It’s not a snappy title is it? I’ll work on it.
Whilst researching a recent post (I know! I do research! Incredible, right? Who’d have thunk it?) I stumbled upon an article in The Guardian where they listed and ranked The 100 Greatest UK Number 1 Singles.
Obviously I read it, with growing dismay at the omission of Quo’s one and only #1 (if you ignore their godawful collaboration with Manchester United on Come On You Reds, for which they, thankfully weren’t credited) Down Down.
This needs redressing, I thought. And then I realised that seemed like way too much hard work, certainly more than I was prepared to do.
Instead, I figured I’d start a new series where I work my way through the list, posting what The Guardian had to say about the record in question, along with my own thoughts on the same single. Some of them I’ll be hearing for the first time when I write the post, which might be interesting. We’ll see.
I should add that the purpose of this is not necessarily to argue against the featured song’s inclusion: now I’m a grown-up and Smash Hits is no longer a thing, and the NME got left in my wake many years ago, it’s generally to The Guardian that I turn for my pop news and reviews, and there are some journalists whose word I will accept as gospel. I’m thinking primarily of Alexis Petridis, although if Marina Hyde were to add album reviews to her list of skills I might actually react to the paper’s constant pleas to give them some subscription fees.
So starting in reverse order, here’s the first in the series, the 100th best UK Number 1 Single, according to The Guardian:
Here’s what The Guardian had to say about it:
“You could spend years arguing about what constitutes the first rock’n’roll record. Rock Around the Clock patently isn’t it, but it was, incontrovertibly, the record that brought rock’n’roll to mainstream attention in the UK: two minutes of music that sounded infinitely more feral than its avuncular artist looked and that changed pop music for ever.”
I can’t really argue with that, but can only echo that this was indeed rock’n’roll’s cross-over moment, and perhaps a middle-aged white dude with a kiss curl that frankly is fooling nobody was not the totemic symbol of rock’n’roll that he could, perhaps should, have been, but still: introduce the music to the masses he undoubtedly did, so he deserves his place in music history.
Annoyingly, when I hear this now I just think of bloody Jive Bunny and their inexplicable run of UK #1s in the late 1980s/early 1990s, which is not a legacy to be proud of in my book.