UK number ones of 1997

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The year the music* died.

(*and the Princess)

Poll Results

OptionVotes
White Town - Your Woman 18
Blur - Beetlebum 13
Tori Amos - Professional Widow (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) 10
No Doubt - Don't Speak 8
Aqua - Barbie Girl 7
Hanson - MMMbop 5
R. Kelly - I Believe I Can Fly 5
Olive - You're Not Alone 5
The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work 4
The Chemical Brothers - Block Rockin' Beats 4
Eternal featuring BeBe Winans - I Wanna Be The Only One 3
U2 - Discotheque 2
Teletubbies - Teletubbies Say "Eh-Oh!" 1
Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life 1
Spice Girls - Too Much 1
Oasis - D'You Know What I Mean? 1
Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112 - I'll Be Missing You 1
Michael Jackson - Blood On The Dancefloor 1
Various Artists - Perfect Day 0
LL Cool J - Ain't Nobody 0
Spice Girls - Who Do You Think You Are? 0
Elton John - Something About The Way You Look Tonight 0
Elton John - Candle In The Wind 1997 0
Spice Girls - Mama 0
Will Smith - Men In Black 0
Gary Barlow - Love Won't Wait 0


Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 00:57 (one month ago) Permalink

Blur!

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 00:58 (one month ago) Permalink

voted without second's thought for the helden professional widow

the raindrops and drop tops of lived, earned experience (BradNelson), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 00:58 (one month ago) Permalink

chems

a but (brimstead), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 01:01 (one month ago) Permalink

Compiling this list brought back a few memories, to say the least. Firstly, Blur coming back with 'Beetlebum' after many seemed to have written them off completely circa 'Charmless Man', U2 coming back with 'Discotheque' and the Pop LP, and the gap between the ending of the cycle for the first Spice Girls LP and the beginning of the cycle for their second LP was shorter than I remembered.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 01:11 (one month ago) Permalink

Also, Oasis' "big comeback single" displaced Puff Daddy at the top spot... but only for a week, after which Puff Daddy reclaimed the top spot again. That must have sent the alarm bells ringing around Supernova Heights, surely.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 01:13 (one month ago) Permalink

Also, that freak White Town single that came out of nowhere.

Oh, oh, oh! Also, this was the year John Harris claims everyone reacted to the death of a certain member of the royal family by lostening to dour music with acoustic guitars... this of course explains the presence of such dour, downbeat slabs of gloom such as 'Spice Up Your Life', 'Barbie Girl' and 'Teletubbies Say "Eh-Oh!"'

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 01:17 (one month ago) Permalink

*listening

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 01:17 (one month ago) Permalink

Teletubbies - Teletubbies Say "Eh-Oh!"

WTF is this? British peeps always have strange novelty hit singles.

Mr. Snrub, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 01:20 (one month ago) Permalink

You think that's fucking bad, Mr. Blobby was at number one in 1993!

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 01:24 (one month ago) Permalink

I probably would have voted for something else in 1997, but in 2017 I'm voting for 'Your Woman'

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 01:42 (one month ago) Permalink

Gary Barlow - Love Won't Wait

^ This is the only track here I have absolutely no memory of, and I sure as hell ain't gonna Youtube it.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 13:31 (one month ago) Permalink

not even gary barlow remembers it

Odysseus, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 13:35 (one month ago) Permalink

Ha, it's possible!

Also, Michael Jackson getting to number one with 'Blood On The Dancefloor' ... at this stage he'd been through a zillion controversies and was still selling a fuckload of records.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 13:39 (one month ago) Permalink

You think that's fucking bad, Mr. Blobby was at number one in 1993!

teletubbies i get, but i will never understand the appeal of anything attached to noel's house party

Autumn Almanac, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 14:12 (one month ago) Permalink

Even more incredible is that Take That's 'Babe' knocked it off the number one spot, but it still climbed back to number one to take the Christmas number one slot. I have to wonder who the fuck was buying it.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 14:18 (one month ago) Permalink

mums, dads, grannies etc for their toddlers

Odysseus, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 14:26 (one month ago) Permalink

"awww look at richard dancing to teletubbies isnt that cute, I'll get that for him" says the 2 year olds granny

Odysseus, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 14:27 (one month ago) Permalink

Generally a mix of the most po-faced and boring of indie and the most tasteful and boring of electronic. Voted for Aqua.

chap, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 14:56 (one month ago) Permalink

barbie girl

J0rdan S., Wednesday, 8 March 2017 14:58 (one month ago) Permalink

this is, in fact, blur vs oasis

an uptempo Pop/Hip Hop mentality (imago), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:00 (one month ago) Permalink

Odysseus, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:03 (one month ago) Permalink

HONEY BRING IT CLOSE TO MY LIPS YEAH

lex pretend, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:06 (one month ago) Permalink

"don't speak" is a pretty close 2nd

lex pretend, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:07 (one month ago) Permalink

The Armand mix of 'Professional Widow' may as well have a different title, IMO... it has very little in common with the original track aside from one or two vocal samples.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:18 (one month ago) Permalink

Tori Amos - Professional Widow (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix)
White Town - Your Woman
Michael Jackson - Blood On The Dancefloor
Spice Girls - Too Much

insidious assymetrical weapons (Eric H.), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:21 (one month ago) Permalink

Blur.

Marty8501 (Marty Innerlogic), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:23 (one month ago) Permalink

White Town. Still good

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:39 (one month ago) Permalink

voted Aqua

kinda wish "Doctor Jones" was on the list instead. that went to #1 somewhere. I thought it was the UK. oh well, I'm too lazy to look it up.

frogbs, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:44 (one month ago) Permalink

my lord you do

kinder, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:50 (one month ago) Permalink

Tori Amos - Professional Widow (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix)
White Town - Your Woman
Michael Jackson - Blood On The Dancefloor
Spice Girls - Too Much

― insidious assymetrical weapons (Eric H.), Wednesday, March 8, 2017 8:21 AM (thirty-one minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeah these are the choices with which i was grappling (after impulsively voting for the star trunk funk)

the raindrops and drop tops of lived, earned experience (BradNelson), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:52 (one month ago) Permalink

voted white town

nxd, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 15:54 (one month ago) Permalink

kinda wish "Doctor Jones" was on the list instead. that went to #1 somewhere. I thought it was the UK. oh well, I'm too lazy to look it up.

― frogbs,

About 90% sure it was the UK. Must've been 98.

chap, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:12 (one month ago) Permalink

Though real heads know My Oh My, which sadly missed the top spot, is Aqua's finest hour.

chap, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:13 (one month ago) Permalink

You think that's fucking bad, Mr. Blobby was at number one in 1993!

Yeah, at least the Teletubbies had nothing to do with Noel Edmonds.

This is a tough one between Blur and No Doubt.

Recently found out* that two-thirds of Olive had been involved in the Durutti Column.

*From reading Kevin Pearce's great A Cracked Jewel Case, which I'd highly recommend to anyone wanting a non-Britpop/rock overview of leftfield '90s music.

Gavin, Leeds, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:14 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah, that White Town track is still great, and it seems to me at this stage that it was a track that was a bit out of its time. A synthpop track created on a shoestring budget by a British Asian man in his bedroom with a lyric that, according to its writer, can either be about a straight guy in love with a lesbian, or a straight girl "in love with a lying, two-timing, fake-arse Marxist" to name two ways in which the lyric can be interpreted. It feels like the kind of song that slots in more with this decade than the '90s.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:16 (one month ago) Permalink

About 90% sure it was the UK. Must've been 98.

ok, I looked it up. you're right. guess I know what I'm voting on that poll

can't believe Aquarium produced 7 singles, and that "Calling You" was not one

frogbs, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:17 (one month ago) Permalink

oh i think i briefly wrestled with voting for "beetlebum" bc i had a huge crush on damon albarn at the time

the raindrops and drop tops of lived, earned experience (BradNelson), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:19 (one month ago) Permalink

White Town, Blur and No Doubt are the three main contenders for me.

kitchen person, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:21 (one month ago) Permalink

My main assoication with Don't Speak is my friend putting the cassingle on in his tiny car, another friend who was in the front seat ejecting it and throwing it out of the window because he hated it so much, and the first friend booting the second out of the car on the North Circular as a result.

chap, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:27 (one month ago) Permalink

White Town, but huge soft spot for Barbie Girl.

andrew m., Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:30 (one month ago) Permalink

don't really love any of these. voted for don't squeak

Benylin Ascent (NickB), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:34 (one month ago) Permalink

Very nearly voted Hanson in protest at everyone ignoring it but Don't Speak hits me in my heart. Block Rockin' Beats has aged quite badly compared to other Chems singles of that era, White Town and Tori/Armand still great.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:34 (one month ago) Permalink

Block Rockin' Beats has aged quite badly compared to other Chems singles of that era

Sadly true - would've voted for Elektrobank in a heartbeat.

Gavin, Leeds, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:41 (one month ago) Permalink

Olive - You're Not Alone

^^^ underrated

Rachel Luther Queen (DJP), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 17:03 (one month ago) Permalink

(voted Chems, hasn't aged badly for me even though it's no "Setting Sun" or "It Doesn't Matter")

Rachel Luther Queen (DJP), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 17:03 (one month ago) Permalink

In a just world they'd have gotten Elektrobank to number 1 so I could have voted for it here

an uptempo Pop/Hip Hop mentality (imago), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 17:16 (one month ago) Permalink

lotsa good ones

the best one is:
Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112 - I'll Be Missing You

niels, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 17:19 (one month ago) Permalink

I hate every single thing about that misbegotten travesty of a "tribute" song

Rachel Luther Queen (DJP), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 17:46 (one month ago) Permalink

White Town

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 18:01 (one month ago) Permalink

Olive - You're Not Alone

^^^ underrated

― Rachel Luther Queen (DJP), Wednesday, March 8, 2017 9:03 AM (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

ah crap, missed this when reading the list

Islamic State of Mind (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 18:05 (one month ago) Permalink

I remember 'You're Not Alone' being inescapable at the time... the follow-up single 'Outlaw' I seem to remember feeling a bit lightweight by comparison.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 22:03 (one month ago) Permalink

I hate every single thing about that misbegotten travesty of a "tribute" song

Haha... well, I can see how the song as a tribute to a close friend can seem... weird. But for me, despite always (I think) knowing it was about biggie, I never really thought of it as much other than a slightly melancholy/spiritual really groovy song - beat is just undeniable. First time i heard the 'Police version' I was like, who sucked all the fun out of this song?

I have a 12" single and remember djing one time for a big crowd, I put it on late in my set, people went pretty crazy, and once it got to the outro, I kinda felt like the song wasn't going anywhere and so I mixed in something else - and so many people in the crowd turned at me with angry eyes saying NO YOU DIDN'T STOP THIS JAM

must say it heightened my regard of the tune

niels, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 22:30 (one month ago) Permalink

bizarre

Islamic State of Mind (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 8 March 2017 22:46 (one month ago) Permalink

"Who sucked all the fun out of this song about the heartbreak felt after the murder of the main rapper's best friend and the hook singer's husband?"

Rachel Luther Queen (DJP), Thursday, 9 March 2017 00:21 (one month ago) Permalink

(Not getting into the issues with the tribute itself, which is incredibly half-assed and sounds bored with even having to say something about Biggie's death)

Rachel Luther Queen (DJP), Thursday, 9 March 2017 00:22 (one month ago) Permalink

Bettelebum!

Although it was close with the Tori Amos remix

LimbsKing, Thursday, 9 March 2017 06:15 (one month ago) Permalink

Eternal featuring BeBe Winans - I Wanna Be The Only One

No memory of this at all, although I'm surprised Eternal were still going in 97.

Matt DC, Thursday, 9 March 2017 10:38 (one month ago) Permalink

It's the Eternal song I have the most memory of! Their biggest hit, no?

chap, Thursday, 9 March 2017 10:41 (one month ago) Permalink

personal fav chart show back to back moment was when they followed 'elektrobank' with portishead 'all mine'

nxd, Thursday, 9 March 2017 10:51 (one month ago) Permalink

x-post:

It was the second most played track on UK radio in 1997, so I'm very surprised that Matt DC doesn't have any memory of it. It was easily Eternal's biggest hit, although they'd start to disintegrate further in '98 when the sisters fired Kelle. Louise had long left the group at this point and gone solo. Eternal were notoriously one of those girl bands that had a tense relationship with each other.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Thursday, 9 March 2017 11:03 (one month ago) Permalink

Eternal featuring BeBe Winans - I Wanna Be The Only One

No memory of this at all, although I'm surprised Eternal were still going in 97.

― Matt DC, Thursday, March 9, 2017 10:38 AM (twenty-six minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

This is the song that I call 'Ah-wallywally Wally-wally Woooo woo'. I have to endure it about 20 times a week on local radio

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Thursday, 9 March 2017 11:06 (one month ago) Permalink

Come to think of it, wasn't there another track released that year that also used the bass riff from the 'Professional Widow' remix?

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Thursday, 9 March 2017 11:18 (one month ago) Permalink

Yes, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels mash-up of Prof Widow with Lisa Stansfield's 'People Hold On' vocal - went top 5 around the same time as Tori did.

Block Rockin' Beats had possibly the best Chems b-side (Morning Lemon).

nashwan, Thursday, 9 March 2017 11:29 (one month ago) Permalink

That's the one! I couldn't remember for the life of me what it was.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Thursday, 9 March 2017 11:43 (one month ago) Permalink

Someone did a risible version of I Wanna Be the Only One on The Voice the other week actually.

chap, Thursday, 9 March 2017 12:14 (one month ago) Permalink

I liked the Spice Girls, Teletubbies and Aqua from that list, but I was six years old and didn't speak English. It's surprising, and quite sweet, how well that list catered to my fairly unique demographic.

Girl with Curious Hair, Thursday, 9 March 2017 15:33 (one month ago) Permalink

Block Rockin' Beats had possibly the best Chems b-side (Morning Lemon).

^^^^^^^^^ yes

such a simple concept too, and yet I can't think of another track quite like it

frogbs, Thursday, 9 March 2017 18:59 (one month ago) Permalink

None of the Spice Girls' tracks here compare to the hits they had the previous year ('Who Do You Think You Are?' probably being the best of the bunch) ... I don't think they really had a truly killer single after '2 Become 1' until 'Stop', which strangely didn't make it to number one.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Saturday, 11 March 2017 00:16 (one month ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 00:01 (one month ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 00:01 (one month ago) Permalink

Whoa!

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 00:04 (one month ago) Permalink

Your Woman is a great little indie hit and was really refreshing for a time when the likes of The Verve, Texas, Reef, Six Colours Red and lots of other trad-rock was dominating the indie mainstream. Beetlebum was also very welcome after the bloat of The Great Escape. Never really got into the Amos remix but I see why people like it. So a good top 3 at least.

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 08:51 (one month ago) Permalink

The non-remix version of Professional Widow is.. strange.

LimbsKing, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 09:34 (one month ago) Permalink

Beetlebum is such a clumsy-sounding record, literally everything about it.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 09:37 (one month ago) Permalink

I think that's what's good about it. I remember hearing it for the first time and thinking 'whoa wait what are you doing?' but it was nice to hear Blur come back with something so understated and awkward after all the bombast

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 09:41 (one month ago) Permalink

I remember them playing it on Top of the Pops and when the music stopped and Damon sang "and when she lets me slip away", the audience cheered as if they were expecting some kind of big Blur chorus moment, but 'Beetlebum' doesn't really have much of a chorus. The guitar riff is really the hook of the song. I thought it was an odd choice of single, but perversely one which seemed to work.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 12:03 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah a bold move for a band at that stage in their career. Albarn's ego had been dialled right back and it was Coxon's guitar that was doing the (literal) grunt-work.

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 12:57 (one month ago) Permalink

I actually thought Blur were done by the middle of '96 - I seriously thought they were going to break up because it seemed like they were dealing with fame and the whole Oasis thing really badly, and there were always reports of tension within the band. But they then back to their more exploratory side and were as successful as ever!

The big change for me at this point was Albarn's vocal approach - from 1997 there seemed to be more feeling in his vocals and the mockney accent was dialled down a hell of a lot.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 13:10 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah I even gave sold all my Blur CDs to the secondhand shop at the time because I'd become so disenchanted by them immediately following TGE. Bought them all back again of course.

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:27 (one month ago) Permalink

I remember there being a lot of talk of Blur being their attempt to scare away their audience, but large portions of that record was actually quite melodic and even poppy in hindsight, I think, just in a different way to the two or three records before. I don't recall have any difficulty with that record at all.

13 was the real challenge, I thought. I hated that record at first.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:42 (one month ago) Permalink

I liked it a lot and thought it was a significant improvement on the Great Escape stuff. Just dug up the Blur poll from 2011 to see where it was in my ballot (third).

Edit: 'it' = 'Beetlebum', not '13'

Warren's Treat (Nasty, Brutish & Short), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:45 (one month ago) Permalink

It was the right thing for them to do after the 'Life' trilogy. I think it's probably their most bearable album nowadays. And yeah, things like 'Look Inside America' aren't that radically different from what came previously. 'On Your Own' is the secret gem of course. I think everyone likes that one.

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:54 (one month ago) Permalink

The three way tie of R. Kelly, Olive and Hanson is just weird

SFTGFOP (El Tomboto), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 15:10 (one month ago) Permalink

x-post:

'On Your Own' and, weirdly, 'Death of a Party' kinda point the way to Gorillaz.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 15:27 (one month ago) Permalink

The non-remix version of Professional Widow is.. strange.

― LimbsKing, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 20:34 (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i got the clear vinyl release of 'boys for pele' on launch and played it to death assuming i was in a tiny minority, so imagine my surprise when suddenly everyone's listening to a barely-recognisable boppy remix of this song, complete with brand new video featuring tori herself doing some jazzercise and having a bath

Autumn Almanac, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 22:07 (one month ago) Permalink

Beetlebum has (probably) my favourite Blur track as its b-side, All Your Life.

Camaraderie at Arms Length, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 22:49 (one month ago) Permalink

But I voted for White Town. I think.

Camaraderie at Arms Length, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 22:50 (one month ago) Permalink

White Town - Your Woman 18
Blur - Beetlebum 13

you people are sick

Islamic State of Mind (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 22:52 (one month ago) Permalink

There aren't all that many Blur B-sides that could have been album tracks, but 'All Your Life' definitely one of 'em, even if it is yet another one of Damon's Bowie rips.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 23:30 (one month ago) Permalink

There is only four years between the self-titled Blur and the self-titled Gorillaz. That somehow seems weird now.

Frederik B, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 23:36 (one month ago) Permalink

"Damon Albarn: the smackhead years"

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 23:41 (one month ago) Permalink

Crazy.

orientmammal, Tuesday, 21 March 2017 00:07 (one month ago) Permalink


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