Two Takes on Number Ones

Remember singles? I remember them as 7-inch vinyl discs, with a song on each side, usually bought for the “a-side”. Since then, they have taken many other forms: 12-inchers, cassingles, downloads, streams,…

A Number One was the single that sold the most copies in a particular week. Why this history lesson now? Because of two takes on number ones, and the intersection between the two.

Take one: on Stereogum, Tom Breihan is reviewing every single #1 single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. As of today (June 5, 2020), he’s just got to mid-1982, when The Human League were #1. Tom is an excellent writer and researcher. Today, as often, I admire his column more than the single it describes.

Take two: in the Guardian, the in-house music critics have just finished ranking The 100 greatest UK No 1s. Yes, this is rabble-rousing clickbait. I am roused to point out that there is at least UK1 that is better than about a hundred of the singles on the Guardian’s list. Sing it, Smokey, and know that very few of the artists on the list are worthy to be mentioned in the same post as you.

I don’t know how the Guardian music writers managed to exclude this wonderful song (and pretty good video, by the way) from their top 100. Perhaps they decided that so ridiculous an exclusion would generate clicks and links. If so, it worked, at least one me.

Enjoy the music and the discussion, and feel free to continue the discussion here.

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