release a Top 20 success. "Antmania" was headlined with two Top Ten albums, "Kings Of The Wild Frontier" and "Prince Charming" (#2 and #9 respectively). From the latter, "Stand And Deliver" (#12) and the title track (#4) would cement them as the act of the year, but it was "Antmusic" (from "Kings") that would make the band. It was an Australian #1 hit for five weeks, and the third biggest seller of the year. The song was a good example of the rhythmic drum patterns that were typical of the bands' style. It was a short-lived success, though, as Adam & the Ants disbanded the following year. A moderately successful solo career for Adam followed, and various stage, film and TV series appearances. But 1981 was his year with The Ants.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1981
1. Adam & the Ants
2. Shakin' Stevens
3. John Lennon
4. Kim Wilde
5. The Swingers
6. Billy Field
7. Devo
8. Stars On 45
9. Jona Lewie
10. Sheena Easton

***

1982 Singles Artist Of The Year
MOVING PICTURES

Australian band Moving Pictures came dangerously close to being branded a "one hit wonder" with their huge single, "What About Me". It held the top spot in Australia for six weeks, becoming the second biggest selling single of the year. A couple of minor releases book-ended the hit, "Bustin' Loose" (#43) and "Sweet Cherie" (#51), but it was their year end Top 20 hit, "Winners" (#12), that pushed them ahead of Survivor to become the biggest singles artist of the year. The bands' debut album, "Days Of Innocence" also hit #1 as the band was gaining momentum in the US with "What About Me", opening the door for some film tracks, including the Footloose soundtrack in 1984. Formed in Sydney, Moving Pictures boasting a talented line-up that would figure on many successful Australian albums to come, however, not their own. They disbanded in 1987, never repeating their 1982 success. Only Garry Frost would figure on the charts again as the founding member of 1927, finding more success than he did with his previous band. "What About Me" is the closest any song has been to becoming the years' highest selling single, twice. While the original was runner-up in 1982, Australian Idol contestant, Shannon Noll, made it the highest selling single of 2004.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1982
1. Moving Pictures
2. Survivor
3. The J. Geils Band
4. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
5. Duran Duran
6. Men At Work
7. Soft Cell
8. Cliff Richard
9. Kim Wilde
10. Split Enz


***

1983 Singles Artist Of The Year
MICHAEL JACKSON

The future of pop music has arrived and the King Of Pop is born. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" broke all records to become the highest selling album in the world - of all time! With 1979's "Off The Wall" album, Michael was disappointed by the lack of accolades he had received, feeling rejected, but filling him with a positive outlook that his next album would be the biggest thing to hit music. That word he kept. He delivered hit single after hit single, with a #1 in the form of "Billie Jean", the fourth biggest seller of the year in Australia. Another five singles would chart during Michael's big year, but it was more than just the music that made "Thriller" such a significance. Michael's music videos soon became an event within themselves, regularly shown on MTV who had rarely shown clips from black artists. He also popularized his "Moonwalk" and that famous single white glove. Then came the Grammy's, and "Thriller" won a record eight gongs from its 12 nominations, just as he said he would. And there was still more juice left in the tank well into 1984 when he hit the Top Ten again with the title track, and its' 14 minute video clip - the most successful video clip of all time. The future of pop music had indeed arrived, and Michael Jackson was showing us all how to do it properly.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1983
1. Michael Jackson
2. Culture Club
3. Laura Branigan
4. Irene Cara
5. Austen Tayshus
6. Elton John
7. David Bowie
8. Bonnie Tyler
9. Renee & Renato
10. Wham!


***

1984 Singles Artist Of The Year
WHAM!

1984 was a particularly big year in pop music with the arrival of many of the decades' most popular artists, but it was George Michael and Wham! that were the brightest stars. George and bandmate, Andrew Ridgeley, were schoolmates, who would soon become one of the most popular faces of the 80's, with nine Top Ten hits, and a "Choose Life" motto that soon became the latest teen fashion item. The groups' #1 hit during 1984, "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go", is considered by many as their arrival, however, Wham! had, in fact, scored three Top Ten singles a year before from their debut album, "Fantastic". After some legal complications with their record company, something that would dog George for most of his career, they switched to Epic records and produced "Make It Big", an instant #1 on the Australian albums chart. "Careless Whisper" would see George return to the top spot, becoming the 4th biggest seller of the year ("Wake Me Up..." just behind as 5th biggest). "Careless Whisper" was promoted in Australia as George's debut solo outing, but as Wham! featuring George Michael in other countries. As it was included on the "Make It Big" album, along with "Freedom" and "Last Christmas" (both #3 hits), I've combined them all for this list. Whoever is identified with the release, George Michael and Wham! were everywhere during a very colourful year in music.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1984
1. Wham!
2. INXS
3. Lionel Richie
4. Cyndi Lauper
5. Bruce Springsteen
6. Madonna
7. Frankie Goes To Hollywood
8. Ray Parker, Jr.
9. Culture Club
10. The Twelfth Man

***

1985 Singles Artist Of The Year
MADONNA

Controversy, sex appeal, success! So begins the global domination of the most successful female artist of all time. Madonna originally set out to become a dancer and soon found herself as a backing dancer for Patrick Hernandez (of "Born To Be Alive" fame) and drummer for The Breakfast Club, a band formed by her then boyfriend, Stephen Bray. By 1982, Madonna found herself in front of the mic, and a debut album soon followed, met in Australia with instant success and placing her as one the Top Ten biggest artists of the year. But Madonna was destined for bigger things. She started 1985 at the top of the charts with "Like A Virgin", and followed through with another five Top Ten hits. That's six out of six Top Tens for the year! But that wasn't the pinnacle of her success, not yet. In July, Madonna replaced herself at #1 when "Crazy For You" took over from the double A-side hit, "Angel / Into The Groove", something that hadn't happened since Abba, and not to happen again until 2009 when The Black Eyed Peas achieved the rare double. Madonna came in at #2 and #3 on the end of year highest selling chart of 1985, behind USA For Africa's "We Are The World", with a further three in the Top 100, "Like A Virgin" (#25), "Material Girl" (#48) and "Dress You Up" (#76). Madonna was adamant that she was going to be a success everywhere, starring in a couple of movies, "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Shanghai Surprise", co-starring with her new husband, Sean Penn. She even managed a huge world tour, The Virgin Tour, the hottest ticket in town. All this happened in one year! And it was only the beginning.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1985
1. Madonna
2. Eurythmics
3. USA For Africa
4. Models
5. Mental As Anything
6. Bruce Springsteen
7. Tears For Fears
8. Dire Straits
9. Foreigner
10. Phil Collins

***

1986 Singles Artist Of The Year
BILLY OCEAN

1986 was quite a lack-luster year in terms of personal musical output. Most artists had just one hit each, and a handful would repeat with a second. Only Madonna could achieve a third Top Ten hit within the year. However, the battle for the biggest single for the year was a close one between Diana Ross' "Chain Reaction" and Billy Ocean's "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going". Diana won in the end, but Billy Ocean scored another Top Ten hit, "There'll Be Sad Songs" (#10) to put him in front as the biggest singles seller of the year. Exactly 10 years earlier, Billy first tasted chart success in Australia when his 1976 release, "Love Really Hurts Without You", reached #3. He made a nice comeback late 1984 with a trio of hits, "Caribbean Queen" (#2), "Loverboy" (#7) and "Suddenly" (#15), but it was "Tough..." that finally saw Billy reach #1 in Australia. The song was from the movie, Jewel Of The Nile, and featured the films' three lead actors, Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny De Vito in the film clip as backing singers. This, however, would cause the video to be banned by the BBC due to the use of the non-union singers, even if they were just miming. Billy Ocean's success continued in 1988 with another #1 hit, "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car", but during the quieter year of 1986, he was lucky to stand out as the performer of the year.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1986
1. Billy Ocean
2. Madonna
3. Wa Wa Nee
4. Samantha Fox
5. Diana Ross
6. Whitney Houston
7. Feargal Sharkey
8. Lionel Richie
9. Bananarama
10. Starship




***

1987 Singles Artist Of The Year
ICEHOUSE

At a time when teen sensations were starting to dominate, a new Michael Jackson album had arrived and a petite pop starlet by the name of Kylie Minogue debuted, it was honest Australian rock that the public wanted. Icehouse released the album that would make them the mega-stars they had worked so hard to become. "Man Of Colours" was the band's fifth album, and first #1, boasting five Top 30 hits, the first time this had been done by an Australian band from a single album. The big one was "Electric Blue", also a #1 first for the band on the singles' chart, which nestled at #8 on the end of year chart (the lead single, "Crazy", also achieving an impressive #18 year end). Iva Davies and the boys had come along way since their "cover band" days, and debut as Flowers. With four Top Ten singles and four Top Ten albums previous to "Man...", it seemed a trifle compared to the 11 week run at the top by the mighty album, soon becoming one of the biggest selling Australian albums of all time. The following year, as Australia celebrated its bicentennial, Icehouse were kept in the spotlight with a further two moderately successful singles from the album, and a string of concerts, one of which I saw during Expo '88, in Brisbane. A "Greatest Hits" package followed in 1989, a notorious jinx for many pop acts, and Icehouse were no exception. 1990's "Code Blue" bombed in comparison, leaving "Man Of Colours" as Icehouse's brightest moment.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1987
1. Icehouse
2. Mel & Kim
3. Los Lobos
4. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
5. Kylie Minogue
6. John Farnham
7. Bon Jovi
8. Dave Dobbyn
9. George Michael
10. Bangles

***


1988 Singles Artist Of The Year
RICK ASTLEY

One of the most defined sounds of the 80's was from producers Stock, Aitken & Waterman and their "Hit Factory", and 1988 was certainly their year. With three major artists from the SAW stalls making this years' Top Ten biggest artists, it was hard to escape their brand of bubblegum pop. Rick Astley was the jewel in the crown for them, with his huge #1 hit, "Never Gonna Give You Up" becoming the biggest selling single of the 80's. He was quite a different pop artist from the rest. His deep baritone voice confused many into thinking he was African-American, his dress style was very conservative at the time, and his moves were quite something in themselves. But soon everyone knew who Rick was, as his album, "Whenever You Need Somebody", soon hit #1 spending almost a year in the Top 100. Starting out the year at #1 with "Never Gonna...", he followed it up with the #3 title track from the album, and a third Top 5 with his cover of "When I Fall In Love". The three came in #8, #12 and #76 respectively on the end of year charts of 1988. There was no rest for the Rick(ed) when a new album hit the charts exactly a year after his debut. The album, "Hold Me In Your Arms" was no where near as popular as "Whenever...", only managing a #14 peak, but still provided him with a moderate hit in "She Wants To Dance With Me" (#15) that saw him remain in the charts right to the end of the year. Rick finally took that break after the new album, returning in 1991 with "Free", without the aid of SAW. With the Top 20 hit, "Cry For Help", he was the only artist other than Kylie Minogue to find success after working with the producers. Rick's year was the second most successful of the 80's (behind Madonna's in 1985).

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1988
1. Rick Astley
2. Cheap Trick
3. Kylie Minogue
4. Bros
5. Robert Palmer
6. George Michael
7. Bananarama
8. Tiffany
9. Billy Ocean
10. John Farnham


***

1989 Singles Artist Of The Year
MADONNA

After a year without a new release (something that wouldn't happen again until 2007), Madonna was back on top, and quite a different Madonna at that with her natural dark locks taking place of the trademark blonde do. Returning with, "Like A Prayer", it was a mix of dance, funk, rock and soul, proclaimed by Rolling Stone magazine "as close to art as pop music gets". Scented with patchouli oil (Madonna's favourite) to give it a church-like aroma, and including a fact sheet about AIDS, it was a unique marketing move that made the album a very personal one. Although the album was met with critical acclaim, it was also the most controversial the pop star had ever been. The title track, the biggest selling single of the year, featured a video of burning crosses and a "sexy" black Jesus that was censured by the Vatican. A lucrative Pepsi-Cola deal was cancelled due to public response and her upcoming world tour would be dogged with groups trying to hinder parts of her performance, including the infamous masturbation scene. However, it only heightened Madonna's profile, and the hits kept coming with two more Top Tens, "Express Yourself" (#5) and "Cherish" (#4, featuring a new song as a B-Side, rare for Madonna singles), and a couple of minor hits, "Oh Father" and "Dear Jessie" (both #51 peaks) rounding out the albums' output. "Like A Prayer" pretty much cemented Madonna's place in pop music history as one of the most interesting and successful careers ever, and one that had no signs of slowing down, even to this day!

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1989
1. Madonna
2. Roxette
3. New Kids On The Block
4. The Proclaimers
5. Fine Young Cannibals
6. Kate Ceberano
7. Cher
8. Bangles
9. 1927
10. Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers

***


1980's - MADONNA

In November 1983, Madonna debuted on the Australian singles charts. The song was "Burning Up", it was #95, and then exited the following week. Five months later she returned to the charts, this time permanently. Just like a perspective home-buyer, it seemed she was checking things out, inspecting, for the Australian charts (not to mention world-wide charts) would soon be Madonna's home.

She did it all during the 80's. Worked as a waitress and model, made a soft-porn movie, joined a band, made a demo, sold millions of records...the usual kind of stuff.

In 1982, Madonna was signed to Sire records and soon a self-titled debut album was released. Where many big time artists have little success with early releases, and seldom re-visit when it comes to concerts, Madonna was huge from the very start. She broke through with "Holiday", which reached #4 in Australia, and still performs it regularly at concerts 25 years on. With her second album, "Like A Virgin", the controversies really began. Madonna performed the title track at the 1984 VMA's in a white wedding dress, rolling around on the floor and even showing her, um...under-garments. Apparently she just dropped her shoe and couldn't put it on, but you can't buy good press without a little controversy. By the end of the decade, Madonna's career worked hand in hand with the media, using it to her advantage, and it worked. Not to say Madonna didn't do any of the work herself. Her drive and ambition has made her the most successful female artist of all time, and one of the biggest entertainers ever.

With 1986's "True Blue" album, Madonna finally won over the critics. Still controversial (the press were in a frenzy over "Papa Don't Preach" - was she pregnant, or was it an anti/pro-abortion statement?), the album saw Madonna shed the multi-coloured make-up and layered clothing, opting for a more mature look, with 1950's blonde hairdo and pretty dresses. It would soon become mandatory for Madonna to have a new look with each new album, and one that would influence the world of fashion itself. With the release of 1989's "Like A Prayer" album, we even saw Madonna changing her look with each single!

Madonna released 21 charting singles during the 80's from four very successful albums, and various soundtracks. After six years of hard work, her chart success had garnered her 5 #1 singles, and 16 Top Ten hits, with a further three singles making the Top 20 (one of those "Burning Up", reaching #13 and making up for its poor showing in 1983). Only "Lucky Star" (#36) and "Oh Father" (#51) saw Madonna "flop", but realistically, Madonna peaking at #10 could be considered a flop against the rest of her releases.

Madonna continued her success during the 90's and 2000's, reaching #1 with another five singles (with an extra one collaborating with Britney Spears, herself billed as the "new Madonna"), and re-visiting the Top Ten seemingly countless times. Her albums are met with anticipation and critical acclaim, even if they don't always spawn hit singles (however, she has never missed the Top Ten with a single release from a new studio album!). But when it comes to the 80's, just listen to Madonna's greatest hits package, "The Immaculate Collection" released in 1990, and re-live one of the most perfect early careers ever, arguably rivaling even The Beatles and Elvis.

The only artist to succeed as Artist Of The Year for two years during the 80's, and two further appearances in the Top 10 (she was #11 in 1987!), I'm extremely pleased to award Madonna...
Artist Of The Decade for the 1980's.


***




***

1990 Singles Artist Of The Year
MADONNA

Madonna began the new decade the same way she left the last! For the second year running, Madonna was on top. And for the second year running, poor Roxette had to play runners-up. The two acts were pretty much neck and neck on the end of year charts for both 1989 and 1990, but it was the December release of Madonna's Greatest Hits package, "The Immaculate Collection", and new single "Justify My Love", that edged her ahead. Beginning a new decade the same way she finished the last, Madonna would see two #1 albums in the wake of her acclaimed "Like A Prayer" album, "Immaculate..." and "I'm Breathless". Featuring the dancefloor anthem, "Vogue" (#1 for 5 weeks and the third biggest seller for the year), "I'm Breathless" accompanied the film Dick Tracy (starring her beau at the time, Warren Beatty), and was inspired by the music of the 20's and 30's in which the film was set. Her performance as Breathless Mahoney was well-received, and the Stephen Sondheim penned "Sooner Or Later" won the Oscar for Best Song. "Hanky Panky" (#6) was the only other single release from the album, a rather low output compared to her previous four albums. Madonna would soon release her finale to the first eight years of her career with "The Immaculate Collection", one of the most perfect Greatest Hits albums ever released. Every song was a hit, and two new songs, "Justify My Love" (#4) and "Rescue Me" (#15), would follow suite. With current worldwide sales of 22 million, "The Immaculate Collection" stands as the all time biggest selling Greatest Hits album by a female artist. While "Vogue" would be Madonna's first and last #1 single in Australia during the 90's, she soon picked up the slack reaching the top spot a further five times in the 2000's. But the 90's would still be rich with Madonna, even if it wasn't quite the dizzying heights we were used to.

The Top 10 Biggest Artists Of 1990
1. Madonna
2. Roxette
3. Michael Bolton
4. Milli Vanilli
5. Sinead O'Connor
6. M.C. Hammer
7. Technotronic
8. Alannah Myles
9. Paula Abdul
10. Black Box


***

1991 Singles Artist Of The Year
RATCAT

Before Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana, there was Ratcat. Sure, lead singer Simon Day was a long way from the likes of Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain, but alternative music had found its opening act, proving there was a market in Australia for such music. Formed in 1986, Ratcat had released an EP and an album with little commercial success before signing to rooArt, a new independent label nurturing fellow "Aus-Alt" bands You Am I, The Hummingbirds and Custard, among others. In 1990, Ratcat released "Tingles", a 6-track EP featuring the catchy "That Ain't Bad". Entering the charts in October '90, it was #1 seven months later, the longest a single has ever taken to reached the top spot after first entering the charts. That slow and building success of "Tingles" helped it become the second biggest selling single (or EP) of 1991, and paved the way for the immediate #1 smash of "Don't Go Now", featuring Margaret Urlich and Robin St. Clare (from The Hummingbirds) on backing vocals. With two #1's under their belt, their success crossed over to the albums charts when the bands' second album, "Blind Love", debuted at #1. However, that success wasn't to last when a third single, "Baby Baby", stalled at #21. It wasn't long before Ratcat returned to obscurity. Over the coming years, Ratcat released a further couple of albums and string of singles, but with little success, however, they have remained together (with new bass player), occasionally appearing at various music festivals.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1991
1. Ratcat
2. Bryan Adams
3. Guns N' Roses
4. Daryl Braithwaite
5. Roxette
6. C & C Music Factory
7. Melissa
8. Jimmy Barnes
9. The KLF
10. Color Me Badd

***


1992 Singles Artist Of The Year
GUNS N' ROSES

It was Quality vs. Quantity during 1992. On one hand you had the biggest selling single of the year from Billy Ray Cyrus, with no other releases, finishing runner-up for the year. On the other hand, seven moderately selling singles each from Michael Jackson and Prince, put them in the years Top Ten despite having NO singles in the end of year Top 50 biggest sellers. But it was Guns N' Roses who had both - five charting singles and the second biggest seller of the year with "November Rain". In late 1991, the "Gunners" released "Use You Illision 1 & 2", two albums that would spawn enough singles and achieve enough album sales to keep most acts happy for an entire decade. "Live And Let Die" started their year out in fine form briefly appearing in the Top Ten before "November Rain" and "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" dominated the charts. The two singles had extremely lengthy chart runs ("November" would spend almost half a year in the Top Ten alone!) prompting healthy sales, but only managing #5 and #12 peaks respectively. Late in the year, another single, "Yesterdays" (#14) was released, giving Guns N' Roses three Top 50 singles and two Top 10 albums charting at the same time. But that was just one side of things. In 1991, Axl, Slash and the rest of the boys had started out on a major world tour in support of the albums that would last 28 months, eventually playing 192 shows. It was a mammoth event that broke record after record and created new ones along the way. They reached Australia's shores early 1993, and the three singles were in the Top 30, while the two albums, together with previous releases, "Appetite For Destruction" and "GN'R Lies", were all charting in the Top 20 album charts. Things eventually settled down, and Guns N' Roses would soon take a well deserved break - forever. Given that the "Use Your Illusion" project could satisfy any bands' entire career, that's precisely what we got from the Gunners, and nothing more bar a one-off covers "flop", "The Spaghetti Incident?". We waited another 15 years for a proper follow-up, but 2008's "Chinese Democracy" suffered the same fate as "Spaghetti". Guns N' Roses had made their mark, and it was "Use Your Illusion", in '92.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1992
1. Guns N' Roses
2. Billy Ray Cyrus
3. Frente!
4. Michael Jackson
5. Red Hot Chili Peppers
6. Euphoria
7. Girlfriend
8. Prince & the New Power Generation
9. 2 Unlimited
10. Richard Marx


***

1993 Singles Artist Of The Year
WHITNEY HOUSTON

It was oh, so close at the top between Whitney, enjoying success from her screen debut, The Bodyguard, and Chicago based ensemble, Sonia Dada. Whitney won Round One with one of the biggest hits of all time, "I Will Always Love You", the second biggest seller of the year, pipping Sonia Dada's "You Don't Treat Me No Good", #3 for the year. Sonia Dada's follow-up proved more popular as "You Ain't Thinking (About Me)" reached the Top 3 against Whitney's "I'm Every Woman", just missing the Top Ten. A further three minor hits from Whitney, "I Have Nothing" (#28), "Run To You" (#72) and "Queen Of The Night" (#88), edged her ahead to take out the year as most successful singles artist. Her performance in the film was met with mixed reviews (personally, I don't think she was that bad), but her chart performance was nothing short of amazing. With a career that had already boasted three #1's and two of the biggest selling albums of all time, it was soon overshadowed by "I Will Always Love You", a cover of Dolly Parton's original that would eventually be accredited 4xPlatinum for sales in Australia. Worldwide sales for the single reached 12 million, more than most albums achieve! "The Bodyguard" soundtrack broke a record of its own, becoming the highest selling soundtrack of all time. Whitney Houston spent the next few years on more film projects, releasing various soundtracks rather than "proper" albums. Finally, in 1998, "My Love Is Your Love", her first studio album in eight years, was released. It was a critical success but Whitney's personal life became dogged with rumours and scandal, which, itself, started to overshadow her musical career. But there was no taking away the monumental achievement Whitney Houston had scored with "I Will Always Love You" and her Bodyguard soundtrack.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1993
1. Whitney Houston
2. Sonia Dada
3. Meat Loaf
4. Inner Circle
5. East 17
6. UB40
7. Snow
8. Lenny Kravitz
9. Peter Andre
10. Janet Jackson


***

1994 Singles Artist Of The Year
MARIAH CAREY

By 1994's end, Mariah Carey had provided the Australian charts with its first blockbuster album of the 90's. "Music Box" achieved an 11xPlatinum accreditation (eventually 13x) to become the highest selling album of 1994 (and decade, so far), a full three or four Platinums ahead of nearest rivals, releases from Michael Jackson, John Farnham and Madonna. "Music Box" also paved the way for fellow female artists, Celine Dion, Shania Twain and Alanis Morissette, to enjoy the same success, all releasing albums that would eventually outsell Mariah's album. It was clear the "female solo artist" would dominate the 90's. Debuting in 1990, Mariah built a slow but loyal following with three moderately successful albums before the arrival of 1993's "Music Box" and lead single, the Top Ten hit, "Dreamlover" (#7). She started the year out with two more Top Ten's, "Hero" (also #7) and "Without You" (#3), the Badfinger cover popularized by Nilsson. The final release from "Music Box" was "Anytime You Need A Friend" (#12), but Mariah was no where near finished for the year. A cover of the Diana Ross/Lionel Richie #1, "Endless Love" with Luther Vandross, hit the stores, while December 1994 saw the release of "Merry Christmas", a seasonal album that would enjoy Christmas success for many years to come, regularly re-entering the albums charts. From that album, "All I Want For Christmas Is You" was released, becoming a modern day Xmas carol. The single was catapulted to #2, as was the Luther duet, Mariah's highest chart placement in the singles' chart, so far. 1994 was definitely Mariah Carey's finest year in a career that would become unstable, but not extinct. 20 years on, you can still count on Mariah to provide us with a hit single, or major album, even if they may never reach the dizzying heights of "Music Box".

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1994
1. Mariah Carey
2. Wet Wet Wet
3. Ace Of Base
4. East 17
5. Salt 'n' Pepa
6. All-4-One
7. Twenty 4 Seven
8. Bon Jovi
9. Bryan Adams
10. Celine Dion


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1995 Singles Artist Of The Year
THE REAL McCOY

The 90's had already brought amazing success for European dance bands such as Black Box, Technotronic and 2 Unlimited, but it was Germany's The Real McCoy who really broke through to take out the award for 1995. It was a year full of unknown artists (the top five artists of the year all relative new comers) and The Real McCoy were right there at the beginning, debuting during the first week of '95 with their #1 smash, "Another Night" (the fifth biggest selling single of the year). By the end of the year, the band were still charting in the Top 20, this time with their fifth hit, "Automatic Lover (Call For Love)". In between, The Real McCoy scored a further two Top Ten hits, "Run Away" (#6) and "Love And Devotion" (#10) and a Top Ten album with "Another Night" (#6). The band themselves were still forming during the year, starting out as M.C. Sar & the Real McCoy with rapper/producer O-Jay coupled with singer Patsy Peterson. Backing vocalist Vanessa Mason was brought to the front shortly after their initial success, making just The Real McCoy a trio. But the success of 1995 must have gone to Patsy's head, and she left the group to pursue a solo career, with little result. Lisa Cork joined in '96 keeping The Real McCoy a trio, and would taste Top Ten success with the band the following year when they returned with "One More Time" (#3). That success would be their last, but the band is still together today, with O-Jay still at the helm (although he did leave for a while) and two new singers, Debbie Butts and Gemma Sampson taking over vocal duties.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1995
1. The Real McCoy
2. Merril Bainbridge
3. N-Trance
4. Coolio
5. Silverchair
6. Michael Jackson
7. Mariah Carey
8. The Outhere Brothers
9. Bon Jovi
10. Tina Arena


***

1996 Singles Artist Of The Year
CELINE DION

With yet another "diva" taking out the year as most successful artist, it was clear to see the 90's belonged to the girls. Madonna, Whitney and Mariah all passed their batons down to the new diva-queen, Celine Dion, who's 12xPlatinum album "Falling Into You" provided us with the third biggest seller of the year, "Because You Loved Me", and the epic "It's All Coming Back To Me Now", a Pandora's Box cover written by Jim Steinman, finally getting the airplay it deserved. Celine's rise to the top wasn't as sudden as many would think. Can you believe "Falling Into You" was actually Celine's 21st album? A 13 year-old Celine Dion released "La Voix Du Bon Dieu", a French album (as were all her 80's albums) released in 1981. In 1990 with the release of her first English language, "Unison", Celine's singles started to chart, but nothing substantial, yet. With each (English language) release, she built her fan-base, peaking with "Falling...", her fourth English album which would go on to receive the Grammy's honour of Album Of The Year. At the end of the albums' run, world-wide sales would total 32 million units, 1 million of those in Australia alone (one of only six artists ever to sell over 1 million copies of an album in this country). During the 1996 Olympics Opening Ceremony, Celine Dion sang "The Power Of The Dream" which would join "Because You Loved Me" as a double A-side single, propelling it to #1 (at a time when everyone was "Macarena" crazy!). It was a fitting marriage of the greatest sporting ceremony in the world, with the most successful entertainer at the time.


The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1995
1. Celine Dion
2. The Fugees
3. Los Del Rio
4. La Bouche
5. Alanis Morissette
6. George Michael
7. OMC
8. Mark Morrison
9. Savage Garden
10. Everything But The Girl

***


1997 Singles Artist Of The Year
ELTON JOHN

It was with great tragedy that Elton should wind up with the most singles sales for the year. On the 31st August, Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris, sending shock waves around the world. She was buried a week later with a funeral service that became the most watched event in history. During that service, Elton performed a modified version of his 1973 hit, "Candle In The Wind", replacing the Marilyn Monroe character with Princess Di. It was a moving moment, and no doubt, a hard task for Elton John to carry out. "Candle In The Wind '97" was soon released as a single, accompanying "Something About The Way You Look Tonight", which had been released from Elton's "The Big Picture" album only weeks earlier. The double single would become the biggest selling single of all time, selling 37 million copies worldwide. In Australia, it was the years highest seller, accredited an amazing 14xPlatinum, an amount some of the biggest albums don't even achieve! It seems unfair that Elton should take out the award for 1997 considering it was his only single release, and the circumstances surrounding it. But 1997 was a bumper year, and to give it to any one artist other than Elton would be an injustice to the other huge acts that jammed our charts with brilliant hits. Hanson, Spice Girls, Aqua and Savage Garden battled the year out, and any one of the acts could have been crowned Artist Of The Year for any other year. But we were the real winners. Pop music hadn't sounded so good since, well, the 80's, especially during a decade that had seen many other genres take over the airwaves. 1997 was also the beginning of a trio of years that would see charting singles sell staggering amounts, as CD singles became cheaper and shipped in higher quantities. Many of the biggest selling singles of all time were from this period.


The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1997
1. Elton John
2. Hanson
3. Aqua
4. Savage Garden
5. Spice Girls
6. No Doubt
7. Silverchair
8. Chumbawamba
9. Az Yet
10. Will Smith


***

1998 Singles Artist Of The Year
SHANIA TWAIN

It was a year dominated by vocal groups with the boys (Five, Backstreet Boys, and Boyzone) up against the girls (All Saints, Spice Girls and B*Witched), with the uni-sex Steps thrown in for good measure. But it was good ol' country music that would shine, thanks to Shania Twain. Usually stylized by older singers, country music was beginning to find younger heroes, so a younger music buying public could indentify with an almost extinct genre. Billy Ray Cyrus and LeAnn Rimes had revived country music earlier in the decade, but 33 year old Shania Twain broke the barriers between one of the oldest genres of music, and modern day pop. Country music became sexy, seductive, and successful. Shania tested the waters during 1997, hitting the Top Ten with "(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here" (#5). She followed up the following year with one of the biggest selling albums of the decade, "Come On Over". Featuring no less than four Top Five hits, the album would eventually gain the title of the biggest selling country album of all time, with 39 million sales worldwide. In her native Canada, of the albums sixteen tracks, eleven would reach the Top Five of the country charts! Back in Australia, the lead single, "You're Still The One", climbed to #1, while the follow-up, "From This Moment On" just missed, peaking at #2. The singles were #9 and #10 respectively on the ARIA end of year charts. 1999 would see more accolades for Shania, and even bigger success. The third single, "That Don't Impress Me Much" (#2), was the 8th biggest selling single of the year, and another, "Man! I Feel Like A Woman" (#4) would be a strong Platinum selling single, a rarity for fourth releases. But overall, "Come On Over" would become the biggest selling album of 1999, well ahead of the competition, and accredited 15xPlatinum, one of only a handful of albums to pass the 10xPlatinum mark for the decade. Since country music's revival in the 90's, it has maintained a high profile in the singles charts, but its image has been changed forever thanks to Shania.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1998
1. Shania Twain
2. All Saints
3. Spice Girls
4. Ricky Martin
5. Aqua
6. Backstreet Boys
7. Steps
8. The Goo Goo Dolls
9. B*Witched
10. Aerosmith

***


1999 Singles Artist Of The Year
BRITNEY SPEARS

Never before had the gap between birth and pop world domination been so close. By 1999's end, Britney Spears would not only conquer the Australian (and worldwide) singles charts, she would celebrate her 18th birthday. I personally remember my 18th birthday as one of leaving school and wondering what to do with my life! Quite an eternity away from someone who became an instant millionaire with her first pop single. With Britney's debut, also came the debut of a new era of pop music, for the charts have been a playground for teenagers ever since. Sure, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson and even Kylie Minogue made their mark as teenagers, but after Britney, it was a necessity to be young to have any impact in the future market. That debut, "...Baby One More Time", itself causing a mini-controversy not unlike Madonna's early years, would become the biggest selling debut single of all time, and the biggest from a teenager. With a triple Platinum accreditation, only Lou Bega's "Mambo #5" could better "...Baby"'s sales for the year, but two successful follow-ups, "Sometimes" (#2) and "(You Drive Me) Crazy" (#12) ensured Britney was way ahead of the rest for Artist of the Year. Interestingly, Cher also enjoyed a huge year, err...sharing...eh hem, a huge year alongside Britney, even though she was exactly three times her age!!! Britney Spears had to endure the "new Madonna" tag, a daunting task for such a young performer, but throughout her first decade, one she has lived up to, causing controversy, entertainment, anticipation, and most importantly...hits!

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 1999
1. Britney Spears
2. The Offspring
3. Lou Bega
4. Shania Twain
5. Five
6. Vengaboys
7. TLC
8. Cher
9. Savage Garden
10. Eiffel 65

***

1990's - MADONNA

By the end of the 90's, Madonna could rightly take her place alongside the likes of Elvis Presley and The Beatles as one of the biggest artists of all time. Even in 1000 years time, if music is even around then, I doubt anyone could dominate the Australian singles charts for two decades running. As the biggest singles artist of the 80's, and then again in the 90's, Madonna is definitely the most enduring recording artist of all time!

For fear of making this a Madonna devoted thread, and yes, I am a huge fan, I really would've loved to give this decade to someone else. And there was plenty of competition. Let's see what happened...

It was a huge decade for the diva, with many celebrating huge multi-Platinum album sales. Celine Dion enjoyed just six Top Ten hits, but what huge hits they were! Three #1's, and a respectable #2 single, collectively sold over half a million units. It seemed a breeze that Celine would figure at the very top of the decade list. But 1997's "Let's Talk About Love" album, boasting an array of special guest artists, stalled in the singles stakes, producing only the #9 duet with Barbra Streisand, "Tell Him". A Christmas album would fill in the end of the decade, but it was clear Celine was in retirement mode, which would officially take full effect in 2000.

Somewhat of a man-diva, Bryan Adams also had the decade wrapped up with four #1 hits, and another four Top Tens. Where Celine produced less music, Bryan just produced less blockbuster hits, with only the Melanie C duet, "When You're Gone", making any major impact for him on the charts during the last half of the decade.

It was really Mariah Carey's decade. The soulful diva sold more albums than other other artist in Australia during the 90's, and her singles performance was one to rival Michael Jackson's 80's decade. With 11 Top Ten singles during the decade, Mariah had one of the strongest debuts ever seen. But her split in 1997 with then husband, Tommy Mottola, also seemed to cause a derailment in her musical career. Two albums closed the 90's for Mariah with only one Top Ten a piece, and both albums selling only a pinch of the sales she enjoyed with her earlier albums, "Music Box" and "Daydream". A public breakdown would follow into the 2000's, but unfortunately she didn't quite have enough wind to hold down Artist of the Decade.

It was up to relative oldies Elton John and Madonna to take out the prize. Elton takes his place due to the fact that his Princess Diana tribute single sold close to a million copies. So Elton wasn't so much of a presence for the 90's, just the holder of a very amazing (world) record.

Madonna started out the decade as the biggest artist of 1990, and despite a four year break between studio albums mid-decade, produced a Top Ten hit in every year. She was down in the #1 stakes since the 80's, only one with "Vogue", but she redeemed herself with a record 14 Top Tens, and 27 Top 50's - another record! When Mariah, Celine and Bryan all slowed down, Madonna would shine, with a comeback of her own, 1998's critically acclaimed "Ray Of Light".

With each Madonna album, came mixed reviews. The critics were generally happy, and the public eventually warmed up. Both 1990's Dick Tracy inspired "I'm Breathless" and 1992's "Erotica", were major departures from her 80's pristine pop output. But they still produced Top Ten hits. Even the toned down vibe of 1994's "Bedtime Stories", Madonna's first real (relative) flop, contained two Australian Top Ten's and a major US #1 in "Take A Bow", somewhat of a comeback for her in her native country.

In 1995, Madonna took a vacation from the studio, working on the film version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Evita. It was a major coup for the pop star who had craved respect in the film world as a serious actress. She won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical, but was snubbed for an Oscar nod. She did, however, perform "You Must Love Me" during the ceremony, which went on to win Best Original Song for Evita.

And then the news that the Material Girl was to become the Maternal Girl. Madonna gave birth to her first child, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon in 1996.

Soon after, Madonna became heavily interested in Kabbalah, which would inspire her return to form with the "Ray Of Light" album. Produced by 80's collaborator Patrick Leonard, and relative new comer, William Orbit, it was not only a chart success, but the first Madonna album to be recognized by the Grammy's, winning three awards, and nominated for Album Of The Year. Her circle of domination was complete - hit singles, critical acclaim, and Grammy's!

Madonna closed the 90's with the fun coda, "Beautiful Stranger", from the Austen Powers film, The Spy Who Shagged Me.

Madonna would soon gear up for yet another successful decade in the 2000's, returning to #1 a further five times, and would continue to be a major influence in pop music culture. However, the 2000's would also be a time when Madonna would have to finally hand the gauntlet over to another up and comer...whoever that may be.

Let's do it all again, congratulations Madonna for the award (and for the second time!) as...
Artist Of The Decade for the 1990's.



***



***

2000 Singles Artist Of The Year
DESTINY'S CHILD

It seemed everyone young and old wanted a piece of the new decade. U2, Madonna and Kylie all returned with huge comebacks (the girls enjoying two #1's each during the year), while future big players P!nk, Eminem and Justin Timberlake started their journey to world domination. But it was a trio of 19 year olds from Texas who claimed blasted the new decade. Destiny's Child, boasting the talents of Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland, actually started the year out as a four-piece group, but a strange and controversial move streamlined them to just three. LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, together with Beyonce and Kelly, released 1999's "The Writing On The Wall", the groups' second album. However, the two "other" girls attempted to split from their manager over a profit dispute, never intending to leave the group. With the release of 2000's "Say My Name", LeToya and LaTavia found they were absent from the video, and two new girls had already taken their place. What a way to break it to them! Legal action was taken, but all parties reached a settlement including an agreement prohibiting the girls to attack each other publicly. Destiny's Child, now with Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin on board, soon found themselves at #1 in Australia with "Say My Name", the 5th biggest seller of the year. Following up with the #2 hit, "Jumpin' Jumpin'" (#17 year end), it became too much for Franklin, who then left the group after only five months. Streamlined to a three-piece, Destiny's Child carried on releasing the female anthem, "Independent Woman" (#3), from the Charlie's Angels soundtrack. The girls were back in 2001, with the release of "Survivor", influenced by a taunt that being in Destiny's Child was like being in a reality contest facing eviction. But for five years, the girls stuck together figuring prominently in the charts before splitting as Beyonce and Kelly's solo careers took off.

The Top 10 Biggest Singles Artists Of 2000
1. Destiny's Child
2. Bomfunk MC's
3. Britney Spears
4. Anastacia
5. Madonna
6. Bardot
7. Madison Avenue
8. *NSync
9. Mandy Moore
10. Kylie Minogue

***


2001 Singles Artist Of The Year
SHAGGY

In 1993, reggae music literally took over the Australian Singles charts. Three of the Top Ten biggest singles of the year were from Inner Circle, UB40 and Snow (another of the years Top Ten biggest, Ace Of Base's "All That She Wants" was dangerously close to the genre). Further down the list of biggest sellers, a new artist, Shaggy, popped his head in at #34. Just five years prior, Orville Burrell, as he was originally known, was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, where his talent was recognized. That talent was too big to deny, so Shaggy left the Marines, soon releasing his debut album, "Pure Pleasure". It seemed Shaggy was destined to chart with every second album, as it was his third that provided him with his first Australian #1 single, "Boombastic". Continuing that trend, his 1997 album, "Midnite Lover", totally bombed and a four year hiatus from recording soon followed. In 2001, Shaggy returned with one of the biggest comebacks in music history. The new album, "Hot Shot" contained not one, but two triple Platinum singles, "It Wasn't Me" and "Angel". The singles were #2 and #4 respectively on the year end charts, one that would see nearly twenty singles reach at least double Platinum status. Those two singles alone sold more than most artists do in their entire career! Shaggy returned to the Top Ten later that year with "Luv Me, Luv Me" (#10), and the following year with "Hey Sexy Lady" (#4), from the follow up album, "Lucky Day". However, the new single and album failed to fly anywhere near the heights of their predecessors, and Shaggy was soon back to familiar obscurity, as a further two albums would provide no hits for the star. Are they the bombs Shaggy needs to have before another comeback?

The Top Ten Biggest Singles Artists Of 2001
1. Shaggy
2. Mya
3. Nelly Furtado
4. Kylie Minogue
5. Bob The Builder
6. LeAnn Rimes
7. Jennifer Lopez
8. Destiny's Child
9. Lifehouse
10. Eminem

***


2002 Singles Artist Of The Year
SHAKIRA

A brand new wave of artists arrived in 2002. The entire Top Ten biggest artists of the year had never been heard of three years prior. And never before had solo artists been so dominant. One hit wonders Las Ketchup, were the only group to make it into the final ten, and only Tenacious D and No Doubt would be included in the Top 20. Colombian star Shakira stole the show from big names Eminem and Nelly, and was the shining light of the Latino movement that had started with Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez during the late 90's. Shakira's venture into music started much earlier than most think. Two albums in 1990 and 1991, both in her native tongue, were commercial flops which prompted Shakira to set out and produced her own brand of music. The resulting albums, 1995's "Pies Descalzos" and 1998's "Donde Estan los Ladrones" were huge successes in Latin America, giving her the platform she needed to break into the English-speaking world. With strong promotion, Shakira returned with her first English album, "Laundry Service". Headed by the #1 hit, "Whenever, Wherever", the second biggest single of the year, Shakira was soon a household name. Repeating a #1 peak with the following single, "Underneath Your Clothes", but just missing with the third release, "Objection (Tango)" (#2), Shakira would finish the year with the second biggest selling album, behind Eminem on both charts. To date, "Laundry Service" has sold more than 20 million copies making it the biggest selling album by a Latin American artist ever.

The Top Ten Biggest Singles Artists Of 2002
1. Shakira
2. Eminem
3. Nelly
4. Enrique Iglesias
5. Sophie Ellis Bextor
6. Avril Lavigne
7. Holly Valance
8. Vanessa Carlton
9. Las Ketchup
10. Kasey Chambers

***


2003 Singles Artist Of The Year
DELTA GOODREM

If Britney Spears was the new Madonna, then say hello to the new Kylie, Delta Goodrem. It was twelve years since an Australian act figured so prominently in the charts when Ratcat took out 1991's Artist Of The Year. Delta also had to beat out Eminem, one of the major stars of the time who had to spend a second year in a row as runner-up. Delta shattered the previous record set by Kylie Minogue, with the most #1's from a debut album, when all five releases hit the top spot. Adding to that, that album, "Innocent Eyes" broke the previous record set by John Farnham's "Whispering Jack" as the longest running album at #1 by an Australian artist, with an amazing 29 weeks. Contrary to popular belief, Delta did not have her first five singles hit #1. In late 2001, Delta debuted and charted with "I Don't Care", peaking at #64 and quickly exiting the charts. Where most soap stars leave their respective shows to pursue a musical career, Delta instead joined the cast of Neighbours to gain a higher profile for her music. As Nina Tucker, Delta's role was semi-autobiographical, playing a shy schoolgirl with dreams of breaking into music and starting a successful career. In late 2002, Delta released "Born To Try", which had been featured in Neighbours by her character. It rocketed to #1, and was accredited triple Platinum status during 2003. What followed was a perfect run of #1's, "Lost Without You", "Innocent Eyes", "Not Me, Not I" and "Predictible". With an eventual accreditation of 14xPlatinum, "Innocent Eyes" (the album) became one of the biggest sellers of all time. There was no doubt that Delta's follow-up album would be a hit, and the proof came in 2004 when both the lead single, "Out Of The Blue" and her duet with Brian McFadden, "Almost Here", hit #1. With six #1's in a row, its clear to see that Delta is a very special artist with a huge future ahead of her.

The Top Ten Biggest Singles Artists Of 2003
1. Delta Goodrem
2. Eminem
3. 50 Cent
4. Guy Sebastian
5. The Black Eyes Peas
6. Ja Rule
7. Jennifer Lopez
8. Evanescence
9. Big Brovaz
10. Christina Aguilera

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2004 Singles Artist Of The Year
SHANNON NOLL

The world-wide music phenomenon Pop Idol, created by entertainment executive Simon Fuller, was in full swing during the 2000's. Our own Australian Idol debuted during 2003, and the aftermath was felt in 2004, when many of the first season contestants made their mark on the Australian charts. Although Series One winner, Guy Sebastian enjoyed major chart success with three #1 hits in a row, it was Shannon Noll who would eventually achieved the most success from his appearance on the show. Following in the footsteps of Guy, Shannon Noll's debut single, "What About Me" was the biggest selling single of the year, accredited 4xPlatinum. The Moving Pictures original in 1982 came in #2 for the year end list, just missing out to become the only song to top a year end chart twice. For his second single, "Drive" (#4), co-written by Bryan Adams, Shannon cemented his "Aussie" image, no doubt a major factor in his success with the Australian buying public. Shannon became good mates with Bryan, joining him as support act during his 2004 tour. Another #1 followed, "Learn To Fly", lucky to debut there with strong competition from another Idol contestant, Paulini, and her first single "Angel Eyes", however the single wasn't a huge seller, coming in at a measly #68 on the year end charts. What was a big seller, however, was his debut album, "Now That's What I'm Talking About", a sure-fire #1 album, and the second biggest album of the year, nestled between, Jet and Pete Murray, making it a huge year for the Aussie guys. Australian Idol continues to provide us with huge stars, both winners and losers. After another two successful albums, 2008 saw the release of Shannon's Greatest Hits album, proving that Idol was a major contributer in the Australian music scene, and one that will continue to provide for many years to come.

The Top Ten Biggest Singles Artists Of 2004
1. Shannon Noll
2. The Black Eyed Peas
3. Anastacia
4. Kelis
5. Outkast
6. Jamelia
7. Usher
8. Spiderbait
9. Delta Goodrem
10. Britney Spears

***


2005 Singles Artist Of The Year
ANTHONY CALLEA

The Australian Idol juggernaut continued into 2005 when the Series Two contestants began their assault on the charts. However, it seemed the show wasn't working according to plan. After Shannon Noll's massive year of 2004, Anthony Callea, another runner-up, enjoyed two #1 singles during 2005, his debut, "The Prayer", the biggest seller of the year, and "Rain". Second was the new First. Throughout the 2004 series, Anthony didn't appear in the bottom three ever, continuing to gain stronger support with finer performances. Not bad for a contestant who was not even publicly voted into the Top 12, instead given a wildcard by the judges. Not to take anything away from Anthony, 2005 was a fairly slow year for many artists. Most enjoying huge success with one single, followed up with only moderate success from others. And that pesky "novelty" song that almost ruined the 90's popped its head in again. The animated Crazy Frog and Schnappi both had strong hits, while Akon's "Lonely" and The Black Eyed Peas "My Humps" were very close to be branded "novelty". Another cartoon band, Gorillaz, had a huge year, but with just a little more critical acclaim. But back to Anthony. After "The Prayer" became the biggest selling single of all time, Anthony continued to live his dream, supporting Diana Ross, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston on the Australian legs of their tours, appearing as the "professional" singer on the Seven Network's "It Takes Two" TV series, and winning the coveted role as Boq in the smash hit broadway musical, Wicked. All this after performing Human Nature's "Wishes" in a little room in Melbourne, early 2004.

The Top Ten Biggest Singles Artists Of 2005
1. Anthony Callea
2. Gwen Stefani
3. Nelly
4. Crazy Frog
5. The Black Eyed Peas
6. Akon
7. The Pussycat Dolls
8. Mario
9. Mariah Carey
10. Gorillaz

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2006 Singles Artists Of The Year
THE PUSSYCATS DOLLS

The Digital revolution hit the Australian charts during 2006, and just as the transfer of vinyl to CD singles hindered sales, so did the downloads. Not that music wasn't selling. Downloading music (legally) meant that CD's didn't take up room, it was cheaper, and easier to purchase, but those downloads weren't included in the main chart until late in the year. Because of this, for the first time since 1989, the #1 biggest selling single of the year, Sandi Thom's "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker...", was accredited only single Platinum. So the 2006 artist award was easily up for grabs by any number of hit makers. Nine women stood out for the year, and it was close! Nelly Furtado, P!nk and Rihanna all had dynamite years, but the other six had and even better one. The Pussycat Dolls bought a new lease of life to the lulling girl group phenomenon, with their first five releases hitting the Top Ten. Originally formed as a burlesque dance ensemble as far back as 1995, founder and choreographer Robin Antin negotiated a record deal that would bring together a core group of six performers. In 2005, they unleashed "Don't Cha", a #1 hit giving them the second biggest seller for that year, behind Anthony Callea's mammoth "The Prayer". From the triple Platinum debut album, "PCD", the girls saw "Stickwitu" (#2), "Beep" (#3), "Buttons" (#2) and "I Don't Need A Man" (#6) repeating similar success by making the Top Ten during 2006. The Pussycat Doll "franchise" then expanded into television with The Search For The Next Doll premiering in March 2007, and eventual winner, Asia Nitollano, joining the girls for a couple of on-stage performances. Back for another successful run in 2008 with their "Doll Domination" album, The Pussycat Dolls have released 11 singles in total in Australia with all but two hitting the Top Ten. The fact that the two "flops" reached #16 and #17 shows the girls' strength with Australian audiences, and a fanbase sure to support them into 2010 when they release their third album.

The Top Ten Biggest Singles Artists Of 2006
1. The Pussycat Dolls
2. Rihanna
3. P!nk
4. Nelly Furtado
5. TV Rock
6. Bob Sinclar
7. Justin Timberlake
8. Sandi Thom
9. James Blunt
10. Shakira

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2007 Singles Artist Of The Year
FERGIE

As digital sales began to settle down and become the norm, general sales were back to their blockbuster selves with many artists enjoying multiple hits. The Top Ten artists of 2007 all can be considered the biggest acts of the decade. The Black Eyed Peas are also one of those huge acts of the 2000's, but with the band taking a short break, female vocalist, Fergie, filled in her time releasing a debut album, "The Dutchess". Boasting an almost perfect and unequalled debut of hits, the #1 album saw five Top Four hits in a row. The lead single, "London Bridge", released late the previous year, made a strong impression, peaking at #3, while the follow-up, "Fergalicious", slipped slightly, making it to #4. Early 2007 saw the release of "Glamourous" which gained more momentum for Fergie, peaking at #2 making way for the biggest hit of the year. "Big Girls Don't Cry" debuted at #1 on the ARIA charts, holding for an incredible nine weeks, accredited double Platinum, and crowned the highest selling single of 2007. Finishing the year as strongly as she started, a fifth single, "Clumsy" (#3), helped the album achieve triple Platinum sales and a #5 berth on the end of year albums list. Fergie, or Stacy Ferguson as she was first known, also managed to squeeze in a couple of minor films roles, appearing in Poseidon and Planet Terror, quite a departure from her guest role on Married...With Children thirteen years earlier. After a couple of moderate hits from the album during 2008, Fergie returned to The Black Eyed Peas to begin work on their 2009 release, "The E.N.D.", and to prepare for what was to become a huge year, all over again.

The Top Ten Biggest Singles Artists Of 2007
1. Fergie
2. Avril Lavigne
3. Mika
4. Fall Out Boy
5. Rihanna
6. Justin Timberlake
7. P!nk
8. Gwen Stefani
9. Akon
10. Good Charlotte

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2008 Singles Artist Of The Year
RIHANNA

Digital downloads caused two major effects on the charts, and it was felt especially during 2008. Very much a younger field, downloading alienated the older generation who seemed to give up buying "singles" as CD's were phased out. Younger stars shined, easier to identify with by an equally youthful buying audience. Chris Brown, The Veronicas, Gabriella Cilmi, Jordin Sparks, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry...the list goes on...were either teenagers, or barely out of their teens, and they were big business. Turning 20 during 2008, Rihanna was everywhere, literally. With her third album, "Good Girl Gone Bad", Rihanna had already gained major success the previous year with "Umbrella", "Shut Up And Drive" and "Hate That I Love Her", making her the fifth biggest artist. All three singles spilled over into the new year, adding to four further releases. "Don't Stop The Music" was an early #1, the second from the album, achieving it on downloads alone - the first time ever! Her follow-ups "Take A Bow" (#3), "Distrubia" (#6) and "Rehab" (#26) kept Rihanna in a spotlight that hadn't been switch off for some three years since her debut. If you thought seven appearances in the charts was enough for a year, think again. Two further contributions, a duet with Maroon 5, "If I Never See Your Face Again" (#11) and a featured performance on T.I.'s hit "Live Your Life" (#3), almost caused Rihanna overkill. But hey, who are we to argue with success. Which brings me to download problem #2. The Singles and Albums charts had very much separated by this time. With seven major hit singles, the "Good Girl Gone Bad" album should have really sold more, much more. At the end of its run, however, the album could only boast a triple Platinum accreditation and the 9th biggest seller of the year. Still healthy, but a long way from those 10x plus Platinum albums that shaped the 90's.

The Top Ten Biggest Singles Artists Of 2008
1. Rihanna
2. Flo Rida
3. Lady GaGa
4. Katy Perry
5. Chris Brown
6. Kings Of Leon
7. Jordin Sparks
8. P!nk
9. Leona Lewis
10. The Veronicas

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2009 Singles Artists Of The Year
THE BLACK EYED PEAS

It was a fitting "end" to the decade with the release of The Black Eyed Peas fifth album, "The E.N.D.", although the album actually stands for "The Energy Never Dies". There are various themes and concepts represented by the album, most significantly, will.i.am's notion that with a new decade around the corner, the "album" will no longer be in existence. In the current day of downloads, The Black Eyed Peas came up with a group of songs that were relevant to our current musical lifestyle. Catchy, dancy, slick and trendy, but most importantly, accessible with the click of a computer mouse. And click away we did. Two #1's, "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling", both accredited 4xPlatinum, put "The Peas" neck and neck with Lady GaGa and Beyonce, also celebrating bumper years (the girls finally ending their battle by appearing on each others singles for "Video Phone" and "Telephone"). But a third #1, the double Platinum "Meet Me Halfway" put them over the top and unbeatable. In the year end charts, the three singles came in #1, #4 and #8 respectively, the first time an artist has had three EOY Top Ten hits on the same chart since Abba in 1976. That notion that the album was losing its' appeal didn't stop "The E.N.D." from being the third biggest selling album of the year with a 4xPlatinum accreditation. 2009 was also a splendid year for Michael Jackson, whose passing prompted a barrage of 30 solo and 5 Jacksons tracks to re-enter the Top 100. The Black Eyed Peas featured heavily on the 20th Anniversary Edition of Michael's "Thriller" album just a year before. Elton John's 1997 hit with his Princess Diana tribute aside, The Black Eyed Peas 2009 is the most successful singles haul in a single year since 1980, and, no doubt, has set them up as one of the all time greatest artists ever!

The Top Ten Biggest Singles Artists Of 2009
1. The Black Eyed Peas
2. Lady GaGa
3. Beyonce
4. Taylor Swift
5. David Guetta
6. Lily Allen
7. Flo Rida
8. P!nk
9. Miley Cyrus
10. Guy Sebastian

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2000's - THE BLACK EYED PEAS

The Black Eyed Peas literally stole the decade from P!nk during 2009, who in turn had stolen it from Eminem the year before. All three were phenomenal forces in the Australian singles charts during the 2000's, with only one hit single separating each act. But what a spectacular finish for will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo and Fergie, who, by the end of the decade, truly made The Black Eyed Peas the ultimate party band...ever!

The Black Eyed Peas formed mid-90's in Los Angeles, California, and were soon on record with their 1998 debut, "Behind The Front". Nothing much eventuated for them there, but an appearance of one of the tracks on the Bulworth soundtrack, the 1998 acclaimed film featuring Warren Beatty, certainly got the wheels rolling. It was in 2001 that BEP cracked the Australian Singles Charts, with "Request + Line", featuring Macy Gray (who had also appeared on their first album) reaching #21. Another minor hit, "Weekends", soon sent the group packing, seemingly. However, The Black Eyed Peas immediately started work on their follow-up, which would take another two years to manifest.

Come 2003, and a new, revitalized Black Eyed Peas where back with new member, Stacy Ferguson, better known as "Fergie". The lead single from the "Elephunk" album had the advantage of featuring the one and only, Justin Timberlake (himself a huge influence on music during the 2000's), sending the single straight to #1. It was the beginning of an unbroken string of 12 Top Ten hits (barring the digital only release of "Imma Be"), seven of them #1's!!!

The follow-up single, "Shut Up", another #1 for the band, brought Fergie into the spotlight. At the time Fergie really wasn't a permanent pea, but her appeal was obvious, and it wasn't long before she was inducted as a member. Through the remaining releases from "Elephunk", and the following hits from their fourth album, "Monkey Business", Fergie was featuring more and more, becoming a key element to their success. That status was cemented in late 2006 when her debut solo album, "The Dutchess", was released. With five Top 5 hits, and the biggest selling single of 2007, it can be said that will.i.am chose well.

Also during this time, another member of The Black Eyed Peas was doing a few odd jobs around the place. will.i.am released his own solo album, "Songs About Girls", which gave him an Australian Top 20 hit of his own, "I Got It From My Mama". But even though the guys were tied up touring, keeping them out of the charts for a couple of years as a group, the BEP's touch was ever present through will.i.am's production contributions to many of the biggest artists. Justin Timberlake, The Pussycat Dolls, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Estelle, Usher, and even U2, benefited from will.i.am's guiding hand. Even the 2008 re-release of the biggest selling album of all time, gave the Black Eyed Peas a chance to stay in the spotlight without a release of their own. Fergie featured on an updated "Beat It", while will.i.am gave new vocals to "The Girl Is Mine" and "P.Y.T.".

Then came "The E.N.D.". The "energy never dies", and it seems the band never will either, with one of the most successful calendar years in the history of music. As the biggest artists of 2009, I don't need to go through their amazing success again, but even into 2010, it looks as if the band will do what Madonna did for the last two decades - stay on top. But, of course, it's early days yet.

As previously mentioned (in the 2009 entry), The Black Eyed Peas are ready for the impending death of the album. Perhaps their global record sales ring true, and are a wake up call to the way the industry is shaping. With an estimated 28 million records sold, the group has actually sold more singles than albums. The Black Eyed Peas have sold over 31 million singles worldwide...

With over 1.5 million of those sold in Australia, I am happy to award The Black Eyed Peas,
the 2000's Artist Of The Decade.


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And the future...


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Cool sites to check out:
www.australian-charts.com (Australian Top 50 Charts)
www.wikipedia.org (The Free Encyclopedia)
www.songfacts.com (Song Meanings and Trivia)
www.discogs.com (Detailed Discography Database)

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