World of Chig   


The Eurovision draw...

...which means that Austria can't win. Shame, I've always fancied visiting Vienna.

01 Iceland
02 Austria
03 Ireland
04 Turkey
05 Malta
06 Bosnia & Herzegovina
07 Portugal
08 Croatia
09 Cyprus
10 Germany
11 Russia
12 Spain
13 Israel
14 Netherlands
15 UK
16 Ukraine
17 Greece
18 Norway
19 France
20 Poland
21 Latvia
22 Belgium
23 Estonia
24 Romania
25 Sweden
26 Slovenia

That's not bad for the UK as the closing applause for us will merge into the wild whooping and cheering which should greet Ukraine's first entry, immediately following. It's also very easy to memorise that bit of the draw: UK, Ukraine...

Full story of the draw, with message board here.

As for the hosts, no surprises.

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Things may have been a little quiet lately, but tomorrow - mucho excitement! Because tomorrow at noon is the time the Latvians play with their balls and produce the running order for this....

It will be Ukraine's first appearance in the Eurovision draw too. Latvian TV will also be announcing the two presenters for the contest next year. It's widely expected (and hoped, by me) that one of them will be the wonderful Reynard Kaupers, lead singer of Brainstorm, who represented Latvia in 2000's ESC. He's witty, funny and speaks fantastic English (with a strong American twang). The second presenter may well turn out to be this year's winner, Marija Naumova. She sparkled in her press conferences, before and after winning, so she'll be brilliant too. She's a mult-linguist, trained actress, and can sing in Russian, Latvian, English, French and Italian. This duo could be a winning combination. Fingers crossed.

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Phew! No, I didn't succumb to smoke inhalation. I'm just recovering from the shock of Will Young not making number one yesterday...

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Oh my God! There was a smell of burning in the office, we looked outside and a grey cloud of smoke is blowing over us, setting off alarms in our building. We're not on fire, but the warehouse next to us is! Massively on fire! We've been engulfed in smoke and might have to leave. And....the firefighters are on strike! It feels like it's gone dark early, and it's only 14.15.

14.35 It's on BBC news website already. We might be leaving the building, we're enveloped in smoke from burning plastic. Can't see the soldiers and/or firefighters though....shame.

14.38 We're evacuating. Tara!

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Chig's Celebrity Shame

While NOT watching Celebrity Big Brother last night - The Bill was far more interesting - and just flicking to it in the ad breaks, I realised to my eternal shame, that I have met TWO out of six of the non-entities. Plus Davina, makes three out of seven. Yikes! (I'm not including Davina as a non-entity, by the way. Just wanted to make that clear. She is a goddess of television as far as I'm concerned.)

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Chigg’s Topp Fiffteen Baddly Spellt Numbber Onnes

This week’s strangely-titled number one from Kristeener Aggweelairuh isn’t the first chart-topper to flout the rules of conventional spelling…

01 Dirrty – Christina Aguilera
02 Skweeze Me Pleeze Me - Slade
03 Mama Weer All Crazee Now – Slade
04 Cum On Feel The Noize - Slade
05 Take Me Bak ‘Ome – Slade
06 Coz I Luv You - Slade
07 Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
08 Shaddap You Face – Joe Dolce Music Theatre
09 Bound 4 Da Reload (Casualty) – Oxide & Neutrino
10 Da Ya Think I’m Sexy – Rod Stewart
11 Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinéad O’Connor
12 Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio featuring LV
13 Gotta Get Thru This – Daniel Bedingfield
14 Yeh, Yeh – Georgie Fame
15 Wand’rin’ Star – Lee Marvin

One can only hope that standards in Wolverhampton’s schools have improved since Noddy Holder and chums were there. Arr.

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In the next few days? Surely it’s all over? Well yes, but a quick run-through of some of your 'worst #1s ever' wouldn’t go amiss. Also, the full list of all the number ones which were voted for, all 200+ of them, in score order. Goodbye, and thank you for coming. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I may cry…

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Pop Quiz: ‘Band Of Gold’ to Youssou N’Dour in three easy steps – go!

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“Since you’ve been gone, all that’s left is a band of gold, all that’s left of the dream I hold is a band of gold.”

#1 Band Of Gold Freda Payne

[291] Writers: Ron Dunbar & Edith Wayne. Producers: Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier & Eddie Holland
05 Sep 70 – 19 weeks on chart - #1 for 6 weeks from 19 Sep 70

Shocked? I know I am! And I’ve known the result for seven weeks! You didn’t spot the clue yesterday, did you? “All that’s left” is the number one = “All that’s left is a band of gold”. It was a clear winner though….

A tale of marital failure tops our list, for reasons perhaps best kept to yourselves! Freda’s man is unable or unwilling to consummate their marriage, leaving her to contemplate her wedding ring on the night of their marriage. It’s not a universally appealing theme, but it attracted more votes than any other song in fifty years, so it must be doing something right. The funny thing is, nearly half the people who gave this single its highest marks are coupled up. I’m not sure what that’s telling us. I dread to think.

Holland Dozier Holland, as they were known, had made their name at Motown in the sixties. They left and formed the Invictus record label, releasing the transatlantic hit ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’ by Chairmen Of The Board, which went top 3 in both the US and the UK.

Freda’s background was in jazz and the theatre, which she went back to in the late seventies. Her previous release in America ‘The Unhooked Generation’ had made no impression at all in the UK, so ‘Band Of Gold’ was her debut UK hit. With this, she became the first female solo American R&B singer to have a UK #1, two places higher than itmanaged in the States.

She followed it up very quickly with a smaller #33 hit, ‘Deeper And Deeper’. Her luck was running out though, and her third hit ‘Cherish What Is Dear To You’ (by which she presumably meant ‘keep hold of your jewellery if your man runs out on you’) proved to be her last, and only made #46. All three hits were on Invictus. In the USA, Freda also had a top ten hit with the anti-Vietnam war song, ‘Bring The Boys Home’.

‘Band Of Gold’ was covered in 1983 by supercamp king/queen of the discotheques, Sylvester, of ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ fame. It was his final hit, only making #67. Freda’s version has never re-entered the chart, or been turned into a hit cover version by anyone else. I have a feeling there will be people reading this who don’t even know the song, or wouldn’t be able to sing it.

At the height of Freda’s success, she was so popular that Blue Peter named their tortoise after her, painting her name on her back (the tortoise’s, not the singer’s).

Freda Payne is still going strong, and looks like this on her agency's website. Read some confusion about the lyric here.

One of the sentences in this piece may be a complete lie.

Jump to the previous song.

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Happy Birthday To You

50th anniversary stories here, here from Liquid News and an old one here. There's a history of the singles chart on Radio 1 here, and Chris Moyles is going on about it too. The anniversary even made it onto Five Live's news at 1am today, where they mentioned Al Martino being the first #1, but tempered it by mentioning the story from a few days ago, about singles sales now being at a 25 year low. Tony Blair is being grilled by Radio 1 listeners right now about important things, but he has also just been asked what his favourite number one is. He didn't really answer (surprise!), but said the first record he ever bought was 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' by The Beatles. Pressed for something a bit more recent, he said he can't avoid hearing the albums that his kids listen to while he's 'doing his boxes' and the music is 'bouncing off the walls'. His kids are apparently listening to Coldplay, Foo Fighters and U2. So now you know.

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The World Of Chig #1 Number One Single

It's time to play a game. Our winning, #1 number one is definitely one of the fifteen listed below. Fourteen songs are about to leave....with nothing! So, as I seem to be getting my TV quizzes muddled up, let's play....The Weakest 15-To-#1!

[Chig dons ginger wig and black leather trenchcoat. Hmmmm, strangely comfortable...]

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones [202] #1 for 2 weeks from 09 Sep 65
Michael, was is it you do again? You 'father children around the world'? It looks as if it's wearing you out, so go and have a lie down - ON YOUR OWN!

All You Need Is Love – The Beatles [235] #1 for 3 weeks from 19 Jul 67
Two of you here look so similar, I'm quite glad you're going. Are you going to take Jude with you?

Hey Jude – The Beatles [258] #1 for 2 weeks from 11 Sep 68

Band Of Gold – Freda Payne [291] #1 for 6 weeks from 19 Sep 70

I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor [435] #1 for 4 weeks from 17 Mar 79
Well now, little miss defiant, you seem to think you have a right to be here and that many of the people voting are screaming homosexuals. You may have a point, but let me tell you, all the campery and glitter in the world couldn't have got you into our top fifty. Go on now, go! Walk out the door! Don't turn around now - you're not welcome any more!

Cars – Gary Numan [442] #1 for 1 week; 22 Sep 79
You've been driving in your car, have you, Mr Webb? Well I'm sorry, but no one's driving you home tonight, and not to the top of our chart either. Goodbye!

Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood [531] 1# for 5 weeks from 28 Jan 84
Back to Hollywood, or back to oblivion, I don't really care, just go!

Careless Whisper – George Michael [537] #1 for 3 weeks from 18 Aug 84
Yorgos, or whatever your name is, if you'd paid a little more attention, instead of offering to show your Greek sausage to that man next to you, you might still be here. Back to the LA parks for you!

Into The Groove – Madonna [554] #1 for 4 weeks from 03 Aug 85
Mrs Ritchie, you've had your four minutes of fun with 'Like A Prayer' in our chart already. You weren't arrogant enough to assume we'd have you back, were you? You were? Well you've been 'swept away' like your appalling little film. Goodbye!

Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers [653] #1 for 4 weeks from 03 Nov 90
You're not really brothers, are you? And there's only room for one self-righteous person around here, so goodbye, and take those two guys dressed as squaddies with you too. They won't stop singing your bloody song.

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams [667] #1 for 16 weeks from 13 Jul 91
Listen, you craggy Canadian crooner. You may have managed to get another of your songs to the top last week with that frankly dodgy-looking DJ Sammy character, but do you really think anyone has forgiven you for sixteen long weeks of torment with this sentimental old tosh? No they haven't! Rack off back to the Rocky Mountains!

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston [684] #1 for 10 weeks from 05 Dec 92
Are you still here Mrs Brown? You turned sideways and I thought you'd disappeared. Take that wailing gob away and get some food down it, now!

Love Is All Around - Wet Wet Wet [709] #1 for 15 weeks from 04 Jun 94
Tough luck Marti. The old ones are getting rid of all the youngsters. It's back to Chicago for a couple more days for you. So long!

Candle In The Wind 1997 / Something About The Way You Look Tonight - Elton John [774] #1 for 5 weeks from 20 Sep 97
Yet more sentimental old slime for us to clear out. Reginald, you used to be very famous as one of the most successful artists never to have had a solo #1 single, until that Sacrifice and Healing Hands double header. Well look who's being sacrificed now! Back home to more dinners with the Beckhams for you. Farewell!

Pure Shores – All Saints [849] #1 for 2 weeks from 26 Feb 00
So, thought you'd beaten the Spice Girls, did you ladies? Well, I'm sorry, you haven't. It takes more than a bit of atmosphere and William Orbit twiddling his knobs to top our chart. Get the first boat out of here!

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...there we almost have it. Seven tears have flown into the river...(Huh? What is this guy on?)…and seven weeks have passed since we started our journey. At least two of our number one hitmakers have departed this Earth and gone to the great jukebox in the sky since we started, and there have unfortunately been other casualties along the way, not just Lonnie Donegan and Jam Master Jay. My social life and my Guinness Book of 500 Number One Singles have both fallen apart quite dramatically. I’m jesting. Such unnecessary melodrama (but it’s true about the book – fallen apart from the spine it has, into several pieces, after too much thumbing).

Now there’s just one day to go until the singles chart is 50 years old, and one more number one to come in our chart, but by the Lord Lloyd-Webber, what could it be? Which record could possibly have come top in a poll of you, my beloved readers, friends and family? Some of the obvious contenders have gone already – Bohemian Rhapsody and Imagine for example. Is it another Abba track? Another Kylie track? Another Madonna track? Or a one hit wonder we haven’t mentioned yet? Was the artist on TV last night? Where the hell are the Beatles and their 17 chart-toppers? What about the Spice Girls and Westlife, who have had twenty #1s between them, but haven’t been seen here yet? Surely there must be a proper Elvis single? Or could it be that the winner comes from the last dance at the end of the school disco? Is it the Greek bloke being reckless with his chocolate bar? Would we be swigging a fizzy drink, or pulling on a pair of jeans as we sing along? Does it have anything to do with the BBC’s Great Britons? Is it another disco stormer? Or a sixties singalong? Or, at the other end of the spectrum, is it some ancient rock classic? Is it a record so controversial that it appeared in some people’s ‘worst number ones’ list? Or is it a universally acknowledged classic? Or neither? Where’s Al Martino? It’s his fault we’re here, after all! Am I asking too many questions? Why? How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? Why Do Fools Fall In Love? Whatever, all that’s left is the number one. Place your bets….NOW! Will you still love me tomorrow?.....

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Pop Quiz: Only one record was nominated as 'worst #1 ever' by some people, but also found its way into the favourite top ten of at least two people. Can you guess what it is?

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Chig's own top ten number ones

01 Bohemian Rhapsody / These Are The Days Of Our Lives – Queen
- For being several songs in one and my desert island disc if I could only have one.
02 Imagine – John Lennon
- For making me go all tingly and idealistic.
03 Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinéad O’Connor
- For making me cry. I still can't listen to this in public.
04 Don’t You Want Me? – The Human League
- For making me happy during not-so-happy times at school and for being perfect to sing along to when drunk.
05 Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
- For the tingles again and the sheer excitement it produced when it was created.
06 Ashes To Ashes – David Bowie
- For being a bit mad, having a great video, and a rude reason I can't go into....
07 Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush
- For total originality and never getting bored of hearing it.
08 You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) – Dead Or Alive
- For being THE record I came out to, for months and months and months at the end of 1984, and then becoming the uni disco classic when it hit public consciousness in early 1985.
09 Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
- For its energy, originality and great brass sound.
10 Dancing Queen - Abba
- For being a real ecstacy song, long before we'd heard of the other stuff. Never fails to make me feel happy.

And the worst #1?
So many to choose from, but I can slice through the cheese and the smarm and the so-called novelty hits, because in the end they're inconsequential; they don't really matter. What really gets my goat is Oxide & Neutrino's 'Bound 4 Da Reload (Casualty)'. A record with no saving graces whatsoever. It even had to sample a TV theme to give it anything approaching a tune. A record which has a crap title for the text-messaging generation of illiterates that we're bringing up now. And a record which unforgivably tries to turn gun culture into some form of entertainment, and then sells itself, horribly successfully, to the teenage market most easily influenced by such dangerous rubbish. I really wish this record had never existed. Plus, Oxide & Neutrino are better than this too, wish is another tragedy.

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Ten Out Of Ten!

And that completes the set for one of our voters! World Of Chig can now reveal that David has his entire top ten in our top 50. Whether this is something to be proud of, I’m not sure. It could mean that David is in tune with the public, or the public is in tune with him, or perhaps he just has no imagination and likes to follow the crowd(!) I think not. Anyway, a special prize of a teensy weensy little book will be winging its way to you very shortly David, along with another copy for Marcus, for doing the Swedish translation of ‘Dancing Queen’ for me (#14). Then they can keep one at each house and consult them at regular intervals. No one else has all ten of their choices in our top 50, although the closest was actually me, with nine. (Only ‘Geno’ failed to make it from my own top ten.)

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“Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, fallin’ free, fallin’ free, fallin’ free”

#2 I Feel Love Donna Summer

[409] Writers: Giorgio Moroder, Pete Bellotte & Donna Summer. Producers: Giorgio Moroder & Pete Bellotte
09 Jul 77 – 11 weeks on chart – #1 for 4 weeks from 23 Jul 77

Donna Summer’s only UK #1 and what a scorcher it is. It still doesn’t sound dated, 25 years on. Just read the lyric here and you’ll be reminded how little there is to it, but who needs words when you have electronic sex for a backing track? Lost in the disco, you never know how long the DJ is going to play this track for. It seems to have no beginning, no middle and no end. It just pounds away until the next tune comes along. It’s so electronic, it sounds precise and pure, and yet funky and dirty at the same time. It’s electronica, and yet you’d never mistake it for Kraftwerk.

The remix version which made #21 in 1982 (catalogue number FEEL 7, missus) sounded, if I remember rightly, as if someone was HOOVERING over it. Dreadful. (He says, nudging the 7” single back into the record box before you see it…) I can’t for the life of me remember why a re-recording of ‘I Feel Love’ made it all the way to #8 in September 1995, can you?

The history bit: Donna Summer had burst onto the scene in 1976 with the very rude indeed ‘Love To Love You Baby’. Like ‘Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus’ before it (our #40=) and Lil’ Louis’ ‘French Kiss’ many years later, it wasn’t so much a song as an orgasm set to music. Instant gay popularity followed and 20 hits in five years, and then it all became horribly complicated.

The HIV virus was first recognised in 1981 and it wasn’t long before born again Christian Donna instantly alienated everyone who had kept her career going, by declaring that AIDS was God’s revenge on homosexuals. Many years later, she tried to maintain that she never did say that, she was misreported, she doesn’t believe it etc. It would all be plausible if it hadn’t taken her a decade and a half to come up with a poor excuse. It’s not like she actively DID anything to counter the impression given in the early eighties, when it would have been so easy to do so. She could have joined Princess Di in a visit to an AIDS ward or something. But she didn’t. Consequently, people stopped taking any notice and her career died a death.

It’s such a shame that we have to hate her, because her collected body of work is a mountain of brilliance. I have a confession to make, and I may well be exiled from the gay community because of it. Knowing how well this single had done in our poll, I forced myself to buy ‘Endless Summer – Donna Summer’s Greatest Hits’ in the HMV sale recently, despite having no news that the Official Gay Boycott has ever been lifted. It reminded me that ‘I Feel Love’, brilliant and groundbreaking as it is, possibly isn’t even my favourite Donna Summer track. ‘Love’s Unkind’ is another slice of bouncy, poppy excellence, then there’s the epic cover of ‘MacArthur Park’, and not one but TWO of my favourite sniffing poppers ‘being very drunk, singing along very loud and making very expressive movements on the dancefloor’ songs, ‘This Time I Know It’s For Real’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt’. Ahhhh, disco bliss. On top of that, ‘State Of Independence’ really IS one of my favourite tracks of all time, for the way it starts off as a funky plodder, then builds and builds and builds into a massive epic with a gospel chorus, and I’m not even religious. Also, who could forget Donna’s duet with Babs, ‘No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)’. She was even the first person to take ‘Could It Be Magic’ into the charts, two years before writer Barry Manilow’s own version of it. (Apologies kids, if I’ve just shattered your illusion that Gary or Robbie wrote that one themselves.)

She’s even released a good single more recently, in the shape of ‘I Will Go With You (Con Te Partiro’, which visited the chart for a solitary week at #44 in October 1999. I had such good memories of seeing it on the video screen in a gay bar in Las Vegas that month, that I searched it out and bought it when I returned home. Oh, the double shame!

‘I Feel Love’ is the numero uno choice of my ex Chris, who went a bit Smashy and Nicey and described it as “Groundbreaking and orgasmic – quite liderally, mate!”
Seven other people voted for it too, with Tag and David both making it their #3, and Martin calling it “another classic”.

Jump to the next song.
Jump to the previous song.

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Burn Baby Burn

Thank goodness Audrey Roberts had her house fire on Monday night, because I wouldn’t fancy her chances of surviving if it was tonight. (What do you mean, she’s not real?) As we face the frightening prospect of the 48 hour strike by firefighters and control room staff from 18.00 today, here is Chig’s Top Twenty Number One Singles for firefighters and pyromaniacs:

01 Fire – The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
02 Eternal Flame – The Bangles / Atomic Kitten
03 Help! – The Beatles
04 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – The Platters
05 Hero - enrique
06 Firestarter – The Prodigy
07 Oops! I Did It Again – Britney Spears
08 What Took You So Long? – Emma Bunton
09 Great Balls Of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis
10 Ashes To Ashes – David Bowie
11 Breathless – The Corrs
12 Heartbeat / Tragedy - Steps
13 Baby Jump – Mungo Jerry
14 Come Outside – Mike Sarne with Wendy Richard
15 Back To Life – Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler
16 Billy, Don’t Be A Hero – Paper Lace
17 His Latest Flame – Elvis Presley
18 Can We Fix It? – Bob The Builder
19 Light My Fire – Will Young
20 Relight My Fire – Take That featuring Lulu

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Ghost In The Machine

Strange things are happening on World Of Chig! Ghostly hands are at work, many miles away...and things are appearing all over the place. The left side of this page, for starters...
Oh alright, it's not that spooky, but Mike is very kindly tidying up this whole blogmess for me, and putting in some of the links and pics that I have meant to do as we went along with our Top 50 countdown, but never got around to. He's also linked to each entry in the Top 50 (from the left sidebar), so thank you very much Mike. Everyone else, feel free to have another look around.

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Dear reader....

Obviously there's the small matter of our #2 to get out of the way first. But after that, tell me, do you WANT a clue about tomorrow's number one? Would it spoil things if I gave a hint, however cryptic? (I've written several clues, but I fear you'll see through them all.) Shall I just spring it on you, out of the blue tomorrow? (Actually, it won't be anywhere near THAT simple, just you wait and see...) Let me know what you think. I reserve the right to ignore whatever you say...

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"I am a cider drinker..."

I found myself at traffic lights this morning behind a car with the registration C1 DER. Just to reinforce the point, the woman driving had a Strongbow umbrella on the parcel shelf. I could also see from the registration plate in which city the car was bought. Where else?

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Just a little bit at Christmas

Ooooh, they are really spoiling us! Details just announced of the corporate Christmas party on 19 December, and there's a proper poptastic act on (revealed in the comments here as I've had to remove the link). Look who the act is. Fab!

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I want it! I want it! I want it!

Anyone care to give me a few thousand pounds before tomorrow, for a very expensive book? Hmmm, thought not.

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Tomorrow at two? It’s long and it’s hot, but it certainly hasn’t passed you by…

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Pop Quiz: Who has had the THIRD most UK number ones, but not appeared in our list yet either?

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“I was an impossible case, no one ever could reach me
But I think I can see in your face, there’s a love you can teach me”

#3 The Name Of The Game Abba

[415] Writers: Stig Anderson, Benny Andersson & Bjo:rn Ulvaeus. Producers: Benny Andersson & Bjo:rn Ulvaeus
22 Oct 77 – 12 weeks on chart – 4 weeks at #1 from 05 Nov 77

“I’m a bashful child, beginning to grow.” Oh yes, I was. A very bashful child. And perhaps a lot of you were too, which would explain this shocker! This, for me, is one of the big surprises of this whole exercise. I had no idea this song was even one of Abba’s most popular songs, let alone one of the most popular #1s all round. At one point it was in the lead, but it fell away at the end. Actually, quite a few songs were in the lead at various points, so I don’t even know why I said that.

‘The Name Of The Game’ entered the chart at #20 on the same day the Sex Pistols’ ‘Holidays In The Sun’ spat its way into the Top 40 at #15. This was shortly after the heady Summer of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and Virginia Wade winning Wimbledon at the height of punk. At the time, it was practically impossible to admit you liked Abba AND the Sex Pistols – it was very much one or the other, a supposed battle of good against evil (although which was which depended on your allegiances).

Abba climbed to #5 in their second week, then made #1 in only their third week on the chart. Fittingly, this was #1 exactly 25 years ago today, on the 25th anniversary of the singles chart, so it seems only right that it should be up there in our top three another 25 years on, for the 50th anniversary which we’re celebrating this week.

This was the sixth of Abba’s nine number ones, and the fourth one that has made our Top 50 so far, making them the most successful act in our survey. (No secrets given away there!) Taken from the album simply called ‘The Album’, at 4’52” it’s quite a long number one as well, though not compared with yesterday’s epic. It was the middle song in Abba’s second hat-trick of #1s, coming after ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ (our #49=) and ‘Take A Chance On Me’ (yet to appear, in either its Abba or Erasure incarnations). It made #12 in the States.

Six number ones brought Abba level with Slade and behind only Elvis (17), Beatles (17), Cliff (then 9) and the Rolling Stones (8), who they would soon overtake.

‘The Name Of The Game’ deposed Baccara’s ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie’ from the top after only one week. At the time, that was the only week a Spanish act had ever spent at the top of the UK chart. The second Spanish chart-topper was the father of our #27, and that was it until this year, when a sudden Spanish hat-trick became the third, fourth and fifth, with Enrique himself, Las Ketchup and DJ Sammy and chums getting in on the act.

Abba were deposed by the single that then became the biggest-selling of all time (for a good few years) and the Christmas #1, Wings’ ‘Mull Of Kintyre/Girls’ School’.

After many years near the top of the pile, Abba are now being pushed down the list of all time #1 hitmakers, where they are equal with the Spice Girls on nine. Madonna overtook them both in 2000, when ‘Music’ became her tenth, but she succumbed to the James Bond curse when ‘Die Another Day’ failed to make it eleven last week. (No Bond film theme has ever made it to #1 in the UK.) Westlife this week pulled ahead of Madge and two ahead of Abba and the Spice Girls with their eleventh #1, ‘Unbreakable’.

But where are the leaders in the list on our survey? Two songs to go and not a peep from Elvis (top, with 18 #1s) except for a Pet Shop Boys cover at #23. The Beatles are second on 17. No sign of them yet apart from John Lennon solo at #8. Not one of the Spice Girls or Westlife’s hits has appeared so far either. It seems to be quality not quantity that counts. Or is it?

Jump to the next song.
Jump to the previous song.

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Tell me please, 'cause I have to know….what’s number 3?

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Big number twos

Many people who voted in our little survey complained that their favourite songs didn't make #1. (Myself included, as Pulp's 'Common People' is my all time fave single ever, ever, ever.) Never fear though, some digital music channel I've never heard of has done a survey of number twos. (I wonder if they had as many voters as the World Of Chig survey?!) Thanks to Alan for pointing this one out. But where is 'Vienna'?! Also, can you spot their really stupid mistake?

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Oh I wanna know, oh yes I wanna know....what's number three?

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The 50 Number Ones Project

I've just caught up with that other countdown of number ones, the top 100, as voted by BBC Radio 2 listeners, and all I can say is.....well, there's lots I'd LIKE to say, but with only our top three to reveal, it'll have to wait. Wouldn't want to give away any secrets. I recommend reading the list and comparing it with ours though. Very interesting indeed...

Channel 4's countdown is this Saturday.
Mark Goodier presents the 50th anniversary chart on Sunday. (In theory, it's a week late, as Westlife are already the number one for the chart dated 16th November; two days after the 50th anniversary). It's Goodier's last one too.

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Yesterday's TV in brief
So glad I managed to catch Pyramid on its repeat showing. Fantastic. Educational, evocative, and the perfect forerunner to the Egyptian bits in...
50 Places To See Before You Die. Craig Doyle forgot to include his own bedroom in the list, but I know it's on mine. I knew before I watched this programme that it would make me feel like a real stay-at-home, and indeed it did, as I have only visited six of the top 50. Glaring omissions for me included Ibiza (so much more to it than you ever see on TV) and the most fantastic place I have ever been in theworld , ever; Ephesus in Turkey. Maybe I was a very impressionable 14 year-old when I went there, but the memory of ithas never gone away. It was absolutely magical in 1980, maybe it's not now, but I'm kind of glad that it's NOT in the list,as it feels like my secret.
The Project. Pretty good stuff, I thought, except for the horribly stereotyped marketing twat with his focus groups. Nothing really for the Labour Party to moan about so far, but I understand tonight's conclusion is where it gets a bit controversial. Can't wait...

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Gruesome twosomes

After being strangely drawn to yesterday's News Of The World (yes, I bought it) by the front page headline, I spent far too much of Sunday pondering this question:
Which is more revolting - John Major and Edwina Currie or Michael Barrymore and Paul Burrell? Yeuch! (Of course, when you read the article, Barrymore doesn't say they actually DID...)

And while we're on the subject, she knew she'd have to face this sooner or later. On Edwina's phone-in on Radio Five Live last night, they were having a serious, nay poignant, discussion about the role of Remembrance Sunday, whether we need to wear poppies any more, etc. A man rang in to say that he'd spotted something interesting about yesterday's service at the Cenotaph. He said something like this, "Did you notice the wreaths from the military? One of them was laid by a Corporal. One of them was laid by a Private. And the other one, like yourself Edwina, was laid by a Major." [Phone line goes dead.]

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Tuesday at three: Dominoes?

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Pop Quiz: No quiz today, just a discussion instead. I was nine years old when Bo Rhap first came out, and for many, many years I thought Queen were singing "Beelzebub has a devil for a sideboard, me-ee-ee". I had no idea why they were singing that, but we did have a sideboard, and I always imagined that the devil was in it. (That Catholic upbringing again.) What are your favourite misheard lyrics? (There used to be a whole website dedicated to this, called Kiss This Guy after the Hendrix song, but it seems to have gone. Anyway, I'm after your personal recollections.)

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"Bismillah! No!"

#4 Bohemian Rhapsody / These Are The Days Of Our LivesQueen

[382] and [672]
#1 for 9 weeks from 29 Nov 75 and 5 weeks from 21 Dec 91

So, the secret's out. It may have won with me AND the UK's voters in another place, but it doesn't quite cut the mustard with you lot. I can't say I'm TOO disappointed though, because now there will be FEVERISH speculation what the top three are. (Won't there?! Oh please, please be feverish...)

Our number four is by four people, one of whom made it to the BBC’s top 100 Great Britons list, despite not being British. It’s the only single in our Top 50 which has been number one twice, clocking up 14 weeks in total. ‘My Sweet Lord’ didn’t make it.

It’s not libellous to say that Freddie Mercury knocked off both Elton John AND George Michael, but not necessarily in a Burrell & Barrymore kinda way, it’s just that their duet was #1 for two weeks before Queen’s re-release deposed them.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was an easy choice for me as my top number one of all time. I think of it as a desert island disc – if I could only hear one song for the rest of my life, it would have to be this, simply because it is so many different songs all cobbled together. Different tempos, different tones of voice and different emotions. It’s a mini operetta, and like all good opera, after all these years, I haven’t a friggin’ clue what it’s about.

Just like The Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’, this is a single which nearly never was, as the band thought it too long to be played on the radio. It’s also the song that’s often credited with having the first promo video, but that’s not really true; The Beatles had been making them in the sixties.

It’s Dan’s #4; “It's been played to death, but it's still a goodie.”

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Monday's monster? With which the World Of Chig readership sticks two big fat fingers up to the nation...but it's still my own #1. The excitement builds...

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Pop Quiz (1): Ed Cobb, the writer of ‘Tainted Love’, was a member of which hitmaking group?
Pop Quiz (2): What connects one half of this single with the UK’s entry for Eurovision 2002?

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“I give you all a boy can give you, take my tears and that’s not nearly all”

#5 Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go? – Soft Cell

[485] Writer: Ed Cobb. Producer: Mike Thorne
01 Aug 81 – 16 weeks on chart – #1 for 2 weeks from 05 Sep 81
(+ 10 more weeks on chart from January 1982 and 4 more weeks from July 1982)

Hey, I never said that THIS version was by a solo woman in the sixties, did I? I was referring to the Gloria Jones version, of course. You wouldn’t want me to make the clues too easy at this late stage, would you?(!)

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Oh Mikey, you're so fine...

There will no doubt be a few broken hearts tonight with Mikey Green’s eviction from Popstars – The Rivals. He’s only my fourth favourite, but he should have been in the band. He seemed quiet popular with World Of Chig readers when I reviewed Popstars four weeks ago too. (Slight understatement there – see the comments box!) The whole boys’ project has now gone horribly wrong, as Chris MUST go next week, and then we’ll be left with Anton, who is too good for the band and should be a solo artist. Can’t fault the televoters tonight though. He may be fanciable, but he did give the most out of tune performance of the seven. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him again…

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Sunday best? Another female soloist's song, from the same era...

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Pop Quiz: One of the writers of ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ went on to create a major music management company. What was it called, and from where did the name come?

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“Left alone with just a memory, life seems dead and so unreal,
All that’s left is loneliness; there’s nothing left to feel.”

#6 You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me – Dusty Springfield

[213] Writers: Pino Donaggio, Vito Pallavicini, Vicki Wickham & Simon Napier-Bell. Producer: Johnny Franz.
31 Mar 66 – 13 weeks on chart – #1 for one week; 28 Apr 66

Told you we weren’t done with 1966. This was Dusty’s only UK #1, and an American #4. Those first seventeen seconds are epic; they sound like the best ending a West End musical never had. The next two and a half minutes are some of the most achingly, heartbreakingly, bittersweet in the history of pop. Dusty gets so worked up, you believe she’s going to explode before the end. Oh, the darama!
There were seemingly a lot of broken-hearted people voting in this project (or perhaps just a lot of drama queens).

I always liked to pretend that this was #1 when I was born, and it would have been if I’d arrived on the predicted day. I was five days late though, and Dusty only hung around at the top for seven days, so she’d been ousted by Manfred Mann’s ‘Pretty Flamingo’ by the time I popped out. I’m sure that hearing Dusty while in the womb had a profound effect on me though, and made me the drama queen I am today.


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Saturday at six? It could hardly be more appropriate for Elisabeth's club night tomorrow. And if you're anywhere near Manchester, I hope you're going. You may even hear tomorrow's tune...

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Pop Quiz: Everyone knows who WROTE our #7, but what was the name of the group who recorded it first?

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#7 Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinéad O'Connor

Of course it is! But the story I referred to (see Soul II Soul) will come later.

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Birthday boy updates:
[14:00 GMT] Just sent a text message to birthday boy Martin in Sydney, to ask what he did for his birthday. The reply: "What do u mean what did I do - I'm still out!" It's 1am on Saturday - glad to hear it!
[15:55 GMT] I'm green with envy. Martin's just going to bed after a full night out, just before 3am, and it is still "fucking hot" in Sydney. It's raining and getting dark at 4pm here in West Bromwich. Boo hoo.

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Brass In Pocket

Tee hee, did that headline confuse you for a moment? It's just to say that I was 'taken aside' at work this morning and asked if I would train some new people next week. For this, my pay is being increased by a massive 25% (get that, firefighters!) to a princely £7.50 per hour. I can hardly contain my excitement. (But I'm still not going out.)

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It's A Miracle

Something weird has happened. My body has come out in sympathy with Diwali, which has been ongoing this week. We're not short of religious miracles here in the Midlands. We've had the 'Allah aubergine' a few years ago in Brum; the vegetable which apparently said 'Allah' in Arabic with its seeds when cut open. (Damn good job it was bought by an Arabic speaker, if you ask me; how many infidels have just cut up Alllah's previous miracles and eaten them?) Then just a couple of weeks ago, we were treated to Midlands Today 'investigating' (= accepting at face value) a miracle in a Wolverhampton temple. Overnight, the statue of a goddess had got up from her shrine and, er, walked around. And what did she do? Heal the sick? Bring about world peace? No, she trod in some red paint and left footprints on the floor. People came from miles around...
And now, my body has decided to celebrate Diwali by growing a big, red spot, right in the middle of my forehead. I could pass unnoticed in any Hindu temple this week, but I won't be doing that. I'll be staying in for the weekend, with the curtains closed.

[Later....Heavens above! It seems the aubergine wasn't just in Birmingham! Who would have thought? More Islamic miracles here.)

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Have you seen the new British film 'Heartlands'? If so, what did you think of it? Despite sharing its name with Birmingham's hugest hospital, it's not a medical drama, but seemingly another Britflick/gritflick. It's not on official release for a while yet, but it's been doing the film festival circuit since August, including Edinburgh. Thanks to my friend Disneyboy, I've been invited to the Birmingham premiere on 23 November. The reviews make it sound pretty good, despite only two stars from the Grauniad. This website gave it four stars at the Edinburgh Festival, with some background and photos too.
We're going to the Film Festival Closing Party too, after the film. In a possible master stroke of party organisation, it's in the Rotunda! Now, I've lived in Brum for eighteen years, and there's no stronger visual representation of the city centre than this splendidly tacky 1970s vision of the future, but I've never, ever, been in it! It was lying empty for years, because they were going to knock it down, but then they decided to incorporate it into the current major redevelopment of the city centre instead, so they're renting the space again. I can't wait to see the view (of the cranes outside). Should be fab!

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Birthday bonanza

It may only be the 7th of November here in Blighty as I write this, but it's the 8th in Australia, which means its time to say Happy 30th Birthday to Martin; close personal friend, former colleague, and contributor to this here Number Ones Project. The #1 single when Martin was born is one of those we would all rather forget; 'Clair' by Gilbert O'Sullivan (although I'd be interested to see how many girls born in 1972 were lumbered with that). No doubt Martin will be celebrating by writing on his blog (ahem) and dancing around Darlinghurst (with the athletes currently there for the Gay Games) to some of his favourite number ones. In Martin's own words, here is his top ten:

"I have really struggled with this, given that so many bands/artists I like or used to like have never had No 1s e.g. New Order (ignoring that dodgy football song), The Smiths, REM etc. Given those restrictions, my top ten is not a very good reflection of my broader taste in music, but hey. I've sort of chosen a mixture of songs with important associations for me, those which I think are classics, and some that I just like. Looking at the list now, it looks incredibly camp... but then having reviewed the whole list of no. 1s, I realise just how much crap has reached the top of the charts!"

1. Blondie - Atomic (I thought no.1 should be a classic)
2. Madonna - Vogue (for services to feminism, queens, and popular music)
3. Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls (one of the first singles I ever bought)
4. Abba - Dancing Queen (raised on it, still enjoy it)
5. Bee Gees - Night Fever (reminds me of the Moseley Dance Centre)
6. Spiller - Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) (I think the summery vibe on this will last longer than we might expect)
7. Donna Summer - I Feel Love (another classic)
8. Michael Jackson - Billie Jean (he was good back then)
9. T Rex - Get It On (Marc Bolan is my fave glam rock star)
10. All Saints - Pure Shores (a lovely pop moment)

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And The Winner Is...

Which reminds me, if it's Gareth Gates Day, it must also be....Roy's birthday! Happy Birthday to one of our contributors to the 50 Number Ones Project. Now, everybody, stop what you're doing for a moment and gather round, because I have a little announcement to make, and I've been saving it especially for today. Those of you who have been with us since the start (he says, fighting back the tears), will remember I promised a prize for the 'best' top ten, with 'best' being defined by Chig according to unspecified (ie. unknown) criteria. It was tough, as there were some very good entries, but the judges are all agreed that the prize, an album of your choice (up to a tenner, so the new U2 compilation is out, I'm afraid) from cd-wow, goes to....birthday boy himself, Mr Roy! (There will also be another prize for someone else, which cannot be announced until the end - you'll see why.) Congratulations sir, it was the sheer audacity wot won it; the brazen way you managed to put some genuine classics in there with some obscure ones, plus one of the worst records in the history of the world ever, namely the So Squalid Crew. That and the quality of your writing, which was very entertaining indeed, as everyone will now see. Claim your prize in the next 28 days. The judge's decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into. Value of prizes can go up as well as down. ROAR. E&OE.

Roy's e-mail in its entirety:

"Ooh, that had me arguing with myself for hours. I've got my list, but it all looks a little contrived. But I judged it by the biggest chill each tune gave me as I trudged them round my noggin, so this really has to be my ten. Hard work picking them though, cos my 11-20 could have just as easily been my top ten. Here we go. In reverse order...Porter...Dawn...Nyree...
10. See My Baby Jive - Wizzard - 1973
While all my school chums were into the Glitter and The Osmonds, there was something about Roy Wood that made things sparkle brighter for me. I think this was the moment I realised that a song could possess a sense of humour without actually having to be funny. I was a precocious child.
9. Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford - 1956
The song I sing most often in the shower, and the only song I'd ever consider doing at karaoke. The tone, the pace, the story - they don't write 'em like this any more. If I go solo, this'll be my first single - and I don't do covers!
8. It's Like That - Run DMC Vs Jason Nevins - 1998
Possibly the bounciest number one ever. I've long had a deep love for Run DMC, but this gave it just that little extra. I was caught in a traffic jam outside Swindon one Sunday as they announced this was at the top, and every third car was stuffed with nodding lunatics as we all started our very own M4 block party. A memorable moment to be sure.
7. 21 Seconds - So Solid Crew - 2001One of the greatest debut singles ever. How better to introduce yourself and your intent than with a song that does exactly that. The way it skulks in rather than explodes gets you looking over your shoulder just to check every time. Blinding, and I'm still not bored of it.
6. Tainted Love - Soft Cell - 1981
It might have been number one the week I left school, but that's not why I love it. This was pretty much the first chart topper I can remember that unsettled rather than shocked. Great Northern Soul gone Northern Electro - and that "boink boink" too!
5. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys - 1966
Not wanting to sound all dull and musicalogial, but possibly the most innovative and groundbreaking chart topper there is. The production concept was years ahead of it's time, it's got a Theremin in it, but on top of that it's just a great tune. Achingly good.
4. It's Over - Roy Orbison - 1964
Pretty Woman might have been that was playing in the hospital the very moment I was born, but this is the one that sends the biggest shivers though me. Was there ever a voice sweeter, more vulnerable than this.No one ever meant it this much unless it really happened to them. Haunting.
3. Doctorin' The Tardis - The Timelords - 1988
This is what a number one should be all about. Work it all out in advance, make it ridiculusly catchy and dumb, and then write a book about it. Only came third cos I like first two make me gasp more, musically. I met Bill Drummond last week and could hardly speak! Genius.
2. Flat Beat - Mr Oizo - 1999
OK, so it wouldn't have even halfway charted it it hadn't been for the advert, but this has to be the most minimal, bass farting slab of pure sex to have even nudged the top hundred, let alone taken home the big one. One of the few number ones that actually sounds like something I'd listen to at home. And it's French. Perfect.
1. Too Much Too Young - Special AKA - 1980
The punkingest thing ever to make it to the top spot. An angry song about contraception and over population barking its way to the top in a bang-hot ska stylee. Unsurpassable by about a million places.

Now let's see what you could have won. In 11-20 are...
11. Stand & Deliver - Adam & The Ants - 1981
12. Heart Of Glass - Blondie - 1979
13. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong - 1968
14. Eye Level - The Simon Park Orchestra - 1973
15. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart - Marc Almond & Gene Pitney 1989
16. Rock Me Amadeus - Falco - 1986
17. Gangster's Paradise - Coolio - 1995
18. Seasons In The Sun - Terry Jacks - 1974
19. Side Saddle - Russ Conway - 1959
20. Bound 4 Da Reload - Oxide & Neutrino - 2000

As for the worst - without sounding like a ponce I don't really look at them that way. I'm sure you'll have no end of Hear'says, Westlifes and Joe Dolces - maybe even a couple for Every Loser Wins. But for me a joyful pop song beats a drab, up its own arse musican-led number every time. So I'd have to pick something nasty and artless like Simply Red's Playground. Uggh, it hurts just to speak its name.

Roy D Hacksaw

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Day of the spiky one

It would be remiss of me, while we're celebrating and counting down #1 hitmakers, not to wish you a happy National Gareth Gates Day! Thanks to Smash Hits, the boy with the 4-4-2 formation haircut and a hat-trick of #1 singles (but no #1 album) has a day of celebration all to himself. Sadly I forgot to instigate a minute of noise at 12 noon, but I'm sure my colleagues would have been only too happy to join in. I'm sure these girls (and is Finlay a boy?) did something. So, what did you do? (I'm really expecting this comments box to remain empty.)

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The Grauniad is having a wonderfully pointless discussion about Great Band Names. You may want to join in.

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Tomorrow's tearjerker? Cannot be matched.

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Pop Quiz: Amazingly, given The Beatles’ 17 number ones, this is Lennon’s first appearance in our Top 50, so how many more will there be, and which songs? Place your bets now…

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“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”

#8 ImagineJohn Lennon

[473] Writer: John Lennon. Producers: John Lennon, Yoko Ono & Phil Spector
27 Dec 80 – 13 weeks on chart – #1 for 4 weeks from 10 Jan 81
(Previously #6 in 11 week run from 01 Nov 75. Also #45 in 5 week run from 10 Dec 88 and #3 from 25 Dec 99 in two runs totalling 13 weeks.)

Relax, it's not Elton John...not yet, anyway

Both of the songs which have been big hits before, and then made number one for the first time on re-release, are high in our chart. We’ve just had ‘Space Oddity’ at #12 and now it’s the turn of ‘Imagine’, which only made #6 on its first outing, five years earlier. It took a hasty re-release after Lennon’s murder for it to make top the charts, but if there’s anything to thank Mark Chapman for, it’s for restricting ‘There’s No One Quite Like Grandma’ by St. Winifred’s School Choir to just two weeks on top.

‘Imagine’ was only knocked off the #1 spot by Lennon’s own ‘Woman’. I think this was the first case of two consecutive posthumous UK number ones, and still possibly the only case of it happening with the same artist. It did happen again in 2002 though, thanks to George Harrison and Aaliyah.

The novelty acts soon exacted their revenge on Lennon for deposing ‘Grandma’ and his six weeks on top were ended by Joe Dolce Music Theatre’s ‘Shaddap You Face’; a record which features a few times in your ‘worst number ones’ suggestions (as did St. Winifred’s themselves). Joe Dolce in turn famously deprived ‘Vienna’, but that’s another story.

‘Imagine’ is my own personal #2, and I won’t hear a word said against it. I think you have to be pretty cynical and hard-hearted not to be moved by its pacifist message. Yes, I know people say ‘imagine no possessions’ being sung by one of the richest entertainers in the world is hypocritical, but that’s nonsense. Are you not supposed to have an opinion, or a conscience, just because you earn a bit of money? Lennon put his views on the line, even when they were unpopular (see Vietnam war), and dared to put the wind up the establishment. Maybe he wasn’t the best politician in the world, but he was still inspiring (to me and many others), especially with this song. It’s the vile people like Liam Gallagher, riding along on Lennon’s coat-tails when he’s done nothing to advance humankind, who should really be the targets of people’s cynicism. Here endeth the lesson.

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The best laid plans…Chig’s three-day weekend in London

Day 1 – Friday

The Plan:
Get up early, train to London, family history research, party at friends’ flat.

The Reality:
07:30 Alarm wakes me up.
09:30 Wake up again, annoyed with myself. Get up. Bad stomach, problems with PC and blogger, Can’t post the ‘hilarious’ Swedish piece on ‘Dancing Queen’. Rang bunged-up Mike to do it for me instead. (Thanks Mike.) Finished packing, bus into city in pouring rain.
14:15 Train from Moor Street. Two hours of feeling very damp after the downpour.
16:20 Arrive at London Marylebone. Rang Neil, said ‘can I come round now – I’m damp?’. Tube to Willesden. Met Neil in his local offie. Bought Stellas. Neil & Sam’s party isn’t happening at their flat, as their friend H is having a party, so we’re going there instead after eating. Neil tells me I will get on well with H, the host.
18:00 First can of Stella for me, Neil, and Rich (boyfriend of Neil’s sister). We’re warming up for the party here first. Phone J and agree I’ll get to his in Greenwich between 5-6pm tomorrow.
God only knows what time: N’s sister arrives from Stoke. Gives us a lift to H’s flat, 15 mins away. We’ve ‘forgotten’ to eat anything. Host H answers door. Oh god, he’s really sexy. Chig v amused by mosque-like line of shoes in hallway. H is making everyone take them off, to preserve the wooden flooring. Regret not having known this. Would have chosen socks without toe poking through one. V good atmosphere already at party. Interesting people. Chig tells many of them he has a hole in one sock. Host lovely, very sexy jeans and t-shirt, nice hair.
[Gap in recollection]
Much later: Host and I seem to have arranged to go upstairs later. Not sure exactly how this happened. Have we snogged by this point? Not sure. V pleased though.
Even later: Host H says ‘I’m leaving them to it – let’s go to bed’ and waits for me on stairs. Chig follows upstairs like Andrex puppy.


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Tomorrow’s tinkler: Proving that death is the ultimate marketing tool…

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Pop Quiz: The Specials, Fun Boy Three (with and without Bananarama), solo, Band Aid….At least two more hit-making incarnations of Terry Hall’s career are missing from that list. What are they?

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#9 Ghost TownThe Specials

[482] Writer: Jerry Dammers. Producer: John Collins
#1 for 3 weeks from 11 July 1981

The soundtrack to the Summer riots of 1981. Being from Warwick and having lots of family from Coventry, I always felt quite proud of The Specials. They were undoubtedly local heroes, leading the way for Cov’s only other musical successes (unless you know better) King to follow four years later.

I also loved The Specials because I WAS a Rude Boy! No, not a rude boy, never that, but a Rude Boy. Being too young for punk, the ska/mod revival of 1980-81 was the first real musical movement in which I could get INVOLVED, rather than just watch from the outside. As mentioned in the Dexy’s piece, I had a donkey jacket in honour of their New York docker look, but this wasn’t incompatible with being a Rude Boy and following all the ska bands too. I had a pair of grey sta-prest trousers, with that neat crease all the way down the front, and I thought I was the bee’s knees. I was old enough to go to gigs at last – all I needed was the obligatory teenage rebel’s haircut. Up until 1980’s Summer of Ska, I had always had my hair cut by my Mum’s friend and neighbour, Sandra, the mobile hairdresser. Photographs of the period would make you think that this involved her coming round to our house and putting a crash helmet on my head while she trimmed around the outline. I had a fringe so straight it could have been cut with a ruler, and 90 degree corners that would make an architect proud. When The Specials and Madness and The Selecter arrived, I was going to have a crew cut! And get my ear pierced! Except I wasn’t allowed. One day though, in a rebellious mood, I cycled up to the hairdressers, and I did it! I had a #3 crop. I cycled back home again, wind blowing through my (relatively) non-existent hair, and grinned at my Mum through the window of the lounge as I cycled up the drive. You need to know at this point that my Mum was the headteacher’s secretary at my own school, so I was always under a little more scrutiny than most other kids. On this day, our deputy head had popped round for a cuppa, and was chatting with my Mum when I arrived with my #3 crop. Needless to say, my Mum was mortified, shocked, embarrassed and humiliated. And I didn’t care. She didn’t speak to me for days. She told anybody she came into contact with that I had embarrassed her by having my hair cut ridiculously short. (Let’s get this into context; a #3 crew cut is NOT that short.) But the best bit was, after she had moaned about it to her mother, my Gran took me to one side at her house and said “I don’t know what your Mum’s moaning for – it reminds me of your Grandad’s when I first met him.” Result! I don’t think I’ve ever told my Mum about that.

So why has World Of Chig suddenly turned into ridiculous family haircut confessions? Well, the upshot was that in 1980 I went to my first proper gig, seeing The Specials and The Selecter live at the tiddly Spa Centre in Royal Leamington Spa; a stage on which I have since appeared in a couple of musicals, but I digress. It was a Rock Against Racism gig, organised by the Anti-Nazi League, although I don’t think I really knew, or understood much about the ANL at the time. I was just happy to wear my sta-prest trews with the other rude boys. It was, however, an exhilarating, energetic and frightening occasion. Paradoxicaly, given the nature of the gig, The Specials were attracting some real undesirables, whose pogoing got out of control and turned to fighting. “Too much fighting on the dancefloor” – do you see? A year later, they were writing about their real experiences. I was in the circle of course, watching from the balcony and keeping my trousers with just the two creases. Eventually, it all became too much, and Terry Hall led The Specials off stage in protest. Such drama and excitement! You didn’t get this with Showaddywaddy at Coventry Apollo (which had actually been my first gig, as friends took me for free, but I try to gloss over that particular memory).

They came back on though, and the highlight was both bands doing a finale together, joined by someone whose presence at the gig hadn’t gone unnoticed - and how could it, given his size? – Buster Bloodvessel, from Bad Manners. I bought all of their singles too.

A splendid introduction to the world of live music.

‘Ghost Town’ came the next year, when becoming The Specials’ second number one, after the ‘Too Much Too Young’ EP. As social commentary disguised as commercial pop music, it’s hard to beat. It sounds absolutely unique now, and as creepy and atmospheric as it did then.

Top Tip: There’s a fantastic triple album of the best of The Specials which is in HMV’s sale right now. As well as all their classic tunes, it has the video for ‘Ghost Town’ on it, and I highly recommend buying it, as I did three weeks ago.

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Wednesday’s woes? We’re being sent to Coventry (but some of us were growing up very near there already)…

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Pop Quiz: Oh I can’t think of ANOTHER Abba question. I’m having a ‘Monday on a Tuesday’ at work. Why don’t YOU set one instead? Go on, feel free, in the comments box…

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#10 The Winner Takes It AllAbba

#1 for 2 weeks from 09 Aug 80

Abba? Again? Why yes, they're back, and in just four days we've moved from their most exhilarating song to their saddest. Excuse me while I shed a tear...

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Dreams can come true (except if your Dad has the telly on loud)

Anyone who has ever dreamt of meeting their favourite popstar (or whoever) in the flesh will want to empathise with this girl, and cringe over her story. I know I did.
(Thanks to Duncan for pointing this out.)

PS. I suspect that someone at BMG/19 Management has been taken outside and ritually flogged with a rolled up copy of Music Week since Sunday's album chart was released. Which foolish marketing person decided to release Gareth's album up against David Gray's?

PPS. Has BBCi run out of Gareth photos? First this, then this, then this.

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And the weekend in London?
Well it was fab, on so many levels, unless you happen to be the one friend who I let down very badly, for which I continue to apologise. Bad weather, bad planning and bad timing all conspired together so that the weekend hardly turned out as I'd expected at all. Not worse though, just different, with much fun along the way. Drinking, eating, chatting, shagging, dancing and a little bit of family history research, all in one weekend - plus getting soaked twice. More details when I can, but first I am bracing myself for my first day in West Bromwich tomorrow. No idea yet whether I'll be able to write anything while I'm there, as I don't yet know those important details: will my PC be set up already, and will other people be able to see the screen?!

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Ten on Tuesday: We're on the home straight - and they’re back – again! Is it third time luckiest for the most successful group in our survey?

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Pop Quiz: Two of the versions of ‘Don’t You Want Me?’ on the 1995 release were remixes by another name to be found in the list of UK #1 singles. Who was it?

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“Now five years later on you’ve got the world at your feet.”

#11 Don’t You Want Me?The Human League

[491] Writers: Jo Callis, Phil Oakey & Philip Adrian Wright. Producers: Martin Rushent & Human League.
05 Dec 81 – 13 weeks – #1 for 5 weeks from 12 Dec 81

In another amazing televisual coincidence, today’s song is the one being performed on tonight’s V Graham Norton. After Graham interviewed ‘Ver League (©Smash Hits 1981), they performed this live tonight, for the first time on TV in 21 years, according to our host. Personally speaking, I’m very surprised that we’ve reached this electro classic already, not further up our top ten, but perhaps that’s because it’s my own #4. We’re ploughing an early 80s furrow now, as our next four singles all topped the chart within one particularly fertile eighteen month period.


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Monday’s masterpiece? Well I think it’s a big surprise actually. Not a surprise that it’s in our countdown, but a surprise that it’s not much nearer the top. A song from the Steel City.

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“And I’m floating in a mosta peculiar way-hay”

#12 Space OddityDavid Bowie

[380] Writer: David Bowie. Producer: Gus Dudgeon.
11 Oct 75 – 10 weeks on chart – #1 for two weeks from 08 Nov 75
(Previously charted in 1969 for 5 weeks, making #14)

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“I bet you’re wond’rin’ how I knew, of your plans to make me blue.”

#13 I Heard It Through The GrapevineMarvin Gaye

[268] Writers: Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong. Producer: Norman Whitfield.
12 Feb 69 – 15 weeks on chart – 3 weeks at #1 from 26 Mar 69

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Coming up this weekend: The prequel to a sequel and a Motown classic.

First up: The only song title in our Top 50 which refers to fruit. What could it be? (You could argue that today’s title, in English, fits that description, but it’s not!)

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Pop Quiz: While we’re in the mood for Abba translations….In all of Abba’s singles, they only ever made one mistake in English. In which single was it, and what was the error?

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#14 Dansande Drottning - Abba

[394] Text och Musik: Stig Anderson, Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus. Producerat av: Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus.

21 Aug 76 - 15 veckor på listan - #1 i hela sex veckor 04 Sep 76.

Den 18 Juni 1976, uppträdde Abba med låten 'Dansande Drottning' i Svensk television, det var kvällen innan det Svenska kungliga bröllopet. På självaste bröllops dagen framträdde dom med samma låt på bröllops mottagningen mellan Kung Carl XVI Gustav och Silvia Sommerlath, och blev på så sätt en del av Sveriges historia.

I Augusti, blev "Dansande Drottning" den andra singeln i följd att ligga på första placeringen på den Engelska singeln listan i hela sex veckor, efter att ha petat ner "Gå inte och ta sönder mitt hjärta" med Elton John och Kiki Dee. Detta vart Abba’s tredje och sista första placering under året 1976, detta gav dom 12 hela veckor på första placeringen totalt under detta år. Efter dom sex veckorna fick "Dansande drottning" kliva ner från tronen i förmån för Kissekatt's 'Mississippi' , "Dansande Drottnig var oxå Abba’s endaste #1 singel i Amerika.

U2 samt A-Tonårngarna har oxå gjort sin egna version av låten. Kylie gjorde ett framträdande med samma låt omringad av jättestora räkor i finalen av dom Olympiska Spelen I Sydney. Men det är endast Abba cover akt Abbacadabra som fick en hit med denna låt (en vecka på placeringen #57 året 1992, detta var dock deras endaste hit någonsin). Abba's egna version är den enda av deras egna sånger som har varit på singel listan två gånger, då den även lyckades att ta sig in på den Engelska singel listan som nummer 16 under en fem veckors period i September 1992. Både Abba’s egna version och Abbacadabra’s version kom in på listan exakt samma dag, Abba’s skäl till att släppa "Dansande Drottning" ännu en gång var självklart för att marknadsföra deras album "Guld-Bästa Hitsen" som släpptes månaden som följde.

'Dansande Drottning' är den andra Abba låten I våran nedräkning, efter "Känner mig, Känner dig" som kom in på plats 49. Båda dessa två låtar var tagna från albumet "Ankomst". Detta är kanske ett klassiskt Abba album, men även en geni grupp som Abba gör misstag som måste ifrågasättas. Detta var nämligen albumet som inkluderar den dagis doftande bagatellen "Dum Dum Diddle"!

Sex människor hade "Dansande Drottning" på deras tio i top lista, jag själv hade den som min tionde favorit. Min mamma har ett förtjustande minne av en familje camping semester året 1976 då låten släpptes. Hon brukade berätta för folk att min syster (som var sju år gammal) och jag ( som var tio) brukade göra en dans rutin till denna låt utanför våran husvagn för att underhålla andra campare. Hur kunde hon undgå att inse vad det som skulle hända senare här i livet när det gällde mig?

Martin har denna låt som sin fjärde favorit, och säger att "det var denna låt som han växte upp med, och att han fortfarande njuter av den". Det är oxå Jonathan’s nummer sju " En bög rökare då, en bög rökare nu, en bög rökare för alltid. Okay, jag tror bestämt att det räcker nu!

Om du "google" efter "Abba historia" images, får du en bild av Tony Blair. Vem visste?

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