Australian music act Savage Garden will always be revered as a commercial tour de force that launched Australian pop music to the stratosphere in 1996, propelled by a series of chart-topping hits from their debut, self titled album followed by their 1999 sophomore release, Affirmation. While tracks like Truly Madly Deeply and I Knew I Loved You would attain significant success breaking through to international markets, there was far more to this group than a seemingly uncanny ability to create pop hits. Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones would be the creative force behind Savage Garden, instrumental in writing and producing their own material, first out of a family home in suburban Brisbane and then a recording studio in Sydney. A shared devotion and love of music and performing would bring the pair together, and a unique collaborative dynamic would lead to the creation of truly eclectic and exciting material.
Hayes would discover a love and passion for music from childhood, crediting Prince’s iconic Purple Rain soundtrack as pivotal in shaping his fascination with music, “I remember I got a walkman for Christmas and I got Purple Rain by Prince and it just changed my life and listening to the stereo mix and it did something to me that music still does to me now. It physically stops me from being able to concentrate.”
Jones similarly, had been immersed in music from an early age and between this constant exposure and his competitive nature, he would learn to play a variety of instruments as he notes, “I was brought up in a household where in one room there was a drum kit and in another room there was a guitar rig and another room there was a bass so I had older brothers in music so I’d walk in and sort of I’d be a little threatened by my brother playing drums better than I would so I’d go in and I’d practice when he wasn’t there. Then I’d go into the guitar and play guitar and so this was at the age of about 10, even earlier on the keyboard so I guess I’ve always known that I would do music and I survived on it throughout my late teens in pub bands and things like that so it was just a matter of time before I found something that I could really sit with and go okay, I’m going to work this as hard as I can.”
As would be reflected in the sonic eclecticism of Savage Garden’s catalogue, both Hayes and Jones would be influenced by contrasting styles growing up. Darren cited the importance and influence of pop music, “I’d have to say that I definitely was a pop fan because I grew up, you know, I was born in 1972 and I watched the whole pop thing happen. I think that the album that changed my life wasn’t The Beatles, it was Prince’s Purple Rain m y’know, Duran Duran. “Pretty in Pink” was one of my favourite teen films, so yeah, I was living and breathing the whole Flu-Row experience, I guess.”
Jones would find himself immersed in different genres, that would lead to this fusion in style evident in the group’s work. He further elaborates, “Pop definitely not all the time for me. I went through a phase of ska and punk, “oi!” music for a while there when I was a teenager, but what that did is open up a lot of various types of influences throughout my music.”
While Darren would exude a natural and playful confidence as the un-official front-man during the duo’s electric live performances, he discussed how attending Michael Jackson’s Bad Tour in Brisbane would greatly influence his aspirations to be a performer, “It was Brisbane, 1987 and by a crazy stroke of luck I ended up front row for ‘The Bad Tour’ and I witnessed him at the absolute Olympian peak of his prowess. He would move one finger and the entire arena would scream. I looked around that room and I knew I was going to do that some day. I wanted to lift the energy of a room when I walked into it and I wanted to take people away from the sadness of life and into a dream world. That night, I stopped being a fan and I observed him as a student. He’s still my hero.”
Hayes would continue to nurture this element of his personality growing up as he notes, “I was at university I did a lot of moonlighting in theatre productions and different plays. I was expected to be a doctor or lawyer but I left university one month before the end of my course. My parents were livid, my father thought that I was completely mad, but now he’s our biggest fan.”
While Hayes and Jones had clear aspirations to work in the music industry as performers, they would not meet until 1993 via an ad posted by Jones looking for a singer in his band. Darren elaborates, “Daniel was in a band called Red Edge in Brisbane, they had a lot of interest from a record company but they were looking for a new singer. I saw their advert in the Aussie NME saying ‘Serious singer wanted.’ The pair would first speak over the phone with Hayes eventually auditioning in person for the position. He recollected on the experience further, “It was the first audition I ever went to. Um… when I spoke to him (Daniel) on the phone, I clicked, and even after the audition, I remember leaving his house, I went to a restaurant with a friend of mine and I actually said to her, “I think that I’m gonna be really successful. Like I can feel it in my bones. Just from meeting this person.”
Darren would be successful in joining the band, however, it was clear that there was chemistry between both Hayes and Jones that would form a deviating musical output. Daniel elaborates, “I instantly thought it would be interesting to work with him. I liked his personality and his input towards the songs and I thought he had a really nice voice. After being in different bands for about a year, we decided to write a couple of songs together on our own. That’s how Savage Garden started.” By 1994, Hayes and Jones had parted from Red Eye and began writing material as a duo tentatively titled, Crush. The writing and recording of these early tracks were done at Jones’ suburban home prior to the pair’s signing with a record label. Daniel recollects, “Darren would come round to my house everyday and we’d try and write songs. They were some of the best times I’ve ever had ‘coz it was a real challenge. We even soundproofed my bedroom with a load of mattresses so it felt like a proper recording studio!”
Hayes’ and Jones’ collaborative relationship was based on a healthy competitive nature. This was combined with a clear admiration and appreciation for each other’s particular strengths in the process of song writing and composing. Darren elaborates, “I mean, Daniel doesn’t do lyrics. He wouldn’t even touch melodies- not his thing. Likewise I’m not interested in spending a day behind a keyboard working out the EQ on a drum kit. We have to work round each other a lot, But I think it helps make what we do much, much better.” Daniel shared a similar sentiment, “I’m his instrument! He would say, “Let’s try that!” and hum something and I would put it into musical terms. For most of the time though, I’ll conic up with music first. Darren is perhaps more the lyric man. I do what Darren can’t do and Darren does what I can’t do.”
The competition between the pair of who could create the more impressive piece of music would also be a significant factor in fostering the exciting material that would come from their collaboration. Darren elaborates, “I think it’s with fondness that we remember writing songs and recording songs because it’s never a struggle. It’s never a battle. It’s just “here, I’ve done this”… and it… it’s a little game almost. We try to top each other. Daniel will write a piece of music and it’s like, oh my God, it threatens me because it’s better than anything we’ve done so I’ll go “Okay” and I’ll have to go away. And I come up with something that’s better than than ever, and then, so I might come up with a song lyrically that just blows him out of the water and the melody’s really quick and he’ll go, “Well, have a go at this.” And then he’ll pull Carry On Dancing out of the hat and just show me that.”
One of the earliest tracks written and recorded by the pair at Jones’ home-turned recording studio is the ecstatic, A Thousand Words, which would appear on the group’s debut album a few years later. The track begins with eerie synths before launching into a funky mix of loose guitar riffs, a subtle bass line and stabbing keys embellished by a subtle guitar line. Hayes recollected on the origin of the track, “The first track Daniel and I wrote and finished together was A Thousand Words. And it was funny, I remember sitting in his front room and we said, “Let’s… we’re gonna do this, let’s write some songs” and he said “What do you want to do?” And I said, “I’ve been working on this song” and I pulled out the chords to Right On Time by… uh… that band, whatever that was (Daniel: Nightclubs… ) really simple house song and y’know and sang this different melody over the top, thinking I could fudge it, and Daniel said, “Eh, well, you know, we could go that way, but a zillion bands have, y’know, what do you actually want to do?” We started talking about music and I was really into Achtung Baby by U2 at the time and, I don’t know, Daniel was a big fan of INXS and Seal, I guess. But he pulled out a chord progression, which is the chord progression in this song and I pulled out a like a Manchester kind of beat to go over the top of it, and it became… it filled the room. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is the most full, you know, piece of music I’ve ever heard in my life.” And when I look back now, Daniel probably thought it was really simple, but for me, it was the most musical thing I’d ever seen or heard.”
While the pair’s compositions would continue to develop and evolve, A Thousand Words is a demonstration of the clear talent and sophistication in Jones’ musical ability, creating a vibrant and interesting sonic landscape with pop sensibilities. The composition would also be an indication of the fusion of various genres and sounds that would continue to be evident throughout the band’s catalogue. Between the funk elements evident in the percussion, contrasted with the prominent guitar riff reminiscent of rock, with pop chord progressions, it’s clear that the pair’s genre-crossing inspirations would be evident in their music.
On top of this composition, Hayes’ details the breakdown of a relationship with the lyrics, using his exceptional ability as a songwriter to paint vivid, visual images:
We stumble in a tangled web
Decaying friendships almost dead
And hide behind a mask of lies
We twist and turn and we avoid
All hope and salvage now devoid
I see the truth behind your eyes
Darren elaborates on the writing of the track, “One of the two songs about conflict in relationships. This track is a very personal snapshot of a real life argument and a play on linguistics and twisted meanings. The rhythm section of Terapie Richmond and Alex Hewitson take the track beyond its original Manchester feel and make it alive, grunting and believable.”
The exciting result of the developing song was vital in instilling confidence in the pair and encouraged them to continue to create music as Jones notes, “We were so confident after that, that we just decided to come back to each other’s house every day. And really that’s all this band has been. It’s just a decision for both of us to keep coming back every day and keep doing it.” In a retrospective interview after the release of Savage Garden’s debut album, Daniel discussed the recording of the track further and the special distinction it holds on the album, “A Thousand Words is a song… that was… it was the virgin song. It was the first song that happened. I still think you can see Darren and I learning about each other in listening to that song. It’s.. that was sitting there sort of like looking up at Darren and looking up at Daniel and the songs can say different things to each of us. But I think it’s great that it’s on our first record because it means a lot in that way.”
As the pair continued to write and record in suburban Brisbane, a reflective night at a local bar would lead Jones to compose what would become one of the most important and iconic tracks in Savage Garden’s catalogue. He elaborates, “Like a lot of Australians I was up the pub on a Friday night, I was maybe eighteen or nineteen… I’m like “you know what, I don’t belong in this pub”… I walked home…I got home and I started composing what ultimately became the whole To The Moon And Back. From the start of the intro, to the guitars, to the chorus, to the little melodies in there, the orchestral piano string ending. I remember going, “this is going to be my ticket that’s gonna stop me from having to go back to that pub and drink.”
Daniel would present an early composition to Darren as he developed lyrics to accompany this atmospheric instrumental. Hayes elaborates, “This was one of the first songs Daniel and I wrote together. It was a beautiful, space-like instrumental that Daniel had been working on for quite a while. He showed it to me and I took it away to work on the melody and lyrics. The song came together very quickly. We recorded the song and included it on our first demo tape.”
The lyrics would resonate with Daniel in particular as he noted a parallel in his own emotional state with Darren’s lyrical inspiration, “It’s a strange metaphor for me but that song saved me, as well as when Darren contribute his lyrical story to it. It floored me even more so because it was a very personal subject for him about a friend of his, that probably wasn’t that dissimilar to me in the sense that they were lost.”
By 1995, Crush had been renamed Savage Garden as an ode to a passage in the novel, The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice to which Hayes was a big fan of the author. The pair had recorded enough material to produce a demo tape that they began dispersing to various record labels to no success. It’s estimated that Hayes and Jones sent out approximately 150 copies with all but one rejection. John Wordruff who previously had success managing Australian groups, Icehouse and The Angels was excited by the material he had heard. This early incarnation of To The Moon And Back had the record buff particularly excited, as he noted, “It was pretty much as it ended up on the album. Obviously a bit rougher but it came from a home studio but the same vocal, same arrangement. Much as we were in the middle of the grunge era, and I managed rock bands, it was pretty undeniable.”
Beyond the material however, Wordruff was confident in a partnership after meeting Hayes and Jones as he recollects, “I thought they were brilliant. I thought the discussions we had together was some of the most honest and frank — albeit somewhat naïve from their perspective that I ever had with a new artist. That was what got me even more so than the music. I was still debating that with myself, because the closest thing to a pop band that I had ever looked after before was Icehouse.” John would become the pair’s manager and presented the demo tape to two major record labels, both of which passed. This disappointment would not last, however, as Wordruff was able to negotiate a contract with label Roadshow/Warner music and after the success of the pair’s first single, I Want You, Hayes and Jones entered the studio to work on Savage Garden’s debut album. The pair were finally seeing traction as they went from Jones’ Brisbane home to a recording studio in Sydney.
While the pair had up until this time, written and arranged each aspect of their music on their own, Charles Fisher would be brought in to produce the album with Hayes and Jones. Fisher had previously produced various other Australian bands including Air Supply. Beyond producing the album with Hayes and Jones, Fisher would also provide mentorship to the pair who were only freshly immersed into the professional recording space. Charles recollected on when he first heard the pair’s demos, “When I first heard it, there was one song that I thought was magnificent, and that was a song called To The Moon And Back. It was so good, I thought anyone who could write that, could write. They hadn’t done much recorded beyond the primitive demos they had done in their own home, so there was a lot of education involved in getting them to do what I thought needed to be done.”
With a professional recording studio at their disposal and an experienced producer alongside them, Hayes and Jones began to record new material and develop the early demos they had recorded in Brisbane. It’s important to note that the pair had delivered demos that while primitive, had featured the vital melodies and progressions that would be instrumental in completing the finished tracks. Fisher elaborated further, “The songs were there, the structure was there, we really just had to come up with a bit of a sound to the whole thing cos it was just Darren and Daniel. It was all very simplistic in the demo stage so we had to blow it up a little bit but the songs were there, and when you have the material, the rest is easy.”
This sentiment is evident on a number of tracks, including the early demo of To The Moon And Back. The melody and chord progressions are clear and evident from this early incarnation, however some aspects of the instrumentation differ from the completed track. The subtle, but infectious bass-line and the light, airy synth lines during the verses remain intact, however, many of the futuristic keyboard sounds would be removed and replaced with multiple guitar riffs. The percussion would similarly be replaced with a more live and acoustic drum pattern. Jones’ sublime keyboard coda during the outro is also evident with dramatic synths eventually being replaced by the string arrangement that would be featured on the completed track. An acoustic Spanish style guitar solo would also be added into the bridge giving the track a more contemporary feel. A number of sound effects would also be filled throughout the track to compliment the imagery of the lyrics. Darren recollected on the re-recording of the song, “One thing we didn’t say about To The Moon And Back was the fact that it was incredibly hard to record because the demo was so…perfect. It was a really simple song and it had out of key singing in the demo had cheap keyboard sounds, but it was so believable. And that’s the reason why everyone hooked on that song. And recording To The Moon And Back, we really tried to jazz it up, change it, and make it this and make it that and we almost lost it. I think we only just got To The Moon And Back.”
With the new-found budget and opportunities that came with this record deal, the duo were able to employ the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to record the string arrangement featured during the climatic finale of the track. Hayes elaborated on the outro further, “It I was a huge Bjork fan and I always love songs that kinda came back for a revamp so from a structural part of view, it was a much different song. At the same time, we were worried that it might be too serious, I could never tell if it would be a hit or not.” The sublime outro is a perfect intertwine of Jones exceptional keyboard skills present on the demo, contrasted with the dramatic tone of the heavy string arrangements.
Coupled with this stellar composition, there was a maturity and sophistication to the lyrics that would separate Savage Garden from other contemporary pop acts. Hayes perfectly compliments the visceral composition with lyrics filled with various metaphors, creating a distinct and atmospheric visual imagery. Darren elaborates, “I guess it carried a weight to it and maybe a maturity that we didn’t really have at that time but were hoping to be.” Daniel similarly notes, “I wanted people to understand that yes this is a pop band, but it was an intellectual pop band… yes we have pop melodies, yes, we have pop progressions but we’re saying something lyrically here that’s a little more clever than “oh I want you.”
The first track to be developed at the Sydney studio with Fisher as their new collaborator is the funky Violet. The pair brought with them a sparse, but compelling demo with the melody clearly established and propelled by an infectious synth and bass line. Prominent keys and a snare drum would give the song a catchiness and energy complimented by Hayes’ quirky lyrics, detailing the “disco in one’s mind.” The sessions took some time to get traction as Jones noted, “It was actually a really hard song to record cause it was our first one. Darren and I had just flown down to Sydney, just met with this producer called Charles Fisher, walked into the studio, and all looked at each other and said “Where do we start?” And one of us said “Violet.” (sighs) And about a month later, we actually got something happening on Violet. That’s how long it took before we actually got something moving in the studio.” While all the key elements were already evident in the pair’s demo, Fisher would begin to put his own touches on the track, polishing and adjusting certain elements of the composition. In particular, Charles would take the infectious bass line and add various effects to distort and compress the sound. As Jones notes, “Great idea from Charles of the bass line came out in the studio, um, just started distorting it, made it really fuzzy, funky, blues…this song’s got everything.” Hayes similarly recollected on how the song began to take shape with the irresistible bass line, “It moves and jumps now, and it’s fat and fuzzy and very funky and as soon as that happened, the whole song just came alive and then we were lucky enough to have Rex Goh and come in and play some fantastic guitar on the track.”
Goh would add some bluesy guitar riffs to embellish the track further, adding to the sonic landscape and complimenting the metallic clang of the prominent snare drum. Jones discussed how Fisher’s advice would be instrumental in providing the pair with perspective when creating these vibrant compositions, “Charles’ motto would be “Less is more.” And it was a perfect motto to have, for Darren and I, because we like to feel things out. We liked as much as we can put down, we’ll put it down. Um..and we needed someone like Charles to go, “Okay, think about this, guys, why do you actually want to do this? You don’t have to if you do this.” And it was as simple as that. And we’d go, “Yeah, great idea.”
There is an energy to Violet that while clearly evident on the demo would be magnified and heightened with the adding of various subtle but key instruments. Darren discussed further, “It reminds me of the energy that you hear in a Prince track or Need You Tonight by INXS. There’s just something about it. It has a sonic quality that just… it bubbles and pops.” The pair would spend a significant amount of time with Fisher developing the track from the demo to the completed product as Darren notes, “We actually shelved it halfway through and thought well, hang on. You know, spent copious amounts of time working on the rhythm loop and the bass line, just trying to make it work, and in the end the solution was really simple.”
Other tracks would experience a more radical change in sound as they were being developed in the studio. One such example is the vibrant, Tears Of Pearls. The genesis of the song deviated from the usual collaborative process between Hayes and Jones, with Darren taking a role in the creation of the composition. Jones elaborates, “I remember feeling like I was writing a song that Darren would want to write. That happened for time to time with the pair of us. I’d give him some lyrical suggestions and say,“Look I really want to write a song about this or about that”, and I think Tears Of Pearls for me, was a song I was writing because he was asking me to write this type of song. Nearly literally, like kind of going “can you do this beat?…And I was literally carving it out in front of him going, “Is this what you mean?” The early demo would be more so reminiscent of electronic music compared to the completed track with a plethora of pulsing synths behind a deep computerised drumbeat. This initial mix would include a slightly different melody with a synth line appearing throughout that would eventually be dropped. The pair would return to Tears Of Pearls in their Sydney recording studio alongside Fisher to re-vamp the production. Hayes elaborates, “We were never really that keen on it, and it changed a lot during the recording process, and Charles Fisher did a wonderful job of producing. Just the little things in that track like there’s a string line which is in unison with my melody. There’s a glockenspiel in the chorus. It was all very Diana Ross and The Supremes, Motown kind of production values which we’d talked a little bit about. it’s nice. It’s a got a real Eastern feel to it now in the guitar solos and I think it’s quite exciting.”
Many of the keyboard synths would be removed from this final mix and the drumbeat would be replaced with a pattern more reminiscent of dance music as opposed to electronic. Similarly, strings would once again be inserted throughout the track, most notably during the sublime bridge, swelling and dramatic while recalling elements of the string section in Upside Down by Diana Ross. A pulsing bass line would also be evident during the final mix alongside an organ solo. Fisher would also include eastern style guitar riffs into the track to give it a more exotic and fuller sound. Jones similarly recollected on the evolution of the track, “It sort of popped up in the recording process, and it was a few people’s favourites within their companies, and Charles and the people that we were dealing with. I just didn’t know where it had come from. It’d come out of nowhere. But I did like the change that it took in the recording session with the Eastern feel, the guitar riffs and the intros. It was sort of a technical thing, and one of the bottom E string was actually tuned to a D.. um… I think accidentally. And it was actually sounded a little sitar-y like, and it worked.”
The influence of pop superstars and some of Hayes’ musical idols would be evident in the sound of Tears Of Pearls, with the artist attempting to create a track that could be performed live with theatricality. He describes further, “I always had an obsession with New-Wave and big pop stars and even though I didn’t listen to Duran Duran as a fan as a kid, when the 90’s happened, I started the 80’s obsession. I was a hipster retro-ist from the very beginning; I really missed the new wave era. I was into Michael, I wasn’t into Duran, I was into George Michael, I wasn’t into Morrisey So, I think there was definitely a camp theatrical nature to the whole movement that I didn’t experience and I mined very heavily I think as a style…I think Tears Of Pearls was a very definite and obvious attempt on our part to really be camp, be theatrical. Create this almost bourgeois sound.”
The inclusion of string instruments in many of the pair’s compositions would become one of the defining sounds of a Savage Garden production. Mine would be one of the first tracks in which Jones would include string arrangements to replace what were originally synths on the pair’s early demo. This transition from prominent synths to the sweeping and swirling strings that would be evident in the final mix brings further intensity to the composition. Jones elaborates, “I really enjoyed working with the strings. It was one of the first songs that I had sort of thought about doing a string arrangement, in some of the string breakdowns and what not. And I really, thoroughly enjoyed it… I really enjoyed bringing out… emotion within the stringed instrument world.” Besides the strings, the various percussive elements are another integral element that conjures the atmospheric composition. Between the deep bass and various drum effects, the pair place a delay on the instruments to form a unique contrast and interplay. Hayes elaborates, “You Could Be Mine is, it’s a song that’s really, musically, all about delay. It started off with a bass line and a drumbeat, which delayed, and subsequently every instrument just had to be delayed too… Every instrument is cycling through a delay in its own time, creating a swirling continuous swell that culminates in the instruments finally locking together.” Hayes lyrics detail an obsessive desire for the unattainable; a common lyrical theme that would appear on a number of the pair’s tracks and perfectly compliments Jones’ dramatic composition.
This element of a grand and theatrical sound would be evident on a number of tracks being worked on for the group’s debut album. Another such example is the kinetic, Carry On Dancing. The track is once again inspired by Hayes’ love with Anne Rices’ novel series, The Vampire Chronicles. Darren described the intended visual imagery of the track, “The scene is just before midnight … a full moon at a masquerade ball … avant-garde strings, timpani and even castanets create the gothic feel of the song, inspired by Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles. The feel is grandiose and theatrical.” Jones would fill the track with distinct synths that would carry the melody, while also recalling the dramatic tone of string arrangements. The prominence of keyboard throughout the track in conjunction with the clattering drum fills, would give the song a distinct electronic sound, noted by Hayes in the removed lyric, “It’s something more than a techno beat.” As the pair worked with Fisher in the studio, the track would see an expansion in sound as the synths were replaced with the luscious and sweeping string arrangements that would define the completed song. While there is a clear progression between the pair’s sparse demo and the vibrant mix created in the studio a year later, this isn’t so much an overhaul as an expansion and fulfilment of Jones’ creative vision with the resources of a professional studio. Daniel recollected on the evolution of the track, “Carry On Dancing…very grand, very avant-garde, very over-the-top. Expels a lot of Darren’s inner personality. I love the combination of strings and pianos. In the recording process, we managed to get some timpani samples and some castanets and what not, so we just tried to make this bigger than life.“ Darren similarly recollected on his thoughts hearing the completed mix, “I remember hearing the finished mix and it was bigger than I’d hoped it could get. It was just um it just feels so grandiose; I think that’s a good word for it. When I hear it, I see things like a masquerade ball in the 18th century and a werewolf or a vampire perhaps outside stalking the people inside.” Carry On Dancing would be an example of just how integral Hayes and Jones’ early demos would be in shaping the sound of what would become the grand completed tracks.
The electric pop classic, I Want You which would become a breakout single for Savage Garden would go through an extensive development before it’s completion and release. Beginning as an early demo entitled Today…A Bad Day, the pair would extract key elements from this early version as they created what would become the classic track. Hayes elaborates, “I Want You had so many different incarnations. I think it was a demo called Today…A Bad Day and there was just something in the sound of that demo that was worth keeping.” While the basic elements of the song were developed and recorded in quick succession, the track would be put on hold before resurfacing later in the sessions. Darren recollects, “It just seemed to happen. I remember coming back the next day in the little room out in the front and sort of singing it. It was really quickly written, to be honest. I mean, we… I think I sang this song 2 days before we flew to Sydney to record the record. And we had it on TDK tape, just on a TDK tape. And it was the least produced or finished demo that we had for this record and was, in fact, almost shelved. It was.. we tentatively put it up for selection, and it was politely looked at but sort of sat by the wayside. But by the time we recorded about 8 tracks, I guess we just slipped it in and somehow it was assumed that we’d record this one and it, it seemed to turn out really well.”
Hayes sings of waking from an erotic dream and the pursuit to replicate the feeling once again. He fills the lyrics with surreal metaphors and similes, intricate wordplay and eccentric thoughts behind the sound of a thumping beat. Darren elaborated on the writing process for the track, “It is a nonsensical song. It’s a song about a dream that I had and it’s a song that lyrically, really my voice is like a bass instrument in that song. It’s just stuttering along like a rhythm instrument and so the symbols will come first and the lyrics were something that I did pour through a thesaurus and I did look through my dictionary. I thought of as many colourful, fantastic adjectives and analogies that I could use to describe this thing.” Jones similarly recollects, “The original idea was very simple: to use the voice as a rhythm instrument — cramming in as many syllables as possible into one phrase.”
Hayes’ unique vocal delivery evident during the verses would not only add to the compelling instrumental but also give the track a distinctive personality. Jones elaborated on this further, “It was easier for Darren to sing the faster the tempo because he didn’t have to hold his breath so long which was quite ironic because it’s already a very fast vocally song… The fact that he was pushing it to go faster cos it made it easier for him, it’s all part of the particular magic of that song.” In contrast to the verses, the chorus is particularly simple but effortlessly catchy. Darren elaborates on how it developed, “I guess that idea for that chorus, it was really a background vocal, there was no lyric… that became a chorus. I remember being very precious about lyrics and very overly detailed. One of the brilliant things that Daniel does is he sees the forest for the trees and he just said to me “What about something really simple? Why don’t you just have a simple chorus?’ and that’s where the lyric I Want You came from.” One of the most compelling aspects of this chorus are the luscious vocal harmonies that create a perfect interplay with Hayes’ lead vocals, adding warmth to the already vibrant vocals. Jones elaborates, “The recording process really bought the song alive. The simple vocal in the chorus became a bed of 12 voices. Six of Darren’s and six of session singers that we sank very low in the mix to give the chorus the thick layer of vocals that you hear.” Darren continues, “I’m really proud of just the production value and I love the blend of the vocals. There’s about 12 vocals in the chorus, all double-tracked and harmonised. And the vocal in the verse is so fast and so intricate and it always seems to fascinate people, and I like it.”
The brilliant composition is just as eccentric and captivating as the lyrics, anchored by pounding bass, spacey synths, a clashing snare and a subtle but essential guitar riff. With Fisher at the helm as the track was nearing completion, it was clear that I Want You had great potential as a first single. Daniel recollected on hearing the completed mix in the studio, “When we played it in the studio in Melbourne after it had been mixed, we spent all day on the mix and they played it as loud as they could through the biggest system in the studio. It was that moment where you felt it and heard it and everything seemed to have all come together on that particular song. It was probably then, no one knew who we were at this point… I saw myself being able to perform to hundreds, thousands, if not tens of thousands of people at that particular time because of how powerful this song was from my point of view.” Not only would the track become one of Savage Garden’s most commercially successful songs and help launch them to stardom, but it’s also an example of how tracks would often evolve significantly during the creative process.
Another such example with a more radical shift as the song evolved is the funk-rock track, Break Me Shake Me. Similarly to I Want You, the song developed from a earlier demo entitled Stepping Stone with the songs’ lyrical content being inspired by a fight between Hayes and a close friend. He elaborates, “Nat is my friend I met in grade 3. She was a Madonna fan, I was a Michael Jackson fan and then through high school she used to look like Madonna. I was obsessed with vogue-ing so naturally we were just very close friends. She’s always been there for me and like all good friends, boy have we had fights. And Break Me Shake Me is about one of our fights.” The track would be revised with the lyrics re-written as Darren’s relationship with Nat evolved and no longer became relevant to the conflict expressed on Stepping Stone.
As Darren elaborates, “It was a song called Stepping Stone. And we reconciled after that song and we became friends and everything was fine, but the same sorts of things started to happen to our relationship and subsequently, the song had to be re- written. Because the first song didn’t describe the situation anymore. This is part two of that song. Um… and yeah, it’s schizophrenic. It really is quite crazy. I remember we started recording Stepping Stone and it just didn’t feel right and I started singing a different melody. I started singing the words “I never thought I’d change my opinion again” and Daniel said, “That’s a great melody,” and then we ended up re-writing the song.” It was clear as the track was beginning to take shape that the pair were expanding into a harder rock sound than what they had recorded previously.
A combination of clear inspiration and unadulterated self-expression would be essential in developing the sound of the song. Jones elaborates, “Break Me Shake Me was inspired by a combination of the guitarist Steve Stevens who was Billy Idol’s guitarist and Michael Jackson. And I think at that time in our lives when we were writing, I came from 80’s rock music so I was all about 80’s rock, big hair, big guitar… Darren was very, very much into the Michael Jackson super-stardom of the 80’s. And I think when Darren and I were our true selves, Michael Jackson would come out of him and some 80's rock guitarists would come out of me and thus Break Me Shake Me came out of it.” He continues, “I think I remember writing the bass line and then I remember looking at Darren and he’s doing these finger snaps like Michael Jackson… and the song just started to create itself.”
Between the irresistible bass line and finger snaps that open the track, and the slow build of various forms of percussion including tambourine, Break Me Shake Me is instantly captivating to the listener within the first couple of seconds. The verses are sparse, yet rich, with the composition perfectly complimenting Hayes’ sublime lead and background vocals as he sings with subtle conviction. All of this culminates to what is akin to a sonic explosion during the chorus with heavy guitar and thundering drums propelling Hayes’ intense vocal delivery. The combination of various contrasting guitar styles from the funky Prince-like guitar riff that enters during the second verse, to the hard-rock reminiscent riff that dominates the chorus, adds to this sparse yet layered composition.
Rex Goh would once again lend his talents, performing the aggressive guitar solo featured during the bridge. Darren elaborates, “When Rex Goh played the solo we were jumping out of our skins. Even though it goes all over the place we felt that the solo was perfect. It was a single take and was so angry we just had to keep it.” The pair would revisit this guitar orientated rock sound on other tracks produced during these sessions such as Love Can Move You. Break Me Shake Me demonstrates that there would not be a single genre that would define the sound of Savage Garden as the pair would pursue their own artistic compass and influences, wherever it would take them.
While eclecticism would be a integral aspect of the pair’s work as they bridged and combined a wealth of genres, Hayes would experiment with his own writing style and vocal effects on the magnificently camp, All Around Me. Being the principal lyricist, Darren would deviate from writing about his own personal experiences and look to Daniel for inspiration in writing this funky anomaly. He recollects, “Quirky, freaky, bizarre, fun. Initially it was my attempt, lyrically, to include an aspect of Daniel’s life in our music, Because I felt a bit selfish that I’d taken over certain themes and whatever, and Daniel has an obsession with Meg Ryan, but it’s a healthy one. He loves Meg Ryan very much. And in our little home studio there’s about 14 or 15 pictures of Meg…some of them wall-mounted. One of them from me as a gift to Daniel. And there’s a scene in a Meg Ryan film called “When a Man Loves a Woman” and she’s dancing. And she dances in a certain way and she says the words “stick-on tattoo.” And the way she says those words is the personality of this song. We wrote a song for Meg Ryan to dance to, and it’s all about being obsessed with Meg Ryan.”
Once again Hayes conjures a striking visual imagery with the lyrics complimented by an instrumental recorded by Jones at their home studio. Beginning with a flurry of screeching synths and a variety of drum patterns, the track continues to build an infectious groove propelled by the bass until the bridge, in which Hayes performs a brilliantly quirky rap with his voice pitched up. Darren discussed the inspiration for the eccentric performance, “It’s like being an actor. It’s like performing. It’s doing to your voice what a costume can do to your voice in a stage play. To be honest, really, the only effected part of this song is the rap. And it’s actually the speed of the vocal and it was a mistake. I was stuffing around with the vary speed dial on the multi-track recorder, and I realized that you could change the pitch of your voice. So I um pitched it up a notch, basically. Like it’s pretty close to the normal pitch of my voice, so there’s a hell of a lot of play-acting happening in that rap. Um and when it came back, it sounded like chipmunks on steroids. And I really liked it, so we kept it.”
Hayes would once again revisit this studio technique, on another track recorded during this era, the wonderful, I’ll Bet He Was Cool. As All Around Me continued to be fleshed out during the recording process, certain elements of the composition would be omitted or replaced, giving the track a greater polish and expansion with the inclusion of various instruments. One of the most notable contrasts is the replacement of the synth line carrying the melody with a funky loose guitar riff. The verses would be stripped back to just the infectious bass line, a slapping snare drum and Hayes’ exceptional vocal performance. The amalgamation of various genres and styles present on the track is a testament to the pair’s various influences. As Jones noted, “It’s a very bitty song. The song’s in bits and pieces, and it’s a little funky and a little disco and it’s…there’s hippie elements to the song as well. It’s like computerised hippies.”
This is one of the elements that would make Savage Garden’s output unique in comparison to many of the Australian acts producing music at the time. This exploration into various contrasting genres mixed with a little camp would be evident on tracks like All Around Me. As Daniel elaborates, “They’re songs very strong in melody and I think that you can look at the date that we were born and the music that we grew up listening to and you can see similar structures. I think the ’80s were a time very much like the ’60s in which there is a real focus on melody and I think that’s what we see in our songs but I think more than anything if I could have a career like a band like INXS or U2 because they manage to metamorphosize and change and they’re always relevant but they’re not repeating themselves. I think what we’re doing, this is pop music and by that I mean we’re taking the sum of our influences within pop culture and we react to them and then we make something. We don’t reproduce the past, we react to it and I think that’s what a band like U2 does and that’s what I think Savage Garden would like to do.”
One of the greatest assets of Savage Garden was Hayes’ exceptional and versatile vocal range. Between his sublime and cathartic falsetto and ability to provoke various emotions, it was clear that his exceptional song-writing skills were matched with indisputable vocal talent. This is demonstrated to full effect on the atmospheric ballad Universe. The song began as an instrumental demo developed by Jones based on a prominent guitar riff. He elaborates, “It actually started out… it sounded like Eric Clapton had met Joe Tetriani in a pub and said, “Let’s go home now and write a song.” When it first started, it was a guitar-based… groove. With some sort of, like a, lush sort of keyboards creeping in here and there.” As Hayes began writing lyrics for this early demo, the development of the track headed in a different direction as Darren’s love for RNB and Motown would have an influence on shaping the emerging song. He recalls, “Well, I heard it in a different way. I thought once again, like Moon And Back, I thought it was one of the strongest pieces of music that Daniel had written, at that stage; he’s since eclipsed himself. But at that stage, it really was, and I just had some ideas for a feel and the bass line subsequently changed. It became more Smokey Robinson, I guess. Um… to be honest, we’d been listening to That’s The Way Love Goes by Janet Jackson — I thought it was a fantastic, sexy slow groove and I really wanted to sing a sexy, slow song and that was Universe.”
As evident in the instrumental, which fused a drum beat reminiscent of American slow-jam RNB with the spacey and stark synth line, the pair’s various contrasting influences would help shape the composition. Jones elaborates, “Universe was a little bit of a “we aren’t 100% sure who we are so lets have a go at writing this RNB like, sultry, sexual beautiful song that you’d want to make love to.” And I think it was a little bit of Darren’s RNB flavor that he has and then it was probably fused with my English big –sweep synthesizers and kind of ambient seductive feel. It was really a song that was a bit of an experiment because we were trying to figure out who Savage Garden were at the time because it was undiscovered.”
The inspiration for Darren’s sublime and sensual vocal performance originated from the Motown artists he grew up listening to. Artists such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and others would help shape Hayes’ vocal identity and the iconic falsetto that would become synonymous with the group. Hayes recollects, “When everyone else was listening to Duran Duran and Cyndi Lauper and new-wave pop, I was listening to Motown records. I was listening to Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, I was understanding who Smokey Robinson was. And I think that helped me develop a falsetto voice. A lot of the time I was imitating these artists and I couldn’t sing and I was a male and a lot of them were females or had high voices like Smokey Robinson, so I would just imitate them not understanding at all what I was doing and that was called falsetto…I just hit the notes, I didn’t understand how or why but that influence was ingrained in me and Universe was really the first time I let that stuff out. In my mind I guess I thought I was singing Sexual Healing or Tears Of A Clown or something. It was definitely an homage to or an unconscious release of those crooners that I listened to in the Motown era.”
While Fisher would be brought in to polish the track during the album sessions, engineer Mike Pela who had previously worked with artists such as Sade and Maxwell would also contribute to mixing the track alongside Tears Of Pearls. Pela would bring an international influence, enhancing the RNB and soul elements of the track. Darren notes, “It was finished and recorded and mixed by Chris Lord-Alge, and we really liked it. We were really happy with it. When we went to America, the Americans had an idea for it and they really wanted to see if they could change it. Um…and it was given to Mike Pela, who’s done a lot of work with Sade, Fine Young Cannibals, and when he came back with the finished track, it sounded like a Smokey Robinson song. It was really, really ironic that it would go that way.” It’s not hard to see why a song like Universe could have appeared quite easily alongside the RNB landscape that dominated the 90’s. Between the drumbeat and the infectious bass line, coupled with guitar riff embellishments, the composition is warm and a perfect companion to Hayes’ seductive vocal performance.
As the recording sessions were nearing completion and Savage Garden’s debut album was beginning to take shape, an impromptu trip to America would birth one of the key ballads that would feature on the record. The pair were originally planning to fly to London for the final mixing process however due to budget restrictions, this didn’t eventuate. As mixing was instead relocated to Australia, Hayes would use the money he had saved to take a trip to Los Angeles. A few days in Santa Monica would give Darren the inspiration to write the sublime ballad. Hayes recollects, “By the time we got to the end of the trip we were in Santa Monica for two days. Well I fell in love with it and I remember walking around the third street promenade and I went home and wrote these lyrics to this song.”
The feeling of alienation and isolation that came from being immersed in a foreign country and environment would form a central theme to the developing lyrics. Darren elaborated on the lyrical inspiration further, “It really was written about Santa Monica, about feeling so out of place in a new city but seeking comfort behind the mask of a telephone. We were just getting into the Internet and we found it interesting how in cyberspace you are only as interesting as your mind. You can be anything you want to be. So sitting in a cafe in Santa Monica on day, this strange thought came into being.”
While the verses detail an observational account of Santa Monica with references to coffee shops and skate boarders, Hayes also touches on the displacement of being an outsider as he contemplates and questions, “What am I doing here?” As evident on the lyrics featured in the chorus, he finds salvation in the fact that through cyberspace and internet, he can control his own perception and image to seemingly fit into any situation.
Beauty so unavoidable
Everywhere you turn
I sit and wonder what am I doing here?
But on the telephone line I am anyone
I am anything I want to be
I could be a supermodel or Norman Mailer
And you wouldn’t know the difference
Or would you?
Hayes discussed the meaning of the track further, “It’s funny because it, it’s, it really has captured for me just a sense of uncertainty we were feeling or I was feeling at the time of the record. It ties in… my American.. reaction and my experiences with America as a first-timer and for me, just hints at a little bit about the public mask that we’ve started to put on and how through the telephone or through my computer or on the internet I can hide behind something and I can be anything I want to be and you wouldn’t know the difference. And that’s that song.”
As Darren returned to Australia, he would bring the idea to Jones and the pair would develop the track further. Hayes elaborates, “We had finished recording the record, and I was walking along, and the, the pace of my walk probably set the tempo of the song. And the chorus came straight away. The chorus, melody and the lyric was there, I sang into the tape deck and I went back to Daniel and said, “Look, I’ve got this song. I think it’s really, really good,” and played it. Um… but I… there was no verse progression at all. And so Daniel played a progression and I started singing over that and it just came really easily.
The song would be recorded back in Australia and mixed by Daniel’s brother. The composition is warm yet also somewhat melancholic with an emphasis on keys and a subtle floating synth line present during the verses. The inclusion of various minor guitar riffs would add further depth to the composition. It was clear that the track was truly magical however it was not intended to be included on the final configuration of the album. This however, would change as the track listing was being finalised.
Interestingly, Savage Garden’s most successful track to come from their debut album would be recorded as the last song during these sessions. The iconic ballad Truly Madly Deeply evolved from an earlier demo entitled Magical Kisses recorded by the pair years earlier. The track was faster in tempo, brighter in composition and featured a different chorus. While the prominent keys that would define the ballad were evident on this early version, they would be accompanied by an assortment of flourishing synths that would eventually be removed as the song evolved. There’s a significant contrast in tone between Magical Kisses and what would become Truly Madly Deeply; somewhat a reflection of the pair’s circumstances at the time. Hayes recollected, “It’s strange, this one, because before we recorded the record, it was a very different song. It was faster, it had a completely different chorus. And during the process of recording the record, I guess we changed a lot. We’d been relocated to Sydney. We were there for 8 months. It was the first time either of us had really left our families. Um… we were living in a one-bedroom apartment, on each other’s case every day. It was quite a stressful situation, and it was the last song that we recorded for the record. And I think, we talk about this now, even though it’s a love song and it’s based on a very personal experience, it’s still a song about being homesick for us actually, just about the people that you love.”
While the pair saw potential in Magical Kisses, Jones had reservations about the heavy pop sound of the chorus. He elaborates, “One of those days when Darren and I relationship was being tested on a creative level. I remember kind of nearly begging with Darren to change the title of the song and to actually re-work and look at the chorus because for me at the time, it just didn’t sit right with the sound of what Savage Garden was becoming. We had this very pop song with a very pop chorus called Magical Kisses so it didn’t sit right for me and Darren, God bless him was understanding enough to re-work the chorus and he sat down and said, “what about this?”
A trip to a Sydney café would give Hayes the inspiration to re-write the chorus as he elaborates, “I remember I wrote the chorus in I think it’s called Bayswater Brasserie on Bayswater Road, Sydney… um over a cappuccino and we actually had a keyboard and everything set up on in the hotel and I went back and we sort of sang the song. And it just seemed right. And suddenly this song was a much more credible, believable song than Magical Kisses had ever been, and it was because it was from the heart.” As Darren presented this new poetic chorus to Jones, it was clear that this was the element needed to elevate Magical Kisses to something truly extraordinary. Jones wouldn’t be the only one to be instantly receptive to this re-write as Hayes recollects, “I wrote the melody in my head because it was a completely different chorus previously. I went into the studio the next day; I was recording my own vocals. Charles was in another room and I said “I’ve got this idea for that song, let me just try something.” Recorded it and I think he said immediately, “that’s a number one single.”
The composition would also see a significant overhaul, with the tempo being slowed down dramatically. Jones recollected on how this alteration occurred, “There was a day when Charles and I were just hanging around, not really doing much in the studio, and uh, we had this song, Tru — uh… Magical Kisses it was called and we wanted to play around with it a little bit. And we found a loop from some CD there and it was like really slow, and we were trying to put it to this track and it just wasn’t working. So we said, “Well, why don’t we slow the whole song down so it fits this loop?” And that was the way it sort of ended up getting, you know, half the speed that, that it started out with. And it was a bonus. It just came out of nowhere. A definite bonus.”
By the time Magical Kisses had evolved into Truly Madly Deeply the composition would be noticeably sparser, with focus on the keys and a prominent acoustic drum loop. Hayes would also add incredibly luscious vocal harmonies during the chorus, adding warmth to the already whimsical lyrics. Both Darren and Daniel would cite the track as being one of the strongest produced during the final weeks of this ten-month long recording session, and thus it would be highly considered for a place on the impending album. Darren elaborates, “It was intended to be a very quiet, down-key finish to the record. And that’s how we tried to produce it. And during the recording process, it just showed itself as a much stronger track, and uh… when we looked at the finished record, we realized it was probably one of the strongest tracks on there.”
If there’s one word to describe the body of work produced by the pair alongside Fisher, it’s eclecticism. The sheer scope of Jones’ musicality and Hayes’ lyrical depth on early demos and both album and non-album tracks alike, demonstrate clear ambition and no set of rules. Between the glitzy funk of Memories Are Designed To Fade and the harder rock sound of Love Can Move You, there’s an element of experimentation that exudes from these various efforts. Hayes would similarly explore lyrical themes relating to his struggle with sexual identity on the haunting B-Side to Truly Madly Deeply, This Side Of Me. Early demos such as Tell Me It’s Ok recall elements of Culture Club and In This Lifetime, industrial new-wave.
Another track worked on during these sessions that remained unreleased for many years is the soaring ballad, She. The song would go through a number of radical compositional revamps during it’s development. While a 1994 demo version of the track was released on the greatest hits compilation Savage Garden: The Singles in 2015, another vastly different demo of the song exists. The 1994 mix is more akin to a ballad, sparse and featuring only Hayes’ sublime vocals, distant strings and a piano, however, this alternate mix features percussion, a prominent synth bass line and an increased tempo. This change in melody is coupled with the addition of background vocals. While the lyrics are almost identical, the tone of each version is vastly different due to this significant contrast in composition. Jones recollected on when the track was first written, “From memory I think we just sat down and literally wrote it together in my parents’ house in Brisbane. I remember my mother really liked the track, the innocence and raw beauty of it. It’s very pro-female song so I think a lot of girls will relate to how powerful it is for them. I think that was probably the biggest reason why my Mum really took to this particular song”. Hayes recollected on the lyrical inspiration for the track in a retrospective interview, “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 pair had recorded a wealth of tracks during this almost year long recording session and enough songs to fill more than one standard album. While some would appear as B-Sides on already released singles like I Want You and To The Moon And Back, the task at hand was to create a cohesive album. Santa Monica, which had appeared as a B-Side on the To The Moon And Back single, would be considered to appear on the forth-coming album. Hayes elaborates, “Santa Monica was intended to be a B-side, and we actually pushed a recorded track off this record to put this one on.” The enthusiasm of the record label would be a deciding factor in including the track on the pair’s debut album, despite the fact that it had already been released on the single. Darren continues, “This track appeared as a bonus track on the “To The Moon & Back” single. When we released “Moon” we felt that the song had more potential than we had at first thought. Then when we went to America, the record company fell in love with the track.”
As the track-list was decided, the final configuration of the album would include an eclectic and healthy blend of various different styles and genres. From the RNB reminiscent ballad Universe to the hard-rock explosion of Break Me Shake Me, the pair’s various different musical influences would be reflected in their debut effort. Fisher discussed his intention with the sound of Savage Garden’s eponymous debut album, “I wanted to just combine influences from the 70’s, the 80’s, the 90’s. I just wanted the entire sound to have so many different influences that it became undefinable (sic).”
Fisher would also add some final touches to the completed mixes, adding various little elements to sweeten the compositions. Darren recollects, “Charles baby-sits the record when you leave. He spent two weeks tweaking it. We came back into the mix and there were little glockenspiels and there were string sections in there and just tiny little pad bits that he had added at the end. Um…which just… they were like the seasoning, you know, on the meal. It just really…touched it off really nicely.” Hayes discussed how instrumental Fisher was in also guiding the pair in producing and taking ownership of their work, “I think we went into this record waiting for people to just turn it into a great record. We had the songs. Tell me where to sing, tell Daniel what to play, we’ll do it. It was slow process, and what it did, it taught us to take responsibility. More than anything, I think Charles taught us to make it our record, without taking anything away from Charles. He made us sit down and make decisions and be responsible for what was on tape. Um…taught me a lot about the physical nature of recording, about using equipment, um introduced us to the sampler, suggests little… little sections in songs, which you don’t think are that important, but in the end, actually really top off the song.”
The track listing would differ between the original Australian edition of the album and the various international versions. Promises would be another track that would originate from the demos recorded in 1995. The song would go through an evolution in sound and structure with Fisher suggesting to transform the outro into what would become the bridge. Hayes did not particularly favour the song and was hesitant in including the song on the international version of Savage Garden. However, due to pressure from the US label, the song would ultimately be included and All Around Me and Mine would be removed from the American release.
Other songs would be reshuffled with the chart-topping hits I Want You and Truly Madly Deeply being moved to Side A on the international configuration. Hayes discussed his preference for the flow of the original order and how it exemplified the build up of strings that would feature on the album, ”I love the track listing of the Australian album. It’s actually different to the rest of the world. To me, it starts off with To The Moon And Back and we hear the strings and Carry On Dancing comes in at full force, and Pearls carries it along. It’s again, we hear the strings section.” Not only would the track listing differ but some songs would feature a different mix. Most notably, Truly Madly Deeply would undergo a change in sound with the acoustic drums being replaced with a more commercial dance-influenced beat. The distinct keys on the original track would be lowered and instead an organ would take prominence. The guitar riff would also be more evident during the chorus on this new mix. While the original ballad was certainly accessible and had all the elements to be a significant hit, this international version seems to be mixed for a greater commercial appeal.
Savage Garden’s debut self-titled album would be released on the 4th of March 1997 in Australia and international territories the following year. To call the album a commercial success would be a vast understatement. Boosted by the success of singles, I Want You and To The Moon And Back, the album would stay at the peak of the Australian charts for 19 weeks. The success would not only be domestic, as the album would attain significant sales internationally. Truly Madly Deeply would top the single charts in the US and the pair would be launched into superstardom by the summer of 1998. Savage Garden would also attain unprecedented critical success in Australia, grasping 10 Aria Awards in 1997, a record that stands unbeaten today.
While Savage Garden will always be regarded for their iconic hits that defined Australian and international pop music in the late 1990’s, their greatest work lies beyond the numerous chart toppers. The collaborative relationship between the pair, anchored by Hayes’ sublime lyricism and Jones’ talented musicality would be instrumental in creating the exciting material that would appear throughout their discography, reflected on both their debut album and their second and final album, Affirmation.
I’m sure most artists say this, but my favourite songs are not the hits. I’m grateful for them, but I love songs like “Break Me Shake Me,” “Crash and Burn,” “Two Beds and a Coffee Machine” or “All Around Me.” [Those] are by far more my cup of tea. You can never tell which songs will be hits, but we made 95 percent uptempo electronic pop music, yet we’re most famous for those two ballads. — Darren Hayes
I think that I could survive on song-writing and live performance only in all what happens within this business and that’s from videos, the photo-shoots, the press, whatever, I mean, if I could just have that hour up on stage and then a few hours during the day to write a song to get up on that stage, I’d be happy. That’s all I need. — Daniel Jones
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Archive.Org| OfficialCharts.com | Pen To Paper Media | Entertainment Focus | Tears Of Pearls | Santa Monica | Universe | Truly Madly Deeply | Break Me Shake Me | To The Moon And Back | I Want You | Rage 1997 | Much Music Canada | 60 Minutes Interview | ABC TV | Today Tonight 1997