First old chart of a new year, and it's w/b 19th January 1997, a chart to celebrate the week at number one for one of the very greatest one hit wonders.
40 The Wedding Present - Montreal
Now that's an opening curveball. Gedge's seventeenth and penultimate (mind you, who really knows?) top 40 single, quite a good one in his slower, heartbroken, not six minutes long phase even if nobody remembers it.
39 Damage - Forever
The only thing people remember the JLS of their day except not really successful for is that one of them went out with Emma Bunton for ages, and indeed still is twelve years later.
38 Mary Kiani - 100%
There were a lot of forgettable even for its field club dance vocalists around then.
37 Spacehog - In The Meantime
Overblown Viper Room glam-many-years-too-late from expats, the guitarist of whom is the happy-shitting PA in Joaquin Phoenix vanity project I'm Still Here.
36 Virus - Moon
A week earlier and we'd have had Kenickie.
35 Warren G Featuring Adina Howard - What's Love Got To Do With It
We can't imagine the song survived kindly.
34 Jamiroquai - Cosmic Girl
This is the one where in the video he's driving all his expensive supercars around mountain roads, inventing Top Gear in the process and failing to make anyone feel more inclined towards him.
33 Arkarna - House On Fire
Prime members of the post-Prodigy heavy beats and shouting movement (see also: Lunatic Calm, Bedlam-A-Go-Go). Apparently reformed, whatever help that's going to be.
32 Mr Jack - Wiggly World
Excitable disco with giveaway acid-friendly title.
31 The Beautiful South - Don't Marry Her
The kind of daytime radio sound everyone thinks they always made, with a great big swear in the chorus. Which, obviously, was re-recorded for the daytime radio edit.
30 QFX - Freedom 2
And the problem with all this dance music is there's absolutely nothing to say about it other than accept its presence and move on.
29 Puff Johnson - Over And Over
Puff Daughter? Michael Jackson tour support essentially Toni Braxton before anyone was ready.
28 Erasure - In My Arms
Well past the peak and into "are they still together?" stage for the one time omnipresent Chart Show Indie Chart high flyers.
27 Thunder - Don't Wait Up
Hard rock travellers pay tribute to Nigel Havers.
26 Enigma - Beyond The Invisible
Like Enigma, but out of ideas.
25 MC Lyte - Cold Rock A Party
There was a time - about here, in fact - when MC Lyte was going to take on allcomers at being the biggest female pop-rap thing out there. Only problem, apart from that Missy had something up her sleeve she'd be revealing in the coming months, was she was relying on the omnipotent Combs for a leg up, and given he was also involved with Lil Kim... yeah, as far as getting on covers in the late 90s goes one of these things would not be like the other.
24 Mark Morrison - Horny
"I will always be the all-time musical great of your city. I'm the Beatles of that city." Even though it's not on the paper's site any more we've got a transcript of an interview he gave to the Leicester Mercury in 2008, and it's all gold. "I don't see a Gary Lineker soccer school in Leicester. I don't see an Engelbert Humperdinck or a Showaddywaddy singing school in Leicester." Exhibiting his full range of lyrical emotion here, this being the single before Moan & Groan. If you're keeping score, the stun gun arrest had happened by then but the lookalike doing community service wouldn't for a while yet. Releasing an album this year, it says here, though he's been saying that for years. "That's N-to-the-E-to-the-E-to-the-G-to-the-B-to-the-T-to-the-L."
23 Orbital - Satan (Live)
And so Butthole Surfers get in the top three by osmosis.
22 The Lightning Seeds - Sugar Coated Iceberg
We were going to mention that they've been ending their reunion tour sets with this, which seems odd as it's really not among their best rememebered hits, but we've just discovered their current drummer is Raife Burchell of Jetplane Landing! Admittedly he has been working a bit as a rhythm machine of a man should since JPL were last required for live performance, specifically Ed Harcourt and the Veils, but even so... the man who played on Backlash Cop is now merely keeping time on Pure for money?
21 Robert Miles Featuring Maria Nayler - One And One
The ambient piano house thing was getting a bit worn by now, even with a helium voiced singer who knew her platitudes.
20 The Prodigy - Breathe
For perhaps the only time, the Prodigy actually sound dangerous and thus worthwhile. Though of course visually everyone's trying far too hard, which was why Leeroy was always our favourite member. He didn't sing or play anything, he indulged in impressionistic lanky-man dancing that can't even have fit in at raves and he left before Baby's Got A Temper.
19 Kavana - I Can Make You Feel Good
Ten years later, the runner-up in ITV's in no way me-too search for a West End musical star, Grease Is The Word, the Sandy role in which was won by Bry/ian McFadden's sister. And they say X Factor is misleading keen plebs.
18 The Outhere Brothers - Let Me Hear You Say 'Ole 'Ole
Having got to prominence via school playground whispers of a naughty language version of Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle), the not actually brothers basically spent the rest of their career making what wasn't so much songs as attempts to harness chants for their own evil.
17 Whitney Houston - Step By Step
An Annie Lennox song she still gets credited for even though Whitney changed quite a bit of it, which is a neat trick if your publisher can pull it off.
16 Ginuwine - Pony
Single entrendes ahoy featuring odd bass-sort-of noise that every single journalist described as "bloke burping/farting, lol" (we didn't know what lol meant then, they wrote the long way around that) but was in fact the first mass market strike for Timbaland.
15 East 17 - Hey Child
For a band who prided themselves on their blokes down the dogs act, they couldn't half give it the full Westlife when required. Around this time it was the fate of all boy bands to put out at least one single that sounded very much like the ballad the Bee Gees never got finished.
14 Byron Stingily - Get Up (Everybody)
Actual name, that. Always chart bothering combination of second hand house beats and soulful falsetto like a post-acid Sylvester led to four-single-charter dance career.
13 Toni Braxton - Un-Break My Heart
Grandstanding r'n'b balladry from embodiment of overbreathiness always played on Radio 1 in unhelpful dance mix.
12 Nas - Street Dreams
Apart from when KRS-One reinterpreted Shaddap You Face - oh, he did - re-singing someone else's lyrics to your own rap intentions never, ever works, no matter what your reputation.
11 Spice Girls - 2 Become 1
The 1996 Christmas number one, having had its release delayed by a week so the Dunblane charity single, a not totally tactful cover of Knockin' On Heaven's Door, could have a week at number one. About condom wearing, of course, although it's since transpired it was also inspired by Geri and co-writer/producer Matt Rowe having some form of relationship, status of consummation not publicly known. She's a sly one. Well, no she isn't, no.
10 Lisa Stansfield vs Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - People Hold On (Bootleg Mixes)
Coldcut cover, except that Lisa sang on the original too, that charted higher than the original, just because.
9 En Vogue - Don't Let Go (Love)
The fourth and last time we'd see them in the top ten, also the last time they'd record as a quartet. Did we underestimate this band at the time?
8 Reef - Come Back Brighter
"Reef all now pathologically afraid of postmen". If anyone ever tries to tell you this period in music was so superior, point out that bellowed surf-anthemry was considered top ten fare.
7 Madonna - Don't Cry For Me Argentina
Perhaps the only time the phrase "she's no Julie Covington" has been used in worldwide debate.
6 Suede - Saturday Night
Narrator goes out with girl on Saturday night in Suede song and fails to get into fight, take loosely disguised drug hordes or get involved with gasoline or nowhere towns. Remarkable.
5 No Mercy - Where Do You Go
It's not even the summer dropping of guard that can explain this sort of thing being a hit. It was just the poor dance beat radio revolution of the day.
4 Backstreet Boys - Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)
Perhaps America never really got the boy band as teenage commodity. That's why all those from this period, your *NSYNCs and 98 Degreeses, essentially sound the same entirely through their career, something that Westlife proved could be taken overseas but it doesn't present them as anything but a lowest common denominator act, deciding if one strand works why not do it again all the time. This is the one where they get rain machined upon on some steps.
3 Texas - Say What You Want
The one that Chris Evans relaunched them with - he'd had Sharleen on the show the previous November as a late booking, apparently as a guest had been arrested that afternoon, she sang Tired Of Being Alone on guitar, and things swelled from there, Evans picking this up for breakfast show duty shortly afterwards. Who knew all it took was Sharleen to get a haircut and the blues guitar bits to be expunged. Looking comfortable there, Method Man.
2 Tori Amos - Professional Widow (It's Got To Be Big)
Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix, lest we forget. The previous number one, though as with Primal Scream's I'm Losing More Then I'll Ever Have before her, you do wonder how they got from the original to the remix and got away with passing it off as one and the same.
1 White Town - Your Woman
Oh, just another of your big band crackly sampling socio-electro-pop nuggets with mixed message sexual leanings ("To have created such mass confusion is one the best achievements in my life") by a British Asian ex-Trotskyite Magnetic Fields fan made in his bedroom. Jyoti Mishra's was fourth debut single (>Abort, Retry, Fail?_ EP, technically) to enter at number one, after Whigfield, Babylon Zoo and Robson & Jerome. Now there's company. Although it wasn't actually his debut release at all, he'd already been going for ten years as it said in the EP sleeve notes (yeah, we've still got the CD). The press didn't know what to make of it, routinely describing him as a housebound by choice recluse. We've seen him at two of the last three Indietracks, he must have got over that. It was originally released in early autumn 1996 by a small American label, picked up and played endlessly by Mark Radcliffe on the Graveyard Shift, and we remember emailing Jyoti for distribution details. Then Mark and Lard got a breakfast deputisation stint, chose it as single of the week, Simon Mayo picked up the slack once they'd sloped back off to overnights, and Chrysalis signed him to a deal that led to a flop second single and album, and back to his own label he went. Mishra describes it now as being about "my first love affair and how I couldn’t reconcile my grand Marxist posing with real love". Wiley worked around it, briefly hyped nu-jazz annoyance Tyler James covered it, as did Cats On Fire. It remains an absolutely singular chart achievement.