Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Number 1s of 2008: 14 September

Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" managed five weeks at the top, further confirming the wisdom of my decision to leave the country for a fortnight. And her replacement...

Well, here's one I wouldn't have expected. Kings of Leon, "Sex on Fire" (14 September to date). No embeddable version of this one, so you'll just have to click the link and watch it at YouTube.

(Okay, there are plenty of embeddable versions posted by other people - but I might as well give you a link that's likely to remain valid.)

The Kings of Leon are a Tennessee band who've been rather more successful in the UK than in the US. In fact, according to Wikipedia, they've never made the top 100 in their home country. To European indie kids, however, they're the acceptable face of southern rock. This is the lead single from their fourth album; the previous three were all big sellers in the UK.

Even so, it's a surprise number one. Until now, their biggest hit was last year's "Fans", but that only made number 13 (and which, strangely, doesn't seem to have a video). In terms of hanging around the video channels for years, their other big hit would be "Molly's Chambers" (number 23 in 2003). Basically, they have a respectable track record of mid-table success.

But apparently there's a lot of interest in this new album, and a toning down of the southern stuff in favour of a dash of stadium rock seems to have helped. I'm not altogether sold on it, but at least it's not Katy Perry.

It's also not Cliff Richard. Back in the 1950s, Cliff Richard was one of the UK's toned-down early rock'n'roll acts. He's had a number one in every decade since - the most memorable being "Living Doll" in the fifties, "The Young Ones" in the sixties, "We Don't Talk Anymore" in the seventies, "Mistletoe and Wine" in the eighties, and "The Millennium Prayer" in the nineties. Memorable isn't the same as good, of course, but it's still an impressive record. At the age of 67, "Thank You For A Lifetime" was pretty much his last shot at racking up one more number one from his very loyal middle aged fanbase before calling it a day; it reached number 3. I was going to embed it, but with the best will in the world, it's absolutely rotten - see for yourself if you want, though.