How To Have 1000 Number Ones - The Easy Way

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Give A Little Love

I only entered the Relics record shop in Leeds because I happened to be passing by, and didn’t hold out much hope of discovering anything useful in what is essentially a serious collector’s shop, specialising in rarities. But tucked away in a corner I found the holy grail that is the 7” bargain bin, and when I left some time later I was the proud new owner of over 30 Number One singles, and made a mental note to return for more at a later date.

Relics provided a particularly good haul of charity singles, namely the Stock, Aitken & Waterman version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid II, Elton John’s double A-side Sacrifice/Healing Hands, the Crowd’s You’ll Never Walk Alone (in aid of the Bradford City Disaster Fund), and the NME/Childline double A featuring Billy Bragg performing She’s Leaving Home and Wet Wet Wet covering With A Little Help From My Friends*.

As well as being in aid of various good causes, the one thing these records have in common is that they are bloody awful, though not quite as bad as a pair of singles by singing actors which I also picked up. These were the 578th Number One, Every Loser Wins by Nick Berry and the 730th, Robson & Jerome’s I Believe/Up On The Roof (not made any more palatable by the fact that this particular piece of vinyl is horrendously warped).

Another of the worst ever Number Ones is the 574th, Chris De Burgh’s Lady In Red. It’s quite likely that this is the only Chris De Burgh record you will know, which is rather unfortunate, since it gave him an undeserved reputation as a schmaltzy dog-faced crooner of dreary ballads. If you know two Chris De Burgh records, the other one will probably be ‘A Spaceman Came Travelling’, which doesn’t do much to dispel the myth, but if you think you can deal with the social stigma I would highly recommend taking a listen to his early albums, which are actually pretty good.

Thankfully it’s not all bad in this selection. The highlights include La Bamba by Los Lobos and Shakespears Sister’s Stay, but my particular favourite is the 673rd Number One, Goodnight Girl by Wet Wet Wet, who are becoming something of a regular feature here. I’ve no idea why I like this record so much, but there’s something about it which makes me go all funny inside – as does Lady In Red, but in a different way.

The most unusual chart-topper here must be the 529th, Only You by the Flying Pickets. I haven’t checked, but I am fairly confident that this is the only Number One by a left-wing revolutionary a cappella troupe. It appears that the Pickets are still around, although they don’t seem to have much in common with the 1983 line-up that made their biggest hit.

Just 705 to go.

* The second of the three versions of this song to reach the top, and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you who recorded the others.


  • I have all but 1 number 1 on an original shop brought CD. The only one missing is the Bradford City fire song, You'll never walk alone by the crowd. Any ideas.

    I have it on vinyl, and on DJ only (number 1's series), I know it is anarok time.

    The other significant song missing from my CD collection is the Commentators - Nineteen, which is the only track to appear on the NOW series that I have not found on CD. Again any clues?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/09/2006 11:05 pm  

  • I have the Bradford City song on 7", so don't know of any CD that might be available. Don't know about the Commentators either but the correct title is 'N-N-Nineteen Not Out' if that helps.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 1/10/2006 12:03 am  

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