How To Have 1000 Number Ones - The Easy Way

Monday, January 30, 2006

What's Another Year

A year had passed since I embarked on my quest, and in that time I had almost made it to the halfway point, owning 435 Number One singles, 603 when including albums or re-releases. Meanwhile 26 more records had made it to the top of the charts.

I was working on a song of my own and searching for lyrical inspiration, so I decided to take a stroll down to Headingley and take in the usual charity shop tour. It had only been a few weeks since I had last taken this route, but past experience told me it was always worth having a quick look.

By the time I got to the British Heart Foundation shop I had written a middle eight, and by the time I left I was in possession of the 971st Number One, With A Little Help From My Friends/Measure Of A Man by Sam & Mark, the latest in a grand tradition of terrible Beatles covers. Measure Of A Man is one of those invisible double A-sides, ignored by radio and TV, though the CD sleeve assured me that it had been performed in the Pop Idol final, which could explain why neither Sam nor Mark won.

The PDSA shelves were still looking bare following my previous raid, but I did find £1 worth of chart-topping hits, namely Boom! Shake The Room by Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince and Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven Is A Place On Earth, as well as another, unscratched copy of Jim Diamond’s I Should Have Known Better.

The All Aboard shop was, incredibly, open. I overcame my shock at this strange state of affairs and headed inside, where I found a stack of CD singles. It was a relief to find Rock DJ by Robbie Williams having previously bought its empty case. There were two other Number Ones from 2000, Black Legend’s You See The Trouble With Me and Black Coffee by All Saints. The Outhere Brothers sported a Parental Advisory sticker on the cover of Don’t Stop (Wiggle Wiggle), as well as a totally superfluous shout of “Bee-yatch” at the end. I was most pleased to find the one-hit wonder White Town’s Your Woman (alternatively known as ‘Abort, Retry, Fail’), the first Number One by one of the new breed of bedroom musicians who emerged in the late 90s thanks to the wonders of technology.

In the Martin House shop I bought a selection of 7” singles, largely thanks to a certain Gwen Wray, whose name was written on most of my purchases. These were mainly hits from the 1970s, the only exception being the 1969 Number One Sugar Sugar by the Archies (a cartoon band long before Gorillaz). I already had Alvin Stardust’s Jealous Mind and I had bought Dawn's Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree* just a few weeks earlier, but both had been scratched and noisy so I was happy to find replacements. Sadly the Alvin Stardust record was not much of an improvement, and I began to wonder if in fact it was simply a poor recording.

The 353rd and 354th Number Ones, George McCrae’s Rock Your Baby and When Will I See You Again by the Three Degrees, were also a little noisy, but not disastrously so, and thankfully the fantastic You To Me Are Everything by The Real Thing was unafflicted. The sound quality of David Cassidy’s Daydreamer/The Puppy Song was just fine, but both sides of the record, neither of which I had heard before, are awful. Apparently Gwen would disagree to the extent that she had cut out the lyrics of Daydreamer from an unknown source and inserted them inside the sleeve.

My Jive Bunny collection was perfected when I bought replacement copies of Swing The Mood (my other copy skipped) and That’s What I Like (as I had suspected, the 12” version I already had was an extended mix). In addition to all of this I bought a solitary CD, Where Is The Love? by Black Eyed Peas, a great record ruined at the time by constant radio play but now sounding fresh again.

My record hunting had distracted me from my original purpose, and the song remained unfinished, though I had a few half ideas in mind. I declared my shopping trip over and went home to complete what I hoped would be a future Number One.

* Nine Number Ones have a species of tree in their title, so that should give you plenty to choose from.


  • Well bit stumped on this one. Cotton Eye Joe? Mind you - cotton grows more on a bush than a tree.

    Is mistletoe a tree? Probably more bush again.

    By Anonymous Nik, at 1/31/2006 1:27 am  

  • ashes to ashes is one.
    a previous answer supplied me with cherry pink and apple blossom white (number 1 twice and two trees)
    the smoke tree is mentioned in the title of smoke gets in your eyes
    rose trees get a mention in rose marie

    does christmas tree count as a type of tree? if so there are a few we could use

    By Anonymous ant, at 1/31/2006 12:33 pm  

  • Yeah it's a tough one this, even though there are a lot. Cotton and mistletoe are both bushes, though apparently a mistletoe bush can grow on a tree, strangely.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 1/31/2006 12:36 pm  

  • I wasn't expecting this one to get controversial, but it obviously is going to.

    Ashes to Ashes is one, and Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White is another two for the two different versions (nothing extra for two trees though!).

    I had never heard of the smoke tree but it looks like I'll have to give you that one - so that makes 10 in all.

    Roses however grow an a bush, and a Christmas tree isn't a SPECIES of tree so doesn't count.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 1/31/2006 12:51 pm  

  • although most roses grow on bushes, there are several species of rose trees.
    William Blake wrote a poem about them called My Pretty Rose Tree

    Another one is rubber tree mentioned in rubber bullets by 10cc

    i had a an earlier blind spot about ebony mentioned in ebony and ivory as well

    By Anonymous ant, at 1/31/2006 4:13 pm  

  • William Blake is an idiot. Roses grow on bushes.

    Rubber Bullets and Ebony and Ivory are both right though.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 1/31/2006 4:21 pm  

  • oh and i forgot about the answer to an earlier question which mentioned one - black coffee by all saints

    By Anonymous ant, at 1/31/2006 4:23 pm  

  • OK, you can have coffee tree.

    The total is up to 14 now, and you've got 8.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 1/31/2006 4:30 pm  

  • I see you somewhat foolishly gave away one tree species by alluding to the tying of a yellow ribbon around it.
    However, I believe that Tom Jones also speaks of the mighty oak in "The green, green grass of home". Indeed, with the words "hair of gold, and lips like cherries", the Welsh wonder hits us with a double arboreal whammy.

    Jane (I would include Craig, but his knowledge of music is a little like his dancing - erratic, and unexpected)

    By Anonymous Jane, at 1/31/2006 9:19 pm  

  • Ah, Jane, you're giving away that you're new to all this. I always give away one answer in the post in order to produce the question, and only titles count (the clue was when I used the word 'title', you see).

    So, yes, you are right, but no, you are wrong.

    Bonus point for taking the piss out of your husband's dancing though.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 1/31/2006 11:54 pm  

  • May I recap. We now believe that there are 14 and so far we have 8:

    1 - Oak
    2 - Cherry
    3 - Apple
    4 - Smoke
    5 - Ash
    6 - Rubber
    7 - Ebony
    8 - Coffee

    I am lost on the rules now if Ashes to Ashes is allowed. On this basis, a word need only contain the correct letters in the correct order, rather than be the actual word.

    Therefore we could have Prodigy - Firstarter (Fir tree) and Kung Fu Fighting (Fig tree). Is that allowed?

    By Anonymous Nik, at 2/01/2006 1:44 am  

  • Thanks for the summary Nik - good move, I was starting to get confused myself. This thread has got out of control.

    Similarly I will recap the previously unspoken rules.

    Ashes to Ashes counts as a correct answer because it's simply the plural. Otherwise, words within words never count, as you well know.

    Bonus points however are always available for good puns, for example 'You Cedar Trouble With Me'.

    Naturally I reserve the right to make it up as I go along.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 2/01/2006 1:54 am  

  • do i get two bonus points for mentioning kylie & jasons ode to two trees - especially fir yew?

    By Anonymous ant, at 2/01/2006 1:43 pm  

  • Awful. Two bonus points it is.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 2/01/2006 1:45 pm  

  • This is total beech of a quiz.

    By the way Joe, would you also be interested in the 12" vinyl of "Your Woman", which has a remix on it? I am happy to part with it for the bargain price of £0.00.

    By Blogger Rish, at 2/01/2006 2:29 pm  

  • Well why not, thank you Rish, that is most kind.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 2/01/2006 4:44 pm  

  • "Ceratopetalum gummiferum", or Christmas Bush which grows throughout NSW is, despite its name, a tree (growing to over 10m in height, a feat beyond the humble bush). I therefore demand the reinstatement of all Christmas related titles as correct answers.


    (P.S. Did I forget to mention "shrubus butcherus", better known by it's common name of Slaughter Tree?)

    By Anonymous Steven, at 2/01/2006 11:05 pm  

  • Steven it is quite clear from the names in both cases that the bush in question is a bush, including the one you made up.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 2/01/2006 11:25 pm  

  • There is such a thing as fire tree which I think gives us at least two more number ones courtesy of the crazy world of arthur brown and jerry lee lewis.


    By Blogger Craig, at 2/19/2006 2:49 pm  

  • Plus Take That, The Prodigy and Will Young. Honestly, I wish I'd never bothered with this trees thing. Or the rivers. Or the whole Number Ones mission.

    By Blogger Joe Williams, at 2/19/2006 10:12 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home