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

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