Friday, 28 February 2014

The Best Of 2001 - part 3

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


While 2001 was a great year for me personally and professionally, it was also a year that featured the most shocking event of recent history: the September 11 attacks on America.

Their outfits might have been questionable,
but Bardot's songs got better and better in 2001

Like everyone, I can remember where I was (watching The West Wing on TV) when the planes flew into the World Trade Center, and over the next days, weeks and months, life as we knew changed forever. This isn't the forum for an in-depth discussion of those events, but I mention it because any time you think of 2001, it's hard to do so without remembering the tragedy that defined the year.


Number 50 "Romeo" by Basement Jaxx
Basement Jaxx followed up their breakthrough album, Remedy, with 2001's Rooty, which would feature another batch of genre-pushing singles. This track, which featured Kele Le Roc (who we saw in my top 100 for 1998) on vocals, was the lead single from the album and gave the duo another top 10 in the UK. Australian success finally came with Rooty's third single, "Where's Your Head At?" (number 129 on this list).




Number 49 "Free" by Mya
In 2001, Mya emerged from being just another R&B singer with a pretty voice to one of the genre's biggest names - thanks in no small part to her involvement in the Moulin Rouge soundtrack hit, "Lady Marmalade". She even landed an Australian chart-topper with "Case Of The Ex", but it was this follow-up that I preferred. Then, just as quickly as she became a force to be reckoned with on the world stage, Mya blended back into the crowd with subsequent albums failing to have anywhere near as much impact.




Number 48 "Everytime You Need Me" by Fragma featuring Maria Rubia
Mentioned below

Number 47 "Halfway Around The World" by A*Teens
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 46 "More Than That" by Backstreet Boys
Mentioned below

Number 45 "All I Do" by Cleptomaniacs featuring Bryan Chambers
Beyond the fact that this UK dance trio was comprised of Brian Tappert, John "Julius" Knight and Marc Pomeroy, I know nothing about Cleptomaniacs or the featured vocalist on this vocal house tune. What I do know is that it was a brilliant cover of the 1980 Stevie Wonder album track - a song I'm surprised was never released as a single until this point.




Number 44 "He Loves U Not" by Dream
In 2001, Puff Daddy became P.Diddy and added a new girl group to his Bad Boy Records roster in the wake of previous signing Total's split. Quartet Dream were much poppier than three-piece Trio, but despite a good start with this debut single (which reached number 2 in the US), it was quickly downhill from here with member changes, cancelled singles and the inevitable parting of ways with Bad Boy.  




Number 43 "Do You Love Me?" by Mademoiselle
French disco was still going strong in 2001, and this track by the French duo of Martin de Volanges and Rami Mustakim was another great addition to the genre. Fun video, too.




Number 42 "Just Another Day" by Jonathan Wilkes
In the end, it would seem that having Robbie Williams as his best mate might just have worked against actor/singer Jonathan Wilkes, with this much-hyped debut single bombing in the UK despite being a pretty good tune. This was Jonathan's one shot at a music career, with his label dropping him after "Just Another Day" peaked at number 24 in Britain - although he did pop up later in the year on "Me And My Shadow" from Robbie's album, Swing When You're Winning.




Number 41 "I Need Somebody" by Bardot
Despite the inevitable girl group line-up change when Katie Underwood left the Popstars band to star in a production of Hair that never ended up making it to the stage, Bardot were actually better than ever in 2001. Singles like this and "ASAP" (number 52 on this list) proved the girls had what it took to outlive the shadow of the TV show that spawned them, and it began to look like the project had real legs. I actually got to visit the set of the "I Need Somebody" clip for a Smash Hits story, although unfortunately Sophie didn't perform her awesome motorbike dance while I was there.




Number 40 "Let's Dance" by Five
As one pop group went from strength to strength, another came to a sad conclusion as infighting caused Five to implode just as they released their third album, Kingsize. The cracks were pretty obvious when Sean didn't even appear in the video for "Let's Dance" - a fact that was glossed over at the time but was fully explained in last year's The Big Reunion.
"Let's Dance" was as good as anything the boy band had released up until that point and, had the guys not been at each other's throats, many more singles might have been issued from Kingsize. Instead, "Closer To Me"/"Rock The Party" was released as a double A-side with very little fanfare and music videos that didn't require the participation of the band members, followed by a greatest hits album that was hastily rushed out in time for Christmas.




Number 39 "Buggin' Me" by Selwyn
He didn't make the cut for Scandal'us, but Popstars season two finalist Selwyn caught the eye of Sony Music Australia, who snapped him up for a solo deal and, true to form, turned him into Australia's very own watered down version of Craig David. This debut single was easily the best pop/R&B song to come out of Australia up until that point (CHECK) and Selwyn himself was a nice guy who didn't mind one bit when our Smash Hits art director decided to pour a glass of milk over his head for a photo shoot. Bigger hits (including a cover of Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl" followed), but this was my favourite from his short-lived career.




Number 38 "All I Want" by Mis-teeq
Mentioned below

Number 37 "Gotta Get Thru This" by Daniel Bedingfield
What an interesting fellow Daniel Bedingfield was (and probably still is). A bundle of hyperactive energy in my interview with him in Australia, he was also the cause of me passing out on the floor of the Smash Hits office one night - I'd drunk way too much at his Sydney showcase and could only stumble as far as my workplace. But enough about me. Starting out as a white label, 2-step track "Gotta Get Thru This" quickly became one of the hottest records in the UK towards the end of 2001, with few probably guessing the guy behind it was a white New Zealander. It went on to reach number 1 in Britain, one of three chart-toppers Daniel enjoyed - although he became more known for ballads and pop songs that club hits like this.




Number 36 "You Are Alive" by Fragma featuring Damae
Their album Toca didn't exactly set the charts alight, but I actually thought it was a pretty good collection of trance/pop tunes, including this fourth and final single, which featured the vocalist who'd go on to be the regular frontwoman for the German group. "You Are Alive" followed previous single "Everytime You Need Me" (number 48 on this list).




Number 35 "My Desire" by Amira
Here's a 2-step classic that had being doing the rounds in various versions since 1997, but it was the Dreemhouse remix (by "Buddy X 99" hitmakers Dreem Team) that caught my attention in 2001.




Number 34 "The Call" by Backstreet Boys
The singles kept coming from BSB's Black & Blue album - this track about a guy being unfaithful to his girlfriend was the second single and ballad "More Than That" (number 46 on this list) was third. Before the end of the year, the boy band released a greatest hits album and new track "Drowning" - and then promptly disappeared for four years. Given their relentless recording and touring schedule since the mid-'90s, they'd probably earnt a rest. Unfortunately, the version of "The Call" on YouTube seems to be The Neptunes remix rather than the far superior original version.




Number 33 "I Lay My Love On You" by Westlife
Mentioned below

Number 32 "All For You" by Janet Jackson
Sampling "The Glow Of Love" by early '80s funk group Change, "All For You" duly became another massive hit for Ms Jackson. And, while its seven weeks at number 1 in the US and top 5 status in many other countries suggested the new century was going to be as kind to Janet as the '80s and '90s had been, this first single from the album of the same name was her last major hit. Sure, other songs from All For You and her three subsequent studio albums made some waves, but this song was her last hurrah as a major force in music.




Number 31 "Airhead" by Girls@Play
Girl Thing had failed dismally in their attempt to become the new Spice Girls but at least they hit the UK top 10. This girl group - sort of a mix between Village People and Spice Girls - barely dented the top 20. So why was I such a fan of this pure bubblegum pop song? Well, the names Mike Stock and Matt Aitken had more than a little to do with it - since the former Hit Factory production duo were behind this debut single for Vicky, Lisa-Jay, Lynsey, Shelley and future EastEnders star Rita. Even I'd lost interest by the time they followed this up with a dodgy cover of Mel & Kim's "Respectable" - although, when I say "lost interest", I mean "bought the CD single on Amazon to add to my SAW collection".




Number 30 "Uptown Girl" by Westlife
Like Backstreet Boys, Westlife continued to churn out singles in 2001, including this Billy Joel cover, which was 2001's official Comic Relief record (just as Boyzone's remake of Billy Ocean's "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" had been two years earlier). As a nice nod to the original version, Claudia Schiffer took Christie Brinkley's place as the featured supermodel in the music video. The Irish boy band's other 2001 hits were "I Lay My Love On You" (number 33 on this list) and "Queen Of My Heart".




Number 29 "60 Miles An Hour" by New Order
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 28 "One Night Stand" by Mis-teeq
Just to prove how commercial UK garage had become by 2001, the first girl group from the genre hit the charts with a trio of fantastic pop singles. The first two releases, "Why" (number 55 on this list) and "All I Want" (number 38) were pure 2-step, while third hit "One Night Stand" was a smooth R&B track - with all three featuring one of breakout member Alesha Dixon's feisty ragga raps.




Number 27 "All I Ever Wanted" by The Human League
If nothing else, they were consistent. Their last comeback (1995's Octopus) had followed a gap of five years, so half a decade after their previous single, 1996's "Stay With Me Tonight", synthpop pioneers The Human League returned with this lead single from the Secrets album. Unlike the reception that "Tell Me When" (the first single from Octopus) received, "All I Ever Wanted" was a chart disappointment, missing the UK top 40 completely. But, for my money (and I did buy Secrets online), it was another great addition to their catalogue of singles.




Number 26 "I Feel Love" by Depeche Mode
Previously featured here


In Part 4: someone finally manages to wrestle my year-end chart-topper away from Steps, while two Hollywood A-listers provided me with one of my karaoke favourites.


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

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

25 Years Ago This Week: February 26, 1989

Timing is everything - and that's especially the case when it comes to music. Whether it's releasing a song at just the right time to connect with as many people as possible or choosing the right order in which to release singles from an album, decisions to do with timing can make or break careers.

Sam Brown wouldn't stop until she had a hit

The three new entries on the ARIA chart this week in 1989 all had timing on their side for one reason or another (in a couple of cases, only just) and all went on to become big hits in Australia.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending February 26, 1989

The biggest hit of all in the country 25 years ago this week was still by The Proclaimers. I have nothing else to say on that particular topic.


Breakers
"Baby Can I Hold You" by Tracy Chapman
Peak: number 68
Before we get to our new entries, here's another single by Tracy that failed to make it into the Australian top 50 but has, over the years, become an incredibly well-known song. In the UK, part of the song's fame is due to Boyzone's 1997 remake, which peaked at number 2 there. That cover wasn't a hit here, but enough Australians would have become familiar with one version or the other over the years thanks to album sales and radio play.




"Stand" by R.E.M.
Peak: number 56
Another act that was having trouble landing a second top 50 hit was R.E.M. - and that's despite the fact that this follow-up to "Orange Crush" was easily the poppiest thing they'd released to date. In fact, this song sounds so much like a hit single that, when I first looked at the breakers on the chart this week, I seemed to remember "Stand" being successful in Australia. But no, it would take until 1991 for the band to return to the top 50. It was a different story in the US, with "Stand" giving R.E.M. their second top 10 hit.




New Entries
Number 42 "One Summer" by Daryl Braithwaite
Peak: number 8
Hitting the chart in the final week of summer is Daryl's ode to the sunny season. In many ways, this would have been a better second single from Edge than "All I Do" (the relative flop between two much bigger singles). For one thing, "One Summer" is a far superior song; for another, it would've come out instead at the start of summer and been blasted all season long. There is one way in which the timing of "One Summer" was actually quite smart. By hitting the chart in the dying days of the season, it reminded people of the summer months just past - and nostalgia's never been a bad thing when it comes to music.




Number 39 "Stop!" by Sam Brown
Peak: number 4
February 1989 was a great month for Sam Brown - with the timing finally right for "Stop!" to climb to a peak of number 4 in both Australia and the UK. The song had originally been released in mid-1988 in the UK, but it stiffed at number 52, while in Australia, it started its chart life back in October '88, bouncing around the lower end of the top 100 for a few weeks. In both countries, the impassioned ballad re-entered the chart in February and rocketed into the top 5. Far and away the biggest hit by the husky-voiced British singer (whose parents were both recording artists), "Stop!" was later covered (without the exclamation mark) by Jamelia for the soundtrack to Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason.




Number 37 "End Of The Line" by Traveling Wilburys
Peak: number 12
Like Roy Orbison's Mysterious Girl album (from which lead single "You Got It" was sitting at number 4 this week in 1989), the Traveling Wilburys project was completed just in the nick of time, since the Big O passed away in late 1988. The clip for this second single was filmed after Roy's death, with an empty rocking chair set aside to represent the gap left by the music legend.




Next week: the original version of a song made even more famous when it was covered by a Spice Girl a decade later and an obscure song from 1980 made more famous by rock's latest blonde bombshell. Before that, I'll conclude my top 100 for 2001, the first two parts of which you can catch up on here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).


Back to: Feb 19, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 5, 1989


Monday, 24 February 2014

The Best Of 2001 - part 2

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


The next batch of my favourite singles from 2001 include entries by a number of artists I got to interview during my time at Smash Hits. That was in the good old days when you'd get plenty of time to speak to someone instead of a quickie 10-minute slot (or worse, a round table) and you'd actually be able to have a meaningful conversation with someone.

Scandal'us went from Popstars to flop stars in record time

Of course, everyone always assumed Smash Hits didn't do meaningful conversations but instead asked questions like "what's your favourite ice-cream flavour?" or "boxers or briefs?". Sure, I probably asked both on at least one occasion, but most of the time it was nice to just have a chat to pop stars without a ticking clock and a packed schedule full of other interviewers just waiting to ask the same five questions you had time for.


Number 75 "We're Not Gonna Sleep Tonight" by Emma Bunton
Here's one singer I got to speak to on the phone and then meet in person at the obligatory cruise of Sydney Harbour during her promotional tour. In 2001, things were initially going great for Baby Spice's solo career. She followed up her 1999 guest spot on Tin Tin Out's "What I Am" with her first solo single proper, "What Took You So Long?" (number 79 on this list), which gave her a UK number 1 and an Australian top 10.
"We're Not Gonna Sleep Tonight" was her third single (the forgettable "Take My Breath Away" was in between) and, despite being my favourite song by Emma up until that point, it became the lowest charting solo Spice single to date in the UK. Yep, even Mel B's "Tell Me" and Victoria's "Not Such An Innocent Girl" did better.




Number 74 "Sleeping" by Rick Astley
More songs about sleep - this time from a man who hadn't released new music in eight years. "Sleeping" was the first single from Rick's comeback album, Keep It Turned On - although it was a career revival that only took place in Germany, since the album wasn't released in the UK and most other parts of the world.  




Number 73 "Ain't It Funny" by Jennifer Lopez
Mentioned below

Number 72 "Shining Light" by Ash
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 71 "Hunter" by Dido
With "Thank You" and "Here With Me" finally becoming worldwide hits for Dido in 2000, attention was turned to this song, which hadn't been previously released from No Angel. My favourite song from No Angel, it didn't chart as well as the previous singles but that probably had more to do with the fact that everybody already owned a copy of the album than anything else.




Number 70 "Things I've Seen" by Spooks
Taken from their debut album, S.I.O.S.O.S. (which apparently stands for Spooks Is On Some Other Shit), "Things I've Seen" suggested great things were to come from this hip-hop collective (who boasted members with such interesting names as Hypno and Water Water). However, this turned out to be as good as it got for the group, who'd gone their separate ways within a couple of years.




Number 69 "You Give Me Something" by Jamiroquai
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 68 "If You Come Back" by Blue
With the demise of Five and Another Level, room opened up in the crowded British market for a new boy band - and Blue combined elements from both of their predecessors. On the one hand, they followed in Another Level's R&B footsteps, even releasing a cover of a hit US single in "Too Close" (number 90 on this list). On the other, they had the pop sensibility of Five - with catchy songs like debut single "All Rise" (number 11) and ballad "If You Come Back" making them chart stars and teen mag sensations in the UK and here in Australia, where we put them on the cover of Smash Hits.




Number 67 "Who Do You Love Now (Stringer)" by Riva featuring Dannii Minogue
Following an absence from the music scene during which she mostly dated racing car driver Jacques Villeneuve, Dannii Minogue was back in club diva mode as guest vocalist on this track, which had started life as instrumental "Stringer". Dutch duo Riva had previously landed club and chart hits as The Goodmen ("Give It Up") and Chocolate Puma ("I Wanna Be U"). With a bit of added Minogue pizazz, this song became a UK top 10 and Australian top 15 hit  - and influenced the direction Dannii's music career would take next.




Number 66 "Play" by Jennifer Lopez
J.Lo had about 57 hit singles in 2001 - and that was partly because she released alternate versions of many of her songs to cater to different audiences (and radio stations). This pop/dance track, the natural successor to "Waiting For Tonight", was my favourite - but it wasn't one of her biggest singles in the US. Instead, the Americans favoured the Ja Rule-featuring Murder remixes of "I'm Real" (number 88 on this list) and "Ain't It Funny" (number 73), sending both to number 1 for extended stays - although for me, the original versions of both those songs were just fine.




Number 65 "Twentyfourseven" by Artful Dodger featuring Melanie Blatt
As well as being the first post-All Saints hit for any of the group members, this collaboration was also the reason for my first conference call interview, with Mel and one of the members of the 2-step team connecting from various points on the globe. You can imagine how smoothly that went. It would be the last top 10 single for Artful Dodger in the UK, while for Mel, it would be her highest-charting song - with her solo career in 2003 failing to ignite.




Number 64 "Chillin'" by Modjo
The French disco outfit behind "Lady (Hear Me Tonight)" proved they were no one-hit wonders with this almost-as-good follow-up single. They were, however, a one-album wonder, which was a shame since their self-titled album was pretty good, too.




Number 63 "Me, Myself & I" by Scandal'us
The first season of Popstars had been such a success that it was inevitable there'd be a second - and this time a mixed-sex group was the end product. Comprising Jason, Anna, Simon, Daniela and (future bride of Kyle Sandilands) Tamara, Scandal'us stole the apostrophe idea from Hear'Say and pretty much everything else from *NSYNC. This Australian number 1 hit was their only really successful single - follow-up "Make Me Crazy" stalled at number 30.
Unlike with Bardot, who were already stars by the time I started working in magazines, I was there from the very start with Scandal'us, and spent a fair bit of time with them at interviews and photo shoots. With odd exceptions (guess who?), they were always great to work with, and genuinely enthusiastic and excited to be given a chance at pop fame. Unfortunately, that fame was as fleeting as it gets - with the local music industry chewing them up and spitting them out in record time.  




Number 62 "Whole Again" by Atomic Kitten
The song that changed everything (including the line-up) for Atomic Kitten was one last ditch effort by their record company to turn the girl group from chart also-rans into an A-list pop act. It worked - and how. Flying straight to number 1 in the UK and staying there for four weeks, it also narrowly missed the top spot in Australia.
Midway through promotion for the song, original member Kerry Katona left the group to go and have Brian McFadden's baby, and ex-Precious member was drafted in to keep the group, er, whole. With no suitable follow-up single in the bag, the new-look trio quickly recorded a remake of The Bangles' "Eternal Flame" (number 93 on this list), which gave them another smash (at least in the UK).




Number 61 "AM To PM" by Christina Milian
Better known these days for her involvement in US reality series Dancing With The Stars and The Voice, Christina Milian was a fresh-faced 19-year-old when she released this debut single in 2001. The song was produced by Bloodshy & Avant, who would go on to produce some of Britney Spears' biggest mid-'00s hits.




Number 60 "Love Song" by Naimee Coleman
Having collaborated with Aurora on their remake of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World" the previous year, Irish singer Naimee Coleman included another cover on her solo album, Bring Down The Moon. This time it was The Cure's 1989 single that received the makeover - with some more trance/pop mixes included on the single release for good measure. The one below isn't my favourite mix - but the Brothers In Rhythm edit isn't on YouTube, and who's got time to listen to the 10-and-a-half minute extended version?




Number 59 "19/2000 (Soulchild mix)" by Gorillaz
Not since The Archies had a cartoon creation made as big an impact on the charts as this virtual band, the brainchild of Blur's Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett. I wasn't as big a fan of debut single "Clint Eastwood" or the original version of this follow-up, but this much poppier version of "19/2000" was right up my alley.




Number 58 "Whenever, Wherever" by Shakira
The first time I heard the name Shakira mentioned, it was by Britney Spears (who was a fan) during her visit to Australia in 2001. In a matter of weeks, everyone was talking about the Colombian superstar and her crossover to the English-language market. With its perky pan pipes, crazy lyrics and Shakira's hip-swivelling moves in the video, "Whenever, Wherever" was always going to be massive. In Australia alone, it was a six-week chart-topper and the second highest-selling single for 2002 - just one of more than two dozen countries where it went to number 1.




Number 57 "Takin' Back What's Mine" by Leah Haywood
We saw her back in my top 100 for 2000 with debut single "We Think It's Love", and in 2001, Leah went even further down the pop route with this Britney-sounding track. At the time, Sony Music Australia were trying to turn all their acts into clones of pop superstars like Britney and Christina Aguilera (including making Delta Goodrem sing the poppy "I Don't Care" instead of one of her original tracks) - and while some songs, like this one, were a decent attempt at capturing that sound, I couldn't help but think the artists involved didn't really have their hearts in it.




Number 56 "The Sound Of Breaking Up" by paulmac featuring Peta Morris
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 55 "Why" by Mis-teeq
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 54 "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child
Their line-up troubles behind them, the three-piece Destiny's Child concentrated on becoming the world's premier girl group in 2001 with the release of their Survivor album. The title track gave them another smash hit, but it was this Stevie Nicks-sampling second single that I preferred.




Number 53 "Pure & Simple" by Hear'Say
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 52 "ASAP" by Bardot
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 51 "Where The Party At" by Jagged Edge featuring Nelly
This four-piece male vocal R&B group had been around since the mid-'90s, but Australia only caught on thanks to the Run DMC-sampling remix of "Let's Get Married". "Where The Party At" was the lead single from their subsequent album, Jagged Little Thrill, and was the first of a huge string of singles in the coming years that featured my favourite rapper in a guest role. Nelly might have had a hit-laden future, but Australia lost interest just as quickly in Jagged Edge, who wouldn't be heard of here for another five years - and then only in a guest capacity.




In Part 3, a trio of my favourite '80s bands all released new material and Popstars launched another new, short-lived chart star. Before that, we head back to 1989 for this Wednesday's regular ARIA chart recap.


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

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Best Of 2001 - part 1

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


After a brief diversion into the world of '80s one-hit wonders, it's back to the '00s with my top 100 songs for 2001. It was a big year for me - I started work at a new job that pretty much brought my life full circle. Early in the year, I was hired as the deputy editor of Smash Hits, a magazine I read religiously in the late '80s as a primary and high school student.

Kylie scored her biggest hit of all time in 2001

One of the earliest things I remember happening at Smash Hits was that the editor moved the stereo, which had previously resided behind the editorial assistant (who I think used to listen to the radio), next to my desk. That didn't go down very well. No doubt some of these songs received a hammering that year...


Number 100 "Ride Wit Me" by Nelly featuring City Spud
One of the biggest cover stars during my time at Smash Hits was Eminem, but I was never a fan myself. My rapper of choice was this guy, who'd burst onto the scene the previous year with "Country Grammar (Hot Shit)" and "E.I.". "Ride Wit Me" was the first song of Nelly's I really liked and featured one of the members of Nelly's crew, St Lunatics.




Number 99 "Sing" by Travis
The nice guy Scottish group returned in 2001 with their The Invisible Band album - and it's a title that would end up being quite prophetic since Travis would soon fade into the background as Coldplay took over as the UK's favourite indie rock act.




Number 98 "My Friend" by Groove Armada
Another British act up to their third studio album was this dance duo, whose Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub) had already yielded party tune "Superstylin'". This chillout track received a fair bit of airplay but barely dented the UK top 40 and just missed the Australian top 50.




Number 97 "Rapture" by iio
Another dance duo - this time of the one-hit wonder variety. "Rapture" was a big club and chart track for vocalist Nadia Ali and producer Markus Moser, but the pair never managed to follow it up with anything anywhere near as successful.




Number 96 "It's Raining Men" by Geri Halliwell
If her solo singles to date hadn't been quite camp enough, Geri really went all out with the first release from her second album, Scream If You Wanna Go Faster. Her cover of The Weather Girls' '80s classic came complete with a Fame and Flashdance-referencing video, and was featured on the soundtrack to Bridget Jones's Diary. It would also be her last massive hit. In Australia, she only returned once more to the top 40 (with the album's title track peaking at number 40), while in the UK, "It's Raining Men" was her final of four number 1 hits. Despite the "screen grab" below, the video does play.




Number 95 "Come Along" by Titiyo
We saw her way back on my 1990 countdown with "My Body Says Yes" and although Neneh Cherry's half-sister had released music in the intervening years, this was her most successful release since then. Less dance/pop and more guitar based than that earlier record, "Come Along" and the album of the same name were hugely successful for Titiyo at home in Sweden.




Number 94 "What It Feels Like For A Girl" by Madonna
Previously featured here

Number 93 "Eternal Flame" by Atomic Kitten
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 92 "Never Enough" by Boris Dlugosch featuring Roisin Murphy
His remix of "Sing It Back" had given Moloko their breakthrough hit, and so in 2001 that group's vocalist returned the favour and performed on this track for the German producer. Like the previous song of Boris's that I liked, "Hold Your Head Up High" (which featured on my 1997 countdown), "Never Enough" was a club rather than a chart hit.




Number 91 "Don't Mess With The Radio" by Nivea
Wow, who knew this American R&B singer had such an interesting life following her brief flirtation with chart success? Before becoming involved with rappers Lil Wayne and The-Dream, Nivea cracked the Australian top 20 with this debut single - her first hit anywhere in the world. She'd eventually score a US top 10 single in 2002 with "Don't Mess With My Man", which was a pretty fitting title given what ended up happening in her personal life.  




Number 90 "Too Close" by Blue
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 89 "U Got It Bad (Soulpower Remix)" by Usher
The original title of Usher's third album had been All About U, which would have been incredibly appropriate for many reasons - one of which was that most of the singles lifted from it started with the letter U.
A Napster leak resulted in the delay of the album and a name change to 8701, but "U Got It Bad" duly followed "U Remind Me" (number 115 on this list) and preceded "U Don't Have To Call" and "U-Turn" into the charts. "Pop Ya Collar" (number 101) was skipped over as a single in the US, but charted in Australia and the UK.
Usher became so big in Australia in 2001, that he was one of the first African-American artists to feature on the cover of Smash Hits - a far cry from the days when most R&B tracks weren't even released locally.




Number 88 "I'm Real" by Jennifer Lopez
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 87 "Stay" by Stephen Gately
For his third single, the Boyzone member got his Britney on with this pop track produced by StarGate, who were beginning to rival Max Martin and his Cheiron pals for their ubiquity on the charts. Despite that, it was his first release to miss the UK top 10 and he was dropped from his solo record deal shortly after.




Number 86 "Nobody Wants To Be Lonely" by Ricky Martin / Christina Aguilera
He'd spearheaded the Latino music craze of the late '90s, while she'd got in touch with her own Latin roots on her second solo album, Mi Reflejo - so it made perfect sense for Ricky and Christina to team up for this duet. This was, of course, back in the days when collaborations still felt organic and weren't as frequent (or cynical) as they are now. The song in question had originally featured as a solo track on Ricky's Sound Loaded album, but as we'd see repeatedly over the next decade, there was nothing like a bit of added Christina to increase interest (and vocal acrobatics) in a song.




Number 85 "Another Chance" by Roger Sanchez
Mentioned below

Number 84 "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" by Kylie Minogue
Yep, I'm aware this is Kylie's highest-selling single globally but as much of a fan as I am, this track never really connected with me the way it clearly did with millions of other people. It doesn't even rank in my top 25 Kylie singles of all time. Previewed during her On A Night Like This tour (which I watched from the front row in Sydney), "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" became the lead single for Fever, which remains Kylie's best-selling album. There is one more song from Ms Minogue to come on this countdown - "Your Disco Needs You", which was released in a handful of countries as the final single from Light Years. It won't be popping up on this list for some time, though.




Number 83 "Bass Has Got Me Movin'" by [Love] Tattoo
This Australian dance track was one of the records nominated for Best Dance Release at the 2001 ARIA Awards (losing out to The Avalanches). The alter ego of the heavily tattooed Steven Allkins (thus the name), [Love] Tattoo also included producer Justin Shave, who we'll see again in my 2003 countdown with Etherfox.




Number 82 "Freelove" by Depeche Mode
Previously featured here

Number 81 "Soul Sound" by Sugababes
The fourth and final single from Sugababes' debut album, One Touch, was also the last single by the original line-up of the band, with Siobhan quitting at the end of a promo visit to Australia (it wasn't our fault!). Both this track and previous single "Run For Cover" (number 16 on this list) hinted at great things still to come from the girls - and while it was a relief the group continued, none of us could have had any idea just how many girls there would end up being in Sugababes.




Number 80 "In My Pocket" by Mandy Moore
After her bubblegum pop debut, Mandy experimented with her sound for album number two (or three, if you include So Real and I Wanna Be With You as separate albums) and unleashed this more mature Middle Eastern-influenced track as the lead single. A decent hit in Australia (it reached number 11), "In My Pocket" and the accompanying self-titled album weren't so well received in the US or UK, and her chart career was effectively over in both countries. Although she's continued to record music ever since, she's now better known for her acting and voice roles.




Number 79 "What Took You So Long" by Emma Bunton
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 78 "You Are My High" by Demon vs Heartbreaker
Demon is French producer Jéremie Mondon while Heartbreaker's real name is Nicolas Lemercier - and together they produced this cool slice of French disco. The only other thing I have to say about this song is that my CD single of it fell down behind some built-in shelves at my former home a couple of years after in was released, which in the pre iTunes era was kind of a disaster.




Number 77 "You Can't Change Me" by Roger Sanchez featuring Armand van Helden & N'Dea Davenport
A big-name DJ since the mid-'90s, Roger's career as a recording artist took off in 2001 with his First Contact album and lead single "Another Chance" (number 85 on this list), which turned Toto ballad "I Won't Hold You Back" into a club anthem. I preferred this follow-up, which featured fellow DJ/producer Armand van Helden and sometime Brand New Heavies vocalist N'Dea Davenport - but it wasn't anywhere near as big a hit.




Number 76 "In The End" by Linkin Park
One of my karaoke favourites (the singing bit, not the rapping part), this was the fourth and final single from Linkin Park's debut album, Hybrid Theory - and the first track of theirs I liked since it's pretty much a pop song. Like Eminem, the band was enormously popular with Smash Hits readers in Australia - and I once prided myself on known all six of the members' names and roles. It was also the first of many CD singles (and then downloads) by the guys I added to my music collection without ever owning one of their albums - so a singles collection-style best of would be great whenever you're ready, guys.




In Part 2: two of the biggest female superstars of the '00s (although one would claim she was "small and humble"). Plus, a cartoon band and Australia's newest (at the time) pop creation.


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