Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Best Of 1999 - part 4

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


In Part 3 of my countdown through my favourite singles from 1999, I talked about the wave of blonde female singers who flooded the charts in Britney Spears' wake. There's another of those to come in this part (and, of course, Britney herself), as well as a couple of boy-girl pop groups launched in the UK following the success of Steps.

Ain't no party like... well, you know

Add to that a couple of new boy bands and you have a batch of songs where imitation was the order of the day. Luckily, the newcomers didn't just look the part, they also managed an important part of the equation: good songs. Here are the best 25 songs (well, 27, if you count a couple of double A-sides) from 1999...


Number 25 "S Club Party" by S Club 7
Mentioned below

Number 24 "Two In A Million / You're My Number One" by S Club 7
Mentioned below

Number 23 "Sunshine" by Gabrielle
Yes, yes, we'll get to S Club. Before that, the return of one of Britain's most successful female singers of the '90s. "Sunshine" was the first single from Gabrielle's third album, Rise, and while it returned her to the UK top 10, she had a bigger hit up her sleeve. For me, though, it was the highlight of the album - and also worked as a pop/dance song thanks to a Frankie Knuckles remix.




Number 22 "When My Baby" by Scooch
Anything Pete Waterman can do, Mike Stock and Matt Aitken can do... not quite as well, in this case. Clearly modelled on Steps (boy-girl members, cheery pop songs, easy-to-learn dance routines), Scooch not only had one of the worst names in pop but, on the plus side, managed to get Stock and Aitken to start writing original songs again instead of just producing dodgy cover versions, which they'd done throughout the second half of the '90s. "When My Baby" was a good start for the Scooch project (although its number 29 peak in the UK would suggest otherwise), but there were better things to come for the short-lived group.




Number 21 "After The Love Has Gone" by Steps
Mentioned below

Number 20 "Swear It Again" by Westlife
With Boyzone getting a bit long in the tooth - in boy band terms - by 1999, it was time for a new Irish quintet to step into their shoes, and Westlife (originally named Westside) was formed by Boyzone manager Louis Walsh. In a tidy bit of torch-passing, Ronan Keating, who began his solo career in 1999, was even billed as Westlife's co-manager - something he possible regretted when the group knocked his debut single, "When You Say Nothing At All", off the number 1 spot in the UK.
Rubbing more salt in the wound was the fact that Westlife scored UK number 1 hits with all four of their 1999 singles: "Swear It Again", "If I Let You Go" (number 6 on this list), "Flying Without Wings" (number 34) and "I Have A Dream/Seasons In The Sun" (number 189). As impressive as Boyzone's chart performance had been (16 straight top 4 singles), Westlife were doing even better.




Number 19 "Candy" by Mandy Moore
Jive Records had Britney, RCA had Christina and, in 1999, Epic launched Mandy Moore as their blonde hopeful. Never as big a chart hit in the US (where the chart is heavily skewed to airplay) as it would eventually be in 2000 in the UK and Australia, the song sold well and was incredibly popular on MTV's Total Request Live. Mandy, who was only 15 when "Candy" was released, didn't go on to have as illustrious a music career as her contemporaries, but has transitioned more successfully into acting than either Britney or Christina have so far managed. Side note: the YouTube screenshot below must be one of the most unflattering of all time.




Number 18 "(You Drive Me) Crazy" by Britney Spears
Mentioned below

Number 17 "Be The First To Believe" by a1
If Five were the bad boys of pop, then a1 were right at the other end of the boy band spectrum. Launched in 1999 by the team who'd created the similarly squeaky clean Steps, a1 were as cheesy as pop gets. Still, a good song is a good song - and a1 had enough of those to spare, including this debut single and follow-ups "Summertime Of Our Lives" (number 79 on this list) and the double A-side "Everytime/Ready Or Not" (number 59). Actually, "Everytime" wasn't that great, but the decision to team that drippy ballad with the upbeat "Ready Or Not" was another thing a1 - and many pop acts in 1999 - copied from Steps and their million-selling UK number 1 "Heartbeat/Tragedy".




Number 16 "That's What Love Can Do" by Toutes Les Filles
While Pete Waterman's other pop act, Steps, were chugging along quite nicely, he took another go at turning this 1991 Boy Krazy single (which reached number 18 in the US in 1993) into a UK hit. Unfortunately for Pete - and three-piece Toutes Les Filles (Cheryl Jay, Vicky Dowdall and Nikki Wheeler) - the song just wouldn't connect with the British public, and it stalled at number 44. Although not quite as good as the original, I thought it was a capable version.




Number 15 "Turn Around" by Phats & Small
Let's have a breather from the pop onslaught for one of 1999's biggest dance records. Featuring vocals from "Reach Up" by Toney Lee, "Turn Around" was a number 2 hit in the UK and was quickly followed by "Feel Good" (number 71 on this list) and "Tonite" (number 196), both of which featured original vocals by Ben Ofoedu (who lip synced in the "Turn Around" video). Phats & Small were British duo Jason "Phats" Hayward and Russell Small, and although they're really only remembered for this song, Russell would go on to form another duo, Freemasons, who we'll be seeing a lot of in my 00s countdowns.




Number 14 "I Breathe Again" by Adam Rickitt
Straight back into the pop - and it doesn't get cheesier than this. Except for a1. Another soap star trying their luck at a music career, Adam had been on Coronation Street for the previous couple of years and established enough of a fan base to earn a UK number 5 hit with this debut single. All blond floppy hair and chiselled abs, he was targeted quite clearly at pop music's main two markets: teenage girls and gay men - but both abandoned him in droves for the follow-up, "Everything My Heart Desires" (number 36 on this list and also recorded by Mandy Moore for her debut album), which charted 10 places lower.




Number 13 "Beautiful Stranger" by Madonna
Previously featured here

Number 12 "Good Life (Buena Vida)" by Inner City
In 1988, it was one of the first big house hits in the UK (and in my top 100 for that year). Eleven years later, "Good Life" was revamped and re-recorded - with a Latin twist - by Inner City's long-time musical director, Tommy Onyx. The remix returned Inner City to the UK top 10 for the first time in a decade, and it's the version I actually prefer of the song.




Number 11 "Larger Than Life" by Backstreet Boys
Backstreet came back - again - in 1999 with what would be the biggest album of their lengthy career, Millennium. The band's third (or second, if you were in America) album featured their highest-selling single, "I Want It That Way" (number 3 on this list), as well as this follow-up, which came with one of the most expensive music videos of all time. Millennium's record-breaking sales (over 1.1 million copies in a week in the US) would throw down the gauntlet to rival boy band 'NSync, who'd return fire in 2000.




Number 10 "Say You'll Be Mine / Better The Devil You Know" by Steps
Mentioned below

Number 9 "Given Up" by Mirrorball
With a name like Mirrorball, you'd be expecting some disco action - and the British dance duo didn't disappoint with this track, which sampled The Three Degrees' 1978 single "Givin' Up, Givin' In". Mirrorball was comprised of Jamie Ford and Jamie White, who we saw back in Part 1 as a member of 3 Jays - and they only managed one more single in 2000.




Number 8 "Better Best Forgotten" by Steps
Mentioned below

Number 7 "Canned Heat" by Jamiroquai
The first single proper from the Synkronized album was probably the poppiest thing Jay Kay had released up until that point. As a result, "Canned Heat" became the band's biggest hit up until that point in Australia, where it reached number 20, and also wound up on a couple of film soundtracks - notably Center Stage and Napoleon Dynamite. It would be the only major single from the album, which also included "King For A Day" (number 99 on this list).




Number 6 "If I Let You Go" by Westlife
Mentioned above and previously featured here

Number 5 "Bring It All Back" by S Club 7
I remember being completely unprepared for the sudden arrival of S Club 7 on the British chart with this debut single - but then I hadn't ever watched Miami 7, the kids' TV show which launched the mostly-singing, all-dancing act. I also remember thinking seven was probably too many people for a pop group, but Hannah and Tina were really just there to make up numbers (as far as the music was concerned, anyway).
Although they threatened to oust Steps from their rightful position as the UK's top boy-girl pop group (which didn't sit well with me), there was no denying "Bring It All Back" was a great pop song. As was "S Club Party" (number 25 on this list) and the double A-side combo of "Two In A Million/You're My Number One" (number 24). By the end of 1999, something told me we'd be seeing Tina do her dance, Jon look for romance, Paul get down on the floor, Hannah scream out for more, Bradley swing, Rachel do her thing and Jo sing most of the lead vocals for some time.




Number 4 "Right Now" by Atomic Kitten
Previously featured here

Number 3 "I Want It That Way" by Backstreet Boys
Mentioned above and previously featured here

Number 2 "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears
At the end of 1998, I took over a friend's rent in a flat in London that came equipped with Sky TV - which meant I suddenly had access to The Box, MTV and all the other music channels. That Christmas, this debut single by the American teen singer and former Mickey Mouse Club star was on constant rotation. Although the single didn't get released until early 1999 in the UK, I knew it would be huge. Just how huge, I'm not sure anyone could have predicted.
Famously offered to TLC, who turned it down, "...Baby One More Time" became the year's highest-selling single in Britain and topped charts all over the world, including back in Australia, where it was only prevented from being the year-end champion by Lou Bega.
The song was quickly followed by "Sometimes" (number 100 on this list) and "(You Drive Me) Crazy" (number 18), which proved the success of "...Baby One More Time", while massive, would not overshadow everything that followed it. Indeed, it was only the beginning.




Number 1 "Love's Got A Hold On My Heart" by Steps
Barely pausing for breath, Steps moved swiftly on to their second album in 1999, launching it with this single - one of five number 2 hits they scored in the UK. By now, the formula was locked in - catchy song, brightly coloured matching outfits, a dance routine with the moves explained in the CD single artwork and never-faltering smiles. Although they didn't win that year's BRIT award for Best Breakthrough Act (as was widely predicted), they got their revenge on the UK chart with songs like this, "Better Best Forgotten" (number 8 on this list), "Say You'll Be Mine/Better The Devil You Know" (number 10) and "After The Love Has Gone" (number 21) - as well as a major role in the all-star ABBA tribute, "Thank ABBA For The Music" (number 102).




My top 200 singles for 1999 in full:

1        LOVE'S GOT A HOLD ON MY HEART Steps
2        …BABY ONE MORE TIME Britney Spears
3        I WANT IT THAT WAY Backstreet Boys
4        RIGHT NOW Atomic Kitten
5        BRING IT ALL BACK S Club 7
6        IF I LET YOU GO Westlife
7        CANNED HEAT Jamiroquai
8        BETTER BEST FORGOTTEN Steps
9        GIVEN UP Mirrorball
10      SAY YOU'LL BE MINE/ BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW Steps
11      LARGER THAN LIFE Backstreet Boys
12      GOOD LIFE (BUENA VIDA) Inner City
13      BEAUTIFUL STRANGER Madonna
14      I BREATHE AGAIN Adam Rickitt
15      TURN AROUND Phats & Small
16      THAT'S WHAT LOVE CAN DO Toutes Les Filles
17      BE THE FIRST TO BELIEVE a1
18      (YOU DRIVE ME) CRAZY Britney Spears
19      CANDY Mandy Moore
20      SWEAR IT AGAIN Westlife
21      AFTER THE LOVE HAS GONE Steps

22      WHEN MY BABY Scooch

23      SUNSHINE Gabrielle

24      TWO IN A MILLION / YOU'RE MY NUMBER ONE S Club 7
25      S CLUB PARTY S Club 7
26      GREATEST DAY Beverley Knight
27      KEEP ON MOVIN' Five
28      GENIE IN A BOTTLE Christina Aguilera
29      MADE IT BACK 99 Beverley Knight
30      RED ALERT Basement Jaxx
31      NO SCRUBS TLC
32      PERFECT MOMENT Martine McCutcheon
33      LET THE PEOPLE KNOW Toploader
34      FLYING WITHOUT WINGS Westlife
35      YOU DON'T KNOW ME Armand van Helden featuring Duane Harden
36      EVERYTHING MY HEART DESIRES Adam Rickitt
37      FOREVER Tina Cousins
38      STRONG ENOUGH Cher
39      ETERNAL FLAME / SHAKE YOU OUT OF MY HEAD Human Nature
40      ALL OUT OF LUCK Selma
41      MI CHICO LATINO Geri Halliwell
42      FROM THE HEART / FRANKIE KNUCKLES MIX Another Level
43      RE-REWIND WHEN THE CROWD SAY BO SELECTA Artful Dodger featuring Craig David
44      YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE New Radicals
45      MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE Whitney Houston
46      WHEN I GROW UP Garbage
47      NOTHING REALLY MATTERS / CLUB 69 MIX Madonna
48      IT'S NOT RIGHT BUT IT'S OKAY Whitney Houston
49      LIFE'S TOO SHORT The Lightning Seeds
50      EVERYDAY Agnelli & Nelson
51      WITHOUT LOVE Dina Carroll
52      U KNOW WHAT'S UP Donell Jones featuring Lisa 'Left-eye' Lopes
53      CRAZY Lucid
54      STAND BY YOU S.O.A.P.
55      WAITING FOR TONIGHT Jennifer Lopez
56      IF EVERYBODY LOOKED THE SAME Groove Armada
57      AS George Michael / Mary J Blige
58      I LEARNED FROM THE BEST Whitney Houston
59      EVERYTIME / READY OR NOT a1
60      ACTION AND DRAMA Bis
61      PRAISE YOU Fatboy Slim
62      SING IT BACK Moloko
63      SKIN / JUNIOR VASQUEZ MIX Charlotte
64      CAN'T GET ENOUGH Soulsearchers
65      SALTWATER Chicane featuring Maire Brennan of Clannad
66      ALL OR NOTHING Cher
67      BACK HERE BB Mak
68      SUN IS SHINING Technique
69      IF YA GETTIN' DOWN Five
70      DON’T SAY YOU LOVE ME M2M
71      FEEL GOOD Phats & Small
72      TONITE Supercar
73      9PM (TILL I COME) ATB
74      BLUE (DA BA DEE) Eiffel 65
75      BUDDY X 99 Dreem Team vs Neneh Cherry
76      KISS ME Sixpence None The Richer
77      RUNAWAY (TIN TIN OUT REMIX) The Corrs
78      ELECTRIC BARBARELLA / GIRLS ON FILM (REMIX) Duran Duran
79      SUMMERTIME OF OUR LIVES a1
80      RHYTHM DIVINE Enrique Iglesias
81      SUMMER SON Texas
82      FEELING IT TOO 3 Jays
83      LA MUSICA Ruff Driverz featuring Arolla
84      MARIA Blondie
85      BODYROCK Moby
86      SUN IS SHINING (REMIX) Bob Marley vs Funkstar Deluxe
87      LIFT ME UP / ALMIGHTY MIX Geri Halliwell
88      SAY IT AGAIN Precious
89      UNDER THE WATER Brother Brown featuring Frank'ee
90      WHEN WE ARE TOGETHER Texas
91      TO BE IN LOVE Masters At Work presents India
92      BUG A BOO Destiny's Child
93      CASSIUS 1999 Cassius
94      WHY DOES IT ALWAYS RAIN ON ME Travis
95      NEW YORK CITY BOY Pet Shop Boys
96      BILLS, BILLS, BILLS Destiny's Child
97      SWEET LIKE CHOCOLATE Shanks & Bigfoot
98      WE ARE LOVE DJ Eric
99      KING FOR A DAY Jamiroquai
100    SOMETIMES Britney Spears
101    A LITTLE BIT MORE 911
102    THANK ABBA FOR THE MUSIC Steps, Tina Cousins, Cleopatra, B*Witched and Billie
103    DAYZ LIKE THAT Fierce
104    UNPRETTY TLC
105    FLY AWAY Lenny Kravitz
106    SO MANY WAYS Ellie Campbell
107    FINISHED SYMPHONY Hybrid
108    HAPPINESS HAPPENING Lost Witness
109    SILENCE Delerium featuring Sarah McLachlan
110    HEAVEN Agenda
111    RICH IN PARADISE / GOING BACK TO MY ROOTS (REMIX) FPI Project
112    THE ANIMAL SONG Savage Garden
113    DOVE L’AMORE Cher
114    BAILAMOS Enrique Iglesias
115    UNFORGIVEABLE SINNER Lene Marlin
116    THE AWAKENING York
117    CARTE BLANCHE Veracocha
118    SO LONG Fierce
119    THAT'S THE WAY IT IS Celine Dion
120    STEAL MY SUNSHINE Len
121    FEEL THE SAME Triple X
122    KING OF MY CASTLE Wamdue Project
123    KISS (WHEN THE SUN DON'T SHINE) Vengaboys
124    LAST TO KNOW Human Nature
125    11 TO FLY Tin Tin Out featuring Wendy Page
126    MY LOVE / MARK PICCHIOTTI MIX Kele Le Roc
127    DESERT ROSE Sting featuring Cheb Mami
128    SOMETIMES Les Rythmes Digitales featuring Nik Kershaw
129    RADIO The Corrs
130    YOU NEEDED ME Boyzone
131    WHAT I AM Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton
132    LOVE OF A LIFETIME Honeyz
133    WHAT YOU NEED Powerhouse featuring Duane Harden
134    I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT BUT I CAN'T GIVE IT ANYMORE Pet Shop Boys
135    BLAME IT ON THE WEATHERMAN B*Witched
136    TURN Travis
137    VIVID Electronic
138    GREECE 2000 Three Drives
139    BRAND NEW DAY Sting
140    ERASE/REWIND The Cardigans
141    GIVE IT TO YOU Jordan Knight
142    DON'T CALL ME BABY Madison Avenue
143    EVERY YOU, EVERY ME Placebo
144    EVERYDAY I LOVE YOU Boyzone
145    WHAT A GIRL WANTS Christina Aguilera
146    YOU SHOULD BE… Blockster
147    DON'T CRY Human Nature
148    NOT OVER YET 99 Planet Perfecto featuring Grace
149    RENDEZ-VU Basement Jaxx
150    YOU BETTER Mount Rushmore presents The Knack
151    THESE ARE THE TIMES Dru Hill
152    VIVA LA RADIO Lolly
153    ENJOY YOURSELF A+
154    I KNOW WHAT I'M HERE FOR James
155    PRIVATE NUMBER 911
156    KILLING TIME 99 Tina Cousins
157    MAMMA MIA A*Teens
158    BARBER'S ADAGIO FOR STRINGS William Orbit
159    LATE AT NIGHT Electronic
160    AT THE RIVER Groove Armada
161    ONLY YOU 99 / DON'T GO 99 Yazoo
162    I WON’T LET YOU DOWN Kate Ceberano
163    ON MY WAY Mike Koglin featuring Beatrice
164    HOW WILL I KNOW (WHO YOU ARE) Jessica
165    (YOU GOT ME) BURNING UP Cevin Fisher featuring Loleatta Holloway
166    SHE'S THE ONE / IT'S ONLY US Robbie Williams
167    HONEY TO THE BEE Billie
168    SATURDAY NITE Brand New Heavies
169    STRONG Robbie Williams
170    HIGHER THAN HEAVEN Kelle Bryan
171    BAD GIRLS Juliet Roberts
172    RUN FOR YOUR LIFE Northern Line
173    DREAMING M-People
174    MAKES ME LOVE YOU Eclipse
175    STILL BELIEVE Shola Ama
176    BOMB DIGGY Another Level
177    LEGACY (SHOW ME LOVE) Space Brothers
178    HOW DO I DEAL Jennifer Love Hewitt
179    BIG LOVE Pete Heller
180    AIN'T THAT A LOT OF LOVE Simply Red
181    WISH I COULD FLY Roxette
182    BRING IT ALL TO ME Blaque
183    GEORGY PORGY Eric Benet featuring Faith Evans
184    FOUND AN ANGEL JPS
185    GET GET DOWN Paul Johnson
186    RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW Fatboy Slim
187    HEY BOY HEY GIRL Chemical Brothers
188    DRIFTWOOD Travis
189    I HAVE A DREAM / SEASONS IN THE SUN Westlife
190    BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM Vengaboys
191    NOT OVER YOU YET Diana Ross
192    NEVER LET YOU DOWN Honeyz
193    IF YOU HAD MY LOVE Jennifer Lopez
194    WHERE MY GIRLS AT 702
195    STAY WITH ME TILL DAWN Lucid
196    TONITE Phats & Small
197    WHY Glamma Kid
198    GOT YOUR MONEY ODB featuring Kelis
199    BETTER OFF ALONE DJ Jurgen presents Alice Deejay
200    MORE THAN THIS Emmie


That's it for the '90s - and just in time for Christmas, too. This Wednesday (Christmas Day!), my final ARIA recap from 1988 will go live, and then between Christmas and New Year I'll count down my top 100 for 2013. Happy holidays!



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

1 comment:

  1. "the YouTube screenshot below must be one of the most unflattering of all time" - ha ha, occasionally when I upload a video, it yields an unflattering still of the artist... or even worse, the still (or any of the 3 stills you can choose from) doesn't feature the artist at all.

    ReplyDelete