Peak UK Chart Position: #1 in May 1988.

Happy birthday to these popstars:

  • Anita Ward, American singer/musician (“Ring My Bell” UK #1/US #1 in 1979) is 60 today.
  • JoJo, born Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque, American singer/songwriter/actress (“Leave (Get Out)” UK #2/US #12 in 2004, “Too Little Too Late” UK #4/US #3 in 2007) is 26 today.
  • Chris Robinson, American singer, leader of Black Crowes (“Remedy” UK #24 in 1992, “Hard To Handle” UK #39) is 50 today.

And finally, Barking-born Stephen William Bragg – better known as Billy Bragg – celebrates his 59th birthday today. A renowned left-wing activist, Bragg’s musical career started back in 1977 – although he wouldn’t have his first chart success until eight years later, when the “Between The Wars EP” (inspired by the miners’ strike) reached number 15 and earned him an appearance on Top of the Pops, Before that, he was the writer behind “A New England”, which was recorded by the late Kirsty MacColl and gave her a top ten hit in 1983.

Unbeknown to many, Bragg did have a UK number one hit. The Childline charity benefitted from a multi-artist re-recording of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, re-titled “Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father” and co-ordinated by the New Musical Express. From that, a double-A sided single was released, with Wet Wet Wet’s “With A Little Help From My Friends” scooping all the airplay and attention – although on its fourth week at number one, Top of the Pops featured the flip side. This excellent performance is totally live (musically as well as vocally), but Bragg unfortunately stumbles over the lyrics at 0:55, supposedly attributed to being unable to see the lyrics (taped to the floor) due to the dry ice.

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