Nov 12

DOOP – “Doop”

Popular70 comments • 8,242 views

#703, 19th March 1994

doop One of the divisive things about disco was the apparent will to discofy anything and everything: no style, era, film theme or rock classic was safe. To haters it was proof of disco’s stultifying lack of creativity – why make something new when you could slap strings and a beat under the old? But there’s something a little utopian about it too – a sense that disco was the philosopher’s stone of pop, the perfect unifying sound that could turn anything into dancefloor gold.

Something of that survived in commercial dance music. While club music continued mutating and innovating at bewildering pace, its leaps forward took it into the charts less often. The gap was often filled by novelties – raved-up TV themes, videogame music, cover versions, and finally stand-ins for whole genres with a 4/4 thump grafted on. Hence “Doop”, some Europeans building their money-making vehicle from a xerox of a memory of a decade that had happened somewhere else, souping its engines up and letting it loose.

Of course it’s a very good record. I’m writing this on the 60th anniversary of the charts – how could I let it go without an entry? – and novelty is something they’ve always smiled on. If the Internet has damaged pop in Britain then some of it is that the web is simply a more efficient delivery system for the transient grin or thrill of annoyance.

Nobody buying “Doop” expected to be playing it in one year, never mind 18. A month would have been a shock. But it fully commits to its one idea, owns it and crafts it. While it’s never anything more than “the Charleston with a donk on it”, it’s also far more generous with its hooks and energy than one-line descriptions suggest. It does enough with its squealing horns and showy, tumbling drum samples that the entry of the scoo-be-doo vocals feels like a delightful bonus.

And when the 1990s grafts take hold fully the track is harder than you’d expect: by choosing the rapid, aggressive kick and pump of hardcore over softer, more inclusive house beats “Doop” stays as true as a cash-in can to its source material. The 20s, after all – the 20s we had handed down to us – were a giddy, dangerous decade and Doop treats that image with more respect than you might remember.



  1. 1
    Pete on 15 Nov 2012 #

    If we’re talking songs which have the same name as X-Men, I’m loving Angel instead.

  2. 2
    lonepilgrim on 15 Nov 2012 #

    when revisiting this in anticipation of this entry I was surprised how much I simultaneously enjoyed the tune while wishing never to hear it again soon (but then wanting to listen to it again after it had finished).

  3. 3
    hardtogethits on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Straight in at number three. That’s exactly where I want to be when writing about Doop. And it’s great to be able to give up on trying to think of cryptic lyrical references (to prompt the Popular entry), knowing that the next entry had no meaningful, discernible lyric.

    As with its predecessor, Doop marked out another “sliding doors” moment for me. Here in 2012, months can pass and it can feel like I am still engaged with precisely the same piece of work. In 1994, it would seem I was contemplating major career change on a monthly basis. This time around, a local “record” shop owner had decided to put his business up for sale. It was quite a pioneering enterprise, particularly quick to see the future of CDs and, laughably in many ways, cassette singles.

    My talks with the owner, selling the business, went well. He could see why I was interested, but I was less clear on why he was selling. So I asked him. “I’m just not into the music anymore”, he explained.* “I mean, how can bloody Doop be number one?”

  4. 4
    Steve Mannion on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Not quite the most (Intentionally) Annoying Eurodance #1 of the 90s…for me that comes soon. I do find this lesser than the sum of its parts though – that pumping beat is actually great and I’ve been known to like a shrill horn here and there…I think I just much prefer the Star Wars Cantina Band.

    Number 2 watch: Ace Of Base proving they were more than just one hit wonders with ‘The Sign’, and Bossy Bruce with ‘Streets Of Philadelphia’ possibly the glummest song to make the top 2 since ‘In The Year 2525’?

  5. 5
    hardtogethits on 15 Nov 2012 #

    * that trailing asterisk in #3. Yes, I was taking liberties in pretending to remember his exact words, but “Bloody Doop” was the two word phrase he used.

    Anyway, I didn’t share his disapproval or confusion. I thought it was alright, it’s meaningless meant it wasn’t contentious and crucially for me it wasn’t on an album. (Yeah, 7)

    To complete the record store story, I went to see a High Street bank about a business loan, armed with some facts, figures and forecasts. They gave me a clear line of their own – no matter how good your Business Plan, if you are not going to raise half the money you need on your own, we WOULD see the business as more ours than yours. And we just don’t do business on that basis. And for that reason I’m out. Again, might be misremembering the exact words.

  6. 6
    flahr on 15 Nov 2012 #

    In a word: incredibly charming [5]

  7. 7
    weej on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Talking of record shops, I visited a friend in Archway in about 2004 who was managing one, and found to my delight that they had the gold disc for this song on display, albeit in the back where nobody could see it but the staff. Not that they were ashamed of it or anything, but obviously putting it up in the front would’ve made them look a little silly ten years after the fact.
    Anyway, reactions surely depend on what you make of “this sort of thing” – i.e. novelty dance records – but as far as they go this is absolutely one of the best. An 8.

  8. 8
    Asher on 15 Nov 2012 #

    This just makes me want to listen to the vastly superior “Da Bop” from last year (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k6K-9YYuiA)

  9. 9
    punctum on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Two big hits from the early spring of 1994 which might have made sense to a wandering West London resident who had just turned thirty spring to mind. Although Blur’s “Girls And Boys” didn’t quite break the 40-a-day record set by “It’s A Sin,” the number of plays I gave it in the first week of its release must have exceeded 100 – a caustic, but not cruel, examination of what leads to the assumed mindlessness of en masse Club 18-30 package holidays, how drunkenness or ecstasy, with or without a capital E, can cut through boundaries of gender and consciousness without the subjects having to do much work (“But we haven’t been INTRODUCED!”). But the genuine exultation of its musical delivery and Stephen Sweet’s production made for yet another direct line to, or from, New Pop; Duran Duran if they’d been as good as they thought they were, with the missing “I Am The Fly” ointment (where guitars on Duran records tick away politely at the rear of the mix as though scared they might get the spotless surface mucked up, Coxon’s angry post-punk thrash balances out the soaring synths, Compass Point (Fulham Broadway subdivision) rhythm tracks and that discreet phasing which proves that 1967 is never too far away (Dave Dee and Co. would have had a second number one with “Girls And Boys”).

    “Streets Of Philadelphia” was Springsteen’s biggest British hit single, and I think his best; I remember my late first wife and I listening to it one greyish April Sunday evening as a police helicopter buzzed over Oxford railway station; it was flying low, its drone was unusually penetrating, and the windows were open. The drone gave a bitonal spice to Springsteen’s agonising quiet withering away (think of OMD’s “Statues” as a useful comparison point). The song cut right through the stagey, mis-focused dysfunctionalism of its parent film (where, exactly, was the gay?) with its wretched dignity, Springsteen accompanied by nothing save a low synth and pattering drums and/or drum machine. The video was even more remarkable, with Springsteen wandering the deserted streets, singing live straight to camera, or at least in the presence of the camera, mumbling the words, hushed, hunched and not prepared to be beaten even when he’s practically been beaten into the ground.

    Both of these singles were kept off number one by a silly, largely instrumental Dutch novelty dance track which sought to fuse Charleston and House, twenties and nineties methodologies of dancing yourself into a trance – the joy of repetition really is in you, indeed – and while the record was cute, in the sense of “cunning” rather than “endearing” or “precious,” it doesn’t take long for it to drive itself into its own dead end, repeatedly. The irony is that this is what the Greek holidaymakers were probably dancing to, or something like it, as Mr Albarn scribbled in the corner, wondering if there was any point in waking up; or a vague reminder in the prematurely wizening corners of the decaying mind of the Philadelphia streetwalker of what good life might once have promised.

  10. 10
    punctum on 15 Nov 2012 #

    …and before anyone says “b-b-but Girls And Boys only got to #5” they’re missing The Point.

  11. 11
    swanstep on 15 Nov 2012 #

    I don’t understand the love (‘Of course it’s a very good record’) for this at all. Why on earth was Doop a hit in 1994 rather than Lucas with the Lid Off?

  12. 12
    Mark G on 15 Nov 2012 #

    The First (only?) eponymous number one?

  13. 13
    James BC on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Has any other Charleston-influenced music ever been a hit?

    Does Paolo Nutini’s Pencil Full Of Lead count?

    Who makes the best use of the style, Doop or Nutini?

  14. 14
    Mark G on 15 Nov 2012 #

    22 Temperance Seven Charleston 1961

  15. 15
    punctum on 15 Nov 2012 #

    I wouldn’t have thought old Paolo’s tune was particularly Charleston-heavy. You could have heard stuff like this anywhere in fifties and sixties Glasgow (i.e. Alex Harvey would have known it well). Much prefer him to Doop, though.

  16. 16
    Tom on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Lucas With The Lid Off bored me at the time (and I just checked – it still does) – the mildly diverting 20s samples completely swamped by mediocre nasal rapping.

    Re. “Girls And Boys”, it’s still my favourite Blur single, one of those times you hear a track by a band you thought you had nailed down and it completely changes your ideas about them. I then thoroughly hated the rest of Parklife.

  17. 17
    thefatgit on 15 Nov 2012 #

    By the time Doop gets its fleeting moment in the spotlight, the M25 Raves of dubious legend are almost extinct. The rise of the Super Club (Ministry Of Sound, Cream, Gatecrasher), lifted from the Ibiza club scene, with their aggressive door policies and their £5-for-water is almost upon us. So Doop acts as a direct link between illicit alcohol consumption of the 1920’s, and shameless pill consumption of the 1990’s. The activity of organised criminals in flooding the black economies of both eras with dangerously sub-standard product (highly toxic amounts of unregulated home-made ethyl-alcohol in the 20’s, and MDMA cut down to less than 5% per pill, with who-knows-what used instead in the 90’s) casts a shadow over both social-lubricants which were largely perceived as “harmless” by their respective champions and users, but proved to be deadly by “The Authorities”. If only the people behind this piece of dancefloor frippery had spelled it “Dupe”, it could have been the greatest example of abstract social satire since possibly ever. Oh, well!

  18. 18
    Kat but logged out innit on 15 Nov 2012 #

    HEAR THIS and many more UK #1s at Poptimism presents Club Action presents POPULAR SPECIAL, Friday 30th November 8pm-1am downstairs at Ryan’s Bar, Stoke Newington Church St FREE ENTRY.

    Doop is so good I might play it twice.

  19. 19
    Steve Mannion on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Lucas With The Lid Off was exactly the size of hit it should’ve been (#37) – this is not an insult by any means (vaguely fond of it but not as much as of the Gondry video…Gondry still just under the radar profile-wise at this point but doing some of his most radical and challenging work for a random bunch of major cred-reseeking acts – Don Fagen, Sinead O Connor, TT D’erby – alongside Bjork) and by the end of the year he’d direct probably my favourite video of his – Massive Attack’s ‘Protection’.

  20. 20
    Moira Stewart on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Re comment #12

    The second eponymous number one. Mr Blobby beat Doop to it a couple of months earlier.

  21. 21
    swanstep on 15 Nov 2012 #

    I then thoroughly hated the rest of Parklife.

  22. 22
    MikeMCSG on 15 Nov 2012 #

    I had a sneaking fondness for this especially once all the “worst number one ever” hype got going.

    I’m with Tom on Parklife.

  23. 23
    Steve Mannion on 15 Nov 2012 #

    re #1 ah but which ‘Angel’ is best – MA’s?

    Ah go on then. A few good X-Men trax imo:

    Dean Martin ‘Sway’
    World Of Twist ‘Storm’
    DJ Shadow ‘Changeling’
    Zero 7 ‘Polaris’
    Thomas Bangalter ‘Colossus’ (my kind of Doop)
    Blur ‘Jubilee’
    Breeders ‘Cannonball’
    St. Vincent ‘Marrow’
    Last Shadow Puppets ‘Chamber’
    Ellen Allien ‘Magma’
    Jean-Jacques Perrey ‘E.V.A.’

  24. 24
    Tom on 15 Nov 2012 #

    #21/22 – I should have appended an ‘at the time’ really. I’ve softened to Parklife a bit since, or at least individual tracks from it sound way better now (“To The End” is a lovely tune tho Damon is a woeful singer for it; “End Of A Century” is good; “This Is A Low” is terrific)

    – title track aside it was never really the music that put me off, just the image, and the sudden gear shift between proto-Britpop and ACTUAL BRITPOP. But we’ll have plenty of time to talk about all that later.

  25. 25
    DietMondrian on 15 Nov 2012 #

    I remember hearing that toytown keyboard intro to Girls and Boys for the first time and becoming a Blur fan in an instant. It also cut through all the grunge landfill I was listening to at the time and awoke the dormant Kraftwerk/Human League/Pet Shop Boys fan within me.

    Strangely, these days I don’t care for the Parklife album much (apart from Girls and Boys and Badhead) and prefer their later, grungier stuff.

    Philadelphia is my favourite Springsteen song by a long chalk, though I’ll admit I know nothing else of his music beyond the big neck-bulging, histrionic hits.

    Doop is just a blank to me.

  26. 26
    Billy Hicks on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Absolutely fantastic!! I was utterly convinced this would get a 1, maybe 2 at best and I’d be the lone supporter in a field of “Ugh, this song’s dire” comments – but 7 is brilliant, nice to see it get such a good score :D

    I have no memories of this as a five year old, but oh my god the fifteen year old me of 2004 absolutely fell in love with this after a chance viewing of the video on VH1. After tracking down an mp3 I played it absolutely endlessly for – yep – about a month, the same time it was #1 originally, before the initial novelty wore off. It still has a lot of fun attached though and still raises a smile whenever it plays on my iPod. A January 2010 memory of it absolutely blasting out the speakers on a car trip to Newbury with my mate Matt (along with the rest of Now 27) is also a good one.

    It’s also a song that exists in different forms depending on the radio or video edit – the radio ‘Urge 2 Merge’ mix which appears on all the compilations and the main track on the CD single is almost two songs in one, starting off one way and a sudden drum solo bridging the gap for the part 2. The video edit uses the ‘Sidney Berlin Ragtime’ mix which is just the first part repeated over and over for the entire three minutes, making it even more repetitive. Both are wonderful fun, and ‘The Sign’ is a fantastic #2 as well – Ace of Base’s best song.

    Not that big a fan of Girls & Boys or Parklife, although a bunnied #1 next year I loved at the time. It’s not until we get to ‘The Universal’ for me that Blur go from a nice bit of nostalgia to something quite brilliant.

  27. 27
    tm on 15 Nov 2012 #

    I found Girls and Boys fascinating when it came out. It was nicely between the novelty-dance tracks that had caught my ear over the past couple of years and the racketty guitar music I was starting to get into. I didn’t have reference points like ‘art-school’, ‘indie’ or for that matter ‘blur’, but I had a sense that these guys were somewhere between nerds and yobs. I’ve heard lots of people hold it up as an example of Albarn and Blur sneering at the working classes, but it always sounds like the mini-bio of (that era of) Blur to me: they’ve clocked the yobs at play, they like it and they reckon they’re savvy enough to know how to join in and play the game to their advantage. And it worked. Until some more authentic yobs turned up to piss on their chips. But much more of that later.

    I found Doop really annoying at the time, probably on principle: I must have caught some serious teenage image-conciousness since genuinely enjoying Blobby just a few months previous. I will have to listen to it again…

  28. 28
    Steve Mannion on 15 Nov 2012 #

    I’ll give Doop a bit more credit for not being as naff as Dorothy’s ‘Blind Date’ theme sampling ‘What’s That Tune (Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo)’ which charted in Dec ’95. Don’t suppose that one made it to the continent?

    But moving a little further in time and era theme I do still love Apollo Four Forty’s only ever so slightly similar tribute to Gene Krupa from ’96.

    Then in ’97 German techno pillar Sven Väth managed to create a naffer still ‘Fusion’ of that and ‘Doop’ in turn. I expect it was his biggest hit tho.

  29. 29
    Cumbrian on 15 Nov 2012 #

    My initial thought on listening to this was “blimey, those drums are amazing” and really getting on well with the track whilst the horns and clarinet were in evidence at the beginning. Then the house beat stomps all over the bits I like best for most of the rest of the run time. Then I went further into Youtube and listened to a load of big band stuff that I’d never heard before and followed my nose to clips of Gene Krupa in various 40s films showing off his loose limbs and entertaining style, clips of Benny Goodman’s Jazz Band with guys using bowler hats as mutes for their trumpets and basically giving really good “show”, meandering over a load of swing stuff, culminating in stumbling over the video of Animal having a drum battle against Buddy Rich and finding it all very amusing, after having had quite a good time listening to all this big band stuff that I’d never really given a go. Maybe I’ll try and give some of this a proper listen.

    I’d have never have done this without Doop. So it scores points for that (and the opening 30 odd seconds) at least. It’s also fuckloads better than Scatman John. For me though, the source seems more fun than the #1 at hand.

  30. 30
    thefatgit on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Donna Summer took the idea of plundering the past (albeit stylised with Moroder sheen) with “I Remember Yesterday”, the title track from her ’77 LP. It’s even got a few “doops” on it.

  31. 31
    heather on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Also a rather arty pastel video.

  32. 32
    Brendan on 15 Nov 2012 #

    When it comes to videos with sinister rictus smiles I’ll take Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’. This is pretty darn awful though anything had to be better than Mariah’s torturous warbling.

    And ‘Parklife’ is one of my top 20 albums of all time.

  33. 33
    Tim Byron on 16 Nov 2012 #

    Doop was a #5 in Australia. I recall finding this a guilty pleasure at the time, I suspect half because of the video which had a certain self-knowledge of the song’s own ridiculousness – they’re in on the joke, whatever it is exactly. Now I listen again for the first time in years and oh god it’s so repetitive, it’s unbearable. Even if the idea is a clever one, which it is. But I suspect it wouldn’t be half the earworm it is without the sheer repetition, and that’s the whole point. A brief googling suggests the same producers behind this were also responsible for ‘Here’s Johnny’ by Hocus Pocus (a number one in Australia, but not very big in the UK? I remember being amazed that there was a #1 single that almost literally had no melodic content whatsoever).

    ‘Girls And Boys’ was the very first I’d heard of Blur (it was a #19 here) and I don’t think they registered on my consciousness after that until ‘Country House’ and the (amused Australian news reporters using ridiculousness of the British press as the light relief comedy item to end the news re: the) whole Oasis vs Blur title fight to #1 thing. I remember being surprised when I eventually got the Parklife album, ten years later, that the version I knew was actually a remix. In retrospect, it was fairly obvious why my original impression of Blur was that they were a bit like the Pet Shop Boys. I remember thinking the song was another public service announcement song like ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’.

  34. 34
    jim5et on 16 Nov 2012 #

    Oh, I loved this. And since this is the Girls and Boys thread too, that was the point I gave up on the vendetta I’d had against BLur since they drove up the price of Burtons suits in every charity shop in Brighton and my housemate spent a month watching Starshaped every day. I remember going to see My Life Story (yes, I know) supporting them at Sussex the previous summer, grudgingly hanging around to see the headliner, and being entirely blown away by how undeniably great Girls and Boys was.

  35. 35
    glue_factory on 16 Nov 2012 #

    @17, in my mind the superclub has already arrived. Certainly, when I found myself dancing in the basement of a Great Portland Street pub 6 months from now (with Witchita, I believe!) to proto-Big-Beat, the press seemed happy to talk about it being a reaction to those superclubs and their superstar djs, dress-codes and reliance on 4/4 beats.

    I wonder why the more credible dance records weren’t charting at this point. Had the various scenes splintered so much that no individual scene wielded enough purchase power to propel their floor-fillers into the charts? I tried to think of records that might span different genres and came up with Hardfloor’s Aceperience which would have got played in house as well as techno clubs (and the aforementioned Social). But that came out in 1992 originally, so maybe those wide-appeal records spread their sales over months and years.

  36. 36
    thefatgit on 16 Nov 2012 #

    #35 Small world! I tore a cruciate ligament dancing in that very basement a few years ago. My poor knees are both shot to pieces due to partying a little too hard.

  37. 37
    Steve Mannion on 16 Nov 2012 #

    The original release of ‘Acperience’ actually charted at a relatively impressive #56 during Xmas week ’92. It would’ve been amazing to hear Goodier playing that at 4pm on a wintry Sunday (would’ve meant I’d have heard it three years before I actually did too).

    Annoyingly The Official Charts Company finally made ChartStats remove their charts. Would be fine except OCC site only lists the Top 40 so now where do you go to check full Top 75/100s from the past?

    Credibility-wise, soulful/tasteful Garage tunes were charting (Degrees Of Motion, Juliet Roberts, Crystal Waters, Loveland…) if they count but I guess it was more about the likes of ‘Son Of A Gun’ and ‘I Like To Move It’ at this point.

  38. 38
    Brendan on 16 Nov 2012 #

    #37 – I’m bloody annoyed about chartstats too. How can the OCC claim copyright for something that they don’t even publish?

  39. 39
    speedwell54 on 17 Nov 2012 #

    I am pleased about the general favourable feelings towards “Doop”. Yes a novelty, but not silly. When I first heard “We Speak No Bunnies” from 2010, it immediately reminded me of this. A true one hit wonder, they did attempt a follow up – “Huckleberry Jam” , no me either. They changed their name to Hocus Pocus and had an Australian No1 in ’95 with “Here’s Johnny’ -think 2Unlimited v Jack Nicholson and you won’t be far off. If you exclude homegrown acts, it’s about the only Australian No1 of that decade that wasn’t a sizeable hit over here.

    I bought a copy of this on vinyl from a small record shop in Halifax, but broke it later the same day. On returning home, I realised I had lost my keys and couldn’t get back into the house. I used the edge of the single and wedged it between the lock and the frame of the conservatory entrance. Eventually I managed to release the catch allowing me to get back in. You could say this was my “sliding doors” moment.

  40. 40
    hardtogethits on 17 Nov 2012 #

    #39. Comedy genius!

    Alternative response = “(Gasp!) you’ve got a conservatory!” (Thank you Craig Cash, Phil Mealey)

    But it wouldn’t work to pretend I’d missed out on The Punchline.

  41. 41
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 17 Nov 2012 #

    On first hearing, the LP “Doop Circus” is kind of terrific (I say this as a proud owner of the entire crazy frog corpus — but then I would have put m.frog on the cover of the wire, so there we are, yr mileage may vary, it takes all kinds, spice of life’s a b!tch and then we cry ect ect)

    Is the Sidney (of Sidney Berlin Ragtime Band) Sidney Bechet?

  42. 42
    speedwell54 on 18 Nov 2012 #

    Re Hardtogethits at 40 ,3,5.

    Firstly thanks, good to know at least one person gets it. I’m never quite sure where to pitch things. For fear of turning this into a mutual respect forum, I like your comments too; always interesting and beautifully written, great knowledge and I get your references. Hence…

    Secondly, much respect for the “conservatory”* quote, was a big fan.

    Thirdly, very subtle, people might be missing The Purpose. Could get proper kvetched!

    *(Early Doors, Series 2 Episode 4 Part 2 on Youtube, watch scene from 3.20)

  43. 43
    punctum on 18 Nov 2012 #

    #37: Balls to the Official Crap Company, who don’t hesitate to tweet chart spoilers on Sunday before the charts are fully counted down but feel obliged to stamp corporately on harmless but highly informative NON-PROFIT Chart Stats. If it breaches copyright (how does it?), why are you not putting out more post-Guinness chart update books? Or perhaps these would contain as many elementary mistakes as the last Guinness chart book. Admit it, Chart Stats pwned you because they did something you should have set up years ago, instead of sitting on your lazy, smug copyright arses.

    Yet another example of old ways ruining everyone else’s new ways (just like you threw out Sharon Mawer’s album chart surveys, presumably because they might have confused the eight-year-old One Direction fans you’re so obviously trying to attract), whereas I sigh yet again that the only way humanity is going to survive, let alone progress, is if it does so together, sharing common information instead of pulling up drawbridges.

  44. 44
    Lazarus on 18 Nov 2012 #

    I wish I’d printed the old charts off now while I had the chance (or, more cheaply, copied them out) – looks like I shouldn’t chuck out my old Record Mirrors (1983-88) just yet. A Chartstats (random chart)/Youtube night used to be quite entertaining when there wasn’t much on TV.

    If anyone’s interested I’m quite happy to start posting Top 75s from the mid-80s on the relevant No. 1 threads.

  45. 45
    Steve Mannion on 18 Nov 2012 #

    More justified annoyance at https://www.facebook.com/OfficialCharts?filter=2

  46. 46
    swanstep on 18 Nov 2012 #

    Argh, incredibly irritating about chartstats. For what it’s worth, The Internet Archive Wayback Machine has various at least partial snapshots of the site here. I checked the July 19 2012 snapshot and it seemed fairly complete so if you want to slurp up the data you still can, at least mostly (don’t delay if that’s your intention tho’).

    So, what is the official alternative site?

    Last point: the charts are part of history, just as dates, times, sales, box office info are. Chartstats and sites like it must have a legal defence of *some way* of presenting their information. Somebody needs to work that out and make the proper safe harbour formula and associated guidelines commonly available.

  47. 47
    Steve Mannion on 18 Nov 2012 #

    Huge amount of scans at http://scans.chartarchive.org/UK/ at least.

  48. 48
    Steve Mannion on 18 Nov 2012 #

    Another (inelegant) workaround would be using sites like YouTube and apps like Spotify to compile the charts as they were. Missing tracks can still be listed, and in YT’s case they don’t even need to be the actual songs as long they’re listed as such on the playlist itself.

  49. 49
    punctum on 19 Nov 2012 #

    Many thanks for all these sets of links; nice to have the Record Mirror lists available online, I must say. The robot blandness of the OCC website response to the ChartStats complaints is sadly predictable. It really does beggar belief. If they want to make money out of their charts (if NME, BMRB and Gallup charts can be said to be “theirs”) then why not publish books of them, both singles and albums? Yes, they’d be pretty big and presumably priced to match, but there’d be a definite audience for them.

    As I understand things, the relative paucity of chart books in recent years has been a direct consequence of the “who needs them, they can look them up on ChartStats” way of thinking. So bully your biggest rival out of meaningful existence and provide your own, extremely meagre online “archive” as the only point of reference; nice way to mark 60 years of the singles chart, eh?

  50. 50
    punctum on 19 Nov 2012 #

    Actually, if OCC really wanted to clean up on profits they’d be offering Matt at ChartStats a job with them, transferring his data over to their website. I’m sure there’d be more than enough sponsors interested to keep it going financially and, moreover, plenty of advertisers would also be attracted. Set those potential profits against, say, selling old Top 50 charts for a fiver a throw (as I understand is the plan), and really it’s a no-brainer. Much better than living in the King Canute-like past and pretending that Napster, downloads etc. are only passing fancies and the old way of doing things will thrive. It won’t even survive.

  51. 51
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 19 Nov 2012 #


    KC sat there with waves in his socks to demonstrate to the suck-ups in his court that he was LESS powerful than the the sea, and could they please stop sucking up because it was annoying him. ie he was precisely the one *not* living in the ” King Canute-like past”

    I know this is irrelevant to punctum’s point and everyone knows what is meant but it I guess is my “iconic” :)

  52. 52
    DietMondrian on 19 Nov 2012 #

    Or did he genuinely believe he could turn back the tide, and it was a clever bit of spin by an 11th century Alastair Campbell to portray him as having done it to make a point to his court?

    *Punctum’s point recedes further into distance*

  53. 53
    punctum on 19 Nov 2012 #

    Yes well let’s stop that now (on a thread about “Doop” but never mind).

    I’m not completely unsympathetic to OCC’s point of view but if I owned the copyright to these charts I would have done more with them – this past week was a missed golden opportunity to do so – instead of just waiting for somebody else to make something of them then acting all hurt over infringement rather than engaging with the other person.

    Or maybe the internet is now destined, not to bring humanity forward by sharing information, but to drag humanity back to the Middle Ages complete with feudal lords and serfs.

  54. 54
    Mark G on 19 Nov 2012 #

    There was a ‘chart stats’ book back in the mid-seventies, listed all the hit singles and their positions each week, partitioned by month..

    So, the first month would list all the singles in chart order for the first week, followed by all the singles that made it in subsequent weeks, and each position placed in the column, until the next month…


    Anyway, I believe this book was also withdrawn for similar reasons. Certainly, it went out-of-print pretty quickly.

  55. 55
    hardtogethits on 19 Nov 2012 #

    #54 That book was called “Top Twenty” and was ‘by’ Tony Jasper. It stuck around surviving several updates into the 1990s. Its earliest edition was AFAIK 1976 (covering charts to 1975), and its latest AFAIK 1994.

    I spoke to a lawyer – a real one – today about this whole business. She strongly advised against speculation (what lawyer wouldn’t say “leave it to the lawyers if you don’t know the law”). There’s stuff I’m keen to say about the Jasper book, the GRRR Guinness Books etc., and I think it would illuminate the discussion a bit – but I’ll have to be careful in what I say, so it will take a little longer.

  56. 56
    hardtogethits on 20 Nov 2012 #

    Following on, and treading carefully, and avoiding analogies which may distract from the key points:

    The charts are available under legitimate, official, licensed arrangements by people who do not make a profit – for example, see ukchartsplus.co.uk. This does not mean the charts are available for free. I must also declare at this stage that I have no financial interest in ukchartsplus.co.uk.

    If the OCC were to take anything less than a hard line with sites that do NOT have official licensing agreements, this may create tension with the tiny, loss-making organisations who have paid for and dutifully observed licensing agreements with the OCC over the years – of which ukchartsplus.co.uk is only one example.

    There are a number of people who already think “I could produce a fantastic chart website if I chose to operate outside my (organisation’s) licensing agreement, but I choose to observe that agreement”.

  57. 57
    wichita lineman on 21 Nov 2012 #

    HTGH, ukchartsplus.co.uk is loss making and it charges £5.50 an “issue”?

    Football clubs were being threatened for reproducing league tables not long ago before bad publicity led the prosecutors – I can’t remember if it was the FA or some shadowy third party – to back down.

    There should be a way for people to get chart information which has been in the (printed) public domain for a very long time.

  58. 58
    hardtogethits on 21 Nov 2012 #

    Hi Wichita and thanks for the comments – which allow me to open up a bit!

    Last point first, I think you know I agree with you as strongly as possible that the chart information should be made available affordably to the public. I’m as frustrated as anyone by what the OCC fails to give out by way of accessible chart data – and, like you IIRC, I’ve even approached them to suggest what people might like by way of OCC product!

    Re ukchartsplus.co.uk. Yes, loss making. And the previous owner of that particular business gave up on it because it was loss making. As you point out, it’s not cheap to one-off purchasers, and not particularly cheap to annual subscribers. However, the people who put in the enormous amount of work don’t pay themselves for the time they spend on it. From this, it’s possible to deduce:

    1. The licensing fees from the OCC are the major cost, and it’s hard to make the business work and
    2. Nevertheless, people are so determined to put the charts in the public domain under a proper licensing agreement, that they are prepared to invest money in it as well as time.

    Database law is complex, and being tested across Europe. V complex stuff to do with intended location of audience, intellectual effort invested and all sorts of stuff I don’t understand toooo well. However, I gather the ‘feeling’ (the spirit of case law, if you will) is that league tables are so easy to compile in the first place that it is hard to make a case for them to be copyrightable. Anyone publishing a league table is AS likely to have worked it out for themselves (and got the same results as official league tables) as to have ‘copied’ the official league tables. Contrast this with fixture lists, though – these are NOT easy to compile / construct, and anyone who did so would not emerge with a list that matched the official list. Therefore, trying to find a comprehensive but UNlicensed list of fixtures is surprisingly hard. Even professional clubs (tend to) list only their own fixtures, and of course under licence. I see charts as being quite similar to fixture lists in this respect.

  59. 59
    Lena on 24 Nov 2012 #

    Happy 5th Anniversary to us! Marcello and I were married five years ago today in Toronto, on a dancefloor, with the great Scott Woods as both our best man and our DJ. (This posting should be, properly, with Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” as it was a transatlantic #1 at the time, but this will more than do.)

  60. 60
    hardtogethits on 24 Nov 2012 #

    First record to be simultaneously a) the most recent Popular entry, and b) featured on Strictly Come Dancing?
    Or Did I miss Kimberley and Pasha dancing to Mr Blobby?

  61. 61
    Jimmy the Swede on 24 Nov 2012 #

    Happy Annie, Lena and Marcello. The 5th is your “Wood”, apparently.

  62. 62
    highnmighty on 25 Nov 2012 #

    Yay! Happy birthday to Stuart for Tuesday (I think it’s Tuesday). He hates that James Blunt record!

  63. 63
    hardtogethits on 3 Dec 2012 #

    I was musing over the weekend – thinking that from this point on it became more common to enter at #1 than to climb to number one. Not so. We’ve a wee while to wait before that particular trend emerges.

    So bang goes my theory that “After this record, everything changes.” Take that, reliance on memory! Retrospective research wins the fight again!

  64. 64
    Erithian on 31 Dec 2012 #

    Time for the annual review of how far we’ve come in this project. Here’s where we’ve been at the end of each calendar year:

    2003 Great Balls Of Fire (#66, Jan 58 – 5 years 2 months, 66 entries in the year)
    2004 A World Without Love (#167, Apr 64 – 6 years 3 months, 101)
    2005 Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine (#222, Aug 66 – 2 years 4 months, 55)
    2006 Get It On (#302, Jul 71 – 4 years 11 months, 80)
    2007 Lonely This Christmas (#362, Dec 74 – 3 years 5 months, 60)
    2008 This Ole House (#477, Mar 81 – 6 years 3 months, 115 (plus the Pistols!))
    2009 I Want To Wake Up With You (#575, Aug 86 – 5 years 5 months, 98)
    2010 World In Motion (#646, Jun 90 – 3 years 10 months, 71)
    2011 No Limit (#685, Feb 93 – 2 years 8 months, 39)
    2012 Doop (#703, Mar 94 – 1 year 1 month, 18)

    Of course it’s been Popular’s slowest year, and the first year in which the tally of new number ones (36) has exceeded the tally that Tom has covered. There’s been a post every month except August and December, and bursts of activity with six in 20 days in spring and 3 in 4 days in September. But overall it’s been a year in which Real Life and having kids (and boy can I identify with that) has slowed our leader down considerably. But with 16 September next year being the 10th anniversary of Tom’s first post on Al Martino, let’s hope that the good ship Popular gets a fresh following wind. Thanks as ever Tom and Happy New Year to all commenters past, present and future.

  65. 65
    enitharmon on 31 Dec 2012 #

    Ten years? Blimey, I know I wasn’t here right from the beginning (I arrived somewhere in late 1961 I think, just about the time my embryonic interest in pop was beginning to sprout) but is it really that long?

  66. 66
    Erithian on 11 Jan 2013 #

    And re Doop – just watched the video and it was pretty horrible, particualrly the insistent repetition of that shrill high-pitched phrase – then out of curiosity watched the clip from Strictly Come Dancing and it made a lot more sense!

  67. 67
    benson_79 on 27 Dec 2020 #

    Presume I’m missing some kind of clever in-joke here, because otherwise this is terrible gimmicky nonsense.

  68. 68
    Andrew F on 28 Dec 2020 #

    Is your objection to the concept, the materials, the execution? What would a good version of this sound like?

  69. 69
    Gareth Parker on 20 May 2021 #

    I can’t go any higher than a 3/10 here, I’m afraid.

  70. 70
    Mr Tinkertrain on 9 Feb 2022 #

    Somehow I’d never heard this song until right now. Maybe if I’d heard it as a kid I might feel more fondly towards it.

    As it is, it sounds like something they’d play at Guantanamo Bay. 1/10 is about fair.

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