Aug 13

Popular ’95

Popular83 comments • 3,617 views

Year poll time! I give every No.1 a mark out of 10. In this poll, you can tick any that you would give 6 or more to. My highest marks this year went to Livin’ Joy and Coolio, my lowest to Robson And Jerome.

Which of these 1995 Number Ones would you give 6 or more to?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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Writing the 1995 entries has been tremendously enjoyable, reading the threads even more so. Thanks, as ever, to everyone who reads and comments on Popular and waits patiently for the oft-delayed new entries.

As ever, use the comments to share your own favourites from 1995, other lists, thoughts on the year in general, etc.


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  1. 51
    Steve Williams on 7 Aug 2013 #

    The Bluetones were a big enough deal in 1995 for my sixth form magazine to run two articles about them, one of which featured the wonderful sentence “The Bluetones are possibly the best Britpop band to come from Hounslow”. Praise indeed.

    As for Whale, the day after they appeared on Top of the Pops, I went on a trip to London with my Media A-Level class with the intention of getting to know better a cool indie chick who I’d taken a bit of a shine to, to the extent of bringing with me a copy of Select I could casually get out on the bus and impress everyone with my musical knowledge. It pretty much worked as well and my first proper conversation with her was, hooray, our shared liking of Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe.

    Sadly although we became friends I was never able to take this relationship any further, not even after I invited her to watch me do my hospital radio show. She went out with someone who played rugby instead. But I like the idea that, had this been the start of a proper relationship, Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe would have been Our Tune.

  2. 52
    James BC on 7 Aug 2013 #

    I still don’t understand all those Bluetones/Stone Roses comparisons. They are both great, but nothing like each other.

    The Bluetones’ lyrical sensibility actually reminds me of the Beautiful South (in a good way, usually), although musically they are very different.

  3. 53
    glue_factory on 7 Aug 2013 #

    Re: 51, Dodgy were arguably from Hounslow too, although I’m not sure which band I’d rate higher.

  4. 54
    23 Daves on 7 Aug 2013 #

    #49 – Most of their fans seem to say that! I heard it so often that I actually got a cheap copy of “Science & Nature” off Amazon so I could investigate for myself. It didn’t really blow me away and will probably be a CD I sacrifice to the charity shop in my imminent house move.

    They’re one of those bands whose first rush of singles seemed so amazing that I always wanted to like them more than I eventually did. For some time after “Expecting To Fly” friends of mine would mock me for saying that The Bluetones were going to become increasingly successful. (“Is ‘Marblehead Johnson’ at number one this week, Dave?”)

  5. 55
    Rory on 7 Aug 2013 #

    #54 – ah well, at least you gave it a shot. I certainly wouldn’t claim that the Bluetones outrank Britpop greats like Pulp, Blur, and… uh… Kenickie… but they gave me consistent pleasure over the years, and they deserve some sort of prize for Britpop band longevity. And they hung up their hats before it got embarrassing.

    Actually, if the Divine Comedy are considered Britpop I suppose they deserve the longevity prize, although given their personnel changes that would be more of a Well Done Neil Hannon For Not Dying prize.

  6. 56
    flahr on 7 Aug 2013 #

    A decent Bluetones greatest hits (by which I probably mean A Rough Outline) is definitely worthwhile. “If…”, “The Last of the Great Navigators”, “Marblehead Johnson”, “Solomon Bites the Worm”, “Colorado Beetle”, classics all, and that’s ignoring Expecting to Fly. I went to see one of the gigs on their farewell tour (dragged along a girl who left after the support band because she couldn’t face standing) and there was a slight return air of resentment from Mark that they never did better.

    We get to discover whether “Slight Return” was justly or unjustly kept off the top very soon!

  7. 57
    fivelongdays on 7 Aug 2013 #

    We all know that Common People is a CORKING song, Great Chart Injustice, blah, blah, blah, but I would, at best, put it as my third favourite single of 1995. That says more for what great songs my top three (or possibly four) are than it says anything against CP.
    Drumroll Please…

    At three (or possibly four) it’s Ash with Girl From Mars.

    You probably know this masterpiece of pop-punk-rock joyousness, but it bears repeating, the sounds of a summertime infatuation, the druggy rush – or rushy drug – of a crush slamming up against a gorgeous melody and guitars that were made for jumping up and down to. This song has, relatively recently, gained a very special meaning for me, and one which means I have to be very careful not to change the words when I sing along to it!

    At two…it’s The Supersuckers with Born With A Tail.

    Bang! This country-fried rock’n’roll masterpiece, recorded in the week or so when Rick Sims joined them, hits HARD. A simple story of a young man with a Satanically Enhanced Coccyx, Eddie Spaghetti’s boys never sounded more fresh, vital or joyous. As Eddie sings ‘YOU KNOW! I’m In League With Satan!” you feel the full force of The Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band In The World (or, at least, The Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band In The World You’ve Never Heard Of). It never made the charts which is, frankly, the charts loss.

    At One…it’s The Wildhearts with I Wanna Go Where The People Go.

    Where to start with this? Arguably the greatest intro to any record, ever (well, OK, MAYBE Welcome To The Jungle) shimmers and slams its way into your ears, then some lovely harmonies, a bouncy riff, and a truly exhilarating chorus, there is nothing to this song that could, or should, be added or subtracted to. In the halcyon days of Britpop, a song so rocking getting Chris Evans’ record of the week and the Wildies appearances on TOTP (at least partly down to Ric Blaxhill being a fan – and, as someone once told me, there’s no such thing as a casual Wildhearts fan) was pretty remarkable.

    Thus endeth my lesson.

  8. 58
    23 Daves on 7 Aug 2013 #

    #57 – I remember the enthusiasm for “I Wanna Go Where The People Go”, and I think Evans at least was disappointed he couldn’t make it a larger hit.

    Also, I definitely voted in Peel’s “Festive Fifty” in 1995, so will be at least partly responsible for the predictability of the end list. The only song I can definitely remember voting for was “Mis-Shapes” which I’m faintly embarrassed about now. In retrospect, it’s very easy to see that “Common People” is by far the better Pulp track, but I’d taped the Peel Session version of that off the radio in 1994 so by the time it became a hit it was actually over-familiar to me (and for all the band’s talk about going on gut instinct when rush-releasing the song as a single prior to “Different Class” being ready, it should be noted that it had a strong showing in the 1994 Festive Fifty as well – public voting had already indicated there was major interest).

    Secondly, I think I was naive enough to read the lyrics of “Mis-Shapes” as being some kind of righteous call-to-arms at the time, whereas now I see them as being a little bit dodgy, almost (but not quite) proto-chav bashing. Cocker would produce this kind of work again later in his career with “Fat Children” which has iffy undercurrents as well.

  9. 59
    fivelongdays on 7 Aug 2013 #

    I think to say ‘Mis-Shapes’ is “dodgy” does the song a disservice. Even now, it IS a call to arms, a rally cry for the too clever, bookish, awkward, weird types who Jarvis so excellently represented.

    On the other hand ‘Catcliffe Shakedown”, while amusing, has a seriously nasty streak.

  10. 60
    Steve Mannion on 7 Aug 2013 #

    #58/59 Yeah I lament the reductive argument about ‘Mis-Shapes’ (and it ties in a bit with what was talked about in the ‘Dreamer’ comments) where an attack on the mentality and attitude of suburban bullies based on personal but recognisable experience is conflated with ‘chav bashing’ (which by the time that complete term was established felt much more an attack on what its targets commonly wear and how they communicate than behaviour – also bearing in mind that in the ‘Mis-Shapes’ video the two factions are all over the place wardrobe-wise).

  11. 61
    swanstep on 8 Aug 2013 #

    @57, fivelongdays. I’m slightly ashamed to say that all of your top 3 songs were new to me. Better late than never I suppose; they’re lots of fun. Thanks!

  12. 62
    hardtogethits on 8 Aug 2013 #

    #58. Iffy undercurrents? Are you sure? So much of Jarvis’ stuff can be interpreted as a “call to arms”, but at no point does he suggest he’s comfortable with, less still enjoying, the situations he’s imagining and/or describing. A clearly more uncontroversial line-to-take would be one of “[you should] elevate your mind, free your soul” – but a refreshingly different and honest approach is to say “don’t allow yourself to become like the people you don’t like – take heed that if your values and behaviours become normalised by those around you, you may suffer as a result”. And in the case of Fat Children, this isn’t some nebulous or spiritual notion – it’s a song about inequalities, deprivation and childhood obesity. The lattermost is sometimes considered to be a consequence of the first two, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it need not be.

  13. 63
    Tom on 8 Aug 2013 #

    The thing that really dates Mis-Shapes – not in a bad way, I love period details like this in pop – is the “check your lucky numbers…” bit. Blur did a song about the National Lottery too, it was a Big Cultural Deal in a way that seems slightly odd now. If anyone can find a third Britpop Lottery song then we have AN OFFICIAL TREND.

  14. 64
    Rory on 8 Aug 2013 #

    swanstep @61: if “Girl From Mars” is new to you, you should get yourself a copy of Ash’s 1977 post-haste. I suspect you’d love it. Their follow-up was less exciting but the one after that, Free All Angels, was also good stuff.

  15. 65
    James BC on 8 Aug 2013 #

    The Ash best-of, Intergalactic Sonic 7s, is another good place to start. That gives you the good ones from before 1977 came out.

  16. 66
    hardtogethits on 8 Aug 2013 #

    #63 – a trend – I love that.
    1 case = anecdotal evidence,
    2 cases = data/comparison,
    3 cases = a trend.

  17. 67
    weej on 8 Aug 2013 #

    The bit of Mis-shapes I feel a bit odd about now is “the future that you’ve got mapped out / is nothing much to shout about” – because surely the problem is that aggressive anti-intellectuals / weirdo-haters (in my school this seemed to equate to Oasis fans, and with the lad culture thing emerging soon after it was clear that they had won the war) come from every strata of society, and some of them have very nice futures planned.

    (Catcliffe Shakedown is fairly nasty I suppose, yes, but the twist at the end really makes it. Don’t forget that this is the place they rehearsed in for six or seven years.)

    Unfortunately the word ‘chav’ has polluted the entire discourse around this issue. That’s the trouble with words and ideas – once they’ve got out into the world who knows who will use them for what ends?

  18. 68
    tm on 8 Aug 2013 #

    Their futures might be materially comfortable but intellectually and spiritually bankrupt. I think this is what Jarv was getting at.

  19. 69
    swanstep on 8 Aug 2013 #

    #64, 65. Thanks for the recommendations – will definitely explore (I always have to be led to this sort of ‘mainstream rock’, at which point I can really dig it). I think I may have confused Ash with Bauhaus-refugee Daniel Ash at the time!

  20. 70
    flahr on 8 Aug 2013 #

    #67 et al – surely it’s not any individual’s future, it’s the future of the world, it’s saying that the adult life that The Man has mapped out for the singer is one of drudgery and dis-satisfaction.

    In fact I find it very difficult to think of Mis-Shapes as ‘chav-bashing’ because to me it reads as a fairly straightforward class-war jag; it’s not ‘chavs’ the singer is railing against but conformist top-down society itself. Although reading the lyrics I can certainly see the other interpretation too.

  21. 71
    Ed on 8 Aug 2013 #

    @63 – ‘England’s Irie’, Black Grape, 1996: “We live in the land of class hypocrisy, we’re gonna win the National Lottery, ee-aye-addio I don’t think so.”

    It was a trend!

    Great song, too:


  22. 72
    Tom on 8 Aug 2013 #

    Always heard Mis-Shapes as a weirdo’s lib type of song, more even than a class-war one.

    The mid-90s Pulp song that anticipates the Fat Children end of things is Joyriders, no?

  23. 73
    Ed on 8 Aug 2013 #

    @66 – That is essentially the journalist’s first law of statistical analysis, which says one case is a story, two a striking coincidence, and three a trend that is sweeping the country.

    Other National Lottery / Britpop connections through the use of songs in adverts (from this excellent site: http://www.uktvadverts.com/home/Search.aspx?company=119) include Feeder (OK, Britrock, I guess), and some band called the Stone Roses.

    I am still enough of a puritan to be appalled by the use of The Impressions. Never would’ve happened while Mayfield was alive, surely?

  24. 74
    James BC on 8 Aug 2013 #

    [I said something someone had already just said]

  25. 75
    weej on 8 Aug 2013 #

    The trouble is the video, perhaps. From Owen Hatherley’s book:

    “We’re in a nightclub where a townies vs ‘us’ fight is brewing; ‘we’ again look like the members of Menswear and Cast, while ‘they’ are casuals, yet of a weirdly dated sort – rather than the Ben Sherman shirts and Puffa jackets of the genuine mid-90s thug, they’re dressed as the likely late-70s tormentors of Pulp themselves, dressed in Fred Perrys, skinny ties, sequins and wedges. 15 years later it’s all completely reversed, as the vintage tracksuits and overgrown Liam Gallagher shagcuts worn by ‘us’ in the video are much more likely to be the uniform of someone kicking your head in outside Wetherspoons, while the circa-1980 thug-wear worn by ‘them’ fits perfectly with the never-ending 1980s revival favoured by vaguely bohemian or indie youth.”

  26. 76
    tm on 8 Aug 2013 #

    When Oasis first broke through, they looked like their mums had dressed them: M&S sweaters and all that, the designer thug anoraks and Parkers came later. I remember when one of their endless re-launches had them in leather jackets and my brother commented ‘well, they’re just like The Charlatans now; another bunch of middle-aged hairdressers playing boring music’

  27. 77
    wwolfe on 8 Aug 2013 #

    My pick for Single of the Year in America would be “Waterfalls” by TLC. Looking at Billboard’s list of the 100 biggest American singles of ’95, I got some degree of enjoyment from “You Don’t Know How It Feels”/Tom Petty (#61), “Carnival”/Natalie Merchant (#60), “Roll to Me”/Del Amitri (#55), “Dear Mama”/2Pac (#51), “Runaway”/Janet Jackson (#29), “You Gotta Be”/Des’ree (#20), “Creep”/TLC (#3)and “Gangsta’s Paradise”/Coolio (#1). I should add there’s a bunch of songs I don’t know or can’t recall.

  28. 78
    glory-of-the-80s on 22 Sep 2013 #

    It’s an absolute crime that “Missing” by Everything But The Girl wasn’t #1 in ’95

  29. 79
    Patrick Mexico on 17 Jan 2014 #

    From a personal perspective, Dreadzone’s opening run of 2014 tour dates is quite something.


  30. 80
    Tom on 25 Jan 2014 #

    Popular (Not Popular) Top 10 – the records that spent most weeks in the Top 10 without being eligible for an entry here.

    1. Everything But The Girl – “Missing” (14 weeks)
    2. Oasis – “Wonderwall” (12 weeks)
    3. Boyzone – “Father And Son” (10 weeks)
    4. N-Trance – “Set You Free” (9 weeks, peak #2)
    5. Ini Kamoze – “Here Comes The Hotstepper” (9 weeks, peak #4)
    6=. Boyzone – “Love Me For A Reason” (8 weeks, peak #2)
    6=. Alex Party – “Don’t Give Me Your Life” (8 weeks, peak #2)
    6=. U2 – “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” (8 weeks, peak #2)
    9. Smokie – “Living Next Door To Alice (Who The F*** Is Alice?)” (8 weeks, peak #3)
    10. Bjork – “It’s Oh So Quiet” (8 weeks, peak #4)

    The Number Ones with the shortest stay in the Top 10 are Blur’s “Country House” and Oasis’ “Some Might Say” (i.e. “Wonderwall” is where Oasis break out of being a ‘fanbase band’). Neither Take That No.1 manages as many weeks in the Top 10 as either Boyzone one.

  31. 81
    Steve Mannion on 25 Jan 2014 #

    Fascinating that Blurasis didn’t stay in the top 10 longer with those much-hyped songs.

    The U2 song is a bit surprising there as although it was a big movie tie-in it wasn’t really one with mass appeal (or so you’d think based on its sound) nor is it really one of the band’s best-loved works. I’d give five of those 6 or more out of 10.

  32. 82
    Chelovek na lune on 1 Mar 2015 #

    Scottish/UK chart no 1 differences

    No 1 in Scotland but not UK :
    1) U2 – Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
    2) Oasis – Roll With It
    3) Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You
    4) N-Trance ft Ricardo da Force – Stayin’ Alive
    5) Meat Loaf – I’d Lie For You (And That’s The Truth)
    6) Beatles – Free As A Bird
    7) Mike Flowers Pops – Wonderwall

    No 1 in UK but not Scotland
    1) Livin’ Joy – Dreamer
    2) Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone
    3) Shaggy – Boombastic

    Slightly surprised to see Livin’ Joy miss out in Scotland; the general conservatism of the Scotland-only no 1s is quite marked. Notable too that Oasis beat Blur in the “battle of the britpop bands” week, but succumbed to Blur a week later. “Cotton Eye Joe” got a whole five weeks on top in Scotland.

  33. 83
    abaffledrepublic on 19 Oct 2016 #

    Late to this, but 1995 does seem to be the last year when the ‘silent majority’ records spent most of the year at no1. Most obviously Robson and Jerome, but also Simply Red’s only no1, Celine Dion and maybe even Michael Jackson fall into the category. Even if you’d known at the start of the year that new material was due from him, I think you’d have got good odds on him having two no1s from the same album. It was the year of Britpop, trip hop, jungle and handbag house, but those managed a grand total of four weeks at the top. If all the year’s no2 singles had made it, it would have felt much more representative, and certainly much stronger.

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