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 – 07.02.11

Rihanna‘s ‘S&M’ has taken the top spot on our ARIA singles chart this week amidst dramas that UK’s BBC Radio 1 has banned it from their daytime playlist. The video has also copped a YouTube restriction and was immediately banned in 11 countries, prompting the acclaimed video director Melina to speak out to MTV News:

“When I go out to make something, I kind of go out with the intention to get it banned — [well] not to get it banned, I always want my stuff played — but to make something provocative … so when you do something that’s provocative, that’s usually a repercussion. It’s gonna be talked about or banned or slandered in some way. But it’s making an effect and people are having a dialogue about it, so, to me, that’s successful.”

Seriously, don’t get what all the uproar is about but bitch can’t stay mad because she must’ve expected some kind of backlash from conservatives when she took on a song with sadomasochistic themes.

Avril Lavigne‘s ‘What The Hell’ bullets into the Aussie Top 10 this week, rising to a new peak of #8. It deserves to be where it is now but I’m not convinced if this album will reconnect the rawker with the masses who worshipped her in the her hey days. Please don’t let it be dreary and mournfully personal.

Aussie hip hop artist Drapht scores his first ever Top 20 hit with ‘Rapunzel’ rising to a new peak of #16 after lurking about for a good 10 weeks. Is he one to look out for in the scene? His CV boasts collabos with industry big names like M-Phazes and Hilltop Hoods. Word.

Black Eyed Peas new single ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ debuts at #19 here in Australia. The track – which is co-produced by Darkchild and DJ Ammo – marks some kind of unholy alliance of ultra hitmakers, so having not formally heard all of it, I’d like to think it’s not as insipid as ‘The Time (Dirty Bit)’. ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ is set to impact American radios tomorrow.

Little Red‘s new track ‘Rock It’ shoots from #41 to #25 this week while the Midnight Remember album moves back up to #37 in Australia. Elsewhere, The Naked & Famous makes Top 30 with ‘Young Blood’ and home grown indie rockers Boy & Bear‘s ‘Fall At Your Feet’ rises to #37.

The Burlesque soundtrack is the second biggest selling record in the country. Gays, give yourselves a heartfelt limp-wristed pat on the backs. What am I doing not having seen it yet? This is what happens when I have a lesbian bestie instead of a fag hag.

Sia‘s We Are Born ascends back up the Aussie charts this week, thanks to le national tour etc. Did ya’ll enjoy the show? Not sure if she did this – or some variation of it – in all the other gigs but the lady rocked up completely covered in black body paint (head to toe) for the Melbourne show last week. Mmph! Sensational – yes. But them WTF alarm bells were going off in everybody’s heads.

Jessie J scores her first ever UK #1 single with ‘Price Tag’ debuting straight on top this week! Never in anyone’s wildest dreams could they imagine a track selling this hard in its first week given the sudden drop. ‘Price Tag’ was unconventionally issued to radio and retail on the same day – and if anything, this success just proves how fucking hot she is right now. Jessie‘s first single ‘Do It Like A Dude’ sits at #7 this week. It totally makes sense to bring the album out a month early. Our friends at AuspOp has just announced that Jessie J‘s Who You Are will hit Aussie retails on 4 March – best news I’ve heard all day.

Enrique‘s sly ‘Tonight (I’m Fuckin’ You)’ is the second highest new entry in the UK this week, making #5. Elsewhere, Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding‘s ‘Wonderman’ bullets to #14 and Pink registers her 18th UK Top 20 hit with ‘Fuckin’ Perfect’ rising to #11 this week. Across the Atlantic, ‘Fuckin’ Perfect’ shoots to #2 on the US charts while ‘Raise Your Glass’ sits at #11. Look who’s slaying hard.

Britney‘s ‘Hold It Against Me’ worryingly drops ten places to #18 in the UK this week. The pop legend is set to upload a teaser clip of her new music video daily, in the 14 days leading up to its full premiere on 18 February.  Two weeks’ worth of five second teasers is going to be frustrating and could very well turn people off the campaign altogether. Simple solution: just let us have it already. Brit‘s forthcoming album Femme Fatale has been trending on Twitter hard ever since the announcement last week. As a certain queen on JOY 94.9‘s Glitter & Tonik would say, “HOT-HOT-HAWT!”

Nicki Minaj and Drake‘s ‘Moment 4 Life’ bullets from #135 to #55 in the UK this week, thanks to proper Radio 1 support. Back on Onika’s stomping ground, the single soars to a new peak of #27 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Savage Garden‘s ‘Truly Madly Deeply’ rises from #117 to #73 in the UK this week. How, umm, why? <Insert explanation for this wonderous comeback>

Adele‘s almighty 21 holds tight to #1 on the UK charts for a second week. I’ve had her second single ‘Someone Like You’ on repeat for long enough. Fixation’s now transferred to the voodoo Ryan Tedder co-write: ‘Rumour Has It’. Future single, please. Can you imagine it fronting a black and white Tarantino-esque video? That would be immense.

Two Door Cinema Club‘s Tourist History rockets from #62 to #33 on the UK charts this week. Absolutely loving this album like you won’t believe – really catchy, immediate and shimmery indie pop. The record has so far only made #100 on our Aussie charts but ya’ll should get on board before the masses do. Personal picks of the pack include ‘What You Know’, ‘I Can Talk’ and ‘Undercover Martyn’.

R. Kelly‘s Love Letter holds tight to #18 on the US charts this week. Why am I writing about this now after its been around for a good seven weeks? Well, ladies, we can all thank my incessant Soundcloud trawls for introducing me to the magic of his single: ‘When A Woman Loves’. Pure 60s soul class of Stevie Wonder and Dreamgirls proportions. We ain’t never heard R. Kelly warble like this before. Take a listen here:

R. Kelly – When A Woman Loves by JIVE Records

David Guetta et Rihanna‘s ‘Who’s That Chick?’ climbs to the top spot on the US Dance/Club charts this week. One must wonder if his albeit uber ordinary production of J.Lo‘s ‘On The Radio’ will make the final cut of her Love? project.

The Derry Queen is gonna kill it with this release. I can feel in it my bones. Someone tell me how she’s doing on American Idol. It’s life-changing moments like these – and during America’s Next Top Model season – that I wish I still had cable TV.