Author Topic: Number One Singles  (Read 793 times)

23 Daves

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Number One Singles
« on: May 13, 2010, 05:58:19 PM »
I presume most of you good Verbwhores will be familiar with the Freaky Trigger "Popular" project, but just in case you don't, here's a link:

http://freakytrigger.co.uk/popular/

The aim of the blog is to review every number one single ever.  It's never less than interesting, and reveals a few talking points along the way, such as:  Has anybody actually heard Mungo Jerry's "Baby Jump" since it fell from the number one spot?  Is "Mouldy Old Dough" really that good?  Is "Always On My Mind" by the Pet Shop Boys one of the all-time classics?  And so on.

For me, reading parts of it has been interesting in getting me to think about how many British number one singles throughout history I'd really be willing to argue to defend.  And the surprising thing is I can't think of that many.  Over-exposure, over-familiarity, and in many cases a lack of originality or urgency to the record in question has led to me feeling rather "meh" about many of them.  True enough, I can hear very easily that there's something a bit special about most of The Beatles number ones, but could I be bothered to defend them in a long, drawn-out argument?  Probably not.

So then, these are the number ones I feel strongly about, records which are favourites of mine, which I regularly play and love dearly:

The Move: Blackberry Way
The Beatles: Paperback Writer
Pet Shop Boys: West End Girls
M/A/R/R/S: Pump Up The Volume
Michael Jackson: Billie Jean
Blur: Beetlebum
Buggles: Video Killed The Radio Star
Tubeway Army: Are "Friends" Electric?
Gary Numan: Cars
Slade: Merry Xmas Everybody
Beach Boys: Good Vibrations

I'd feel lost without them in my collection - not only do they seem like masterstrokes, or in some cases groundbreaking pieces of work, but they're a major part of my listening life.

Throwing this open to the floor, then, what number one singles do you love?  Are there many examples, or do you find (like me) that your favourite songs never quite made it to the summit (or in some cases didn't even bother the Top 40)?

Re: Number One Singles
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2010, 12:37:34 AM »
Blur's Beetlebum and Dexys' Geno spring to mind immediately.

and

imagine seeing that staring back at you though your patio doors late at night.

Serge

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Re: Number One Singles
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2010, 09:23:03 AM »
I'll have to consult some sort of list as I'm vague in my mind about what singles I like actually got to Number One. I know Bowie didn't have many and that, for example, "Heroes" only got to something like number 24. I love The Beatles, so you could say any of theirs, though, ironically, my favourite Beatles single, 'Strawberry Fields Forever'/'Penny Lane' is the only one in that long run that didn't get to Number One.

But off the top of my head, The Jam's 'Going Underground', Madness' 'House Of Fun' and Dexy's 'Geno' are all winners in my book. And I'll always have a lot of affection for U2's 'The Fly' for being the single that removed Bryan Adams horrendous 'Everything Robin Hood Does (He Does It For The Poor)' from its endless run there.

Danger Man

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Re: Number One Singles
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2010, 09:58:38 AM »
I'll have to consult some sort of list

Same here.

Looking at Wikipedia, I see that Madness have spent less time at Number One (in their entire career) than Spitting Image did with 'The Chicken Song'. I think that says something, though I'm not sure what.

Anyway....

Ken Dodd 'Tears'
Esther & Abi Ofarim 'Cinderella Rockefella'
Rolf Harris 'Two Little Boys'
Ray Stevens 'The Streak'

...all fully deserving of their place at the top. How Lieutenant Pigeon spent 4 weeks at Number one with 'Mouldy Old Dough' is just beyond me.

23 Daves

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    • Left and to the Back
Re: Number One Singles
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2010, 01:10:02 PM »
...all fully deserving of their place at the top. How Lieutenant Pigeon spent 4 weeks at Number one with 'Mouldy Old Dough' is just beyond me.

Hey!  I like that one!  Although as with all number ones, I'm sure there were better singles around at the same time which deserved the sales more.

Freaky Trigger has an index of all the number ones up until winter 1988 here:  http://freakytrigger.co.uk/populist/

And if you want loads of detail, Chart Stats run a list here which has everything you could possibly need up to the present day:  http://www.chartstats.com/number1s.php


Re: Number One Singles
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2010, 04:33:44 PM »
One more for the Stavely Makepeace Appreciation Society, please

The Beatles: Paperback Writer

Got into a long argument last night when I suggested this was about metafiction. Anyway, I've not read many of the Freakytrigger reviews, but I love the ones about how Whiter Shade of Pale was the end of pop's innocence or pulling Don McLean up for a straw man argument. I like a good thesis, me.

Possibly related: Bob Mercer, who masterminded the Now! series among many other things, died on Wednesday