Sunday, December 20, 2009

The only chart that counted: 1999

40 Christina Aguilera - Genie In A Bottle
It briefly looked like the world would be taken over by ex-Mouseketeers around the turn of the decade. Who knew what unsubtlety was lying around the corner.

39 Europe - The Final Countdown 2000
It was the end of the millennium. This sort of thing was going on a lot.

38 Whitney Houston - I Learned From The Best
Most interesting entry outside the 40 came at 62 with perhaps the final defeat that caused Bill Drummond to give up on recorded music, his colleague Jimmy Cauty's Solid Gold Chartbusters. Left And To The Back have written and summarily provided about as clear a shot at fulfilling The Manual as you'll get. Clearly, it didn't still work.

37 Bob Marley Featuring Lauryn Hill - Turn Your Lights Down Low
That way round? Really? Makes that remix of Some Day Shining seem like a wise choice.

36 Eiffel 65 - Blue (Da Ba Dee)
The sort of end of the holiday season hit you don't get any more, and just as well.

35 Atomic Kitten - Right Now
"So come on baby do it to me good now/Do it to me slowly". If rock'n'roll is at its molten core about sex, as many thinkers will corroborate, this was the joyless pick-up of a ladyboy. Presence of the line "then we're through" unsurprising.

34 Charlotte Church - Just Wave Hello
Not her should have been enormous but never quite convinced and dropped pretty quickly pop career but some advert spinoff soprano.

33 Daniel O'Donnell - A Christmas Kiss
They queue up outside his house for tea, you know.

32 Queen And David Bowie - Under Pressure '99
Because the bassline obviously deserved to be hidden behind dated beats and crowd FX.

31 Tom Jones And Cerys Matthews - Baby, It's Cold Outside
The days following Catatonia's moment in the sun didn't reflect well on Cerys, and it turns out she thought as much. Then again, when in control of her functions she chose to shack up with Marc Bannerman on telly.

30 Martine McCutcheon - Talking In Your Sleep/Love Me
The Children in Need single. We went along with Martine as a pop diva for a while, but someone with that accent will never be convincing.

29 Celine Dion - That's The Way It Is

28 Westlife - Flying Without Wings
To think that people once talked about them being as big as the Beatles.

27 Lolly - Big Boys Don't Cry/Rockin' Robin
There's no reason why certain ideas should be discarded - after all, there's always consumers of every demographic - but we don't quite believe that the sometime Anna Kumble - last seen presenting on Nickelodeon, fact fans - really sold quite so many frankly contemptuously day-glo pop records to pre-teens alone.

26 Will Smith - Will 2K
As we say, the end of the 20th century did funny things to some people.

25 B*Witched Featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo - I Shall Be There
Ladysmith Black Mambazo, for instance.

24 Five - Keep On Movin'
First of two number ones for the collection of young fashionable people launched as a 'lad band', and we will never tire of telling of how their label got them onto ITV series Britain's Worst Neighbours to emphasise their bad boy credentials and the producers put them onto a programme on which the other story was a dispute that ended in a murder.

23 Mario Piu - Communication (Somebody Answer The Phone)
So the one with the ringtone (pre-Dom Joly) didn't chart, but one which used the sound of the interference caused by a mobile phone ringing too near equipment was all over the place.

22 Melanie C - Northern Star
Two solo singles in the rock chick sell was hastily abandoned.

21 Perfect Phase - Horny Horns

20 Robbie Williams - She's The One/It's Only Us
World Party cover balladry on one side, preposterous hard glam on the other. Fun for all the family.

19 Various Artists - It's Only Rock 'N' Roll
A year after the surprise success of Perfect Day the BBC via Comic Relief tried to capture the same magic with a promo featuring, in order of appearance, Kid Rock,
Mary J Blige, Kelly Jones, Jon Bon Jovi, Kelle Bryan, Jay Kay, Ozzy Osbourne, Womack & Womack, Lionel Richie, Bonnie Raitt, Dolores O'Riordan, James Brown, the Spice Girls (prefaced by Mel C shouting "Spice Girls!"), Robin Williams, Jackson Browne, Iggy Pop, Chrissie Hynde, Skin, Annie Lennox, Mark Owen, Natalie Imbruglia, the ever present Huey Morgan, Dina Carroll, Gavin Rossdale, BB King, Joe Cocker, the Corrs, Ocean Colour Scene, Ronan Keating, Ray Barretto (no idea), Herbie Hancock, Francis Rossi, S Club 7 and Eric Idle. This was as high as it got. They never tried that again. And none of them were covered in foam while wearing sailor suits.

18 DJ Luck And MC Neat - A Little Bit Of Luck
Alan with the rinsing sound.

17 Progress Presents The Boy Wunda - Everybody

16 Len - Steal My Sunshine
Always appears in great summer record lists; had actually entered the chart a week earlier. And no, they weren't one hit wonders, Cryptik Souls Crew charted at 28.

15 Macy Gray - I Try
Soon relaunching with Sasha Fierce rip alter ego Nemesis Jaxson (I see...) There's a trailer clip which a) somewhat gives the 'who is Nemesis Jaxson?' game away by including 'macy gray' in the tags and b) viewed just over 800 times in just over a year, which doesn't strike us as the most successful viral campaign ever.

14 The Wamdue Project - King Of My Castle
1999 was the golden ace of trancey house, and we must never look back on it again.

13 R Kelly - If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time
Too many jokes.

12 Boyzone - Every Day I Love You

11 Alice Deejay - Back In My Life

10 The Vengaboys - Kiss (When The Sun Don't Shine)
When, kids, WHEN. Wiki: "The group temporarily disbanded; however, they regrouped for a private charity event under the name "Boowiffeck" and performed one date in 2005, playing for a Chinese-led operation management audience in Oxford." Now, come on.

9 William Orbit - Barber's Adagio For Strings
Funny thing, Pieces In A Modern Style. Not only did it fill the tasteful coffee table/dinner party hole for a year until Moby's Play arrived, but it had been released to no fanfare in 1995 before being withdrawn over clearance. Oh, and the single was a dance remix while the album was predominantly chillout electronic ambient.

8 Mr Hankey - Mr Hankey The Christmas Poo
The previous year Isaac Hayes singing about his bollocks (fact check pls - ed) had entered the Christmas chart at number two and climbed a place the following week, but unlike, as the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles categorises him/it, "US male Xmas excrement vocalist"*, at least that had pan-generational interest.

(* Which is good, but it's no "Bob The Builder - UK, male silicone puppet building contractor")

7 Steps - Say You'll Be Mine/Better The Devil You Know
Two years short of announcing their split on Boxing Day.

6 Artful Dodger Featuring Craig David - Re-Rewind The Crowd Say Bo Selecta
Certain it was actually just Rewind by Artful Dodger at the time, but never mind. Seriously, forget Leigh Francis and all that, it's quite good for what it was, which is birthing two-step as a shortlived commercial proposition. Worrying stare that man has.

5 S Club 7 - Two In A Million/You're My Number One

4 Cuban Boys - Cognoscenti Vs Intelligentsia
We didn't need Facebook campaigns in those days. We needed a mischievous John Peel, a load of pundits going "what is this int-er-net?" (believe me, son, we didn't know what a viral was in those days) and a whole load of willing to take things on trust. Whether band/label just couldn't be arsed with dancers or hamster costumes is

3 John Lennon - Imagine
It was the eve of the millennium. We did things because we thought they intrinsically mattered then.

2 Cliff Richard - The Millennium Prayer
The first One Song To The Tune Of Another in the first I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue of 2000 was Auld Lang Syne to the melody of the Lord's Prayer.

1 Westlife - I Have A Dream/Seasons In The Sun
As we say, let us not speak of these times again.


Steve Williams said...

The Sun's Bizarre column ran the campaign to get Imagine at number one, for no reason at all. That Cuban Boys clip was never actually shown on Top of the Pops at the time, I think it finally turned up on TOTP2 a few years later.

What was Eric Idle doing on It's Only Rock and Roll? Apart from the fact he looks a bit like Mick Taylor does in the original video.

Alex said...

I'm also pretty sure the artist formerly known as Lolly made an appearance in the This Is Hardcore video...unless it's just someone who looks very much like her.

Simon said...

Alex: you're right, and apparently Tina S Club is in the chorus line at the end.