Back in the early eighties, my mate ran a record shop. Every week on the counter was placed the Music Week/Gallup charts, the top 75….. I knew what was in the top ten, twenty and thirty, We had Top of the Pops and the Radio One chart rundown. This document showed the minor movements at the arse end of the charts. It showed producers and songwriters, more useless knowledge to cram into my brain. You could watch unknown acts scrabble for a foothold on the fun 40, major acts under achieving to the fury of their record companies. I followed the chart misfortunes of Radio Stars and Fad Gadget as their singles crept towards the holy grail of the number 39 spot, only to plummet into oblivion the following week. Ever since I was interested in music I knew what was number one, you just know…its like knowing the alphabet.
Recently talking to the now non record store owing mate, we both admitted to not knowing what was number one, but when did I STOP knowing. I went onto the Official Chart site and started trawling. Alright I wasn`t born until 1962 so I can be forgiven for not knowing “Hold My Hand” by Don Cornell but all the sixties ones I recognise. The seventies and eighties are my era, so I could probably reel most of them off without looking. Even most of the nineties songs are familiar ( Though I would have bet against The Offspring having a number one!)
In 2006 Top of the Pops was cancelled, so I expected my blind spot to be around that time but no, it was three years earlier, “Loneliness” by Tomcraft, I had to YouTube it and I still dont remember it. Dance music of the most who cares type, but Mr Craft is a number one artist. I edged forward past the X Factor winners, novelty records (Peter Kay, Crazy Frog) and the fact that Elvis had three number ones in 2005.
As I get to 2009 there are artists I`ve never knowingly heard. David Guetta, Taio Cruz, Iyaz, Jason Derulo, presumably all aimed at the dancefloor and not an old sod like me and all number one artists. As I move from 2010 to present a few things strike me, who or what is “Airplanes” by Bob featuring Hayley Williams?, has Taylor Swift only had 1 UK number one?, is Macklemore a band or an individual?
One sobering thought…. in 1991 Bryan Adams spent 16 weeks at number one with “Everything I Do”, everbody was bloody sick of it and still people were buying it! In 1994 Wet Wet Wet spent 15 weeks at number one with “Love is All Around” and allegedly asked their record company to delete it as it was blocking the release of their follow up single. In 2015 Drake featuring Wizkid & Kyla spent 15 weeks at number one with “One Dance” I have no idea what it sounds like. I am now my dad.
Number one is currently “Promises” by Calvin Harris & Sam Smith