The Story of Pop: 1998 (Chapter 15)

Here, every Thursday at 9am, is our weekly rewind to the UK charts as they looked exactly 25 years ago, with The Story of Pop: 1998. And this week, it’s one of the most romantic sounding singles of the year from one of Australia’s biggest musical exports…

  • Artist: Savage Garden
  • Song: Truly Madly Deeply
  • Released: 16/02/1998
  • Writers / Producers: Darren Hayes / Daniel Jones / Charles Fisher
  • Highest UK Chart Position: #4
  • Weeks on Chart: 32

We’re going to be meeting a couple of acts on this series for whom it took a few attempts before they finally cracked the big time – this week’s featured artist being one of them.

Formed in Brisbane, Queensland in Australia in 1993, vocalist Darren Hayes and guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Daniel Jones made up Savage Garden, having been part of a covers band called Red Edge.

After originally being a five piece, they broke off into a duo in 1994, originally calling themselves Crush, eventually settling on the name they became known as from a quote in The Vampire Chronicles, the series of gothic horror novels written by Anne Rice.

After finding a manager in John Woodruff, he eventually negotiated their record deal with Roadshow Music / Warner Music in 1995, with work commencing on their self titled debut album. First released in their native Aussie in 1996, it was an immediate success, with their first single “I Want You” hitting #4 in the ARIA Charts and also going onto break them in the US Billboard charts, where it peaked at the same position.

Here in the UK though, it entered at #11 in June 1997, and it’s follow up, “To The Moon And Back”, which had given them their first number one in their home country, bombed out at #55 in September, whilst only making #37 in the States. For a brief moment in time, their plan for global domination looked shaky.

But their third Australian single, which had also been their second number one hit there in March 1997, was the one that was about to really put them on the map. First written with the working title “Magical Kisses”, Darren had written “Truly Madly Deeply” for his family and then-wife, whom he was missing whilst they were away in Sydney recording.

It was worked on for a fair amount of time, with the song’s heartfelt, romantic chorus coming at the last minute the day before they were due to go in and record it: “I want to stand with you on a mountain / I wanna bathe with you in the sea / I want to lay like this forever / Until the sky falls down on me”. It was this, with Darren’s beautiful vocal on it, and a sepia toned promo video set in Paris to emphasise its qualities as a great contemporary love song, that captured the imagination.

Over in the States, and thanks in part to its use on the soundtrack of teen drama Dawson’s Creek, it slowly ascended the charts, and eventually made its name by knocking Sir Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind” for Princess Diana off the top of the Billboard charts, giving them their first US number one in January 1998. Released in the UK in February 1998, “Truly Madly Deeply” debuted and peaked at #4, but then spent an impressive 11 of its 32 weeks on the UK charts inside the top 10 – more weeks, you will note, than some of the singles which were actually number one hits that year – and was the tenth biggest selling single of 1998.

Remixed re-releases of “To The Moon And Back” and “I Want You” would peak at #3 and #12 respectively in August and November that same year, with their self titled debut album going onto sell over 900,000 of its 12 million copies worldwide here in Britain. Their second – and to date, final – album, 1999’s Affirmation, would give them more international success with both “I Knew I Loved You” giving them another US and Australian chart topper, and the album’s title track, which gave them their final UK top 10 hit in July 2000, before they parted ways in 2001.

Darren is still going strong as a solo artist, and released his fifth studio album just last year in October, which he is currently touring the UK in support of as we write this. But his work as part of Savage Garden has never been forgotten, and it’s testament that, 25 years on, “Truly Madly Deeply” has remained the classic love song that it was always destined to be from the moment it hit the airwaves.

Don’t forget to follow our brand new playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 1998. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments, Tweet us or message us on Instagram, using the hashtag #StoryofPop1998.

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