Aug 13

Popular ’95

Popular85 comments • 4,882 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?

View Results

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. 31
    Tom on 3 Aug 2013 #

    Those TLC tracks would have got high marks from me (“Waterfalls” especially) and so would, er, “Stayin Alive” by N Trance. That’s definitely one of the better U2 songs too.

  2. 32
    hardtogethits on 3 Aug 2013 #

    #18. 600%, surely?

  3. 33
    swanstep on 3 Aug 2013 #

    @Hardtogethits,32. Yes! (I knew I had that wrong even as I typed it.)

    Those mid-’90s Mariah hits have blurred together for me too (e.g., I vividly remember that one had an amazingly expensive James Bond-style video, but which hit that was hasn’t stuck – it was the pretty good ‘Honey’), but checking now Fantasy was the “‘Tom Tom Club’ sample one”. It’s OK I suppose; I imagine that if you didn’t know the TTC original then it probably sounded pretty fantastic.

  4. 34
    Ed on 3 Aug 2013 #

    @5, @9 – The idiosyncrasies are often the most interesting things about those publications’ round-ups, aren’t they?

    ’74-’75 is not quite a lost REM song, I think: the lyrics are too direct for Michael Stipe. He’s a bit younger, too: it should have been ’78-’79 if he’d written it.

    You are right, though, that it is in the same territory as REM, and while it is deeply sentimental, it is still lovely. One of the rare examples of middle-aged rock actually having something to say about being middle-aged.

    MM’s high placing for Hobo Humping etc is less defensible, IMO. The answer to the question “what would happen if you combined The Red Hot Chili Peppers with The Sugarcubes?” turns out to be “something intensely annoying.”

    I always thought they redeemed themselves slightly by having originally been called Tokyo Sex Whale, after the ANC activist and politician Toyko Sexwale, but Wikipedia doesn’t support that theory.

  5. 35
    Ed on 3 Aug 2013 #

    Other people who really ought to be bands: there is a US-based economist called Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, who I imagine got great reviews from the NME in 1981.

  6. 36
    Mark M on 3 Aug 2013 #

    Re 28: I’m sure like a lot of people on here, I love both those TLC songs. I’m also really like Mariah’s Fantasy – in my case it was possible (re 33) to be fully aware (and a fan of) Genius Of Love and like the way the sample is used. Also, loosely in relation to the long-running/why are you even mentioning it again? argument about TV talent shows and the Mariah (etc) effect, one of the things I like about Fantasy is that it uses Mariah roaming free at the top of her range essentially as a (pleasing) layer of noise.

    Fantasy, then, is the one with the roller-coaster video, and Heartbreaker the one where she fights herself in the cinema toilet, and the bloke from Stand By Me/Sliders is in it. The Honey vid reminds me of In Like Flint than Bond (either that or it anticipates Archer).

    Re 11: I remember being very disappointed by Oasis sneaking their way on to The Face’s list. Poor, I felt. Still, at least they’ve got Meth and Mary J at the top, and found a place for D’Angelo’s retro loverman classic Brown Sugar.

  7. 37
    Mark M on 3 Aug 2013 #

    Re 14: At #29 that should be The Flaming Stars , not The Flaming Lips.

  8. 38
    swanstep on 3 Aug 2013 #

    @Mark M.,36. To be clear, I liked Fantasy too; I was just guessing that Fantasy would have been much more intoxicating if that was where one was first hearing those TTC hooks.

    FWIW, I find the singles from Mariah’s breakthrough period when she used full-on whistle-voice a lot (e.g., on Emotions) and those from her comeback period in the ’00s more memorable than, to have more personality than those from the mid/late ’90s.

  9. 39
    thefatgit on 3 Aug 2013 #

    #37, thanks for the correction. If benevolent passing admin is able to correct my post @14, as Mark M has indicated, I would be very grateful.

  10. 40
    ace inhibitor on 3 Aug 2013 #

    people who should be bands: the nicely assonant 60s/70s footballer, Pop Robson

  11. 41
    mapman132 on 3 Aug 2013 #

    #30 Interesting list. All except two of them were also hits in the US (in fact all top 10, except “Insensitive” at #12). And I do remember them well.

    Of the remaining two, I first listened to “Here’s Johnny” a few months ago. VERY bizarre to think something like this could be #1 in 1995 – it would be strange even today.
    The other one is “Stayin’ Alive” – I’m assuming a Bee Gees remake.

  12. 42
    mapman132 on 3 Aug 2013 #

    Whoops, minor mistake from my previous post: “Hold Me” only reached #16 in the US. It seemed like a bigger hit though.

  13. 43
    Patrick Mexico on 4 Aug 2013 #

    I think my childhood imperial phase ended, aged 10, on 31 December 1995 when some dodgy smoked salmon at a party at Sherwood Forest Center Parcs (YES! I’M PAINFULLY MIDDLE-CLASS! GET OVER IT!) made me projectile vomit all night. This should mean good things for future Popular entries, as the nosedive in nostalgic warmth means I’m going to be a right cranky, horrible bastard from next year onwards. The great thing about 1996 is that at least in the first half, most entries will score handsomely on the “deviation” mark.. the latent scent of Marmite.

  14. 44
    Will on 4 Aug 2013 #

    Re 34: Incidentally, there used to be a techno night in Bristol around this time (’94, ’95) named Tokyo Sex Whale.

  15. 45
    Rory on 4 Aug 2013 #

    #41 How quickly I forgot – “Here’s Johnny!” was by the people behind “Doop”, performing under a different name. But I agree, an unlikely number one anywhere/when (now that I’ve reminded myself of how it went).

    N-Trance is a rapped and sampled cover of the Bee Gees, yes.

    I hadn’t realised Merril Bainbridge’s song was such a hit in the US. An Aussie singer. Here’s a link with Popular ’95 (and ’65 and ’85, come to that): she subsequently performed a duet with Shaggy.

  16. 46
    swanstep on 5 Aug 2013 #

    N-trance’s ‘Stayin’ Alive” got to #3 in NZ (but had 19 weeks in the charts so ’twas pretty big). N-trance’s next cover-tastic recycling, of Rod Stewart’s ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’, did, however, get all the way to #1. Subsquent recyclings of G’n’R’s Paradise City and of Mister Mr’s (!) Broken Wings got to #4 and #43 respectively. It’s all a bit disappointing after the genuinely beloved, instant classic, ‘Set You Free’.

    I liked the demented ‘Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe’ at the time (it got a big push in the US from its video being a fave of Beavis and Butthead) and eventually picked up Whale’s album very cheaply a year or so later – it wasn’t great. Second best track was the fresh ‘Young, Dumb and Full Of Cum’ so there’s that.

    BTW, if anyone hasn’t seen it, Chic’s whole Glastonbury gig, all 1 hr 36 mins of it, is up on youtube, http://youtu.be/WmYSf52bncc. One for the ages.

  17. 47
    23 Daves on 6 Aug 2013 #

    #17 – My memory might be faulty, but I’m sure I remember The Bluetones being a very big deal indeed when they first emerged, with a lot of press talk about how they were the New Stone Roses. I still maintain that their first few singles were marvellous, but “Expecting To Fly” was patchier than expected, and from there on it seemed to be diminishing returns both in terms of sales and quality of output (though their diehard fans would disagree with me).

    I also saw them live during their first flush but can remember absolutely nothing about the gig whatsoever other than that it was very hot and crowded. Given that I can remember gigs by no-hopers such as Spitfire in more detail, that doesn’t say much for their stage presence at that time.

  18. 48
    Steve Mannion on 6 Aug 2013 #

    This was my top 25 of the year as compiled at the time (the first year I did this properly) – includes a few from the previous year whether initially album tracks that became singles in ’95 (e.g. ‘Poison’) or re-releases/re-entries.

    1. Leftfield Halliday – Original
    2. Goldie – Angel
    3. Massive Attack – Protection
    4. Ruffneck ft. Yavahn – Everybody Be Somebody
    5. Oasis – Some Might Say (lol token ‘indie’)
    6. Nookie – Only You
    7. Biosphere – Novelty Waves
    8. Splash – Babylon (DJ SS Remix)
    9. The Prodigy – Poison
    10. Therapy? – Loose (Photek Remix)
    11. Tricky – Black Steel
    12. CJ Bolland – Starship Universe
    13. Alex Reece – Pulp Fiction
    14. Black Grape – Reverend Black Grape
    15. Nookie – A Drum, A Bass And A Piano
    16. De’Lacy – Hideaway
    17. Ray Keith – Sing Time
    18. New Order – Blue Monday (Hardfloor Mix)
    19. T Power vs DJ Trace – Mutant Revisited (Rollers Instinct Mix)
    20. The Bucketheads – The Bomb!
    21. Everything But The Girl – Missing (Todd Terry Mix)
    22. Carlito – Heaven
    23. Ken Ishii – Extra
    24. Alex Reece – Feel The Sunshine
    25. Pascal – P Funk Era

    I still rate most of those now tho a few scream ‘too high’ including ‘Original’ which is really not better than ‘Protection’ as a cool plodder and not exactly the highlight of ‘Leftism’ either – can’t really explain my thinking there, should’ve just put De’Lacy top oh well.

  19. 49
    Rory on 7 Aug 2013 #

    #47 – I must be a diehard fan, I guess, because I rate 2000’s Science and Nature as their best album, and the 2006 The Bluetones is also very good. Tracks like Autophilia, Mudslide and Baby Back Up are all fine listening. Saw them live somewhere around 2004/5, and they were great performers too.

  20. 50
    Cumbrian on 7 Aug 2013 #

    47 & 49: I saw The Bluetones at a gig at about this time – maybe 96? – which is why I am surprised that they were so rated early in their career (we went because it was the first gig by a name band in the area for some time – and we needed to support it, so that other bands might have turned up. It worked! After a fashion. The Manics turned up with Mansun in support and Weller played gigs on the way up to T In The Park). They were fine but I don’t think they were shattering by any stretch.

    I sort of agree with Rory in as much as I think a decent greatest hits by The Bluetones is a decent enough listen – they were still capable of a tune even late in their career – but I’d stop short of recommending albums by them, with the possible exception of ETF, which I still think is reasonably good. I mentioned in a post elsewhere (Some Might Say? Country House? The Poll?) that the main thing I remember about them is that they had a fanatical following. They were still capable of selling out reasonable sized halls late in their career because there was a fanzine culture around them, and people would follow them around the country. I don’t think anyone was doing that to the same extent for anyone else in the lower leagues of Britpop. In that sense, they stick out in my mind as reasonable but not great and inspiring incredible devotion amongst a number even still.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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?”)

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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).

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