Savage Garden were an Australian pop duo consisting of Darren Hayes on vocals and Daniel Jones on instruments. Formed in Logan City, Queensland, in 1994, the duo achieved international success in the end of the 1990s and beginning of the 2000s with the No. 1 hit singles "I Want You", "To the Moon and Back", "Truly Madly Deeply", "The Animal Song" and "I Knew I Loved You".
The band's two studio albums, Savage Garden and Affirmation reached No. 1 in Australia and peaked in the top ten in both the United Kingdom and United States.
Their two studio albums have sold 23 million copies worldwide. The group won a record number of ten ARIA Music Awards in 1997 for their debut album and its related singles. They disbanded in the end of 2001, and Hayes continued as a solo artist.
In 1993, multi instrumentalist and producer Daniel Jones placed an advertisement in Brisbane newspaper Time Off seeking a vocalist for his five piece covers band Red Edge which he had formed with his brothers. Darren Hayes, who was studying at university, was the only respondent and joined after his first audition.
Red Edge played venues along the Gold Coast pub and club circuit, while Hayes and Jones started to write original material. In June 1994, Hayes and Jones left Red Edge to pursue a career together originally as Crush. The new duo was renamed Savage Garden after a phrase from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, "Beauty was a Savage Garden".
By year's end, the pair had enough songs for a demo tape, they sent 150 copies to various record companies around the world. John Woodruff (The Angels, Baby Animals, Diesel) was the only positive response, he became their manager and negotiated a contract with Roadshow Music/Warner Music. In 1995, they entered the studio to work on their debut album with producer, Charles Fisher (Air Supply, Moving Pictures, 1927).
1996–1998: Debut album
In May 1996, Savage Garden released their debut single "I Want You" under Roadshow Music. It peaked at No. 4 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Singles Chart and on the 1996 End of Year Singles Chart was highest placed by an Australian artist. On 30 September, they received their first ARIA Award nomination, in the category 'Breakthrough Artist – Single', for "I Want You".
Their success garnered interest from international labels and they signed with Columbia Records. The label's executives had Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones sent to Sydney for 8 months, where they would write songs for a debut album to be released in 1997. In November 1996, "To the Moon and Back" was released which reached No. 1 in January 1997.
"I Want You" was released in North America in February, where it peaked at No. 4 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 and by April had achieved gold status according to Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It peaked at No. 1 on the Canadian Singles Chart. "Truly Madly Deeply", the band's third Australian single, was released in March and reached No. 1 and soon became their signature song. In March, the duo's debut album, Savage Garden, entered the Australian charts at No. 1 and peaked there for a total of 19 weeks.
According to rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, "[It] revealed the influence of 1980s UK pop on Hayes and Jones' songwriting. Tears for Fears melodies blended seamlessly with Eurythmics-like arrangements, while Cure-styled guitar provided the icing on the cake." The album was released internationally two weeks later. "I Want You" was released across Europe in April and reached No. 11 on the United Kingdom Singles Chart. At the end of May, "To the Moon and Back" was the most played song on radio in the United States.
In June, a fourth single, "Break Me Shake Me" was released in Australia as the album reached No. 3 on the US Billboard 200 and was certified gold by RIAA. In September, Savage Garden won a record ten ARIA Awards from 13 nominations for the album and associated singles. They followed with their fifth Australian single, "Universe" in November. "Truly Madly Deeply" became their third release in the United States and replaced Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997", after its fourteen week run at No. 1.
In January 1998, "All Around Me", was released as a radio only single in Australia, although about 3000 physical copies were given away at their second concert in Brisbane. By the end of the year, "Truly Madly Deeply" was the most played song on radio in the United States and the only one sided single to spend a full year in the Top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100. In November, "Santa Monica", the final single from the album, was released exclusively in Japan, accompanied by a video of a live performance at the Hard Rock Cafe.
As of 2005, Savage Garden had been certified 12× platinum in Australia, 7× platinum in the United States, 3× platinum in Canada, 2× platinum in New Zealand, Singapore, and in the United Kingdom.
In February 1999, "The Animal Song", which was featured in the Touchstone film The Other Sister, became a No. 3 hit in Australia and Top 20 in the United Kingdom and United States. In September they released "I Knew I Loved You" – a love ballad – which peaked at No. 4 in Australia and No. 10 in the United Kingdom. It was followed in November by the duo's second album, Affirmation, produced by Walter Afanasieff (Ricky Martin, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion).
It was described by McFarlane as "pure unadulterated pop, boasting enticing melodies and a classy and sleek production sound." The album peaked at No. 1 in Australia and eventually achieved 8× platinum. Within a month, it went platinum in the United States, partly due to the success of the single "I Knew I Loved You", which hit No. 1 on the Hot 100, going platinum, and becoming the most-played single on US radio for the year.
Affirmation was a new turn for Savage Garden – it was mainstream pop and some songs had an adult contemporary sound. The group finished the year by winning two Billboard Music Awards: Adult Contemporary Single of the Year and Hot 100 Singles Airplay of the Year.
In February 2000, as "Crash and Burn" became the third single from their second album, 1997's "Truly Madly Deeply" was still on the Monitor/Billboard Adult Contemporary Airplay Chart, breaking the record for length of time on that chart. It would finally drop off after 123 weeks, while "Crash and Burn" peaked at No. 10.
In June, Hayes performed "'O Sole Mio" at Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti's annual charitable benefit concert Pavarotti and Friends. Savage Garden's success was reflected at the Billboard Music Awards, where they won Best Adult Contemporary Video and No. 1 Adult Contemporary Song of the Year, for "I Knew I Loved You", and No. 1 Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year. "I Knew I Loved You" stayed on the Monitor/Billboard Adult Contemporary Airplay Chart for 124 weeks.
Savage Garden performed Affirmation at the Closing Ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in August 2000.
At the end of 2001, there was media speculation that the band would break up due to Hayes starting his solo album project. He announced that Jones was taking time off to work on a record label that he had founded. The band took a hiatus, but was expected to reform by early 2002. However, in October 2001, Hayes announced that Savage Garden had broken up. Hayes and Jones had agreed that they would break up after finishing their tour for their second album. It was reported that Jones did not learn about the actual date of the break-up until he read the report of Hayes announcing the split. After the announcement, the band's website posted a statement:
We are extremely grateful to our fans all around the world for their incredible support over the years. The success of Savage Garden and our time together has been an amazing experience... one that we will never forget. We just hope that you all understand our individual needs to continue growing.
In an interview on the musicMAX network, Hayes said that a few weeks before the release of their second album, Jones did not like the fame that the band was receiving and was not happy. Hayes wanted to move on in the music industry as a solo artist. His first solo single, "Insatiable", was released in January 2002 and his solo album, Spin, followed in March. It spawned several UK Top 40 singles, including "I Miss You", "Strange Relationship", and "Crush (1980 Me)". Hayes has released more solo albums.
Jones started his own production company, Meridien Musik, and built a recording studio, Level 7 Studios, to record young Australian artists including Aneiki and Bachelor Girl.
In August 2007, Hayes was asked by The Daily Telegraph if he and Jones would ever consider a reunion. He replied abruptly, "No, never. I once said I'd only do it if it cured cancer, and that's still how I feel."
2005: Truly Madly Completely
The greatest hits package, Truly Madly Completely: The Best of Savage Garden, was released on 7 November 2005 – with a US release following in early 2006 – and included a new single by Darren Hayes entitled "So Beautiful". Several variations of the release also included a bonus DVD featuring several music video clips, as well as the Parallel Lives documentary, which was earlier released as a bonus feature of the Superstars and Cannonballs DVD/VHS.
2015: Savage Garden: The Singles
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band's formation, a new compilation titled Savage Garden: The Singles was released on 12 June, and features a previously unheard demo from 1994, entitled She. Darren Hayes said of the recording; "It's a long time ago, but my recollection is I was writing about the relationship that I have, and continue to have, with the women in my life. From my Sister to my Mother and all the friends and the wonderful female relationships in my life.
I know I'm indebted to these incredibly strong women who loved me and taught me what it was like to be strong and succeed in a world where you sometimes feel underestimated." The album also includes a bonus DVD of Australian and international music video releases. It accompanies a major re release of their two studio albums with bonus tracks and live performances, the first time their catalogue has received such treatment.
The Future of Earthly Delites
The Future of Earthly Delites Tour was called the To the Moon and Back Tour in the US. Some footage from this tour can be seen in the international music video for "Break Me Shake Me", as well as the music video for "Tears of Pearls".
Affirmation World Tour
The Affirmation World Tour played 80 shows in Australia, North America, Europe and the Far East through 2000. The show was the beginning of Hayes's collaboration with Willie Williams, having a stage set consisting of a gameshow-like backdrop of multicoloured neon lights. The international music video for the song "Affirmation", as well as the music videos for "Chained to You" and "The Best Thing", were filmed during this tour.
During the Australian leg of the tour, a camera crew also filmed both on stage and backstage for what would later be the Superstars and Cannonballs DVD/VHS.
- Savage Garden (1997)
- Affirmation (1999)
Awards and nominations
In 2009, as part of the Q150 celebrations, Savage Garden was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as an "Influential Artists".
- McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. Retrieved 18 September 2010. Note: Archived [on-line] copy has limited functionality.
- Spencer, Chris; Zbig Nowara; Paul McHenry (2002) . The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Noble Park, Vic: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1.
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- Chris Lord-Alge brings mix of humor spirit. books.google.com. 5 November 2005. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
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"Introducing Mr Darren Hayes". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited (News Corporation). 4 August 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
When asked whether the pair might ever consider a Spice Girls-style reunion the response was abrupt. "No, never," he says curtly. "I once said I'd only do it if it cured cancer. And that's still how I feel.
- Emily Mack (15 May 2015). "Hear Previously Unreleased 1994 Savage Garden Demo, 'She'". www.musicfeeds.com.au. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Bernard Zuel (15 May 2015). "Savage Garden release first new song, She, in a decade". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Bligh, Anna (10 June 2009). "PREMIER UNVEILS QUEENSLAND'S 150 ICONS". Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
- "Who's who of Australian rock / compiled by Chris Spencer, Zbig Nowara & Paul McHenry". catalogue. National Library of Australia. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
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- Official website
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