Peak UK Chart Position: #19 in December 1989.
Shaun Ryder, 54 today, is still to this day lead singer of the Happy Mondays, a band who have gone through no less than three splits but are still together with what is classed as their “original definitive” line-up (according to their Facebook page, unfortunately nothing can be gleaned from their website as – at the time of writing – it states “website suspended”).
Formed in 1980, they were championed by the late, inimitable music impresario Tony Wilson – and were signed to his Factory records label to boot. 1989 saw them break into the mainstream with the “Madchester Rave On” EP, of which this (“Hallelujah”) was the title track. Despite peaking in the chart on only its second week, it stayed around the top 100 (either in original or remixed form) for the best part of fourteen months. The iconic “Step On”, and “Kinky Afro” were their biggest hits, peaking at number five in 1990. Ryder was to have four further top ten hits with Black Grape, and a number one with Gorillaz on “Dare” in 2005.
It was an iconic edition of Top of the Pops on 23rd November 1989: the ‘Madchester’ explosion was taking place, and both Happy Mondays and Stone Roses (with “Fool’s Gold”) appeared on the same show. Hosted by Jakki Brambles and Jenny Powell – (un)fortunately the intro where Powell cannot pronounce “Hallelujah” properly is edited out here. Kirsty MacColl appears with the band, and Bez has (allegedly) stated that he cannot remember this day at all…