Silverchair’s Golden Run
Written by Ryan Stevenson on 6 April 2021
Silverchair (originally written as silverchair) has perhaps had the most successful album run on that charts that any Australian band, group or solo artist has ever had.
They started off as the band Innocent Criminals and in early 1994 they were the winners of YouthRock, a competition for school-based bands around the country, around this time the band recorded demos of the songs “Acid Rain”, Cicada”, “Pure Massacre” and “Tomorrow”.
They were winners again in April 1994 when they won a competition called Pick Me using their demo recording of “Tomorrow” and included among the prizes was a Triple J recording of their song and the ABC filming the music video.
The name Innocent Criminals made way for the silverchair and aside from changing silverchair to Silverchair; the band were also called The George Costanza Trio and Short Elvis when doing performances such as warm up shows and they didn’t the masses to know it was Silverchair.
Silverchair’s lineup for the entirety of their career as that name were Daniel Johns, Ben Gilles and Chris Joannou
Record labels badly wanted silverchair with Sony Music being the label that got the deal done and they set the band up with Murmur Records with the EP “Tomorrow” released with four tracks including the title song on September 16 1994.
”Tomorrow” was a big success as the EP was No. 1 for six weeks in Australia, it was also No. 1 on Canada’s Rock/Alternative chart, New Zealand’s Recorded Music NZ chart and Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts.
silverchair went from Murmur Records to Sony Music for the release of their debut album “Frogstomp” and the album was a big success with the album reaching No. 1 in Australia, No. 2 in New Zealand, No. 9 in the United States and No. 10 in Canada plus charting in several other countries.
A bit of trivia is the version the United States heard and saw is not the same version that was a massive success in Australia as it is a re-recording of “Tomorrow”.
One impressive thing about silverchair’s early years is that they turned up in New York to do a pre-show performance at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards and delivered a great performance in front of thousands of people plus the TV audience.
By the time 1997 came around silverchair had four Top 30 songs in Australia and three Top 40 songs on Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, an impressive record for an Australian band.
The release of “Freak Show” on February 4 1997 resulted in another No. 1 album in Australia with the lead single “Freak” enjoying a two week stay at the top of the singles chart.
“Neon Ballroom” was released on March 16 1999 and it was the band’s third consecutive No. 1 album in Australia, it had also done well in Canada peaking at No. 5 and No. 8 in New Zealand.
silverchair would not enjoy another No. 1 single for a decade though they came close in the years between with “Cemetery”, “Anthem For The Year 2000” and “The Greatest View” scoring peaks of No. 5, No. 3 and No. 3.
Silverchair’s deal with Sony Music ended in 2000 and the band shifted over to John Watson’s record label Eleven for the last 40% or so of their active career.
“Diorama” was released on March 31 2002 and it once again topped the charts in Australia and was No. 7 in New Zealand with the next best peaks being No. 12 in Germany and No. 13 in Austria.
Four singles were released from “Diorama” with “The Greatest View” reaching a peak of No. 3 with the other three singles peaking inside the Top 30 across 2002 and 2003.
There was a five year gap between the albums “Diorama” and “Young Modern” as the band went on their first hiatus, the band members kept busy with other recording and performing efforts whilst the compilation album “Rarities 1994-1999” was released in December 2002 and the live album “Live from Faraway Stables” was released in 2003.
When the Boxing Day Tsunami caused devastation, Silverchair and other Australian acts participated in WaveAid in January 2005 to raise funds and Silverchair were back as a band later that year as they hit the studio for their fifth album.
”Young Modern” was released in 2007 and went to No. 1 to give Silverchair the honour of reaching five No. 1 albums and their lead single “Straight Lines” went to No. 1 as well.
The singles from “Young Modern” were a mixed bag with two charting and two not charting with “If You Keep Losing Sleep” peaking at No. 16 and giving the band their fourteenth Top 20 single.
It was announced in May 2011 that Silverchair would go on an “indefinite hibernation” which is interpreted to be their way of saying that the band has broken up but in this current day and age; musicians seem to believe in never say never.
In 2021, all of Silverchair’s music were back at Sony Music and the company are expecting exciting opportunities for the future though nobody knows what those opportunities are at this time.
Silverchair’s five consecutive No. 1 albums from debut was nearly matched by Delta Goodrem who scored three consecutive No.1’s before “Child of the Universe” fell just short at No. 2 with fifth album “Wings of the Wild” returning Delta to No. 1.
They also never changed their three member line-up since the days of Innocent Criminals unlike bands like Wolfmother who have undergone many personnel changes during their existence.
Five No. 1 albums; singles that hit No. 1 every couple of years and a long hibernation are all part of the Silverchair story that has or has not come to an end.