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