Savage Garden: A Class Apart

There are many legendary music duos like Simon & Garfunkel and The Carpenters who have given us some of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. But their numbers have been far less compared to the solo artists and boy bands, especially in recent times. So if you too have been caught up listening to the Backstreet Boys and the One Republic’s new singles, or the intermittent new videos of Lady Gaga and Rihanna popping up in your screen; the article you are gonna read may come across as a welcome relief.  As the title implies, it is about the Australian pop phenomenon, Savage Garden who brought out only two studio albums in a span of seven years before splitting up, but still managed to attain immortality and break numerous records in that extremely short span of time.

Savage Garden was made up of the duo Daniel Jones and Darren Hayes. While Jones was known for his mastery over multiple instruments, Hayes was the voice behind the iconic songs of Savage Garden. Though Jones and Hayes were initially a part of the covers band Red Edge, they left it to form Crush in June, 1994 which they later renamed as Savage Garden. It turned out to be a great decision considering the success they attained in the years that followed.

After knocking at the doors of numerous music producers, they finally won over producer Charles Fisher and released their debut single I Want You under the music label Roadshow Music. The track won them their first nomination in the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) music awards. The success of the single led Columbia Records to sign them up, and after releasing two more singles To the Moon and Back and Truly Madly Deeply, they released their eponymous debut album Savage Garden in March, 1997 which went on to sell more than 18 million copies worldwide.

While the original Australian release of the album featured twelve tracks, two of them viz. Mine and All Around Me were removed from the subsequent international release while a new track Promises was added to the list. The album reached No. 1 in Australia, New Zealand and Sweden and No. 2 and No. 3 in the UK and the US respectively.  It was also declared 12x platinum in their home country, 7x platinum in the US and 2x platinum in the UK. It also won them 10 ARIA awards from 13 nominations in September, 1997: a record that stands to this day.

Encouraged by the success of their debut album, Jones and Hayes wrote some new songs which culminated in the release of the first track from their second album The Animal Song in February, 1999 which was released as a soundtrack for the film The Other Sister. After releasing another single I Knew I Loved You which became a mascot for their second album, their second album Affirmation was finally released in November that year which peaked at No. 1 in both Australia and Sweden. The response in the UK and the US was less overwhelming where it peaked at No. 7 and No. 6 spot respectively. Affirmation went on to be declared 8x platinum in Australia and 3x platinum in both UK and US. Apart from pop, Affirmation also has hints of R&B and alternative rock; offering a bit of a deviation from their debut album Savage Garden which was majorly pop and pop rock.


After seven years of dominance over the Australian and world music charts, Jones and Hayes finally split in 2001 with Jones starting his own production company and Hayes embarking on a solo career. Many bands have disbanded in the past to regroup again but Savage Garden never regrouped and their chances of doing so in the future seems pretty bleak as well. But the fact that they won an unprecedented 14 Aria awards and a further 10 Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) awards in such a short period of time goes on to show the genius of the duo. Savage Garden also won five Billboard Music Awards during the time they were active and their average album sales for their two studio albums of 12.5 million (25 million in total) is also an Australian record.

It has been more than a decade that Savage Garden disbanded but they are still revered by their fans the world over. If you have never heard their music, grabbing a copy of their 2005 compilation album Truly Madly Completely: The Best of Savage Garden may give you a glimpse into the kind of fantastic music the duo made in the turn of the new millennium. Jones and Hayes may have gone their separate ways now but they haven’t come close to replicating the magic they produced as a part of Savage Garden. It’s true that great things don’t happen just like that and we will never have another Savage Garden ever again.


Image Sources:

1. Black and white shot:

2. Affirmation :

3. Savage Garden in concert:

Surojit Chakraborty

Writer, HR, Bibliophile, Polyglot, Optimist

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