Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Best Of 1997 - part 4

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

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

Dannii Minogue debuted her new look in 1997

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My top 200 for 1997 in full:

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

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Friday, 4 October 2013

The Best Of 1997 - part 3

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

In Parts 1 and 2, I talked about what was going on in music in 1997 (in short: lots of death). In my life, things were much more upbeat since it was my final year of university and the wide world beckoned. I waited until my graduation ceremony in early 1998, then took off on a two-year working holiday. Before that, I spent the summer of '97/'98 working for the music retail chain that'd employed me for the previous couple of years.

Sash! was always the bridesmaid in 1997

But, there was a catch: the company was going out of business and so, store by store, it started closing down operations. Some of that process was fun for me: cheap CDs in going-out-of-business sales, extra shifts packing stores up. Some wasn't so enjoyable: customers could only use their gift vouchers if they spent the same amount in cash on top of it, which obviously didn't go down well. It was a side of the music industry I wasn't expecting to see - and one that would become all too familiar a decade later with the rise of downloads and online retailers.

And so, back to my favourite songs of 1997, and we start off with a song that's, for once, not another club or pop hit...

Mentioned below
He came out of nowhere to land three back-to-back number 2 hits in the UK - and the good thing about Sash! (real name: Sascha Lappessen, but actually a trio of producers) was that those tracks didn't all sound the same (or even have lyrics in the same language). Debut hit "Encore Une Fois" was quickly followed by "Ecuador" (number 50 on this list) and "Stay" (number 76), with each song having its own style and distinct featured vocalist. Plus, the German dance act also brought the exclamation mark back to the charts for the first time since Snap!

Number 47 "Searchin' 97" by Hazell Dean
Just when you thought you'd seen the last of Hazell on my year-end countdowns, this unexpected remix of her debut hit, 1984's "Searchin' (I Gotta Find A Man)", gave the track an energetic makeover. Hazell recorded new vocals for the revamp, but, alas, it performed about as well as her other singles since 1989 had.

Number 46 "Everlasting Love (remix)" by Worlds Apart
Mentioned in Part 4
Up until 1996, Obsession had almost exclusively released cheesy cover versions of songs like "Without You" and "The Crying Game", but "Shine" was an original track that proved there was more to the brains behind Almighty Records (who also released remakes under the names Deja Vu, Respect and Abbacadabra) than it would seem. Although self-penned tracks like "Shine" didn't set charts alight, the Almighty team would remain a force in handbag and commercial dance music for years to come, becoming the go-to production team for remixes of pop hits around the turn of the century.

Number 44 "No Surrender (Ace remix)" by Deuce
We saw the original version of this Stock and Aitken production on my 1996 countdown, but following the Australian success of "On The Bible", "No Surrender" was given a remix for its release here. A much faster version, it unfortunately wasn't able to turn the song into a hit for the group and the third line-up disbanded not long after.

Number 43 "Want Love" by Hysteric Ego
I always associate this club track with other mid-'90s songs like Armand van Helden's "The Funk Phenomena" and CJ Bolland's "Sugar Is Sweeter" which relied heavily on instrumental hooks and minimal lyrics - but the difference is: this song makes one of my year-end top 100s. I know little more about Hysteric Ego - other than the fact that they were a duo (Craig Campbell and Rob White) and they had a couple of unsuccessful follow-ups.

Number 42 "Sunchyme" by Dario G
Making great use out of a sample from The Dream Academy's 1985 hit, "Life In A Northern Town", this debut release by British trio Dario G also came with an eye-catching and expensive looking video - which, as should be obvious from many of the YouTube clips on this countdown, was a rarity for a dance track. "Sunchyme" was Dario G's main claim to fame, although the World Cup-themed "Carneval De Paris" received some attention in 1998 as did the Cranberries-sampling "Dream To Me" in 2001.

Number 41 "Addicted" by Plutonic
One of many singles I discovered after the record store where I worked received a copy and I chucked it on the stereo to see what it sounded like. Little did I know then that the guy behind Plutonic, Stephen "Beanz" Rudden, was also part of the UK Eurovision entry Love City Groove in 1995. "Addicted" received a bit of help thanks to a piano house mix from Strike, who were themselves still releasing singles in 1997 like "I Have Peace" (number 130 on this list).

Number 40 "You Are The Universe" by Brand New Heavies
Mentioned in Part 4
It's not as well known as their other hits, "Wrap Me Up", "Don't Give Me Your Life" and "Saturday Night Party", but this final single from the Italian dance act's self-titled album followed more or less the same formula and I, for one, was satisfied with that. This was more or less it for Alex Party, although a couple of random tracks seem to have emerged in subsequent years.

Number 38 "It's Over Love" by Todd Terry featuring Shannon
After becoming a household name (well, in certain households) thanks to his remix of Everything But The Girl's "Missing", Todd Terry struck while the iron was hot and enjoyed some hits under his own steam in 1997. Well, he did have help - in this case from '80s singer Shannon (famous for "Let The Music Play") and on "Something Goin' On" (number 63 on this list) from divas-for-hire Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown, who'd also provided vocals on his version of "Keep On Jumpin'" in 1996.

Number 37 "Picture Of You" by Boyzone
Taken from the soundtrack to the first big-screen adventure of Rowan Atkinson character Mr Bean, this is actually my favourite song by the Irish boy band - probably because it was a change of pace from their usual ballad cover versions. Those remakes continued in 1997, with Ronan and the others taking on Tracy Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You", which doesn't make my top 200 for the year. 

Number 36 "Answer My Prayer (Shiva mix)" by Danny Campbell
You may have noticed I have a slight thing for commercial house tracks with big wailing female vocals - well here's the exception to the rule, performed by British male singer Danny Campbell. Naturally, my preferred version of this track isn't on YouTube - that being the 7" mix by fellow Brits Shiva (who we saw back on my 1995 countdown).

The lead single from what was meant to be a new studio album but ended up being a remix album with a few new tracks actually dated back to the sessions for Dangerous. Jacko's last UK number 1 and also a top 5 hit in Australia, "Blood On The Dance Floor" wasn't a patch on what he'd done before, but the Tony Moran remix breathed new life into the song and, well, 1997 wasn't exactly one of music's best years so it probably ranks higher here than it would in other years.

Number 34 "You're Not Alone" by Olive
Featuring an original member of Simply Red (Tim Kellett) and a member of Nightmares On Wax (Robin Taylor-Firth), trip-hop trio Olive eventually found success in 1997 with a remix of this, their debut single from 1996. "You're Not Alone" topped the British singles chart and was followed by "Outlaw" (number 60 on this list), which featured a great remix by Space Brothers. The album, Extra Virgin, is one I still listen to, as is second album Trickle from 2000, although by then, the group was down to just Tim and vocalist Ruth-Ann Boyle.

Number 33 "Some Kind Of Bliss" by Kylie Minogue
Mentioned in Part 2 and previously featured here
In 1997, Jake Williams' one-single-a-year run of hits came to a close - except this track wasn't that much of a hit, only reaching number 18 in the UK. I actually like "Close To Your Heart" more than bigger singles "Son Of A Gun" and "You Belong To Me", probably because it has more lyrics than just repeating the one line over and over.

Number 31 "Somewhere" by Pet Shop Boys
Previously featured here
Mentioned in Part 4
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 28 "A Red Letter Day" by Pet Shop Boys
Previously featured here
She was the singer of "Serious" (the song Strike used as the basis for "U Sure Do") and they were a trio of DJs/producers (Julian Jonah, Marc Hughes and Marco Funari) who released this one-off track on the Ministry Of Sound label. One of those tracks like Michael Gray's "The Weekend" that somehow captures the excitement of going clubbing on, well, the weekend, it was one of the last great vocal house tunes of the '90s as dance music headed off in different directions. There's a link to the radio edit in the song title above and an extended version of the same mix below.

Number 26 "Sweet Lips" by Monaco
Mentioned in Part 4

In the final part of this countdown, Sweden's Cheiron studios really start cranking out the hits and the reinvention of a famous Australian sibling.

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