Who: Althea and Donna
What: ‘Uptown Top Ranking’
Why: A bona fide reggae pop classic. Later ‘covered’ by Lily Allen as ‘Smile’.
Listen to these tracks on Spotify.
Who: Laurie Anderson
What: ‘O Superman’
Why: Inventive and scary. The sound of your toaster if it could speak and was deeply political.
What: ‘Voyage Voyage’
Why: In our childish minds Desireless were the same band who graced the pages of French textbook ‘Tricolore’.
Who: Martha and The Muffins
What: ‘Echo Beach’
Why: A new wave classic. And also rather hilarious to imagine someone saying from the band uttering the phrase: “Yeah, I’m A Muffin,” to anyone who asked what they did for a living.
Who: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Why: An amazing song, sung by a man who looked like went home at night and said to his mother: “I went to RADA, you know.”
Who: Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg
What: ‘Je T’aime Moi Non Plus’
Why: For Charlotte Gainsbourg we imagine listening to this is a bit like that Viz cartoon strip where ‘The Modern Parents’ ask their child “darling, would you like to watch the video of your conception?”
Who: Anita Ward
What: ‘Ring My Bell’
Why Sadly Anita’s “bell” was replaced by a wireless one in 2006.
Listen to these tracks on Spotify.
What: ‘Pump Up The Volume’
Who: Baz Luhrmann
What: ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’
Why? Apparently the man who made ‘Australia’ thought he was qualified to enough to pen a self-help tune. Go figure.
Who: Joan Osbourne
What: ‘One Of Us’
Why A soft rock take on Kant’s philosophical head scrambler “What if the guy on the Number 39 bus who talks to himself is actually God?” Sure.
What: ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’
Why A prescient slice of crystal ballism from the man who would later bring us brilliant pop moments (Grace Jones, TaTu, Frankie Goes To Hollywood) and um ‘Can’t Fight The Moonlight’ by LeAnn Rimes.
Who: Mr. Oizo
Why: ‘Flat Beat’
Why? Not, in fact, just a sketch on Eurotrash but actually a real life thing. Close your eyes, ignore the puppet, it’s actually a pretty damn good song.
What: ‘Japanese Boy’
Why Ridiculous and verging on the offensive, yes, but was it a tune? Yes, yes it was.
Who: Lipps Inc.
What: ‘Funky Town’
Why: An amazing slice of disco greatness. FYI: ‘Funky Town’ is actually a coastal village located next to Margate. According to a local: ‘if you go out after dark you risk getting taken captive by Julio, the “cheeky” village idiot.’
Who: Men Without Hats
What: ‘The Safety Dance’
Why: The actual safety dance involves lying inert on a marble floor wrapped in 800 meters of bubble wrap gently rolling your eyes back and forth.
Listen to these tracks on Spotify.
Who: Toni Basil
Why: Hey Mickey! I’m a 47 year old cheerleader! Mickey? Come back! Mickey?!
Who: 4 Non Blondes
What: ‘What’s Up’
Why: From the pen of Linda Perry – the woman who would later bring us X-Tina’s ‘Beautiful’. The 3 other non-blondes revolted after she quit and dyed their hair bright pink. TAKE THAT PERRY!
Who: Michael Andrews
What: ‘Mad World’
Why: Like Michael Stipe’s little brother Michael Andrews re-did this Tears For Fears classic with a spooky sounding piano. Michael is the father of the dearly departed Crackerjack presenter Eamonn Andrews.
Why: Sneakily Frankee pretended that Eamon’s rather gentlemanly number ‘Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back)’ was about her. She responded with this equally charming tune.
Who: The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu.
What: ‘Justified and Ancient’.
Why: Partly because they got Tammy Wynette, in the twilight of her life, to sing the lyrics: “They called me up in Tennessee
They said : ‘Tammy, stand by The Jams'”
What: ‘Groovjet (If This Ain’t Love)’
Why: A soaring dance stormer that briefly made vocalist Sophie Ellis Bextor look up from her cream tea, cucumber sandwiches and screech: ‘WE BEAT THAT BUGGER BECKHAM TO NUMBER ONE! JOLLY GOOD!’ Listen to these tracks on Spotify.
Who: The Archies.
What: ‘Sugar Sugar’.
Why: The best song by a cartoon band ever. And yes that includes ‘Do The Bartman’.
Why: The dude from Camper Van Beethoven big hit was the type of song that was constantly playing in the background of orphan dramedy Party Of Five.
Who: Andreas Johnson
Why: Himbo goes indie rock in a sort of Brian Molko kind of way.
Who: The New Radicals
What: ‘You Get What You Give’
Why: Under that rather ridiculous hat was a load of rage aimed squarely at Beck Hansen and Marilyn Manson (it helped that their names rhymed). Note the bar-code tattoo. How late 90s…
What: ‘How Bizarre’
Why: Big in New Zealand. How bizarre indeed.
Who: The La’s
What: ‘There She Goes’
Why: La’s legend Lee Mavers attempts to make any new music have been twarted by the fact he’s been locked out of his house since 1988. Listen to these tracks on Spotify.
What: ‘Shall We Take A Trip’
Why: “It wasn’t about drugs at all,” singer Warren would later claim, “it was actually about getting the bus from Moston to Blackley. We would always pass some rather fetching looking cherry trees and a fab looking church.”
Who: Gigolo Aunts
What: ‘Where I Find My Heaven’
Why: Later used on the hi-la-ri-ous sitcom Game On about some sex crazed Clapham-ities sharing! A! Flat! Together!
What: ‘Steal My Sunshine’
Why: Surely this is begging to be sampled by the likes of Professor Green?
Who: Bran Van 3000
What: ‘Drinking In LA’
Why: “Stereo Mike” from the song now works as a grumpy barista at the Teddington branch of ‘Ca-Ca-Coffee!!!’.
What: ‘Your Woman’
Why: Multi-layered pop triumph from one-man band.
Who: Sneaker Pimps
What: ‘Six Underground’
Why: Before ‘trip hop’ became the soundtrack to a quick Soy Latte.
Who: Daisy Chainsaw
What: ‘Love Your Money’
Why: A spiffingly great garage rocker. Like Transvision Vamp if they’d grown up in a skip. Listen to these tracks on Spotify.
What: ‘Can U Dig It?’
Why: Mellow indie that, okay, may have been used in a phone advert but it’s still good. Leader Martin Coogan is also Steve Coogan’s older brother. Fact!
Who: Spin Doctors
What: ‘Two Princes’
Why: For the lyrics “Marry him or marry me/I’m the one who loves you bbbbb carneyouseal?”.
Who: Alien Ant Farm
What: ‘Smooth Criminal’
Why: Well one of those punk versions of 80s pop hits had to make it to the actual charts didn’t they?
Who: Crazy Town
Why: Truly awful sub-Chili Peppers mulch from came at the arse of Nu Metal.
And now for the bad ones….
Why:…And you thought ‘Crazy Frog’ was bad?
Who: Daniel Powter
What: ‘Bad Day’
Why: Daniel’s follow up singles ‘A Bit Of A ‘Meh’ Week Actually’ and ‘Gosh, The Half An Hour Feels Like 45 Minutes!!!’ were massive in Sweden.
Who: Hale & Pace
What: ‘The Stonk’
Why: A little musical murder in the name of ‘charity’.Listen to these tracks on Spotify.
Who: Joe Dolce
What: ‘Shuddup Your Face’
Why: Offensive again (see ‘Japanese Boy’) but this time also deeply deeply awful.
Who: St Winifred’s School Choir
What: ‘There’s No One Quite Like Grandma’
Who: Written about infamous hatchet killer ‘Granny’ Lizzie Borden.
What: ‘Chocolate Salty Balls’
Why: In retrospect perhaps this wasn’t Issac Hayes’ finest musical moment.
What: ‘The JCB Song’
Why: Did the world really need another Scouting For Girls?
Who: Steve Brookstein
What ‘Against All Odds’
Why: A Phil Collins cover sung by a man who looked like he might shoot someone in a traffic jam? Sure, why not.
Who: Las Ketchup
What: ‘The Ketchup Song’
Why: Those sneaky Las Ketchup gals are laughing at the thought of their follow up song ‘Hooray For Hollandaise!’.
Who: The Baha Men
What: ‘Who Let The Dogs Out?’
Why: Just for the cover of the dog in the sunglasses. Just for that. Listen to these tracks on Spotify.