Apr 14

Popular ’97

Popular66 comments • 4,384 views

I give every entry a mark out of 10. Here’s your opportunity to tick the ones you’d have given 6 or more to.

My highest score of 1997 turns out to have been a solitary 8, for Hanson’s “MMMBop”. U2 and Elton both got 2s. Use the comments box to talk about the year in general!

Which Of The Number One Hits Of 1997 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

Loading ... Loading ...


1 2 All
  1. 1
    Tom on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Popular (Not Popular): Most weeks in the Top 10 without hitting #1

    1=. Chumbawamba – “Tubthumping” (11 weeks)
    1=. Natalie Imbruglia – “Torn” (11 weeks)
    3. Janet Jackson – “Together Again” (10 weeks)
    4. No Mercy – “Where Do You Go?” (9 weeks)
    5. Gala – “Freed From Desire” (8 weeks, peak #2)
    6=. Ultra Nate – “Free” (8 weeks, peak #4)
    6=. DJ Quicksilver – “Bellissima” (8 weeks, peak #4)
    8. En Vogue – “Don’t Let Go (Love)” (8 weeks, peak #5)
    9=. Dario G – “Sunchyme” (7 weeks, peak #2)
    9=. Sash – “Encore Une Fois” (7 weeks, peak #2)

    I don’t remember the No Mercy track at all. A lot of the rest sheds useful light on what was going on “in the clubs”.

  2. 2
    Cumbrian on 10 Apr 2014 #

    NME Albums of 1997:

    1. Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentleman We Are Floating In Space
    2. Radiohead – Ok Computer
    3. The Verve – Urban Hymns
    4. Primal Scream – Vanishing Point
    5. Super Furry Animals – Radiator
    6. Cornershop – When I Was Born For The 7th Time
    7. Mogwai – Mogwai Young Team
    8. Teenage Fanclub – Songs From Northern Britain
    9. Bentley Rhythm Ace – Bentley Rhythm Ace
    10. Supergrass – In It For The Money
    11. Daft Punk – Homework
    12. The Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole
    13. Blur – Blur
    14. The Charlatans – Tellin’ Stories
    15. Bjork – Homogenic
    16. Death In Vegas – Dead Elvis
    17. Prodigy – The Fat Of The Land
    18. Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang Forever
    19. Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
    20. Gravediggaz – The Pick, The Sickle And The Shovel
    21. Black Grape – Stupid Stupid Stupid
    22. The Divine Comedy – A Short Album About Love
    23. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – The Boatman’s Call
    24. Pavement – Brighten In The Corners
    25. Oasis – Be Here Now
    26. Stereolab – Dots And Loops
    27. Grandaddy – Under The Western Freeway
    28. Roni Size & Reprazent – New Forms
    29. Travis – Good Feeling
    30. Mick Head Introducing The Strands – The Magical World Of The Strands
    31. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Barafundle
    32. Portishead – Portishead
    33. Eels – Beautiful Freak
    34. Squarepusher – Hard Normal Daddy
    35. Jonathan Fire Eater – Tremble Under Boom Lights
    36. Prolapse – The Italian Flag
    37. Wilco – Being There
    38. Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliot – Supa Dupa Fly
    39. Photek – Modus Operandi
    40. David Holmes – Lets Get Killed
    41. Echo And The Bunnymen – Evergreen
    42. Finley Quaye – Maverick A Strike
    43. Tindersticks – Curtains
    44. Manson – Attack Of They Grey Lantern
    45. Scarfo – Luxury Plane Crash
    46. Foo Fighters – The Colour And The Shape
    47. Howie B – Turn The Dark Off
    48. Robert Wyatt – Shleep
    49. Silver Sun – Silver Sun
    50. The Wannadies – Bagsy Me

  3. 3
    Cumbrian on 10 Apr 2014 #

    NME Singles of 1997:

    1. The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony
    2. Blur – Song 2
    3. The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work
    4. Embrace – All You Good Good People
    5. Primal Scream – Kowalski
    6. Radiohead – Paranoid Android
    7. The Blueboy – Remember Me
    8. Spiritualized – Electricity
    9. Massive Attack – Risingson
    10. The Chemical Brothers – Block Rockin’ Beats
    11. Daft Punk – Da Funk
    12. Echo And The Bunnyman – Nothing Lasts Forever
    13. Arab Strap – The Girls Of Summer E.P.
    14. Mogwai – New Paths To Helicon
    15. Pavement – Stereo
    16. Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha
    17. Teenage Fanclub – Ain’t That Enough
    18. Daft Punk – Around The World
    19. The Beta Band – Champion Versions EP
    20. Goldie Featuring Krs-One – Digital
    21. Embrace – Fireworks EP
    22. Belle & Sebastian – The Lazy Line Painter Jane
    23. Blur – Beetlebum
    24. DJ Shadow – High Noon
    25. The Chemical Brothers – The Private Psychedlic Reel
    26. Black Grape – Get Higher
    27. Primal Scream – Star
    28. Six By Seven – European Me
    29. Oasis – D’you Know What I Mean
    30. Lo-Fidelelity Allstars – Kool Rock Bass
    31. Bentley Rhythm Ace – Bentley’s Gonna Sort You Out
    32. Roni Size – Brown Paper Bag
    33. Wu-Tang Clan – Triumph
    34. Aphex Twin – Come To Daddy
    35. Belle And Sebastian – 3.. 6.. 9.. Seconds Of Light
    36. The Charlatans – North Country Boy
    37. The Wannadies – Hit
    38. Add N To X – King Wasp
    39. Beck – Deadweight
    40. Fatboy Slim – Everybody Needs
    41. Pulp – Help The Aged
    42. Orbital – Satan
    43. Missy ‘ Misdemeanoe’ Elliott – The Rain
    44. Eels – Novocain For The Soul
    45. Death In Vegas – Rocco
    46. Dinosaur Jr – Take A Run At The Sun
    47. Travis – All I Wanna Do Is Rock
    48. Kirk Lake – Five Finger Discount
    49. Nick Cave – Into My Arms
    50. Supergrass – Late In The Day

  4. 4
    Cumbrian on 10 Apr 2014 #

    The Wire (by way of contrast):

    1.Robert Wyatt – Shleep
    2.Jim O’rourke – Bad Timing
    3.Wabi Sabi – Wabi Sabi
    4.Arto Lindsay – Mundo Civilizado
    5.Mouse On Mars – Autoditacker
    6.Tomasz Stanko Septet – Litania: Music Of Krzysztof Komeda
    7.Gyorgy Ligeti – Ligeti Edition Vols. 1-6
    8.Roni Size And Reprazent – New Forms
    9.John Wall – Fractuur
    10.Porter Ricks – Biokinetics
    11.Henry Threadgill & Make A Move – Where’s Your Cup?
    12.Autechre – Chiastic Slide
    13.Gravediggaz – The Pick, The Sickle And The Shovel
    14.Bjork -Homogenic
    15.Farmers Manual – Fsck
    16.Squarepusher – Hard Normal Daddy
    17.Vinicius Cantuaria – Sol Na Cara
    18.Toru Takemitsu – Film Music
    19.Various Artists – Driftworks
    20.Fushitsusha – A Death Never To Be Complete
    21.Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus
    22.Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – The Boatman’s Call
    23.Spiritualized – Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
    24.The Fall – Levitate
    25.Fushitsusha – The Time Is Nigh
    26.Tom Recchion – Chaotica
    27.Stereolab – Dots And Loops
    28.Iannis Xenakis – Kraanerg
    29.Joe Maneri Quartet – In Full Cry
    30.Ground Zero -Consume Red
    31.Paul Schutze – Second Site
    32.Evan Parker Electroacoustic Ensemble – Towards The Margins
    33.General Magic – Frantz!
    34.Porter Ricks- Porter Ricks
    35.John Zorn – Duras: Duchamp
    36.Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
    37.Bisk – Strange Or Funny Ha Ha?
    38.Portishead- Portishead
    39.Kaffe Matthews – Cdann
    40.George Crumb – Quest
    41.Metheny/Bailey/Bendian/Wertico – The Sign Of 4
    42.Guschwachs – Guschwachs
    43.Jeff Mills – The Other Day
    44.Maurizio – M
    45.Giya Kancheli- Caris Mere
    46.Patti Smith – Peace And Noise
    47.Ornette Coleman & Joachim Kuhn – Colors
    48.Buena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club
    49.Arcana – Arc Of The Testimony
    50.Hariprasad Chaurasia – Four Drums

  5. 5
    Cumbrian on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Obviously a lot of these lists are at rocklist.net so I won’t dump all of them in; seems rather spammy.

    The Melody Maker list is particularly hilarious; somehow Hurricane #1’s debut album is in their top albums of the year (and that’s meant to be a critics’ list as far as I can tell). I was young, I believed, I was foolish, I repent. H#1’s album is, with the benefit of hindsight, possibly the worst record I have forked money over for.

  6. 6
    James BC on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Where Do You Go by No Mercy was great. They were a vaguely Latin looking, probably American boyband trio. I think the song was inspired by that “Where Do You Go To My Lovely” song but it sounds nothing like it. It has an unbelievably cheesy Spanish guitar lick in it… come on, you must remember!

  7. 7
    Tom on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Yes within about 1 second of the YouTube it all came flooding back! “oh-oh-ay-oh” – excellent boyband/holiday market hit crossover, good work lads. This sort of goofy, affable cornball pop is what I think boybands should always be doing, pretty much.

  8. 8
    Mark M on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Intrigued by the high placings on The Wire and NME lists for the second Gravediggaz album, which I remember as being disappointing after the excellent first one. Might see whether I actually have it on CD rather than just on white-label tape (my tape deck has finally died) and give it a listen.

    There’s a whole bunch of stuff on those end-of-year lists that I like, probably more than I would expected at the time. But the good stuff is very disparate, not pointing to any movement you could get a grip on.

  9. 9
    Tom on 10 Apr 2014 #

    This was probably the first year my tastes were more “Wire” than “NME”. Jim O Rourke’s “Bad Timing” is still the 1997 LP I play most, though it’s very accessible, lovely even.

    I spent the first half of the year suffering from depression and playing a lot of Bunnied Welsh Band’s third album, and the second half taking medicine and delightedly exploring the previous 35 years of soul music. I was distantly engaged with current music but a lot more critical of it than I had ever been before – I disliked OK Computer a lot more than it deserved and The Boatman’s Call exactly as much as it deserved. I did like the Spiritualized record though and (whispers) Primal Scream’s album. Dare I find out how that ‘holds up’ I wonder…

  10. 10
    Cumbrian on 10 Apr 2014 #

    #9: I thought and still think that Vanishing Point is good – Mani provides something extra on bass and it rumbles along pretty well as a result. Low point as ever is Bobby’s vocals/lyrics. At least on Kowalski, he doesn’t raise himself above a whisper.

    Radiohead seem, from comments on other threads, to be exactly the sort of band that commenters here don’t seem to like. I still play OKC from time to time though and have a lot of time for it.

    Can’t quite believe Buena Vista Social Club is 17 years old – feels like I saw that in the cinema only a couple of years ago. I am obviously getting up in years.

    Checking some of the other lists, H#1 also in the Top 50 from Q. WTF was everybody snorting in the critical community in 1997?

  11. 11
    lonepilgrim on 10 Apr 2014 #

    1997 saw the return of Bob Dylan with the release of ‘Time out of Mind’. His critical stock hasn’t seriously fallen in the subsequent 16+ years, which is some kind of achievement and due in part to some canny management as well as a realisation that he was best served by sticking to the country/blues hybrid that has characterised his subsequent work since.

  12. 12
    sükråt tanned rested unlogged and awesome on 10 Apr 2014 #

    The Wire’s approach to hiphop was always a bit “beyond the valley of the backpack” — the review column was called “critical beats”: not sure if they ever quite defined what they meant by “uncritical beats”, so obviously i can’t PROVE that they meant “the good stuff that people like” :)

    ^^^affectionately meant!: i am v fond of many of the ppl at the wire and may actually be writing for them a bit more soon *writes 300,000 words on the teletubbies*

  13. 13
    James BC on 10 Apr 2014 #

    The emergence of Belle and Sebastian!

    They were a watershed moment for me. I heard that they were great, bought the 3, 6, 9 Seconds EP without hearing it, listened to it, confirmed that it was great, played it to my brother, he confirmed that it was great, excitedly played it to some other people and… nothing. How could they miss what I was hearing? Lesson learned: some people just have no taste.

  14. 14
    Rory on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting to tick as many as 14 out of 24, and there were a few near-misses in there as well. Tori Amos, White Town, Blur, U2, No Doubt, Chem Bros, Olive, Hanson, Oasis, the Verve, Spice Girls x 2 (“Spice Up Your Life” and “Too Much”), Aqua, and “Perfect Day”. “Beetlebum” got my highest score, which is still fine by me.

    Popular (Not Popular) has a lot I don’t remember, but I’d rate the first two.

    #9: “(whispers) Primal Scream’s album”

    It’s great! More listenable than Screamadelica for me. That, Xtrmntr and the Dixie-Narco EP constitute my essential Scream.

    #10: “Radiohead seem, from comments on other threads, to be exactly the sort of band that commenters here don’t seem to like”

    Some commenters. The NME’s top two albums of the year were mine too.

  15. 15
    Tom on 10 Apr 2014 #

    I can’t stand XTRMNTR, which I think soured me on Vanishing Point too (and the vocals, as ever, are a sticking point).

    The first three songs on OK Computer are tremendous – after that I get bored very quickly.

  16. 16
    Rory on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Australia’s number ones in 1997 were like selected highlights of the UK’s, thanks to some long stays at the top:

    Savage Garden*, “To the Moon and Back”, 1 week
    Silverchair*, “Freak”, 2 weeks
    No Doubt, “Don’t Speak”, 8 weeks
    Savage Garden*, “Truly Madly Deeply”, 8 weeks
    Hanson, “MMMBop”, 9 weeks
    Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112, “I’ll Be Missing You”, 5 weeks
    Will Smith, “Men in Black”, 4 weeks
    Elton John, “Something About the Way You Look Tonight”/”Candle in the Wind 1997”, 6 weeks
    Aqua, “Barbie Girl”, 3 weeks
    Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping”, 3 weeks
    [Bunnied], 1 week and 6 weeks in 1998

    *Australian artist

    Only 11 compared with 24 here. That difference in turnover becomes even more noticeable over the next couple of years: 13 vs 29 in 1998, and 8 vs 36 in 1999.

  17. 17
    Rory on 10 Apr 2014 #

    #15: XTRMNTR is a lot noisier than Vanishing Point, but by then I was well into the Prodigy and other noise exponents and so liked it. Haven’t listened to it for a while, I must admit, so it might just be my fuzzy memories talking.

  18. 18
    Cumbrian on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Another feature of these lists, looking at them, is the high placing of a bunny a bit before they got to #1 (primarily due to a remix), which is cool I think, as I thought that they hit big due to that remix. Seems they were actually highly thought of beforehand too.

    I doubt you got to it, Tom, since you can’t stand the album and it’s the last track, but Shoot Speed Kill Light off XTRMNTR might well be the best Primal Scream have ever been (minimal Bobby, guest guitar spot from New Order’s Barney, motorik goodness). Anyway, that is 3 years hence, by my count.

  19. 19
    Tom on 10 Apr 2014 #

    #17 I was probably at my snootiest about noisy stuff – PRML SCRM felt like the same old Gillespie shit, a checklist of rebel/outsider poses and sounds done just well enough to not even be funny. But it’s very hard for me to argue “Kowalski” etc WEREN’T doing this, so I must just have been more annoyed by it in 1999 than in 1997.

    (The vocal sample on “Kill All Hippos” is good tho)

  20. 20
    weej on 10 Apr 2014 #

    My interest in Primal Scream starts with XTRMNTR and finishes with Evil Heat and the only Radiohead I ever really listen to much now is Kid A / Amnesiac, not sure if I can be taken as an example of a popular commenter though (there – thankfully – isn’t anything like a standard set of accepted tastes on here and people are generally able to articulate their opinions well without attacking others)

    Surprised at how much good stuff there is in those lists (Young Team / Dots & Loops / Come To Daddy / 3…6…9 / Portishead’s second / Shleep / Add N To X / Homogenic…) as I don’t think of 97 as a classic year generally.

  21. 21
    Tommy Mack on 10 Apr 2014 #

    I dug XTRMNTR for years after seeing a blinding set at Reading in 2000 though its maelstrom of noise and beats is starting to date a little for me now. Mani’s rubbery funk still raises the spirits. Keep Your Dreams and Blood Money still sound great. Shoot Speed, Kill Light too. I even like Pills – Bobby master rather than victim of the unpleasantness of his voice for once.

    Vanishing Point is listenable (except that f*ck awful cover of Motorhead) although Star, great as the melodica is, has to be Bobby’s cheesiest Keeper Of The Flame moment “Sister Rosa, Dr King…” indeed.

    OK Computer has some great tracks but to me is patchier than either The Bends or Kid A as an album. I’m bemused and repelled by the reverence afforded Radiohead though.

    Gravediggaz and Wu Tang got a lot of play in our sixth form common room thanks to the stoner contingent, it was probably that as much as anything that got me listening to more hip hop.

  22. 22
    mapman132 on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Here’s the US Billboard Hot 100 list of number ones, with brief comment on each:

    “Unbreak My Heart”, Toni Braxton
    – carry over from 1996

    “Wannabe”, Spice Girls
    – already discussed

    “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down”, Puff Daddy feat. Mase
    – barely remember it, typical Puffy piece

    “Hypnotize”, Notorious BIG
    – his first number one, but he wasn’t around to enjoy it

    “Mmmbop”, Hanson
    – already discussed

    “I’ll Be Missing You”, Puff Daddy, etc.
    – already discussed, more than the usual UK/US overlap this year…

    “Mo Money Mo Problems”, Notorious BIG
    – it was certainly true for him. Biggie’s the only person ever to have two posthumous #1’s on the Hot 100

    “Honey”, Mariah Carey
    – we couldn’t have a year in the 90’s without Mariah, could we? This is the one with the secret agent/swimming pool/boat chase video.

    “4 Seasons of Loneliness”, Boyz II Men
    – their last #1. Seemed to barely get noticed, as all eyes were on what was coming next…

    “Candle in the Wind 97/Something About…”, Elton John
    – never heard of it ;)

    So that’s that. Interesting note: “Missing You” ended up only as the 3rd biggest hit of the year. Controversially slipping into #2 was Jewel’s double sided “You Were Meant For Me/Foolish Games”. The first song had peaked at #2 and was falling down the chart when the second song started gaining airplay causing the single to rise back up into the top 5. End result: two hits counting as one, and spending a then-record 65 weeks on the chart. Chart geeks like myself were quite annoyed by this.

    Best UK #1 of the year: “Your Woman” – a 10 from me!

    Best US #1 of the year: either “Wannabe” or “Mmmbop”

    Best song of the year period: “Tubthumping” – too bad it didn’t hit #1!

    So onto 1998, a year which would see only the second ever visit to the UK by yours truly, but not until near the end….

  23. 23
    swanstep on 10 Apr 2014 #

    11 for me – a pretty good year for #1s (hell, even ‘Love Can’t Wait’ wore me down!).

    NZ #1s for 1997 were:
    No Doubt “Don’t Speak”
    R. Kelly “I Believe I Can Fly”
    U2 “Discothèque”
    The Cardigans “Lovefool”
    MC Lyte (ft Missy Elliott) “Cold Rock a Party”
    Unique II “Break My Stride”
    Warren G “I Shot The Sheriff”
    Az Yet “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”
    Blackstreet “Don’t Leave Me”
    Michael Jackson “Blood on the Dance Floor”
    Joose “If Tomorrow Never Comes”
    SWV “Can We?”
    Hanson “MMMBop”
    Puff Daddy “I’ll Be Missing You”
    Will Smith “Men In Black”
    Aqua “Barbie Girl”
    Chumbawamba “Tubthumping”
    Elton John “Candle In The Wind 97”
    N-Trance “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
    Backstreet Boys “As Long As You Love Me”

    Another couple of mega-sample #1s. One wants to groan, but I can’t resist either the N-trance (Do you think I’m sexy) or the MC Lyte (Upside Down) tracks. Given further Mo Money Mo Problems topping the US charts, It’s clear that mega-sampling was the music trend of the year.

  24. 24
    lartsaegis on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Imbruglia’s Torn should have been number one over there, but I’m biased. Zero 7’s Binns and Hardaker had a role in crafting that track as I learned recently, and I was surprised to find they didn’t have a UK number 1 during their Simple Things/Destiny cycle.

  25. 25
    Billy Hicks on 10 Apr 2014 #

    White Town, Chems, No Doubt, Tori Amos/Armand, Verve, Olive, and disappointingly low down for what I think is an utter classic of the decade, Eternal.

    10s would have gone to the likes of Freed From Desire (#2), Torn (#2), Paranoid Android (#3) and You Got The Love (#4) had they charted just a little higher.

  26. 26
    nixon on 10 Apr 2014 #

    I’d have the Eternal over Torn any day. I don’t get the love – it’s a good, rather pretty pop single and I’d probably give it a 6 or 7, although it reminds me a lot of She’s A Star by James (which I’m not sure isn’t actually a better record), but it seems to have become a truth universally acknowledged that Torn was in fact the Best Single of 1997, certainly for the discerning hipster. Buh?

  27. 27
    Tom on 10 Apr 2014 #

    Yeah I don’t really ‘get’ Torn either, as I said on one of the threads I think. For me it’s one of those consensus pop classics like “Back For Good” and a bunch of others (including many a bunny) – a well-crafted, respectable song, the kind of thing that ends up getting a 7 or 8 from everyone, quite deservedly. But in a straight “what am I going to listen to right now?” shoot-out I’d end up with N-Trance every time.

  28. 28
    nixon on 11 Apr 2014 #

    Consensus Pop Classics is a good title for something.

  29. 29
    swanstep on 11 Apr 2014 #

    ‘Torn”s just OK according to me too. I think it’s in large part a video hit: winsome lovely stares pleadingly into camera for 4 minutes (see also Lisa Loeb’s Stay, Jewel’s You were meant for me, Vanessa Carlton’s 1000 Miles, frickin’ Dido, and so on) ; there are worse things … And related but better things: Fiona Apple’s wunderkind act and underage porn Criminal vid. from 1997 still shocks and mesmerizes I find.

  30. 30
    mapman132 on 11 Apr 2014 #

    “Torn” is a classic example of a song I’d think was OK, except the fact that I never understood why everyone seemed to love it so much made me dislike it, even hate it for a while. And it was so overplayed – back in 1998, I used to wonder what would make a DJ say “you know, we haven’t heard ‘Torn’ for 20 minutes: I think I’ll play it again!”

    That being said, there are Consensus Pop Classics I do like. In fact, I’m going to go on record right now with the prediction that the highest group-rated #1 of the period 1990-present will be a specific bunny from the spring of 2006. I guess we’ll see in a couple years…

1 2 All

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)

If this was number 1 when you were born paste [stork-boy] or [stork-girl] into the start of your comment :)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page