Saturday, July 08, 2006

So here's a story from A to Z

The anniversary seems to have passed a lot of people by, certainly more so than the decade since Take That went by earlier in the year, but last Sunday was the tenth anniversary of the release of the single that arguably changed what we regard as pop music forever, the Spice Girls' Wannabe. So then, where's the anniversary tour, greatest hits, book, TV documentary and so on we were promised, eh? The best we can do is look back at the first UK top 40 that featured the girls, which was issued on this day in 1996:

40 Super Furry Animals - Something 4 The Weekend
No, not Something For The Weekend, that was the album version and this is one of those rare single remixes that is actually better.

39 Stix'n'Stoned - Outrageous
God knows what this was - makeweight dance, at a guess - but we should mention as we have the whole chart to hand that Gina G's Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit had just fallen out of the top 40 and lower new entries included Roxette's June Afternoon, a record we remember so well for Per just going 'wah wah!' for the lack of a wah-wah guitar pedal, at 52, future mp3 blog star Robyn at 54, the Cocteau Twins at 56, the briefly popular on Radio 1 The Mill Hill Self Hate Club by Alan McGee's mate Edward Ball at 57 and the original release of the Supernaturals' Smile crashing in at 118.

38 60ft Dolls - Happy Shopper
When was the last time you heard their name? They came from Newport during the post-Cool Britannia founding days of Cool Cymru and did the three-piece rock act before the Stereophonics had emerged. Singer Richard Parfitt went on to manage the massively NME hyped and just as equally ignored Terris, who are an entirely different story.

37 Divine Comedy - Something For The Weekend
Don't forget that Chris Evans was responsible for Neil Hannon's rise, having picked up on this single from Danny Baker and made it a record of the week on his Radio 1 breakfast show. They complement each other so well.

36 The Cranberries - Free To Decide
"And I'm not so suicidal after all!" Whatever did happen to Dolores O'Riordan? It's not been the same since she stopped making silly public pronoucements in questionable outfits and with ever changing hairdos.

35 Maxi Priest & Shaggy - That Girl
34 Bon Jovi - Hey God

33 Shampoo - Girl Power
You'll appreciate the irony here. Oddly they have a Myspace despite disbanding, or as much as two people can disband, in 2000, with a top 8 including Sarah Nixey, the Long Blondes, Client, St Etienne and Siobhan Donaghy. Sounds about right.

32 Honeycrack - Sitting At Home
And how long has it been since you heard their name? In fact we had to look them up ourselves, as we recall them being a proper pop-punky three guitar outfit but not much more, and in fact they were formed by two of the Wildhearts. Now we all know.

31 JX - There's Nothing I Won't Do
30 Ash - Oh Yeah

29 Space - Female Of The Species
Not a song that by our estimation anyone needs to hear again, least of all Tommy Scott, we'd guess. Now, they disappeared into thin air, didn't they?

28 Everything But The Girl - Wrong
Ben Watt's current Buzzin' Fly stuff is great, but EBTG were in retrospect alarmingly limp for that year or two after Missing's success when they properly went dance. They were drum'n'bass for a while too.

27 Alison Limerick - Where Love Lives
Next big UK dance divas were ten a penny in the mid-90s, and if Alison Limerick were actually as big as everyone thought she'd be we wouldn't be bothered about Madonna live albums.

26 Sleeper - Nice Guy Eddie
25 Ocean Colour Scene - The Day We Caught The Train

24 The Levellers - Exodus (Live) EP
God, remember the days when every Levellers single would get to this sort of position? The anti-Levellers jibes didn't even get any better with time.

23 Sublimal Cuts - Le Voie Le Soleil

22 OMC - How Bizarre
A new entry for what would become a well-remembered one hit wonder that made number 5, like Daniel Powter before the lobotomy. Stood for Otara Millionaires' Club, Otara being an underprivileged suburb of Auckland.

21 Tony Rich Project - Nobody Knows
Hey kids, remember swingbeat? Entertainingly Rich has a Myspace but it's set to private. The lot of it.

20 Mariah Carey - Always Be My Baby
19 Reel 2 Real - Jazz It Up

18 Eric Clapton - Change The World
He's never going to write another Layla, but at least he's still trying.

17 Kula Shaker - Tattva
"A-Ginger Baker bagel tattva!" There'd always been a Sanskrit element to Britpop, it just took Crispian Mills to coax it out.

16 Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen - Theme from Mission: Impossible
Yeah, why licence the original when you can get a world famous if not particularly admired rhythm section to play about with some synths?

15 The Presidents Of The United States Of America - Dune Buggy
A new entry, as you forget how PUSA nearly took over the indie kids in this post-The Great Escape era. Admittedly this odd strumalong effort ruined their initial impetus, but never mind.

14 Umboza - Sunshine
13 Belinda Carlisle - In Too Deep

12 Todd Terry feat. Martha Wash & Jocelyn Brown - Keep On Jumpin'
Released several hundred thousand times before it became a hit, this was actually the second top ten version in three months. Nobody wanted to let their body fly by September.

11 Los Del Rio - Macarena
On its way up with a bullet, worryingly, although those of us who recall it being plastered right across MTV Europe the previous year were at least forewarned. Two veteran Andaluscian folk singers chancing their arm with some American DJs, or as Mark Radcliffe had it "two blokes in suits looking at a girl's arse".

10 Terrorvision - Bad Actress
Another band whose levels of success you forget, this indeed being one of three top 10 hits for the cuddly Bradford light metallers whose Tony Wright was on Never Mind The Buzzcocks almost as often as Math Priest or Richard Fairbrass.

9 Toni Braxton - You're Makin' Me High
What children's book was Braxton the donkey in? Anyone? Forever synonymous with whispering her name over the intro, the new Anita Baker, as nobody called her, broke out the figure hugging bodysuits big time around this stage. She's now a lead live draw at a Las Vegas casino. It'll happen to us all.

8 Livin' Joy - Don't Stop Movin'
Plenty of one-off dance hits that peppered the top of the charts in the mid-90s without explanation. Livin' Joy did things differently, as they had two, Dreamer and this one which tried as hard as possible to not be much the same by playing the same synth patterns but, see, in a different key.

7 Celine Dion - Because You Loved Me
Celine's Las Vegas residency has been going on for three years now, which at least keeps her away from where she might affect our daily lives.

6 Baddiel And Skinner With The Lightning Seeds - Three Lions
Where the hell is "good old England, England who couldn't play football, England have got it in the bag" sampled from?

5 Peter Andre feat. Bubbler Ranx - Mysterious Girl
How times change. The duets album with Jordan seems to have been put well on ice, especially now the latter has a novel out that was already in paperback and half price in Waterstone's on the week of release. Has her time gone at all, do you suspect?

4 Underworld - Born Slippy
Karl Hyde later revealed that he was actually an alcoholic during Underworld's imperial phase, which would seem to be a bit of an own goal when the entire nation is chanting "lager, lager, lager" back at you. Born Slippy (Nuxx), lest we forget, nobody having ever seemingly heard the original version.

3 Spice Girls - Wannabe
That's right. It's widely forgotten that this record that some say launched the days of first week sales or bust didn't actually enter at number one despite a concerted campaign that preceded its release by months - we'd heard this a few times and long been aware of the name before putting either together. As Gary 'This Is Uncool' Mulholland has pointed out it doesn't sound anything like the kind of superAutoTuned music that it presaged, and in fact sounds like something of a mess with everyone shouting over each other. "We got Em in the place who likes it in your face, we got G like MC who likes it on an Easy V". We understand.

2 Fugees - Killing Me Softly
So the story was that the Fugees wanted to sample the original for an album track but couldn't get permission unless they covered it in full. We'd have abandoned the idea at that stage rather than produce a slightly limp cover with a man shouting 'one time!' and a sitar effect, which explains why we haven't sold billions of albums as an R&B producer.

1 Gary Barlow - Forever Love
And this is where pop stood before mid-July 1996 - codeine OD-paced big balladry from a vest-wearing MOR ex-boybander who has since written most of an album for Donny Osmond. Such a fuss made about this at the time, and yet when did you last hear it? Well, before the following week saw a new number one and everything changed, obviously.


simon h b said...

Space disappearing into thin air? Not quite - they were sucked back into their portal, in effect. By some odd series of coincidences, I was their webmaster for about two weeks, after the person who had been responsible for the site fell out with their manager; my brief was to unlock the website he'd locked, and delete some unflattering material.

The last years of Space, viewed from Liverpool, were a salutary lesson in how a little fame, poorly managed, could bring down a buffalo. They managed to find themselves at the heart of a financial scandal after a local music industry body gave them a large grant to buy a recording studio from one of the people who sat on the body's board. Even though the whole thing was on the level, it still left such a nasty smell it still hangs in the air today.

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