Sunday, 4 September 2011

Flashback: UK top five 24/05/1997

Being the chart obsessive that I sadly still am, and have been for the best part of my life, here's a new feature where I'll select various past UK top fives and endeavour to give them some context and of course write my own thoughts about them. Lets start with one from May 1997, Labour had just gone into power, Cool Britannia and Girl Power were the terms of the time and I was 10 and at primary school, yet remember all five of these tracks perfectly.

1. Olive - You're Not Alone (1)

This was the second week at the top for British duo Olive and their famous dance anthem You're Not Alone. Not one of my personal favourite 90s dance anthems but I appreciate it a lot more now than I did back then. It's had various covers since, an ATB one that sounded exactly the same and then one by Tinchy Stryder which also kept the chorus more or less in tact. Sadly Olive never graced the top ten again after this moved down the listings, but no doubt they still make some money from continued airplay and its tracklisting on every respectable 'best of the 90s' compilation going!

2. Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli - Time To Say Goodbye (NEW)

Does anybody else miss the days when a song like this could become a hit? The late 90s were an incredibly varied landscape chartwise and after going on to huge success in Germany, becoming one of the biggest selling singles of all time there, classical crossover track Time To Say Goodbye got a UK release and heavy Radio 2 play and smashed in at #2, staying inside the top five for five weeks! The closest we got in 2011 was Ludovico Einaudi going top 40 for a week with I Giorni thanks to a Greg James campaign...More recently, the song has been covered by Joe McElderry on his #2 album Classic.

3. Katrina and the Waves - Love Shine A Light (13)

Another song that it's impossible to imagine being a top three hit now, 80's one hit wonders Katrina and the Waves returned to the spotlight in early 1997 having been chosen to represent the UK at Eurovision. The uplifting song, with an almost contemporary prayer-like quality (I SWEAR I remember singing this at church when I used to go weekly as a child), swept aside the competition and became an easy win for the UK, and indeed our last of five. Everything seemed to be going right for the country in 1997, and even the Eurovision wasn't immune to this feeling. Bouncing up from #13 to capitalise on its success, has there ever been a more eclectic top three than this, seriously?

4. No Mercy - Please Don't Go (NEW)

The follow up to the huge, classic hit Where Do You Go, the latin American trio followed that up with another instant top five hit. It followed the usual 'inferior near carbon copy of past hit = diminishing returns'. This followed the exact formula of its predecessor and duly dropped out of the top 40 after four weeks...they may as well have been a one hit wonder.

5. The Cardigans - Lovefool (2)

Swedish band The Cardigans had released this pop anthem a year before, peaking at a criminal #21 in the UK. After being included on the soundtrack of hit film Romeo & Juliet it was re-released and managed a far more deserving #2 peak this time around. A smiley anthemic indie-tinged pop anthem, like much of their 90s output, it's not my absolute favourite song of theirs - that accolade would go to the Gran Turismo singles My Favourite Game and Erase/Rewind, but it provided the commercial breakthrough that they needed. Shockingly, in the land of underrating their own talent, Sweden (hi domestic #9 peak for Agnes' international smash Release Me) it only got as far as recent years it's been brought back into the spotlight by, of all people, Justin Bieber, who interpolated the chorus in his single Love Me.

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