It’s astonishing how music has changed throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century. The contrast between music in the charts now, compared to in 1947 is remarkable. The clear division between music trends and eras throughout the years is evident, even in these few number ones.
Join us as we look back on the songs that topped the charts during this most miserable of months 5 years ago, 10 years ago and so on, all the way back to 70 years ago. The difference between the decades is amazing, and it really highlights the development of digital technology and music throughout the ages.
As one of the biggest British rock bands in modern music, Coldplay have released a grand total of 7 studio albums. They made their name worldwide with their single “Yellow” in 2000, and have been globally successful since. “Paradise” was the second single released from their 2011 album “Mylo Xyloto” in September. It was not until the 1st of January 2012 that the song reached number one, four months after its initial release. The song, written by lead singer Chris Martin, was originally intended to be the X Factor Winner’s single for 2011. However, Coldplay’s drummer, Will Champion, argued for it to become a single on their new album. We can’t imagine anyone other than Coldplay singing this song. Whilst it may have been overplayed on the radios at the time, it’s nice to hear it from time to time now the song is out of rotation. Apart from anything else, who can forget a music video with Coldplay prancing around in elephant costumes?
Marmite singer, Mika, is a British soloist who originally found fame in 2007 with his first album “Life in Cartoon Motion”. After winning the Best British Breakthrough Act at the 2007 Brit Awards, he continued his career, making a total of 4 albums. “Grace Kelly” was from his first album and remained at number one for a total of five weeks. The song was written to mock artists and musicians who try to reinvent and change themselves to gain more fans and increase their popularity. Mika was far from your average pop singer. He strived on individuality and loved his work – a far cry from much of today’s pop which seems to follow a more cynical blueprint.
Enrique Iglesias is a Spanish singer songwriter with 10 studio albums over his 22 year career. Titled the “King of Latin Pop”, he is extremely popular around the globe, particularly in Latin America and obviously Spain. With over 150 number one singles, this single is probably the first song you will think of when you hear his name. Hero was was one of the only songs used to play with the audio from the 9/11 attacks back in 2001. This song has a sentimental link to the attacks which contributed to the song reaching number one in January 2002. It was considered his breakthrough song in the UK. The video features a self-sacrificing Enrique in a doomed romance with Hollywood actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, whose love is torn apart by a scenery-chewing Micky Rourke.
Jumping back to 1997, one-man band “White Town” released “Your Woman”. This alternative dance/trip hop song was a song written about not being part of the set ideals in society. 5 albums were recorded as well as 4 EP’s. The song features a repetitive and monotone sound that drills into your brain through your ears and loops around your mind for weeks after hearing it. Sorry about that. The man behind White Town is Jyoti Prakash Mishra, born in India. His music was very specialised, with this single being the only hit he had. Described as a “one hit wonder”, Mishra claimed that this was better than being a “no hit wonder”. Very true.
The ultimate pairing of the 1980s. This song was, astonishingly, Aretha Franklin’s first number one single in the UK, whilst being the late George Michael’s third consecutive number one single after leaving Wham!. We’re still sad about George’s untimely death, but what remains is the music, and this tune is an uplifting slice of 80s ebullience that reminds us of the good times we had. This particular record sold over a million copies in the USA, yet never officially received it’s Gold/Platinum certification.
David Soul was an American born actor and singer, know for his role in Starsky & Hutch through the 1970s. His career began mainly in the film and TV industry. However, in the mid to late 70s, he moved into singing. He released “Don’t Give Up On Us” in 1976 in the UK and 1977 in the US. Also seen as a one hit wonder, David Soul was number one for 4 weeks in the UK. He did release further songs in the UK with limited success but was never able to reach the top 40 in the US again. touching love song, is now considered a little bit cringe-worthy for anyone who watched any of his TV shows. The contrast between his musical persona and his acting roles is quite notable.
The Monkees! A pop and rock band created in 1965 for the American TV series of the same name. The shows was based around a pretend band who wanted to be The Beatles. Much to everyone’s surprise, they actually became a band in real life! Selling over 75 million records worldwide, they had many international hits. At the peak of their popularity in 1967, the band outsold The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Combined. Madness! “I’m a Believer” was one of The Monkees’ biggest hits and has been covered numerous times by artists as diverse as The Four Tops, Smash Mouth, and Reeves and Mortimer. The song’s still a student-night standard, the melody to many a football terrace chant and should be familiar to Shrek fans everywhere.
Guy Mitchell’s recording of this song was the best-known version after it’s original release by Melvin Endsley. Mitchell managed to keep this song at number one in the US for a total of 10 weeks and 3 weeks in the UK (non-consecutive). This is one of only 4 songs ever to be at number one on three separate occasions. (The others were; I Believe – Frankie Laine, Happy – Pharrell Williams and What Do You Mean – Justin Bieber). This 1956 song has a particularly happy mood to it despite the somewhat gloomy lyrics.
The most popular recording of this song, Sammy Kaye’s version of “The Old Lamp-Lighter” peaked at number one during its 14 week stay in the charts. He was one of the most famous songwriters and bandleaders during the Big Band era of the 1940s. With his own TV show in the 1950s, Kaye was a very popular personality at the time and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His big band days were the highlight of his career, and they were remembered years after. As he would say, “Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye”!
So, there you have it! Number ones in January throughout the years! We hope you’ve enjoyed reflecting back on hits of yesteryear and that it’s rekindled your love of the old classics!