Friday, May 25, 2012

Charting 1997: 31st May

It always seems wrong for there to be a 31st of May, somehow, it feels like it should be one of the 30-day months. Anyway, that's my excuse for posting this late and I'm sticking to it.

01.(NE) Eternal - I Wanna Be The Only One ft BeBe Winans
Joining the surprisingly small number of all-female groups to have topped the singles chart (ignoring the presence of Bebe Winans), though by this point no longer the nation's favourite girlband. It always felt to me more like one of those cases where it seemed like a Number One single was due for an act, rather than this being an especially good song by them.
02. (2) Sarah Brightman And Andrea Bocelli - Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro)
03. (1) Olive - You're Not Alone {1997}
04.(NE) Rosie Gaines - Closer Than Close
Garage remix of a solo track by Prince's former backing singer.
05.(11) The Rembrandts - I'll Be There For You {1997}
I guess news of the reissue spread slowly.
06. (5) The Cardigans - Lovefool {1997}
07. (7) Shola Ama - You Might Need Somebody
08. (3) Katrina And The Waves - Love Shine A Light
09. (6) Damage - Wonderful Tonight
10. (8) R Kelly - I Believe I Can Fly
11.(10) DJ Quicksilver - Bellissima
12. (9) Toni Braxton - I Don't Want To
13. (4) No Mercy - Please Don't Go
14.(NE) Warren G - Smokin' Me Out ft Ron Isley
Based on the old Isley Brothers track 'Coolin' Me Out', with the chorus resung by the lead singer. Who thought this song - or indeed any song, ever - would be improved by the addition of Warren G is unclear.
15.(NE) Faith No More - Ashes To Ashes
Not the David Bowie song. Not a big radio hit either.
16.(13) Elvis Presley - Always On My Mind {1997}
17.(NE) Strike - I Have Peace
Fifth hit single from the UK dance act, not counting both chart appearances of their signature song 'U Sure Do'. Not that this could help their one album chart any higher than 155 though. 
18.(NE) Monaco - Sweet Lips
Speaking of acts better known for a debut hit, the second Top 20 in a row for Hooky and Pottsy and it's a more dance-flavoured track this time.
19.(NE) Basement Jaxx - Fly Life
Their first hit, a couple of years before they released an album and became properly well-known. I remember Andrew Collins and Stuart Maconie discussing this track on Radio 1:
"I can tell you something interesting: last week this was Number One on the list of Radio 1's most played records, but on commercial radio it was Number 41."
"Well, if that's you saying something interesting I hope you're never called upon to say something boring."
20.(12) North And South - I'm A Man Not A Boy
21.(18) Blackstreet - Don't Leave Me
22.(24) Suggs And Co - Blue Day ft The Chelsea Team
23.(17) 911 - Bodyshakin'
24.(NE) Geneva - Tranquilizer
The big single to lead into the album, with its anthemic-manqué chorus "Let's be happy while we're still young". They don't sound very happy though, do they?
25.(NE) Fluke - Absurd
Still plugging away with the odd song titles and still loved by soundtrack compilers but never quite stars.
26.(25) Eels - Susan's House
27.(22) The Seahorses - Love Is The Law
28.(19) Gary Barlow - Love Won't Wait
29.(NE) Cake - I Will Survive
A band from San Franciso covering a gay anthem and still managing not to be at all camp. Or interesting. They do add some swearing though.
30.(NE) Jeremy Healy And Amos - Argentina
The ex-members of Haysi Fantaysee and E-Zee Posse teamed up for a number of hits, of which this was not the most remembered. They subsequently married Patsy Kensit and Lisa I'Anson respectively.
31.(NE) Double 99 - RIP Groove
One of the big garage hits of 1997. Not the last we'd hear of this. 
32.(NE) Symposium - The Answer To Why I Hate You
A band famous for their fanatical fanbase. You can imagine if Twitter had been around then it would have been full of trends like #IATWIHYoutMonday and #TheAnswerToWhyILoveRoss .
33.(NE) Stereophonics - More Life In A Tramp's Vest
Their first Top 40 single, which finds Kelly Jones in the persona of a grumpy greengrocer. Still one of their best songs, I think.
34.(29) Brownstone - 5 Miles To Empty
35.(16) Ginuwine - Tell Me Do U Wanna
36.(28) Maxwell - Ascension, No-One's Gonna Love You, So Don't Ever Wonder {1997}
37.(32) George Michael - Star People '97
38.(31) Mary J Blige - Love Is All We Need
39.(15) Aaliyah - If Your Girl Only Knew/One In A Million
40.(34) Republica - Drop Dead Gorgeous

54.(NE) Counting Crows - Daylight Fading
67.(NE) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - (Are You) The One I've Been Waiting For?
Rumoured to be about PJ Harvey, though Cave has never confirmed nor denied this.

72.(RE) Backstreet Boys - Anywhere For You
73.(NE) Spellbound - Heaven On Earth

Friday, May 18, 2012

Charting 1997: 24th May

A bit of stability at the top for a change - unlike the plummets of the last two Number One singles, Olive don't fall any places at all. Still plenty of new entries though, don't worry.

01.  (1) Olive - You're Not Alone {1997}
02. (NE) Sarah Brightman And Andrea Bocelli - Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro)
Being a teenager at the time, I had no idea this record even existed until Mark Goodier played it on the chart rundown. I'd never even heard of Andrea Bocelli at the time. Needless to say, ignorance was bliss as far as I was concerned.
03. (13) Katrina And The Waves - Love Shine A Light
04. (NE) No Mercy - Please Don't Go
Covering the old KC and the Sunshine Band hit, more recently a European chart topper for Double You? and a UK one for KWS. 
05. (2) The Cardigans - Lovefool {1997}
06. (3) Damage - Wonderful Tonight
07. (4) Shola Ama - You Might Need Somebody
08. (5) R Kelly - I Believe I Can Fly
09.(NE) Toni Braxton - I Don't Want To
Obvious jokes spring to mind. 
10.(10) DJ Quicksilver - Bellissima
11.(NE) The Rembrandts - I'll Be There For You {1997 re-issue}
The theme tune to Friends of course, which had already been a big hit in 1995. I believe it was re-issued to promote the VHS release of the first series, which reminds you how long ago 1997 was.
Personally, I always found this deeply annoying as a song. 
12. (7) North And South - I'm A Man Not A Boy
13.(NE) Elvis Presley - Always On My Mind {1997 re-issue}
I didn't remember why this was reissued, but fortunately when I did the YouTube search I found a three-minute TV commercial which included this song it its entirety. One of the better late Elvis hits, I think.
14.(NE) Placebo - Bruise Pristine
Hearing this at the time I thought it was a weak rehash of 'Nancy Boy', although I subsequently learnt that the track had first been released on an indie label in 1995: this is a re-recording. Still, I consider it a less good song that is similar to the big hit.
15.(NE) Aaliyah - If Your Girl Only Knew/One In A Million
The first track had already been a minor hit the previous year, which might be why I remember it; the second was the title cut of her second album and I believe was the bigger hit in America. Rather better than most of the RnB in this chart.
16.(NE) Ginuwine - Tell Me Do U Wanna
If you're asking Toni Braxton, Mr Lumpkin, the answer is no.
17.(16) 911 - Bodyshakin'
18.(17) Blackstreet - Don't Leave Me
19. (6) Gary Barlow - Love Won't Wait
20.(NE) The Orb - Asylum
Strange to think that as recently as this they were big enough to have two Top 20 hits within a year.
21.(NE) Duran Duran - Out Of My Mind
A single from an album so poor nobody could even be bothered to release it in the UK, but this track slipped out as a promotion for the soundtrack of The Saint.
22.(11) The Seahorses - Love Is The Law
23.(NE) Hal ft Gillian Anderson - Extremis
Yeah, this was allowed to happen. Some fairly standard electronica with the actress from the X-Files heavy breathing over it. I suspect the video would have been a significant selling point.
24.(26) Suggs And Co - Blue Day ft The Chelsea Team
Climbing as the big day approached.
25. (9) Eels - Susan's House
26.(NE) Super Furry Animals - Hermann Loves Pauline

At the time I was still somewhat suspicious of the band, who I always thought were somewhat oversold by the press hype. In fairness to them, it'd be almost impossible for any band to be as good as the NME said they were at the time.
This first single from their second album is "of course" named after Einstein's parents and with hindsight it's an excellent glam-rock/techno/hip-hop sort of thing. 
27. (NE) Monica - For You I Will
It seems to have been national bland RnB week. 
28. (NE) Maxwell - Ascension, No-One's Gonna Love You, So Don't Ever Wonder {1997 re-issue}
At least this record is actively poor, or at least sickly in its loverman-style posturing. 
29.(12) Brownstone - 5 Miles To Empty
30.(NE) Beck - Sissyneck
The last and probably least-remembered of the four hits from Odelay - I don't think they even made a video for it. Rather like SFA above, his reviews set an impossible standard and at the time hearing this did nothing to convince me. Even now this seems a very odd choice of single. Incidentally, the track 'Jack-Ass' was released as a fifth single but not in a chart-eligible format.
31.(15) Mary J Blige - Love Is All We Need
32.(14) George Michael - Star People '97
33.(18) Jamiroquai - Alright
34.(22) Republica - Drop Dead Gorgeous
35.(NE) Sandy B - Make The World Go Round {1997 remix}
A song that finally made the Top 20 when it was remixed again.
36.(21) Michael Jackson - Blood On The Dancefloor
37.(25) Red 5 - I Love You... Stop!
38. (8) Primal Scream - Kowalski
39.(20) Delirious? - Deeper
40.(32) No Doubt - Don't Speak

44.(NE) Middlesbrough FC - Let's Dance ft Bob Mortimer And Chris Rea
I've only linked to this in the interests of balance as I linked to the Chelsea video last week. This appears to feature Chris Rea in the sense that Bob Mortimer and the footballers are singing over the top of his original recording.
57.(NE) White Town - Undressed
The follow-up single doing even worse than expected. 

59.(NE) Belle And Sebastian - Dog On Wheels
[Dog On Wheels; The State I Am In [demo]; String Bean Jean; Belle And Sebastian]

Already two albums into their career when they made this first appearance in the singles chart, or indeed any national Top 75, with the first of their three "summer" EP releases. The second track is an early version of the opening track from their then-impossible-to-get debut album Tigermilk, but the other three were previously unreleased songs. Note that contrary to reputation, lead singer Stuart Murdoch actually stars in the video for the title track.
63.(NE) Y-Traxx - Mystery Land
68.(RE) Peter Andre - Natural
70.(NE) Audioweb - Faker

Friday, May 11, 2012

Charting 1997: 17th May

The hyperactivity continues with 27 new entries and a further four re-entries in the Top 75. And even more unusually from this era, a single climbing into the Top 40.

01.(NE) Olive - You're Not Alone {1997 re-issue}

The latest new Number One single is a reissue of a track that had peaked at 42 the previous year from the dance-pop act formed (but, as you can see, not fronted) by former Simply Red member Tim Kellet. I didn't like this one much at the time but it's grown on me since. 
02. (4) The Cardigans - Lovefool {1997 re-issue}
And an unusual climber. I'm not sure whether this was the week the film came out or something like that. 
03.(NE) Damage - Wonderful Tonight
Just in case drippy wannabe RnB boybands and Eric Clapton's awful slush ballad weren't bad enough individually, here they are combined. This single's greatest claim to fame is that one of the B-sides was written by a young competition winner called Craig David, who grew into a major transatlantic star in his own right around the turn of the century.
04. (7) Shola Ama - You Might Need Somebody
Two climbers in the Top 5, which is rather extraordinary for 1997. I can't really think what would have occasioned that, other than Gary Barlow's evident collapse in sales.
05. (5) R Kelly - I Believe I Can Fly
06. (1) Gary Barlow - Love Won't Wait
07.(NE) North And South - I'm A Man Not A Boy
The boy-band-with-instruments who starred in their own children's sitcom No Sweat. Er, I mean it was aimed at children, it wasn't made by their children; I don't think they were really old enough yet.
08.(NE) Primal Scream - Kowalski
Perhaps the most musically extreme of the new entries in this Top 10, and only their second single to reach such heights. A major critical comeback after the trad rock of their previous album. Also the second Top 10 entry in consecutive weeks to feature an ex-member of the Stone Roses: Gary Mounfield, whose departure had finally ended the Roses, plays the distinctive bass part which dominates the track.
09.(NE) Eels - Susan's House
Another act claiming their second - and in this case last - Top 10 single. This brilliantly-observed, darkly humorous jazz/funk/slacker/indie/hip-hop/whatever track was the first Eels song I ever heard and for my money the best thing in this entire chart. The video's a bit pony though, which is why I haven't embedded it.
10. (9) DJ Quicksilver - Bellissima
11. (3) The Seahorses - Love Is The Law
12.(NE) Brownstone - 5 Miles To Empty
Comeback hit from the RnB group I struggle to remember. I don't want to sound too dismissive of this type of music but I can't dispute that little of it made an impact on me at the time, if only because  relatively little of it broke through to a mainstream audience in those days even when it sold well.
13.(50) Katrina And The Waves - Love Shine A Light
Here's the climber then, albeit not an unexplained one. For yes, the United Kingdom had won the Eurovision Song Contest the previous weekend, albeit with the help of an American singer. Thus your video linked to above is the performance on the night. I wonder whether people rushing out to buy this single could have contributed to the Cardigans and Shola Ama climbs?
14. (2) George Michael - Star People '97
Of course, the fact that this was ahead of both of them the previous week and has tumbled a dozen places won't have done them any harm either.
15.(NE) Mary J Blige - Love Is All We Need
One of her thousands of unmemorable hits.
16.(10) 911 - Bodyshakin'
17.(13) Blackstreet - Don't Leave Me
18. (6) Jamiroquai - Alright
19.(NE) CJ Bolland - The Prophet
Though I'd always been under the impression CJ Bolland was Belgian, apparently he's actually from Stockton-On-Tees. The second of only three chart hits in a prolific career, this samples dialogue from The Last Temptation of Christ.
20.(NE) Delirious? - Deeper
Speaking of Christ, this was the first major hit from the God-squad rock band who always reminded me of a less exciting version of James, somehow.
21. (8) Michael Jackson - Blood On The Dancefloor
22.(18) Republica - Drop Dead Gorgeous
23.(NE) The Space Brothers - Shine
Trance duo Ricky Simmons and Stephen Jones under one of their many aliases. This track eventually made the Top 20 in a remixed version in 2000.
24.(NE) OTT - Forever Girl
They'd lost one member since their previous hit in February. At least they'd only have had to split their tiny income from this single four ways.
25.(11) Red 5 - I Love You... Stop!
26.(NE) Suggs And Co - Blue Day ft The Chelsea Team
Preparing for the imminent FA Cup final.
27.(NE) My Life Story - sTrumpet
The only one of their six (consecutive) Top 40 singles to breach the Top 30, and in truth one of their best songs, despite Jake Shillingford's rather painful singing.
28.(NE) Sinead O'Connor - Gospel Oak EP
[This Is To Mother You; I Am Enough For Myself; Petit Poulet; 4 My Love]
Her last hit, a one-off release not obviously connected to any album.
29.(17) Robbie Williams - Old Before I Die
30.(12) Foo Fighters - Monkey Wrench
31.(20) The Course - Ready Or Not
32.(23) No Doubt - Don't Speak
33.(NE) Paul Young - I Wish You Love
Also his last hit, despite a new record contract, a new musical direction (vaguely country-rock) and new facial hair.
34.(NE) Embrace - Fireworks EP
[The Last Gas; Now You're Nobody; Blind; Fireworks]
In contrast, the first Top 40 hit for this then hotly-tipped indie band, after their limited-edition debut single 'All You Good Good People' had sold out fast. Strangely, the lead track is by far the worst, but also the only one on YouTube in its original form: the two slower tracks only seem to show up in the inferior re-recorded versions from their album.
35.(14) Ant And Dec - Falling
Deservedly so.
36.(NE) Laurie Johnson/London Big Band - Theme From 'the Professionals'
There must have been some really good reason for this single to be (re?)-released and in the chart in the 1990s, but I can't really fathom it.
37.(NE) Babybird - Cornershop
Stephen Jones (not the same one who was in the Space Brothers) pulls a fourth hit off the album, whether we like it or not.
38.(33) Sash! - Encore Une Fois
39.(24) Brainbug - Nightmare
40.(NE) Propellerheads - Spybreak!
Their first hit, probably better known for its appearance in an advert than its minor chart success.

42.(NE) Team Deep - Morning Light
45.(NE) Scooter - Fire!
52.(NE) Ca$ino - Sound Of Eden/Bad Apple
53.(RE) Blue Amazon - And Then The Rain Falls
54.(RE) Spice Girls - 2 Become 1
55.(NE) Billy Bragg - The Boy Done Good/Sugar Daddy
A new A-side co-written by Johnny Marr and a track from his album of the previous year.
64.(NE) Rebekah Ryan - Woman In Love
65.(NE) Salad - Cardboy King
67.(RE) Boyzone - Isn't It A Wonder
69.(NE) Paul Van Dyk - Forbidden Fruit
72.(RE) U2 - Discotheque
73.(NE) Rootjoose - Can't Keep Living This Way
75.(NE) Ann Nesby - Hold On

Friday, May 04, 2012

Charting 1997: 10th May

I don't say much about real-life events on this blog, but there are one or two that seem like they can't be avoided. So I might as well remind everyone that there was a General Election on the 1st of May, meaning that this chart covers the first CDs sold under a Labour government in the UK. As it happens, even by 1997 standards there's a lot of in with the new going on. 

01.(NE) Gary Barlow - Love Won't Wait

Trivia question: what's the only UK Number One single to credit Madonna as a writer, but not a performer? Well, obviously it's this one otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned it. Barlow's second solo single, and some eyebrows were raised at the time as the multi-award-winning songwriter resorted to cover versions this early.
02.(NE) George Michael - Star People '97
If you're keeping track, this is the fifth single from the Older album, which was a year older by now. With the aid of a remix, it keeps his Top 3 run going. 
03.(NE) The Seahorses - Love Is The Law
And completing this all-new Top 3, the first single from the group who'd recently played a secret gig at my university. I didn't go. 
Naturally, they didn't have a Top 3 hit from that alone, they were the new project from ex-Stone Roses guitarist John Squire, who wrote this song but doesn't sing it - the vocalist was former busker Chris Helme. There was a brief hold-up to their career when somebody pointed out that "The Seahorses" is an anagram of "he hates Roses", though a brief change to just Seahorses was scotched by legal problems.
04. (4) The Cardigans - Lovefool {re-issue}
05. (2) R Kelly - I Believe I Can Fly
06.(NE) Jamiroquai - Alright
Unconnected to the identically-titled hits by Cast and Supergrass, this was the third single from their album, oddly released a full six months after the second. 
07. (6) Shola Ama - You Might Need Somebody
08. (1) Michael Jackson - Blood On The Dancefloor
09. (5) DJ Quicksilver - Bellissima
10. (3) 911 - Bodyshakin'
11.(NE) Red 5 - I Love You... Stop!
For years I'd assumed this would be based on a sample of 'Stop To Love' by Luther Vandross, but it turns out it isn't. I believe the name Red 5 is a reference to Nigel Mansell but feel free to prove me wrong on that too. 
12.(NE) Foo Fighters - Monkey Wrench
The first Foo Fighters single to feature an actual band, rather than just a solo effort by Dave Grohl. Although he does play the drums on it as well. Also the debut of his moustache.
13. (9) Blackstreet - Don't Leave Me
14.(NE) Ant And Dec - Falling
Their last single (aside from the rubbish football song in 2002) and this drippy ballad wasn't a great way to bow out. Especially since actual singing wasn't exactly a strong point. 
15.(NE) Mansun - Six (EP) - Taxloss
Squeezing a fifth hit from the album (it's not an EP if there's only one track common to all formats) with a song that is frankly trying too hard to be clever, full of self-referential gags about the music industry and poor jokes about "taxloss lover from Liverpool" and so on. The various bits of Beatles plagiarism are obviously supposed to be witty too, as is the stunt in the video.  
16.(NE) Dru Hill - In My Bed
Apparently somebody's been sleeping in their bed. Well, listening to this would have helped them doze off.
17. (8) Robbie Williams - Old Before I Die
18. (7) Republica - Drop Dead Gorgeous
19.(NE) Paul McCartney - Young Boy
His first new solo material since the Beatles Anthology project that had been so high-profile in the middle of the decade. Presumably that's why this song, really no more than a typical McCartney potboiler, was a significant hit for him.
20.(15) The Course - Ready Or Not
21.(13) The Lightning Seeds - You Showed Me
22.(NE) Gene - Where Are They Now?
Another asking-for-trouble song title from Martin Rossiter and friends, although the fact that there's a picture of a fan on the back cover of the 7" may be a hint that they were in on the joke. Much as I like this song, I always thought it an odd choice of single. Years later I also bought the second CD format with live tracks from the Royal Albert Hall.
23.(16) No Doubt - Don't Speak
24.(11) Brainbug - Nightmare
25.(NE) Goodfellaz - Sugar Honey Ice Tea
Sometimes the jokes are too easy, aren't they?
26.(NE) Nuyorican Soul Featuring Jocelyn Brown - It's Alright, I Feel It!
It is indeed alright.
27.(14) Daft Punk - Around The World
28.(NE) 3 Colours Red - Pure
Title track from the album and yet another hit for them, though the chart positions were starting to trend downwards already.
29.(NE) Hurricane #1 - Step Into My World
Coming a distant second in the battle of the debut singles by new bands formed by songwriting guitarists who used to be in other bands and didn't sing... For this was the new band built around Andy Bell, not the one from Erasure but the one from Ride. It was possibly more surprising for him to stay away from the mics as he had sung his own material in Ride, but for whatever reason he handed over to the raspier Alex Lowe. 
The riff from this song was used on Grandstand, or possibly Match Of The Day.
30.(NE) Prefab Sprout - A Prisoner Of The Past
Their first new material in five years, during which they may have been listening to some of the same records as Mansun were. Sadly their last hit, but a better way to go than Ant & Dec.
31.(NE) Jay-Z Featuring Foxy Brown - Ain't No Playa
No, it's not called that on the album.
32.(10) The Notorious BIG - Hypnotize
33.(20) Sash! - Encore Une Fois
34.(17) U2 - Staring At The Sun
35.(NE) Tin Tin Out Featuring Tony Hadley - Dance With Me
The end of the Eighties revival. Until the next one.
36.(21) Texas - Halo
37.(19) D:Ream - Things Can Only Get Better {second re-issue}
38.(25) Spice Girls - Mama/Who Do You Think You Are?
39.(12) James - Tomorrow
40.(28) Michelle Gayle - Sensational

42.(NE) Fountains Of Wayne - Sink To The Bottom
An odd choice of second single, but I suppose they had to go with the song the US record company had done a video for. 
44.(NE) Human Nature - Wishes
45.(23) Blur - Song 2
Despite this sudden slump under the new government, at least one member of Blur didn't bear a grudge against the Labour  Party: Dave Rowntree was actually a candidate for them in the 2010 election, albeit in an unwinnable seat. 

50.(NE) Katrina And The Waves - Love Shine A Light
We'll see more of this one
51.(NE) Dreadzone - Earth Angel
53.(NE) Feeder - Cement
58.(RE) Peter Andre - Natural
61.(NE) Tilt - My Spirit

63.(NE) LSG - Netherworld
64.(NE) Bis - Everybody Thinks That They're Going To Get Theirs
The only song from their first album I thought was any good.

65.(NE) Various Artists - Feverpitch EP
[The Pretenders 'Goin' Back'; The La's 'There She Goes'; Orlando 'How Can We Hang On To A Dream?'; Nick Hornby 'Football']
Released from the soundtrack to the film of course. Third of four chart appearances to date for the La's song, which is used brilliantly to bridge between scenes set in the 1960s and in 1988/9.
66.(NE) Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Wail