Saint Nothing

Saint Nothing

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Bob Stanley is also bringing out a prequel to Yeah Yeah Yeah, his incredible history of pop book, in May. https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/music-dance/signed-lets-do-it-the-birth-of-pop,bob-stanley-2369537082230
Meanwhile, in the UK... Four and five weeks at number one for Cher's The Shoop Shoop Song. At number two was Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee). Or Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee La Da Da). Or Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless). Come on, guys, stick to one. Crystal Waters was a jazz trained vocalist who met production team The Basement Boys, who by this point included one of the writers of Girl You Know It's True. Waters wrote the lyrics including the vocal hook herself, based on memories of someone she used to see busking, and even though "she's homeless" isn't even the part that people mostly remember Waters had it appended to the title for US release so people would listen to the lyrics. In the UK it came out under the first of those titles and debuted at #3, setting the record for the highest new entry position for a debut single until mid-1993. She would reach the UK top 40 eight more times until 2007, one a remix of this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KztNIg4cvE A few weeks ago I commented about how Gulf War longing and hope for safety feels like a big part of why Oleta Adams' Get Here was such a big hit, and much the same must be said for singer-songwriter Beverley Craven, who toured with Bobby Womack before being recommended to Warners by Go West's manager. Her self-titled debut album had been released almost a year earlier to little attention but a reissue reached #3, the album taking off as a result and going double platinum. She won Best British Newcomer at the 1992 Brits and summarily never reached the top 30 again, though her second album made it to #4. After that she spent more time bringing up her children, successfully fought off breast cancer twice and still tours. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeqPGXBzUn8
Meanwhile, in the UK... Week three of five at number one for Cher's The Shoop Shoop Song. Cathy Dennis had first come across the pop radar as vocalist on D-Mob's commercial house hit C'Mon And Get My Love, which reached #15 towards the end of 1989 and later #10 on the Hot 100. Even before that she had signed up with managerial svengali Simon Fuller for the start of a career long association, and he guided her solo material in a laser focused dance-pop direction. After a couple of flops Touch Me (All Night Long), a reworking of a 1984 track by Wish featuring Fonda Rae which she cannily rewrote some of the lyrics for thus claiming a writing credit, hit #5 and then #2 on Billboard. Unlike America, where Just Another Dream and Too Many Walls reached 9 and 8 respectively, Dennis never troubled the UK top ten again, though she did have three top 20 singles, the last a 1997 cover of Waterloo Sunset during a period where she went quasi-Britpop. Once her recording career ran aground she moved into writing full-time and that seemed to work out - Toxic, I Kissed A Girl, Can't Get You Out Of My Head (and Kylie's Come Into My World), Kelly Clarkson's Before Your Love, the fastest selling debut single in UK history for first Pop Idol winner Will Young, undervalued gems like Rachel Stevens' Sweet Dreams My LA Ex... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xiwxfxVUZA Wait, did I just invoke Britpop? That's both forced (on my part) and timely, as a band who were seen as baggy bandwagon chancers mostly getting publicity because of their doe-eyed singer and secretly expected to be old news within a year were having a top ten single moment, reaching #8 in this week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJzCYSdrHMI
Paul Young had never stopped recording since his heights but his appeal had become more selective. The unlikely figure that got him back into the top twenty, never mind top ten, after six years was behatted Italian blues-rocker Zucchero, who added Young to an overwrought English language re-recording of his 1987 song Senza Una Donna and got it to #4. That would be his last visit to that high a place but there were two more top 20 singles the next year and he still tours, releasing an album of soul covers produced by Arthur Baker in 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V69vs8JmXYM Bernard Sumner had, not for the first or last time, fallen out with the rest of New Order so decided to make a solo album. Not enjoying the process he called in Johnny Marr, a fellow admirer of Italo-house, and intended to make a series of white label recordings but when Neil Tennant heard and expressed an interest it was supergroup time. First single Getting Away With It reached #12 at the end of 1989, which earned them a Depeche Mode tour support by itself. After that the pair reasoned there was something in the commercial dance-rock crossover borrowing influence from each other's bands and made a whole album, the next single from which reached #8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7sVSSb2mU4
Meanwhile, in the UK... Cher's The Shoop Shoop Song spends its second week at the top. Time to complete the Stadium House Trilogy, not quite matching 3am Eternal's success but #2 behind a runaway number one was hardly bad. As always, Last Train To Trancentral had its roots in two earlier tracks, one from the Pure Trance series of 12"s themselves derived from the Chill Out album, the other from The White Room featuring Ricardo Da Force's rap and vocals by reggae musician Black Steel. This single was the Live From The Lost Continent mix, retaining the strings, chord progression and a sliver of the rap while sending the rest deep into the rave floor and spreading in references to the last two singles. Trancentral was the KLF's spiritual home, presumably next to Mu Mu Land, and more veraciously was the name of their recording studio, converted from a Victorian terraced house and location of both a squat and many weekend-long parties. Blue Man Group later used the song in the finale to their shows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC_zffOenk8 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark had last made the top 40 four and a half years earlier, but then they hadn't released anything for three of those years after everybody but Andy McCluskey left. Continuing initially on his own, then with hired hands, the album Sugar Tax took a more overtly dance-pop turn and its first single, with schaffel/glitter rock drums and a lyrical nod to Sister Ray, reached #3, OMD's joint highest charter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMST3H69-Os
I mean, we've only just passed The Stonk. Two and a half years down the TNOCS line I'm going to have a real headache.
The On-U Sound System were a dub collective based in the fertile underground scene of Bristol, from where we've already seen the influence via Neneh Cherry and Unfinished Sympathy, this formed around prolific producer Adrian Sherwood. One of his main sidemen was Gary Clail, who had been releasing singles through their On-U label since 1985. Taking increasing influence from the new dance music and increasing social conscience, his sole top 30 single was bass-quaking dub house featuring a sample from Billy Graham revoiced by Clail when permission was refused. Soon becoming the theme for influential BBC new music show Snub TV, Human Nature reached #10 in the first week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2Qg73_lK1A At #6 in the second week covered, welcome Britain's top light entertainer. The hyper-postmodern surrealist comedy of the Channel 4 series Vic Reeves' Big Night Out had earned the workshy fop alter ego of Jim Moir a huge cult following and then, with the aid of supporter Jools Holland, a record deal - he'd been in several bands in his youth, including very briefly the influential early industrial act Test Dept, and included semi-crooned covers and originals in his shows. I won't let the album that emerged lie, because there's a bigger hit to come from it and the contributor list is remarkable, but the first single was a cover of the Matt Monro showstopper from the 1966 movie of the same name. The music is shrouded in mystery as nobody is officially credited with it and the listed producers don't exist but it's thought Robyn Hitchcock and Squeeze collaborator Andy Metcalfe with members of Swing Out Sister were responsble. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbhTAnHVObQ
Meanwhile, in the UK... Chesney Hawkes' The One And Only stayed on top for its fifth week before being toppled by another song from a film that was about to spend five week atop. Cher's retitled version of Betty Everett's 1964 Cashbox R&B chart #1 and Linda Lewis' disco cover 1975 UK #6 It's In His Kiss, made for her movie Mermaids which was released this month in the UK (six months after America) with its Ryder and Ricci throwback video must have struck a chord somewhere as it didn't get past #33 on Billboard. The single was produced by Peter Asher, formerly half of Peter & Gordon, whose A World Without Love was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic largely through being written by Lennon and McCartney as Paul was dating his actress sister Jane; later he discovered and managed James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCpKQjqb8Y4
From the previews it looks like more than one video doesn't embed at once, which would affect TNOCS (if making it a lot quicker to scroll through)
Most households couldn't see the Simpsons in 1991 - it was on Sky satellite channel alone and didn't make it to the BBC until 1996 - but Bartmania had already given them a number one with Do The Bartman so a follow-up from The Simpsons Sing The Blues was required, written by Matt Groening and DJ Jazzy Jeff and reaching #7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVusSqEzVHY We already had one Minogue but she was showing signs of having her own ideas and career plan, so the backup was required. Kylie's younger sister Dannii had actually been the more famous at first in Australia as a child soap actress and then star of the self-defining Young Talent Time, but it's hard not to think her being signed in 1989 to the same label that initially picked up Kylie (Mushroom Records) wasn't driven by the existing familial success. Debut single Love And Kisses, part produced by Danny D from acid house moral panic progenitors D-Mob, got to #8 so it clearly worked. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znZm90a88HU
Meanwhile, in the UK... A fourth week at number one for Chesney Hawkes' The One And Only. Madonna's Immaculate Collection had been as big a hit as hoped - biggest selling album of 1990, eventually over three and a half million sales, longest stay at number one for a solo female until 21 - so the other new song apart from Justify My Love being released as a single seemed natural especially after radio picked up on it, reaching #3. Not, I suspect, that Madonna though the same, as it's not on the later compilation Celebration and the video was a cut and paste deal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FPV8pBMINU The Wonder Stuff formed in the West Midlands hotbed of a lot of ragged, dance-aware guitar bands and had had a number of top 40 singles since 1988. Their top ten breakthrough, reaching #5, was the jaunty stylings of The Size Of A Cow, the first single from the album Never Loved Elvis that alongside a huge standalone single to come would make 1991 their year in some ways. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFwyuXXijS0
Although it didn't chart In These Shoes? is probably among her best known songs now, and was doubtless helped elsewhere by Bette Midler covering it, where it seems to have become a favorite among her most fervent fans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7JubI_BM0A Going back a tiny bit, Maccoll actually offered Walking Down Madison to Alison Moyet, who thought it didn't suit what she was doing at the time but eventually did it at a tribute concert in 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji5Bwp7O9v8
As Tom mentions, the vocal members variously did a whole lot of backing vocal work. Here's the two Jimmys on a late period Madness slow burner. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJFMYoz4Uuw Chandler and Chambers are on Kirsty Maccoll's surprisingly effective take on hip-hop (co-written by Johnny Marr) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ploIlurVZ8 And all three contributed to the velvet glove/iron fist of a Microdisney album track, but not before stopping the session in anger at Cathal Coughlan's lyrics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni0QM4PWWQk
Meanwhile, in the UK... Chesney Hawkes' The One And Only spent its third of five weeks at the top. The Waterboys' The Whole Of The Moon was originally released on 1985's This Is The Sea, where it had already been their chart breakthrough reaching #26. Mike Scott always thought it deserved more, or at least the band deserved sales to match their critical reputation, so had it re-released when a Best Of was due and sure enough it soared to #3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBW8Vnp8BzU
Morrissey has entered the chat Morrissey has been hit by a double decker bus
By 1991 James were an unconventional stadium-worthy act awaiting their unconventional stadium-worthy hit. That wouldn't be the 1989 single Sit Down, as near eight minute tracks inspired by Doris Lessing and Patti Smith tend not to be. However, having been caught in the Madchester wave they reworked and remixed the track, released a four minute version and watched it reach #2, sitting behind Chesney Hawkes for three weeks. A long, strange chart career was born, and they're still playing the big spaces to this day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPNw_2h0CnU The Bee Gees were undergoing one of their periodical rediscoveries so decided to take on some modern dance production techniques for nineteenth album High Civilization. The lead single Secret Love, which bears more than a passing melodic resemblance to Chain Reaction, the hit they wrote five years earlier for Diana Ross, reached #5 but wasn't even released in America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVseOSFTGAw
The Pet Shop Boys decided it was time to take Bono down a peg or two, turning "a mythic rock song into a stomping disco record". In fact Where The Streets Have No Name (#4 in the first week) was a medley, turning into a version of Can't Take My Eyes Off You inspired by Boystown Gang's disco version, released as a double A side pointedly with How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously?, a track from Behaviour about a self-preening and insincere pop star, though Neil Tennant has indicated the target was more Wendy James of Transvision Vamp. U2 in response issued a statement reading "what have we done to deserve this?" Tennant later said he and Bono had patched things up after meeting at an Elton John party. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt2j79pca7c Down at #16 was the only top 40 showing for Banderas, a duo of Caroline Buckley and Sally Herbert, both former Communards, feayuring both Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner on guitar and Stephen Hague producing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56LVUjK7Sz8
Meanwhile, in the UK... Buddy's Song was what would now we called a Young Adult Fiction novel, one of a series about a young teenager with estranged parents and a career criminal father. Author Nigel Hinton was friends with Roger Daltrey and was able with the backing of the Who's manager to get it made into a film, starring Daltrey and a group of low level UK TV names which despite its low budget came some distance from making its money back. And yet one of the songs written for and performed within it spent five weeks at number one. Chesney Hawkes' father Chip had been in the Tremeloes, who had two UK number ones and were B or C lister British Invaders, a cover of Silence Is Golden reaching Hot 100 #11. Scouted for the lead role in the film, he was given a song written and co-produced by Nik Kershaw (US peak Wouldn't It Be Good, #46 in 1984) very much in his style. It caught on unexpectedly, though the nineteen year old's looks helped, reaching #10 on the Hot 100. It was a sucess he would never match, follow-up I'm A Man Not A Boy stalling at #27 and never reaching the top 40 again, Hawkes slipping into a life of reality shows and minor singles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvMsp7s78Do
I'd never heard *of* One More Try, by the way, unsurprising as it got to #97 here.
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