11 Songs That Were Perfectly Appropriate to Have Been #1 on Valentine’s Day

My colon is clean. I don’t have two-shits to give about Valentine’s Day but since I woke up this morning with a sudden, uncontrollable desire to revisit Celine Dion‘s love songs compilation (and have been merrily screeching along to all the top notes), I started to wonder what songs happened to have been #1 on Valentine’s Day over last 30 years or so.

February 14th is such a major date in the marketing calendar and no “””holiday””” has been better constructed with the sole purpose of exploiting romance and loneliness quite like this one, so it actually made sense to look back on what records were being pushed to death around this time of the year.

For every strategically timed single release that failed to top the charts, (Hi ya, Victoria Beckham ‘A Mind of Its Own’ circa 2002!) there were plenty who hit the mark and either had us all giddy with euphoria or weeping into a tub of Häagen-Dazs.

Here are 11 perfectly spot on Valentine’s Day chart-toppers:

Whitney Houston ‘How Will I Know’ (1986, US)

Believe it or not Whitney‘s first banger was actually a Janet Jackson reject. This joyous, fluorescent pop tune brings all my favourite elements of 80s pop, yearning and sentimental lyrics with really vibrant synths, big drums and big vocals. It doesn’t matter where in the world I am, I’ll feel instantly at home at any gay dive bar that plays this.

Cher ‘Believe’ (1999, Australia)

Speaking of gay dive bars! I guess we are where we are. I’m picturing a sea of blonde highlights in cargo pants in a heaving nightclub, green laser lights catching the sweat on heavily plucked brows. Everybody here is picturing someone they’d love to sing these words to. A survivalist dance anthem like ‘Believe’ and ‘I Will Survive’ really only comes around once every 10, 20 years or so – if we’re lucky. It took less than two months for this to become the biggest-selling hit of 1998 in the UK, and the excitement soon poured over internationally the following year when Australia made ‘Believe’ it’s Valentine’s Day anthem of 1999.

No Doubt ‘Don’t Speak’ (1997, Australia)

A gut-wrenching and quintessentially 90s rock break-up classic. I’m surprised to learn that despite this being the most played song on radio in 1996 in America, it never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 because ‘Don’t Speak’ was not released as an actual commercial single there. The single did however hit #1 in several international charts including Australia when we were all nursing heartbreaks that year to Gwen Stefani‘s aching tones.

George Michael ‘Careless Whisper’ (1985, US)

I get chills every time I hear that sax intro. Seriously, what a bloody god-sent masterpiece. ‘Careless Whisper’ topped the US charts in February 1985, six months after it was already a huge #1 hit in the UK. George would go on to have another Valentine’s Day #1 two years later with Aretha Franklin in ‘I Knew You Were Waiting For Me’.

Kylie ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ (1988, UK)

We all know the story behind this career-launching hit that almost wasn’t to be. But all I can say is thank god for Kylie sticking around the Stock Aitken and Waterman lobby and not storming out in a huff when those guys completely forgot she was scheduled to work with them, because the few minutes they had to scramble something together for her became ‘I Should Be So Lucky’. Who knew 30 years later it’d remain such a bittersweet and persistent metaphor for our perpetually unlucky in love pop princess?

Toni Braxton ‘Un-Break My Heart’ (1997, US)

Did I ever tell you guys that my father was obsessed with this song? Like capital ‘O’ obsessed. Like, Beyoncé playing a woman dressed by Target Obsessed. He had the Secrets album on cassette and would literally only rewind back to this song every single time. Then when CDs became popular, I think he went out and bought the album on CD because it was easier to keep the track on repeat in this format.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert ‘Same Love’ (2013, Australia)

A beautiful and political declaration of equal love that very much reflected the cultural shift of the time. It’s so beautiful to see that this was #1 in Australia where sadly, the fight for marriage equality still continues. It’s actually odd looking back and seeing how much Macklemore was killing it at the time. Through all the years I’ve looked back on Valentine’s Day #1s, I’ve not come across one artist who had total dominance on US, UK and Australian charts like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis did in 2013 (‘Thrift Shop’ was #1 in US and UK that week).

Atomic Kitten ‘Whole Again’ (2001, UK)

I will never not have time for Atomic Kitten. It’s just one of those things. I won’t even call it a guilty pleasure because I don’t feel any way guilty for liking it, and neither should you. I literally screamed when I found out ‘Whole Again’ was #1 this week… 16 years ago! To think these girls were hanging onto their record deal barely by the tips of their acrylic nails before the label agreed to release ‘Whole Again’ is ludicrous. They had ‘Whole Again’ the whole time but chose to release four other tracks, which got virtually zero-cares from everyone. Thank god common sense prevailed!

Sinead O’Connor ‘Nothing Compares 2 U (1990, UK)

It’s been seven hours and fifteeeeeeen days… DEAD. I am dead. I forgot Prince actually wrote this one. This is may be a Prince song but it is a Sinead O’Connor classic, you feel me? The super chilling and despondent ballad was a massive fuck-off global hit for the Irish singer, shifting platinum sales in the UK and becoming the biggest selling single of 1990 in Australia. Part of me wishes Prince had written more break up songs for other people.

Jennifer Lopez ‘All I Have’ (2003, US)

That scene in the video where J.Lo is wiping her nose and lugging all her shit through the snow is literally what comes to mind every time I picture myself in post-break up glamour!     2002-2003 was the era where J.Lo was literally killing everybody in the game. She was dominating the box office with films like Maid in Manhattan, she had launched a successful fragrance collection, the tabloids were lapping up her Hollywood fairytale romance with Ben Affleck, she was massive on the radio with hits like ‘Jenny From The Block’ and this one… we didn’t quite catch it at the time but we were witnessing the building of one of America’s most enduring pop entertainers and media moguls with an empire that would keep expanding 15 years on. I’m literally too embarrassed to ask myself what I’ve done with my life in that time.

Whitney ‘I Will Always Love  You’ (1993, US and Australia) 

An appropriate and painfully obvious Valentine’s Day chart-topper. It spent a mind-blowing 14 weeks at #1 on the US Billboard chart. Oh yes… all through Christmas, Boxing Day sales, Hanukkah, NYE messiness and New Year’s resolutions that were broken before she came back for the big final chorus. The iconic song made a return on sadder terms this time five years ago after Whitney’s death. The surge of emotional purchases saw ‘I Will Always Love You’ top the iTunes charts and return to the US Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in 20 years.

Here is a playlist of 40* best Valentine’s Day #1 hits. All in one convenient music streaming receptacle. *’Nothing Compares 2 U’ is not on Spotify though….  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Carelessly whispering on Twitter as always – @feedlimmy.

 

 

 

Chart Feed – 08.08.11

Cher Lloyd just inadvertently despatched gigabytes of “fuck you” to all her haters and detractors this morning when her debut single ‘Swagger Jagger’ swooped in to claim the UK #1 spot. The X Factor femmecee’s intensely “disliked” single managed to sell 66,815 copies in its opening week to dislodge fellow show alumni JLS from the top. ‘Swagger Jagger’ was simultaneously released in the US and with chalk all promotion, yet it somehow succeeded in climbing to #992 on the American iTunes charts. Noteworthy, I know. Despite the opening there, Cher told Digital Spy that she isn’t really gagging for a State-side domination (just yet).

“Put it this way, I’m not going to run before I can walk. I hate it when people say ‘cracking the US’ – I actually really don’t mind whether I do or not. I’m not living in the US, I didn’t grow up there, and success out there would be lovely, but I want to conquer this part of the world first.” Sensible lass.

Gotye and Kimbra‘s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ steps up to #3 on the ARIA charts this week. Y’all do realise that these two are now sharing intimate breathing spaces with the likes of Adele, Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera, right? It is remarkable. Safe to say, the key sales propellant in the last week would have been from both Gotye and Kimbra‘s appearance at Splendour in The Grass.

Check them doing ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ live at Splendour:


 
Jessica Mauboy‘s ‘Inescapable’ may have snuck in at the rectum of the Top 20 last week but it has crawled its way well up the pipes to land at #10 this week. I don’t think she was droppin’ and poppin’ it at Splendour, so I reckon some other equally effective promo work must’ve taken place in the last week. Our Aussie urban pop princess will be doing an in-store signing at Sanity in Sydney’s Narrelan Town Centre on 13 August to celebrate the launch of her Get ‘Em Girls deluxe package. Go say ‘hi’ and have her sign a boob or something. Side bar: is that where all popstars have to go for in-store signings now that Hum Records on Oxford Street has gone belly up?

Jack Vidgen – our nation’s newly crowned teen vocal talent – sees his debut single ‘Yes I Am’ crack our ARIA charts at #35 this week. After snatching the crown on Australia’s Got Talent, the 14-year old warbler inked a deal with Sony Music Australia and released ‘Yes I Am’ – a track he co-wrote with famed vocal coach Erana Clark (whose CV boasts work on Australian Idol and X Factor‘s super girlband Mahogany). I think it’s terrific that he’s co-written his first single. Let’s hope it secures him a decent sum so that if public interest dries up in three months, he’s still got enough lunch money to last him ’til Year 10. Jack’s production line album of covers will pop out on 19 August. You bet it’ll feature that rousing rendition of Adelegend‘s ‘Set Fire to The Rain’.

Watch young Jack bring some Sunday morning gospel realness with ‘Yes I Am’ live at the AGT finale:


 
Demi Levato‘s ‘Skyscraper’ cracks our ARIA Top 50 at #45 this week, believe it or not, the song fared better in New Zealand where it debuted at #9 last week. ‘Skyscraper’ scrapes in as the tenth most added new song to Aussie radios this week. The last time I saw something I liked come in that low on the local radio addition list, I held my breath and said a prayer. God evidently did not want to be bothered with such trivial shit around because Nicole Scherzinger‘s ‘Poison’ still went largely slept on by the Australian public.

Rihanna‘s sixth Loud single ‘Cheers (Drink To That)’ is the most added song on Australian radios this week. The song also makes its debut on our ARIA charts at #46 but surely with such early radio support, we can expect for it to go well into the Top 30 next Monday. It has always been so effortless for Rihanna to get a Top 20 hit here. She need not bend over and take up a rapper to make her single hot. It just sells. ‘Cheers (Drink To That)’ starts charting at #91 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Lady Gaga‘s cigarette-totting new single ‘You and I’ is the fifth most added song on Australian radios this week. Things may only be heating up for the single at this stage but as of June, Nielsen Soundscan reports that ‘You and I’ had already sold over 124,000 digital downloads in the States – way before it was confirmed to be the fourth Born This Way single. Meanwhile, ‘The Edge of Glory’ ascends to the top of the US Billboard Dance/Club charts becoming Mother Monster’s tenth consecutive #1 dance single. In fact, as you might’ve already guessed, every single Gaga has put out bar ‘Eh Eh’ (which technically wasn’t issued in the States) has gone #1 on the dance charts.

Marvin Priest and Wynter Gordon‘s ‘Take Me Away’ is the fourth most added new song to Aussie radios this week. As y’all know, my gurl has ‘Buy My Love’ lined up as her next solo single but them new side collabos keep sprouting out like daisies on a well-manured garden bed [Editor’s note: peculiar analogy but I’ll let it slide]. Over the weekend, she premiered a new track with Steve Aoki titled ‘Ladi Dadi’, which will be on Steve’s forthcoming album.

While we wait for ‘Buy My Love’ to impact Australian media, here’s a delicious new remix by Loud Manners (who has done club-ready mixes for the likes of Jessica Mauboy and Zoe Badwi). I am totally living for this:


 
Adele‘s ‘Someone Like You’ may still be reigning on top of the ARIA charts and sending bitches to the bathroom sobbing every time it comes on at work, but its follow up ‘Set Fire to The Rain’ is quietly bowing out. It’s them cursed dance remixes, I tell ya. ‘Set Fire to The Rain’ only managed to so far peak at #45 in Australia – this week, it slides to #50. This might have something to do with radios not ready to move past ‘Someone Like You’ just yet. Over in the US, the Gossip-styled ‘Rumour Has It’ begins charting at #96 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It would make for a very sensible future US single, working off the success of ‘Rolling In The Deep’.

Alexandra Stan‘s ‘Mr Saxobeat’ debuts at #34 on our Australian digital charts. It really helped having the single strategically placed on the iTunes home page all week, y’all. I caught up with the Romanian dance/pop princess last Tuesday and I’m just about ready to let you have our interview chat. [Editor’s note: highlight – “Alexandra, do you work out to your own music?”]

Benny Benassi‘s ‘Cinema’ propels to #28 on the ARIA charts this week while the brilliant Skrillex remix cracks our digital charts at #40. I actually favour the Skrillex remix more than I do the radio/original version, y’guys. Maybe that’s the song’s destined path of entry into my heart. I mean, I didn’t warm to Kelly Rowland‘s ‘Motivation’ until I fell for the Diplo remix. Sometimes, it takes a good remix to turn the ship around.

Listen to the Skrillex remix of Benny Benassi‘s ‘Cinema’:


 
The Panics‘ fourth studio album Rain on the Humming Wire is the highest selling new album in Australia this week, debuting at #7. The next biggest new release on the line is Falling In Reverse‘s The Drug In Me Is You at #21. All excellent music I should be checking out rather than revisit Victoria Beckham’s discography.

Darren Hayes‘Talk Talk Talk’ moves back up the ARIA Australian charts to #18 this week. Y’know, I see Wes Carr up in here, I see Shannon Noll doing his thing, I even see novelty shit like s.mouse happening but I don’t see Vanessa Amorosi‘s ‘Gossip’. Should we send out a search party? I mean, how dire is the situation? She sent out a cute email to her fans last week about her buying a pony and while it made me think that she should be riding it from town to town purveying her single, I think the more dignified approach would be to do more media appearances. PS – “Popstar Rides Pony to Flog Single” would make for a terrific headline. Just saying.

OK, steering back from that V Mama tangent, s.mouse‘s ‘Slap My Elbow’ has debuted at #21 on the UK independent singles chart while Darren Hayes‘ ‘Talk Talk Talk’ cracks further down the line at #35. Isn’t that scary that Angry Boys is having an impact overseas?

The Wanted is doing a splendid job holding onto Top 3 position in the UK but it shan’t be long before they unveil their plans for global domination. According to our friends at auspOp, the five lads are headed to Australia for the first time next month to talk up the single ‘Glad You Came’ and drum up interest in their music. This should be an interesting watch. As it is with every fresh-faced act cracking a foreign market for the first time, it could go either way. First impressions can be hard to manage. I am instantly reminded of Girls Aloud‘s one and only promo trip here circa ‘Biology’. The Wanted‘s label has pushed back the local release date for ‘Glad You Came’ to this coming Friday. Let the talk, talk, talk begin.

Whet your appetites with this performance of ‘Glad You Came’ live on Tonight’s The Night:


 
Amy Winehouse enjoys a second week of strong posthumous record sales with Back to Black staying on top of the UK charts and Frank rising to #3. Over on the flip side, her singles are falling rapidly down the charts. I guess it doesn’t matter when they’re still selling that many albums. Here’s something her label might want to do if they want to commemorate Wino’s singles – how about pressing limited edition vinyl singles complete with aged, vintage-style sleeves? It’ll make for a very fetch collector’s item, I’m sure.

Christina Perri‘s ‘Jar of Hearts’ shoots from #46 to #17 in the UK this week while over here in Australia, the single still holds tight to the Top 5. I’m glad she’s making such a splash with this track but does anyone know if this woman has any other potential hits in waiting? I clocked a follow up single – ‘Arms’ – but after five months, it hasn’t moved any further than #94 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The video premiered and nothing happened. The album came out and was preceded with four digital promo singles like they’ve staged for Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lopez‘s heavily anticipated albums but unlike those campaigns, none of Christina’s tracks charted in the Top 100. I don’t know much about algebra but 1 hit + 5 flops don’t equal success.

Speaking of hits, here’s a rather nice line graph representation of Kylie Minogue’s three decade-long single discography on the UK charts. And here’s one for Britney. Don’t you just love graphs? I know I do.

David Guetta featuring Taio Cruz and Ludacris‘ ‘Little Bad Girl’ leaps to Top 5 of the UK digital charts this week. Meanwhile, while you’re hitting download on that you might’ve noticed another new Guetta track up for grabs. ‘Titanium’ featuring our Aussie indie pop pin-up Sia was launched as the French DJ’s new digital promo single on Friday. It is truly my obsession right now and I don’t think I’ve fallen so hard and so quickly for any Guetta track since Kelly Rowland‘s ‘Commander’.

Take a listen to ‘Titanium’, throw your hands up in the air and beat your chest like King Kong if need be:


 
Salt N Pepa‘s classic ‘Push It’ has somehow pussy popped its way back to prominence, leaping from #57 to #38 on the UK urban charts this week. News just broke today that the duo are touring Australia in late November to early December, bringing what’s been pitched as a celebration of their ten year anniversary. ‘Push It’, ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ and ‘Shoop’ – you best believe you’ll be getting your groove on with these memaws.

Robyn‘s Body Talk Pt. 3 EP is still charting pretty strongly amongst newer and heavier compilations on the UK dance Top 20. I am surprised y’all but all sweet feelings are quickly lost when I think of Robyn not re-scheduling her Aussie tour. The depths of my sadness cannot be fathomed. The Swedish pop minx was seen on Jay Leno last week co-flogging Rye Rye‘s ‘Never Be Mine’, which evidently samples her old hit ‘Be Mine!’. Watch the performance here.

Kelly Rowland‘s Here I Am entered at #3 on the US Billboard 200 last Wednesday with a cracking 77,000 first week sales. This is the highest debuting and highest charting album in Kelendria’s solo discography – there’s bound to be plenty of celebratory “champagne spillin’ from the wall”. I know some stans are pressed that Kelly didn’t do enough promo work to ensure a stronger entry but fuck that ignorance, seriously. As she explained in her That Grape Juice interview, it was a tricky time to secure TV promos because several key shows are off air in between seasons right now. I don’t see it bettering its peak of #3 but what I’m sure Team Kelly will do is keep this album selling hard in the long term. Flash opening week sales aren’t everything, you know. Over here in Australia, Here I Am debuts at #15 on our urban charts and #45 on the digital charts.

Joss Stone‘s new independently released album LP1 debuts at #9 in the US, selling over 30,000 first week copies. She managed to pull off some decent TV performances to fanfare her return – check: Regis and Kelly, Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson. LP1 is Mama Stone’s third consecutive Top 10 album in the States and it’s actually her second highest chart placement since 2007’s Introducing… Joss Stone.

Katy Perry‘s ‘Last Friday Night (TGIF)’ was hyped to snatch the top spot last week instead, it stayed at its current peak of #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100. There’s a bit of pressure for Pyrotitty Kitty to match Michael Jackson‘s record of eight #1 singles from one album and while ‘TGIF’ is only Teenage Dream‘s fifth single, she’s had an untainted run of four consecutive #1s up to this point. They’re not about to break this dream run without a fight so here comes the rabbit out of the hat: a new remix of ‘TGIF’ featuring Missy Elliott

Yes, boo. They’re rushing this exciting new remix of ‘Last Friday Night’ to US radios today in hopes of propelling the single to the top. I’ve written a nice, intelligent news piece on this remix single phenomenon here.

Listen to Katy Perry featuring Missy Elliott‘s ‘Last Friday Night (TGIF)’:


 
Jennifer Lopez‘s ‘I’m Into You’ has finally ascended to the US Billboard Top 50. It has only taken 11 weeks to get this far and I know radio support has been strong for it during the summer. Speaking of radio, I am slightly worried by the lack of radio love for ‘Papi’ Down Under. I’m sorry, you guys don’t get to toy with J.Lo fans by loving hard on one single and not the others, OK? This is not acceptable – especially when something as good and promising as ‘Papi’ is on the line. Are there any dance-related programs happening on free-to-air channels at the moment because I sense a good placement.

Personal note: “In the last few weeks, I’ve received loads of nice comments in person and just around the traps about my weekly Chart Feed – I just wanna say ‘thank you’ once again and let you know how much I appreciate your readership, interest and love. It means a lot to me and I’m glad we can share the fun and tea together. Love, Limmy.”