How To Have 1000 Number Ones - The Easy Way

Monday, May 09, 2005

Puppy Love

A recent trip to my local PDSA charity shop proved unexpectedly fruitful. Not only did I do my bit to help save the cute little bunny rabbits, but my contribution of £13.89 bought me 11 CD singles, three 7”s and a couple of old newspaper covermount CDs which included a healthy number of chart-toppers.

The best among these were a trio of classic pop singles from 1999 – …Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera’s Genie In A Bottle and, best of all, Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin, making 1999 a good year for transatlantic teen idols.

Not so good are Peter Andre’s Flava and Gary Barlow’s truly awful solo debut, Forever Love. Another horror is the 828th Number One, Boom Boom Boom Boom by the Vengaboys*, which, as well as being a terrible record, highlighted yet another obstacle in my quest, the phenomenon that is the double CD single.

During the 90s, the major labels hit upon a devious marketing strategy which involved releasing two versions of a CD single, with the A-side usually appearing on both CDs, accompanied by a selection of different B-sides, typically various remixes and live tracks. These would be sold at half-price in the first week of release, in an attempt to get the record-buying public to fork out for both versions, thus doubling the sales and ensuring that the record entered the chart as high as possible.

All of this poses a question about whether the collection can only be truly complete if I manage to get both of the two CDs. I have decided that, since in most cases the lead track is identical, it will be sufficient to own only one. However, the second CD of Boom Boom Boom Boom, which I now have, does not include the original mix, and so in this case I will also need to track down the other disc. Thankfully the Official Charts Company have since made double CDs ineligible for the charts, putting a stop to this record company tactic and making my life a little easier.

As well as the PDSA records, I have gathered a number of chart-toppers thanks to my brother’s 18th birthday, for which I decided to prepare a compilation CD featuring the records that were at Number One on each of his birthdays. Since only three of these tracks were already in the collection, I had to find the others pretty quickly, and so I turned for the first time to the iTunes Music Store, where I was able to buy 13 of the 16 I needed.

I therefore now also own the 978th (and probably the rudest) Number One, Eamon’s F**k It (I Don’t Want You Back), the other Gary Barlow chart-topper, Love Won’t Wait (not quite as bad as Forever Love, but still rubbish) and another great Britney Spears single, Oops!…I Did It Again.

Although I would of course prefer to be buying physical products rather than downloads, it’s heartening to discover that iTunes had such a high success rate, as this may well come in very handy in the future. Though they still don’t have Whole Lotta Woman by Marvin Rainwater.

* A title that squeezes in 4 of the 9 appearances of the word ‘Boom’ in a Number One’s title. The other 5 are spread among just three records. Can you name that boom?


  • Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince -"Boom! Shake The Room"
    Outhere Brothers - "Boom Boom Boom"
    Shaggy - "Boombastic"

    Now I'm clearly just cheating.

    By Anonymous Steven, at 6/15/2005 6:29 am  

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