DARREN HAYES relives the hits and memories of Savage Garden's brief but phenomenal career in this track-by-track best-of album preview
I Want You
The first Savage Garden single, one of the songs rejected by every record company in Australia. Also the song that broke them in the US, made No. 4 in Australia and the US, and No. 11 in Britain.
Hayes: "That song changed my life. It was originally a song called Sundays Seem to Come and Go. I was obsessed with U2's Numb and Janet Jackson's If; they inspired it, as well as Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire. I hated the chorus; I thought it was totally throwaway. Daniel (Jones) said it was a hit and he was right. That was the great thing about our partnership; you had someone to edit you. I don't really like the line about `chic-a-cherry cola' any more, but it's famous.''
I Knew I Loved You
Second US No. 1 (made No. 4 in Australia, No. 10 in Britain). Hayes was too nervous to kiss Kirsten Dunst in the video.
"I know it was a massive smash hit, and I still love singing it, but I still remember why we wrote it. Which was that the record company didn't like the album, so they said `The album is great but there are no hits on it; go and write a hit'. So my memory of that song is writing it out of rebellion, and then falling in love with it anyway. I know they were both massive hits, both No. 1 in America, but Truly will probably stand the test of time. I Knew I Loved You sounds calculated. I can't believe I'm the songwriter saying that but I prefer the innocence of Truly. I was a kid.''
To the Moon and Back
Their first Australian No. 1, it peaked at No. 24 in the US after I Want You went Top 5, but, when reissued after Truly Madly Deeply, became their biggest British hit, making No. 3.
"It flopped in America big time and I remember thinking `Oh, it's all over'. It's a gorgeous song about a friend of mine who's now happily married with a kid, but then she was miserable, always picked on, always jilted in love. There's a happy ending.''
Supremely painful lyrics detailing Hayes's marriage breakup ("we don't live, we exist, we just run through our lives so alone . . .'')
"I was talking about the breakup of my marriage at the time, but it kind of mirrored what was happening with the band. I didn't realise that 'til afterwards, but if you look at the video, it's just me in the video; it was our last single. I remember in the concert it was very prophetic. It's a song about me saying I've failed as a husband, as a partner, a lot of self hate actually. I look good in the video. I remember that.''
Album track from their debut. The lyrics came from Hayes's first trip to the US.
"I was obsessed with America. I only reluctantly left America. My American honeymoon was based in this childhood '80s innocence of America being where pop stars and movie stars were. It's an amazing country, especially for songwriting.''
Crash and Burn
Fourth single from Affirmation, the album Hayes and Jones wrote on separate sides of the world, peaked at No. 16 in Australia, No. 24 in Britain and No. 14 in the US.
"The beginning of Daniel and I writing songs across the ocean. We'd send tapes back and forth. I couldn't admit to anyone I was lonely living in New York, so I wrote the song in the third person, talking about myself, but it was about me. I wasn't coping and I thought, `I wish someone would say this to me'.''
Break Me Shake Me
Australia-only single; peaked at No. 7.
"I adore that song. It's one of the two moments in my career I thought I was Michael Jackson -- that song and Dirty (from solo album Spin).''
Truly Madly Deeply
Popular ballad -- you may have heard of it. No. 1 in Australia and the US, No. 4 in Britain.
"It's extremely innocent. I hear somebody else when I hear that song, I hear me before it all began. There's something beautifully nostalgic, that person I hear is completely untainted.''
The Animal Song
Between album single, the lyrics were written for the movie The Other Sister.
"We had two films on offer, one was The Other Sister, the other was some tiny film with Julia Roberts called Runaway Bride. I hated it, didn't think it'd be a hit. We chose to write the song for the film that flopped.''
Hayes's manifesto, tackling everything from sexuality to low self-esteem to the trust v monogamy debate. They performed it at the Olympics, with Hayes wearing a T-shirt with an Aboriginal flag on it.
"I still adore it. Still close my shows with it, probably always will. It was great to give people a bit of my personality. I wasn't afraid to say things that were controversial at the time. It's the fastest ever Savage Garden song. There's a scary video of us performing it live where I'm wearing a Day-glo orange mesh top. You won't find that video on the DVD either.''
New Darren Hayes solo track, this album mix is his preferred version, mixed by Mark Spike Stent.
"I always loved John Lennon and Yoko Ono and that period of Woman. I always wanted to write a song that simple. So Beautiful is how I actually experience love. I Knew I Loved You is how I thought love would be. I think it's better than that. Real love is better than those Hallmark card moments, which even I have been a part of.''
The other new track, written solely by Hayes.
"It's one of the first songs I ever wrote on my own. I wrote it after my first piano lesson so you can hear the chords are very basic. I always thought it sounded too much like a Savage Garden song so it was perfect for this record.''
I Don't Care
B-side to Affirmation, the lyrics are set on a train.
"I was a substitute teacher and I'd walk home from the train station and I'd write the song to the pace of my walk. I love public transport.''
I'll Bet He Was Cool
B-side to Break Me Shake Me, it's arguably the weirdest Savage Garden lyric: Darren ponders if Jesus was alive whether he'd smell nice, whether he'd appear on Oprah and bets his beloved Star Wars figures "he'd be a movie star''.
"It's my favourite Savage Garden song ever. Maybe. It comes from Kate Bush's Why Should I Love You? where she says `Have you ever seen a picture of Jesus laughing? Do you think he'd have a beautiful smile?' And it got me thinking. Catholicism always portrays Jesus as this miserable victim but I thought he was probably really charismatic. So I thought, what if he was around today? These are the thoughts that occupy my mind.''
Love Can Move You
B-side of Universe, which is one of several singles that didn't make this compilation, including All Around Me, Chained to You and The Best Thing.
"This song was written directly after having experienced New York for the first time. There's a lot of hope there, after having come back from the clutches of the monster and all that opportunity and fame promised on that first visit to Manhattan. There's a naive sort of optimism in the lyric that I'd somehow survive the deal with the Devil and return a hero, with my soul intact. It took me many years to realise that I did, indeed, survive.''
Fire Inside the Man
Savage Garden go reggae. Bad move. B-side of I Want You.
"I hate it. It's on there because it's popular. I didn't want to be one of those poncy pop stars who reinvent their past. I hated the fact George Lucas changed the Star Wars films. I'd never change Savage Garden's history. Except the videos? Yeah, but it's not like we went back and reshot them. At least I was thinner then.''
This Side of Me
Also a b-side of Universe -- Darren reveals his dark side.
"It was the first time I got really dark, really came down on myself for being a human being and having desires. I'm always torn between thinking I'm in U2 and Coldplay and doing folky acoustic stuff and thinking I'm Prince and Madonna. I wish I was the kind of artist who could play around with image, but every time I change my hair colour it's a drama.''