Monday, 2 September 2013

The Best Of 1996 - part 4

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1


Without going into too many details, 1996 was a bit of a landmark year for me on a personal level. It was the year I came to grips with being gay (which, if you've read any of my other posts, should come as no surprise) and embarked on my first serious same-sex relationship.

Music doesn't get much camper than Eurovision entrant Gina G

Of course, the signs had been there since, well, probably the very beginning (especially if you look back through my personal countdowns for each year since 1979) - but for me, the music I liked and who I was weren't the same thing. Still, even I'm the first to admit this countdown is packed with camp classics and gay anthems. Speaking of coming out...


Number 25 "Fastlove" by George Michael
He was still in the closet, but George was finally released in a musical sense. It'd been four long years since we’d heard any new music from George Michael but in 1996, his legal wrangling with Sony Music finally behind him, he released the Older album through his new deal with Virgin Records. I wasn’t so fond of lead single “Jesus To A Child”, but “Fastlove”, which sampled Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” long before Will Smith got his hands on it, was a return to form.




Number 24 "Keep The Music Strong" by Bizarre Inc
Bizarre Inc had been part of the rave scene back in the early '90s, with club classics like "Playing With Knives" and "I'm Gonna Get You", but in 1996, their singles had much more of an R&B/soul feel to them. "I'm Gonna Get You" featured vocalist Angie Brown was now part of the group and therefore performed both "Keep The Music Strong" and "Surprise" (number 46 on this list) - and thankfully both songs came with remixes to cater to the clubs. The Boots mix of "Keep The Music Strong" followed the Motiv8 high energy template, while the Dancing Divaz take on "Surprise" tended more towards house.




Number 23 "Love The Life (Peewee Ferris remix)" by Bass Culture featuring Gina G
With the runaway success of Gina G's debut solo single (which we'll get to in due course), this 1992 Bass Culture track was dusted off and given a remix courtesy of Peewee Ferris (who we saw back in Part 1). The new version of "Love The Life" was a vast improvement on the original, which sounded like a Cathy Dennis album track, but it didn't follow Gina's solo records into the chart.




Number 22 "Heaven" by Neuronic
A fact I'd forgotten about until just now is that Neuronic was essentially just Peach (who featured in Part 3) under a different name. One of three songs in my top 20 for 1996 called "Heaven", the tune also had a remix by, wait for it, Motiv8, which you can hear below.




Number 21 "Brighter Day (Motiv8 mix)" by Kelly Llorenna
She'd supplied the vocals for the eventual N-Trance smash "Set You Free", and in 1996, Kelly released the first of what would be a steady stream of solo releases over the next decade. I didn't think too much of the radio version of "Brighter Day" - and neither, it would seem, did anyone else, since the track only reached number 43 in the UK - but the obligatory Motiv8 mix (which there's a link to in the song title above) is what earns the song its spot here. Kelly would return to work with N-Trance in 1997 for more in their series of '70s disco updates.




Number 20 "Make It On My Own (Dancing Divaz remix)" by Alison Limerick
Back in Part 1, we saw that Incognito released a remix retrospective in 1996 and Alison Limerick was another artist whose back catalogue was revisited that year. From the aptly named album Club Classics, this new version on "Make It On My Own" made an already great song (which featured in my 1992 countdown) even better. Alison's debut single, "Where Love Lives" also got the Dancing Divaz treatment - and as a result that song became a long overdue UK top 10 hit. Even though I liked that update, I preferred the original in that instance.




Number 19 "Heaven" by Sarah Washington
Mentioned below

Number 18 "Don't Stop Movin'" by Livin' Joy
"Dreamer" had given them a big hit the previous year, and Italian dance act Livin' Joy struck while the iron was hot, landing another smash with this song and making it three from three with "Follow The Rules" (number 91 on this list).




Number 17 "Satellite" by The Beloved
I remember going to see The Beloved play Sydney's Metro Theatre in 1996 when I was incredibly ill, but I was a big fan of their album from that year, X, and, well, I'd paid for tickets so what was I going to do? "Satellite" was the lead single, and was followed by "Deliver Me" (number 55 on this list) and "Ease The Pressure" (number 115) - but none of them made too much chart impact. I just discovered, though, that Sarah Brightman released a cover version of "Deliver Me" in 1998, so that's something, I guess. OK, maybe not.




Number 16 "Everything" by Sarah Washington
She'd started her recording career with a cheesy handbag cover of "I Will Always Love You" in 1993, but by 1996, Sarah had progressed to releasing original vocal house anthems like this and "Heaven" (number 19 on this list). Both were only small chart hits in the UK, and I recall having to wait forever for "Heaven" to be given a local release in Australia, where it sank without a trace as well. The two tunes did, however, get plenty of club play.




Number 15 "Se A Vida E (That's The Way Life Is)" by Pet Shop Boys
Previously featured here

Number 14 "Let's Push It" by The Nightcrawlers featuring John Reid
It wasn't their biggest hit, but this was my favourite track by The Nightcrawlers, with John Reid once again on vocal duty. John did share the spotlight with Alysha Warren, though, on another of the act's 1996 singles, "Keep On Pushing Our Love" (number 82 on this list), but by then, interest in the group had all but dried up. John then shifted his attention to work as a songwriter, co-writing "A Moment Like This", which both Kelly Clarkson and Leona Lewis recorded as their winner's single from American Idol and The X Factor respectively. In 2011, he resurrected The Nightcrawlers brand and teamed up with Taio Cruz for "Cryin' Over You" - not that anyone noticed.




Number 13 "Beautiful Life" by Ace Of Base
They'd been the biggest thing in pop a couple of years earlier, but Ace Of Base struggled with their second album, The Bridge. Despite landing their first number 1 back at home in Sweden with lead single "Lucky Love", the track and album didn't perform anywhere near as well in the rest of the world. Things improved with "Beautiful Life", which is my favourite single by the group, but it became obvious they weren't going to rival ABBA's hit rate.




Number 12 "This I Swear / Heaven" by Kim Wilde
Meanwhile, Kim Wilde had been struggling with her albums for years - and even I wasn't a massive fan of 1996's Now & Forever. I did, however, enjoy this double A-side single, which teamed ballad "This I Swear" with the more club-friendly "Heaven" - a track which became even more dance floor-ready thanks to a remix by Matt Darey. Not even the release of a cover version - a ploy that'd worked in 1986 and 1993 - helped Kim's chart fortunes, with her remake of Evelyn "Champagne" King's "Shame" (number 111 on this list) tanking. Shortly after, Kim left her music career behind for motherhood and a new job as a garden designer - and wouldn't return with a new studio album for a decade.




Number 11 "There's Nothing I Won't Do" by JX
Another year, another JX single - and this was my favourite of the four annually occurring releases that Jake Williams released. A big number 4 hit in the UK, it only reached number 26 in Australia.




Number 10 "I Belong To You" by Gina G
Mentioned below

Number 9 "Everybody" by Worlds Apart
Previously featured here

Number 8 "Your Love" by Inner City
Once one of the hottest dance acts in the UK, Inner City hadn't ventured into the top 40 there for three years before this single peaked at number 28. Another track, "Do Me Right" (number 143 on this list), also surfaced in 1996, but when it missed the top 40 as well, the group disappeared until 1999.




Number 7 "Right Here, Right Now" by The Flood
It's amazing the things I've discovered while doing this blog. Turns out one half of pop duo The Flood when on to become trance act The Thrillseekers (biggest hit: "Synaesthesia (Fly Away)" in 1999). Steve Helstrip has even posted this clip by his former group on YouTube and even mentioned in the comments that "Right Here Right Now" stalled at number 41. Actually, it didn't even crack the top 75.




Number 6 "I Give It All To You / I Imagine (Motiv8 mix)" by Mary Kiani
Confession time: I had a singing lesson with Mary Kiani earlier this year. Now living in Sydney, the Scottish singer (and former vocalist for The Time Frequency) teaches out of her inner city home and I was given a session as a birthday present. Back in 1996, she was one of Motiv8's biggest customers, with four of her solo singles all getting the magic makeover, including "I Imagine". For the single release, that song was paired with ballad "I Give It All To You", which, if released on its own, would not make this list. 




Number 5 "Pride" by Johnna
As I mentioned at the start , 1996 was the year I came out to my family, so it was kind of nice timing for former Boy Krazy member Johnna Lee Cummings to release what is possible the most gay friendly track on this list (although my number 1 gives it a good run for its money). Produced by none other than Motiv8, the song wasn't a chart hit, but got a hammering in many of the clubs I found myself that year.




Number 4 "Wannabe" by Spice Girls
Previously featured here and mentioned in Part 3

Number 3 "Just Can't Get Enough" by Transformer 2
Nothing to do with songs by either Depeche Mode or The Black Eyed Peas, this "Just Can't Get Enough" was a piano house anthem brought to the world by the Positiva label after doing the rounds since 1993 in one form or another. The vocalist for the track was Asli Tanriverdi.




Number 2 "Show Me" by Dana Dawson
Possibly no song on this list demonstrated more the difference a Motiv8 mix could make. The third single from Dana's Black Butterfly album was a pretty pop tune with quite a subdued feel (hear it by clicking the link in the title) - until the ubiquitous remixers got their hands on it and turned it into a high energy romp (below). I like both versions, but the remix definitely pushed "Show Me" up these rankings. Dana's fourth and final single from the album was "How I Wanna Be Loved" (number 97 on this list).




Number 1 "Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit" by Gina G
Not since "Hold Me Now", Ireland's winning song by Johnny Logan in 1987, had a Eurovision entry grabbed my attention - but that all changed with Australian-born Gina G's 1996 contender. A number hit in the UK despite not winning the song contest, "Ooh Aah..." also went on to be a success in the US, where Eurovision entries hardly ever charted.
Given Gina's local connection, Australia also got behind the track and, for me, it was the best song of the year - only fitting, really, since it was co-written and produced by Steve Rodway, the man otherwise known as Motiv8.
Despite what most people probably think, Gina was no one-hit wonder, either. Follow-up "I Belong To You" (number 10 on this list) was another top 10 entry in the UK and one of six singles taken from debut album Fresh!




My top 200 for 1996 in full:

1         OOH AAH...JUST A LITTLE BIT Gina G
2         SHOW ME / MOTIV8 MIX Dana Dawson
3         JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH Transformer 2
4         WANNABE / MOTIV8 MIX Spice Girls
5         PRIDE Johnna
6         I GIVE IT ALL TO YOU / I IMAGINE / MOTIV8 MIX Mary Kiani
7         RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW The Flood
8         YOUR LOVE Inner City
9         EVERYBODY Worlds Apart
10       I BELONG TO YOU Gina G
11       THERE'S NOTHING I WON'T DO JX
12       THIS I SWEAR / HEAVEN / MATT DAREY MIX Kim Wilde
13       BEAUTIFUL LIFE Ace Of Base
14       LET'S PUSH IT / MOTIV8 MIX The Nightcrawlers featuring John Reid
15       SE A VIDA E (THAT'S THE WAY LIFE IS) Pet Shop Boys
16       EVERYTHING Sarah Washington
17       SATELLITE The Beloved
18       DON'T STOP MOVIN' Livin' Joy
19       HEAVEN Sarah Washington
20       MAKE IT ON MY OWN (DANCING DIVAZ REMIX) Alison Limerick
21       BRIGHTER DAY / MOTIV8 MIX Kelly Llorenna
22       HEAVEN / MOTIV8 MIX Neuronic
23       LOVE THE LIFE (PEE WEE FERRIS REMIX) Bass Culture featuring Gina G
24       KEEP THE MUSIC STRONG / SOUND MODULATORS MIX Bizarre Inc
25       FASTLOVE George Michael
26       VIRTUAL INSANITY Jamiroquai
27       READY TO GO Republica
28       FORBIDDEN CITY Electronic
29       STANDING HERE ALL ALONE Michelle
30       THE LOVER THAT YOU ARE Pulse featuring Antoinette Roberson
31       DON'T GO (DANCING DIVAZ REMIX) Awesome 3 featuring Julie McDermott
32       YOU LIFT ME UP / HI LUX MIX Rebekah Ryan
33       ON MY OWN Peach
34       SAY YOU'LL BE THERE Spice Girls
35       WHEN I FALL IN LOVE Ant & Dec
36       GOT MYSELF TOGETHER The Bucketheads
37       SO PURE Baby D
38       NOT SO MANIC NOW Dubstar
39       LOVING YOU MORE (REMIX) BT featuring Vincent Covello 
40       STARS (MOTIV8 / WAY OUT WEST REMIXES) Dubstar 
41       UN-BREAK MY HEART / DAVID MORALES MIX Toni Braxton
42       STUPID GIRL Garbage
43       GOOD DAY / MOTIV8 MIX Sean Maguire
44       JELLYHEAD / MOTIV8 MIX Crush
45       DISCO 2000 / MOTIV8 MIX Pulp
46       SURPRISE / DANCING DIVAZ MIX Bizarre Inc
47       NAKASAKI EP (I NEED A LOVER TONIGHT) Ken Doh
48       WRONG Everything But The Girl
49       ROCK ME GENTLY Erasure
50       LOVE IS EVERYWHERE Caught In The Act
51       GOODBYE HEARTBREAK Lighthouse Family
52       STAY WITH ME TONIGHT Human League
53       EVERYBODY (MOVE YOUR BODY) Diva
54       LE VOIE; LE SOLEIL Subliminal Cuts
55       DELIVER ME The Beloved
56       DON'T LET GO (LOVE) En Vogue
57       WISHES Human Nature
58       I GOT THE VIBRATION (A POSITIVE VIBRATION) Black Box
59       KEEP ON JUMPIN' Lisa Marie Experience
60       HIDE-A-WAY Nu-Soul featuring Kelli Rich
61       IN THE EVENING Sheryl Lee Ralph
62       I WANT YOU Savage Garden
63       COSMIC GIRL Jamiroquai
64       ONE BY ONE (JUNIOR VASQUEZ MIX) Cher
65       ONE AND ONE Robert Miles featuring Maria Nayler
66       MY LOVE IS FOR REAL Strike
67       2 BECOME 1 Spice Girls
68       ANYTHING 3T
69       LIFTED Lighthouse Family
70       HOT SHOT (NEVER NEVER GONNA LOSE CONTROL) Barbara Tucker
71       YOU SPIN ME ROUND (LIKE A RECORD) 96 Dead Or Alive
72       THIS IS YOUR NIGHT Amber
73       I DON'T WANNA BE A STAR Corona
74       BREATHE The Prodigy
75       SO IN LOVE WITH YOU Duke
76       DON'T PULL YOUR LOVE Sean Maguire
77       NO SURRENDER Deuce
78       LOVE SENSATION 911
79       CRAZY CHANCE Kavana
80       ANYMORE Sarah Cracknell
81       6 UNDERGROUND Sneaker Pimps
82       KEEP ON PUSHING OUR LOVE The Nightcrawlers featuring John Reid & Alysha Warren
83       DON'T MAKE ME WAIT 911
84       IN TOO DEEP Belinda Carlisle
85       WHERE DO YOU GO No Mercy
86       JUST A GIRL No Doubt
87       DESIRE Nu Colours
88       DO WATCHA DO Hyper Go Go and Adeva
89       WHO DO U LOVE Deborah Cox
90       GIVE ME A LITTLE MORE TIME Gabrielle
91       FOLLOW THE RULES Livin’ Joy
92       YOU & ME SONG The Wannadies
93       ALWAYS BREAKING MY HEART Belinda Carlisle
94       BABY, DON'T CHA LEAVE ME THIS WAY Royal T
95       I FEEL IT DJ Darren Briais vs DJ Peewee Ferris
96       IS THIS A DREAM (REMIX) Love Decade
97       HOW I WANNA BE LOVED Dana Dawson
98       JUMP TO MY LOVE / ALWAYS THERE (REMIX) Incognito
99       OCEAN DRIVE Lighthouse Family
100      REACH 96 Judy Cheeks
101      HIGH 96 Hyper Go-Go
102      TELLIN’ EVERYBODY Human Nature
103      THAT'S THE WAY LOVE IS Volcano with Sam Cartright
104      BRING ME LOVE Andrea Mendez
105      CAN'T HELP IT Happy Clappers
106      IF YOU EVER East 17 featuring Gabrielle
107      KILLING ME SOFTLY The Fugees
108      A DIFFERENT BEAT Boyzone
109      GOLDFINGER Ash
110      HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE Take That
111      SHAME Kim Wilde
112      SOMEDAY Eternal
113      DO WHAT YOU FEEL Johnna
114      UNREAL Dreamworld
115      OVER AND OVER Puff Johnson
116      READY OR NOT Lightning Seeds
117      EASE THE PRESSURE The Beloved
118      DISCO'S REVENGE Gusto
119      SUGAR IS SWEETER CJ Bolland
120      FIRESTARTER The Prodigy
121      WHERE LOVE LIVES (DANCING DIVAZ REMIX) Alison Limerick
122      JUST A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE / HI LUX MIX Rebekah Ryan
123      NAKED Louise
124      GOOD THING Eternal
125      ESCAPING / MIND, BODY & SOUL Dina Carroll
126      DESIGNING HEAVEN / MOTIV8 MIX Heaven 17
127      HALLO SPACEBOY (PET SHOP BOYS MIX) David Bowie
128      TURN YOUR LOVE AROUND Tony Di Bart
129      1,2,3,4 (SUMPIN' NEW) Coolio
130      BLURRED Pianoman
131      CHILDREN Robert Miles
132      ELECTRONIC PLEASURE N-Trance
133      BROTHERS & SISTERS 2 Funky 2 featuring Kathryn Dion
134      OH YEAH Ash
135      MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND Sandy B
136      CHAINS (U.S. REMIXES) Tina Arena
137      A NIGHT TO REMEMBER 911
138      FOR YOU Electronic
139      CHANGE Daphne
140      BRIGHTEST STAR Drizabone
141      NEVER GONNA SAY I’M SORRY Ace Of Base
142      STRANGER IN MOSCOW / REMIX Michael Jackson
143      INSOMNIA Faithless
144      I'M ALIVE Stretch 'n' Vern
145      DO ME RIGHT Inner City
146      LET THE MUSIC PLAY / MOTIV8 MIX Mary Kiani
147      U FOUND OUT The Handbaggers
148      I WANT TO LOVE Whigfield
149      CLOSER TO FREE Bodeans
150      I LIVE FOR YOU Chynna Phillips
151      MINT CAR The Cure
152      NO ONE CAN LOVE YOU MORE THAN ME Hannah Jones
153      SPINNING THE WHEEL / FORTHRIGHT MIX George Michael
154      SITTIN’ UP IN MY ROOM Brandy
155      SKIN ON SKIN Grace
156      FORGIVEN NOT FORGOTTEN The Corrs
157      THE NIGHTTRAIN Kadoc
158      DO U STILL? East 17
159      GOOD ENOUGH Dodgy
160      AIN'T NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP Paula Abdul
161      YOU'RE MAKING ME HIGH / DAVID MORALES MIX Toni Braxton
162      SOMETIMES I MISS YOU, SO MUCH (DEDICATED TO THE CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS) PM Dawn
163      GOT IT GOIN' ON Human Nature
164      THE RIGHT TIME The Corrs
165      SEXY EYES Whigfield
166      ARE YOU GONNA BE THERE Up Yer Ronson
167      GET DOWN (YOU'RE THE ONE FOR ME) Backstreet Boys
168      LOVE TO LOVE YOU The Corrs
169      THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT US Michael Jackson 
170      SUNSHINE ON A RAINY DAY Hard Pressed Productions featuring Aletia Bourne
171      WE'VE GOT IT GOIN' ON Backstreet Boys
172      SENTIMENTAL Deborah Cox
173      SPACEMAN Babylon Zoo
174      TAPE LOOP Morcheeba
175      GOT TO GIVE IT UP Aaliyah
176      I NEED YOU 3T
177      UNDIVIDED LOVE Louise
178      DO IT FOR LOVE 4Mandu
179      WHAM BAM Candy Girls featuring Sweet Pussy Pauline
180      CRY INDIA Umboza
181      C’MON ’N RIDE IT (THE TRAIN) Quad City DJs
182      FOUND LOVE Double Dee featuring Dany
183      PEOPLE GET HIGH Boxcar
184      FORGET ABOUT THE WORLD Gabrielle
185      ONE MORE CHANCE Madonna
186      SKY HIGH Voices featuring 'Individual'
187      SHOULD I EVER (FALL IN LOVE) The Nightcrawlers featuring John Reid
188      ONLY HUMAN / RUN TO YOU Dina Carroll
189      OFFSHORE Chicane
190      COUNT ON ME Whitney Houston featuring CeCe Winans
191      IN WALKED LOVE Louise
192      LOVING EVERY MINUTE Lighthouse Family
193      EVEN WHEN I’M SLEEPING Leonardo’s Bride
194      WOMAN Neneh Cherry
195      NO DIGGITY Blackstreet
196      MILK Garbage featuring Tricky
197      SPECIAL KIND OF LOVER Nu Colours
198      IT'S WHAT'S UPFRONT THAT COUNTS Yosh presents Lovedeejay Akemi
199      GIV ME LUV Alcatraz
200      NOBODY'S BUSINESS H2O featuring Billie 


That's it for 1996. As usual, I'll pop back to the hits of 1988 with my ARIA chart recap on Wednesday and stay tuned for my 1997 countdown in coming weeks.


MY YEAR-END CHARTS
1979 II 1980 II 1981 II 1982 II 1983 II 1984 II 1985 II 1986 II 1987 II 1988 II 1989
1990 II 1991 II 1992 II 1993 II 1994 II 1995 II 1996 II 1997 II 1998 II 1999
2000 II 2001 II 2002 II 2003 II 2004 II 2005 II 2006 II 2007 II 2008 II 2009
2010 II 2011 II 2012 II 2013 II 2014 II 2015 II 2016

2 comments:

  1. I'm confused. Where is Donna Lewis "I Love You Always Forever"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never liked that song, I'm afraid!

      Delete