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Savage Garden was an Australian pop rock duo consisting of Darren Hayes as vocalist and Daniel Jones as instrumentalist. Formed in Logan City, Queensland in 1994, the duo achieved international success in late 1990s and early 2000s with the number-one hit singles "I Want You", "To the Moon and Back", "Truly Madly Deeply", "The Animal Song" and "I Knew I Loved You". Their two studio albums, Savage Garden and Affirmation reached number-one in Australia and peaked in the top ten in both the United Kingdom and United States.
The group won a record number of ten ARIA Music Awards in 1997 for their debut album and its related singles. They disbanded in 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, "The mind of each man is 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).
In July 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 to Columbia Records. In November, "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 US radio.
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 US release and replaced Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997", after its 14-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 US radio 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 US, 3× platinum in Canada, 2× platinum in New Zealand, Singapore, and in the UK.
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 UK and US. In September they released "I Knew I Loved You" – a love ballad – which peaked at No. 4 in Australia and No. 10 in the UK. It was followed in November by the duo's second album, Affirmation, produced by Walter Afanasieff (Ricky Martin, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion). 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 US, partly due to the success of the single "I Knew I Loved You", which hit No. 1 on the Hot 100, subsequently 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. 24.
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 114 weeks.
In late 2000, 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 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:
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."
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.
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".
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' 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.
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Image from Discogs