1997 was the year that wife stealer extraordinaire Richard Ashcroft marked his return from the musical wilderness by strolling in a straight line down Hoxton High Street. Whilst doing that he jumped on the bonnets of passing Ford Cortinas and bumped into people who had the temerity to be walking in the opposite way. Ashcroft’s stroll was all the time accompanied invisibly by a string section that liberally borrowed part of a Rolling Stones song that scuppered any future royalties.
I am of course talking about the video to ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, something which I tried and failed to recreate at rush hour in Waterloo Train Station about two weeks after the song had been released. I got about twenty metres before a massive chap running for the 0820 train to Surbiton sent me absolutely flying.
Anyway, 1997 was the year that Britpop clung on by its fingertips for a bit longer and Spiritualized and Radiohead battled it out for the Album of the Year titles (in my top ten’s Spiritualized won and Radiohead were beaten into fourth by Primal Scream and Mogwai – who had in 1997 emerged as my new favourite band).
However, despite all that the record that sat at the top of my tracks of the year chart was a reissue and was for the first time a record that didn’t really on a guitar to be brilliant. It also came backed with an incredible video and the way that bassline vibrates, and loops is still amazing today.
Da Funk – Daft Punk (1997, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘Homework’)
Although I accept that if I was to rewrite the Top Ten from 1997, then it probably wouldn’t be Number One, because the track at number two almost certainly would.
Dry the Rain – The Beta Band (1997, Regal Records, Taken from ‘Champion Versions EP’). ‘Dry The Rain’ is one of those songs that I can remember exactly where I was when I heard it for the first time. This is because I was sat in a police station, and it came on the radio as I was sat in the reception area waiting to make a statement about a car who had just run over over a woman on a packed London City street.
At Number Three was this: –
Nothing Last Forever – Echo and the Bunnymen (1997, London Records, Taken from ‘Evergreen’) but it was there for reasons that I’m not going into right now. Readers of the old WYCRA blog will possibly remember why.
The rest of the top ten was by and large made up by bands who had excellent albums that year. So ‘Karma Police’ by Radiohead was at four, ‘Electricity’ by Spiritualized was at five ‘Kowalski’ by Primal Scream was at six and this was at seven, although it didn’t feature of their excellent album: –
New Paths to Helicon Pt.1 – Mogwai (1997, Chemikal Underground Records, Taken from ‘Ten Rapid’). If I remember it rightly most of the last three months of 1997 was spent looking for, buying and listening to Mogwai records.
You know what I said just up there about ‘Dry the Rain’ “almost certainly being number one” if I were to ever rewrite this top ten. Well, I think I probably lied, because the song at number ten almost certainly would be at the top. A song so assumingly lovely that I almost posted something by bloody Embrace instead (who were at number 9).
Patio Song – Gorkys Zygotic Mynci (1997, Mercury Records, Taken from ‘Barafundle’)