How To Have 1000 Number Ones - The Easy Way

Monday, August 22, 2005

All Around The World

I had not seen Nik for several years, it having been difficult for us to catch up for a drink and a chat ever since he took it upon himself to move to Australia. So when he recently came back to the Northern hemisphere for a few weeks, I and several others took the opportunity to make up for lost time by spending several days in the pub with him.

He had arranged this 20,000-mile round trip in order to take a look at my growing collection of Number Ones (as it turned out, his brother was getting married while he was here, so he was able to squeeze that in too). In a short break from drinking he came round to carry out his inspection, and following a heated discussion about the merits of Pump Up The Volume by M/A/R/R/S, Nik got to wondering what had been Number One on the day he was born.

I find it incredible that anyone under the age of 53 could be without this vital piece of information, but I overcame my astonishment and looked it up (this was of course unnecessary, as I have every detail committed to memory, but I just wanted to check). We discovered that the record in question was Eye Level by the Simon Park Orchestra, the theme from the television programme ‘Van Der Valk’. I was sadly unable to play the record, having yet to find it, but we were satisified with our new knowledge as we ventured out to wander the streets of Headingley.

Along the way I realised that there was one charity shop left in Headingley that I had not yet raided, and noting a box of 7” singles through the window, we went to take a closer look. And there it was: Eye Level by the Simon Park Orchestra. Once again I felt the guiding hand of destiny upon my shoulder. I considered, for a moment, giving the record to Nik, but thought better of it – he wouldn’t have appreciated the gesture anyway – and turned back to the box.

Of the other chart-toppers I discovered here, there were several which have been known to enter conversations about the worst ever Number Ones. Rod Stewart’s Sailing is one I would have expected to be on my own shortlist, but listening to it again now for the first time in years I realise it’s actually not a bad record. Save Your Love by Renee & Renato and Engelbert Humperdinck’s Release Me both have a worse reputation than they deserve (though Save Your Love is pretty poor, it must be said). In fact the worst record I bought here was the 614th Number One, the awful Phil Collins version of A Groovy Kind Of Love*.

That evening it was back to the pub, and the following day Nik was gone. I never did get to play Eye Level for him, but perhaps he’ll be back for another look when the collection is complete.

* Two more TV themes in that lot, loosely speaking, plus a film song, but you knew that.


  • So are you going to send me an MP3 of Eye Level? I still haven't heard and am sulking with iTunes for not having and 808 State tracks

    By Anonymous Nik, at 8/23/2005 9:17 am  

  • Eye level isn't that bad. However, it will always be the Orangeboom ad music to me. Which would be OK if Orangeboom wasn't a crap Dutch lager.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/29/2005 3:12 am  

  • That was me by the way

    By Anonymous Nik, at 8/29/2005 3:12 am  

  • I don't believe I am familiar with the Oranjeboom advert. I guess it's an Aussie ad?

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 8/29/2005 7:30 pm  

  • No. It was an ad in the UK about 20 years ago

    By Anonymous Nik, at 8/30/2005 3:53 am  

  • Sadly, I can recall the words to the oranjeboom ad:

    Just look here/
    lend an ear/
    you'll appreciate this beer/
    it's not run of the mill, I'd say

    It is such/
    ask my old dutch/
    that it can't be praised too much/
    get 'tulips' around a pint today

    Oranjeboom, oranjeboom
    It's a lager not a tune

    - this from a memory stuffed with rubbish

    By Blogger simon h b, at 9/05/2005 10:15 am  

  • I'm impressed. Still don't remember it though.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 9/05/2005 2:27 pm  

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