Wednesday, 30 October 2013

25 Years Ago This Week: October 30, 1988

I've mentioned before that 1988 is my favourite year for music, but it also featured some of my most hated songs of all time. Top of my list of the worst the year had to offer - there's not actually a list - was the highest new entry on the ARIA chart this week 25 years ago.

Bobby McFerrin couldn't have made me more unhappy if he tried

For me, the song in question felt like another in the long line of novelty releases that had plagued 1988, but it had a much greater impact than even runaway hits like "Stutter Rap" and "Doctorin' The Tardis", and would top the singles chart for seven excruciating weeks.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending October 30, 1988

Speaking of the top of the chart, U2 spent their second week at number 1 with "Desire", although they'd only manage one more week before that pesky new hit knocked them from the summit.


Breakers
"One Moment In Time" by Whitney Houston
Peak: number 53
No one did a big ballad quite like Whitney, and it doesn't get much bigger than this stirring anthem, which the singer recorded for the Seoul Olympics and Paralympics. Featuring inspirational lyrics, a slow build, a dramatic bridge and the all-important key change, it's pretty much a show-stopper - evidenced by her powerhouse performance of the song at the 1989 Grammys (which used to be on YouTube but has been taken off). A standing ovation was never more deserved. Unfortunately the US and UK hit didn't really take off in Australia - but Whitney's recent ballads ("Where Do Broken Hearts Go", "Didn't We Almost Have It All") had struggled on our chart, so that wasn't a complete surprise.




"Batman Theme" by Neal Hefti
Peak: number 51
Here's an interesting one - the original theme tune to the 1960s TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. From memory, the show still screened in Australia in the '80s, although, since the track had also charted in the UK earlier in 1988, I don't know if that had anything to do with the record's re-release here. Prince's "Batdance" was still some way away so that can't have prompted the reissue. Any ideas? Leave a comment below.




New Entries
Number 45 "You & Me" by The Cockroaches
Peak: number 44
Yep, the future Wiggles were still plugging away, trying to recapture the chart high of 1987's "She's The One" with yet another feel-good, '60s-influenced pop ditty. The second single from the Fingertips album, it would be their last top 50 appearance in Australia - although the group continued to release under-performing singles right up until 1991's "Here Comes That Feeling". Just think: if more people had bought The Cockroaches' records, generations of kids might have had a very different childhood.




Number 42 "Turn Around And Count 2 Ten" by Dead Or Alive
Peak: number 30
This was the point where Pete Burns and Steve Coy (the rest of the band had left by now) gave new meaning to the phrase "big in Japan". The first single from the upcoming Nude album, "Turn Around And Count 2 Ten" spent 17 weeks at number 1 in Japan - and Dead Or Alive became the most popular music act in that country. Elsewhere in the world, they weren't so lucky, with this track failing to match the chart highs of previous singles. Can it have been a coincidence that this was DOA's first single not to be produced by Stock Aitken Waterman in over four years? Perhaps, although as a SAW fan, that didn't make much difference to me - I thought it was as good as most of their Hit Factory releases.




Number 40 "Because I Love You" by Masters Apprentices
Peak: number 30
Originally a number 15 hit way back in 1971 for the legendary Aussie rockers, this new version of "Because I Love You" had been completely re-recorded by the band, who'd reformed the previous year on Hey Hey It's Saturday. Featuring quite a different feel to the original version, this new take on the classic track was also featured in a jeans commercial at the time, while the band's most famous line-up (which featured John Farnham's manager, Glenn Wheatley) hit the road again.




Number 31 "She Wants To Dance With Me" by Rick Astley
Peak: number 15
Two days shy of a year since he made his debut on the ARIA chart with "Never Gonna Give You Up", former tea boy Rick was back with this first taste of his second album, Hold Me In Your Arms. And, it was his first single on which he had a songwriting credit - a sign of things to come for the Stock Aitken Waterman protégé. In fact, as with the Dead Or Alive single, SAW were nowhere to be seen on this track, with the PWL B-team of Phil Harding and Ian Curnow handling production duties.




Number 30 "I Quit" by Bros
Peak: number 14
It wasn't as big a hit as their previous singles - but it was the fourth release from the Goss brothers and Craig Logan, so a top 20 peak is nothing to sneeze at. And, just for something different, the boys issued an onstage performance video as if to prove that they were, in fact, a real band. Well, as real a band as you can be with only a singer, a drummer and a bass player in the official line-up.




Number 10 "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin
Peak: number 1
Here it is: the song which, together with "Kokomo" (thanks, Cocktail), would make the summer of '88/'89 almost unbearable. Everything about "Don't Worry, Be Happy" irked me - from its breezy a cappella sound to the "madcap" music video featuring Robin Williams and professional clown Bill Irwin. The song, naturally, was massive - and soon took on a life of its own, being used for everything from singing fishes to political campaigns. In fact, George Bush's appropriation of the song for his 1988 election campaign caused Bobby to stop performing the song in protest. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" went on to win Grammys for both Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year, but it would be Bobby's only chart hit - making him the very definition of a one-hit wonder.




Next week: a TV actor and a TV character make their chart debuts, while one of my favourite songs from the entire decade cracks the chart.


Back to: Oct 23, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Nov 6, 1988


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

25 Years Ago This Week: October 23, 1988

After the flood of new entries last week, it was a quiet chart this week 25 years ago - and it couldn't have come at a better time for me since I'm currently overseas. Don't worry, I'm not skipping sightseeing to blog - I wrote this up before I left.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending October 23, 1988

Before we check out the two - yes, just two - new entries, there was cause for celebration with U2's "Desire" dethroning Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible" from the number 1 spot. The Irish band would have to wait a couple more weeks for a number 1 album with Rattle & Hum, but last week's other returning band, Bon Jovi, went straight in at the top with New Jersey (while "Bad Medicine" shot up to number 4 on the singles chart).


New Entries
Number 48 "Similar Features" by Melissa Etheridge
Peak: number 34
I have to say I was not a fan of this debut single by the singer/songwriter who'd end up having quite the career - but Australia was, giving Melissa her first top 40 hit anywhere in the world. In fact, "Similar Features" would only creep into the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1989, by which time Melissa was already a big success here.




Number 36 "Kiss 'n' Tell" by Chantoozies
Peak: number 25
This fourth and final single from their debut album would be Chantoozies' last top 50 appearance as an eight-piece. By the time they returned to the chart with a cover of "Love The One You're With" in 1991, the group had shrunk dramatically to just a trio: Eve von Bibra, Angie La Bozzetta and Ally Fowler, who was mostly absent from the "Kiss 'n' Tell" clip due, I believe, to illness on the day of the shoot.




Next week: the debut of my most hated song for 1988 (boo!), but it's made up for by three new hits from some of my favourite acts (hurray!).


Back to: Oct 16, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 30, 1988


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

25 Years Ago This Week: October 16, 1988

I always love an exciting chart week. Who wants only a couple of entries in the 40s when you can have half a dozen or more debuts bursting in as high as the top 5? 

Wendy James always did stand out from the crowd

This week 25 years ago, the ARIA chart was the most interesting it had been in a while with new songs by two of the world's biggest groups, the return of one of the decade's most successful singers, the second coming of Sabrina and the arrival of another sex bomb. Exciting stuff.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending October 16, 1988

What wasn't so exciting this week in 1988 was the stalemate at the number 1 spot with bloody "Simply Irresistible" still holding on for its fourth (of five) weeks on top.


Single Of The Week
"Rush Hour" by Jane Wiedlin
Peak: number 88
It didn't chart very well in Australia, but it was one of my favourite songs from 1988. A success in the US and UK, "Rush Hour" was the lead single from Fur, the second solo album by The Go-Go's guitarist but unfortunately it didn't lead to a Belinda Carlisle-like side career with it remaining her only hit single.




Breaker
"Gary In The Tardis" by Gary Glitter & The Timelords
Australian Music Report peak: number 59
I had completely forgotten this track (a 12" release) existed. The Timelords' "Doctorin' The Tardis" was, of course, based heavily on the Gary Glitter track "Rock And Roll (Parts 1 & 2)" and this version featured input from the man himself. For all intents and purposes just an alternate mix to a pre-existing hit, it doesn't really justify its own chart appearance, but here it is anyway.




New Entries
Number 50 "I'm Sorry" by Hothouse Flowers
Peak: number 50
A second, albeit brief, chart appearance here from the Irish band who'd previously hit the top 40 with "Don't Go". I always associate Hothouse Flowers with Del Amitri, who we're yet to see on this blog, although I'm not sure why. I was never a big fan of this song, which sounds like something they'd play in one of those "speaking in tongues" tent churches in America's south.




Number 46 "Tougher Than The Rest" by Bruce Springsteen
Peak: number 35
Who knew The Boss released this many tracks from Tunnel Of Love? The fourth of five singles taken from the album, it followed "One Step Up" and came before "Spare Parts", both of which missed the Australian top 50. This track did better, though, and featured a memorable contribution from backing vocalist - and Bruce's future wife - Patti Scialfa, whose relationship with the recently separated singer was the cause of some controversy at the time. Also, who knew The Boss was an early supporter of relationship equality? Both gays and lesbians are shown among the montage of couples in the clip.




Number 41 "I Want Your Love" by Transvision Vamp
Peak: number 7
There was possibly no cooler band in 1988 than Transvision Vamp, led by the irrepressible Wendy James. "I Want Your Love" was actually the group's third release - with previous UK singles "Tell That Girl To Shut Up" and "Revolution Baby" flopping first time around. Those two songs would eventually be re-released and also make the Australian top 50, but "I Want Your Love" was definitely the stand-out track from debut album Pop Art.




Number 38 "Sexy Girl" by Sabrina
Peak: number 36
Appropriately becoming a two-hit wonder (boom tish!) in Australia, Italian sex siren Sabrina followed up "Boys (Summertime Love)" with this track, her debut single originally released in 1986. I slightly preferred "Sexy Girl" to "Boys", but without her bikini-clad pool antics, it made nowhere near as big a splash (thank you, I'll be here all week).




Number 31 "A Groovy Kind Of Love" by Phil Collins
Peak: number 2
After reuniting with Genesis for the Invisible Touch album, Phil was back on his own - and this time with a song from his first film. He played the title character, Buster Edwards, in Buster, the story of the Great Train Robbery in 1963, and contributed this cover of the song made famous by The Mindbenders in 1965 to the soundtrack. Phil's version was a chart-topper in the UK, but it had a near miss here in Australia, spending seven weeks in a row in the runner-up spot. The song it was stuck behind for most of those weeks was my most hated song for 1988 and is still to show up on the chart. Any guesses?




Number 29 "Wild, Wild West" by The Escape Club
Peak: number 6
Although this single was as Americana as it gets, The Escape Club were actually British, and this was their only big hit in Australia. "Wild, Wild West" is one of those songs with lyrics I can still recite all these years later (which, for me, in saying something since I rarely pay that much attention to the words). In the US, they managed one more top 10 single, 1991's "I'll Be There", but by 1992 the band was no more (although a version of the line-up did reunite in 2009). Fun fact: lead singer Trevor Steel would go on to manage and produce Australian pop/punk trio Short Stack.




Number 18 "Bad Medicine" by Bon Jovi
Peak: number 4
It had been over a year since the final single was lifted from Slippery When Wet, so anticipation was high for this first taste of the New Jersey band's fourth studio album, which was named after their home state. I always preferred this type of Bon Jovi song than the overwrought rock ballads they'd churn out in the '90s - and "Bad Medicine" even came with a novel twist on their stock standard performance video. Fans (including a lot of barely clad girls) were given video cameras - check out how enormous they are! (the cameras, I mean) - and some of their footage is incorporated into the clip.




Number 4 "Desire" by U2
Peak: number 1

Hmmm, two debuts by the biggest bands in the world - it must've been getting close to Christmas. U2 joined Bon Jovi in releasing a new album just in time for the holiday period, with this future chart-topper the first taste of what Rattle & Hum had to offer. Having pretty much despised U2's last album, I was pleasantly surprised by "Desire", which hinted that perhaps they weren't so holier than thou as their Joshua Tree image had suggested. The extended mix of "Desire" also got a lot of play on music video shows, and I remember playing it in my music class - me on the piano and a friend on the drums. How rock'n'roll. 




Next week: after a rush of new entries, the chart settled down the following week with only two songs making their top 50 debut - one, the latest by an Australian eight-piece group (how many of those exist?) and the other, the first appearance by one of the world's most famous lesbian performers.


Back to: Oct 9, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 23, 1988


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

25 Years Ago This Week: October 9, 1988

Last New Year's Eve, I ended up playing a board game version of music quiz TV show Spicks & Specks (yep, I know how to party) and one of the question topics involved cover versions. Unlike on the show, there was no drawing involved - instead, a song title was provided and you had to state whether the song was a remake or an original.

Who is this woman? To find out, the only way is down...

I say all this because the highest new entry on the ARIA chart this week in 1988 is a song often forgotten to be a cover since the original version was a rather obscure track. I'm not sure whether the song in question was part of the game, but it would have been a good one to include.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending October 9, 1988

At the top of the chart this week in 1988, Robert Palmer was still number 1 with "Simply Irresistible", but right behind him at number 2 was another song that's often forgotten to be a remake: "All Fired Up" by Pat Benatar.


Breaker
"Build It Up" by Go 101
Peak: number 55
Before we get to that cover version, which would become one of the year's biggest hits (both in Australia and the UK), we have a handful of very minor hits to recap. This track popped up as a single of the week a few charts back but no matter how much promotion Melbourne band Go 101 received, they couldn't quite break through. I seem to remember a free cassette featuring the laidback funk-lite track being given away with Smash Hits at some point.




New Entries
Number 49 "Hold On To Me" by The Black Sorrows
Peak: number 41
While Go 101 probably struggled because much of Australia still favoured rock music, there was no such excuse for this band, who were as Aussie rock as you can get. Admittedly, "Hold On To Me" was a bit more folksy than other tracks that the band led by Joe Camilleri would release. Indeed, it wouldn't be until truckin' anthem "Chained To The Wheel" that the group would land a big hit.




Number 48 "Serpentine" by Kings Of The Sun
Peak: number 48
The first of three songs that would get no further than their entry position, "Serpentine" was the first hit by pub rockers Kings Of The Sun, who'd released their previous single, "Bottom Of My Heart", two years earlier. I don't really remember this track at all, but I do recall the follow-up, "Black Leather", receiving constant play on late-night MTV alongside other clips featuring scantily clad women like Alice Cooper's "Poison". Despite that, it didn't make the top 50 at all.




Number 45 "Superstitious" by Europe
Peak: number 45
And, I'd completely forgotten that Europe had managed another chart appearance after "The Final Countdown" and "Rock The Night". This first single from the Out Of This World album hit number 1 across Scandinavia, but only scraped into the US and UK top 40, and the top 50 here. Listening to it again now, I can see why it wasn't as big as their previous hits (which, in America, also included power ballad "Carrie") although the chorus is still reasonably catchy.




Number 44 "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" by Robert Cray
Peak: number 44
A few weeks back, when I looked at the ARIA albums chart, I mentioned this blues performer as one of a handful of artists who had hit albums without top 50 singles. Well, here he is just to prove me wrong - although, technically, the album was a success before the single. The album would also reach the top 20, whereas this was as high as the title track got.




Number 34 "The Only Way Is Up" by Yazz & The Plastic Population
Peak: number 2
So, here's the cover version - which would have come as no surprise to anyone who's read my personal 1988 countdown. Or, who recognised Yazz in the picture above (or got my lame caption clue). Already on its was to being one of the year's highest-selling singles in the UK, this version of the 1980 song by Otis Clay turned the soul track into a pumping house tune. In many ways, though, Yazz's version is fairly faithful to the original - especially its exuberant feel. One thing the singer born Yasmin Evans did change was the line "for me and you now" to "for you and me now", which, despite being such a minor change, really stands out when you listen to the original. You can watch the music video for Yazz's version (complete with bicycle shorts) by following the link in the song title above. A Top Of The Pops performance is below.




Next week: a bonanza of breakers and new entries - by everyone from a notorious glamour model to two of the biggest rock groups in the world at the time.


Back to: Oct 2, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 16, 1988


Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Best Of 1997 - part 4

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


We've reached my top 25 singles from 1997 - and even though there were plenty of good songs released that year, my number 1 for 1997 is my lowest ranking annual chart-topper of all time (remember, that means post-1979).

Dannii Minogue debuted her new look in 1997

I might post that all-time list at some point, but suffice it to say: other years were, on average, better years for music overall. Now I've completely lowered your expectations, let's continue the journey to number 1.


Number 25 "Spice Up Your Life" by Spice Girls
Mentioned below

Number 24 "Show Me Love" by Robyn
Before there was Britney, there was Robyn - the blonde Swedish pop star (real name: Robin Carlsson) who gave Max Martin and Denniz Pop a couple of international hits with "Do You Know (What It Takes)" (number 55 on this list) and this track - both of which hit the US top 10. Unlike Britney, Robyn had a hand in co-writing her songs from the start and bristled at comparisons to Ms Spears in the '00s - going on to prove herself all over again in the latter half of the decade with a series of acclaimed synthpop albums.




Number 23 "Rain" by Erasure
At this point in their career, Erasure weren't even trying to have hits in Britain anymore, with this third single from the Cowboy album released with so many remixes, the CD single ran for too long to be eligible for the UK chart and was classed as an EP instead. It followed earlier singles "In My Arms" (number 69 on this list) and "Don't Say Your Love Is Killing Me" (number 30) - and I got to see all three songs performed when I caught Erasure on their Australian tour that year. For me, it was the end of Erasure's classic era, during which time I'd loved everything they released, and I would struggle to be excited by many of their singles from here on.




Number 22 "I Say A Little Prayer (Love To Infinity mix)" by Diana King
She'd had a massive worldwide hit in 1995 with "Shy Guy" from the Bad Boys soundtrack, and it was another movie that gave Jamaican singer Diana a second hit in 1997. The Julia Roberts romantic comedy My Best Friend's Wedding featured a memorable scene in which the cast sang along with the Bacharach & David classic (previously performed by Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin) at a restaurant - and Diana's reggae version was on the film's soundtrack. For the single, production team Love To Infinity turned the track into a pop/dance smash - and it's that version I prefer, mostly because it helps disguise Diana's annoying "me say a little prayer" lyric adaptation.




Number 21 "This Time I'm Not Wrong" by Sub Sub with Bernard Sumner
After a string of dance tracks earlier in the decade, Sub Sub started their transition to becoming indie faves The Doves with this track featuring the New Order vocalist. "This Time I'm Not Wrong" went pretty much unnoticed by most of the world, but I'd liked Sub Sub's less successful singles and obviously am a huge New Order fan, so I snapped it up on first listen. Bernard also appeared back in Part 2 with "Second Nature" (number 53 on this list), the final official single from Electronic's Raise The Pressure album, and in Part 3 with "Until The End Of Time" (number 49), a promotional single from the same album.




Number 20 "Your Woman" by White Town
In the UK, White Town (aka musician Jyoti Prakash Mishra) was the very definition of a one-hit wonder. One number 1 hit with this track, which sampled the Al Bowlly version of Bing Crosby's "My Woman", and no other top 50 entries. "Your Woman" was novel for apparently being written from a woman's perspective but sung by a man (although Jyoti would suggest that's not the only reading that could be made of the lyrics). In Australia, the song almost topped the chart, peaking at number 2 and, soon after, White Town was never heard of again.




Number 19 "Sometimes" by Brand New Heavies
One of my favourite groups of the decade went through a major change for their 1997 album, Shelter. Departed vocalist N'Dea Davenport was replaced by Siedah Garrett, best known for her duet with Michael Jackson on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and for co-writing his single "Man In The Mirror". Lead single "Sometimes" was my favourite release from Shelter, but all the other singles make my top 100: "You Are The Universe" (number 40 on this list), "Shelter" (number 87) and a cover of the James Taylor/Carole King classic, "You've Got A Friend" (number 99).




Number 18 "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" by Backstreet Boys
Mentioned below

Number 17 "Don't Say Goodbye" by Human Nature
It's funny that Aussie boy band Human Nature should be right alongside BSB, since in 1997, Sony Music stopped trying to make the quartet into a local version of the pop juggernaut and allowed them to be the barbershop balladeers they so clearly wanted to be. A similar thing would happen half a decade later when Sony stopped trying to make Delta Goodrem into an Australian version of Christina Aguilera and let her sing at the piano and belt out self-penned ballads - and we all know how that turned out. Anyway, on the back of songs like "Don't Say Goodbye" and "Wishes", Human Nature's debut album became a big seller and set the band up for years to come.




Number 16 "From This Moment On" by Peach
A second single from Peach which would wind up on their excellent album, Audiopeach. The album didn't surface until 1998, by which time another single, "Sorrow Town" (number 149 on this list) had been released, and the band consisting of singer Lisa Lamb, producer Pascal Gabriel and songwriter Paul Statham split not long after.




Number 15 "It's No Good" by Depeche Mode
Mentioned in Part 1 and previously featured here

Number 14 "Everything I Wanted" by Dannii Minogue
Mentioned below

Number 13 "You Got The Love (Rhythm Masters remix)" by The Source featuring Candi Staton
Here's a song with a complicated history - and one that has been remixed, re-released and remade numerous times over the years, most recently becoming a chart hit for Florence & The Machine. Originally recorded by Candi Staton in 1986, the song's vocal was mashed up with the Frankie Knuckles / Jamie Principle track "Your Love" by The Source (aka John Truelove), and that bootleg received an official release (and became a UK top 5 hit) in 1991. I wasn't a fan of that version, but the 1997 Now Voyager remix took the song in a new direction - and became a UK top 5 hit all over again, besting the number 4 peak of the '91 release by one spot.




Number 12 "Love Won't Wait (Junior Vasquez mix)" by Gary Barlow
The dancier version of this second solo single by the Take That frontman isn't on YouTube, but it breathed more life into what was already a decent pop hit. "Love Won't Wait" became Gary's second UK number 1 on the trot and, after a promo visit to Australia, entered our top 20. Two more singles would follow from his debut album - a cover of US country hit "So Help Me Girl" by Joe Diffie and the album's title track, "Open Road" - but Gary's UK chart positions took a bit of a dive as backlash against him gripped the country and Robbie Williams became that nation's favoured ex-Take That singer... for the time being.




Number 11 "Je Te Donne" by Worlds Apart
After discovering the revamped Worlds Apart in 1996, I really got into them in 1997 (as you may have noticed from the way their singles are littered throughout this top 100). Bilingual track "Je Te Donne", a 1985 number 1 in France for Jean-Jacques Goldman and Michael Jones, was the perfect cover version for the group which featured members from the UK but was now based in France. Other singles from their Everybody album included a remix of earlier cover version "Everlasting Love" (number 46 on this list) and "You Said" (number 56). Also out in 1997: a remake of Freddie Mercury's "I Was Born To Love You" (number 90) for a Queen tribute album featuring Eurodance acts and "Don't Change" (number 89), a single from the album of the same name.




Number 10 "Together Again" by Janet Jackson
While brother Michael might have come to an end of his run of great singles, sister Janet proved she still had what it took when it came to pop brilliance. Following the rather disappointing "Got Till It's Gone" (well, I was disappointed with it), she released the best track from her Velvet Rope album and had a fun new hairstyle to go with it.




Number 9 "Home" by Depeche Mode
Mentioned in Part 1 and previously featured here

Number 8 "As Long As You Love Me" by Backstreet Boys
Worlds Apart might have had a good 1997, but that was nothing compared to what fellow boy band Backstreet Boys achieved the same year - managing to break out of Europe and into the American top 10. It all started with "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" (number 18 on this list), but with the tracks from second album Backstreet's Back, things went into overdrive. "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" (number 29) and "As Long As You Love Me" also saw them hit the Australian top 3 - by which point they were unstoppable pretty much everywhere in the world.




Number 7 "What Do You Want From Me?" by Monaco
Anything his band-mate Bernard Sumner could do, New Order bassist Peter Hook could do, too. This debut single by side project Monaco did better than recent Electronic singles (or that Sub Sub collaboration), only narrowly missing the UK top 10. Second single "Sweet Lips" (number 26 on this list) was another top 20 hit there, but that was pretty much it for the duo chart-wise. A second album followed for Peter and David Potts (who'd also been a member of Peter's previous non-New Order band, Revenge), but it flew very much under the radar.




Number 6 "Mama / Who Do You Think You Are" by Spice Girls
A fourth single from Spice combined ballad "Mama" and upbeat track "Who Do You Think You Are" (my preferred choice of the two) into a double-A side which was that year's Comic Relief single in the UK. The March release date also coincided nicely with Mother's Day in the UK (or Mothering Sunday, as it's called there). Before the year was out, the girl group moved on to album number two, with "Spice Up Your Life" (number 25 on this list) continuing their string of UK number 1s and "Too Much" (number 110) giving them back-to-back UK Christmas number 1s.




Number 5 "Give Me Love 97" by Diddy
Nothing to do with the artist at that time known as Puff Daddy, Diddy was DJ Richard Dearlove, who ended up successfully suing the rapper over his later name change. "Give Me Love 97" was a remix of an earlier single - and it came in two versions: a mostly instrumental track, which can be heard by following the link in the song title, and the vocal version I preferred, which is below.




Number 4 "All I Wanna Do" by Dannii Minogue
What does one do after a marriage breakdown? If you're Dannii Minogue, you dye your hair, pose for Playboy to show off your new assets and, by the sounds of her comeback album, Girl, you go clubbing a lot. After stumbling around in the musical wilderness, "All I Wanna Do" was the sound of Dannii finding her musical niche - and the club-friendly pop sound was one she'd maintain for the rest of her career (to date). One of her biggest hits, "All I Wanna Do" was followed by the almost as good "Everything I Wanted" (number 14 on this list), which unfortunately didn't perform quite as well.




Number 3 "Gimme Some Love (Eurobeat mix)" by Gina G
Four more singles came from Gina's Fresh album in 1997 - with this remixed track far and away my favourite. Although, long-forgotten songs like "Fresh" (number 52 on this list), "Ti Amo" (number 71) and "Every Time I Fall" (number 146) were all pop gems. Pity she never got the chance to release a second album.




Number 2 "100% (Motiv8 mix)" by Mary Kiani
Following 1996's successful pairing of the Scottish singer and the remix heavyweights, another track from Mary's oddly titled album, Long Hard Funky Dreams, received the Motiv8 magic touch - and, hey presto, here it is up near my number 1 spot again. A U2 cover ("With Or Without You") later, and that was pretty much it for the singer's recording career.




Number 1 "Happiness" by Wand
I'm not sure if this high-energy dance track ended up receiving a proper release in the UK (it certainly didn't in Australia), but I was able to pick up a CD single of it in London in 1998, so that qualifies it for my chart as far as I'm concerned. I heard it in clubs all year long and there was no other song guaranteed to get me on the dance floor. So, even though it is my least favourite year-end chart-topper, it's still a pretty great song.




My top 200 for 1997 in full:

1        HAPPINESS Wand
2        100% / MOTIV8 MIX Mary Kiani
3        GIMME SOME LOVE / EUROBEAT MIX Gina G
4        ALL I WANNA DO / TROUSER ENTHUSIASTS MIX Dannii Minogue
5        GIVE ME LOVE 97 Diddy
6        MAMA / WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE Spice Girls
7        WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? Monaco
8        AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME Backstreet Boys
9        HOME Depeche Mode
10      TOGETHER AGAIN Janet Jackson
11      JE TE DONNE Worlds Apart
12      LOVE WON'T WAIT / JUNIOR VASQUEZ MIX Gary Barlow
13      YOU GOT THE LOVE (RHYTHM MASTERS REMIX) The Source featuring Candi Staton
14      EVERYTHING I WANTED / TROUSER ENTHUSIASTS MIX Dannii Minogue
15      IT'S NO GOOD Depeche Mode
16      FROM THIS MOMENT ON / MATT DAREY MIX Peach
17      DON'T SAY GOODBYE Human Nature
18      QUIT PLAYING GAMES (WITH MY HEART) Backstreet Boys
19      SOMETIMES Brand New Heavies
20      YOUR WOMAN White Town
21      THIS TIME I'M NOT WRONG Sub Sub with Bernard Sumner
22      I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER / LOVE TO INFINITY MIX Diana King
23      RAIN Erasure
24      SHOW ME LOVE Robyn
25      SPICE UP YOUR LIFE Spice Girls
26      SWEET LIPS Monaco
27      SATURDAY East 57th St featuring Donna Allen
28      A RED LETTER DAY Pet Shop Boys
29      EVERYBODY (BACKSTREET'S BACK) Backstreet Boys
30      DON'T SAY YOUR LOVE IS KILLING ME Erasure
31      SOMEWHERE Pet Shop Boys
32      CLOSE TO YOUR HEART JX
33      SOME KIND OF BLISS Kylie Minogue
34      YOU'RE NOT ALONE Olive
35      BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR / TONY MORAN MIX Michael Jackson
36      ANSWER MY PRAYER (SHIVA MIX) Danny Campbell
37      PICTURE OF YOU Boyzone
38      IT'S OVER LOVE Todd Terry featuring Shannon
39      SIMPLE THINGS Alex Party
40      YOU ARE THE UNIVERSE Brand New Heavies
41      ADDICTED Plutonic
42      SUNCHYME Dario G
43      WANT LOVE Hysteric Ego
44      NO SURRENDER (ACE REMIX) Deuce
45      SHINE Obsession
46      EVERLASTING LOVE (REMIX) Worlds Apart
47      SEARCHIN' 97 Hazell Dean
48      ENCORE UNE FOIS Sash!
49      UNTIL THE END OF TIME Electronic
50      ECUADOR Sash! featuring Rodriguez
51      BLACK EYED BOY Texas
52      FRESH Gina G
53      PROFESSIONAL WIDOW (IT'S GOT TO BE BIG) / HEY JUPITER Tori Amos
54      SECOND NATURE Electronic
55      DO YOU KNOW (WHAT IT TAKES) Robyn
56      YOU SAID Worlds Apart
57      DON'T GIVE UP Michelle Weeks
58      STAR PEOPLE 97 / FORTHRIGHT MIX George Michael
59      BARBIE GIRL Aqua
60      OUTLAW / SPACE BROTHERS MIX Olive
61      ALL THIS LOVE THAT I'M GIVING United State
62      LOVE COMMANDMENTS Gisele Jackson
63      SOMETHING GOIN' ON Todd Terry featuring Martha Wash & Jocelyn Brown
64      SLAM DUNK DA FUNK Five
65      NEVER GONNA LET YOU GO Tina Moore
66      DID IT AGAIN / TROUSER ENTHUSIASTS MIX Kylie Minogue
67      REMEMBER ME The Blue Boy
68      ANGELS Robbie Williams
69      IN MY ARMS Erasure
70      YOU MIGHT NEED SOMEBODY Shola Ama
71      TI AMO / BASSTOWN MIX Gina G
72      JOY (MONDO'S PUSSYCAT REMIX) Staxx featuring Carol Leeming
73      YOUNG HEARTS RUN FREE Kym Mazelle
74      I KNOW WHERE IT'S AT All Saints
75      OFFSHORE 97 Chicane featuring Power Circle
76      STAY Sash! featuring La Trec
77      I WILL BE RELEASED Up Yer Ronson featuring Mary Pearce
78      I HAVE NO FEAR Le Monde
79      ALRIGHT Jamiroquai
80      HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH Boris Dlugosch presents BOOOM!
81      I'M KISSING YOU Des'ree
82      THE REAL THING Lisa Stansfield
83      YOU MAKE ME WANNA... Usher
84      GOTTA LOVE FOR YOU Serial Diva
85      DO YOU WANNA FUNK / HI-LUX REMIX Siona
86      ARMS AROUND THE WORLD Louise
87      SHELTER Brand New Heavies
88      DON'T SPEAK No Doubt
89      DON'T CHANGE Worlds Apart
90      I WAS BORN TO LOVE YOU Worlds Apart
91      SHINE The Space Brothers
92      HOME Chakra
93      BARREL OF A GUN Depeche Mode
94      MOMENT OF MY LIFE Bobby D'Ambrosio featuring Michelle Weeks
95      ALL CRIED OUT / HEX HECTOR MIX Allure featuring 112
96      GIMME GIMME Whigfield
97      I'M A MAN NOT A BOY North & South
98      NEVER EVER All Saints
99      YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND Brand New Heavies
100    FREE Ultra Naté
101    MY LOVE IS DEEP Sara Parker
102    I CAN MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD Kavana
103    I WANNA BE THE ONLY ONE Eternal / Be Be Winans
104    DANCE WITH ME Tin Tin Out featuring Tony Hadley
105    FREED FROM DESIRE Gala
106    GYPSY BOY, GYPSY GIRL Sharada House Gang
107    I NEED A MIRACLE Coco
108    SUMMERLOVE 97 S-Connection featuring Annabelle
109    LIKE A FOOL Nylon Beat
110    TOO MUCH Spice Girls
111    NO MORE TALK Dubstar
112    SHOULDER HOLSTER Morcheeba
113    FANTASY ISLAND M-People
114    OPEN ROAD Gary Barlow
115    TOO GONE, TOO LONG En Vogue
116    SICK WITH LOVE Robyn Laou
117    HISTORY / GHOSTS Michael Jackson
118    LIVE YOUR LIFE Clubhands
119    BREAK ME SHAKE ME Savage Garden
120    WHAT IF... Lightning Seeds
121    HIGH TIMES Jamiroquai
122    WHISPER YOUR NAME Human Nature
123    SPIN SPIN SUGAR Sneaker Pimps
124    LOVEFOOL The Cardigans
125    OUT OF MY MIND Duran Duran
126    WHEN DOVES CRY Quindon Tarver
127    PASSION Amen! UK
128    LOVE OF A LIFETIME Denine with Collage
129    CASANOVA / REMIX Ultimate Kaos
130    I HAVE PEACE / FORTHRIGHT MIX Strike
131    SOUND OF EDEN Ca$ino
132    NUMBER ONE Alexia
133    THE SUMMER OF LOVE Catalana
134    PEOPLE OF LOVE A-men! UK
135    CAN YOU FEEL IT London Fiesta featuring Norma Jean
136    INFERNO Souvlaki
137    CELEBRATE Elli Mac
138    THE RAIN Samira
139    SAY MY NAME Zee
140    USELESS Depeche Mode
141    POST-MODERN SLEAZE Sneaker Pimps
142    COMA Pendulum
143    YOUR CARESS (ALL I NEED) DJ Flavours
144    FIRED UP Funky Green Dogs
145    CLOSER THAN CLOSE Rosie Gaines
146    EVERY TIME I FALL / METRO MIX Gina G
147    QUAND JE REVE DE TOI Worlds Apart
148    BEACHBALL Burnette
149    SORROW TOWN / TROUSER ENTHUSIASTS MIX Peach
150    PEOPLE HOLD ON (THE BOOTLEG REMIXES) Lisa Stansfield vs Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
151    SUGAR COATED ICEBURG Lightning Seeds
152    DROP DEAD GORGEOUS Republica
153    MUSIC IS THE POWER Eddy Two Face
154    MORNING LIGHT Team Deep
155    RHYTHM OF LOVE DJ Company
156    AIN'T THAT JUST THE WAY Lutricia McNeal
157    BACK TO WHERE WE STARTED Worlds Apart
158    EARTHBOUND Conner Reeves
159    BODYSHAKIN' 911
160    ONE MORE TIME Real McCoy
161    WATCHING ME WATCHING YOU 4-2 The Floor
162    YOU'RE THE ONE I LOVE Shola Ama
163    WHERE CAN I FIND LOVE Livin' Joy
164    NIGHTMARE Brainbug
165    COME WITH ME Qattara
166    I AM Chakra
167    BREAKING ALL THE RULES She Moves
168    DO YOU KNOW Michelle Gayle
169    I BELIEVE The Absolute featuring Suzanne Palmer
170    PARTAY FEELING B-Crew featuring Barbara Tucker, Ultra Naté, Dajae, Mone
171    DON'T BE AFRAID Edison Project featuring Susie Ahern
172    BLOCK ROCKIN' BEATS Chemical Brothers
173    IT'S ALRIGHT, I FEEL IT! Nuyorican Soul
174    I NEVER LOVED YOU ANYWAY The Corrs
175    MAGIC D'Influence
176    MFEO Kavana
177    YOU HAVE BEEN LOVED / THE STRANGEST THING 97 George Michael
178    JUST FOR YOU M-People
179    DON'T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA / MIAMI MIX Madonna
180    GET UP (EVERYBODY) Byron Stingily
181    I THOUGHT IT WAS YOU Sex-o-sonique
182    TO STEP ASIDE Pet Shop Boys
183    BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY The Verve
184    SONG 2 Blur
185    ANGEL OF MINE Eternal
186    ONLY WHEN I SLEEP The Corrs
187    SO HELP ME GIRL Gary Barlow
188    DR JONES Aqua
189    YOU READY NOW X-Odus
190    PLEASE DON’T GO No Mercy
191    MO MONEY MO PROBLEMS The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy & Mase
192    MY OH MY Aqua
193    THE AGE OF LOVE (JAM & SPOON REMIX) Age Of Love
194    STEP BY STEP Whitney Houston
195    WITH OR WITHOUT YOU Mary Kiani
196    NEVER, NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP Lisa Stansfield
197    LET'S GO ROUND AGAIN Louise
198    WALK ON BY Gabrielle
199    SENSATIONAL Michelle Gayle
200    DON'T YOU LOVE ME Eternal


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