Thursday, August 20, 2009

Number 1s of 2009: 16 August 2009

It's almost too depressing to contemplate, but... they're back.

The Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling" already reached number one two weeks ago, before being interrupted by a Tinchy Stryder single. It turns out they've got more staying power than him, so they return for a second week. Strangely, the same thing happened with "Boom Boom Pow" earlier in the year (which, come to think of it, was likewise interrupted by a grime act making a bid for the mainstream - Dizzee Rascal's "Bonkers").

Now, the last time this happened, I posted a list of the interrupted number one singles from the last couple of decades. You'll notice that they were all from different acts (though Wyclef Jean appears on two of them). So, are the Black Eyed Peas the first act to do this twice?

No! They are not! In fact, they are in the illustrious company of Cliff Richard, with "Please Don't Tease" in 1960 and this classic from spring 1963.

Largely unknown in America, Cliff Richard was Britain's answer to Elvis Presley, in the days before we came up with the Beatles. Some of his early singles, like "Move It", actually aren't bad - though there's no getting away from the fact that he was still a blatant imitator of acts from the other side of the Atlantic.

Nonetheless, as the homegrown alternative who was actually in the country, Cliff was huge in the fifties and sixties. It gives you an idea of his chart dominance that the record which interrupted "Summer Holiday" was "Foot Tapper" by the Shadows, Cliff's own backing band. They also knocked "Please Don't Tease" off the top, with "Apache", easily the best thing embedded in this post.

Over the following decades, Cliff Richard settled into a comfortable niche as an adult entertainer, now playing largely to a small but devoted audience of women in late middle age. Nonetheless, thanks to their fanatical support, he continues to rack up hit singles, the last being "Thank You For A Lifetime", which reached number 3 last September.

The return of "I Gotta Feeling" will be a particular disappointment for the two acts who were meant to be fighting it out for number one this week. First up is Calvin Harris, with "Ready for the Weekend", entering at number 3 - the follow-up to "I'm Not Alone", a number one earlier in the year. It's not the most instant thing he's ever released, and that chorus sounds a bit generic to me, but it's actually sort of growing on me.

But for the tabloids, at least, this was supposed to be the week of Peter Andre, the Australian pop singer turned reality star turned would-be pop singer turned reality star again turned would-be pop singer again.

Hard as it may be to believe, Peter Andre was actually quite big for a while. This is his fourteenth hit single, and he has four previous number ones to his credit. Nonetheless, his career tailed off in the nineties, and for the last few years he's lived a sort of twilight existence on the fringes of proper fame, desperately trying to rekindle his career with a string of increasingly dubious TV projects. Doing I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here wasn't such a bad idea. But marrying horrific surgically enhanced glamour model and all-round taste-free zone Katie "Jordan" Price, who he met on the show, and then doing a string of low-rent reality shows with her, in which he was generally portrayed as a long-suffering halfwit, before going for the obligatory public divorce and comeback single about his own failed marriage... well, maybe that wasn't so smart.

If you're unfamiliar with Jordan, here's her own unforgettable foray into the realm of music, when she entered the UK heats of the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, despite a near-total absence of musical talent. And yes, she is wearing a skintight pink catsuit while heavily pregnant, why do you ask? It's all very Jordan.

Caution: this video features cruelty to melody.