Peak UK Chart Position: #12 in November 2003.
Seattle-born Stacie Orrico was just 17 when she released her second, and self-titled, album – one that sold an estimated 3.4 million copies worldwide. Yet despite its success, spawning four top forty singles in the UK, the 2006 follow-up “Beautiful Awakening” only did moderately well, and ended up not even being released in her native America.
“Stuck”, her first mainstream release in 2003, managed to become the biggest single hit, peaking at number nine in the UK, and globally top ten in most countries (including number one in Japan). In 2004, “I Promise”, and “I Could Be The One” were singles three and four, though suffered from limited promotion – peaking at 22 and 34 respectively. Her only other success was in 2006, when “I’m Not Missing You” charted also at 22.
After the success of her self-titled album, she went back to Seattle, working as a waitress in a local seafood restaurant. She has had the occasional musical fling since her “Beautiful Awakening” album, with the odd television appearance – and even a ‘virtual concert’ – and an EP entitled “Reawakened” was released digitally in 2014.
Here’s a great performance from her “Live in Japan” DVD of “(There’s Gotta Be) More To Life”, a new entry at number 12 in the UK on this day in 2003 (as announced on Radio 1’s top forty by “Hi, this is Wes”).
Peak UK Chart Position: #6 in November 1992.
Aged just 14, Saint-Maur-des-Fossés-born Vanessa Paradis notched up an eleven-week number one with the worldwide success “Joe Le Taxi”. It peaked at number three in the UK, making it one of the highest-charting foreign language records of all time.
She has been a spokesmodel for Chanel since 1991, alongside her continued work in both the music and movie industry. She met with Lenny Kravitz in 1992, who wrote and produced her self-titled third album (which included “Be My Baby”) – and was to have a five-year relationship with him. From 1998 to 2012, she was in a relationship with Johnny Depp, from which she has two children. Very recent newspaper reports are trying to suggest the couple may get back together after Depp’s divorce from Amber Heard earlier this year.
On this day in 1992, Simon Bates stood in for Bruno Brookes on the Top 40, and announced “Be My Baby” as the highest climber, up 18 places to number 17 – en route to its peak at number six a fortnight later. Here’s her live vocal performance from the November 12th 1992 Top of the Pops, celebrating its 1500th show. If this doesn’t bring back memories, nothing will…
Peak UK Chart Position: #10 in November 1976.
Born on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts, and brought up in Antigua and then Birmingham, Joan Armatrading has a career spanning over forty years, with her debut album having been released way back in 1972.
Perhaps more widely regarded as an album artiste; she has released a total of eighteen studio long-players, as well as several compilations and live albums. She has received three Grammy award nominations, and two BRIT Award nominations, in the category for best female artist, and in 1996 received an Ivor Norvello award for Outstanding Contemporary Song Collection.
Her biggest singles success was “Love And Affection”, which was up six at number 20 on this day in 1976 – two weeks away from its peak position. “Drop The Pilot” in 1983 came close to being her second top ten hit, just falling short at number 11. Here’s a chance to enjoy a live performance from The Old Grey Whistle Test, sadly lacking an appearance from Bob Harris…
Peak UK Chart Position: #11 in October 2005.
Her eighteenth (and to date penultimate) top forty single, maintaining her continued success as a result of releasing more dance-orientated material. Indeed, she managed a staggering thirteen consecutive dance chart number ones.
Just over three years younger than sister Kylie, Dannii Jane Minogue turned 45 on October 20th. Her younger years were spent appearing in a selection of Australian soap operas, with Skyways and The Sullivans preceding her most remembered role as Emma Jackson in Home And Away. She moved to recording music in 1989, but her debut album wasn’t released internationally until 1991, a year after her homeland.
Her biggest hit to date remains 2003’s “I Begin To Wonder”, peaking at number two, with “Who Do You Love Now (Stringer)” (with Riva), “All I Wanna Do”, and “Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling” her other top five hits. There was also a week in 1991 where she was side-by-side on the charts with sister Kylie, who was at number ten with “Shocked” whilst Dannii’s “Success” was in the middle of three weeks at number eleven.
“Perfection” was based on the Soul Seekerz’ instrumental track “Turn Me Upside Down”, which in turn borrowed heavily from “Turn The Beat Around”, a 1976 disco classic by Vicki Sue Robinson, which was also covered by Laura Branigan in 1990, and Gloria Estefan in 1992. Here’s Dannii’s Top of the Pops performance, from when the show was a Sunday evening afterthought on BBC2. Still, a decent line-up, including Robbie Williams, McFly, Maximo Park, and Goldfrapp.
Peak UK Chart Position: #3 in November 1988.
Climbing ten places to number ten, a week after climbing twenty places to number twenty, was the debut single from Milli Vanilli, infamously fronted by Munich duo Fabrice Morvan and Rob Pilatus. It would climb to number three the following week before unexpectedly reversing in fortunes.
They charted in the UK with three top forty singles out of six releases; the follow-up “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” reached number 16 in January 1989, and was marked by a Top of the Pops costume malfunction in the underwear (or perhaps lack of) department. Their biggest hit came in October 1989 when the ballad “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You” got to number two, and spent three weeks there. Parent album “All Or Nothing” (somewhere in my collection) spawned five of the singles released, and got to number six in the charts.
Exposed as not being the genuine singers – a fact that founder Frank Farian (who also founded Boney M) admitted to in November 1990 – their career abruptly ended, resulting in the returning of a Grammy award that had been won for ‘Best New Artist’ earlier that year. An attempt to prove they could actually sing baulked when an album released in the US only (credited to ‘Rob & Fab’) sold only 2,000 copies. Another attempt – in 1998 – was made at reviving their careers, but during production of a new album, Pilatus was found dead at the age of 32 from a suspected alcohol and prescription pill overdose.
Top of the Pops on October 27th 1988 featured their energetic debut performance, opening a show which was the first to be (co-) hosted by Anthea Turner, and included Deacon Blue’s excellent debut with “Real Gone Kid”, a live vocal by Tom Jones on Art Of Noise’s “Kiss”, and Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” at number one.
Peak UK Chart Position: #38 in November 1989.
A very minor hit, spending just two weeks inside the top forty, but a wonderfully inspirational and uplifting record.
Arthur Baker is an American DJ and producer, who has worked with a vast range of artists and diversified musically from hip-hop and dance to gospel. He has worked with the likes of Afrika Bambaataa, New Order, Neneh Cherry, Pet Shop Boys, Hall and Oates, and plenty more. He has charted under aliases too, with Wally Jump Jr & The Criminal Element’s “Tighten Up” getting to number 24 in 1987, and the Criminal Element Orchestra’s “Everybody (Rap)” (featuring Wendell Williams) hitting number 30 in 1990, a track that sampled Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody”.
This pairing was Al Green’s second hit after a fifteen-year spell concentrating on gospel music, following on from his duet the previous year with Annie Lennox on “Put A Little Love In Your Heart” (from the movie “Scrooged”). His biggest UK hit was way back in 1971 when “Tired Of Being Alone” peaked at number four. He became an ordained pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis in 1976, and is of course widely known as The Reverend Al Green.
“The Message Is Love” was a bigger hit elsewhere in the world; number ten in New Zealand, nine in Belgium, six in Germany, and four in Austria. It charted on this day in 1989, with Bruno Brookes announcing it as a new entry at number forty (although technically it had climbed from number 51). The two were to collaborate again in 1991, on anti-handgun song “Leave The Guns At Home”, which failed to chart.
Peak UK Chart Position: #26 in October 1995.
Wait, what? Only number 26? Yep, it was a two-week chart wonder, entering at 26 on this day twenty-one years ago, before descending to 37 and then out of the forty. Born in Ottawa, Canada on June 1st 1974, her third – and best known – album “Jagged Little Pill” (from which “Hand In My Pocket” was the second single released) sold 33 million units worldwide.
This track was the first of six number ones in her native Canada, and the first of four in succession. “Ironic” followed, which was a global success, going top ten in most countries – except in the UK, where ironically it stalled at number 11. Her biggest UK hit was “Hands Clean”, the lead single from 1998 album “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie”, which reached number five.
I kid you not) – where, in true ‘agony aunt’ style, you could ask your questions for good honest advice in return. It was also in June that she gave birth to her second child, Onyx Solace Morissette-Treadway.
From January to June of this year, she had a weekly column in the Guardian Weekend magazine – entitled “Ask Alanis” (
Here’s “Hand In My Pocket”, performed live on what seems to be a Paris-based television show, on March 27th 1996. An excellent rendition, and a worthy reminder of just how good she was.
Peak UK Chart Position: #22 in November 1990.
Melbourne-born Jason Donovan made the transition from Australian soap star – playing Scott Robinson in Neighbours – to pop star with some considerable ease, but without the longevity of his counterpart Kylie Minogue, only being a chart star across a four-year period.
“Nothing Can Divide Us” was the breakthrough single in 1988, hitting number five in the UK and also going top three in Ireland and his homeland. The “are they, aren’t they” questions surrounding Kylie were fuelled further by his next hit, the duet “Especially For You” which wound up being the Christmas number two for 1988 in the UK (with Angry Anderson’s “Suddenly” – the Neighbours wedding theme – at four), finally hitting the top spot in early 1989.
1989 was by far his peak, also hitting the top with “Too Many Broken Hearts”, “Sealed With A Kiss”, and featuring on Band Aid II’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” – the Christmas chart topper – whilst simultaneously having the Christmas number three in “When You Come Back To Me” (perhaps one of the most ignored festive songs ever). His star began to wane in 1990, with this track – “I’m Doing Fine” – debuting at a lowly number 35 on this day in 1990.
He’s been back touring this year, performing with his “Ten Good Reasons and Greatest Hits” tour, and he has been far from quiet over the years, starring in stage musicals including “Joseph”, “Sweeney Todd”, and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. He was seldom far away from Top of the Pops in the late 80’s and early 90’s; here he is on the October 25th 1990 edition, hosted by Jakki Brambles, and starting with the countdown from 30-11. Plenty of pink and blue lighting…
Peak UK Chart Position: #41 in October 2002.
Myra Ellen Amos, as she was born, but adopting the name Tori after being told that she looked like a Torrey pine – a tree native to the west coast of America. A classically trained musician, she has a career going back to – amazingly – 1979, but didn’t break through commercially until 1992.
She has scored both a number one single and number one album in the UK. “Under The Pink” was the album, her second, hitting the top for one week in February 1994. “Professional Widow (It’s Got To Be Big)” was the single; the original version from the number two album “Boys For Pele” was also the double-A side of the single “Hey Jupiter” which reached number twenty. A remix by Armand Van Helden had been doing the rounds for a while (and featured on the “Hey Jupiter” CD single), and got a release in its own right, charting at the top for a week in January 1997 – it predominantly using just two lines of lyrics from the original.
“A Sorta Fairytale” was the lead track from Tori’s 2002 album “Scarlet’s Walk”. The track has featured in episodes of both ‘Nip/Tuck’ and ‘The L Word’. It narrowly missed the top forty in the UK – entering at number 41 on this day in 2002 – but did become her biggest hit in Canada, reaching number six.
Peak UK Chart Position: #2 in November 1986.
A new entry at number 36 on this day in 1986, ascending to number two (and spending a fortnight there) just three weeks later, this was the ninth top forty hit for Kim Wilde – and her joint biggest, matching the peak of her debut single “Kids In America” back in 1981.
Still performing – indeed, about to start a tour in Australia with Howard Jones – her career spans an incredible 36 years (she turns 56 next month) with a total of 25 top fifty singles. With this single, she became only the fifth UK female solo artist to top the US Billboard charts back in 1987, following in the footsteps of Petula Clark, Lulu, Sheena Easton, and Bonnie Tyler. She was a BRIT Awards winner back in 1983 in the category Best British Female Solo Artist.
Definitely not her only cover version to be big in the UK charts (this track originally a hit for the Supremes in 1966), she also took “If I Can’t Have You” to number 12 in 1993, and duetted with the late Mel Smith on “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” for Comic Relief, a number three in 1986. Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King’s “Shame” was also covered by Kim, but only managed number 79 in 1996.
Kim looks absolutely stunning in this Top of the Pops performance – taken from a special show, the ‘Review Of The 80s’ broadcast on December 28th 1989 – with studio appearances also by Aswad, Shakin’ Stevens, Phil Collins, Erasure, David Essex, Status Quo, and Chris De Burgh.