Sunday, December 19, 2010

The only chart that counted: 1991

40 Queen - The Show Must Go On
At the risk of ruining the suspense, we'll come back to this.

39 Kenny Thomas - Tender Love
He had a couple of successful albums but nobody seems to remember 1991's inhabitor of the British white soul boy gene. It's not the most possessing of names, in truth.

38 The Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York
As with Slade in 1981, it re-enters the top 40 every year now but between original release and download inclusion this was its only reappearance in the top 40. Every year someone mentions the Ronan Keating bowlderised cover, and every year someone makes a fuss about language.

37 Tina Turner - Way Of The World

36 Erasure - Am I Right?

35 Airhead - Counting Sheep
Those post-baggy pre-Britpop days were uncertain times for British guitar bands. On the one hand, EMF and the Primitives. On the other, the Sundays and Daisy Chainsaw. Somewhere in the middle but gently leaning towards the left, the band originally called Jefferson Airhead, with a stark inevitability, they kind of grew into a junior Wonder Stuff. Relating to previous single Funny How, their fan page claims "BBC chose it as the introductory music on their Match of the Day football programme." That must have caused a row with traditionalists.

34 Shakin' Stevens - I'll Be Home This Christmas
And home he stayed, this being his last charting single bar a one-off revival following that probably forgotten by everyone involved already Hit Me Baby One More Time.

33 James - Sound
First single from Seven, which obviously wasn't their seventh album, and one of those times when Tim Booth would just lose patience with pop and refuse to write a proper chorus when he could woo all over it instead.

32 Prince And The New Power Generation - Diamonds And Pearls
Prince, being Prince, speculates that such gifts might make the intended a "happy boy or a girl". We wonder if this might be the last any good Prince single.

31 2 Unlimited - Get Ready For This
Ray and Anita had four hit singles before No Limit, this one still being used as filler background music.

30 Simon And Garfunkel - Hazy Shade Of Winter/Silent Night
No idea why this was re-released, presuming it wasn't randomly thematic. Advert? If so, it was outdoing number 44, Home For Christmas Day by The Red Car And The Blue Car. As in the Milky Way adverts, yes, festive lyrics to a reinterpretation of the "from trucks to prickly trees" tune. That would spoil your appetite. We can but only wonder what Frank Ifield And The Backroom Boys' Yodelling Song at 56, or Mel Smith's Another Blooming Christmas at 59, entailed.

29 Cathy Dennis - Everybody Move
Still going as a writer - she co-penned Diana Vickers' Once with the almost as fluently prolific Eg White and is one of a trillion people credited on that Boy George track on Mark Ronson's album - but let's face it, you don't need to hear this to know what it would sound like.

28 U2 - Mysterious Ways
As you'd imagine there's a lot of U2 about online, but the one thing we cannot find is the advert for Achtung Baby with Burt Kwouk, or similar, and a falling Trabant. Anyone? Or did we dream all that?

27 Pet Shop Boys - Was It Worth It?
Not on Ultimate - perhaps they're embarrassed about the brusqueness of the contra-vocals in the bridge, or just that it was their first single to miss the top 20 since West End Girls, as it's about as well as Chris, with Brothers In Rhythm's production help, ever marshalled stadium-ready Ibiza house.

26 Altern 8 - Activ 8 (Come With Me)
Bassy rave kids in chemical warfare outfits and branded facemasks briefly become Future Of Everything.

25 Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
It'd just finished a three week top ten run and the fabled unseating of Michael Jackson atop Billboard was just three weeks away. It's entirely possible there are people who think Kurt always sang like he did on TOTP.

24 New Kids On The Block - If You Go Away
Their last top 20 single, and as hardly anyone this side of the pond, and increasingly few that side, have noticed their reformation that's how it's likely to stay.

23 Lisa Stansfield - All Woman
And so a million cash-in compilations prominently featuring Eva Cassidy get their name.

22 Vic Reeves And The Wonder Stuff - Dizzy
Vic's Christmas single was actually a cover of Abide With Me produced by The Grid, which could only make 51 while this was still hanging around. It's not coming across as entirely dignified from this distance, and thus much like Vic's recent work, but a reissue of I Will Cure You is surely overdue.

21 Digital Orgasm - Running Out Of Time
Goodier must have sweated kittens when this one came up in the running order.

20 Salt-N-Pepa - You Showed Me
A cover of the Turtles song that the Lightning Seeds also had a go at. They were struggling a bit already.

19 Kate Bush - Rocket Man
A pop reggaefied - pop reggaefied! Kate Bush! - cover from an Elton'n'Bernie Taupin tribute album, the video to which features her playing ukelele, predating modern mores by nearly two decades.

18 Human Resource - The Complete Dominator
Human Resource as a band name? Only in the rave days.

17 Martika - Martika's Kitchen
Written and produced by Prince, ergo full of innuendo. Though we always liked the reaching too far double meaning reference to "the latest jams".

16 East Side Beat - Ride Like The Wind
Fear hope, all ye who read the next few. It's a Christopher Cross cover by an Italian dance outfit, a form of reversioning that blighted us all then and blights us all now.

15 Jason Donovan - The Joseph Mega-Remix
Having bled the songs from the show dry, they put them all together with a dance beat.

14 UK Mixmasters - The Bare Necessities Megamix
Why would you ever do this? And you think labels will jump on anything now.

13 Simply Red - Stars
Finally, a semblance of something. This album was omnipresent at the time, estimated to have shipped 3.4m an providing a place in the market for big grandstanding Britsoul that the Lighthouse Family would come to sully.

12 Cliff Richard - We Should Be Together
It was no Saviour's Day.

11 Michael Jackson - Black Or White
How excited everyone got when Top Of The Pops premiered the video, with the car-trashing, zip-fastening sequence left in. All official versions on YouTube cut off at the end of the morphing sequence on YouTube, but if you have ever wondered here it is. The graffiti on the windows looks just so natural.

10 Shaft - Roobarb And Custard
Before this the Magic Roundabout-using Summers Magic, after this A Trip To Trumpton, Sesame's Treet and, yes, Charly. Dance acts tried various methods of working their magic on the TOTP stage, few as unsuccessfully as this.

9 Hammer - Addams Groove
Obviously the greatest record ever made.

Well, look at it: Hammer, apparently in urgent need of pepper that can only be sated by travelling to the spooky house on the hill, gets beheaded by the world's worst CGI and ends up doing curiously Egyptian-like poses in an unconvincing graveyard. Christina Ricci makes no more comfortable a supporting dancer than she did in her pop video-from-film debut a year earlier. Buffalo '66 seems both a long, long way away and much more explicable.

8 Brian May - Driven By You
Released less than three weeks before Freddie died off the back of Ford adverts. The order went in for drivetime rock, so drivetime rock we had.

7 Kym Sims - Too Blind To See It
Used to have an old Saint & Greavsie on tape that used this as backing for a bloopers bit. Otherwise, a lesser Keep On Jumpin'.

6 Guns N' Roses - Live And Let Die
Even by the standards of non-Jamaican musicians attempting to bludgeon reggae into a rock song the bridge on this version is inexpertly done, largely because Axl just bellows it in his usual timbre regardless of the change of backing.

5 Right Said Fred - Don't Talk Just Kiss
Their second single, so still coasting on the bald muscular ticket to an extent, though for someone so out and proud Richard Fairbrass does seem to take the broad heterosexual view in their first few singles. The hirsute one, what was his story?

4 KLF Featuring Tammy Wynette - Justified And Ancient
King Boy D and Rockman Rock strike some sort of belated self-referencing paydirt, this the fourth version one way or another of the central theme, and accidentally invent Scooter in the process (Stadium Techno, song called Fuck The Millennium, "respect to the man in the ice cream van" from Weekend). Their last single too, retiring the following May, assuming you don't count K The Millennium.

3 George Michael And Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
There can't have been any oxygen left in the building once they'd finished.

2 Diana Ross - When You Tell Me That You Love Me
The same position Westlife would later take the song to, and when Westlife can do a straight-up cover you know you're not in PB territory.

1 Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are The Days Of Our Lives
Freddie died on 24th November, the day after comfirming long-reported rumours he had AIDS in the days when the tabloids considered it the most evil thing of all. So this got hurredly shoved out within three weeks, spent another five weeks at number one and is reputedly the third biggest selling single in Britain ever, behind Candle In The Wind '97 and Do They Know It's Christmas. These Are The Days Of Our Lives had been the single before last, the aforelisted The Show Must Go On in the middle, and is now the familiar theme to some ageing men sitting around on Sky Sports.


simon h b said...

Ah, the delusion that 'being played over the goals montage' is 'doing the theme for Match of the Day' once attacked me, when a bloke-from-band-I'd-roughly-but-fairly-reviewed did rather too much coke and burst into a wine bar (perhaps the last surviving wine bar in Britain) to tell me I knew fuck all about music because he'd just had his song signed up by the BBC to be the new theme to Match Of The Day.

I might have known fuck all about music - and, strangely, even less about football - but I was pretty certain the chances of the parping MOTD theme being replaced by some generic Isthmian Premier guitar rock was low. But he was bigger than me, and off his chunk on coke, so I kept my counsel.

I was right, though.

Steve Williams said...

Another Blooming Christmas is of course the theme song to the animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas, which was shown on telly for the first time this Christmas. In fact my mother loves that cartoon, but still doesn't know its name and so constantly refers to it as, yes, Another Blooming Christmas.