38 other singles made up the Top 40 in the week of the big Blur v Oasis battle, not that anyone would have particularly noticed at the time. Nonetheless the higher than usual level of casual interest in the singles chart will have meant that at least some were of more than passing attention to the new batch of chart fans. Or simply those sitting down to listen to the Radio One Top 40 show for the first time in a while. Here is the bottom end, the title of each single will link to its presence on Spotify (where available) and indeed there will be a full playlist soon of as much of this chart as the online services can manage.
40: *new entry* Matt Goss – The Key
One of the most famous pop stars in the country at the end of the 1980s, the new decade had not been kind to Matt Goss. Bros had finally fizzled out in 1991 when their disastrous third album Changing Faces sank almost without trace, their run of hit singles dried up and all but the most dedicated of Brosettes moved onto other things. Mainly real boys and snakebite. Matt and Luke Goss then reportedly fell out for a brief period, the brotherly schism coinciding with the discovery of the true nature of their management contract with Tom Watkins which essentially saw them doing most of the work for the smallest share of the money. Despite for years being portrayed as nothing more than the drummer of the outfit it was Luke Goss who made the first attempt at post-Bros fame. forming rock group The Band Of Thieves and releasing two well regarded singles in 1993 although neither managed to reach the Top 40. Two years later it was Matt Goss’ turn to have a go at solo stardom. The Key was a genuine effort to roll the dice and re-invent the teen idol as a brand new credible music star, a skittering house beat and a new-found vocal attitude meant that taken on its own merits this was actually a worthwhile musical effort. Sadly the stigma of his previous pop life still lingered and this was a single purchased by the dwindling band of Bros devotees and sniggered at by everyone else. This Number 40 entry was as far as it got, leaving the singer to go away and re-think his solo plans before making a further attempt a year later. Extraordinarily that wasn’t quite the end of the story for The Key, Italian house producers Minimal Chic reworking the track in 2004 and releasing it with the full co-operation of the singer. Sadly second time around the single fared even worse, limping to Number 54 in October that year.
It would have been all too easy for Cyndi Lauper to have promoted her 1994 Greatest Hits collection with a straightforward re-release of her seminal 1984 hit Girls’ Just Wanna Have Fun. Which is probably why she didn’t. Instead she did something more inspired and re-recorded it in an almost totally different style. The new version slowed the tempo down and mashed the track up with the chorus and melody from Redbone’s Come And Get Your Love, taking the familiar song onto an entire new level. The result was her biggest hit single for five years in Britain, the newly retitled Hey Now (Girls Just Want To Have Fun) climbing to Number 4 in October 1994 and restoring much of the damage done to her career by unloved 1993 album Hat Full Of Stars. Come On Home was the third and final single to be lifted from her 12 Deadly Cyns.. And Then Some hits album, a track available in two different versions depending on where you purchased the album. The European version was a fun cod-reggae pop record that borrowed copiously from Bitty McLean’s Here I Stand and if the stars had been aligned correctly might well have gone on to become another sizeable hit. Sadly they were not and the single stalled here at Number 39, her penultimate chart hit single in Britian.
A single from the period just before Orville Burrell’s elevation to true global stardom, this single arriving just a few months prior to the release of the Levi’s advert soundtrack Boombastic, a record which would take him to the top of the charts across the globe. For now there was this track, a typically chirpy take on the famous Mungo Jerry song (which surely requires no introduction here). The first single to be lifted from his third album (also called Boombastic) it was a comfortable Top 5 hit single and is perhaps most notable for being his first chart collaboration with singer Rayvon with whom he would team up again in 2001 on Number One single Angel.
A three piece dance outfit based in Huddersfield, Shiva were producers Gino Piscitelli and Paul Ross with the group fronted by statesque blonde singer Louise Dean. Their first release Work It Out had crept to Number 35 in May 1995 and there was a general assumption that they were destined for far greater things with subsequent releases. Then tragedy struck. Crossing the road outside a nightclub in Leeds, Louise was struck by a hit and run driver and passed away from her injuries shortly after. The record label immediately pulled the planned release of the group’s second single Freedom, only to recant their decision when her family insisted it would be the perfect tribute to her to see it make the charts. The resultant attention was enough to propel the single to Number 18, perhaps a disappointment under the circumstances but maybe a placing appropriate to its overall merit as a club record. Listening back to the track now it is all too apparent just how talented a singer she was, the Shiva singles almost certainly just a stepping off point on a career as a dance diva of some considerable note. An utterly tragic waste of life.
36: A.D.A.M. feauring Amy – Zombie
One of the standout tracks on the second Cranberries album No Need To Argue, Zombie was a powerful and hard hitting protest song, combining references to the 1916 Easter Rising with expressions of anger at the tragic deaths of Jonathan Ball and Tim Parry who had been killed by an IRA bomb in Warrington in 1993. Released in October 1994, the single peaked at Number 14 and remains to this day one of the most notable tracks of their career. None of which goes even part of the way to explaining this Eurodance cover by Italian act A.D.A.M. (the name a combination of the initials of the four men involved). Trampling all over the political and emotional significance of the original, the dance remake of Zombie became bizarrely popular across Europe in the summer of 1995 and peaked at Number 16 in Britain in the week of its release.
As a comments thread below notes, the UK release of the single on Eternal records actually came with a remix which was unique to this country. Track 1 of the 12-inch single (the only format readily available) was the “Adams & Gielen Club Mix” which was as a result played most in clubs and which is the version commonly found on compilation albums from the era. However buried deep on Side 2 is a three minute radio edit of the track called the “Eternal Airplay Mix” which has a more ‘pop’ flavour and which naturally picked up the lions’ share of radio spins. So for familiarity purposes, this is the version featured below even if the one in your own library may well be a different mix.
Ah now this is more like it. The erstwhile lead singer of Orange Juice had made brief stabs at a solo career since his old band broke up but suffered from a lack of sales traction until the 1994 release of his third album Gorgeous George. The highlight of the album was easily A Girl Like You, based around a Len Barry drum beat and a buzzing lead guitar, the single was all at once deliciously retro and excitingly contemporary. Naturally enough it flopped first time around. Despite widespread acclaim and a place on many critics lists as one of the best singles of the year, the first release of the song as the lead track on the Expressly EP saw it limp to Number 42 in November 1994. A nation of music fans mourned. Yet where Britain failed to catch on, the rest of Europe led the way. The single made Top 10 on charts across the continent and topped the pile in France for several weeks – all of which was enough to convince the label to give Britain another try. Re-released in June 1995 the single crashed onto the chart just outside the Top 10 and proceeded to edge its way up slowly, moving 13-10-10-9-9 before eventually peaking at Number 4 to become far and away the biggest hit single of Edwyn Collins’ career. He would never again hit these kind of heights, his only other solo Top 40 hit arriving in 1997 when The Magic Piper (Of Love) crept to Number 32.
34: *new entry* Smokie featuring Roy Chubby Brown – Who The Fuck Is Alice
Think the summer of 1995 was defined by the Battle Of Britpop? Not a bit of it I’m afraid. It was the summer of the ‘Alice’ wars. Now get ready because this is where it gets complicated.
The phenomenon began in Holland, Nikmegen to be precise and a cafe bar called Gompie. Resident DJ Onno Pesler was extremely fond of Living Next Door To Alice, a Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman composition. Originally recorded by folk rockers Smokie, the track became one of their most successful British hit singles when it made Number 5 in the first weeks of 1977 and would remain essentially their signature song. Even before the madness. Gradually Pesler’s spinning of 70s hit turned into an audience participation cult, as he faded the record down after each rendition of the chorus refrain for the assembled crowd to shout “who the fuck is Alice?” back at him. So a legend was born.
The ‘Alice’ show was witnessed by a passing Dutch record label boss who quickly spotted the commercial potential. He enlisted singer Peter Koeelewijn to record the song complete with its newly minted post-chorus profanity. Credited to ‘Gompie’ in a tribute to the bar where the phenomenon began the single was a huge hit across the Benelux countries, naturally enough topping the Dutch chart with ease.
All of this was to the initial confusion of Smokie themselves who noticed that their own performances of their signature song during continental shows were being augmented by an entirely new form of audience participation. Pressed by their label at the time to capitalise with their own version, the group swiftly re-recorded the track by enlisting long-time friend Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown to provide a suitably comedic intervention in between the verses and during the chorus. The new Smokie version of Living Next Door To Alice had been finished and was ready for release when the group’s tour bus crashed in Germany during a hailstorm. Most badly injured of all was lead singer Alan Barton – formerly of Black Lace but who had been singing with Smokie since 1986 when their original lead singer Chris Norman left the group. Barton’s injuries were unsurvivable and he passed away in March 1995 at the age of 41.
So it was that the initial British release of Living Next Door To Alice (Who The Fuck Is Alice) became effectively a final tribute to the group’s late singer. Yet despite the goodwill that preceded its release the single ran into a problem – namely the challenge of the “original” Dutch version by Gompie which was promoted at the same time. Whilst the Smokie single languished at the bottom end of the Top 75, the Gompie single became a decent sized hit, creeping into the Top 40 to Number 34 during a brief chart run in May 1995 – one which was inevitably restricted by a lack of airplay and consequently mainstream exposure for the now rather rude single.
That might so easily have been the end of the story, but then the summer holidays intervened. With discos and entertainment venues across the continent still playing Who The Fuck Is Alice in heavy rotation it inevitably promoted a new, higher level of demand for the remade song. Both the Smokie and Gompie singles were hastily re-released, only this time the fortunes were reversed. This then was the chart re-entry of the Smokie version, the start of a chart run which would eventually see the single peak at Number 3 in early October, two places higher than the original recording and at a stroke equalling Smokie’s highest ever chart placing – matching that of their 1975 debut If You Think You Know How To Love Me. The single would eventually sell just shy of half a million copies, ending up as the year’s 18th biggest seller. As for the Gompie version, well that too would return to the singles chart, re-entering a week later for its own chart run which would see it ultimately climb to a Number 17 peak.
For such big selling and notorious single there is precious little trace of the actual hit version online – one suspects the presence of Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown on the single meaning it is stuck in rights hell. So here instead is a slightly murky copy of the rather sanitised performance from the edition of Top Of The Pops broadcast on October 5th 1995, new lead singer Mike Craft now taking his place at the microphone.
Tina Arena had been famous in her native Australia for over two decades before making her international breakthrough. A former child star, she had released four albums and a greatest hits collection before her 1995 album Don’t Ask finally made her name outside her home country. The album’s lead single Chains had landed her a Top 10 hit single when released in Britain in April 1995 but it was a high point she was subsequently never quite able to match. This track was her second British chart hit, and was here sliding down the chart after reaching a rather lowly Number 25 peak. The build up to the single’s release was most notable for a fun incident on the Radio One breakfast show. Then host Chris Evans played about sixty seconds of the track before yanking it off and announcing that it was more suitable for Radio Two. He thus dispatched a member of his team with the CD to invade Terry Wogan’s show on the ‘other side’ with a note that it was a gift from the “ginger tom”. Back to Tina Arena however, and three more Top 40 hits would follow over the next three years before she sank back into antipodean obscurity.
Short lived hip-hop group Eusebe were a family affair, formed by brother and sister Steve and Sharon Eusebe along with their cousin Alison Etienne (previously famous for a bit part in Grange Hill in the 1980s). After releasing their debut single Pick It Up, Fuck It Up And Drop It on their own label in 1994 they were swiftly snapped up by EMI and released their one and only album Tales From Momma’s Yard the following year. Summertime Healing was their sole hit single, an ever so slightly disrespectful reworking of Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing which was duly stripped of its soul and funk roots to become a bubbly pop-flavoured rap hit. As long as you did not focus too hard on the original song it was channelling it is less offensive than you might thing and in truth still sounds fresh and inviting today. A new entry here, this was as far as the single got as far as chart success was concerned, diving out of the Top 40 the following week. Steve Eusebe still lives and breathes music, working as a music teacher and youth advocate.
Theoretically needing no introduction here, this was the celebrated breakthrough single from Ash, charting in the summer of 1995 when many of the group’s members were still awaiting their A-level results, such was their tender age and the rapid way they had been propelled to stardom. It had actually been preceded by two earlier singles, debut release Petrol in the summer of 1994 (No.96) and Kung Fu which peaked at Number 57 in April 1995. As far as mainstream audiences were concerned this Number 11 hit was their chart debut and one which set the group off on a run of hits which lasted until 2010.