To the Moon and Back – the Savage Garden story
How many music acts release two multi-million selling albums then quit the industry? Well Savage Garden are, perhaps, one of the few who have. No slow decline for these two Australian songwriters and performers, Darren Hayes (b.1972) and Daniel Jones (b.1973) got out when they were at the very top and the world wanted more. So what happened and where are they now?
The story began in 1993 while Jones was a member of the group Red Edge. They advertised for a new singer and as it turned out, Hayes was the only one to apply! Needless to say, he was hired, but after one year, both young men left and formed a production and songwriter duo together. Originally named Crush, they later renamed themselves after a line in Anne Rice’s novel The Vampire Chronicals, “beauty was a savage garden”. Within twelve months, the pair had written 150 songs together! Off the back of that, they were signed to Columbia Records in March 1995 and began working through what they had to find some ‘gems’ to features on their debut album. The first such gem was “I Want You”, which was released in May 1996 and peaked at No.4 in their home country of Australia. Over the next year, the song was released, slowly across the rest of the world and would settle at No.1 in Canada, No.4 in America and No.11 in the UK.
They followed this success in late 1996 with “To The Moon And Back” which would top the Australian singles chart and in 1997, reach No.3 in the UK and No.24 in the US. They released their next single simultaneously with their debut album in Australia. “Truly, Madly, Deeply” would follow its predecessor to the top of the Australian chart and later on to the top of the US singles chart, peaking at No.2 in Canada, No.4 in the UK and charting top five across most of Europe, becoming the biggest selling single by an Australian music act in 1997!
Their self titled debut album would follow this success to the top of the charts in their home country, No.2 in the UK and No.3 in America, where it has sold over seven million copies to date! The album gained multiple Platinum discs across the globe, eventually topping twelve million copies and growing to this day! Three further singles were released, the biggest of which “Break Me, Shake Me” made No.7 in Australia and the top 40 around much of Europe. The song was not commercially released in the UK or America, although imports quickly filtered into both territories.
Having toured through most of 1998, Darren and Daniel wasted no time in writing and releasing their second album the following year, lead with the single “The Animal Song”, used in the film ‘The Other Sister’. It peaked at No.3 in Australia, No.5 in Canada, No.16 in the UK and No.19 in the US. The boys released another ballad later that year with “I Knew I Loved You”, and it seems that is what the world really wanted from Savage Garden. It became their second chart topper in both The States and Canada and reached No.4 in Australia and No.10 in the UK, becoming the seventh biggest seller in America in 2000!
The album, “Affirmation”, was released in November and was no less successful that their first, topping the Australian chart and gaining double and triple Platinum discs in both America and the UK and around the world, where it has sold over eight million copies to date. A total of seven singles were released over fifteen month period, while the boys toured the globe at the dawn of the new century. “Crash And Burn” came in March 2000 making No.14 in the UK, No.16 in Australia and No.24 in America.
The title track would reach No.8 in the UK in the Spring time, No.16 in Australia and the top 40 all across Europe, while “Chained To You”, “Hold Me” and “The Best Thing” would all find less favour in their home country, the UK and parts of mainland Europe. After six solid years of touring and recording, the boys announced a break in mid-2001, although in reality, this was so Hayes could record a solo album and by the end of that year, it was formally announced that Savage Garden were no more. It seemed Jones was not comfortable with the fame and success they had achieved and preferred being out of the spotlight more.
Since 2001, Darren Hayes has released four studio albums to date, his debut “Spin” in 2002 would peak at No.3 in Australia, No.2 in the UK and No.35 in America, which included the hit single “Insatiable” (Aus No.3, UK No.8, US No.77) as well as “Strange Relationship” and “I Miss You”. He returned to the top five with “Pop!ular” in 2004, the lead single from his Australian Gold certified album “The Tension And The Spark” (2004). His most recent studio album was “Secret Codes And Battleships” in 2011. A Savage Garden best of compilation was released in 2005 gaining a Gold certification in the UK and a Platinum disc in Australia. Hayes now lives in Los Angeles where he has recently writing comedy sketches and even musicals!
Daniel Jones has formed his own production company and spends his time promoting new and upcoming Australian singers as well as dabbling in real estate and property acquisitions! It seems for whatever reasons, the two have not remained in contact with Hayes publicly declaring that he has no interest at all in regrouping or ever recording with Jones again, despite many millions of fans the world over wishing it would happen. The majestic ABBA once declared that so, but thirty seven years on, Benny, Ulvaeus, Anni-Fred and Agnetha have indeed reformed and are working together again. So it could well happen to Savage garden yet…just don’t leave it too late boys!