SOFT ROCK – SPECIAL FEATURE

savage garden1

 

Break Me, Shake Me (D Hayes/D Johns) 1997 and I Knew I Loved You (D Hayes/D Johns) – Savage Garden 1999`

 

Following the international success of I Want You and Truly, Madly, Deeply, both global #1 hits, the duo from Logan (Brisb) followed up with Break Me, Shake Me, the fourth single lifted from their debut album and only issued in Australia, Japan, and Europe but not in the USA or UK.

 

Record releases by the duo were not synchronized internationally because of the different release dates of earlier hits and the perceived differences in musical taste between the US/UK and the rest of the world. Break Me, Shake Me was a harder rocking song, more defiant and assertive in tone with a love-hate relationship at its core, percussive finger snaps set the mood, and the song has a dramatic rise and fall in tempo as the emotional mood of the lyrics shift, and vocally Darren Hayes channeled his inner Michael Jackson. It charted #4 locally for the duo’s fourth consecutive top 5 hit locally.

 

 

The fifth song lifted from their debut album was Universe which again was only released locally and charted #23, by this time the boys were working on their second album Affirmation and with a different producer – Walter Afanasieff (Mariah Carey, Ricki Martin, Celine Dion), the first song taken off their second album was The Animal Song which featured on the soundtrack of the movie The Other Sister (Juliette Roberts), it was glossy pop and charted well – #1 Canada, #4 Aust,#3 NZ and Sweden, #16 UK and #19 USA.

I Knew I Loved You was released in September 1999, it was perfect, light, catchy, adult contemporary pop, acoustic guitars, and Hayes falsetto vocals all wrapped in an easy-listening radio-friendly sleekly- produced package, the promo video featured Hayes, with actress Kirsten Dunst, as his love interest on a subway train.

It was a massive international hit despite the somewhat awkward but intriguing opening lyric “I knew I loved you before I met you”, which pregnant women have apparently identified with, it was 124 weeks on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Chart (US) and was the highest-played record on US radio in 2000.

 

While some found this song deeply moving, and doubtless Hayes gives a nuanced vocal performance, the direction shift under their new producer, meant that Savage Garden now embraced mainstream AOR that was sleekly packaged, even slightly over-produced, but fans lapped up the soft rock sounds and the record was a big hit – #1 USA and Canada, #3 Aust and NZ, #10 UK and top 10 in several European countries. The album Affirmation was also a mega-seller, hitting #1 locally and staying on the charts for 75 weeks, it clocked up global sales of 8.5 million copies and generated gross sales of $250 million.

Savage Garden knew all about how to sustain longevity on international record charts, but unfortunately not how to keep the band together. While Darren Hayes enjoyed the limelight, Daniel Jones hated touring and being exposed to public scrutiny; the duo were now conservatively worth $39 million each, and could follow different and separate career paths, Savage Garden disbanded in 2001, and Darren Hayes moved on to a solo career.

I Knew I Loved You would be the last time that an Australian act hit #1 in the USA for twelve years, until Gotye took Somebody That I Used to Know all the way there in 2012.

 

 

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