Tuesday, August 19, 2008 5:43:25 PM
Savage Garden was an Australian pop duo that enjoyed major international success between 1997 and 2000. The band was composed of Darren Hayes (vocals) and Daniel Jones (keyboards, sequencing, and guitar). They had a string of hits in the late nineties, and are best remembered today for their ballad "Truly Madly Deeply", which is considered their signature song, and the songs "To the Moon and Back", "I Knew I Loved You", "Crash and Burn", "I Want You" and "Affirmation".
In 1993, multi-instrumentalist and producer Daniel Jones placed an advertisement in Brisbane newspaper Time Off seeking a vocalist for his five-piece band Red Edge. Darren Hayes, who was studying at a university in Brisbane at the time, responded and was asked to join immediately after his first audition.
In June 1994, Darren and Daniel left Red Edge to pursue a career together. The new duo was named "Savage Garden" – a name taken from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice ("The mind of each man is a savage garden...") of which Darren was a fan.
By the end of that year, the pair had penned enough songs for a demo tape, which they sent to various record companies around the world. In 1995, they entered the studio to work on their eponymous debut album.
In July 1996, under Roadshow Music, the duo released their debut single "I Want You". The single was a hit in Australia and became the highest-selling single by an Australian artist of the year. The success of the single garnered much interest from many US record labels and, in September, Columbia Records won the bidding war to sign the band. In November, a second single, "To the Moon and Back", was released and was another chart hit – reaching #1 in January of the following year.
"I Want You" was released in the United States in February 1997, where it peaked at #4 and quickly achieved gold status. "Truly Madly Deeply", the band's third Australian single, was released in March and reached #1 just before "I Want You" was released across Europe in April. The duo's debut album, Savage Garden, entered the Australian charts at #1 in March and remained at that peak for 17 weeks – it was released around the world two weeks later. At the end of May, "To the Moon and Back" was the most played song on US radio.
In June, a fourth single, "Break Me Shake Me" was released in Australia as the band's debut album sat at #3 on the US charts and was certified gold by RIAA. By the end of August, the album had gone seven-times platinum in Australia, triple-platinum in Canada, and double-platinum in New Zealand and Singapore. At the end of August, Savage Garden was nominated for a record 13 ARIA Awards. The 10 ARIAs won by them in September was also a record, and one that still stands today. Riding this massive wave of popularity was the release of their fifth Australian single, "Universe".
In November, "Truly Madly Deeply" became their third US release, shooting up the charts to blow Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" out of its 14-week run at the number-one spot. By the end of 1997, Hayes and Jones had become international stars.
In January 1998, "All Around Me", was released as a radio only single in Australia, though about 3000 physical copies were produced and given away at their second concert in Brisbane. By the end of the year, "Truly Madly Deeply" was the most-played song on US radio and the only one-sided single to spend a full year in the Top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100.
In November 1998, "Santa Monica", the final single from the debut album, was released exclusively in Japan, accompanied by a live video with their performance of the song at the Hard Rock Cafe.
As of 2005, the band's debut album had been certified twelve-times platinum in Australia, seven-times platinum in the United States, and double-platinum in the United Kingdom.
In February 1999, "The Animal Song" (featured in the Disney film The Other Sister) became a hit in Australia and the US. That September saw the release of a new single previewing their forthcoming album; the smooth, romantic ballad, "I Knew I Loved You".
In November of that year, the duo's second album, Affirmation, was released around the world. It took a month for it to go platinum in the US, largely due to the success of the single "I Knew I Loved You," which hit #1 on the charts, eventually going platinum and becoming the most-played single on US radio for the year.
Affirmation saw a new turn for Savage Garden; their looks had more similarities to that of mainstream pop and some of their new songs possessed a more adult contemporary sound.
The group finished out 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 amazingly still on the Monitor/Billboard Adult Contemporary Airplay Chart, breaking the record for length of time of any single on that chart. It would finally drop off the chart after 123 weeks, while "Crash and Burn" peaked at #24.
In June, Darren Hayes performed "'O Sole Mio" at Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti's annual charitable benefit concert Pavarotti and Friends. Savage Garden's great success was reflected once again 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 – overtaking the duo's own record previously set by "Truly Madly Deeply".
In October 2001, Savage Garden officially announced their breakup and the duo went their separate ways. Darren began work on his first solo album. The first single, "Insatiable", was released in 2002 and the album, Spin was released the same year. Spin spawned several UK Top 40 singles, including "I Miss You", "Strange Relationship", and "Crush (1980 Me)".
Darren's second solo album, The Tension and the Spark, was released in 2004, its first single "Pop!ular" becoming a dance hit. Despite a follow-up single, "Darkness", the second album failed to repeat the success of his debut solo album.
In 2007, Darren's third solo album, This Delicate Thing We've Made, was released. This double cd album has spawned two singles, On the Verge of Something Wonderful and Me, Myself And I.
Darren Hayes has confirmed that Savage Garden will "never by any chance" reunite.
Truly Madly Completely
The greatest hits package Truly Madly Completely: The Best of Savage Garden was released on November 7, 2005 – with a US release following in early 2006 – and included a new single by Darren Hayes entitled "So Beautiful". The collection contained the hits from both studio albums, alongside five B-Sides and two new songs by Darren Hayes. 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.