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)

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