Friday, December 21, 2012

Charting 1997: 27th December

So here it is, the big Christmas chart that everybody had been waiting for. Thanks go to Gezza76 at the Buzzjack forum for supplying some sales information for this post. 

01.(NE) Spice Girls - Too Much
In a way we've come full circle, as the year started with the Spices' first Christmas Number One single and now we get their second, also featured in their film Spiceworld. Sold 252000 this week. It's kind of the end of their absolute peak: it was of course their sixth consecutive chart-topper, an unprecedented start to a career but a run broken by their next hit, 'Stop'. Even though four of them went on to enjoy a third consecutive Christmas Number One that year, a record matched only by the Beatles, they'd never be quite this big again. There are (now) six million-selling singles in this chart, but this isn't one of them. 
02. (1) Teletubbies - Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!
Sold 203000, giving the Spice Girls more of a run for their money than they'd had in 1996 when they won by miles. 
03. (2) Various Artists - Perfect Day
Sold "only" 132000.
04. (4) All Saints - Never Ever
05. (6) Janet Jackson - Together Again
06. (3) Aqua - Barbie Girl
All the Top 6 sold into six figures this week.
07. (5) Robbie Williams - Angels
08. (8) Natalie Imbruglia - Torn
09. (7) Boyzone - Baby Can I Hold You/Shooting Star
10.(NE) Mase - Feel So Good
Here's the odd one out in the Top 10! The first solo single from the Puff Daddy protege (who had of course already guested on hits by Puffy). The chorus is based on 'Bad Boy' by Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine; Bad Boy was of course also the name of Puffy's record label on which this was released. Sales this week: 53000.
11.(10) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
12. (9) Steven Houghton - Wind Beneath My Wings
13.(13) Barbra Streisand And Celine Dion - Tell Him
14.(RE) Vanilla - No Way No Way
Just when you thought it was safe! They appeared on the first Top Of The Pops of 1998,(on their way down the chart, I guess they were short of acts just after Christmas) although they had to cut the spoken section because I suppose it was too hard to mime.
15.(NE) Chicken Shed - I Am In Love With The World
A hot tip that was getting odds as high as 4-1 from bookies at the start of the month, this came from the theatre company of which Diana had been a patron during her lifetime. It seems like a combination of John Lennon and St Winifred's in a Christmas chart battle, but for once people shopped with their ears instead of their hearts and a reported 250000 shipment only spawned about 34000 sales this week. The company continues to do good work but has thankfully steered clear of the singles chart since.
16.(11) Celine Dion - The Reason
17.(14) Lutricia McNeal - Ain't That Just The Way
18.(16) Reds United - Sing Up For The Champions!
19.(15) Five - Slam Dunk (Da Funk)
20.(20) Steps - 5, 6, 7, 8
21.(23) Louise - Let's Go Round Again
22.(22) Sheryl Crow - Tomorrow Never Dies
23.(25) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
24.(27) Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing {1997}
25.(NE) Paul McCartney - Beautiful Night
Twenty years earlier he'd had the Christmas chart-topper as a member of Wings and thirty years back he'd done so as one of the aforementioned Beatles ('Hello Goodbye' was their fourth and last, a still unbeaten tally by any act). He wasn't a major contender with this third single from Flaming Pie, though with hindsight it's a pretty decent song. Features Ringo Starr on drums. 
26.(28) The Seahorses - You Can Talk To Me
27.(29) The Verve - Lucky Man
28.(31) The PF Project - Choose Life ft Ewan McGregor
29.(18) Bryan Adams - Back To You
30.(19) Propellerheads And Shirley Bassey - History Repeating
31.(30) Gala - Let A Boy Cry
32.(NE) Rakim - Guess Who's Back
There's a bit of a clue in the question, isn't there? The vocal half of Eric B. & Rakim officially became a solo artist this year after a five-year hiatus, although this single was barely noticed in the Christmas rush. I don't know what he's up to now.
33.(12) U2 - If God Will Send His Angels
34.(17) Sting And The Police - Roxanne '97
35.(24) Levellers - Dogtrain
36.(NE) Fountains Of Wayne - I Want An Alien For Christmas
The only identifiable Christmas song in the chart, though a curiously forgotten song nowadays. I've got the CD single somewhere and this is probably the week to pull it out. Their second Top 40 hit of the year, but they didn't manage another until 2004 (and still haven't had a fourth).
37.(34) Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
38.(NE) Aerosmith - Pink
Another veteran act burying a new release in a busy week, although this one got a second lease of life after the success of 'I Don't Wann Miss A Thing'. You can safely miss this though, it's a poor song notorious for the lyric "Pink, it's like red but not quite". 
39.(36) Will Smith - Just Cruisin'
40.(33) Blackstreet - (Money Can't) Buy Me Love

57.(NE) Paid And Live featuring Lauryn Hill - All My Time
Well, there had to be a Fugee somewhere.
67.(NE) Gant - Sound Bwoy Burial/All Night Long

And here ends Charting 1997 (unless I ever get around to putting the album charts on, don't bank on it). If you have been, thanks for reading. 
A reminder that all the hits I could find on Spotify from this year can be heard here, from '2 Become 1' to 'All My Time'.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Charting 1997: 20th December

Here we are with what was by now the typical "blank" week, most big releases and novelty cash-ins being saved up for a shot at the Christmas chart-topper next week. So no new entries in the Top 10, and the only song joining the Top 10 is the returning Elton John, although Robbie Williams also sets a new peak.

01. (1) Teletubbies - Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!
02. (2) Various Artists - Perfect Day
03. (3) Aqua - Barbie Girl
04. (5) All Saints - Never Ever
05. (7) Robbie Williams - Angels
06. (4) Janet Jackson - Together Again
07. (6) Boyzone - Baby Can I Hold You/Shooting Star
08. (9) Natalie Imbruglia - Torn
09. (8) Steven Houghton - Wind Beneath My Wings
10.(11) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
11.(NE) Celine Dion - The Reason
So this becomes the biggest new hit of the week. As you might imagine, it's a bit shouty. 
12.(NE) U2 - If God Will Send His Angels
Fifth single from their album within twelve months, and understandably not the most successful: it's one of only three hits for them in the entire decade not to make the Top 10 (four if you count the original version of 'Even Better Than The Real Thing'). It's not their finest work really, but the relatively underperforming album needed all the help it could get.
13.(13) Barbra Streisand And Celine Dion - Tell Him
14.(14) Lutricia McNeal - Ain't That Just The Way
15.(10) Five - Slam Dunk (Da Funk)
16.(16) Reds United - Sing Up For The Champions!
17.(NE) Sting And The Police - Roxanne '97
You can see the thought process, can't you? There was a Sting/Police best-of out, and Puff Daddy (as he then was) had of course that one of the biggest hits of the year with a sample of a Police song. There was a brief "Roxanne" craze in hip-hop in the early 80s so obviously it made sense to get Puffy to produce a rap version of the Police number... right? 
18.(NE) Bryan Adams - Back To You
First single from his Unplugged album. My brother said, "they should have unplugged the microphone."
19.(NE) Propellerheads And Shirley Bassey - History Repeating

Haven't done an embed for a while. This was a song that many of us, myself included, thought was likely to give them a second Top 10 hit, but it wasn't to be. Mind you, I didn't buy it myself in the end, though I did get their first (and as yet only) album. That was released in February 1998 by the way, so why it was necessary to drop the lead single into the pre-Christmas rush is unclear. Apart from the chart position, the only thing not glorious about this is the announcer in the video using the word "phenomena" as a singular. I'm sure the BBC wouldn't have allowed that in 1961 or so.
20.(17) Steps - 5, 6, 7, 8
21.(NE) Bjork - Bachelorette
Another impressive video, directed by Michel Gondry (in a similar style to his Neneh Cherry clip at the start of the year). It was the first hit single from her album Homogenic, though an earlier single 'Joga' had been released in a non-chart-eligible format. Once she'd started, singles appeared sporadically from this album until the summer of 1999.
22.(12) Sheryl Crow - Tomorrow Never Dies
23.(19) Louise - Let's Go Round Again
24.(NE) Levellers - Dogtrain
Another song that you could imagine being a big hit in January, a bouncy if ultimately irritating number. Possibly they were hoping to match 'Just The One', which had been one of their many Number 12 hits at Christmas 1995.
25.(25) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
26.(NE) Red 5 - Lift Me Up
The German producer's second hit of the year, not to be confused with identically-titled singles by Geri Halliwell and Moby.
27.(24) Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing {1997}
28.(15) The Seahorses - You Can Talk To Me
29.(21) The Verve - Lucky Man
30.(26) Gala - Let A Boy Cry
31.(28) The PF Project - Choose Life ft Ewan McGregor
32.(NE) Busta Rhymes - Dangerous
Not a song I'd heard before (except possibly once on this chart rundown 15 years ago) but I actually thought  it's one of his better efforts. All those expensive Hype Williams promo videos seem to blend into one after a while though don't they?
33.(18) Blackstreet - (Money Can't) Buy Me Love
34.(29) Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
35.(NE) Chicane - Lost You Somewhere
One of his purer trance tracks, more beloved of their fans than some of the more obviously commercial stuff he did later.
36.(23) Will Smith - Just Cruisin'
37.(22) Mariah Carey - Butterfly
38.(NE) Powerhouse - Rhythm Of The Night
This week's lazy dance cover version is of the DeBarge song (as opposed to the Corona one). This isn't the same Powerhouse who later had a hit with Duane Harden.
39.(20) Jamiroquai - High Times
40.(NE) Serious Danger - Deeper
Not the same song as the one by Delirious. Richard Phillips (for 'twas he) later released 'High Noon', which wasn't the same song as the one by DJ Shadow.

41.(NE) Vanessa-Mae - I Feel Love
43.(NE) The Corrs - I Never Loved You Anyway
If they'd put it out just a couple of weeks later, it could have been their first Top 40 single here. As it was they had to wait another six months.
50.(NE) No Doubt - Sunday Morning
The reflected glory of 'Don't Speak' finally runs out at this point, although of course they did come back. The video is notable partly for the rare appearance of the two brass players who are normally seen only on stage but more for the cameo by Terry Hall, returning the favour Gwen Stefani did in his video earlier in the year. Fortunately he doesn't attempt to re-enact the song's storyline. 
51.(NE) The Course - Best Love
52.(NE) Maureen Rees - Driving In My Car
Back in the early days of what was becoming known as the reality TV boom, although of course observational documentary was as old a form as portable cameras. I suppose the introduction of the genre as a form of light entertainment was the novelty. This was one of the first attempts to score a hit single from one of the stars of these shows, with serial test failure Rees covering the Madness hit. 
62.(NE) DJ Shadow - Camel Bobsled Race
The longest "single" to chart all year, this is a 24-minute continuous mix by DJ Q-Bert. It might have posed some problems for Mark Goodier had it made the Top 40. 
68.(NE) Counting Crows - A Long December {1997 re-release}
It had peaked at 62, 53 weeks earlier but I suppose there was a limited window of opportunity to put it out again. As the NME review said at the time, December is actually the same length every year. 

Friday, December 07, 2012

Charting 1997: 13th December

01.(NE) Teletubbies - Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!
OK, I realise this won't be everyone's favourite chart-topper, but it was hardly the worst one of the year.
02. (1) Various Artists - Perfect Day
03. (3) Aqua - Barbie Girl
04.(NE) Janet Jackson - Together Again
A song that seemed to hang around in the Top 40 for ages (only a couple of months really, but that was a long time then). I could appreciate what she was trying to do but I never found this interesting enough musically to be impressed.
05. (6) All Saints - Never Ever
06. (2) Boyzone - Baby Can I Hold You/Shooting Star
07.(NE) Robbie Williams - Angels
Two places below All Saints, who sold an unprecedented amount before topping the chart - but this sold even more without ever getting there (yet). As of 2012, it's the biggest-selling single not to make the Top 3. 
08. (4) Steven Houghton - Wind Beneath My Wings
09. (5) Natalie Imbruglia - Torn
10.(NE) Five - Slam Dunk (Da Funk)
Debut for one of the biggest UK boy bands at the end of the century. They went on to make several records I liked but this isn't one of them, getting off to a poor start with the misfiring intro: "Five!, what you waiting 4? If you wanna... 3-2-1?". Legend has it that the management spent a fortune making a video in a boxing ring before somebody pointed out that "slam dunk" was actually a basketball term.
11.(10) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
12.(NE) Sheryl Crow - Tomorrow Never Dies
After several James Bond-related tracks, we finally get to this year's official theme, which I believe is the only one to have been chosen by competitive tender: it displaced a selection written by kd Lang and David Arnold, presumably because Crow had included the title. Still, something doesn't quite work, it feels a bit too much like a pastiche. 
13. (8) Barbra Streisand And Celine Dion - Tell Him
14. (9) Lutricia McNeal - Ain't That Just The Way
15.(NE) The Seahorses - You Can Talk To Me
Their fourth and last hit, not that we were to know it at the time. After writing separately on the previous singles, Chris Helme and John Squire collaborated on this non-album single, neatly writing one B-side each. A second album was partly recorded with a slightly different line-up of the band but never completed and little was heard from Squire for the rest of the decade. 
16.(12) Reds United - Sing Up For The Champions!
17.(23) Steps - 5, 6, 7, 8
18.(NE) Blackstreet - (Money Can't) Buy Me Love
Despite the title being expanded for the hard of understanding, this is indeed a cover of the 1964 Beatles chart-topper. Presumably this is why they filmed the video over here, although why the elderly American tries to speak to the London cabbie in a New Zealand accent isn't so clear. 
19.(15) Louise - Let's Go Round Again
20.(NE) Jamiroquai - High Times
Fourth single off the now eldery Travelling Without Moving album and to be honest I don't think the band were still interested by this point, though the single could sell itself on name in those days. 
21. (7) The Verve - Lucky Man
22.(NE) Mariah Carey - Butterfly
And this week's unsuccessful follow-up to a Top 10 hit comes with this apparently rather personal song about her divorce. Presumably it was released for that reason rather than because somebody thought it was good. I'm pretty sure the animal in the video is actually a horse, rather than a butterfly but then I didn't do GCSE biology.
23.(NE) Will Smith - Just Cruisin'
OK, sorry. This is the unsuccessful follow-up of the week. Curiously, although Will Smith has plenty of major hits to his name, the follow-ups to both his Number Ones underperformed and fell short of the Top 20. This had the possible disadvantage of appearing on both the Men In Black soundtrack and Smith's solo debut album Big Willie Style.
24.(13) Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing {1997}
25.(17) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
26.(11) Gala - Let A Boy Cry
27.(NE) The Space Brothers - Forgiven (I Feel Your Love)
Important early trance hit, I believe. 
28.(18) The PF Project - Choose Life ft Ewan McGregor
29.(24) Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
30.(16) Todd Terry Presents Shannon - It's Over Love
31.(19) Aaron Carter - Crush On You
32.(25) Hanson - I Will Come To You
33.(26) Sash! - Stay ft La Trec
34.(NE) Dreem Teem - The Theme
Who knew that a few years later Spoony would be doing a radio feature called Mills & Spoon or organising charity golf tournaments? 
35.(20) The Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up
36.(NE) Beth Orton - Best Bit EP ft Terry Callier
[Best Bit; Skimming Stone; Dolphins; Lean On Me]
The first ever chart appearance for Callier (though in truth he appears only on the final two tracks), the brilliant Chicago soul singer who had famously had to retire from music and take a job as a computer operator to pay the bills. His records had gained quite a reputation here in Britain and he'd made some tentative returns to performing, but this admittedly minor hit was the start of a real revival, leading to a solo record deal and a special award from the United Nations (which did unfortunately cost him the day job). Nine years later he cracked the Top 20 as the featured vocalist on 'Live With Me' by Massive Attack. Sadly, he died in 2012 but if you have a spare few quid you could do worse than picking up his 1972 album Occasional Rain, which includes his original version of 'Lean On Me' (not to be confused with the similarly impressive song of the same name by Bill Withers).
On the other side of the disc, Orton and her regular backing group re-record an old B-side to surprisingly good effect. I don't really remember 'Skimming Stone' but I got my £1:99 worth for the other three tracks on the 12"... at least until I left it too close to a desk lamp and warped it. 
37.(14) Kylie Minogue - Did It Again
38.(36) Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
39.(21) USURA - Open Your Mind '97
40.(NE) Sparks Vs Faith No More - This Town Ain't Big Enough
Rather neatly, the Maels' last Top 40 hit was a reworking of their first. Not necessarily an improvement. 

41.(NE) The Lightning Seeds - What You Say
One of two new songs on a best-of collection. I rather liked this but releasing it after the album seems to have killed it commercially. 
43.(NE) Enya - Only If...
Also a new track on a (now-deleted) compilation.
44.(NE) Bruce Wayne - Ready
51.(NE) Amira - My Desire
53.(NE) The Catherine Wheel - The Delicious EP
54.(NE) Genesis - Shipwrecked
72.(NE) Christopher Just - I'm A Disco Dancer

Bonus: the Chart Show Indie chart this week

Friday, November 30, 2012

Charting 1997: 6th December

01. (1) Various Artists - Perfect Day
02.(NE) Boyzone - Baby Can I Hold You/Shooting Star
Stuck in the runner-up slot again, even with two ballads for the price of one. The lead track sees Ronan Keating tackle the other Tracy Chapman song that everyone knows, even though this one only got to 94 in the charts: as a result, Chapman's 1988 debut album apparently dominated the mid-price album chart for months. On the other side, Steven Gately sings a song from the latest Disney film, although any hopes that this would break the band in America were dashed.
03. (2) Aqua - Barbie Girl
04. (3) Steven Houghton - Wind Beneath My Wings
05. (4) Natalie Imbruglia - Torn
06. (5) All Saints - Never Ever
07.(NE) The Verve - Lucky Man
Third single off the Urban Hymns album, which was ticking off its millionth sale about now - it subsequently became the first album to sell in seven figures two years running. This was never one of my favourites of theirs, feeling a bit more like the Richard Ashcroft solo track it originally was. And his echoed vocal at the start always reminded me of the "you slag" sample in 'Professional Widow' at the start of the year, which probably wasn't the effect he was aiming for. 
08. (7) Barbra Streisand And Celine Dion - Tell Him
09. (6) Lutricia McNeal - Ain't That Just The Way
10.(11) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
11.(NE) Gala - Let A Boy Cry
In the late 1990s European dance acts could easily score significant second hits. Not a bad tune, although the meter sounds very odd to a native English speaker. The first YouTube hit I found was a different version of the song from the UK hit, but it did have the benefit of a comment from Gala herself refuting rumours that she'd died.
12.(NE) Reds United - Sing Up For The Champions!
40 Man United fans chanting. England aside I think they're the football team with the most associated chart hits.
13.(12) Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing {1997}
14.(NE) Kylie Minogue - Did It Again
First stage in the rethink after the underperformance of 'Some Kind Of Bliss'. Presumably the song was already intended to be the next single, but the video, which depicts avatars of various Kylie images fighting, has an air of reassurance (and media-friendliness) about it. 
15.(10) Louise - Let's Go Round Again
16.(NE) Todd Terry Presents Shannon - It's Over Love
One of the many appearances for Shannon as a credited vocalist. Todd Terry was still ploughing his usual disco-influenced furrow although it was getting a bit tired by this point.
17.(16) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
18.(17) The PF Project - Choose Life ft Ewan McGregor
19. (9) Aaron Carter - Crush On You
20. (8) The Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up
21.(NE) USURA - Open Your Mind '97
Remix of the 1993 hit. Not necessarily an improvement.
22.(NE) Dru Hill - 5 Steps
The juxtaposition of this and the act below is vastly more interesting than the song.
23.(22) Steps - 5, 6, 7, 8
24.(20) Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
25.(14) Hanson - I Will Come To You
26.(21) Sash! - Stay ft La Trec
27.(NE) Super Furry Animals - Demons
There is an official video for this single, but it's not very good by their standards. The song is a brilliant surreal epic, complete with the lyric "By the year four million, our skins will be vermillion". 
28.(NE) Meredith Brooks - I Need
It's not a great idea to follow up a list song with another list song. 
29.(13) Shola Ama - Who's Loving My Baby
30.(NE) Paul Weller - Mermaids
Yet another fourth single from an album, and indeed this is the final track on Heavy Soul to boot. It's not the one I would have chosen to be honest, although I did buy the 7" and the B-sides are pretty good. 
31.(NE) Huff And Herb - Feeling Good ft Nina Simone
When they say "featuring Nina Simone" they mean that they've sampled the vocals from her classic track (which had only charted in 1994, thanks to an advert). It might have worked better had the rest of the track been in time with her. 
32.(NE) Sex-O-Sonique - I Thought It Was You
Another act who'd been hanging round the Jazz section of the second-hand record shop, this being a cover of Herbie Hancock's vocodery disco single. It's not an interesting version, at least not once you've heard the original. Perhaps that's why they used this pseudonym, rather than any of the other names under which they'd had hits. 
33.(NE) M People - Fantasy Island
A bit of a comedown as the follow-up to a Top 10 hit from an established act. It's not a great song but neither were a lot of their others.
34.(NE) Boyz II Men - A Song For Mama
Er, shouldn't they have released this in the spring? 
35.(15) Robert Miles - Freedom ft Kathy Sledge
36.(31) Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
37.(23) Ocean Colour Scene - Better Day
38.(25) The Woolpackers - Line Dance Party
39.(NE) Sleeper - Romeo Me
What proved to be their last single. The 7" B-side had a very rude title but if that was supposed to be a publicity stunt it didn't work.
40.(28) N-Trance - Do You Think I'm Sexy? ft Rod Stewart

44.(NE) Keith Sweat - I Want Her {1997 remix}
46.(NE) Del Amitri - Some Other Sucker's Parade
In September, the record company announced that a planned single 'Medicine' had been cancelled due to lyrics which were felt inappropriate in the light of Diana's death. The band themselves were happy to admit that it was really dropped due to lack of interest. Either way this title track from the album was chosen instead to little effect.
53.(NE) Partizan - Keep Your Love ft Natalie Robb
56.(NE) The Saw Doctors - Simple Things
60.(NE) Sinead O'Connor - This Is A Rebel Song
62.(NE) Bizzi - Bizzi's Party
64.(NE) Tanya Donelly - The Bright Light
65.(NE) Buckshot LeFonque - Another Day (In The Hood)
70.(NE) Chimera - Show Me Heaven
73.(NE) Machine Head - Take My Scars
No, really, you can keep them.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Charting 1997: 29th November

Warning: this week's chart contains material that some may find offensive.

01.(NE) Various Artists - Perfect Day
So here's the track that was orginally commissioned as a promo for the licence fee, with a cast of star musicians performing Lou Reed's alleged drug anthem for "scale" fees. Due to apparent popular demand, it was finally released as 1997's official Children In Need single, the first release from this particular appeal to top the chart. It's also the only Number One single for Various Artists, who have tended to be more successful as an album act.
In fact, you may find it handy for pub quizzes to know that this is, to the best of my knowledge the only Number One single featuring the following performers: Skye Edwards [then a member of Morcheeba], Burning Spear, Thomas Allen, the Brodsky Quartet, Sheona White, Dr John, Robert Cray, Evan Dando, Emmylou Harris, Courtney Pine, Andrew Davis, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Heather Small [of M People], Visual Ministry Choir, Suzanne Vega, Lesley Garrett, Shane MacGowan, Huey Morgan [of Fun Lovin' Criminals], Brett Anderson [of Suede and later The Tears], Joan Armatrading and Laurie Anderson. It's also the only such success for Reed himself, who sings the last line: this means that three of the four UK Top 40 hits he had are connected to his album Transformer.
02. (1) Aqua - Barbie Girl
03.(NE) Steven Houghton - Wind Beneath My Wings
The second actor from London's Burning to score a chart hit, after John Alford's briefly successful career. Simon Cowell presumably saw him as the new Robson & Jerome, although he couldn't quite match the same heights of success: whilst this lost out on the top position behind two massive sellers, the follow-up (a cover of Lionel Richie's 'Truly' released in February 1998) missed the Top 20 and despite a gold-selling album that was it.
04. (2) Natalie Imbruglia - Torn
05. (3) All Saints - Never Ever
06.(NE) Lutricia McNeal - Ain't That Just The Way
Debut hit from the Swedish-based American singer who was, like Connor Reeves, signed to the Capital FM-sponsored Wildstar label. It's a cover of a song by American singer and former Playboy model Barbi Benton.
07. (4) Barbra Streisand And Celine Dion - Tell Him
08.(NE) The Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up
The highest new entry that was actually written in the 1990s, apart from the fact that the title lyric is sampled from a 1988 song by the Ultramagnetic MCs. It's fair to say that the title was more controversial than its source and indeed this track was not played nor even named on the Top 40 rundown that week - instead an instrumental B-side was announced as "from their new EP". The equally notorious promo video was seldom seen before midnight either, although the Prodge were big enough at this point to sell plenty of copies of this anyway. Apparently it even made Number One in Finland. 
09.(NE) Aaron Carter - Crush On You
So here's a record that's offensive in an entirely different way, in which the younger (9, at the time) brother of a Backstreet Boy caterwauls his way through a version of the Jets hit (also covered by Nero in 2011). Amazingly he managed as many as six hit singles over the next five years. 
10.(NE) Louise - Let's Go Round Again
Second single off the second album and she was already resorting to covers, in this case of the Average White Band's final hit. The first word of that group's name also describes this version. 
11. (7) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look Tonight/Candle In The Wind 97
12. (6) Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing {1997 re-issue}
13.(NE) Shola Ama - Who's Loving My Baby
So by my maths this is the highest wholly original new entry, albeit not the most thrillingly inventive song ever recorded. 
14. (5) Hanson - I Will Come To You
15.(NE) Robert Miles Featuring Kathy Sledge - Freedom
In the context of this chart, you'd half expect this to be a cover of the Wham! song. It's more of an attempt to repeat the big crossover success of his hit 'One And One' the previous year.
16.(12) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
17.(11) The PF Project Featuring Ewan McGregor - Choose Life
18.(NE) The Firm Featuring Dawn Robinson - Firm Biz
Sadly not the same people who did 'Arthur Daley (E's Alright)' and 'Star Trekkin', nor indeed the Led Zep spin-off group who charted an album in the 1980s. This was a gangsta rap supergroup including Nas and Foxy Brown, as well as En Vogue member Robinson.
19.(NE) Mary J Blige - Missing You
The ballady single releases really start to stack up in the Christmas shopping season. 
20.(10) Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
21.(15) Sash! Featuring La Trec - Stay
22.(18) Steps - 5, 6, 7, 8
23. (9) Ocean Colour Scene - Better Day
24.(NE) Salt-N-Pepa - R U Ready
Doesn't look people were, really.
25.(NE) The Woolpackers - Line Dance Party
In most people's lists of things the world needed in 1997, a second single by a country band of actors from Emmerdale would be a long way down. But with Steps proving the continued appeal of the line-dance craze, Simon Cowell must have thought otherwise. 
26.(16) Moby - James Bond Theme
27. (8) Pulp - Help The Aged
28.(17) N-Trance Featuring Rod Stewart - Do You Think I'm Sexy?
29.(NE) Finley Quaye - It's Great When We're Together
I must admit I've warmed to the guy over the years and this isn't a bad song, helped by the relaxed vibe which makes his voice less grating.
30.(19) Gary Barlow - Open Road
31.(20) Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
32.(14) Conner Reeves - Earthbound
33.(NE) Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliott Featuring Da Brat - SockIt2Me
They'd never have recouped that video had this not been a hit in America. Perhaps it would have done better a few years later when DVD singles were popular.
34.(21) Dario G - Sunchyme
35.(23) Eternal - Angel Of Mine
36.(NE) Way Out West - Ajare {remix}
This had been their debut single exactly three years earlier, only peaking at 52 on that occasion. 
37.(22) Clock - U Sexy Thing
38.(13) Metallica - The Memory Remains
39.(NE) Rosie Gaines - I Surrender
Not the Rainbow song.
40.(26) Texas - Put Your Arms Around Me

41.(NE) BT - Love, Peace And Grease
47.(NE) Erykah Badu - Apple Tree (To Be Free)
54.(NE) Teenage Fanclub - Start Again
I'm sure the official video for this track used to be on YouTube. I'm not bothered though because it wasn't that good anyway. Fair to say they're not a band who rely heavily on their visual appeal.
56.(NE) The Jungle Brothers - Jungle Brother
Supported by Drum & Bass remixes, as I believe they were signed to a UK-based label at the time. This would also explain why they're riding a London bus in the video. A repromotion took this to the Top 20 in 1998.
62.(NE) The Cure - Wrong Number
Which was doubtless what Robert Smith thought when he saw the chart position. The obligatory new track on their second volume of singles compilation.
66.(NE) 98 Degrees - Invisible Man
71.(NE) Truce - Nothin' But A Party
73.(NE) Capricorn - 20Hz (New Frequencies)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Now 38

Disc one

Chumbawamba 'Tubthumping'
Spice Girls 'Spice Up Your Life'
Hanson 'Where's the Love'
Boyzone 'Picture of You'
Backstreet Boys 'As Long As You Love Me'
Eternal 'Angel of Mine'
Lighthouse Family 'Raincloud'
Janet Jackson 'Got 'Til It's Gone'
The Brand New Heavies 'You've Got A Friend'
All Saints 'I Know Where It's At'
Louise 'Arms Around The World'
Gala 'Freed from Desire'
Sash! featuring La Trec 'Stay'
Dario G 'Sunchyme'
Tina Moore 'Never Gonna Let You Go'
Hot Chocolate 'You Sexy Thing'
N-Trance featuring Rod Stewart 'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy'
LL Cool J 'Phenomenon'
911 'Party People...Friday Night'
Ricky Martin 'Maria'
Bellini 'Samba De Janeiro'
DJ Quicksilver 'Free'

Disc two

Wet Wet Wet 'Yesterday'
George Michael 'You Have Been Loved'
The Verve 'The Drugs Don't Work'
Oasis 'Stand by Me'
Embrace 'All You Good Good People'
Faithless 'Don't Leave'
Radiohead 'Karma Police'
Moby 'James Bond Theme'
PF Project featuring Ewan MacGregor'Choose Life'
Robbie Williams 'Lazy Days'
Ash 'A Life Less Ordinary'
Texas 'Black Eyed Boy'
Meredith Brooks 'Bitch'
Jon Bon Jovi 'Janie, Don't Take Your Love To Town'
Ocean Colour Scene 'Better Day'
Cast 'I'm So Lonely'
Conner Reeves 'Earthbound'
Peter Andre 'Lonely'
Boyz II Men '4 Seasons of Loneliness'

The third and last album in the Now! series this year, though a few tracks from late 1997 show up on Now 39 in the following year. It's notable for having 22 tracks on the first disc but only 19 on the second, due to the length of the Oasis and Embrace tracks (the latter is the full-length version rather than the radio edit). In an unfortunate error, the Hot Chocolate track is also the rubbishy 1987 remix as heard on Now 9, rather than the original version that was a hit in 1997. On the other hand, this breaks from the previous three albums by including a George Michael track in its original form rather than as a remix. It's also odd that three of the last four tracks are refer to loneliness in the title, couldn't they have shuffled them about a bit? 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Charting 1997: 22nd November

01. (1) Aqua - Barbie Girl
02. (2) Natalie Imbruglia - Torn
03.(NE) All Saints - Never Ever
The biggest new hit of the week, hidden behind the two immovable objects at the top of the chart. It was still a big seller at the time and in the long run a consistent one too. 
04. (3) Barbra Streisand And Celine Dion - Tell Him
05.(NE) Hanson - I Will Come To You
Their third hit and it's November so of course it's a power ballad, and of course it isn't any good. I don't suppose they realise that video looks like a Ready Brek advert.
06.(NE) Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing {1997 reissue}
Reaching the Top 10 for the third decade in a row (it didn't repeat this success in the 2000s, but there's still plenty of this decade to go) thanks to its extensive use in the film The Full Monty. This was the original version rather than the remix that had been a hit in 1987, but this was never one of my favourites of theirs.
07. (5) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
08.(NE) Pulp - Help The Aged
Their first new single since 'Something Changed' in early 1996; and of course even that was from a 1995 album so this was effectively their first new material in two years. It finds Jarvis Cocker in something of a bleak mood, albeit that he disguises this cri de coeur with typical humour. For his trouble he was threatened with legal action from the charity of the same name, although this was settled for a donation and some publicity on the sleeve. The premise for the video was originally to be "Stairlift to Heaven" but the manufacturer unsurprisingly didn't like their product being associated with death so he goes to outer space instead. It also features an early appearance by Kelly Brook.
I bought the 7" of this which has three tracks (good value) but plays at a different speed on each side (irritating). One of those B-sides is their rejected submission for the James Bond theme, 'Tomorrow Never Lies' - I'd always assumed they changed the title for contractual reasons a la R.E.M.'s 'Winged Mammal Theme' but apparently that was the original title of the film. 
Their last Top 10 single.
09.(NE) Ocean Colour Scene - Better Day
Also their last Top 10 and their least deserved, an autobiographical but ultimately uninteresting song with a rubbish video. Annoyingly, the chorus repeatedly uses the phrase "get blown away", which is the title of a far better track from the album that they should have released as the single instead. 
10. (4) Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
11. (6) The PF Project - Choose Life ft Ewan McGregor
12.(11) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
13.(NE) Metallica - The Memory Remains
A fairly typical Metallica single of the era, big and crunchy but still with a recognisable chorus, It does have the addition of Marianne Faithfull, for whom this was the first Top 20 success since 1965. 
14.(NE) Conner Reeves - Earthbound
Second single from the bland but well-connected singer. 
15. (9) Sash! - Stay ft La Trec
16. (8) Moby - James Bond Theme
17.(12) N-Trance - Do You Think I'm Sexy? ft Rod Stewart
18.(NE) Steps - 5, 6, 7, 8
Yes, it all starts here with a cash-in record from the brief linedancing craze of the late 1990s. A very odd single, and an even more rubbish one, but it was one of the biggest sellers of all time not to make the Top 10.  There are Steps records I don't mind but this is not among them. 
19. (7) Gary Barlow - Open Road
20.(17) Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
21.(15) Dario G - Sunchyme
22.(19) Clock - U Sexy Thing
23.(18) Eternal - Angel Of Mine
24.(NE) Brainbug - Benedictus/Nightmare
The AA side is making its second chart appearance in six months as a supporting feature to the not dissimilar new track.
25.(NE) Portishead - Over
Second single from the untitled album, a song that's more haunting than catchy and possibly not an obvious hit. I remember hearing it used as backing music in a documentary about something really serious. 
26.(10) Texas - Put Your Arms Around Me
27.(16) 187 Lockdown - Gunman
28.(NE) Happy Clappers - I Believe 97
Third chart run for this one. That's just greedy
29.(13) Jon Bon Jovi - Janie, Don't Take Your Love To Town
30.(NE) Aaliyah - The One I Gave My Heart To/Hot Like Fire
Not yet a star here on the same scale as she was in the US, although I do remember the second track from the time. It was later covered by the XX. Parts of its video are slightly unfortunate now.
31.(14) Cast - I'm So Lonely
32.(RE) Jewel - You Were Meant For Me
One of the big breakthrough stars of 1996-7, the serious Alaskan singer-songwriter always found it harder to convince a British audience, but was a natural occupant of the Number 52 chart position. Indeed this had  peaked at 53 only a couple of months earlier but was redistributed after a bit of extra promotion to be become the first and the larger of her two Top 40 hits.
33.(25) The Brand New Heavies - You've Got A Friend
34.(22) Peter Andre - Lonely
35.(28) Tina Moore - Never Gonna Let You Go
36.(23) Double 99 - RIP Groove {1997 Re-Release}
37.(31) Toni Braxton With Kenny G - How Could An Angel Break My Heart
38.(27) 911 - Party People... Friday Night
39.(NE) David McAlmont And David Arnold - Diamonds Are Forever
Another Bond moment, although a bit of an underperformer as the follow-up to Arnold's Top 10 collaboration with Propellerheads. I suppose it looks better if you see it as the follow-up to McAlmont's Number 40 instead. I was among the few who did buy it.
40.(NE) Bobby Brown - Feelin' Inside
And coincidentally, this video also opens with a bit of a Bond theme, though that's not part of the record itself. It ends with a "surprise" celebrity cameo. In between there's a song I've already forgotten.

43.(NE) The Sundays - Cry

Their last single. Not their finiest work but it might still have been nice to hear more from them.
45.(NE) Kamasutra - Happiness ft Jocelyn Brown
55.(NE) DSK - What Would We Do? 
Dance track which was re-issued and remixed several times over the years although it only became a major hit when sampled on Wiley's 'Wearing My Rolex'.
56.(NE) Full Intention - America (I Love America) {1997}
60.(NE) God's Property - Stomp
62.(NE) 'N Sync - I Want You Back
We'd hear from this again when it went Top 10 in 1999. 
70.(NE) Mike Oldfield - Woman Of Ireland
72.(NE) Alabama 3 - The Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness
74.(NE) Myron - We Can Get Down
75.(NE) Vanilla - No Way No Way
And this was to reappear even sooner.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Charting 1997: 15th November

01. (1) Aqua - Barbie Girl
02. (2) Natalie Imbruglia - Torn
03.(NE) Barbra Streisand And Celine Dion - Tell Him
Below the unchanged Top 2, this is the highest new entry, a song every bit as subtle and understated as you'd expect. Apparently from a film called The Mirror Has Two Faces.
04. (3) Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
05. (4) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
06.(NE) The PF Project - Choose Life ft Ewan McGregor
Another film tie-in, sampling McGregor's opening monologue from Trainspotting. The track itself is obviously not in the film but appears on the second volume of the soundtrack album.
07.(NE) Gary Barlow - Open Road
Title track from his solo album becomes the fourth single from it. Actually not bad as solo Barlow goes, but for a song about leaving greyness behind it's a little, er, grey.
08.(NE) Moby - James Bond Theme
Back to the movies with our second Bond-theme hit of the year, but the first official one. This was connected to the soundtrack of that year's Bond picture Tomorrow Never Dies, though it's just a cover of the familiar Monty Norman theme.
09. (5) Sash! - Stay ft La Trec
10.(NE) Texas - Put Your Arms Around Me
Another fourth single to remind people the album was out in time for Christmas shopping. I remember Sharleen Spiteri bringing a ghetto-blaster on stage to provide the (muted) beats for this song (shades of Stop Making Sense perhaps?), although the single mix is a bit more conventional. I see from the YouTube upload that this on the soundtrack to something called Ever After.
11. (7) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
12. (9) N-Trance - Do You Think I'm Sexy? ft Rod Stewart
13.(NE) Jon Bon Jovi - Janie, Don't Take Your Love To Town
Technically, this is from a film too, but Jon Bon Jovi made a film of his own album so that doesn't quite count.
14.(NE) Cast - I'm So Lonely
A song that was never in a film at all, apparently! Another fourth single, and the track that ended their run of Top 10 hits (they did manage one more in 1999). It's not a bad track, if not earth-shattering. I'm tempted to say Jake Bugg was listening, but he'd only have been a toddler at this point. 
15.(10) Dario G - Sunchyme
16.(NE) 187 Lockdown - Gunman
Well, the video is a movie parody, so it fits the theme. It might actually date from the 1998 re-release of the track, but it's good enough anyway. 
17.(12) Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
18.(11) Eternal - Angel Of Mine
19.(16) Clock - U Sexy Thing
20.(NE) Roni Size/Reprazent - Brown Paper Bag
Rare Top 20 appearance for the Mercury winners. One of their most commercially appealing singles, a great jazzy rap track, although I couldn't be bothered with the nine-minute album version.
21.(NE) Faithless - Don't Leave {1997 remix}
Third hit associated with A Life Less Ordinary, albeit a remix of a song that had already been a hit for them. A bit of a different sound from their most famous tracks.
22. (6) Peter Andre - Lonely
23.(19) Double 99 - RIP Groove {1997 Re-Release}
24.(NE) Peter Cox - If You Walk Away
Sounds like Westlife with a more soulful singer. 
25.(17) The Brand New Heavies - You've Got A Friend
26. (8) Embrace - All You Good Good People EP
27.(13) 911 - Party People... Friday Night
28.(21) Tina Moore - Never Gonna Let You Go
29.(15) LL Cool J - Phenomenon
30.(14) Michael Bolton - The Best Of Love/Go The Distance
31.(22) Toni Braxton With Kenny G - How Could An Angel Break My Heart
32.(25) Dannii Minogue - Everything I Wanted
33.(NE) Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Inkanyezi Nezazi (The Star And The Wiseman)
As featured in an advert for baked beans in case you were wondering.
34.(NE) Fabulous Baker Boys - Oh Boy
If house tracks with chipmunk vocals are your thing, enjoy this. Just don't expect to see Michelle Pfeiffer.
35.(30) The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work
36.(NE) Delirious? - DeEPer {1997 Re-release}
[Deeper; Summer Of Love; Touch; Sanctify]
Second appearance this year for the lead track, though the other three were new to the chart. Not sure what the point of this re-release was, it didn't seem to get any more airplay than first time around and charted lower.
37.(29) Janet Jackson - Got 'Til It's Gone ft Q-Tip And Joni Mitchell
38.(18) The Bee Gees - Still Waters (Run Deep)
39.(40) Oasis - Stand By Me
40.(31) Diana King - I Say A Little Prayer

47.(NE) Dust Junkys - (Nonstoperation)
One of those many British acts combining hip-hop, dance and rock who were tipped for big things at the end of Britpop but never quite made it, led by sometime 808 State rapper MC Tunes. Maybe if they'd been able to spell the word "junkies" it might have helped.
50.(NE) Radish - Simple Sincerity

52.(NE) Gina G - Every Time I Fall
Six singles was at least one too many.
53.(NE) UB40 - Always There
54.(NE) Paul Van Dyk - Words/Moonlighting ft Toni Halliday
57.(NE) Quad City DJ's - Space Jam

59.(NE) D*Note - Lost And Found
60.(NE) Randy Crawford - Give Me The Night '97
68.(NE) Karen Young - Hot Shot '97

Friday, November 02, 2012

Charting 1997: 8th November

Would you like a Spotify playlist of this Top 75? Probably not, but I've already made one so here it is.

01. (1) Aqua - Barbie Girl
Still there.
02.(NE) Natalie Imbruglia - Torn
Not being a regular viewer of Neighbours, I'd never heard of her until this charted, and when Mark Goodier explained who she was, I was pleasantly surprised that she could actually sing. For the same reason I was subsequently confused by the controversy surrounding the fact that this was a cover version as if anybody would expect a soap actor to have written their own debut single. This went on to be a massive hit - so much so that I believe the album was rushed forward - and goes down in history as one of those big Number 2 hits that was only denied by something even bigger. Rather like the original 'You Sexy Thing'.
03. (2) Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
04. (3) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
05. (4) Sash! - Stay ft La Trec
06.(NE) Peter Andre - Lonely
Apparently he doesn't sing this one live any more, it's a bit too high now. It did reappear on a love songs album a couple of years ago though. 
07. (8) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
08.(NE) Embrace - All You Good Good People EP
Listed on the chart as an EP, although in fact the two CD formats are different. One offers the full-length version of the title track and three further songs, whilst the other has three other versions of it - including the original version released as a limited 7" on Fierce Panda records earlier in the year - plus the Perfecto remix of 'One Big Family'. I remember Jo Whiley playing that remix on Radio 1 and describing it as sublime. "And from the sublime to... Ginuwine's version of 'When Doves Cry'". Anyway, this is just a single as far as I'm concerned, but if you disagree all eight tracks are on Spotify.
Even though this track is already a re-recording, it was re-recorded again for the album the following year, which is the version used in the US video.
09. (7) N-Trance - Do You Think I'm Sexy? ft Rod Stewart
10. (6) Dario G - Sunchyme
11.(11) Eternal - Angel Of Mine
12.(10) Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
13. (5) 911 - Party People... Friday Night
14.(NE) Michael Bolton - The Best Of Love/Go The Distance
His last major hit. The second track was in a Disney film, the first had no such excuse.
15. (9) LL Cool J - Phenomenon
16.(18) Clock - U Sexy Thing
17.(12) The Brand New Heavies - You've Got A Friend
18.(NE) The Bee Gees - Still Waters (Run Deep)
The last of their production line of little-known hit singles in the 1990s, not counting collaborations.
19.(14) Double 99 - RIP Groove {1997 Re-Release}
20.(NE) Stereophonics - Traffic
Not their best-known song, perhaps, despite (or because of?) moving away from the small-town subject matter of most of the rest their debut album.
21.(23) Tina Moore - Never Gonna Let You Go
22.(NE) Toni Braxton With Kenny G - How Could An Angel Break My Heart

23.(NE) Beck - Deadweight

As the video makes clear amid all the surrealism, this was the second single released from the soundtrack of A Life Less Ordinary. And the better of them too, as far as I'm concerned but in 1997 Ash were (and possibly still are) the bigger commercial draw in this country.
24.(25) Will Smith - Men In Black
25.(15) Dannii Minogue - Everything I Wanted
26.(26) Jimmy Ray - Are You Jimmy Ray?
27.(NE) North And South - Breathing
Boy-band + third single + third quarter of the year = rubbish ballad.
28.(NE) Michelle Weeks - Don't Give Up
Not the Peter Gabriel song, no. 
29.(21) Janet Jackson - Got 'Til It's Gone ft Q-Tip And Joni Mitchell
30.(27) The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work
31.(17) Diana King - I Say A Little Prayer
32.(20) Puff Daddy And The Family - Been Around The World
33.(NE) Sundance - Sundance
More instrumental dance fun. Odd time to release a song with this title.
34.(32) Ash - A Life Less Ordinary
35.(13) Goldie - Digital ft KRS One
36.(22) Roy Davis Jr - Gabriel ft Peven Everett
37.(NE) Rialto - Monday Morning 5:19
Their first hit and though not the biggest, the one that they seemed to keep re-recording, reworking and even translating into French for various releases. Still a pretty decent song.
38.(31) Smash Mouth - Walkin' On The Sun
39.(NE) Coco - I Need A Miracle
Technically already a re-release of a single released on an indie label, this is better known as part of what we'd now call a mash-up with Fragma's hit 'Toca Me'. When officially released (credited to Fragma) that version topped the chart in 2000. 
40.(37) Oasis - Stand By Me

41.(NE) Olive - Miracle {1997 Re-Release}
Clearly, the record-buying public only needed one miracle. 

46.(NE) Armand Van Helden - Ultrafunkula
48.(NE) 3 Colours Red - This Is My Hollywood
Like Embrace, they were reviving a limited edition debut single. Unlike them they already seemed to have peaked in interest. In fact, 3CR's biggest hit was still to come, but with a power ballad some way from this style.
50.(NE) Echo & The Bunnymen - Don't Let It Get You Down

51.(NE) Soul II Soul - Pleasure Dome
56.(NE) Echobelly - Here Comes The Big Rush
Clearly, Echobelly and Echo & The Bunnymen releasing singles in the same week was just too confusing and neither of them could make the Top 40 then or since. In fact I quite liked this at the time, although I'm not sure how well it's stood the test of time. I never liked that Bunnymen song to start with. 

58.(NE) Awesome - Rumours
59.(NE) Common - Reminding Me (Of Sef) ft Chantay Savage
60.(NE) Sandy B - Ain't No Need To Hide

70.(NE) The Knowledge - As (Until The Day)
Dance version of the Stevie Wonder song covered more successfully by George Michael a year later. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Charting 1997: 1st November

01. (2) Aqua - Barbie Girl
Of course, the Spice Girls began their chart career with a new entry at 2 behind a more established act, which climbed to the top the following week. So it's only fitting that they became victims of the same process just over a year later.

02. (1) Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
03. (3) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
04. (4) Sash! - Stay ft La Trec
05.(NE) 911 - Party People... Friday Night
So this is the highest new entry, and they were already onto the first single from their second album. This is one of their better efforts, wisely sticking to the disco-influenced style rather than doing another sloppy ballad. 
06. (5) Dario G - Sunchyme
07.(NE) N-Trance - Do You Think I'm Sexy? ft Rod Stewart
And speaking of disco... Another attempt to exploit the formula of their previous hit versions of 'Stayin Alive' and 'DISCO', though this ups the ante somewhat by sampling the original, hence Rod Stewarts co-credit.
08. (6) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
09.(NE) LL Cool J - Phenomenon
Not his biggest UK hit ever, or even this year, but it seems like one of the songs he's most associated with nowadays. It's a catchy track, although mainly because it uses (with permission) the bassline from 'Who Is He What Is He To You' by Bill Withers (actually sampled from a cover version). LL's whispered boasting sounds to me like his mum's in the next room and he doesn't want her to overhear. 
10. (8) Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
11. (7) Eternal - Angel Of Mine
12. (9) The Brand New Heavies - You've Got A Friend
13.(NE) Goldie - Digital ft KRS One
His first album had made him a very high-profile person without any major hit singles, so he had to wait until this single from the second one to make the Top 20. KRS One's lyric makes this, I believe, the first hit single to mention the Internet. 
14.(NE) Double 99 - RIP Groove {remixes}
One of the big speed garage hits of the year returns. I'm slightly surprised this wasn't an even bigger hit, it seemed massive at the time.
15.(NE) Dannii Minogue - Everything I Wanted
Heavily used in trails for ITV at the time, if I remember correctly.
16.(NE) The Charlatans - Tellin' Stories
An unprecedented fourth hit single from a Charlatans album. No wonder they were too tired to make a proper video. I do love this track though. Incidentally, the B-sides of this single are their first songs with writing credits to new keyboard player Tony Rogers.
17.(NE) Diana King - I Say A Little Prayer
A rather belated follow-up to her 2005 hit 'Shy Guy', though I presume she'd released other singles elsewhere in the world in the meantime. I'm not sure why she bothered to cover this. 
18.(11) Clock - U Sexy Thing
19.(NE) Hurricane #1 - Step Into My World {Perfecto remix}
Six months after it had been their first single, this remixed verion became their first Top 20 hit. Though a fairly straight trad-rock band most of the time, Hurricane #1 did encourage remixes of their work - or more to the point, made more of a feature of it than most rock groups who just used the mixes to pad out B-sides.
I bought this single on 7" and got a receipt that said "HURRICA STEPISS".
20.(NE) Puff Daddy And The Family - Been Around The World
Puffy's fondness for unlikely samples continues with the beat from Bowie's 'Let's Dance' and a chorus derived from Lisa Stansfield's 'All Around The World'. If only the original parts of this were as memorable.
21.(12) Janet Jackson - Got 'Til It's Gone ft Q-Tip And Joni Mitchell
22.(NE) Roy Davis Jr - Gabriel ft Peven Everett
Rather decent soulful house track, as it turns out.
23.(15) Tina Moore - Never Gonna Let You Go
24.(NE) Black Grape - Get Higher
Yet another first single from a much-awaited second album. Well, I say that but compared to the Top 10 success of the singles from their first album, this didn't make much impact and the album itself was something of a flop. That can be the trouble with following a suprise hit sometimes. I suppose the creatively-edited Ronald Reagan samples are the main point of interest. 
25.(16) Will Smith - Men In Black
26.(13) Jimmy Ray - Are You Jimmy Ray?
27.(20) The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work
28.(NE) Depeche Mode - Useless
Yes, they really did have a song called 'Useless' on the same album as one called 'It's No Good'. They weren't really helping themselves there. 
29.(NE) Scott Garcia - A London Thing ft MC Styles
Another of the big garage tracks of the era. The title gives a hint as to why it wasn't in the Top 20 though.
30.(NE) Natural Born Chillers - Rock The Funky Beat
More conventional dance here. I didn't mind this one. 
31.(19) Smash Mouth - Walkin' On The Sun
32.(10) Ash - A Life Less Ordinary
33.(14) Propellerheads With David Arnold - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
34.(NE) Fatboy Slim - Everybody Needs A 303
Norman Cook's first Top 40 hit under what was probably his best-known alias, and certainly his longest-lasting. This was a remix package of track that had been released the previous year without charting. A 303, for those not in the know, was a type of drum machine.
35.(18) Lighthouse Family - Raincloud
36.(21) Louise - Arms Around The World
37.(22) Oasis - Stand By Me
38.(NE) Byron Stingily - Sing A Song
Apparently he's a teacher now.
39.(24) M People - Just For You
40.(NE) Laguna - Spiller From Rio (Do It Easy)
No connection to the dance act Spiller, as far as I know.

42.(NE) Changing Faces - I Got Somebody Else
47.(NE) Revival 3000 - The Mighty High
48.(NE) Nalin And Kane - Beachball
49.(NE) Bush - Bone Driven
51.(NE) Death In Vegas - Rocco
56.(NE) Tindersticks - Rented Rooms
The video is for the swing version on the second CD format. Maybe I should have bought this one.
60.(NE) Deep Dish - Stranded
72.(NE) Pizzicato Five - Mon Amour Tokyo
75.(RE) Peter Andre - All About Us

Friday, October 19, 2012

Charting 1997: 25th October

Well, Elton had to be deposed eventually. This of course shows one reason why compiling lists of the "Top Singles Ever" on chart performance is flawed: 'Candle In The Wind '97' was already the biggest-selling single ever but its very fast sales meant a relatively short run. 

01.(NE) Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
So, here we go then, a sea change from the serious hand-wringing of the Elton track, a song that's self-referential and silly even by Spice standards, and is one of their least-remembered chart-toppers. Despite (or because of?) this, I rather liked it. It does sound a tiny bit like they're shouting "wanker!" in the middle eight, or so I convinced myself at the time.
02.(NE) Aqua - Barbie Girl
And speaking of frivolity... I'm struggling to remember now whether I actually like this record or merely enjoy how much it annoys some people. Either way I win.
03. (1) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
04. (2) Sash! - Stay ft La Trec
05. (3) Dario G - Sunchyme
06. (4) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
07. (5) Eternal - Angel Of Mine
08. (6) Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
09.(11) The Brand New Heavies - You've Got A Friend
Their first - and as yet only - Top 10 appearance.
10.(NE) Ash - A Life Less Ordinary
Their only hit this year, and their first with second guitarist Charlotte Hatherley, was the title song of the film that was marketed as a follow-up to Trainspotting: it's not a sequel but it has the same director and some of the same actors. Having got the commission, Tim Wheeler wisely avoided trying to actually sing the song title, but it sounds even more like he's saying "wankers" - apparently the real lyric is "put on your dress, white goddess". 
Drummer Rick McMurray was taken ill during the filming of the video, which is why you see so little of him in close-up. Luckily he had a stunt-double anyway.
11.(12) Clock - U Sexy Thing
Another small climber. Maybe Spice Girls fans really liked 70s cover versions?
12. (8) Janet Jackson - Got 'Til It's Gone ft Q-Tip And Joni Mitchell
13.(NE) Jimmy Ray - Are You Jimmy Ray?
I think he was supposed to be a sort of 90s version of Shakin' Stevens or something, although it's debatable whether the target audience would have known who Fay Wray and Link Wray were. Oddly this song had some success in America.
14. (7) Propellerheads With David Arnold - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
15.(17) Tina Moore - Never Gonna Let You Go
16.(14) Will Smith - Men In Black
17.(NE) Primal Scream - Burning Wheel
The opening track from the classic Vanishing Point album, which wins the prize for most abrupt 7" edit of the year - it just seems to start in the middle of a note. Buyers were compensated by the brilliantly funky instrumental 'Hammond Connection', possibly my favourite ever Primal Scream track.
18. (9) Lighthouse Family - Raincloud
19.(NE) Smash Mouth - Walkin' On The Sun
First hit for the US rock act who presumably were riding on the success of No Doubt (though they weren't really as ska-based). I can't remember whether the lyric "I want to buy the world a toke" was left in the UK radio edit. Either way this is a lot better than their bigger US hit 'All Star'.
20.(20) The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work
21.(15) Louise - Arms Around The World
22.(13) Oasis - Stand By Me
23.(NE) Lil' Kim - Crush On You {1997 Re-release}
Also features Lil' Cease and - for contrast - Notorious BIG. I presume this swift re-release was marketed as a tribute, though it did improve on the original peak.
24.(19) M People - Just For You
25.(NE) Jay-Z - Sunshine ft Babyface And Foxy Brown
One of his more obviously commercial tracks. Not very good, to be honest. 
26.(NE) Rolf Harris - Sun Arise {1997 re-recording}
Yes, it's a new version of the song that brought the (faked) sound of the didgeridoo to Britain in the 1960s. Believe it or not, 808 State were involved, and supplied remixes.
27.(22) 2 Eivissa - Oh La La La
28.(NE) 2K - Fuck The Millennium
The KLF at their most pointless and tiresome. Scooter's song of the same title is better. 
29.(21) Coolio - Ooh La La
30.(18) Supergrass - Late In The Day
31.(NE) Nuyorican Soul - I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun ft Jocelyn Brown
Pretty if not especially catchy track. I think they were only supposed to be a one-off project.
32.(NE) Belle And Sebastian - 3... 6... 9... Seconds Of Light
[A Century Of Fakers; Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie; Beautiful; Put The Book Back on The Shelf]
Finally they make the Top 40! And with an EP that has no title track, as well. The lead track features the same backing track as 'A Century Of Elvis' from the previous one, but with a sung vocal instead of the spoken word. The second track is based on some graffiti that Alex Kapranos (later of Franz Ferdinand) saw written on a local branch of Greggs.
The other two songs are exclusive to the CD and 12" formats, as is the hidden bonus track 'Songs For Children'. Not bad for £1:99.
33.(23) Bellini - Samba De Janeiro
34.(16) Busta Rhymes - Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See
35.(27) Roachford - The Way I Feel
36.(NE) Lalo Schifrin - Bullitt
Yes, the music from the film, reissued thanks to this advert - cutting edge if controversial at the time. 
37.(10) Mansun - Seven (EP) - Closed For Business
38.(NE) Travis - Happy
The only one of their first 11 charting singles not to outpeak the one before it, fact fans.
39.(31) Sly And Robbie - Night Nurse ft Simply Red
40.(34) Puff Daddy And Faith Evans - I'll Be Missing You

44.(NE) Poppers Presents Aura - Every Little Time
45.(NE) Lynden David Hall - Sexy Cinderella
48.(NE) The Supernaturals - Prepare To Land
Remixed slightly from the album version. Seemingly one single too far though.
49.(NE) Martha Wash - Carry On '97
51.(NE) De Bos - On The Run
54.(NE) Vanessa-Mae - Storm
58.(NE) The Corrs - Only When I Sleep
First single from the Talk On Corners album, which was to be one of the biggest of 1998.
60.(NE) Hardfloor - Acperience
68.(NE) Cecil - Hostage In A Frock
70.(NE) Sparks - Number One Song In Heaven {1997}
In what seems coincidentally in tune with the trends of late 2012, they did an album re-recording a load of their old songs in modernised versions. I believe Jimmy Somerville contributed to this track.