Peak UK Chart Position: #1 in May 1996.
Brisbane-born Gina Mary Gardiner entered the UK charts on this day in 1996 at number six, a full seven weeks before she would represent the United Kingdom at Eurovision under her stage name Gina G. She had previously been a DJ in Melbourne in her native Australia, as well as a singer in an Australian dance music group, Bass Culture. “Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit” was written by Simon Tauber and Steve Rodway (also known as Motiv8), and was performed by Gina at the 41st Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo, Norway on 18th May 1996, where it would end up being placed eighth. Ireland’s Eimear Quinn was crowned winner, with the song “The Voice”.
The track won through to Oslo initially via a Top of the Pops ‘The Great British Song Contest’ special on March 1st, where the field of eight songs were whittled down to four, and subsequently a second ‘A Song For Europe’ programme a week later decided the actual representative. 1996 was Jonathan King’s second year as executive producer of ‘A Song For Europe’, and almost his last after Gina failed to win the actual Eurovision contest, but he oversaw success a year later when Katrina and the Waves’ “Love Shine A Light” became victorious.
It was the last UK entry at Eurovision – to date – to gain a number one placing in the charts, something that didn’t happen until after the actual contest. Indeed, its chart run of 6-5-2-3-3-3-2-1 was uncommon in an era where instant number ones would be and become the norm. Its sustained chart performance was enough to place it seventh on the best selling singles list of 1996. The track was a big success in America too, where it reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, gaining her a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording.
Here is her performance from Oslo that evening, Eurovision rules at the time required every instrument used on the backing track to appear on stage, hence a pair of synthesizers and computers, although apart from the vocals, the only “live” addition would be some orchestra instrumentation in the second half. The full introduction to the performance is included here too.