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. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Charting 1997: 18th October

01. (1) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
02.(NE) Sash! - Stay ft La Trec
It's another Number 2 for Sash! - if you're taking notes it's his third in a row to enter and peak at this position. It's also his third consecutive hit in a different language; English in this case.
03. (2) Dario G - Sunchyme
04. (3) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
05. (4) Eternal - Angel Of Mine
06. (7) Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
07.(NE) Propellerheads With David Arnold - On Her Majesty's Secret Service

I don't normally think of 35th anniversaries as being a cause for big celebrations, but there seem to have been a lot of tie-ins for the anniversary of the James Bond films in the final quarter of 1997, probably because there was a new film out that year. We'll come to that in due course, but our first taste comes with this cover version of the instrumental theme from the 1968 Bond film: the original was not a hit, and coincidentally the other big song from that movie hadn't been a hit until the 1990s either ('We Have All The Time In The World' by Louis Armstrong finally charted in 1994). 
This track was taken from Arnold's Shaken And Stirred Bond covers album, although by the time of release he had become an offical Bond composer himself. It proved to be the first Top 10 single for both Arnold and Propellorheads, and remains the only one to credit either of them directly. It's a rather good update of the original too, respectful but of its time. Some classic London Underground architecture in the video too, and there's a poster for fellow 1997 chart act Ginuwine at 3:17.
08. (9) Janet Jackson - Got 'Til It's Gone ft Q-Tip And Joni Mitchell
09. (6) Lighthouse Family - Raincloud
10.(NE) Mansun - Seven (EP) - Closed For Business
After only five hit singles from the first album they rounded off the year with four entirely new songs (plus a selection of acoustic and live offcuts for the second CD and limited 7" - it was the 1990s after all!). For completists, the other tracks were 'K.I.Double.S.I.N.G.'; 'Everyone Must Win' (co-written by Howard Devoto from Magazine) and 'The World's Still Open'
11.(NE) The Brand New Heavies - You've Got A Friend
A cover of the slushy Carole King song, and it sounds like they were desperate for a hit.
12.(NE) Clock - U Sexy Thing
Another cover. And not the last version of this song we'll hear this year, either. At least it's less slushy than the BNH record, and it's Clock doing what you'd expect. 
13. (5) Oasis - Stand By Me
14. (8) Will Smith - Men In Black
15.(10) Louise - Arms Around The World
16.(NE) Busta Rhymes - Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See
One of those songs where the elaborate Hype Williams promo video is really more memorable than the track itself, but to give Busta his due he's still having hits in this decade so he must be doing something right. 
17.(11) Tina Moore - Never Gonna Let You Go
18.(NE) Supergrass - Late In The Day
Their first "serious" single, so they did a video where they're jumping about on pogo sticks but it's in black and white. I like this song and bought it on 7" (it's on gold vinyl and all) but it's not an obvious hit. That fade-in was not what you'd call radio-friendly.
19.(13) M People - Just For You
20.(15) The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work
21.(14) Coolio - Ooh La La
22.(18) 2 Eivissa - Oh La La La
23.(17) Bellini - Samba De Janeiro
24.(NE) Feeder - High
Already their fourth hit of the year, this was their first of many Top 40 appearances. I was never keen on it though, a rather washed-out grunge ballad that sounds a bit too much like a conscious attempt at a hit.
25.(NE) Sheryl Crow - Home
And here's a fifth single from the self-titled album, another song that I quite liked as an album track but  it didn't work so well of context. I didn't buy any of the three CD single formats.
26.(NE) The Wildhearts - Urge
By this point they were consciously burying any traces of a song under waves of noise, but could still rely on the fans to snap it up in droves.
27.(20) Roachford - The Way I Feel
28.(NE) Levellers - Celebrate
Features Eddi Reader on backing vocals. What's she doing on this piece of shhhhhhhhhh...surely very high-quality folk-rock?
29.(19) DJ Flavours - Your Caress (All I Need)
30.(12) Foxy Brown - Big Bad Mamma ft Dru Hill
31.(24) Sly And Robbie - Night Nurse ft Simply Red
32.(16) The Seahorses - Love Me And Leave Me
33.(NE) Universal - Make It With You
Still with the Seventies covers. You can see how much the grannies in that studio audience loved seeing them dry humping the set.
34.(27) Puff Daddy And Faith Evans - I'll Be Missing You
35.(NE) Silver Sun - Lava {1997 re-issue}
I'd bought this the first time it came out and here I was buying it again, although I have to admit that I never liked it quite as much once I found out what the words were. I still ended up buying all three formats of this re-release, the coloured 7" and two CDs: one of them was a newfangled enhanced CD with the video. Ironically, that video isn't on YouTube.
36.(NE) The Aphex Twin - Come To Daddy
This video is on YouTube of course, but far too creepy to embed. Click at your own risk.
It's fair to say that this sounded rather out of place on the Top 40 countdown, even in this fairly oddball week. I'm not sure how much sense it makes in sound only anyway.
37.(NE) Omar - Golden Brown
Well, an eighties cover for a change. Although quite why he thought covering this song made any sense at all is not really clear. 
38.(23) Catch - Bingo
39.(31) Hanson - Where's The Love
40.(NE) Catatonia - I Am The Mob
The first single from their second album, which was originally supposed to come out a few weeks later but was postponed into 1998, presumably because this single wasn't going to do much. Fortunately for the band's short-term future at least, they pulled off some massive hits in the new year and Cerys Matthews was briefly one of the biggest pop stars in Britain. It's debatable whether there was ever a better showcase for her than this lowly Number 40 hit, assertive but silly. Is this the only hit single with the word "kecks" in it? 

42.(NE) Morrissey - Roy's Keen
See what he's done there? "We've never seen a keener window cleaner" indeed.
49.(NE) Malandra Burrows - Carnival In Heaven
52.(NE) Sharada House Gang - Gypsy Boy, Gypsy Girl
58.(NE) Rampage - Take It To The Streets ft Billy Lawrence
60.(NE) Lustral - Everytime
62.(NE) Howie B - Switch

66.(NE) Apache Indian - Real People
67.(NE) Scarfo - Cosmonaut No 7
One of them is now more famous for being married to Kate Moss.
71.(NE) Edwyn Collins - Adidas World
Still his last charting single to date (not counting the recent re-entry of 'A Girl Like You') this is Collins at his splenetic best. Not one that was ever likely to go down well with radio programmers, alas.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Charting 1997: 11th October

01. (1) Elton John - Something About The Way You Look/Candle In The Wind
Still not budging.
02. (3) Dario G - Sunchyme
03.(NE) Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me
So this is the highest new entry of the week. One of their most popular songs although I never liked it. And "people say... I am blind, risking it all in a glance" doesn't quite work as a metaphor.
04.(NE) Eternal - Angel Of Mine
Possibly their sappiest song, which if anything I hated even more than the Backstreet Boys. Their last single  as a trio and their last to make the Top 10, it was later a US chart-topper for Monica, though her version flopped here. 
05. (2) Oasis - Stand By Me
06.(NE) Lighthouse Family - Raincloud
Lead single from their second album and the point where their ubiquity started to grate. Also, it's a watered-down version of 'Another Star' by Stevie Wonder isn't it?
07. (5) Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
08. (9) Will Smith - Men In Black
09. (6) Janet Jackson - Got 'Til It's Gone ft Q-Tip And Joni Mitchell
10. (4) Louise - Arms Around The World
11.(11) Tina Moore - Never Gonna Let You Go
12.(NE) Foxy Brown - Big Bad Mamma ft Dru Hill
So called because it samples the old funk hit 'She's A Bad Mama Jama', this was from the soundtrack to the film How To Be A Player. No, neither had I.
13. (8) M People - Just For You
14.(NE) Coolio - Ooh La La
I have a vague idea this might have been in a film too, but it was also the second single from his album, and his last major UK hit. It samples 'Pull Up To The Bumper'. 
15.(10) The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work
16.(NE) The Seahorses - Love Me And Leave Me
The chart debut of Liam Gallagher as a songwriter (he co-wrote it with John Squire). Fittingly, the first line of the song is copied from a John Lennon number. 
17.(12) Bellini - Samba De Janeiro
18.(13) 2 Eivissa - Oh La La La
19.(NE) DJ Flavours - Your Caress (All I Need)
The model in the video was Emma Morton-Smith, who had a Top 5 hit of her own in early 1999 with a cover of 'More Than This' by Roxy Music.
20.(NE) Roachford - The Way I Feel
Another comeback single from a soul act. Not his best work, but not as boring as the Lighthouse Family.
21.(NE) Paul Weller - Friday Street
One of his best singles of this era, not least because it's so concise. As you can see from the making-of footage on YouTube, the video was shot in the street where he used to live, which seems to suit the vibe well enough even if you can't tell when it's supposed to be set. 

22.(NE) DJ Shadow - High Noon
His highest UK chart position (as a solo artist) came with this track, a non-album single until he released a best-of last week. No really, he did, it just went completely unnoticed. Anyway, though I don't remember this at all from the time I bought it on 12" subsequently and think it's rather good. Creepy video though.
23.(NE) Catch - Bingo
Another creepy video, though in a slightly different way. At least it's the uncensored version. A short-lived act somewhere on the border between Britpop and boyband, they were evidently much fancied within the industry, but this proved to be their only Top 40 hit and their album was only released in Indonesia.
That video already had an unfortunate place in history: it was showing on the late-night repeat of the ITV Chart Show when it was faded out for the announcement of Princess Diana's car accident.
24.(14) Sly And Robbie - Night Nurse ft Simply Red
25.(NE) Green Day - Hitchin' A Ride
The first single from their "experimental" fifth album which is slightly more interesting than the one-dimensional punk-pop they'd made their millions from. 15 years on, Billie Joe Armstrong has recently checked into rehab, which lends a certain irony to the lyric "I'm off the wagon and hitching a ride".
26. (7) U2 - Please
27.(18) Puff Daddy And Faith Evans - I'll Be Missing You
28.(15) Blackstreet - Fix
29.(NE) East 57th Street - Saturday ft Donna Allen
Later sampled as a theme tune for Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
30.(NE) The Jam - The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow) {1997 re-issue}
Double dose of Weller this week, a single re-issued as part of the group's 20th anniversary celebrations and to promote a single-disc best of: all four tracks on the CD single had already appeared on the boxed set earlier that year so I didn't bother buying this. 
31.(20) Hanson - Where's The Love
32.(17) Ricky Martin - (Un, Dos, Tres) Maria
33.(16) No Doubt - Spiderwebs
34.(19) George Michael - You Have Been Loved
35.(21) Boyz II Men - 4 Seasons Of Loneliness
36.(26) All Saints - I Know Where It's At
37.(25) Mariah Carey - Honey
38.(33) Third Eye Blind - Semi-Charmed Life
39.(NE) Filter And The Crystal Method - (Can't You) Trip Like I Do
Another song from a film, combining the "talents" of second-rate grunge band and second-rate electronica act whose name nobody here understood at the time.
40.(24) House Traffic - Every Day Of My Life

43.(NE) Strangelove - Freak
45.(NE) D-Influence - Magic
50.(NE) Lo-Fidelity Allstars - Disco Machine Gun
Big favourites at the NME and late-night Radio 1, who seemed about to have their first Top 40 hit... until the single was withdrawn after two days due to an uncleared sample of 'Cannonball' by the Breeders. That's already been excised from the promo video but you can hear it just before the vocal comes in here. As part of the settlement, not only did the sample have to be removed but even the song title was ruled to be too similar, so the track eventually appeared on album as 'Blisters On My Brain'.
53.(NE) Morcheeba - Shoulder Holster
58.(NE) Kaleef - I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)
73.(NE) Progress Funk - Around My Brain