REWIND: Revisiting the Best of July 1998 + Playlist

Mansun

Listen to a selection of the best tracks from July 1998. Every month I revisit the music that we were listening to 20 years ago, and compile them into a YouTube playlist for your viewing and listening pleasure. Ideal for nostalgic journeys and reliving your youth, or maybe you’re discovering these tracks for the first time. You can stream the playlist in full below, and read about each individual track further down the page.

The July 1998 edition features music from Mansun, Delakota, The Supernaturals, The High Fidelity, Symposium, Gorky’s Zycotic Mynci, Asian Dub Foundation, Beastie Boys, Idlewild, Jurassic 5, Sonic Youth, Garbage, Mogwai, Booth and The Bad Angel, Catatonia, Fuzz Townshend, Harvey Danger, Massive Attack, The Unbelievable Truth, Stardust, Eagle Eye Cherry, Brock Landars, Disco Citizens, and Jean Michel-Jarre.

Back in the late 90s I would sit in front of the living room hi fi system, with a stack of CDs and 7″ singles, compiling cassette tapes of the latest and best music of the time. If there were any tracks that I couldn’t find or afford to buy, I would record them from the radio. Aware of copyright laws, I would publish the tracklistings in my monthly indie fanzine Supernova, so readers could compile their own versions of the cassettes. Twenty years later, and I am still putting together those compilations, on a bigger scale thanks to the benefits of the digital age. As well as my monthly collections of new music, I am recreating my old 1998 compilations as well as reliving and rediscovering the sounds of my teen years. The cassettes have gradually evolved into a streaming video playlist, and I can now easily access virtually any song to include.

While twenty years ago, I would share my cassette compilations with close friends and the small readership of my fanzine, now anybody online can listen to these playlists on their phone, laptop, TV, or hi fi system. I feel privileged to have grown up in the 90s and experienced the music culture of the time, being part of it all as a teenage music fan played a big part in shaping my life. But I am also thankful to be living in 2018, an age where I can recreate more comprehensive versions of my old compilation tapes with the aid of online research, and be able to access complete album and single charts from any week in history. As well as recreating and improving my old compilations from 1998, I’m also enjoying revisiting and remembering music that meant a great deal to me, as well as belatedly discovering a treasure trove of songs that I either forgot or wasn’t aware of back then. Many of these tracks are longtime favourites of mine that would’ve featured on my old mixtapes, while others are songs I wasn’t paying attention to at the time, or in some cases not even had knowledge of. Arranging these tracks into a YouTube playlist also allows an interesting viewing experience too, at times a bit like revisiting the days of the much-missed Saturday morning ITV music video programme The ITV Chart Show, but minus all the bad stuff. 90s kids will enjoy reliving the music of their youth, and if you weren’t around to enjoy it all, consider this a history lesson…

Listen and watch here:

 

Mansun – Legacy

This single from the extraordinary Mansun entered the UK singles chart at number 7 back in July 1998.

By 1998, Britpop was starting to feel like a memory, yet all of the bands involved in it were still releasing music and enjoying chart action. But the buzz had worn off, as had its mood of optimism and celebration. Bands were now making darker and more challenging music, which was making the mainstream a more interesting place. But Britpop’s mood and sense of mass appeal was dimming. There were so many classic LPs released during the previous four years, yet 1998 was relatively short on new music from the major British bands. What we needed was a classic album full of massive hits. Aside from Pulp and the Manics, the only other contenders were the Chester four piece Mansun.

A year earlier in 1997 they had a Number 1 with their debut LP ‘Attack Of The Grey Lantern’ as well as a string of hit singles. A lot of us had our hopes pinned on Mansun to deliver something massive that would reinvigorate the indie scene and take them to the top. It was a good sign that they announced the release of their second album just one year after their first. Maybe they were coming up with so many incredible songs that they couldn’t wait any longer to unleash them on the world. So when they released ‘Legacy’, it certainly wasn’t the sort of triumphant, humorous, character-based freak anthem that many of us expected. At first it sounded more like the sort of thing they would’ve left as an album track. But repeated listens to Legacy revealed a depth unlike any of their previous work. It also features some of the greatest chord changes: That killer moment as they hit the line “I wouldn’t care if I was washed up tomorrow”, and the unexpected brightening at the end of the chorus. Dominic Chad’s guitar evoking echoes in the cosmos and Paul Draper’s vocal hitting spectacularly emotional highs, enhancing the slow building beauty of its melody.

It may be one of the bleakest Top 10 hits of all time. According to the lyrics, no matter what you do with your life or how much money you make, you end up in the same place as everyone else, and when you’re dead, nobody gives a shit. How very cheerful. Yet this actually turned out to the most accessible track from ‘Six’, which wasn’t exactly packed with potential hit singles. What else were they supposed to choose from? Let’s face it, they were never going to make Top Of The Pops with the lyric “I’m emotionally raped by Jesus” or Tom Baker narrating over harpsichord and opera.

It’s fair to say that there was always a darkness at the heart of Mansun: they were, after all, named after a notorious serial killer. But not only does this song concern death, it even makes life itself sound futile and worthless as you spend it having to “prove your worth to people that you call your friends”. Even the greatest joy in the world is dampened with the recurring line “all relationships are emptying and temporary”. It struck me just how downbeat this sounded for a band who had just hit the big time. Despite the success and growing fame, this song was not the work of a healthy, happy mind.

I remember thinking that ‘Legacy’ was an odd choice for a comeback single at first. But I just assumed that there were more instant and catchy songs to come on the album. Then I heard the album. I can’t think of any other band or artist who followed a number 1 LP with such a challenging record. It’s almost like Paul Draper’s creativity and talent naturally developed at a much faster rate than all other musicians. Way ahead of usual standards, I also cannot think of any other band or artist who managed a debut full-length as accomplished and eclectic as AOTGL. And most bands don’t make their experimental odyssey until far into their careers. Mansun did it on their second album. It made a lot more sense when heard in the context of ‘Six’ : the natural choice of lead single that would act as a bridge between the darkly melodic yet strangely familiar Mansun of AOTGL and the utterly baffling puzzle that was their second LP.

Was Draper way ahead of the rest and operating on a more advanced level, or had he just lost the ability to write accessible hits? The answer (and the missing hits) can be found on the EPs that accompanied the singles from ‘Six’. Along with ‘Legacy’ itself, the tracks that joined it across the various formats of the single arguably make up one of the all-time greatest EPs in musical history. In an era when different formats meant a lot of bands were churning out half arsed filler or lazy remixes, Mansun were well known for giving their fans real value for money.

‘Can’t Afford to Die’ is immediately striking, travelling urgently down winding pathways and diving into a paranoid headrush of a chorus. Not just a surprisingly great b side, but stronger than the material that many bands and artists were releasing as singles. Did they make the wrong choice by throwing potential hits onto B sides while making a record that the mainstream clearly wasn’t ready for? “I certainly could have gone all out poptastic for the second record” Draper stated in a 2013 interview with RW/FF. “I don’t know if that was a good or a bad move, I just did what I did without too much thought for the ramifications. I don’t think we thought about success or failure in that sense, it was chaotic… ”

With a very tasty drum sound, and lots of fun being had with guitar pedals, the oddly infectious ‘Spasm Of Identity’ adds a spiky chanted lyric to deepened Bowie-like backing vocals, while ‘Check Under The Bed’ finds a delicate and pretty verse making way for another intense, surging chorus, again demonstrating the versatility and dynamics of the group as both musicians and a formidable artistic force. Make no mistake about it, all of the tracks spread across CD1 and CD2 well and truly define the term “lost classics”. Even the punky throwaway ‘G.S.O.H’ is essential for providing balance and a bit of much-needed light relief. Each track has a unique drum sound, highlighting the superb production work of Draper and Mark ‘Spike’ Stent. This is especially evident on the atmospheric post-punk trip hop instrumental ‘Face In The Crowd’, a soaring, futuristic piece of music that would’ve made a fine album opener.

 

Maybe the band’s methods of the recording was what resulted in such impressive creativity. “The idea was to do enough material to make an album where we could have some relatively straightforward pop songs in case it all went tits up with ‘Six’,” Draper told XS Noize. “That was made at the same time, we didn’t come back later and just throw together the B sides, it was all done together. We had been piecing together the ‘Six’ project and then we would come off it for a day and record those songs. The very first one we did was ‘King of Beauty‘ and I thought I don’t want to do another album of these pop songs, so the second thing we did was the song ‘Six‘… I was just trying to piss off the record company.”

Following his long-awaited return to the music world and his acclaimed debut solo album ‘Spooky Action’, Paul Draper hits the UK later this year for a special, intimate acoustic tour. As well as songs from ‘Spooky Action’, he will be playing Mansun classics and rarities in addition to previewing brand new material from his next LP. Info can be found here.

Meanwhile, an exemplary reissue of Attack Of The Grey Lantern was released last month, reaching number 28 in the UK album charts and number 2 in the vinyl charts. You can pick up a stunning purple vinyl edition of the LP, or the lavish 3CD and DVD deluxe package, which features a 72 page book containing an in-depth look at the making of the album. A similar treatment will also be given to ‘Six’ at some point in the future, with remastering work currently underway.

The perfect time to discover or rediscover this most fascinating and underestimated of bands.

 

Delakota – The Rock

I’ve been looking forward to featuring this track, which I rate as one of the best singles of the 1990s. It reached number 60 in the UK singles chart 20 years ago. ’98 and ’99 are years that I will always remember for some amazing songs from new bands, who only reached the bottom end of the charts, before many of them disappeared forever. Delakota were one such act. In fact, if this sort of indie band became more popular in the late 90s, they could’ve helped take guitar music to far more interesting places at the turn of the century.

‘The Rock’ was a beautifully tranquil song that soundtracked many of my evenings in the summer of 1998. With a soft, cradling rhythm, laid-back piano, and a whistful, yearning vocal line, it’s the song’s distinctive hook that joins it all together nicely. Indeed it is very hard to resist the charm of the alluring, fluid guitar line that flows calmly like river water through the track, evoking the sensations of relaxed scenic journeys, or seeing sunsets reflecting on oceans. An essential late 90s indie track. I’m surprised it hasn’t featured on more of those chill out compilations. Chris Martin has confessed that ‘The Rock”s distinctive guitar loop was a heavy influence on the Coldplay track ‘Strawberry Swing’.

Delakota’s sound combined the big beat and hip hop sounds of the late 90s with strong indie rock songwriting and a lively, diverse range of influences. Described as an “alternative dance” act, they formed from the ashes of pop-punk outfit The Senseless Things, who split in 1995. Drummer Cass Browne and Morgan Nicholls formed Delakota with Des Murphy (Solid State Revival, Wasteland, Los Bastardos, Genius Freak) and Brian Pearce in 1997. In an interview with musicmuso.com HERE, Browne stated that he was shaken by the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994 and as a result, steered clear of guitar music for a while, choosing instead to experiment with samplers: “Everyone had followed the band (Nirvana) from their early ‘underdog’ status to the behemoth that they grew into (whether they liked it or not!) and it felt to me that if this is what becomes of a band at the height of their career… I just couldn’t listen to guitar music for a long time after that. With Senseless Things over, especially so. I got heavily into soul music; Curtis Mayfield for one, Sly and The Family Stone, more James Brown, Funkadelic. Jimmy Cliff. The Studio One catalogue. Sunshine music, really. I got into lots of Hip Hop. I guess it was me trying to stay away from anything that sounded self-depreciating. Kurt really took that to the 9th degree and it really made me want to stay well back from it for the time being. I just needed a complete internal re-invention. I wanted to feel positive.”

Following ‘The Rock’, the band made the album ‘One Love’, an eclectic debut that brings to mind Primal Scream but with a more uplifting, playful approach. Described as “a soulful fusion of hip-hop, big beat and indie rock”, it also drew comparisons with Beck and the Beastie Boys. At times it sounds not unlike The Charlatans making a record with Groove Armada, or The Chemical Brothers remixing The Stone Roses. Psychedelica mixed with country, gospel, Stax vibes, dub sounds and an unintentional touch of the early 90s Madchester scene. As well as playing at festivals and being hotly tipped by the music press, Delakota were played regularly on Radio 1’s flagship alternative show The Evening Session. One of their live appearances was on BBC2’s Newsnight, having been invited on the show to represent new British talent after a discussion about the current state of the music industry. While some brilliant and interesting genre-splicing sounds were being created, behind the scenes things didn’t seem so positive financially, as Browne remembers years later: “I was in Delakota, living on £30 a week, laughing my ass off the whole time, drunk and high and really enjoying it! Then I realised I needed to buy more gear as it was getting difficult to make music…”

The group parted company with their label GO Beat in 1999, and began working on a second album. They released two new singles, but after 2000 they were never heard from again. Either the band went on an extended hiatus, or completely packed it in after Des Murphy quit due to “major label pressure”. Nicholls also released a number of singles and an album under the alias Morgan via Source Records in the late 90s, and after Delakota became inactive, he joined Muse as a live member, contributing backing vocals, keyboards and synthesizers to their shows. He also played as part of the Gorillaz live band in 2005 and 2006. Cass Browne was another Delakota band member who made contributions to Gorillaz, performing with them from 2001 until 2010. He was also the author of all the dialogue of the vitual band’s members, and scripting all the interviews as the characters for magazines who wish to interview Noodle, 2D, Russel and Murdoc.

Des Murphy released some of his own music, before becoming a member of Penguin Cafe, who also feature Cass Browne in their line up. In 2017, Browne, Nicholls and the other two original members of The Senseless Things decided to reform the band after a 22 year split.

 

The High Fidelity – Luv Dup

One of the best songs of the late 90s, which should’ve got a lot higher than number 70 in the charts. I’ve been looking forward to featuring The High Fidelity, for they were a hugely promising band with a lively, diverse sound and one of the best songwriters of the decade. I’m talking about Sean Dickson, who previously fronted popular baggy combo The Soup Dragons. The High Fidelity eventually released their debut album ‘Demonstration’ in 2000, a lively, multicoloured record that I urge every single one of you to check out. With it’s big drums, majestic chiming music box melody, weeping guitars, ‘Luv Dup’ is one of those songs that’s so brilliant, you don’t even realise that there’s technically no chorus, just a glorious melody that happily repeats itself effectively throughout. The b side ‘Lazy B’ is also a terrific moment, and could’ve easily been the single. The band became inactive after 2001, and Dickson became acclaimed house DJ and producer HiFi Sean, working with an array of high profile guest vocalists on his 2016 album ‘Ft.’

Interesting bit of trivia: the “High” in The High Fidelity probably refers to getting stoned, as Dickson started the group when High Times magazine asked him to record a track for a cannabis-themed covers compilation album.

 

Booth and the Bad Angel – Fall In Love With Me

One of the most beautiful and enchanting songs of the 90s. It’s criminal that this only made number 57 in the UK singles chart when it was released back in July 1998. At least its commercial under-performance put it in the bargain baskets, where I bought my copy one day without having heard the song, but being aware of Booth’s work with James. The version I have featured here is the wonderful single version and not the album one… Booth and the Bad Angel were James frontman Tim Booth and the American film composer, Angelo Badalamenti.

The collaboration between Booth and Badalamenti was initialized in 1992, when Booth made an appearance on the Channel 4 show Friday Night At The Dome, which set out to matchmake collaborations between musicians and their heroes. Booth expressed his desire to work with Badalamenti, and the show’s producers put the two in touch. It took a few years before the pair recorded a self-titled album together, with the help of Bernard Butler on guitar. The original version of this song was included on that LP, which came out in 1996.

 

The Supernaturals – I Wasn’t Built To Get Up

This was at number 25 in the UK singles chart 20 years ago. What would you get if you crossed a hint of Blur’s upbeat mid 90s output with a Scottish-flavoured twist of The Beach Boys and their sunny melodies? You’d probably end up with something a bit like The Supernaturals, who were hotly tipped in the Britpop era. Best known for their 1997 hit ‘Smile’, it’s their second album ‘A Tune A Day’ from 1998 that was actually the band’s finest hour. Perfectly summing up the feeling of morning lethargy, the brilliant ‘I Wasn’t Built To Get Up’ was a lively, catchy slice of indie pop that should be regarded as one of the best singles of the era.

It was a song that inspired me to buy the album ‘A Tune A Day’, before watching them play at The Fleece in Bristol, with Carrie as the support act. The band released a third and commercially unsuccessful third album on a small independent label before splitting in 2002. They reformed in 2012 and released their fourth LP entitled ‘360’. The band will be playing at the StarShaped festival in September, which takes place in London, Glasgow and Manchester. Also on the bill are Ocean Colour Scene, Ultrasound, Black Grape, Echobelly, Northern Uproar, My Life Story and more.

Beastie Boys – Intergalactic

This was the biggest hit the Beastie Boys ever had here in the UK. Not quite sure how I overlooked this one, since this song proved to be a very influential and important one for me.

I had never really been keen on hip hop in the 90s. This astonishing single changed all that. Released 20 years ago in July 1998, the accompanying album ‘Hello Nasty’ made me realise just how innovative and eclectic hip hop music could be. During the early 90’s, I cringed at acts like Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince and Kriss Kross, and during the Britpop years, I fell into despair every time I heard Coolio or Puff Daddy. I was never impressed by the initially blunt lyrics or the unimaginative arrangements. I had come to the conclusion that all these rappers were talentless idiots without a single brain cell to share between them. But this was just commercial rap music, a watered-down variant aimed at the mainstream pop market.

Then one day in 1998, I heard the world exclusive first play of a new song by the Beastie Boys. I’d heard of the group before, but not actually experienced any of their music until hearing this song. For the first time I had realised that there was a big difference between the watered down pop nonsense called “rap” and real hip hop. This was something completely different: it was powerful, exciting and absolutely fucking crazy. This song in question was ‘Intergalactic’, and had enough of an impact on me for me to purchase their fifth album ‘Hello Nasty’, which was gaining glowing reviews everywhere in the music press. At the time this was confusing, I hated rap music, yet here I was fascinated by these three nerdy white boys from New York who seemed to have a great love of experimentation and silly, random lyrics that were delivered in a clever enough way for them not to sound too ridiculous.

They were like a bunch of mad scientists, playing around with bizarre combinations of sounds and defying every rule in the hip hop book, to create a truly innovative concoction. ‘Hello Nasty’ changed my views on hip hop and made me realise that this genre was about more than posing, gangster rap and materialism. Thanks to the Beasties, I began to explore the artists who were there back in the day, acts like Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, De La Soul and Afrika Bambattaa. All these great acts probably wouldn’t be part of my record collection if it wasn’t for MCA, Ad Rock and Mike D.

According to Wikipedia: The song samples the theme music for the 1985 film The Toxic Avenger, as adapted from Rimsky-Korsakov’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain. The sound effect sample originates from the sound the Resonator makes in the 1986 film From Beyond. Elements of Les Baxter’s rendition of Prelude in C# Minor as composed by Rachmaninoff are also used during the verses, and the song also contains elements of the Jazz Crusaders album Powerhouse. The closing “Do it!” is sampled from the 1971 Stovall Sisters song “Hang on in There”.

 

Garbage – I Think I’m Paranoid

This moody, explosive classic from Garbage was released back in July 1998, reaching number 9 in the UK singles chart. It can be found on their superb second album ‘Version 2.0’, arguably their finest long-player. The album has recently been reissued on double CD and triple vinyl, which feature B sides as bonus tracks.

 

Asian Dub Foundation – Black White

Number 52 in the UK singles chart in July 1998, and should’ve been a Top 10 at least, if quality equalled sales. Some of the most tasty breakbeats of the era on this excellent track from Asian Dub Foundation. With an infectious vocal hook and great production, this was taken from the ragga-punk-bhangra-hip hop collective’s excellent ‘Rafi’s Revenge’ LP.

 

Disco Citizens – Nagasaki Badger

Here’s a dance track which entered the UK charts at number 56. Disco Citizens was an alias used by Chicane (aka British producer Nicholas Bracegirdle) to focus on less radio-friendly, instrumental tracks with a stronger hint of progressive house. Here are the single edit and full length cut.

 

Massive Attack – Angel

A heaving beast of a track from ‘Mezzanine’, arguably Massive Attack’s finest album. It features Horace Andy, who worked with the Bristol group on a number of other tracks as well. The song samples The Incredible Bongo Band’s ‘Last Bongo in Belgium’. ‘Angel’ entered the UK singles chart at number 30.

This is what happened when Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon from the mighty Blur were given the duty of remixing ‘Angel’. This can be found on the B side of the CD single.

 

Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta

A rampaging lo fi singalong, with an irresistibly catchy chorus. Reaching number 57 in the UK singles chart, this track was a favourite of mine way before everybody knew it as the theme tune from ‘Peep Show’. I used to play that CD single a lot during the summer of ’98 on car journeys, and no doubt it also featured on one of my compilation tapes of then-current indie tracks. Since this song became a favourite of mine back in the day, I never heard from Harvey Danger again and never knew what became of them until doing a quick bit of research for this article. I never forgot abut this song though, and when it became more popular years later after being used as the ‘Peep Show’ theme tune, it felt good when people suddenly discovered the brilliance of something I’d known about for years. As for the Washington-based band, they released two albums before going on hiatus in 2001. They returned in 2015 with a third LP, but split again in 2009.

 

Symposium – Blue

Symposium were a late 90’s Britrock band who were highly rated for their energetic live shows and tipped for big things in the music press. This single reached number 48. The song can be found on the band’s debut (and only) full-length ‘On The Outside’. After splitting in 2000, two of Symposium formed Hell Is For Heroes.

 

The Unbelievable Truth – Settle Down

This solemnly pretty song from the Unbelievable Truth entered the UK singles chart at number 46. It was taken from their debut album ‘Almost Here’. It’s probably impossible to talk about this band without mentioning the fact that they were fronted by Andy Yorke, brother of Radiohead legend Thom.

 

Jurassic 5 – Jayou

Astonishingly, this hip hop classic from Jurassic 5 only made number 56 in the UK charts. It was released during the same year and month that I came to appreciate hip hop for the first time. I have the Beastie Boys and ‘Hello Nasty’ to thank for that. Around the same sort of time, I heard this track being played often on Radio 1’s Evening Session and grew very keen on this old skool-flavoured collective from Los Angeles. With its tantalising flute and punchy funk rhythm, ‘Jayou’ was taken from the group’s self titled debut album.

 

Idlewild – Everyone Says You’re So Fragile

Punky fireball from a young Idlewild. The crazed quickshot scream after the guitar solo still excites me two decades later. This sharp, energetic single was at number 47 in the UK charts. You can find it on their debut full-length ‘Hope Is Important’.

 

Sonic Youth – Sunday

The first Sonic Youth track I ever heard, which entered the UK singles chart at number 72. I became interested in this band after learning that they were a big influence on Blur’s self-titled 1997 album, which had been released the year prior to this. A relatively commercial effort by their usual standards, ‘Sunday’ was taken from their 10th album ‘A Thousand Leaves’ and came with a weird video featuring Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin.

 

 

Mogwai – Rollerball

20 years ago, the monumental Glasgow outfit Mogwai entered the UK singles chart at number 68 with their EP ‘No Education = No Future (Fuck The Curfew)’.Guitarist John Cummings explains that title: “There’s a town called Hamilton near Glasgow, it’s where we recorded the first album. They imposed this curfew and if you were under 16, you couldn’t be allowed out after nine o’clock at night. It was ridiculous that kids couldn’t actually be out doing anything after nine o’clock or they would get sent home. The curfew is not going to solve anything at all. When things annoy us, it does tend to seep into our music in some way, even if it’s just in song titles.”

 

Fuzz Townshend – Tasty Big Ed (Depth Charge 1)

The original version of this was at number 93 in the UK singles charts 20 years ago back in July 1998. I can remember a lot of Fuzz Townshend tracks being played by Steve Lamacq on Radio 1’s Evening Session in the late 90s. But what I can’t remember is what the original version of ‘Tasty Big Ed’ sounded like, and YouTube can only offer two remixes plucked from the B sides of the single. Packed full of heavy breakbeats and a diverse palette of sounds and vibes from different electronic genres, this remix by Depth Charge is a fine example of late 90s trip hop. Townshend was the drummer for Pop Will Eat Itself and Bentley Rhythm Ace. His debut solo album ‘All In’ was released in 1999, and while he has also performed drumming duties for The Wonder Stuff and The Beat, Townshend became involved in the world of journalism, as well as starting up a classic car restoration business. He is now perhaps best known as the host of TV show Car SOS.

 

Catatonia – Strange Glue

This single from Catatonia was at number 11 in the UK charts, late in July 1998. It was written by guitarist Owen Powell, and was taken from the album International Velvet.

 

Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You

This club classic was released 20 years ago back in July 1998. Reaching number 2 in the UK singles chart, the song remains the only release of the trio who consisted of Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter, plus Alan Braxe and vocalist Benjamin Diamond. Bangalter was offered 3 million dollars to produce a full Stardust album, but the trio haven’t produced anything else since. Diamond and Braxe resumed their ongoing solo careers, and Bangalter resumed work with Daft Punk. The track was recorded in Paris at Daft House, where Bangalter is based. The song was conceived in Rex Club, Paris, where the trio were playing a live set. Bangalter and Braxe created the instrumental, which Diamond instinctively sang the title words over. The next day they laid down the track in the studio, adding a sample from Chaka Khan’s ‘Fate’.

Late last month, the group’s members returned to the studio to work on a remastering of the track ahead of its 20th anniversary digital release, marking the first time it will be available on streaming platforms.

 

Brock Landars – S.M.D.U

Those who followed the music scene in the late 90s will remember Big Beat, an eclectic hip-hop flavoured dance genre, where samples were used heavily. This single mashed up Blur’s Song 2 with The Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up, as well as a few other elements from tracks I can’t quite identify. It reached number 49 in the UK singles chart.

The identity of who made this has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Some music press articles mentioned that Brock Landars was a porn star. Other sources suggest that rather than an adult entertainer turned music producer, “Brock Landars” was just a pseudonym for David Conway, Larry Lush and some other un-named contributors. Information on Discogs is telling me that dance legends Paul Oakenfold and Dave Seaman were involved, although sources are scarce.

 

Jean-Michel Jarre – Rendez-Vous ’98 (Apollo 440 Remix)

A football-themed selection from 20 years ago. This was recorded by electronic music legend Jean-Michel Jarre for the 1998 World Cup and entered the UK singles chart in July 1998. The single isn’t overly impressive so here’s a pumping remix by Apollo 440.

 

Eagle Eye Cherry – Save Tonight

Another one I accidentally missed from last month’s selection of singles from 1998. A very catchy radio hit from 20 years ago. This fine bit of acoustic guitar-driven pop entered the UK singles chart at number 6 back in June 1998. Sweden-born Eagle Eye Cherry was the son of jazz artist Don Cherry, and half brother of singer Neneh Cherry. Although often thought of as one hit wonder by many, ‘Save Tonight”s follow-up ‘Falling In Love Again’ went to number 8, while the debut album ‘Desireless’ sold over 4 million copies worldwide. He’s released numerous albums since, and continues to record and perform.

 

 

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