Wednesday, 26 March 2014

25 Years Ago This Week: March 26, 1989

There's no doubt rock was the favoured genre in Australia throughout the '80s. Cold Chisel, Australian Crawl, The Angels, Midnight Oil, The Choirboys... the list of pub rock groups that enjoyed a stranglehold on the charts and radio play is endless. But this week in 1989, Aussie pop made a strong showing, with four of the ARIA singles chart's new entries.

Anything Yazz could do, Collette did... not as well

The other two debuts were by international pop acts - a sign that music tastes were changing locally. Sure, we weren't quite at the stage of R&B and dance tracks flooding into the top 50, but songs were no longer dependant on FM radio play or pub rock cred to become hits in this country.

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

At the top of the ARIA singles chart this week 25 years ago was the Queen of Pop herself. Madonna resumed her throne, ousting The Proclaimers in the process, with "Like A Prayer" spending its first week at number 1.


Breaker
"Good Life" by Inner City
Peak: number 52
Last week, we saw Inner City's "Big Fun" as a breaker, and this week in 1989, it was the turn of follow-up single "Good Life" to just miss the top 50. It wasn't the first (or last) time that two singles by an act would simultaneously become hits (or, in this case, almost hits). With Australia notoriously slow to catch on to new international music in the '80s, it was often the case that by the time an artist landed their first hit here, they had a second single waiting in the wings and the two would chart alongside each other (see also: Mel & Kim, Bon Jovi, Melissa Etheridge).




New Entries
Number 50 "Over Tomorrow" by Pseudo Echo
Peak: number 40
What a fitting title this would turn out to be - and it's interesting that arguably Australia's most successful synthpop act (six top 15 hits, including number 1 "Funky Town") would falter when they tried to inject a bit of rock into their sound (big power chords, albeit played on the keytar) and their look (shirtless drummer, stupidly long hair). 
The second single from Race, "Over Tomorrow" was hardly "Run To Paradise" and it wasn't enough to sway the rock-loving public to start listening to Pseudo Echo. Plus, by leaving the sound that made them a success behind, the band also alienated their existing fans, with this song becoming their final top 50 appearance.




Number 47 "Lost In Your Eyes" by Debbie Gibson
Peak: number 7
Only one of the five singles from Debbie's debut album, Out Of The Blue, had breached the ARIA top 50 ("Shake Your Love" reached number 27), but piano ballad "Lost In Your Eyes" started the teen singer/songwriter/producer's second album campaign on the right note. The lead single from Electric Youth, "Lost In Your Eyes" became her first big Australian hit and as well as giving her a second US chart-topper. It was a song I could actually play on the piano at the time. Yep, my Debbie obsession prompted me to shell out for the sheet music to this song.




Number 46 "Celebrate The World" by Womack & Womack
Peak: number 37
Often wrongly considered to be a one-hit wonder in Australia, husband-and-wife duo Womack & Womack did indeed score a second top 40 hit with this follow-up to "Teardrops" - even if it performed nowhere near as well. While I've grown to love "Teardrops" over the years, I can't say the same about "Celebrate The World", although the chorus has that annoyingly hummable quality to it. This would be the last time we'd see Linda and Cecil on the Australian chart, with the couple going on to perform under the name The House of Zekkariyas... as you do.




Number 45 "So Good" by Wa Wa Nee
Peak: number 35
While Pseudo Echo abandoned their roots and stumbled, Wa Wa Nee were also having trouble landing a decent hit - and they were still releasing synth-based funk tracks. "So Good" became the group's second single in a row to stall outside the top 30 and would be their final top 50 appearance. For me, the singles from second album Blush (like this and previous release "Can't Control Myself") were nowhere near as good as those from Wa Wa Nee's debut album, so they probably didn't warrant higher chart positions - but it was nevertheless a shame to see a band that'd shown such promise crashing and burning.




Number 39 "Ring My Bell" by Collette
Peak: number 5
If bands like Pseudo Echo and Wa Wa Nee that wrote their own music, played their own instruments and had some international success couldn't cut it with the narrow-minded Australian industry, what hope did a bicycle short-wearing model have of gaining any respect? Pretty much zero. Of course, who needs credibility when the top 5 beckons, right?
Performing a vaguely house-inspired cover of the Anita Ward 1979 disco classic, Collette Roberts was clearly Australia's answer to Yazz. She even had smiley face badges pinned on her outfit to prove how down with house music she was. "Ring My Bell" spent three weeks at its peak position, but Collette quickly became even more derided than Kylie Minogue was at that point in her career in Australia - and Kylie had a pretty rough time of it in 1989. I wasn't a fan of "Ring My Bell" or the obvious way Collette was styled. It all came off as trying just a little bit too hard - but at this stage, at least, it worked.




Number 7 "Too Many Broken Hearts" by Jason Donovan
Peak: number 7
Speaking of a lack of credibility... Also spending three weeks at its peak position, Jason's second single on his own was a vast improvement on debut hit "Nothing Can Divide Us". Instead of giving the Neighbours star (he was in his last two months on air) a Rick Astley cast-off, songwriters/producers Stock Aitken Waterman provided Jason with what would be the best single of his career and it rushed to number 1 in the UK.
In Australia, "Too Many Broken Hearts" became Jason's third top 10 appearance in a row. Nevertheless, the local industry was even more savage on Jason than on his girlfriend and record label-mate. The fact that he walked around the tourist advertisement-style music video playing an electric guitar that wasn't plugged in to anything didn't help.




Next week: New entries are a bit thin on the ground, so I'll also take a look at what was happening on the albums chart 25 years ago.


Back to: Mar 19, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Apr 2, 1989


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

25 Years Ago This Week: March 19, 1989

It wasn't every week that the biggest female artist on the planet released a brand new single - but 25 years ago this week, the Queen of Pop returned to the ARIA chart following an absence of more than 12 months.

Madonna fans' prayers were answered this week in 1989

She wasn't the only star who'd risen to fame earlier in the decade to debut with a new song this week in 1989, but she was far and away the most successful of the artists returning to the chart with fresh material.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending March 19, 1989

The best thing about Madonna's high debut was that it meant that The Proclaimers' days at number 1 were numbered. Yep, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" spent its fifth and final week atop the ARIA singles chart.


Breakers
"Big Fun" by Inner City
Peak: number 57
House music had been a chart staple in the UK for well over a year by this stage in 1989, but Australia was still proving mostly resistant to the dance movement. Sure, ultra-commercial fare like Yazz's "The Only Way Is Up" and "Theme From S-Express" by S-Express performed well locally, but other UK top 10 acts like Bomb The Bass, D-Mob, Coldcut, Beatmasters and Inner City had gone largely unnoticed here.
Comprised of Detroit techno pioneer Kevin Saunderson and vocalist Paris Grey, Inner City was one of the most influential house acts in the late '80s and released a string of club hits over the ensuing decade. It all began with dance classic "Big Fun", which was charting in Australia simultaneously with follow-up "Good Life", a song that - spoiler alert - we'll get to next week.




"Surrender To Me" by Robin Zander & Ann Wilson
Peak: number 51
"Up Where We Belong", "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life", "Endless Love", "Separate Lives"... no '80s film was complete without the obligatory love theme duet. This song, which just missed the ARIA top 50, teamed Heart's Ann Wilson with Robin Zander from Cheap Trick and appeared in the Mel Gibson/Michelle Pfeiffer/Kurt Russell film, Tequila Sunrise.
I've never seen the movie and only barely remember "Surrender To Me" (probably because it's fairly forgettable), but both film and song were pretty successful in the US, with the duet reaching the Billboard top 10.
For Ann, it was her second soundtrack power ballad to hit the US top 10 but just miss the Australian top 50 - "Almost Paradise" (with Loverboy's Mike Reno) from Footloose peaked at number 7 in the States but only managed number 52 here in 1984




New Entries
Number 39 "Love Train" by Holly Johnson
Peak: number 35
Here's our first returning star: the former frontman for mid-'80s sensations Frankie Goes To Hollywood - although it wasn't a given that Holly would actually be able to embark on a solo career after he quit the three-time UK chart-topping band. FGTH's label, ZTT, attempted to prevent Holly (real name: William) from releasing music with another record company, but Holly sued and was granted his freedom.
His first post-Frankie single, "Love Train", complete with its cartoony video and Stock Aitken Waterman-ish production, was about as far removed from the hard-edged music of his former band as you could get - although the lyrics were as innuendo-laden as you'd expect from the man who co-wrote "Relax".




Number 37 "Chained To The Wheel" by The Black Sorrows
Peak: number 9
Here's the single that changed everything for Joe Camilleri's latest musical venture, which had so far landed two minor hits in the form of "Daughters Of Glory" and "Hold On To Me". The Vika and Linda-featuring "Chained To The Wheel" not only hit the top 10 on the singles chart but prompted parent album Hold On To Me to re-enter the albums chart, where it peaked at number 7 and spent almost a year in total in the top 50. Despite being another Aussie rock song about a truck (see also: "Driving Wheels"), it was also a song I quite liked - especially the "wheel... chained to the wheel" post-chorus bit.




Number 34 "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart" by Marc Almond featuring special guest star Gene Pitney
Peak: number 24
Returning star number two is Marc Almond, the singer for synthpop duo Soft Cell, who, despite having a number of hit singles in the UK, were one-hit wonders in Australia thanks to number 1 smash "Tainted Love". 
Marc had previously collaborated with Bronski Beat on "I Feel Love (Medley)" (a number 34 single in Australia in 1985), but this cover version was his only Australian hit as lead artist. His guest on this remake was one of the first performers of the oft-covered track - and our third returning star of the week: Gene Pitney, who'd last been seen on the Australian top 50 back in 1975.
Like this duet, which topped the British singles chart for four weeks, Gene's 1967 version of "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart" had been much bigger in the UK (where it hit number 5) than Australia (where it peaked at number 69). However, Gene did manage a tally of eight top 10 hits overall in Australia - from 1962's number 3 hit "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" to "Blue Angel", a number 2 record in 1975.




Number 3 "Like A Prayer" by Madonna
Peak: number 1
Between her 1984 breakthrough and the end of 1987, Madonna landed 17 hit singles on the Australian top 50 (including four number 1s). Then, no doubt aware that a backlash was inevitable unless she cooled it for a while, the biggest female recording artist on the planet released nothing for more than 12 months. It was just the latest move in a pretty faultless career path to that point - and one which ensured anticipation for the lead single from her fourth studio album was intense.
Musically, "Like A Prayer" was like nothing Madonna had released up until that point and was an even bigger stylistic reinvention than "Live To Tell" had been in 1986. Not only was it a more mature record than anything she'd put her name to before, but its gospel influences and big, bold sound made even naysayers sit up and take notice. "Like A Prayer" was Madonna proving she was more than just a provocative, midriff-bearing pop star.
Not that she didn't still push people's buttons, which is where the music video for "Like A Prayer" came in. Stigmata, an African American Jesus-type figure, burning crosses and Madonna's dancing-cum-writhing in church... there were plenty of things about which religious conservatives could object. And they did. As a result of the furore, Madonna's much-hyped Pepsi commercial was pulled and she was banned by the Vatican. Naturally, it all just helped "Like A Prayer" become one of Madonna's biggest hits - and, in Australia, the highest-selling single of 1989, spending five non-consecutive weeks at number 1 between late March and mid-May. Now, that's how you stage a comeback.




Next week: four debuts from Australian pop acts (two groups with keytar players, a dodgy Yazz wannabe and the owner of the highest-selling album in the UK for the year). Plus: the return of one of my favourite singers of the late '80s.


Back to: Mar 12, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 26, 1989


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

25 Years Ago This Week: March 12, 1989

I always thought that if I ever became a recording artist, I would record under a name that sounded like a group - like Owl City, Ladyhawke or Bastille (before he went and got himself band-mates). It's an enigmatic and slightly confusing way to be a solo artist, which appeals to me - even though the chances of me releasing a single any time soon are pretty slim.

Simply Red: seems like a solo act, actually a group

Just as confusing are acts like Jamiroquai, The Lightning Seeds and Sade that seem like soloists, but are actually groups - even if Jay Kay, Ian Broudie and Sade Adu get all the attention and, in the first two cases, band members come and go. This week in 1989, the highest new entry came from the latter type of act: a band centred around one person, but a band nevertheless.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending March 12, 1989

Also this week 25 years ago, The Proclaimers were still at number 1 with "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" - for the fourth of five weeks. The pain was only going to get worse...


Single Of The Week
The Party Boys - "Follow Your Heart"
The party was over for the group who'd hit number 1 with their cover of "He's Gonna Step On You Again" back in 1987, with this brand new single not even managing a place in the ARIA top 100 (it peaked at number 107). The band with the ever-evolving line-up welcomed back former vocalist Joe Walsh (of Eagles fame) for this song.




Breakers
"Fine Time" by Yazz
Peak: number 60
Another former hit-maker who was struggling was the lady behind dance smash "The Only Way Is Up". Reggae-infused single "Fine Time" had given her a third consecutive solo top 10 single in the UK, but Australian fans didn't take to the change of pace.




"Nathan Jones" by Bananarama
Peak: number 59
Also on the outs were Bananarama version 2.0, whose cover of The Supremes (minus Diana Ross) single from 1971 didn't manage a place inside the top 50 - something that hadn't happened for the group since 1987's "A Trick Of The Night". "Nathan Jones" had originally appeared on the WOW! album, when Siobhan Fahey was still part of the line-up, and was re-recorded and remixed for The Greatest Hits Collection as one of two new tracks.




New Entries
Number 50 "Voice Of Reason" by Noiseworks
Peak: number 43
No one was having much luck this week! Here's another single from Noiseworks that disappointed chart-wise. The follow-up to top 15 hit "Touch", "Voice Of Reason" was the first of three singles in a row that would fail to crack the ARIA top 40. Personally, I thought it was the best single from the Touch album, which made up for things by being a top 5 platinum success.




Number 42 "Your Mama Don't Dance" by Poison
Peak: number 21
And now, a song I wish had been less of a hit. Unfortunately for me, although fortunately for them, Poison were on a bit of a roll by this point so just about anything would have done well. The fourth single from Open Up And Say...Aah!, "Your Mama Don't Dance" was a remake of the 1972 single by Loggins and Messina. Yep, Kenny Loggins of "Footloose" and "Danger Zone" fame, and Jim Messina, who'd also been in Buffalo Springfield and Poco (don't worry, I'm not really familiar with those bands, either).




Number 40 "Waiting For A Star To Fall" by Boy Meets Girl
Peak: number 35
One of my favourite songs from 1988 took its sweet time breaking into the ARIA top 50, and although it didn't go on to be a massive hit in Australia, it's one of those tunes that everyone knows. A top 5 hit in the US and a top 10 in the UK, the song was originally offered to Whitney Houston and Belinda Carlisle (who recorded a pretty unlistenable demo) before writers George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam ended up releasing it themselves in their guise as duo Boy Meets Girl. The husband and wife team had previously written two mega-hits for Whitney - "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" - but this was their only success of any note as recording artists. 




Number 36 "I'm On My Way" by The Proclaimers
Peak: number 3
As if one horrible Proclaimers single wasn't enough, Australia rushed out and bought this follow-up - something that didn't even happen in the UK. In coming weeks, both songs were side-by-side in the top 10 (for a couple of non-consecutive weeks, that was literally the case). As a result, The Proclaimers entered the ranks of two-hit wonders.




Number 31 "It's Only Love" by Simply Red
Peak: number 31
Entering the chart where it would peak, this Simply Red track was the lead single from A New Flame, the first of four consecutive chart-topping albums the band had back in the UK. One thing I didn't realise until now was that, like the album's second single, "If You Don't Know Me By Now", "It's Only Love" was a cover version - in this case of a song originally recorded by Barry White.




Next week: three stars of the early to mid '80s return - with very mixed fortunes. Plus, house music fails to take off in Australia.


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


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

25 Years Ago This Week: March 5, 1989

Politics and rock music have always gone hand in hand - and that was never more true than in the '80s when issues like the famine in Ethiopia ("Do They Know It's Christmas", "We Are The World"), apartheid in South Africa ("Sun City") and, here in Australia, Aboriginal land rights ("Beds Are Burning") all prompted musicians to put their thoughts to music.

Simple Minds took their music in a new direction in 1989

This week in 1989, a Scottish band that had only recently become known for their activism scored the highest new entry on the ARIA chart with a political anthem (well, actually three anthems, but we'll get to that) that topped the chart in the UK.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending March 5, 1989

On top of the Australian chart this week 25 years ago were... The Proclaimers. Still.


New Entries
Number 49 "Music Goes Round My Head" by The Saints
Peak: number 39
Yet another single to come from Young Einstein, "Music Goes Round My Head" was one of only two songs by the highly influential Australian punk/rock band to make it into the Australian top 40 (the other was 1986's "Just Like Fire Would", which got to number 29). And, like Paul Kelly's contribution to the soundtrack, "Dumb Things", this track had originally appeared on an album that'd been out for some time - The Saints' Prodigal Son was originally released in April 1988. The song itself was a remake of a 1967 single by another legendary Aussie rock band: The Easybeats.




Number 45 "The Living Years" by Mike + The Mechanics
Peak: number 1
A few weeks ago, I was pleased to be reminded of "Nobody's Perfect", a track by Genesis member Mike Rutherford's side-project that I'd completely forgotten about. But, unfortunately, there's no forgetting this song - yep, it's another Australian chart-topper of which I'm none too fond. It's hard to be as dismissive of "The Living Years" as I am of "Don't Worry Be Happy" or "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", though. This song's lyrics are actually quite poignant, detailing co-writer BA Robertson's regret about the issues he never got to resolve with his late father. Musically, though, I found the song a bit cloying.




Number 44 "Tell That Girl To Shut Up" by Transvision Vamp
Peak: number 44
Originally released before "I Want Your Love", this earlier Transvision Vamp single got another shot at success - but didn't rise any further than this debut position. The song was a cover of the 1980 debut single by little known new wave band Holly And The Italians.




Number 40 "What I Am" by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
Peak: number 18
Here's another song that would also end up being a bigger hit in the UK when it was covered - in this case by Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton in 1999. But, unlike "Tell That Girl To Shut Up", "What I Am" was a success first time out in Australia and the US for alternative rock band Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, reaching as high as number 7 in the US. The band is still together today, having released albums every so often, although none as big as debut Shooting Rubberbands At The Stars. Meanwhile, singer Edie has also recorded solo albums and is married to Paul Simon. 




Number 23 "Belfast Child" by Simple Minds
Peak: number 12
It'd been four years since a new studio album from Simple Minds - and this lead single from Street Fighting Years made it clear the band had moved on from their stadium synthrock sound. Incorporating the melody of the traditional Irish folk song "She Moved Through The Fair", "Belfast Child" dealt with the conflict that continued to rage in Northern Ireland, while the single's B-side, "Mandela Day", was first performed at the concert held in honour of Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday in 1988. A third politically-influenced track, a cover of Peter Gabriel's "Biko", was included on the 12" version of "Belfast Child" (or Ballad Of The Streets EP, as it was also known).




Next week: Those bloody Proclaimers strike again! Plus, one of my favourite songs from 1988, which spent what seemed like forever as a breaker, finally cracks the top 50.


Back to: Feb 26, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 12, 1989


Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Best Of 2001 - part 4

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


2001 was another strong year for pop music, which was a good thing considering I worked for a pop music magazine. Mag sales were on the decline, however, especially in the teen press sector with the internet and mobile phones proving to be a source of competition for readers' pocket money, as well as a quicker way for them to obtain a lot of the things Smash Hits had traditionally provided.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor went pop in 2001

Still, the show wasn't over just yet, and the following songs helped keep pop fans interested in music (and music magazines) in 2001...


Number 25 "Murder On The Dancefloor" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Mentioned below

Number 24 "Upside Down" by A*Teens
I should be embarrassed about this, but as I always say: a good pop song is a good pop song regardless of who sings it. In this case, it was the four-piece former ABBA tribute group who'd moved on to releasing original tracks with a Steps/S Club 7-style bent. Both this single and "Halfway Around The World" (number 47 on this list) were taken from their second album, Teen Spirit




Number 23 "Burn Baby Burn" by Ash
From one extreme to another, right? Well, not quite - Ash are hardly death metal, after all - but this indie classic was a rare slice of guitar rock I liked amidst a sea of pure pop. I quite developed a taste for Ash around this point thanks to the singles from their Free All Angels album. Lead single "Shining Light" (number 72 on this list) was followed by "Burn Baby Burn", which won both the Q Award and NME Award for Single of the Year - something most of the songs on this list would have no hope in hell of achieving.




Number 22 "Take Me Away" by Lash
Now this is really shocking - two rock songs in a row! Lash were a four-piece Australian girl band (not, I repeat not, a girl group) that we had a difficult time getting into Smash Hits. I thought they were a perfect fit, given the taste of our readers at the time extended to rock and pop/punk, and they were a young band who would potentially be role models to our mostly teen female audience. Lash were pretty hesitant, wanting to keep their distance from the Britneys and Christinas of the world, but I eventually won them over - although seeing them in the pages of Smash Hits didn't convince our readers to go out and buy their songs. Neither "Take Me Away" nor follow-up "Beauty Queen" (number 114 on this list) cracked the Australian top 30.




Number 21 "Come What May" by Ewan McGregor / Nicole Kidman
One of my enduring memories of Smash Hits in 2001 is myself and the editor belting this out on a pretty regular basis (occasionally alternating with "Elephant Love Medley", also from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack) to bangs on the office wall from the surf magazine next door.
If you've checked out any of my year-end charts from the '80s, you'll know I'm a sucker for a movie soundtrack hit, especially a duet - and this love song by the stars of the Baz Luhrmann film was as good as anything Jennifer Warnes or Phil Collins put their names to.
There's a link to the single remix in the song title above and the original ballad version below.
Bizarrely, "Come What May" wouldn't be the only hit record Nicole Kidman would feature on in 2001, appearing on that year's UK Christmas number 1, "Somethin' Stupid" with Robbie Williams. She also wasn't the only actor to hit the Australian charts in 2001, with Gwyneth Paltrow landing two top 5 singles from the Duets soundtrack.




Number 20 "Take Me Home" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
In 2000, she'd gone from singer in an indie band (theaudience) to vocalist on one of the biggest club hits on the year (Spiller's "Groovejet"), and in 2001, Sophie added pop star to her CV with this Cher cover version and the equally poptastic "Murder On The Dancefloor" (number 25 on this list). Both tracks came from Sophie's excellent debut album, Read My Lips, which received a repackage the following year with new tracks added - a trend that really took off in 2001 with record companies trying to find new ways to boost albums sales in the face of Napster and LimeWire.




Number 19 "Baby Come On Over (This Is Our Night)" by Samantha Mumba
Here's another artist who'd benefit from a revamp of her debut album, with this song one of a handful of new tracks to feature on the US version of the Gotta Tell You. "Baby Come On Over" had previously been included on the original version of the album, but it received a complete overhaul, including having elements from "Ladies Night" by Kool & The Gang added to it.




Number 18 "Here And Now / You'll Be Sorry" by Steps
Mentioned below

Number 17 "Crying At The Discoteque" by Alcazar
As I write, they're still in the running to represent Sweden in 2014's Eurovision Song Contest, but back in 2001, Alcazar made their first venture onto the world stage with this song. Sampling the 1979 disco hit "Spacer" by Sheila B & Devotion, "Crying At The Discoteque" became a top 15 hit in Australia in early 2002, with the three-piece visiting Australia just in time for Mardi Gras season.




Number 16 "Run For Cover" by Sugababes
Mentioned in Part 1 and previously featured here

Number 15 "The Way To Your Heart" by Hear'Say
Australia had Scandal'us (who we saw back in Part 2) and the UK, who'd embraced the Popstars format, had Hear'Say - a boy/girl group that proved just as instantly massive and almost as short-lived. Hear'Say did manage two number 1 hits, with "The Way To Your Heart" following debut single "Pure And Simple" (number 53 on this list) to the top of the UK chart.




Number 14 "Catch" by Kosheen
Drum and bass is one of those genres that never really goes away - and just as Chase & Status brought the dance style back to my attention last year with "Lost & Not Found", so too did Kosheen in 2001 with the first two hits from their Resist album. Both "Catch" and "Hide U" were successful second time around, having originally been released in 2000.




Number 13 "Pop" by *NSYNC
Just as Backstreet Boys' Black & Blue didn't quite live up to the mammoth success of Millennium, so too did *NSYNC's 2001 album, Celebrity, fall short of the achievements of No Strings Attached. But, when that involves becoming the second-fastest selling album of all time (behind NSA) and selling five million copies (to NSA's 11 million), it's not a bad position to be in. Produced by BT, "Pop" was a bit of a change in direction for the boy band and the single's number 19 placing in the US suggested their homeland wasn't quite ready for the pop/dance/R&B blend that would dominate the charts there in years to come.




Number 12 "Crystal" by New Order
Clearly the break had done them good. Back with their first studio album since 1993's Republic, New Order were sounding not quite better than ever but certainly as good as they ever had done. Besides giving an up-and-coming band the idea to call themselves The Killers, "Crystal" was the perfect comeback song - more guitar-based than some of my favourite tracks of theirs, but every bit as immediate and catchy. Second single "60 Miles An Hour" (number 29 on this list) proved it was no one-off and the album, Get Ready, was among the band's best.




Number 11 "All Rise" by Blue
Mentioned in Part 2 and previously featured here

Number 10 "It's The Way You Make Me Feel" by Steps
Mentioned below

Number 9 "Satisfied" by Rhona
We already had Britney, Christina, Justin and JC, and now it was time for another ex-Mouseketeer in the charts - or so I thought. When I heard this debut single, I expected it to be massive, but the Darkchild production failed to connect with the record-buying public and that was all we ended up hearing from Rhona Bennett, who ended up joining En Vogue for a few years later in the '00s.




Number 8 "Salsoul Nugget (If You Wanna)" by M&S presents The Girl Next Door
M&S were the same duo who'd been behind State Of Mind (who we saw on my top 100 for 1998) while The Girl Next Door was singer/model Natasha Brice. As for the song, "Salsoul Nugget" sampled two tracks, Loleatta Holloway's "Hit And Run" and "Everyman" by Double Exposure, from the legendary disco label after which the song was named.




Number 7 "Overprotected" by Britney Spears
For her third album, Britney, Ms Spears mixed things up a bit - working with top R&B producers and releasing the edgy "I'm A Slave 4 U" as the lead single. She also wore a lot less clothes than previously. For me, it was still her Swedish pop concoctions that did it for me - and this Max Martin and Rami production was the latest in what was becoming a long line of classic pop tracks.
Britney also ventured to Australia in 2001, stranded here for additional days due to the no-fly restrictions imposed following September 11. I got to meet and interview her as part of an "intimate" 10-person round-table session and watch the recording of her TV special, wondering just how much lower her heavy microphone pack would cause her already low-riding pants to slip.




Number 6 "Little L" by Jamiroquai
For this lead single from fifth album A Funk Odyssey, Jamiroquai had probably morphed into more of a pop act than an acid jazz band - but "Little L" and follow-up "You Give Me Something" (number 69 on this list) still felt like a natural progression from tracks like "Canned Heat". "Little L" was about Jay's failed relationship with former flame Denise van Outen, and gave the group another UK top 10 hit and their highest-charting single in Australia (it reached number 14 here).




Number 5 "Starlight" by The Supermen Lovers 
There really was something in the water in France around the turn of the millennium, with "Starlight" another perfectly formed pop/dance track to come from the country that had also spawned Daft Punk, Air, Mademoiselle, Stardust and Cassius. The Supermen Lovers was the alter ego of producer Guillaume Atlan, with vocals on "Starlight" coming from Mani Hoffman.




Number 4 "Chain Reaction" by Steps
In four short years, Steps had amassed 17 songs and music videos (including double A-sides), which was more than enough for a greatest hits album - especially since all but one of those had been UK top 10 hits and "5,6,7,8" had sold more copies than many top 10 hits manage.
This Diana Ross cover was one of three new tracks on Gold and was a rare case of a remake being almost as good as the original. The song followed the final singles from Buzz, "It's The Way You Make Me Feel" (number 10 on this list) and "Here And Now/You'll Be Sorry" (number 18), into the UK top 5 and gave the group their fifth UK number 2 hit.
By the end of 2001, one more new song from Gold, "Words Are Not Enough", was released and members H & Claire shocked their band-mates - and fans - by deciding to leave the group at the height of their fame and continue as a duo. We'll see how that panned out in my 2002 countdown.




Number 3 "Your Disco Needs You" by Kylie Minogue
Mentioned in Part 1 and previously featured here

Number 2 "Don't Stop Movin'" by S Club 7
With Steps calling it a day at the end of 2001, fellow boy/girl combo S Club 7 were left as Britain's top pop act - and they released one of their best singles in "Don't Stop Movin'", which signalled a move away from the pure cheese of "Bring It All Back" and "Reach" towards a more sophisticated pop sound.




Number 1 "Just The Thing" by paulmac featuring Peta Morris
Beating out the world's biggest pop stars and groups to snag my favourite song for 2001 is this guy, one half of Itch-E & Scratch-E, who we saw back in my top 100 for 1994 with "Sweetness & Light". For his solo album, 3000 Feet High, the man born Paul McDermott (not to be confused with the TV host and comedian) adopted a more commercial pop/dance sound and even scored mainstream radio play with this single. The video, however, did cause some problems with Video Hits choosing not to play the clip due to the inclusion of same-sex couples among the pairs of kissers. Paul's guest vocalist on this track and follow-up "The Sound Of Breaking Up" (number 56 on this list) was diminutive Sydney singer Peta Morris.




My top 200 for 2001 in full:

1        JUST THE THING paulmac featuring Peta Morris
2        DON’T STOP MOVIN’ S Club 7
3        YOUR DISCO NEEDS YOU Kylie Minogue
4        CHAIN REACTION / ONE FOR SORROW (TONY MORAN MIX) Steps
5        STARLIGHT The Superman Lovers
6        LITTLE L Jamiroquai
7        OVERPROTECTED Britney Spears
8        SALSOUL NUGGET (IF YOU WANNA) M&S presents The Girl Next Door
9        SATISFIED / HEX HECTOR MIX Rhona
10      IT’S THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL / TOO BUSY THINKING ABOUT MY BABY Steps
11      ALL RISE Blue
12      CRYSTAL New Order
13      POP *NSync
14      CATCH Kosheen
15      THE WAY TO YOUR LOVE Hear’Say
16      RUN FOR COVER Sugababes
17      CRYING AT THE DISCOTEQUE Alcazar
18      HERE AND NOW/YOU’LL BE SORRY Steps
19      BABY COME ON OVER (THIS IS YOUR NIGHT) Samantha Mumba
20      TAKE ME HOME Sophie Ellis-Bextor
21      COME WHAT MAY Ewan McGregor / Nicole Kidman
22      TAKE ME AWAY Lash
23      BURN BABY BURN Ash
24      UPSIDE DOWN A*Teens
25      MURDER ON THE DANCEFLOOR Sophie Ellis-Bextor
26      I FEEL LOVED (DANNY TENAGLIA REMIX) Depeche Mode
27      ALL I EVER WANTED The Human League
28      ONE NIGHT STAND Mis-teeq
29      60 MILES AN HOUR New Order
30      UPTOWN GIRL Westlife
31      AIRHEAD Girls@Play
32      ALL FOR YOU Janet Jackson
33      I LAY MY LOVE ON YOU Westlife
34      THE CALL Backstreet Boys
35      MY DESIRE Amira
36      YOU ARE ALIVE Fragma featuring Damae
37      GOTTA GET THRU THIS Daniel Bedingfield
38      ALL I WANT Mis-teeq
39      BUGGIN’ ME Selwyn
40      LET’S DANCE Five
41      I NEED SOMEBODY Bardot
42      JUST ANOTHER DAY Jonathan Wilkes
43      DO YOU LOVE ME? Mademoiselle
44      HE LOVES U NOT Dream
45      ALL I DO Cleptomaniacs featuring Bryan Chambers
46      MORE THAN THAT Backstreet Boys
47      HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD A*Teens
48      EVERYTIME YOU NEED ME Fragma featuring Maria Rubia
49      FREE Mya
50      ROMEO Basement Jaxx
51      WHERE THE PARTY AT Jagged Edge featuring Nelly
52      ASAP Bardot
53      PURE & SIMPLE Hear’Say
54      BOOTYLICIOUS Destiny’s Child
55      WHY Mis-teeq
56      THE SOUND OF BREAKING UP paulmac featuring Peta Morris
57      TAKIN’ BACK WHAT’S MINE Leah Haywood
58      WHENEVER, WHEREVER Shakira
59      19/2000 (SOULCHILD MIX) Gorillaz
60      LOVE SONG Naimee Coleman
61      AM TO PM Christina Milian
62      WHOLE AGAIN Atomic Kitten
63      ME, MYSELF & I Scandal’us
64      CHILLIN’ Modjo
65      TWENTYFOURSEVEN Artful Dodger featuring Melanie Blatt
66      PLAY Jennifer Lopez
67      WHO DO YOU LOVE NOW (STRINGER) Riva featuring Dannii Minogue
68      IF YOU COME BACK Blue
69      YOU GIVE ME SOMETHING Jamiroquai
70      THINGS I’VE SEEN Spooks
71      HUNTER / TAKE MY HAND Dido
72      SHINING LIGHT Ash
73      AIN’T IT FUNNY Jennifer Lopez
74      SLEEPING Rick Astley
75      WE’RE NOT GONNA SLEEP TONIGHT Emma Bunton
76      IN THE END Linkin Park
77      YOU CAN’T CHANGE ME Roger Sanchez featuring Armand van Helden and N’Dea Davenport
78      YOU ARE MY HIGH Demon vs Heartbreaker
79      WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG? Emma Bunton
80      IN MY POCKET Mandy Moore
81      SOUL SOUND Sugababes
82      FREELOVE Depeche Mode
83      BASS HAS GOT ME MOVIN’ [Love] Tattoo
84      CAN’T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD Kylie Minogue
85      ANOTHER CHANCE Roger Sanchez
86      NOBODY WANTS TO BE LONELY Ricky Martin / Christina Aguilera
87      STAY Stephen Gately
88      I’M REAL / REMIX (featuring Ja Rule) Jennifer Lopez
89      U GOT IT BAD / SOULPOWER REMIX Usher
90      TOO CLOSE Blue
91      DON’T MESS WITH THE RADIO Nivea
92      NEVER ENOUGH Boris Dlugosch featuring Roisin Murphy
93      ETERNAL FLAME Atomic Kitten
94      WHAT IT FEELS LIKE FOR A GIRL Madonna
95      COME ALONG Tityo
96      IT’S RAINING MEN Geri Halliwell
97      RAPTURE Iio
98      MY FRIEND Groove Armada
99      SING Travis
100    RIDE WIT ME Nelly featuring City Spud
101    POP YA COLLAR Usher
102    WHAT U WANNA DO? Anuj
103    INNER SMILE Texas
104    MADE FOR LOVIN’ YOU Anastacia
105    CASE OF THE EX (WHATCHA GONNA DO) Mya
106    SO IN LOVE WITH TWO Mikaila
107    STRAIGHT UP Chanté Moore
108    SOMEONE TO CALL MY LOVER Janet Jackson
109    21ST CENTURY Weekend Players
110    OOH IT’S KINDA CRAZY souLDecision
111    TOUCH ME Rui De Silva
112    SUPERWOMAN PT II REMIX Lil Mo featuring Fabolous
113    WORLD LOOKING IN Morcheeba
114    BEAUTY QUEEN Lash
115    U REMIND ME Usher
116    FINE / SAME SCRIPT, DIFFERENT CAST (with Deborah Cox) Whitney Houston
117    I WANNA BE BAD Willa Ford
118    ALWAYS COME BACK TO YOUR LOVE Samantha Mumba
119    LET LOVE BE YOUR ENERGY Robbie Williams
120    DON’T COME BACK Human Nature
121    GHOSTS 10th Planet
122    EVERYBODY GOT THEIR SOMETHING Nikka Costa
123    CLOSER TO ME / ROCK THE PARTY Five
124    LOVE YOU ANYWAY De Nada
125    THINK ABOUT ME Artful Dodger featuring Michelle Escoffery
126    ANDROGYNY Garbage
127    SOMETIMES Ash
128    ISLAND IN THE SUN Weezer
129    WHERE’S YOUR HEAD AT Basement Jaxx
130    TURN OFF THE LIGHT Nelly Furtado
131    ALWAYS BE WITH YOU Human Nature
132    DADDY DJ Daddy DJ
133    WE GOT LOVE Disco Montego
134    RIGHT ON Silicone Soul
135    SIDE Travis
136    CRY Michael Jackson
137    OUT OF REACH / ALMIGHTY MIX Gabrielle
138    YOURS Lino
139    DUST ME SELECTA Gerling
140    ON THE RADIO Martine McCutcheon
141    ALL HOOKED UP All Saints
142    CHASE THE SUN Planet Funk
143    SOMEONE LIKE YOU New Order
144    ELEVATION U2
145    BEL AMOUR Bel Amour
146    REQUEST LINE The Black Eyed Peas featuring Macy Gray
147    DREAM ON Depeche Mode
148    GET UP! Beverley Knight
149    THINKING IT OVER Liberty
150    HERE WITH ME Dido
151    DROWNING Backstreet Boys
152    AMERICAN DREAM Jakatta
153    VIDEO India.Arie
154    NEEDIN’ U II David Morales presents The Face featuring Juliet Roberts
155    YOU’RE NO GOOD Ellie Campbell
156    WHEN WE WERE YOUNG Human Nature
157    YOU ARE Atomic Kitten
158    HIT EM UP STYLE (OOPS!) Blu Cantrell
159    LADY MARMALADE Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink
160    GET UR FREEK ON Missy Elliott
161    HIDE U Kosheen
162    SCREAM IF YOU WANNA GO FASTER Geri Halliwell
163    FRENZY Deni Hines
164    A LITTLE BIT Jessica Simpson
165    ABSOLUTELY NOT Deborah Cox
166    FAMILY AFFAIR Mary J Blige
167    FLAWLESS The Ones
168    WHAT WOULD YOU DO? City High
169    SOULMATE #9 Tina Arena
170    YOU ROCK MY WORLD Michael Jackson
171    MS JACKSON Outkast
172    ALL YOU WANT Dido
173    DESTINY Zero 7 featuring Sia
174    DOIN’ IT Liberty
175    DON’T NEED THE SUN TO SHINE (TO MAKE ME SMILE) Gabrielle
176    PLAYED A LIVE (THE BONGO SONG) Safri Duo
177    SAMBUCA Wideboys featuring Dennis G
178    JUS 1 KISS Basement Jaxx
179    SHINE ON Scott & Leon featuring Sylvia Mason-James
180    THIS IS ME Dream
181    WE DON’T KNOW WHAT’S COMING Solomon
182    THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT Allstars
183    I DON’T CARE Delta Goodrem
184    CANDY Ash
185    ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE Brandy & Ray J
186    1989 Titiyo
187    DARLIN’ Bob Sinclar featuring James ‘D-Train’ Williams
188    WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH / I KNOW HIM SO WELL Steps
189    WHAT I MEAN Modjo
190    WE COME 1 Faithless
191    RUN AWAY (I WANNA BE WITH U) Nivea featuring Pusha T
192    IRRESISTIBLE Jessica Simpson
193    THAT GIRL Hayley
194    ONE MINUTE MAN Missy Elliott
195    CRUSH Mandy Moore
196    HAVE YOU EVER S Club 7
197    (I WISH I KNEW HOW IT WOULD FEEL TO BE) FREE / ONE Lighthouse Family
198    LET ME BLOW YA MIND Eve featuring Gwen Stefani
199    BUTTERFLIES Michael Jackson
200    BACK 2 U Ajaqa


That brings my look back at my favourite songs from 2001 to an end. As usual, this Wednesday I'll journey back to 1989 with my regular recap of the ARIA chart from 25 years ago.


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