Let's get this done before STN festival season crushes everything. The last, thank goodness, of the retrospective charts of hitherto unlikely summer hits - as for The Ketchup Song, you'll have to make your own entertainment - alights on 25th August 1990. This one was Andrew Lloyd Webber's fault, y'know.
40 Wet Wet Wet - Stay With Me Heartache
Nothing to say about this, but then there's nothing really to say about the lower reaches of the official chart bar an appearance at 83 by Dread Zeppelin, the reggae Led Zeppelin covers band led by an Elvis impersonator, with their spliced cover of Zep's Heartbreaker with Heartbreak Hotel. They were different days.
39 Whitesnake - Now You're Gone
Not playing Download this year, uniquely among hair metal bands.
38 Aswad - Next To You
37 Sonia - End Of The World
Oversung Carpenters cover by someone who over the last fifteen years or so has seemed intent on becoming her own punchline.
36 Wilson Phillips - Release Me
"The trio performed at the 79th General Meeting of the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors"
35 River City People - Carry The Blame/California Dreamin'
Funnily enough, the Liverpudlian folk-poppers led by Children's BBC's Siobhan Maher saw the latter get the bulk of airplay.
34 The Steve Miller Band - The Joker
A new entry and eventual number one on the back of the health and safety disregarding riding a motorbike out of a lift and into a crowded office Levi's advert. Some people call him Maurice, because he speaks of the pompatus of love. The twat.
33 Bell Biv Devoe - Poison
Never thought that name reflected entirely well on Michael Bivins.
32 Deee-Lite - Groove Is In The Heart/What Is Love
Also a new entry. Yeah, you all remember What Is Love.
Not technically a one hit wonder - Power Of Love reached number 25 later in the year - but might as well be, and what a song for the ages it remains, albeit one where even the uncredited guest (Q-Tip) subsequently became bigger news than Lady Miss Kier, Super DJ Dmitri or DJ Towa Tei, despite the latter's key role in any documentary story of how far Kylie had fallen before the gold hot pants of doom. Interesting note here is it should have been number one but in w/e 15th September it and The Joker (qv) managed to tie on sales and having had the larger increase in sales over the week Miller took the hindmost. Never happened before, never since. It's more of a claim on number one than God Save The Queen ever had.
31 Tina Turner - Look Me In The Heart
Only possible were she in the surgery she maintains she's never had, surely. (Apart from on her nose after Ike broke it) Back for another tour, taking Sinatra's mantle of overt multiple farewell jaunts.
30 The Hothouse Flowers - I Can See Clearly Now
Piano-pounding emotional heft-heavy cover by sometime Eurovision pre-scoring break turn of a song really not designed to be over-emoted over.
29 The Human League - Heart Like A Wheel
The only top 40 single in a nine year period between Human and Tell Me When for "a sort of Yorkshire Abba" (Paul Morley)
28 Primal Scream - Come Together
Andrew Wetherall influence not entirely subtle.
27 Prince - Thieves In The Temple
From his own film Graffiti Bridge, so poor it's even failed to become the cult hit Under The Cherry Moon became.
26 LFO - LFO
On its way down from number 12, odd bassy synth techno featuring a Speak & Spell solo that was Warp Records' first top 20 single, angering NME kids and dads alike. Half of its constituency, Mark Bell, is now Bjork's regular sideman. Not to be confused with late 90s US boy band LFO, who released here as Lyte Funky Ones
25 Technotronic Featuring Ya Kid K - Rockin' Over The Beat
And Ya Kid K is the one.
24 Elton John - Sacrifice/Healing Hands
Elton had had a terrible time at the hands of both the tabloids, his own addictions and the record buyers at the time, having a number of singles stiff. One of them got picked up on late by a couple of DJs, so the label decided to reissue two as a double A side. Reg's first solo number one followed.
23 Lindy Layton Featuring Janet Kay - Silly Games
Wandering lonely for some time after Beats International folded, Layton had immediately teamed up with the original's singer (but not Jay Kay's mum, that was sometime jazz singer, TV comedian and impressionist Karen Kay)
22 Mariah Carey - Vision Of Love
Big old grandstanding what we would come to know as R&B, an early appearance for The High Note and apparently the song that inspired Beyonce to go that way.
21 Craig McLachlan And Check 1-2 - Amanda
The erstwhile Henry's difficult second single. Look-In never missed an opportunity to mention the band were originally called The Y-Fronts. Bouncer'll be releasing a single next!
20 Tricky Disco - Tricky Disco
And here comes Warp Records' second top 20 single, missing out by a week, a couple who started out doing industrial music as part of modern art installations and would become Technohead, of I Wanna Be A Hippy brief infamy, in the middle of which came this toytown techno. Artists, clearly.
19 Madonna - Hanky Panky
Good lord. So, starting with Justify My Love, Madonna had had her big career swerve of taking sex aggressively to the pop mainstream, something that could work just as long as you don't blow it by, say, releasing a glossy art print book featuring a number of photos of your bared primary and secondary sexual organs, which blows any mystique you might have once cultivated. In the middle of this she got cast as a nightclub singer in the not fondly remembered film adaptation of Dick Tracy, around which she put out an album called I'm Breathless. Her character was called Breathless Mahoney, see. The film won the Oscar for Best Original Song. It wasn't for this.
18 Go West - The King Of Wishful Thinking
Also from a film, Pretty Woman. The books say they had three top 20 singles after this, but we'd do well to name any of them.
17 Cliff Richard - Silhouettes
16 KLF Featuring The Children Of The Revolution - What Time Is Love?
The first, and also least, of the four big KLF singles, though it did get back-referenced in most of their subsequent work. No idea who the Children were or whether they incorporated Ricardo Da Force, a man who really shouldn't have ended up working with N-Trance.
15 Sting - Englishman In New York
"Former Fulham FC player Moritz Volz recorded a cover version which you can hear on his website. It features the lyrics "Ja ja, he is an alien; a humorous Westphalian, he's a German man in West London.""
14 Jive Bunny And The Mastermixers - Can Can You Party
Humorous Westphalians might have provided some levity here. Did this sell exclusively to wedding DJs?
13 Jon Bon Jovi - Blaze Of Glory
Aren't solo side projects supposed to sound different from the main band?
12 Together - Hardcore Uproar
"Hacienda anthem of 1990", it says here, which we're pretty sure has been used to describe 86% of records released that year.
11 Deacon Blue - Four Bacharach And David Songs EP
Straightforwardly titled, at least. The lead track was I'll Never Fall In Love Again, with the girl getting a proper duet vocal out of it.
10 Soup Dragons Featuring Junior Reid - I'm Free
They'd been Sound Of New Scotland also-rans, tied in with being C86 also-rans, then became bubblegum rock also-rans, and finally hit big as baggy also-rans. Some good things - The High Fidelity, Future Pilot AKA, a collaborator for Isobel Campbell - at least came out of it all.
9 Betty Boo - Where Are You Baby?
She used up all my tissues cos there's more seriouser issues. Watch for her interpretation of air guitar.
8 George Michael - Praying For Time
First single from the none more portentiously named Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. There was going to be a volume 2, apparently, but George junked it for unknown reasons. George Michael rarely bothers with reasons.
7 MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This
All the jokes here have long been covered, haven't they?
6 Roxette - Listen To Your Heart
Two Swedish men went on You Bet! once claiming they vowed they could recognise Roxette songs played on a muted stereo from the sound waves' affect on a candle placed in front of the speaker. Can't remember whether they succeeded or not but with that sort of claim surely results don't matter.
5 Blue Pearl - Naked In The Rain
Didn't we write about this the other week?
4 New Kids On The Block - Tonight
"We met a lot of people.....and giririririrls!" The one that namechecks most of their previous singles in the first verse. One source compares its sound to Madness. The buttons, and the pins, and the loud fanfares.
3 Partners In Kryme - Turtle Power
"They didn't say they'd be there in half an hour!" Partners In Kryme were an actual NYC rap duo who knew a film tie-in opportunity when it came up. These must have been one of the last true cross-generational kids' crazes, what with the warnings about turtles as pets and fears about sewer contents and general panic at the word 'Ninja' when 'Hero' would apparently do just as well.
2 DNA Featuring Suzanne Vega - Tom's Diner
Acapella folk succumbs to machines. Vega has worked out the date the song is based on, November 18th 1981. Even better, it was used as a test song in the encoding of the mp3 compression. One of DNA went on to co-write Goldfrapp's Strict Machine. It's basically a Schott's Original Miscellany in 3:47, this song.
1 Bombalurina - Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
So why does the girl choose to put the bikini on at a beach if she didn't want anyone to see it? This was on one of VH1's summer songs specials last week, where aside from recognising the power of Timmy Mallett, who does to be fair sing it straight up even if we're not entirely sure what accent he's striving for, we're not entirely sure of the point of giving Brian Hyland's 1960 novelty hit, apparently covered at about the same time by Devo, the dancefloor backing of the day. Perhaps it's the same wave of nostalgia that took Jive Bunny so far. For your records the official line-up was Mallett with backing singers Dawn Andrews (now married to Gary Barlow) and Annie Dunkley. There was an album. It didn't contain many originals.