Tag Archives: Spice Girls

FLASHBACK: Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit Of Chart History


“Meant for” a top ten record.

The CHR/Top 40 airwaves were starting to rebuild their identity by the end of 1996, after a tumultuous few years of ratings slides, faceless new acts and lost songs. Before the Spice Girls swept the nation with “girl power”, and Lillith Fair ruled the summer tour season, a number of female singers began to perform well at the format. During that year, Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion and Donna Lewis (and others) had a super run at the top, leaving only two published charts with a #1 song by a male soloist. Then, as the hits kept piling up, the inevitable result occurred: just as 1997 began, the top ten songs on the pop chart were all sung by female soloists or female-led bands. It’s the only time this kind of event took place on the format, pre-PPW (plays per week) or PPW era.

Now, just because it’s been two decades since this historic chart week, that doesn’t mean that female-led top threes, fours and fives are going away anytime soon. An all-female top seven occurred on the pop chart as recently as September 2014, which included big hits by acts like Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor and Taylor Swift. So, keep that dream of a top ten led by the ladies alive. It may just happen again when you least expect it…

Let’s get into those sensational songs that gave the top ten a special feminine touch for a little Throwback Thursday action:

(Stats taken from: Radio & Records – issue dated January 10, 1997, airplay period of December 30, 1996 – January 5, 1997)

10. CELINE DION, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” (down 3)
Album: Falling Into You
Label: 550 Music/Epic

1996 was a year of sevens for Dion on the pop chart. “Because You Loved Me” spent seven weeks at #1, and “All” spent seven at #2.

09. JEWEL, “You Were Meant For Me” (up 10)
Album: Pieces Of You
Label: Atlantic

Though 1996 was her breakout year, 1997 was even more successful for this singer. Her two #1 songs totaled nine weeks at the top.

08. GINA G, “Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit” (up 6)
Album: Fresh!
Label: Eternal/Warner Bros.

The number of U.S. hits that originated at Eurovision is quite small, but “Ooh” connected with pop radio’s audience, peaking at #5.

07. THE CARDIGANS, “Lovefool” (up 9)
Album: First Band On The Moon
Label: Mercury

Nina Persson led this Swedish group to a huge smash in early 1997, spending six weeks at #1. They never made the pop chart again.

06. ALANIS MORISSETTE, “Head Over Feet” (=)
Album: Jagged Little Pill
Label: Maverick/Reprise

With her third in a run of five consecutive #1 singles on the pop chart, Morissette dominated the airwaves across multiple formats.

05. SHERYL CROW, “If It Makes You Happy” (=)
Album: Sheryl Crow
Label: A&M

Crow was likely “Happy” to reach the top five again after a couple of misses. “If” also went top ten at Alternative and Hot AC radio.

04. MERRIL BAINBRIDGE, “Mouth” (=)
Album: The Garden
Label: Universal

This Australian singer’s biggest U.S. hit held at #2 for four weeks in late 1996. Her two other chart singles stalled below the top 40.

03. TONI BRAXTON, “Un-Break My Heart” (=)
Album: Secrets
Label: LaFace/Arista

This iconic ballad became Braxton’s penultimate top ten hit on the pop listing, later making it there with “He Wasn’t Man Enough”.

02. EN VOGUE, “Don’t Let Go (Love)” (=)
Album: EV3
Label: EastWest/EEG

Shortly before the messy circumstances that made them a trio, this soundtrack cut gave the girls their biggest pop hit in four years.

01. NO DOUBT, “Don’t Speak” (=)
Album: Tragic Kingdom
Label: Trauma/Interscope

With a giant 11 (two frozen) weeks at #1, “Don’t” became the group’s signature song and one of the biggest radio hits of the decade.

Listen to Ooh Aah… A #TBT List on Spotify, featuring these songs and more top tunes from this week in 1996!

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Food For Thought: A Playlist To Stomach For Yom Kippur

Everybody's got a hungry chart.

Everybody’s got a hungry chart.

The Day of Atonement is here once again. Yom Kippur, which begins later tonight and goes into the day tomorrow, the 14th, is a day of reflection and repentance in Jewish culture. One of the features of the day is fasting for roughly 24 hours. So, because I’m a foodie and can’t eat any of these items for a day, it’s best to just remember these 14 acts musically… and then eventually eat of all them of next day. Enjoy this plate of pop perfection that all made the top ten on the Hot 100:

They’ve had different configurations over the years, but the trio, now a duo, racked up over two dozen top 40 singles in the United Kingdom. Only three managed to make the top 40 in the United States, but all of them went top 10: 1984’s “Cruel Summer” (#9), 1986’s “Venus” (#1) and 1987’s “I Heard A Rumour” (#4). They last made the Hot 100 in 1988, though they made the Dance Club/Play chart with a single in 2005.

Led by Oklahoman David Gates, the Los Angeles-based band and their soft sound propelled their debut single, “Make It With You”, into the #1 spot in 1970. It sold over 1 million copies and led them to other success, including the #3 “Baby I’m-a Want You” in 1971 and the followup, “Everything I Own”, peaking at #5 in 1972. Gates also hit the top 40 solo, most notably with the theme from The Goodbye Girl in 1978.

The legendary 60’s band out of London were huge on the Billboard 200 album chart, with three top ten LPs in a row. On the Hot 100, two of their singles managed peaks in the top ten in 1968: “Sunshine Of Your Love”, going to #5, and “White Room”, peaking at #6. They split shortly afterward this, with Eric Clapton breaking out on his own in bands like Derek & The Dominos and managing a successful solo career.

He’s the half-brother of another top ten artist, Neneh Cherry, and is best known for his one and only hit, “Save Tonight”, a #5 song on the Hot 100 from 1999. It went to #1 on CHR radio. A few of his other singles accumulated some minor airplay, including 2002’s “Feels So Right”, which I enjoyed, but “Tonight” is still regularly played on radio. He’s still recording music, releasing an album as recently as last year.

The rapper out of the Motor City shot to fame in 1999 with the The Slim Shady LP. For more than a decade, he’s been racking up huge records on the pop chart. Twelve of his main-credited singles have gone top ten with 2002’s “Lose Yourself”, 2009’s “Crack A Bottle” (with Dr. Dre and 50 Cent) and 2010’s “Not Afraid” and “Love The Way You Lie” (featuring Rihanna) all climbing to #1. His latest release is “Berzerk”.

The soul band out of London, England charted five top 40 singles on the Hot 100, including a #3 from 1976, “You Sexy Thing”. It’s attracted placement in movies, television shows and most recently, in commercials for Swiffer. Their last top ten hit in 1979 was “Every 1’s A Winner”, which went to #6, but as disco faded away in America, so did they. They continued charting in their native U.K. into the 1980’s.

Marvin Lee Aday began in the world of theatre, but his interest in recording music eventually took over. First charting in 1971 with the duo Stoney & Meatloaf, it wasn’t until 1978 that “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad” became his breakout hit, going to #11. However, the biggest single of his career didn’t come until 1993, the #1, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”. He’ll be releasing a Christmas album this year.

Eddie Vedder and the boys were huge on the Alternative circuit before they ever made the top 40 on the Hot 100. Due to strong physical sales of the EP Merkin Ball, recorded with Neil Young, “I Got Id” went to #6 in 1995. Their biggest hit, a charity remake of the song “Last Kiss” by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, rose to #2 in 1999. The band releases their tenth and latest album, Lightning Bolt, on October 15.

Hailing from Cleveland, the quartet brought power pop into the 70’s with a fresh sound, like on the solo top ten single, 1972’s “Go All The Way”. It charted at #5. Three other of their singles made the top 40 through 1974 before the group split apart the next year. Lead singer Eric Carmen had over a decade of charting songs as a solo singer, including hits as 1976’s “All By Myself” (#2) and 1988’s “Hungry Eyes” (#4).

They’re one of the biggest acts in rock history with one of the hottest names around. Of their charting singles, three found a place in the top ten: their biggest, 1992’s “Under The Bridge”, rose to #2. Additionally, “Scar Tissue” from Californication climbed to #9 in 1999, while “Dani California” peaked at #6 in 2006. They have yet to start writing for a new album, although sessions are expected to take place during 2014.

From the heart of New York, the rap trio pushed the limits and gave both the pop and R&B charts some major anthems in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Although they hit the top 40 a number of times, only two of their songs made the top ten: 1993’s “Shoop” (#3) and a collaboration with En Vogue, 1994’s “Whatta Man” (#4). After breaking up for a time in the mid-2000’s, they took on reality TV and remain together today.

They came out of the United Kingdom and they conquered the globe, so much so that we could’ve feasibly changed the planet’s name to Spiceworld. Four of the group’s singles went top ten on the Hot 100, like the #1 “Wannabe” and the #3 “Say You’ll Be There”, both hits in 1997. Geri Halliwell left the group in May 1998 and the foursome carried on for one album before breaking up. The five members reunited in 2007.

This psychadelic group made a name for themselves in 1967 with their debut release, “Incense and Peppermints”. The bubblegum tune went to #1 and sold over 1 million copies. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles group set their clocks back and couldn’t wake up out of a one hit wonder status. After a followup that went to #23, they never made the top 40 again, breaking up in 1971. However, they’re back together today.

These guys kept it funky in the mid-1970’s, taking their style from Ohio to around the United States. The group, of course, is best known for a huge #1 song that still receives much attention today on classic hits stations, “Play That Funky Music”. It went to #1 in 1976. Several followup singles managed to hit the lower rungs of the Hot 100 before they broke apart in 1979. There’s been no attempt at a reunion for them.

Of course, there are plenty of other pop acts that didn’t make the platter: Blind MelonCake, Fiona Apple, Smashing Pumpkins, Vanilla Ice, etc. However, there’s always room in the refrigerator, and there’s also room for you to join in on the conversation. Have a favorite act not listed? Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media, and if you’re observing Yom Kippur, have an easy fast.

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