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Alex Cann's Weekly Blog - 19th June

In two weeks' time, we'll be going to the polls, and I was going to write a column this week about apathy, but I couldn't be bothered. Instead, I thought we'd go on a journey back to 1999 and take a look at the biggest ten songs in the UK singles chart. It was a time of the Matrix, the Sixth Sense, fears about the millennium bug.

It also saw the rise of old school SMS text messaging & the Snake game on Nokia handsets that had a battery which would last a week or more. No social media, no Netflix binges, and no Twitter trolls. Simpler times in many ways.

To the chart, and just missing out on the Top 10, Britney Spears' second song Sometimes (what a life she's had since then!), The Cartoons' dire ditty Doodah (I wouldn't even play that on a loop to my worst enemy) and Sixpence None The Richer's marvellous Kiss Me. Also sitting outside the Top 10 are entries by Jamiroquai, Red Hot Chili Peppers and, er, Adam Rickitt, formerly of the Coronation Street parish. Even I drew the line at buying I Breathe Again. Worse than the Eastenders omnibus.

At number 10, it's From The Heart by Another Level. This was lifted from the popular Notting Hill soundtrack, which also featured songs from Ronan Keating and Elvis Costello, amongst others. We were definitely in peak Hugh Grant rom com times in 1999, when he played a succession of bumbling English gentlemen who stumbled their way into the affections of a beautiful female co-star. There was usually a dash to the airport of some variety, it was all pretty formulaic, but my goodness I loved a good 90s rom com! This song was from the pen of Diane Warren, who's also written smash hits for Aerosmith, Cher, LeAnn Rimes and Celine Dion, to name just a few. I must rewatch Notting Hill again soon, actually. Top film.

At 9, The Wiseguys Ooh La La, which I remember buying on CD single from Woolworths, probably alongside some pink shrimps and foam bananas. Not one I play regularly these days, but it's very of its time and still sounds pretty decent. It had been a minor hit in 1998, but found its fame the following year thanks to being featured in a Budweiser TV advert.

Number 8 is Backstreet Boys I Want It That Way. Not the most exciting, but pleasant enough, and it was their biggest seller. Max Martin was the writer, who is a prolific Swedish pop creator who's penned hits for Britney Spears and N Sync. In fact, he's second only to Paul McCartney for the number of UK number one singles he's written.

At 7, it's Vengaboys with Boom Boom Boom Boom. Fun fact - the first verse interpolates Abba's Lay All Your Love On Me, and it's been streamed over 50 million times. Bruce Springsteen has had 0 number ones. Vengaboys have enjoyed two. I won't hear a bad word said against them. File under guilty pleasure! I'd still dance to this after a couple of alcopops.

At 6, Madonna's Beautiful Stranger, from Austin Powers : The Spy Who... Not in my 20 favourite Madge songs, but there are worse. Number 5 is Chemical Brothers Hey Boy Hey Girl, which was a big favourite of mine on Now 43, and still sounds fresh now to my ears.

Shania Twain was at the height of her powers at 4 with That Don't Impress Me Much. Played at every wedding I DJed during this period, and she's still huge now (Glastonbury 2024's booking proves this). Into the top three, and Sweet Like Chocolate by Shanks & Bigfoot is at number 3. Originally a limited vinyl release, it was huge on the dancefloors in 1999, and still gets the odd play on my Spotify.

Number 2 was a new entry for S Club 7 with Bring It All Back. Cheesy, yes. Catchy, absolutely. It's no Don't Stop Movin' or Reach, but it's a solid pop banger. And at the summit of our nostalgic mid-June 1999 chart, film director Baz Luhrmann sits proudly with Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen). The lyrics resonate more and more as you get older. Worth spending five minutes listening to the full version if you get chance this week. "You are not as fat as you imagine" says Baz, I'm not sure, mate. I do need to get back on track, if I'm honest. Anyway, a rather fab Top 10, I think.

More from Alex Cann's Weekly Blog

  • Alex Cann's Weekly Blog - 9th July

    As you may have gathered by now, I like to spend a lot of time in a dark room watching films. Some pretty worrying news emerged last week that Cineworld is reviewing its portfolio of cinemas, and some reports suggested they could be looking to close up to a quarter of them in a bid to cut costs.

  • Alex Cann's Weekly Blog - 2nd July

    Sunday evenings can be a strange time of the week. As the weekend fades away all too quickly, and Monday morning looms into focus, many of us can start to experience something that's been named the 'Sunday scaries'. I have the results of a 2022 study carried out by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities

  • Alex Cann's Weekly Blog - 25th June

    As the weather continues to pleasantly surprise, thoughts turn to spending more time in the garden. Aside from irksome wasps and overcooked barbeques, there's one thing that's potentially even more likely to ruin your al fresco experience ........ neighbours. I would love one day to live somewhere completely isolated from other people.

  • Alex Cann's Weekly Blog - 11th June

    In an increasingly busy world, it's easy to forget to take time to look after our mental health. Rushing from one thing to the next, it's often difficult to live in the moment and appreciate the little things in life. With more ways to connect with each other than ever, I still feel it was easier to arrange to meet up with friends back in the days when it involved a simple phone call.

  • Alex Cann's Weekly Blog - 4th June

    Thursday 6th June sees the 80th anniversary of D-Day being marked around the country, and a civic wreath will be placed on the altar at Ashton Parish Church (St Michael and All Angels) on Sunday, before the regular service of Holy Communion begins at 11am. After the service, we're being invited to place tributes in memory of all those who took part in Operation Overlord.

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