World of Chig   


Fredagens fyrkant? Är Sveriges bög kalas klassiker.

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Pop Quiz: Following the same calendar logic as today, which chart-toppers should we be meeting tomorrow?

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The Verve and T Rex below are now fully written up below. Dive in!

"Oh, your hair is beautiful"

#15 AtomicBlondie

[452] Writers: Chris Stein & Debbie Harry. Producer: Mike Chapman
23 Feb 80 – 9 weeks on chart – #1 for 2 weeks from 01 Mar 80

It's All Souls' Day today (Hallowe'een), so here's the group who had a hit with an island of lost ones...

Back to the classic pop year 1980 for the first time since our #48, Ashes To Ashes, and back to Blondie again after ‘Heart Of Glass’ made it at #37. Blondie thereby join the Pet Shop Boys as the only acts so far to get into our top 50 twice (although technically we can include David Bowie, Siobhan Fahey and Holly Johnson in that select group too). Will we be seeing any of them again?

1980 was a fantastic year for Blondie. ‘Atomic’ was their ninth hit single, the first of their consecutive hat-trick of chart-toppers that year, and the third of Blondie’s six #1s in total. It was the third track lifted from Blondie’s ‘Eat To The Beat’ album. It entered at #3, in a week that Keith Michell’s ‘CaptainBeaky’ was at #5 (like you needed to know that). It made #1 the next week, deposing ‘Coward Of The County’ by Kenny Rogers after two chart-topping weeks.

‘Atomic’ was replaced at the top after a fortnight by Fern Kinney’s ‘Together We Are Beautiful’.
It actually had a very short run at #1 for a 1980s #1 single, with only 9 weeks, as did ‘Call Me’; another of their 1980 #1s. Blondie were an early example of the phenomenon which we now accept as the norm, with singles marketed heavily on release, entering high, and then dropping away quickly. The single also made only #39 in the USA. In the UK , ‘Atomic’ returned to the charts in September 1994, making #19 in a four week run in a remixed version.

As discussed in the comments box, Blondie’s singles have just been regurgitated once again in the shape of a new ‘Greatest Hits’ album, released last week. However, in the absence of a series of remixed singles this time around, the public has responded with widespread apathy, and the album stuggled, entering at #38 on Sunday.

‘Atomic’ is Martin’s #1, “I thought no.1 should be a classic”, and Jonathan's #6, “That Yankee New Wave lot do DISCO. And boy do they know how to make you dance. Oh, your hair is beautiful, toniiiiiight.”

It’s also David's #1; “The most perfect number one single of all time. The archetypal pop goddess. All lipgloss and cheekbones and feathered hair. The song begins with a three-chord intro, sounding for all the world like "Three Blind Mice". In comes Chris's patented spaghetti Western guitar and a Last Days Of Disco bassline. Then Debbie coos, beautifully, about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING: "Uh-huh make me tonight, Tonight, Make it right. Oh, uh-huh make it magnificent, Tonight, Right. Ah, oh your hair is beautiful, Ah, tonight." Then she stops, and for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON AT ALL, says, "Atomic". Genius. Oh, and there's a BASS SOLO.”

There’s a new Blondie album due out early next year, including songs called ‘Motorman’, ‘Diamond Bridge’ and ‘Goldenrod’.

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This week's #1

It was bad enough seeing the Woolworth's chart predicting Craig David's one note attempt at disco to be #1 ahead of Her Royal Madgeness, but it gets worse! The popbitch midweek chart predicts DJ Sammy's europop-by-numbers cover of 'Heaven' has beaten them both (although Madonna at #3 IS outselling the beardie one at #4). Lame as it is, 'Heaven' will complete an interesting hat-trick of chart-toppers for Bryan Adams, with one as a soloist, one as a guest vocalist (with Chicane) and now one as a writer. That sort of gives him one more number one than his compatriot Celine Dion, which I'm sure he's thrilled about.

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Who are you?

A professional footballer has tested positive for a banned drug for the first time in England.
He has not been named so far this morning.
What's the betting his identity leaks out by the end of the day?
Perhaps Ulrika Jonsson knows....

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It's like that, and that's the way it is was

One of our number one hitmakers is dead.
'It's Like That' by Run DMC vs Jason Nevins did receive some points in our 50 #1s Project, but only three of them, from Roy. It therefore made joint #174.

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Rum, sodomy and the lash

Some fascinating details of our recent (gay) history revealed today in this article.

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Who da bomb on Thursday? A group with ANOTHER new greatest hits album IN YOUR SHOPS NOW…

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Pop Quiz Not including 'Various Artists', The Verve are the only UK group beginning with V to ever have a UK #1 single. There are two other international groups beginning with V who have done so - name them both.

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"Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown, this time I'm coming down"

#16 The Drugs Don’t Work The Verve

[773] Writer: Richard Ashcroft. Producers: Martin ‘Youth’ Glover & The Verve.
13 Sep 97 – 13 weeks on chart – 1 week at #1; 13 Sep 97

Almost as compensation for the modern classic 'Bitter Sweet Symphony’ NOT reaching #1, the less good follow-up snuck into pole position instead. ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ had marked a complete turnaround for The Verve (formerly known as Verve before it caused legal problems).
Five hit singles had slowly been making more and more impact on the charts, after minor hits at #66 and #69, they were creeping up; #35, #28 and #24. Then ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ made it all the way to #2, but was denied by Puff Daddy’s residence at the top.

The follow-up was ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’, and Noel Gallagher’s old mate and his band entered at #1, deposing Will Smith’s ‘Men In Black’ theme after 4 weeks. It eventually went silver (250,000 sales), but The Verve never stood a chance of holding on. Diana had died the day before The Verve’s single was released, so they actually had the best-selling single in the seven days immediately following her death. They were declared #1 on the day after her funeral, but Elton John’s single was already on its way. They never stood a chance of holding on.

The Verve had only one ‘proper’ hit after this; Mike's favourite ‘Lucky Man’, which made #7. Another track from Urban Hymns, ‘Sonnet’ crept in for a week at #74 on import, but the story was over. They split up and the human fly went on to be quiet for two years, before launching a successful solo career with #3 hit, ‘A Song For The Lovers’. He released his second solo album, ‘Human Conditions’ last week, entering on Sunday at #3.

‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ is David H’s #3, with the succinct comment, “Incredible lyric.”
It’s also Dan C’s #8. “The drugs don’t work,” he says, “and they know, because they tested them all.”

By way of celebrating this achievement at #16, Richard Ashcroft has his own programme on C4 tonight.

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Blowing my own

Talking of work, I have intentionally not said anything about it since I started here three months ago. There's so much I'd LIKE to write, but it wouldn't be wise.
Last Friday however, my manager here (ie. not the agency) asked me if I wanted a new job in the forthcoming reorganised set-up, so obviously I said yes.
The slight downer is that instead of working in lovely, green, semi-suburban Shirley - it has pretensions to be Solihull, dontcha know! - the new job will be on an industrial estate in West Bromwich. Grim. But it's that or unemployment in three weeks as this site closes down, so what choice do I have? Yam, yams, here I come!

There has at least been a positive spin-off from this, although I'm not deluding myself. One of my colleagues said to me last week (before the new job offer), "You're obviously intelligent, what do you want to do [in the reshuffle]?". I'll take that as a compliment, although in my darker moments I interpret it as 'Why are you underselling yourself and doing a job you could do in your sleep for £6 an hour?" When I was offered the new job though, I was genuinely quite pleased. I've already been promoted over people who have been here for 18 months, to supervise them, and now this next step up, which will take me away from them and the resentment that's bound to follow. It's clear that my manager has been angling for me at the new site, and when someone from that site was over here, the phrase 'golden boy' was mentioned with regard to moi. And then, when I was talking to the agency (because I'm still asking them to find me permanent work, in case this doesn't work out), I was told to send an updated CV to someone I haven't met in the agency office, "She already knows you're one of our more capable temps.." Well excuse me while I go and massage my own ego a little more! I'm writing this on here now, so I can remind myself at Christmas, when I'm feeling poor and worthless in the grime of West Bromwich, that people have occasionally paid me compliments.

So it was decided that I would start in West Brom on Monday 11 November. This morning though, they asked me if I could start there NEXT Monday. Actually I have Monday booked off for my trip to London, so as I'm off Friday as well, it means that TOMORROW is my last day here. Farewell Shirley! How quickly things change.

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Branded A Fool

Funny how my mind works. Every day since last week, I've driven past this poster on the way to work, and every day I have arrived at work singing to myself John Travolta's 'Sandy' song from Grease. And all because of those three little words.

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Two unsurprising google searches which have led people here:

Jamie Popstars The Rivals gay
Ainslie Fame Academy gay

I think they might be more realistic with the former than the latter, although after Ainslie's comments to Malachi last night, I'm not so sure. Those two should just snog and get it over with.

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London: A Warning

Chig is coming down for a weekend of fun and cultural (not to mention geographical) diversity. Current plans, so you know where to avoid:
Fri 01/11: Morning train down to Marylebone. Expect leaves on line to delay journey for several hours. Will be lucky to arrive by teatime. If train arrives at a reasonable hour, planning to do some photography/detective work related to my family history research. (In short, tracking down the birth addresses of my Gran in Chelsea and my great-grandmother in Walworth, if they still exist.) Possibly another visit to the Family Records Centre. (I haven't written about my family history research at all on here, have I? Must rectify that some day.)
Evening: Party at Neil & Sam's house in Willesden. Staying there overnight.

Sat 02/11: Lunch in Finsbury Park with Deb & Andy. Possibly viewing their new flat.
Evening out in the hotspots of Greenwich, where J lives. (J is lovely 'new' friend I met at Eurovision week in Tallinn.) Staying at J's new flat.

Sun 03/11: Lunchtime: Possibly doing something arty. Options include the Bodyworlds exhibition at 146 Brick Lane or the Turner Prize exhibition.
Late pm: Blogmeet at the RVT. Hopefully putting faces to a lot of names from cyberspace, while seeing the Dame Edna Experience at her London residence, instead of her Brum home (which I'm quite used to). It's been a few years since I did the RVT, so I can't wait.
Late: Stagger onto a train at Marylebone. Fall asleep on train and end up in Carlisle. Probably.

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We've made the list!

England 5, Wales 1. (Scotland 0, Northern Ireland 0.)

I wasn't sure that we would, but Birmingham has made the shortlist, just announced, of six UK cities bidding to be European Capital of Culture in 2008. (They've thinned it down from 12.) Of course, I'm using 'we' in the spirit of shamelessly tagging along with anything positive and successful in my home city. If we'd failed to make the shortlist, I would have said 'they' and claimed that the people putting the bid together were useless. I'm fickle like that.

We are now officially a 'Centre of Culture'. So it's a shame, with all the improvements that have happened in Brum over the last decade, that the BBC has chosen to illustrate the story with a picture of that icon of 1970s tackiness, the Rotunda. Ho hum.

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Old joke: Q: What was Marc Bolan’s last hit?

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Tomorrow’s bug-eyed monster? Every pharmacist’s most hated tune.

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Pop Quiz 1: A full 1% of the UK’s first 500 number one singles started with the word ‘get’. Name the other four.

Pop Quiz 2: The two backing singers on ‘Get It On’ were recruited from which hitmaking band of the 60s?

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"Bang a gong"

#17 Get It On – T. Rex

[302] Writer: Marc Bolan. Producer: Tony Visconti.
10 Jul 71 – 13 weeks on chart – #1 for 4 weeks from 24 Jul 71

The second #1 single for T. Rex , following their previous single, ‘Hot Love’ to the top, just four number ones later.

Marc Bolan was born Mark Feld in 1947. He worked as a model and was a member of flower power group John’s Children, before forming Tyrannosaurus Rex with Steve Peregrin Took. Their first album glorified in the fabulous title, ‘My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair, But Now They’re Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows’. It had sleeve notes by John Peel, no less. They released three or four albums up until 1969, but they weren’t setting the world on fire. The biggest of their three singles hits had made #28. Then, in 1970, Took left, to be replaced by Micky Finn. They shortened the name to a brand of cooking fat, went electric and hey presto! A #2 hit with ‘Ride A White Swan’. The Beatles had just split up and T. rex partly inherited their teenybopper audience. ‘Hot Love’ followed and made #1. ‘Get It On’ came next, with an expanded band line-up on the #1 album ‘Electric Warrior’. It became their only major hit (#10) in the States, renamed ‘Bang A Gong’ because the original title was too rude for Americans, who don’t have sex.

In the UK, ‘Get It On’ entered at #21, climbed to #4 knocked off ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ the next week. Middle Of The Road had spent five weeks at #1, proving that people bought any old shite in the early seventies. Diana Ross replaced T. Rex, with ‘I’m Still Waiting’.

T. Rex had four UK #1s in total. Their last top ten single was in June 1973. A remix of ‘Get It On’ made #54v in 1987, and it also charted at #59 as a dance track, credited to ‘Bus Stop featuring T. Rex’.
Their most memorable hit in recent years though came when ‘20th Century Boy’, originally #3 in 1973, was used in a Levi’s advert and made #13 in 1991.

Marc died in a car crash on 16 September 1977, and his son really is called Rolan Bolan.

‘Get It On’ is Dipti’s #1 single and Martin H’s #9; “Marc Bolan is my fave glam rock star.” It’s Rob’s #9 too; “School days.”

Triv: Producer Tony Visconti also worked with Bowie in the early days and has just gone back to him, producing the ‘Heathen’ album.

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Tomorrow’s tyke? Someone who had a hit tune which ‘heavily influenced’ one of oasis’s singles…

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Pop Quiz: They’ve had six #1s, but how many oasis singles have peaked at #2? Name them!

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"Please don't put your life in the hands of a rock'n'roll band."

#18 Don’t Look Back In Anger oasis

[734] Writer: Noel Gallagher. Producers: Owen Morris & Noel Gallagher.
02 Mar 96 – 16 weeks on chart initially (plus 8 and 3 later = 27) – #1 for 1 week; 02 Mar 96

The second number one for oasis, and the first time they’ve featured in our countdown, but one of their chums is coming up very soon.

‘Some Might Say’ was oasis’s first UK #1 and their sixth single. Each single, from their debut ‘Supersonic’ onwards, had reached a higher chart position; 31, 11,10, 7 and 3, so it was only a matter of time before they reached the top. The next two singles after ‘Some Might Say’ both stalled at #2, ‘Roll With It’ famously losing the August ‘95 Battle of Britpop to blur’s ‘Country House’. As Noel Gallagher commented later, blur may have won the battle, but they lost the war in the long run.
‘Wonderwall’ stalled behind Robson & Jerome’s ‘I Believe/Up On The Roof’. Just seven weeks later, the Mike Flowers Pops would also take it to #2 for Christmas, unable to displace Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’.

‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ made #55 in the USA. Here, it went straight in at #1, ending the five week run of Babylon Zoo’s ‘Spaceman’ (the Levi’s ad music), but it never stood a chance of making it to a second week on top, as Take That’s final single, ‘How Deep Is Your Love?’ was released the week after. Over three spells in the chart in 1996-97, the oasis single totalled 27 weeks – one of the longer runs in modern day terms. So far, oasis have had six #1s, the most recent being ‘thehindutimes’ in April this year.

Mike has this single as his #1 number one, so I’ll let him explain what it means to him;
“Like a lot of people, I first realised this was a classic at the end of the final episode of ‘Our Friends In The North’, when it was perfectly used to sum up the mood; people looking back at their youthful lives with mixed emotions, and achieving a sense of resolution. It's one of those songs whose lyric looks all wrong on paper, but which works brilliantly on record, where it evokes a powerful series of emotions in quick succession.

The song took on new levels of personal meaning for me three years later, after the death of my stepmother (also called Sally), when I had to work through something of an emotional crisis, re-analysing everything about the direction my life had been taking, and my attitude towards my sometimes troubled past. I found something reassuring and redemptive in this record, which went above and beyond anything that its creators could have envisaged for it. That's part of the wonder of great pop, though - although seemingly ephemeral, it can have this almost accidental capacity for transcendence.”

Not wishing to take anything away from that at all, I'm with Dan on this one, as he says of this, his #7 choice; "Nice song, though I suspect it's utterly meaningless.”

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Who’s on tomorrow’s guest list? “Sorry love, the only ones we’ve got on here are Ms. Cinnamon and Ms. MacLennane. You’ll have to wait.”

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Pop Quiz: What connects Procol Harum to 1980’s triple hitmakers, The Lambrettas?

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“We skipped the light fandango”

#19 A Whiter Shade Of PaleProcol Harum
[234] Writers: Keith Reid & Gary Brooker. Producer: Denny Cordell.
25 May 67 – 15 weeks on chart – #1 for 6 weeks from 08 Jun 67
(Plus 13 weeks in 1972, reaching #13.)

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I've had an e-mail from some very kind (!) automated robot type thingy, telling me that the link on the left to the Queer As Folk archive didn't work. So I thought maybe the site has closed down, but no. It doesn't work because I duplicated the letters 'http' in the code. In which case, it's always been wrong, ever since I put the link there, many months ago. I wonder how many people have clicked on there, noticed it didn't work and not told me? If you do notice any links not working, please do tell me, otherwise I will have to do something drastic. Like check them myself.
PS. It works now. Like you care.

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Sunday’s song? Probably Bach’s biggest hit, with no help from Pete Waterman.

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Pop Quiz: Why did Kate have such an affinity with Emily Bronte, even before she wrote this hit?

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“How could you leave me when I needed to possess you? I hated you – I loved you too.”

#20 Wuthering HeightsKate Bush

[420] Writer: Kate Bush. Producer: Andrew Powell
11 Feb 78 – 13 weeks on chart – #1 for 4 weeks from 11 Mar 78

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Things Chig has learnt in the last 48 hours

There are only a handful of computers holding the internet together – and it nearly all came grinding to a halt earlier this week.

Government ministers can show humility, honesty and integrity. Who would have thought?

Ainslee sleeps naked.
Surely not a good idea (for him) when your bedroom is being filmed 24/7, but fine by me.
(Please make sure Katie leaves tonight – she needs to get out to save her sanity. I will now put the curse of Chig on David, by saying he should stay. Judging by my success with Andrew (Popstars) and Chris (Fame Academy last week, when he was booted out despite Katie being bloody awful) that'll mean David goes home. Poor wee laddie.)

The Christmas lights in Halifax were switched on LAST NIGHT! By Lisa Riley, no less. We haven’t even put the clocks back, or had Hallowee’en or Bonfire Night yet…

The smell of fish can kill you.

I could quite fancy Shania Twain. If I were that way inclined. She looked gorgeous on last night's programme.

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This weekend’s #1s? A complete contrast coming up, with a wailing woman and another moody classic. First up, the terpsichorean treat from the only woman who ever made the pre-teen Chig think there could be an inkling of heterosexuality lurking deep inside (but I got over it).

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Pop Quiz: Oh, it’s Friday. Easy one then. What televisual cock-up connects Dexy's with a sporting legend?

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Triv: I could be related to Kevin Rowland (or perhaps even Kelly), as I’m descended from a Rowland; my grandad’s mother. It’s an excuse I’m bearing in mind to explain any later lapses into madness, transvestism or a really big coke habit.

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“With you in that dress, my thoughts, I confess, verge on dirty”

(Apologies - I'll have to leave this in a mess for now - being watched and it's hometime!)

#21 Come On Eileen Dexy’s Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express

#1 for 4 weeks from 07 Aug 82

Sitting at #1 right now in 2002 with Nelly and ‘Dilemma’, Kelly Rowland is not the first K. Rowland to hit the top spot. Here’s another one, from 1983. (Just as I’m posting this, ‘Come On Eileen’ is being played on the radio. Spooky!)

‘Come On Eileen’ was the second single of the Irish folkie/David Essex/gypsy phase for Dexy’s, after fiddle trio the Emerald Express had been recruited into the mix. The first one, ‘The Celtic Soul Brothers’ just missed the top 40.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners had been formed in Birmingham (hurrah!) by ex members of The Killjoys, Kevin Rowland and Al Archer. They took their name from the ‘upper’ drug dexedrine. The band pulled a great stunt when their first album was due out, by supposedly stealing their own master tapes from the recording studio and holding their record company to ransom until they negotiated a better deal.

Almost the whole band left in 1981 to form The Bureau, after already hitting #1 with ‘Geno’ in May 1980. This left just Rowland and Jimmy Paterson.

It can’t be underestimated how much I loved Dexy’s, but I prefer some of their other singles over this one. I own nearly every Dexy’s single on 7”. Geno was my own #6 for this survey, but it only managed to make #122 here, despite being in Chris A’s top ten as well. I loved the way Dexy’s kept changing their image, and I loved the literary pretentiousness, the passion and the bombastic front of Rowland himself. It didn’t matter that he was daft as a brush; he was the reason I wore a donkey jacket for most of 1980-81, and wanted to get my ear pierced (but wasn’t allowed).

This live Dexy’s video was the first video I ever owned. I won it in a competition, possibly from Smash Hits. Not that I could watch it, as we didn’t have a VCR, but my friend Claire did, so I watched it – once – at hers. And that was it. Never saw it again.

Of course, to us ‘real’ fans; the ones who had even bought first single ‘Dance Stance’, which only made #40, Dexy’s had completely sold out with the Celtic Soul Brothers look. And dungarees were a fashion faux pas too far. They had ‘gone commercial’, and although I must have danced to ‘Come On Eileen’ at a million parties and student discos, it was a far cry from the soulful earnestness of ‘Liars A to E’ and ‘Plan B’. ‘Come On Eileen’ was also #1 in the USA. The ‘Too-Rye-Ay’ album from which it came was released in 1982 and the brass section promptly left too. Next was the preppy look of ‘Don’t Stand Me Down’, but that failed to get anywhere. For some reason, I loved them once again.

This page is a bit scary, as it shows all my 7” singles shrunk and put on the interweb.
That first album, ‘Searching For The Young Soul Rebels’, was re-released last year on CD, with videos on it. I highly recommend it.

Observant readers will have noticed that the b-side of ‘Come On Eileen’ (this is the 12” sleeve above) includes a version of ‘Because Of You’, credited to ‘Kevin Rowland featuring Dexy’s Midnight Runners’. This track was later a single in its own right, credited as a solo release by Rowland.

Kevin Rowland later went through an Errol Flynn phase and released an album called ‘The Wanderer’ which failed to chart at all. Then years of nothing before coming back in late 1999 with the infamous album, ‘My Beauty’ on Creation – part of Alan McGee’s policy of reviving male lead singers of 80s groups which he’d started by signing Nick Heyward (and failing miserably, despite my best efforts!)

I’ve never heard anything from ‘My Beauty’, but I don’t feel I need to. Despite covering ‘Concrete And Clay’ (#46 in our countdown) it has some of the worst reviews I’ve read for an album….ever! According to Q magazine, it had sold only 500 copies by January 2000. Here’s a selection of reviews. First of all, the scary cover picture sleeve.

Superb review of My Beauty Scary cross-dressing cover.
Read a review in Slovenian.
This review makes the album actually sound SCARY!
Or have you ever read a review worse than this?
Would you spend a single penny on the album after reading this?
Or this?
How about ‘this may be the worst record I have ever heard’?

It’s all such a shame after the musical genius that the man exhibited in the past. Kevin now lives with his two Alsatians in the Malvern Hills and works as an accountant for Ann Summers.

The Celtic fiddling of ‘Come On Eileen’ has made this the #1 choice of my friend Dan, who has more than a bit of Irish in him(!) It was also featured in the top ten of Stuart ( and very highly in the list of Melvyn, whose wife just happens to be called….Eileen!

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Friday's fiddlers? The longest artist name in our Top 50 #1s.

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Today's pop challenge: place your 'x' where you think the Walker Brothers' drum kit should be.

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"Tears are always clouding your eyes, when you're without love"

#22 The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore - The Walker Brothers

[211] #1 for 4 weeks from 17 Mar 66

As the Eric Cantona billboard ads used to say, 1966 was a great year – and not just for English (and French) football; Chig was born. And Chris Evans. And the late Rob Pilatus of Milli Vanilli. Fascinating, I’m sure you’ll agree. And our voters just can’t keep away from the year. We’re back there now for the third time in a week, with an atmospheric, moody classic. It’s not our last visit to 1966 either, but you’ll have to wait a while…

Now then, being minus two months old when the Walker Brothers hit #1, I can’t pretend I have any particular memories of this track, not even through the walls of the womb. (Some of you voters may have sent me your memories of this one, but I confess I’ve left them at home – to be added later.) But what would be the point of me writing about Scott and his chums anyway, when there are biographies as good as this
and photos as good as these to look at? Go there instead (and you'll see that I pinched the drum joke - I never claimed to be original). All I need to tell you is that they weren’t really brothers, and they weren’t even called Walker. The cheeky pups. They had bouffant hair that even Dusty would have died for. They deposed Nancy Sinatra’s boots tune from the top, before being trumped by those forerunners of The Coral known as The Spencer Davis Group. They later retired from the music business, to start their own crisp factory in Leicester, and the rest is history.

This was the #1 number one of our favourite Canadian/Mancunian blogger, Elisabeth. It was also in the top fives of both Matthew C and Nigel R.

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Graham Norton's office 'game'
(I am very aware it's not a game, but he was absolutely right last night, and we were all wrong in this office.) five have let it slip.
Eamonn Holmes
Mike Morris
Nick Owen
If only we'd read this on Monday.
It's not been a good day for This Morning.

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Tomorrow’s #1: NOT the Pet Shop Boys! From boys to brothers (or not). Oooh, hasn’t it gone dark?

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Pop Quiz 2: This single to Eurovision 1998 in three easy steps. Go.

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Pop Quiz 1: What was the TV programme of Elvis covers called?

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“Little things I should’ve said and done, I never took the time”

#23 Always On My MindPet Shop Boys

[601] Writers: Mark James, Johnny Christopher & Wayne Thompson. Producers: Julian Mendelsohn & Pet Shop Boys.
12 Dec 87 – 11 weeks on chart – 4 weeks at #1 from 19 Dec 87

At last, an Elvis song! Ending T’Pau’s five week run as the 600th #1, the PSBs became the fairies at the top of 1987’s musical Christmas tree (except we weren’t supposed to have realised that at the time). They grabbed the Christmas #1 and became a staple of 1987’s Christmas parties (and my last Christmas at Uni too, in my sabbatical year). This is the one that was never meant to be a single, as it was only commissioned for a TV show of Elvis covers by contemporary artists.

‘Always On My Mind’ made #4 in the USA for the duo. They followed it in the UK with another #1, ‘Heart’; their only pair of consecutive chart-toppers in the four that they have had so far. But will we be seeing that later? Oh, of course not – everyone’s forgotten about that one. Even the Pet Shop Boys have forgotten about ‘Heart’. But what of their other one?

Triv: All four of the Pet Shop Boys’ #1s, had a different combination of producers.

So, how many other Elvis songs will there be? And will any of them be Elvis on his own?

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Darius in SECOND good single shocker!

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Tomorrow? Will it be the Catholic guilt song, the Elvis cover or the one about the American soft rock group? [Chig adopts Banzai voice] Place your bets……NOW!

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Pop Quiz: Now then, the questions have been too easy and too directly related to the #1 in question. It’s time for an absolute stinker about this YEAR instead! One of the people mentioned, in a roundabout way, in this little piece on ‘West End Girls’, stayed one night in our student house that very same year, shagging one of Chig’s flatmates as the rest of us gathered in another room and…er…listened. This person (the musician, not my flatmate) then went on to be seen by billions of people on TV and feature on one of the year’s biggest singles, all in 1985. Who was it? (Clue: It’s not Whitney Houston.)

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"From Lake Geneva to the Finland station"

#24 West End Girls Pet Shop Boys

[563] Writers: Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe. Producer: Stephen Hague.
23 Nov 85 – 15 weeks on chart – 2 weeks at #1 from 11 Jan 86

The first release of ‘West End Girls’ had flopped in 1984 and they were dropped by their record company, but eventually the Pet Shop Boys had their debut hit, and it went all the way to the top. It took its time getting there though. In their eighth week on the chart, the former Smash Hits writer and the bloke he supposedly met in a shop (although I’ve never quite fallen for that story) deposed Shakin’ Stevens’ ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ and a nation rejoiced.

West End Girls had entered outside the top forty, on the same day that Wham!’s ‘I’m Your Man’ entered at #2, with Whitney’s ‘Saving All My Love For You’ and Prefab Sprout’s ‘When Love Breaks Down’ also entering the chart that day. The PSBs moved 40-23-9-5-4-3-1-1. They were deposed by A-ha's ‘The Sun Always Shines On TV', and also made #1 in the States. A full year later, ‘West End Girls’ won the Best British Single award at the 1987 Brit Awards.

And then, Neil and Chris went on to become the most successful chart duo ever….but there’s no need to finish their story today, because an extraordinary coincidence has happened, and they have tomorrow’s #1 as well. I promise you I wrote the ‘tomorrow?’ question last night, BEFORE reading the conversation between Mike and Elisabeth in the comment box below. Made me smile, that did!

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Stats note:
September nearly managed it, but October now has. This is officially the most-visited month ever on World Of Chig. Thank you for your support. Of course, I'm not kidding myself. Adding a new artist and song title every day in the Top 50 countdown has contributed substantially to innocent googlers being lured into my trap, and some of them have even stayed more than half a second.

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Great Britons...and a few Irishmen, plus one from Zanzibar...

Great programme last night. Some dubious inclusions of course, Beckham being no surprise, but Michael Crawford at #17? Purrleeeeese! I'm presuming his fan club had a campaign? And Cliff Richard's too. The winner? It's got to be Charles Darwin, surely? If only to remind the population of Utah that On The Origin Of Species is not a work of fiction.

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Tomorrow and Wednesday's tunes: a two part October symphony - but which will be the first part?

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Pop Quiz: Who has had the most UK #1 singles; Madonna, Abba, Westlife or The Spice Girls?

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We're into the second half of our countdown, but the buggers are making me work. AND there are people sitting near my PC....go away!

"I'm down on my knees, I wanna take you there"

#25 Like A Prayer - Madonna

[625] Writers: Madonna & Patrick Leonard

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Tomorrow’s tune? It’s almost a religious experience.

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Pop Quiz: Which megastar had a (small) hit single with one of Deee-Lite much later?

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#26 Groove Is In The Heart / What Is Love? – Deee-Lite

Here’s the one that nearly got away, as it was never technically a #1 single, just morally. Thank goodness we bent the rules, as it seems to be quite popular!

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Tomorrow’s imposter? How do you say… ‘fantastic’?

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Pop Quiz: One of Enrique’s big hits elsewhere, but not released in the UK, was ‘Solo En Ti’. It’s a Spanish version of a UK #1 hit. For who?

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“I will stand by you forever, you can take my breath away”

#27 Hero – Enrique

[919] Enrique Iglesias, Paul Barry & Mark Taylor
02 Feb 02 – 18/19 weeks on chart – 4 weeks at #1 from 02 Feb 02

Si usted fue siguientes los comentarios, usted supo ya que el nombre 27 era el dura de nuestros títulos de cuatro cartas, y de nosotros lo estrechó hacia abajo a 'Stan', 'Sure' o esto, así que el indicio español ayer lo debe haber dado lejos. ‘Héroe’ es el tercer de venta más grande este año en el UK, y tuvo la período larga conjunta en #1, junto con Elvis contra JXL y Gareth Gates’ ‘La Melodía Desencadenada’. El álbum de Enrique ' escape', de que ‘Héroe’ viene, es el UK’s álbum más grande que vende de 2002. (Por lo menos era hasta que un mes hace cuándo dotmusic parara repentinamente actualizar el mapa de año a fecha.)

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The big project continues to unwind...

Once upon a time, New Labour had A Big Idea. Directly elected mayors in cities and major towns across the UK. In 1997 New Labour was winning anything and everything, so all the Labour candidate would have to do is stand, and - hey presto! - Labour install a top bod with unreasonably undemocratic powers in every town hall across the land. But lo! The people revolted. Red Ken won in London against the official Labour candidate. The good people of Birmingham, the biggest local authority in the country and - natch - nicely under Labour's control, declared in a referendum that we didn't even want a directly-elected mayor, thank you very much.

Then it got worse. The monkey-hangers of Hartlepool elected a monkey (of course). Robocop won in Middlesbrough. Luton (or was it Watford?) went beyond the pale and elected a Lib Dem. Other towns and cities also voted in a horribly unfriendly way to the nice and cuddly Labour party.

And now....and now...I can hardly contain my glee. Out of the four mayoral elections yesterday, only in one of them did anyone from a major political party win. And that was Hackney, which is...Hackney, after all; formerly about as Labour as it's possible to get (but not so much recently). In Stoke, get this, a gay rights campaigner has become mayor! Stoke! The country's gone mad! Isn't democracy wonderful when properly exercised? Okay, so hardly anyone voted - anywhere - and the BNP vote in Stoke was worryingly high, but the people have spoken. Expect Labour to propose the abolition of directly elected mayors in their next manifesto.

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I thought I had a lot of the number one singles, but this man has the lot! (Read it soon if you're interested, because these stories don't stay up for long.)

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Talking of 'You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)', which was our #36 tune (and Andrew's #9)...Dead Or Alive have been planning for a long time to bring out a new 2002 remix of it. They'd better hurry up though, because, according to popbitch, Abs is going to release his own version very soon. Yikes!

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Belated birthday greetings
Chig would like to apologise to Andrew, one of our contributors to the 50 #1s Project, whose birthday was one week ago today. Sorry I missed it, and hope you had a good one. The #1 single when Andrew was born was actually the #40 single in our countdown; 'Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus'. This is Andrew's top ten #1s:
01 Mambo Italiano - Rosemary Clooney
02 Stay - Shakespears Sister
03 The Reflex - Duran Duran
04 Like A Prayer - Madonna
05 Fernando - Abba
06 Heart Of Glass - Blondie
07 West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys
08 Abba-esque EP - erasure
09 You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) - Dead Or Alive
10 Brimful Of Asha - Cornershop

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Coming up in the next seven days in the 50 #1s Project least one song from every decade in our countdown (1960s to the Noughties) and a really strange coincidence on Tuesday and Wednesday!

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Y manana? Un hombre muy caliente! Pero, quien es?

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Pop Quiz: This song was used as the theme tune to which US TV series?

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“No colours any more, I want them to turn black”

#28 Paint It, Black The Rolling Stones

[215] Writers: Mick Jagger & Keith Richard. Producer: Andrew Loog Oldham
19 May 66 – 10 weeks on chart – 1 week at #1; 26 May 1966

Oooh, with minutes to spare, David got it - well done! Looks like I fooled everyone else with yesterday’s cryptic clue. Kick yourselves now!

Rewind six months from yesterday’s #1 and we’re with the Stones. Mick could see a red door and he wanted it painted black. Not green though, hence yesterday’s reference to Shakin’ Stevens. Geddit?!

The Rolling Stones’ previous single had failed to reach the top after a straight run of five number ones. ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’ had stalled at #2 in February, so the Stones had something to prove. But prove it they did, as ‘Paint It, Black’ entered at #5, jumping to #1 the next week and being deposed seven days later by Frank Sinatra’s ‘Strangers In The Night’. It was the third of those six Stones #1s to only spend a week at the top.#.

Often referred to as a ‘death disc’, ‘Paint It, Black’ is a million miles away from some of the other songs given that tag in the early sixties. Most of them were banned by the BBC, and were rather more sickening and sentimental than the Stones’ song. It was also unique in being a death disc with a sitar on it, but this only led to accusations that the Stones were merely copying the influences of the Beatles.

Some other sixties death discs:
Teen Angel, Mark Dinning, Mar 60, #37
Tell Laura I Love Her, Ricky Valance, Aug 60, #1
Terry, Twinkle, Nov 64, #4
Leader Of The Pack, The Shangri-Las, Jan 65, #11

As with yesterday’s song, this was a peak for the Stones, coming before a decline related to drugs.
Jones, Richard and Jagger were prosecuted for possession and the band had to wait another two years for their next #1, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.

The Rolling Stones are the seventeenth most successful UK chart act of all time. They have made more money from touring than any other group. They had already clocked up more top ten albums in the UK than any other band, even before the current one, ‘Forty Licks’, and hold the same record in the USA too.

On a personal note, ‘Paint It, Black’ was the first new number one after I was born. It also made #1 in the States. It was reissued in 1990, where it made #61 in the UK and went to #1 again in the Netherlands! Mike F, Matthew C and Matt E all had this in their top tens.

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Real life (and real death) disrupts the office

Several people have been coming in late for work this morning as the motorway up the road is almost at a standstill. It's all because of this. Gruesome.

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[10:30] No guesses for today's #1 yet?! Have I baffled you all with my cryptic clue? Go on, have a guess! I'm delaying posting today's tune to give you more time....

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Save Fame Academy!

Call this number NOW: 09011 980 004

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Licence to print money? It's not what it used to be

Is the Royal Mint the only company in the world which can make money and lose money at the same time?

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Tomorrow’s door? Shakin’ Stevens wouldn’t like it, on aesthetic grounds.

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Pop Quiz: How many of the five Beach Boys have died?

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“She’s giving me excitations”

#29 Good Vibrations The Beach Boys

[226] Writers: Brian Wilson & Mike Love. Producer: Brian Wilson
03 Nov 66 – 13 weeks on chart – 2 weeks at #1 from 17 Nov 66

This was the first of two #1s by the Beach Boys – the other was ‘Do It Again’ in 1968. ‘Good Vibrations’ took six months to complete, using four studios, 17 sessions and $50,000; a record at the time. Brian Wilson was mainly working on the track by himself, adding layer after layer of harmony before his brother Carl finally supplied the lead vocal on top. The track famously uses a Moog-theremin to make the high pitched noises. They’re rarely seen in public these days, but John Otway used one to great effect on last week’s Top Of The Pops.

While Brian Wilson worked on the song, the other Beach Boys were slowly being alienated by Brian’s perfectionism, and this was the beginning of the end of their golden period, after the classic ‘Pet Sounds’ album, as Brian’s drug use and personal problems began to get in the way. He’s still going though, and Mike saw him in concert recently.

It’s probably no coincidence that Mike had ‘Good Vibrations’ as his #4 tune;
“Too young to be aware of it when it was actually Number One, this is a record which I grew to love over time in my early to mid-teens. Its melodic swoopings and soarings, the painstaking intricacies of its arrangement, its sense of vaulting ambition and its overriding sense of "anything is possible" joyfulness all contribute to its almost universally acknowledged classic status. If you had to pick just one pop song to illustrate just how great the medium can be, this would be a perfect choice.”

Roy had it at #5 too;
“Not wanting to sound all dull and musicalogical, but possibly the most innovative and groundbreaking chart topper there is. The production concept was years ahead of its time, it's got a theremin in it, but on top of that it's just a great tune. Achingly good.”

It was also David’s #8;
“I guess Brian Wilson just wasn't made for his times. Forget Sgt. Pepper, this was really pushing available recording techniques to their limit. No wonder he went mad.”

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"One former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia, there's only one former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia..."

Such a shame the fans didn't sing their country's full, UN-approved name at the footie last night. The song could have gone on for hours. Interesting also that the BBC chose to risk a diplomatic incident with Greece and baffle Eurovision fans and United Nations politicians alike, by just referring to England's opponents as 'Macedonia'. I know you can't say the full name all the time - it would be ridiculous - but there was just one brief caption with 'FYR Macedonia' on it at the beginning and then no reference to it at all. Compare this with Eurovision, where every time they receive points (admittedly not very often, ever), we get the full name in English, plus "l'ex-république Yugoslav de Macedoine". It adds, oooh, minutes to the proceedings.
(Geopolitical note: 'Macedonia' is historically an area, spread across modern day Greece and the former Yugoslavia. Greece refuses to accept that the little bit of the former Yugoslavia should be able to call itself 'Macedonia', because, quite reasonably, many Greeks live in what they call Macedonia in Greece. The issue is only partially resolved at the UN, where the former Yugoslav delegates sit behind a nameplate which says 'FYR Macedonia'. There doesn't seem to be a way out of the impasse, unless FYR Macedonia chooses a different name entirely, and given that their Eurovision song this year was the most rampant piece of nationalism ever heard at the contest, this would seem unlikely.)

And who's the most unpopular fan at a Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia match? The one who starts chanting, "Give me an F.....give me an O......give me an R...."

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Back in the day, there was a club in Brum which broke the mould for this city. That club was called S.L.A.G., standing for ‘straight, lesbian and gay’ and it did what it said on the tin flyer. Ace music, an ace venue; the Steering Wheel, and a fantastic, eclectic mix of clubbers of all sexualities. It was our own mini version of Flesh at the Hacienda, (although that has yet to be equalled in my eyes). S.L.A.G. was compulsory on Friday nights, sometimes with friends from work, sometimes even on my own, as I always knew people there, and I’d known the promoter for years, so I never paid and always jumped the queue. It was fab. It was also the first thing I ever wrote about for Gay Times, so it did me good. However, all good things must come to an end, and so the days of dancing to Josh Wink, the Bucketheads, Strike and a million other tracks I couldn’t possibly name came to an end. Until now. This may turn out to be ill-advised, but it’s back this Friday. Only it’s in a different venue – Subway City. I couldn’t possibly not go. I have no expectations that it will recreate the magic of old; it never could, but I’m hoping some of the same people will turn up. The people I only ever knew on the dancefloor. We’ll see.
And just to prove I used to go, S.L.A.G.’s website has some photos, including a scan of a page from Boyz from the early days. See that person in the left foreground, with his arm in the air. That’s me, that is!

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Here Comes The Rain Again

Footie: I haven’t mentioned this here before, but I’ve been playing football on Tuesdays. Eight times so far, and last night something momentous happened. The team that I was on actually won, for the first time. I’d like to pretend the last seven weeks’ losses were purely coincidence, but my conscience tells me it’s because I’m absolutely crap. I really enjoy it though, so for as long as the others are prepared to put up with my crapness, I’ll keep going. Besides, the ongoing pouring rain last night saw only ten of us turn up, down from the usual fourteen. Wimps. And talking of the weather….

Storm: Last night was the fifteenth anniversary of The Big Storm that devastated South-East England. I can’t believe it was that long ago, and I bet Michael Fish dreads the 15th of October every year. By a strange coincidence, on the way back from footie, with it still pouring with rain, I drove past the place I was living that night in 1987. On campus, 11 floors up in Stafford Tower, we had seen bin bags dancing around outside our kitchen window that night, and we stayed in because the windows were rattling and it looked so inhospitable outside. And that was in Birmingham. It was bad enough here, but the damage down South was enormous. As I drove past that tower again last night with people keeping their heads down in the rain, leaves swirling around in the dark and, later, branches fallen into the roads, I had this strange feeling that it was all about to happen again. But it didn’t, thank goodness.

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(ITV1): Made Sunday and Monday night worth staying in for (like I was doing anything else). A twisty-turny (and slightly scary) storyline and Daniela Nardini. Fab.

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Just The Two Of Us

Last night on the National Television Awards, a moment of pure televisual magic with Ant'n'Dec. First they picked up the Most Popular Entertainment Show award for Pop Idol. No big surprise there. Then they picked up the Most Popular Entertainment Presenter award, in a tough category, up against Graham Norton, Lily Savage and Davina McCall. Dec looked mildly stunned and they gave a humble ‘we’re not worthy speech’; “We’re speechless. No, really, we have no speech,” he explained. End of the night for them, or so we all thought.
Near the end, it’s time for the Special Recognition award. Trevor McDonald says that someone in the audience is going to be surprised. He’s speaking in the singular, but it’s all a ruse. Run VT. Cameras show Ant’n’Dec in the corner of the screen, watching what we’re all seeing on film. They are momentarily surprised, as someone they used to know from Byker Grove crops up. One of them clearly says to the other ‘it’s not us!’ and they laugh. We carry on watching the film, expecting it to be a tribute to some old person whose turn it is to get a special award from the TV industry. But then Cat Deeley is on the film, and the penny drops with us viewers AND Ant’n’Dec themselves, that it IS them. They then have to sit through bouquets (and some very funny brickbats from Simon Cowell) as TV folk like Chris Tarrant talk about them in glowing terms. Every now and again, we see Ant’n’Dec watching the film about them. They are stunned. They don’t speak to each other or their girlfriends, they just sit there open-mouthed. Dec, in particular, looks sick. Ant is white as a sheet. It is SO CLEAR they had no idea about this, it’s brilliant ambush TV. When they eventually get up on stage to accept the award, they look ruffled and truly lost for words. Ant leans into the microphone and says, “Is it after nine o’clock?” He checks his watch and then says, “Shit!”. They don’t say very much else. They could hardly speak. I was blubbing. Bless them. They deserve it.

If this hadn’t happened, I was going to go on about how boringly predictable the awards were. David bloody Jason. He wins every year. He won two last night. He doesn’t even turn up to get them these days. He even won the award which everyone thought would go posthumously to John Thaw. Superb young actors like Alex Fearns (Trevor in EastEnders) must curse the day that David Jason was born, as they’re never going to get a look-in. What’s particularly galling is that Jason hasn’t DONE ANYTHING in the last twelve months except one Christmas episode of Only Fools And Horses (which was mediocre), but still the public voted for him. Grrr.

And then it was time for the news, which started with a roll call of Britons who have been killed in Bali; names scrolling up the screen with their photos and a candle in the background. I filled up again. And I felt stupid for getting emotional over Ant’n’Dec just before, because this was real life and that was just telly. Get your priorities right Chig.

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Tomorrow? Feel the sand between your toes – it’s Summer! And it's the sixties again!

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Pop Quiz: Enough of Michael and his brothers - on how many UK #1 singles has Janet Jackson featured?

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“She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one”

#30 Billie Jean Michael Jackson

[516] Writer: Michael Jackson. Producer: Quincy Jones
29 Jan 83 – 15 weeks on chart – #1 for one week from 05 Mar 83

Twenty down, thirty to go, and from now on there are no tied positions. Hurrah! Your World Of Chig Top 30 countdown starts here…and there will be more featured top tens, worst number ones and other stuff coming up very soon.

I wonder how many people would swear blind that ‘Billie Jean’ was number one for ages, but it wasn’t. In fact, its solitary week at the top was the only week that any of the six singles from ‘Thriller’ achieved in the UK, despite the album’s legendary success.

‘Billie Jean’ knocked off Kajagoogoo’s ‘Too Shy’ after two weeks on top, in its sixth week on the chart. The ‘Thriller’ album had been out for six weeks and this single was no instant success. It entered somewhere lower than #40, climbing #20, #17, #5, #2 and #1. But in the week that Jacko finally made #1, Bonnie Tyler was bounding up from #14 to #2 on only her second week in the top 40, so Michael was doomed. We’ve already seen Bonnie in our countdown, at #39, so this completes the first pair of consecutive #1s to make our Top 50. There are three such pairs which have made it, and we’ve had one track each from the other two so far.

The very same day that 'Billie Jean' made the top 40 was also the first time Prince did the same, as '1999' popped into the chart for a preparatory run, before being a really big hit the next year.

'Billie Jean' was also a US #1. In the UK, it was Michael’s second solo number one, out of seven so far (plus co-writing and singing on USA for Africa’s ‘We Are The World’). I say ‘so far’, but it’s hard to predict when his next will come – certainly not from his last album, 'Invincible' as the second single from it, 'Cry' didn’t even make the top 20, and the first, 'You Rock My World', was perceived as a huge failure because it didn't make #1. Jacko’s first solo #1 had been nearly two years before, with 'One Day In Your Life'. As a family group, The Jacksons had hit #1 just once, in June 1977, with ‘Show You The Way To Go’.

Michael is the seventh most successful UK chart act in terms of weeks on chart, some way behind Madonna (and about to fall even further behind next month when 'Die Another Day' enters at #1) and just ahead of Rod Stewart.

Will we be seeing Jacko again in our countdown?

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These are the delightfully naff picture frames that Mark sent me a couple of weeks ago. Aren't they boybandtastic?!
The pics are Chig's attempt to join a1 and cuddling up with Korben. (a1 still haven't called me, despite Paul quitting last week.)

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Tomorrow’s classic: Possibly the only homage to a tennis legend in our countdown.

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Pop Quiz: In the week that one of Gary Barlow’s solo number ones entered the chart at #1, the debut hit from an act destined for bigger things entered two places behind it, at #3. Who was it, and what song?

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“In the twist of separation, you excelled at being free”

#31= Back For Good Take That

[719] Writer: Gary Barlow. Producers: Chris Porter & Gary Barlow
08 Apr 95 – 13 weeks on chart – #1 for 4 weeks from 08 Apr 95

Oh how I LOVED Take That. No, I mean REALLY loved them, especially cheeky Robbie (with Gary in second place) . I was onto them from the start, before they had any hits. The TV appearances in dodgy clubs on The Hitman & Her with the gay leather look. I took photos of each one of them individually as they had their hair done on the Vidal Sassoon stand at one of the first BBC Clothes Shows at the NEC. More pictures the same day as they performed on the Radio 1 stage with Jaki Brambles, wearing the latest fashion innovation; Global Hypercolour t-shirts. Oh how tempted I was to buy one just to look like Robbie. (He was always my favourite, while my friend Mark had a thing for Mark Owen, but I’ll let him tell you about that in the comments.) I must have every moment of their TV appearances recorded on video, from the Saturday morning appearances on Going Live! to the week they presented The Big Breakfast.

Before they hit the big time, Take That had worked the gay circuit like troopers, and it eventually paid off, setting a blueprint which many boybands were to follow later. This has now evolved into any pop act worth their salt making sure they play London’s G-A-Y club whenever they have a new single out.
It’s often forgotten now, but one of the group gave an interview in the early days to APN, northern England’s gay magazine, in which he made it pretty clear which side his bread was buttered, but oddly it never cropped up to haunt them later. (I still have it somewhere.)

They played our local haunt, the legendary (but small) Tin Tin’s club in Birmingham, twice before they hit the big time. They weren’t wearing very much, and what there was consisted mainly of black lycra and silver belt buckles. I took photos of one of these appearances, because I knew they were going to be big, and I’ve never done a thing with them. I really should be scanning them to accompany this…
What’s remarkable about those photos is not just how young they look, but how smooth Robbie is! He was the baby of the group, but either Nigel Martin-Smith was making them shave their chests or (as I suspect), he just hadn’t started sprouting yet. He’s certainly a long way from the hirsute popstar we know and love today. One of my clubbing friends swore blind to me that one of Take That had stayed in Birmingham with him that night, but I never had any proof. And it wasn’t the one who had almost come out in the interview either.

‘Back For Good’ was the sixth of Take That’s eight #1s, following their deodorant song, Sure, which had been at the top in October 1994. While I was taking tea with Crystaltipps on Saturday, this was playing in the background (because I’d put Take That’s Greatest Hits on her CD player, although she swears the album belongs to someone else). She pointed out that the lyric is completely inexcusable. “That’s just the typical thing that men say; ‘whatever I said, whatever I did, I didn’t mean it’; it’s when they can’t be bothered to think about what they’ve done wrong." Okay, she has a valid point, but I don’t think Gary Barlow wrote it for his fans to subject it to post-feminist analysis; that’s for us to do all these years later. At the time I just thought it was sweet.

Anyway there’s more to the song than that - it’s the song in which Gary declared his homosexual love for bandmate Mark Owen, revealing at the same time that Mr Owen wore make-up when round at Gary’s house for drinks; “Got your lipstick Mark still on your coffee cup” What? It wasn’t? Oh shit, all these years….

‘Back For Good’ was Take That’s only US hit. Thankfully, in the UK, it ensured that the Outhere Brothers and their dreadful ‘Don’t Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)’ was kicked off the #1 spot after only one week. It succumbed after four weeks to Some Might Say entering at the top, giving oasis their first #1. I’ve never quite forgiven them for that, but Robbie obviously did, as he boozed with them at Glasto, got fat and left the group, making this their last hit before he went solo.

Take That were just ten months and two more #1s away from the news conference that made the serious news programmes. The split that caused phone lines to be set up to help the grieving girlies, and the widespread predictions that Gary would go on to become the new Elton John, while the others would disappear into oblivion. Now then, who’s just secured an £80 million record deal? Step forward smooth boy…

Factette: In another of those strange coincidences that has affected this top 50 countdown, another version of 'Back For Good' was released in the UK only yesterday. It's on the '1 Love' album, where contemporary artists have covered past #1 singles. This one is by McAlmont & Butler, and Mike thinks it's pretty darn good - he's reviewed the whole album.

2nd factette: When you google for pictures of 'Take That', you inevitably get a picture of a boxing match.

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Katy's first time

No, it's not one of those annoying porn e-mails that I get every day, it's one of my friends (and Crystaltipps' sister) making her presence felt in yesterday's Grauniad Online. Nice one Katy! This article makes me very glad I bought my house when I did, five years ago. (Twice the bedrooms for half the price.) It also makes me realise I could never afford to sell up and move to Bristol. Not that it was ever my intention.

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Friends Reinstated

Isn't it nice when you get an unexpected message that cheers you up for the rest of the day? Yesterday I had a surprise e-mail from a friend in London who had been in danger of becoming a 'long lost' friend. You know the situation; you work together, you go clubbing together, he goes out with one of your best friends, they split up (amicably), they both move to London separately. You go and stay with him once or twice and then the contact just dwindles, not for any reason at all except that you're rarely in the same city and you don't have the same mutual friends any more. You stay with his ex a few times, but it’s not because you’ve made a decision to favour her over him, it’s just ‘circumstances’ and she was a good friend before they ever went out with each other anyway, etc. etc. Then it gets to the point where you haven't spoken for so long (over a year now) that you think it's embarrassing to make a phone call out of the blue just to say hello. You don't even call him when you go down to London because then it looks like you only want to see him when you need a place to stay, which isn't true at all. Then you intend to call him on his birthday, in June, as an excuse for a chat, but you don’t do it, and he isn’t even on your Christmas card list because you don’t send Christmas cards anymore. And suddenly, before you know it, you have Officially Lost Touch, with a friend who you always liked a lot and with whom you never wanted to lose touch.

And now? He’s having a party next month and he sent a really sweet e-mail to invite me down. I was so happy last night, I was beaming, and all because of one little e-mail. Isn’t life wonderful?

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Edinburgh - The Scottish Wasteland

E-mail from my mother to me:
“I’m going up to Edinburgh for a few days with K. I’ll put my mobile on but I'm not sure what kind of reception there will be.”

E-mail from me to my Mum:“Thanks for this. Have a good time. It’s Edinburgh, not the Sahara Desert, so there will be phone coverage. They have running water and electricity too; you’ll be amazed.”

(Thought you’d appreciate that, Peter!)

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The Shakespears Sister write-up is here (below) for anyone who's been pining for it since Saturday.

Tomorrow’s fab fivesome: A tune for anyone who’s ever had trouble removing make-up stains from their crockery. And I know I have.

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Pop Quiz: This isn’t the only #1 about a bridge. There’s at least one other – name any others. (And no, ‘Sur Le Pont D’Avignon’ didn’t make it in the 50s, so don’t even go there…)

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“I’m on your side, when times get rough and friends just can’t be found”

#31= Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel

[283] Writer: Paul Simon. Producers: Paul Simon, Arthur Garfunkel & Roy Halee
21 Feb 70 – 20 weeks on chart - #1 for 3 weeks from 28 Mar 70

It was Paul Simon’s birthday yesterday (13th October), but once again it depends which book you read as to how old you think he was. He’s possibly 60 or 61.

Simon and Garfunkel were previously called Tom & Jerry, (hence the cat and mouse reference in yesterday’s clue). They had a dodgily-named hit ‘ Hey Schoolgirl’ under that moniker in the States in the 50s.
‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ is surely one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Who hasn’t felt alone and been comforted by this song? Thematically it’s in the same vein as ‘Help!’, ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, ‘Thank You For Being A Friend’ and ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ but it’s better than all of them. It’s such a shame that Simon and Garfunkel themselves couldn’t take to heart the words of their own song and actually speak to each other. The song has such a simple arrangement, with just a piano backing and Art Garfunkel’s plaintive solo vocal, until the full string section and crashing drums come in after over three minutes, and Garfunkel’s vocals start soaring. It’s an epic.

Just as in this countdown, where it’s sandwiched between two other mellow number ones, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ was #1 between two other laid-back tunes; the growling tones of Lee Marvin’s ‘Wandrin’ Star’ and Dana’s simpering ‘All Kinds Of Everything’. The album of the same name was staggeringly successful. Not only was it the UK’s best seller in the year of release, 1970, but also in the year after.

Simon & Garfunkel are another of those acts whose reputation is possibly more than the sum of their parts. They only ever had six hit singles in their heyday (plus a couple of small hits in 1991 and 1992, which don’t count).

After they split, Art Garfunkel went into acting, leaving Paul Simon to clock up a few solo hits first. Art hit #1 again for two weeks in 1975 with ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’; a song from the 1930s which had been a US hit in 1959 for the Flamingos. He had to sing another song about eyes in order to get a second solo #1 with ‘Bright Eyes’, the theme from the animated Watership Down film, which became the biggest-selling single of 1979. Little did he know that Stephen Gately would murder the song many years later.

Simon & Garfunkel reunited in 1981 for a reunion concert in front of half a million people in New York’s Central Park. I seriously recommend hearing the album of that gig – it’s quite magical. They then announced that they were back together permanently. They were lying. But it did give Paul Simon the time to go to South Africa. But that’s another story…

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Tomorrow’s twosome? We’re in a mellow mood for today and the next two days, with laid-back tunes from a soloist (Gabrielle), a duo and a fab five. Tomorrow it’s time for a little cat and mouse. But who?

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Pop Quiz: One person amazingly connects both of our #33s. This person has had a hit with one of the songs involved, and had a hit song written by one of the artists, as well as (possibly, for legal reasons) going out with them. Who is it?

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"I'm building bridges from these scenes"

#33= Rise Gabrielle

[847] Writers: Bob Dylan, Louise Bobb, Ferdy Under-Hamilton & Ollie Dagois. Producer: Johnny Dollar.
05 Feb 00 – 15 weeks on chart – 2 weeks at #1 from 05 Feb 00

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Oh no. Chris and Andrew were left, but Andrew's the one who's going. But he's LUUUUUUURRRRRRVELY! The moral is: don't sing a Chicago song. Poor lad. How awful to make him sing live again straight after going through that! Oh well, I hope Chris goes next time.

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So, who should go tonight? Chris Park. Nothing to do with his performance, but his background doesn’t fit with someone who’ll be idolised by kids.

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10) Mikey Green – 22 – Manchester
Drive (The Cars)
Sounds a little too high for him at first. He looks like a model. Not a good choice of song as there are too many gaps without singing, and we haven’t heard enough of him.

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9) Peter Smith – 23 – Dublin
Since I Don’t Have You (Art Garfunkel/Guns ‘n’ Roses)
Good choice of song as it shows off his vocal range – normally quite low, but he can hit the high notes too. I just don’t see him in a boyband though. He looks too old. Yes, Louis is right; he’s a young Johnny Mathis.

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8) Nikk Mager – 18? - Halifax
A Little Bit More (Dr. Hook/911)
It’s Dr Hook AND 911 AND the Four Tops night! I’m unfairly prejudiced against someone who spells their name in such a silly way. He’s in tune and okay, but too queeny for my liking. (Oooh! Get her!)

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7) Matt Johnson – 17- North Wales
Amazed (Lonestar)
Is the music world ready for another Matt Johnson? I guess so, as The The has gone a bit quiet lately.
Not hitting the notes at the start. Nice little mover though, and dead cute. Him and Jamie seem to be the girlies’ It’s not his age that’ll count against him, but is his voice strong enough?

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6) Anton Gordon – 19 – London
It’s The Same Old Song (The Four Tops/Jonathan King/KC & The Sunshine Band)
It’s Four Tops night on ITV1! HE doesn’t sound as good at the start as he has done in the auditions. Sounds a little flatter and less soulful. Does look too old and too tall to be in a ‘male vocal harmony group’ though.

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5) Andrew Kinlochan – 23 - London
Hard To Say I’m Sorry (Chicago)
My second favourite, looks wise. Just so cute and boy-next-doorish. Not the best vocal performance, but okay.
I don’t like the way these songs have been cut so short.

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4) Daniel Pearce – 24 – Kent
Against All Odds (Take Look At Me Now) (Phil Collins/Mariah Carey & Westlife)
Sexy… ev’rything about you’s so sexy….
Perhaps too man vocal acrobatics. Good, deep, soulful voice, but needs to control it a bit more. He’s very sexy with his shirt off too. Not really enough of the song to make a proper judgment. Judges being a bit too complimentary, methinks. Did I mention how sexy he is?

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3) Jamie Shaw - 17 – Cardiff
When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman (Dr Hook)
A light, breathy voice, but he has recording experience and it shows. He doesn’t try too hard.
It’s a great idea to increase the confidence of the others by having small groups of them sing the backing vocals for each other. Jamie is the new Noel, and the new Gareth.

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2) Chris Park – 20 – Newcastle
More Than A Woman (Tavares/911)
Disadvantaged already by tabloid revelations that he was questioned by police for assaulting a child.
Okay vocals, but not perfectly in tune.

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1) Keith Semple – 21 – Larne, NI
Reach Out I’ll Be There (The Four Tops)
Excellent vocals. Some character to his voice. Very short version but arranged really well.
Looks really cute – “not stereotyped boyband image” and a voice for rock, but he’ll do for me.

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Popstars – The Rivals – The Boys – song by song LIVE On World Of Chig!

‘I Get Around’ is the perfect song to show off their vocal talents – an inspired choice as the opener.
Love the way they’re all dressed in black as well.

Chris Park must know he won’t last long after the papers revealed he was questioned by police about assaulting a child.
Jamie and Neil are paired together – the two youngest and cutest, and they get the most screams too.
Jamie has recording experience already – he’s released at least one album before.
The Dublin guy looks too old. Daniel looks really sexy.

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Worth getting up for tomorrow? Someone who shared an unusual sartorial quirk with Jean-Marie Le Pen.

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Pop Quiz: What’s the connection between Shakespears Sister's ‘Hormonally Yours’ album and Robbie Williams?

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“If you try to go alone, don’t think I’ll understand”

#33= Stay – Shakespears Sister

[674] Writers: Siobhan Fahey, Marcella Detroit & Guiot. Producers: Chris Thomas, Alan Moulder & Shakespears Sister.
25 Jan 92 – 16 weeks on chart – 8 weeks at #1 from 22 Feb 92

Siobhan Fahey had burst back onto the music scene in 1989; the year after she had left Bananarama. She and her new musical partner Marcella Detroit (real name Marcella Levy) had taken the name of The Smiths’ sixth hit (#26 in 1985), dropped the ‘e’ and made #7 with ‘You’re History’. But by 1992, it had looked as if Shakespear’s Sister had already run out of steam. Despite also having a top ten album with Sacred Heart, the next three Shakespear’s Sister singles had all failed to make the top 50, and Siobhan seemed destined to be remembered as the mad one who left the ‘Nanas and married Dave Stewart. But then ‘Stay’ appeared, as the second single from the upcoming ‘Hormonally Yours’ album, the apostrophe was dropped too, and she did what Bananarama never managed (apart from their two Band Aid contributions) and made #1. And then some. A massive eight week run at the top, in a year of long-running #1s (only twelve #1s all year, compared with 17 each in 1990 and 1991), meant we were all thoroughly fed up of seeing that video every week on TOTP, no matter how good it was. In fact, Whitney’s warbling gave her an even longer ten week run at #1 in December and into 1993, but Shakespears Sister had the most weeks at #1 within 1992. Siobhan and Marcella were the first ‘transatlantic’ female duo to have a UK #1. Their eight weeks was the longest run at the top for any female group or duo, and ‘Stay’ also made #4 in the States. Shakespears Sister weren’t the only act to drop the ‘e’ before having a number one in 1992, as the Shamen did it six months later with (!)

The single itself is a true drama queen classic which was written by the duo and Siobhan’s Eurythmic partner – Dave Stewart is the ‘Guiot’ in the writing credits. Like Band Aid’s hit, it sounds as if it was written as two separate songs which were then spliced together. To me, it always seems really long, although it’s a fairly standard 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Although the slightly scary video implied the song was about death, I’ve never been quite clear whether it’s a bunny boiler song about not accepting the end of a relationship, or if it’s about a suicide pact. But there’s nothing wrong with leaving things open to interpretation. ‘Stay’ was one of five singles lifted from ‘Hormonally Yours’ before Marcella and Siobhan went their separate ways.

Marcella Detroit reappeared in 1994 with three hits, including the duet with Elton John; ‘Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing’.

Siobhan resurrected the Shakepears Sister incarnation again in 1996, without Marcella, but to little public enthusiasm. Although ‘I Can Drive’ made #30, we haven’t heard from either of them since. Meanwhile, the rumours that Bananarama are to reform with their original line-up resurface every few months, even though the duo are still going anyway.

‘Stay’ is the second favourite of Marcus R and also Andrew, who says;

“When I was living in Chicago, I walked along the vast shores of Lake Michigan one very grey and rainy afternoon with my headphones on, listening to a local radio station's 'Future Hits' programme. After a block of adverts, they started up the Shakespear's Sister song with no warning or intro or anything, and I was so stunned by how gorgeous it was that I had to sit down. I ended up sitting on a wet concrete block, staring out at the choppy water, listening to Marcella Detroit hit those impossible high notes as I was soaked through. It is one of my most vivid adult memories.”
Of course, some of us loved Shakespears Sister’s next single even more, just for the line ‘I don’t care if you act like a queen’!

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Pop Quiz extra This weekend's #1s are two of the three tunes in our countdown with the shortest titles; four letters. The final four letter word crops up at #27, so between now and then, can you name all three of them? Obviously it will become a little easier after tomorrow and Sunday, so three points on offer to anyone who gets it before any are revealed, two points after tomorrow's is revealed, or one point after Sunday's.

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Tomorrow's drama queens? Don't go away.

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Pop Quiz Righteous Brother Bill Medley wasn't the only person who Jennifer Warnes paired up with for a hit. Who was her other partner, and from which film did their hit come?

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"Now there's no welcome look in your eyes when I reach for you."

#35 You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ The Righteous Brothers

[186] Writers: Phil Spector, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil. Producer: Phil Spector.
14 Jan 65 – 10 weeks – #1 for 2 weeks from 04 Feb 65 (34 weeks on chart in total, in four runs)

This US male vocal duo definitely weren’t brothers, but they may have been righteous. I don’t know. Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield were both born in 1940, that much is clear, but Bobby’s exact date of birth is unclear, as I discovered last night, after setting yesterday’s teaser, when it all seemed so clearcut. The britishhitsingles website yesterday said it was his birthday, which is why I set the question. I later discovered that his DOB in the Guinness Book of 500 Number One Singles is shown as 10th of APRIL 1940, not October. But it gets even more confusing; in the current Guinness Book of Hit Singles, his DOB is shown as 19th SEPTEMBER 1940. So, three different sources have three different dates, and I have no idea which is correct, but yesterday’s question was set in good faith. Let’s move on.

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ was the subject of a major chart battle with Cilla Black in 1965, as she entered the chart with her version on the very same day. In fact, she led the way over the Righteous Brothers’ version for three weeks, peaking at #2 with the boys behind her at #3. She then lost out as they leapfrogged her and she slid down the chart, disappearing after 9 weeks, one fewer than Bill and Bobby.

It made the top 10 again in 1969, and grazed #42 in 1977 too. Then in 1986, the song was immortalised (and crucified) in the ‘drunken singalong in the bar’ scene Top Gun, and instantly became a karaoke classic. This ensured that when it was re-released much later (1990), it would fly high (geddit?) to #3, backed with Ebb Tide (previously their #48 third hit in 1966). That was following up the #1 success of the re-released Unchained Melody, when they became the second act (after Jimmy Young) to take it to #1 (Simon Cowell's acts Robson & Jerome and Gareth Gates later became the third and fourth to turn the trick.) By 2000, it had become the only song to receive more than 8 million plays on US radio.

‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’’ was Telly Savalas’s ‘other’ hit after his #1 with ‘If’ and Daryl Hall & John Oates have also charted with it. As mentioned above, it was the Righteous Brothers’ only number one until October 1990, when Unchained Melody became their second, after a gap of a mere 25 and 259 days, due to its use in the film ‘Ghost’. That was the biggest seller of 1990 too. This was also the longest gap between two versions of the same song making #1, after Jimmy Young hit the top with Unchained Melody back in 1955.

A long time after his Righteous Brothers incarnation, Bill Medley hit #6 in 1987 and #8 in 1990 with Jennifer Warnes and ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’. Bobby Hatfield had no further hits.

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Did YOU have a number one single?

I promise you this is not a joke. Of course it's not just World Of Chig that's celebrating the upcoming 50th anniversary of the singles chart. You won't be able to avoid it next month - the front page of Music Week last week was devoted to all the celebrations that will be happening. Amongst them all, Radio2 is currently asking for your favourite number one for their chart. Channel Four will be counting down an all-time top 100 (of all hits, not number ones, which they've done already). And the BBC will be having a party in December, with an audience full of #1 hitmakers. But they have a problem, they've announced today. They can't find some of the people. So, are you, or do you know the whereabouts of, any of these people?
Billy J Kramer
Brian & Michael (Try Salford)
Joe Dolce (Try Italy or *ahem* Australia)
Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin (Probably committed suicide after another bad party).
Steve Grant (of Tight Fit)
Tony Di Bart
Pato Banton (That's easy, just ask his mates UB40. He was on TV only this week at the launch of something.)
Jas Mann (AKA Babylon Zoo)

If you know where these people are, tell us here first, and then tell the BBC on
If you do know any of them, break it to them gently that none of them made the World Of Chig Top 50. They'll be gutted.

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Wishing On A Star
Observant viewers may have noticed the appearance today of the three little words 'My Wish List' on the left. It doesn't mention being locked in a hotel room with Robbie Williams, Dermot O'Leary, a mini bar and a tray of drugs; it's the clean version. I'll say no more, but it is nearly Christmas. Sort of.

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Tomorrow's top gun? Features someone celebrating their birthday TODAY, born just one day after John Lennon. But who is reaching for the skies?

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Pop Quiz: What was the name of the act who had a hit with the name of the group which featured one of today's hitmakers and someone we've already met in our countdown? (It sounds more complicated than it really is.)

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"Open up your loving arms, watch out here I come"

#36 You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) - Dead Or Alive


The soundtrack to my coming out, and my first year at uni. More details later.

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Oh, Channel 4, you are really spoiling us. Faking It turns out, just like last week, to be the viewing highlight of the week. Lynne Hurst, I salute you! The programme had me sniffling once again. Mind you, those tissues came in handy for the Testosterone Boys documentary immediately after it....

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Waxy Will

I hadn't realised that Madame Tussaud's had 'done' Will Young already. But then I saw his album cover:

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