The 90's Billboard #1's Rate (1995-1999): We've come to the end of our road. | Page 51 | The Popjustice Forum

The 90's Billboard #1's Rate (1995-1999): We've come to the end of our road.

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Ironheade, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Yeah, that's pretty shit.

    Whether it deserved to beat the abominations that were Beautiful Girls and Laffy Taffy to last place, however, is another matter.
    berserkboi likes this.
  2. Ah, the days in which every American Idol winner’s single was guaranteed a #1.

    I still don’t really understand how Taylor Hicks won. He was... okay.

    (Then again, the runner-up, Katharine McPhee, got handed such a strange collection of songs for her debut album that I suppose they wouldn’t have known what to do anyway regardless of who won.)
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
    K94, ohnostalgia, Mina and 4 others like this.
  3. That 00s rate looks more bizarre to me the more I think about it. Genuinely shocked that Music, Single Ladies and the Britney tracks did so poorly (not so much So What, as it's one of the most divisive hits by probably THE most divisive of the female A-listers.)

    And I'm really surprised that Say It Right finished ahead of Umbrella.
  4. She'll always have Shark Night 3D, The House Bunny, and, ugh, Scorpion.
    Ironheade and berserkboi like this.
  5. Oh boy, have we got a big one to eliminate today, folks!

    It took us a very short time to get rid of a year-end #1 this time! But let's just say, of all five of them that it could have been... this was a decent pick.

    79. Candle in the Wind 1997 - Elton John


    Average: 4.865
    Highest scores: 1 x 10 (@GimmeWork )
    Lowest scores: 9 x 0 (@Blond , @Ray , @Empty Shoebox , @ohnoitisnathan , @mung_bean , @A$AP Robbie , @soratami , @Spiral , @KingBruno )
    Weeks at #1: 14 consecutive Hot 100
    Year-End Hot 100: #1 (1997)

    Now, there's quite a few songs in this rate that are paying tribute to somebody after their death, and included among them is the all-time hip-hop classic “Tha Crossroads”. Unfortunately, none of them can get over that high bar. But, of course, there is one 800-pound gorilla of death songs in the 90's that we've got to deal with – in a much lower position than it was for most of the voting. And, look... I'm not made of stone here. Whatever your personal feelings on the monarchy might be, Princess Diana's death was tragic and far too soon, and I understand that this has a lot of sentimental value for people who were of the proper age to bear witness to it (unlike me, who was only three years old at the time). Elton John's emotional performance of “Candle in the Wind” at the funeral earned a lot of acclaim, and watching it now, that acclaim was entirely deserved. Unfortunately, that performance didn't translate very well into a studio recording, in my opinion.

    The original “Candle in the Wind” is not my favourite Elton John record by any stretch of the imagination, mostly because its melody never quite grabbed me the way it feels like it ought to, but it's an enjoyable Elton ballad nonetheless. The primary elements that benefit it are two things. One is the elegant production, integrating a few squalls of guitar nicely into the sensitive piano melodies, and adding some soaring massed backing vocals that give the record some drama while avoiding descending into the over-orchestrated sap that his ballads sometimes can. The other was a well-written set of lyrics from Bernie Taupin, combining a heartfelt tribute to Marilyn Monroe with an incisive attack on the seedy underbelly of Hollywood. We'll deal with the latter later, but for now, let's focus on the former. The melody and the piano playing are still fine and well accounted for, but the arrangement does it no favours. Stripping it down to just solo vocal and piano, while removing the guitars and drums, was a big mistake, as the song loses a lot of its impact from not having a more dramatic climax to build up to, while the new addition of a string quartet does little to balance it, instead just making it sound even more maudlin. And while Elton's increasingly deep baritone suits the song nicely, giving it an additional plaintive edge, it nevertheless can't gather up quite the emotional charge that it did in the live performance at the funeral.

    But then we get to the lyrics. If Elton was going to adapt any of his records for Diana, “Candle in the Wind” makes a lot of sense to choose, with its lines about how “even when you died the press still hounded you”, so of course he, uh, cuts them out. The original “Candle in the Wind” was kept back from sounding overly mawkish by means of its more pointed lyrics, but here, the lyrics amount to nothing but a generic collection of platitudes about grief, and the mawkishness that was somehow kept out of the original was ramped up to eleven. There's really nothing notable to point out in the lyrics. Well, except for that one bit about “England's greenest hills”, which is a reference to William Blake's “Jerusalem”... a poem that, in part, mused on the possibilities of living without a monarchy. (D'oh!) It's surprising, really, that Elton could produce a much more heartfelt and personal-sounding song about somebody that he'd never met, than he could for somebody with whom he was close friends. And so, ultimately... yeah, I understand that this means a lot to a lot of people who were there at the time, but can “Candle in the Wind '97” transcend its circumstances to stand as a song on its own, rather than just a souvenir of Diana's funeral? Unfortunately, I don't think it really can.

    KingBruno (0) - And this man attempted to write down Madonna? Maybe he should worry more about the fact that he has never made something better than Ray of Light.

    ohnoitsnathan (0) - I have never heard this awful dirge in full in my life, and don't plan to change that. (Even for a rate? Aww...)

    A$AP Robbie (0) - There are no words for how much I don't like everything about this. I'm just hopeful I'll never hear the Ed version. (Click on this, you know you want to. Yeah, it's not very good.)

    japanbonustrack (6) - I have... nothing to say.

    berserkboi (9) - Still beautiful from Elton, a smidge too long.

    Hudweiser (5) - I've never been able to deal with Elton's singing voice - it sounds like somebody impersonating a lounge singer. This song is clearly a beaut. but someone else should do his vocals. (Great piano, beautiful piano.)

    iheartpoptarts (3) - Somehow I completely avoided this despite listening to lots of radio and watching lots of music videos. Good job, me. (Despite the massive sales that spurred it to #1 for that long, "Candle in the Wind '97" was not a big radio hit. It only got to #21 on the airplay chart. So that would probably explain it.)

    K94 (8) - I don’t like listening to this coz it upsets me for a good five minutes after but it’s a great song.

    Blond (0) - LOVE the version about Marilyn, HATE this version.

    unnameable (8) - If we were rating the original, a tender tribute to the iconic Norma Jean, it would be a 10. This is a schmaltzy version that loses the original’s subtlety to praise someone I moderately admired for her charity work. (Ouch.)

    DJHazey (9) - I recall the world coming together in a moment of mourning when Princess Diana passed away tragically. Everyone felt it, young and old, on either side of Atlantic. It's something truly special how this song will bring anyone who was alive at the time, right back to it all. I often think about how much better our world might be if Princess Diana were still alive because while there have been many people in recent history who've been in a position to make change happen, but very few if any had the strong desire to actually do it. Princess Diana was one of them. (...You know what, I can't snark at this.)
    əʊæ (5) - All those tacky songs that only smash cause of national tragedies. Was this the blueprint? (Probably.)

    Mike (5) - Um...given the subject matter I can't bring myself to tank this, but equally I would never choose to listen to it (would anyone?) so straight down the middle we go. (Clearly some people would choose to listen to it, given that it's the biggest-selling single of all time!)

    Rooneyboy (3) - I was one of the 27 people in the UK who didn't buy this. (My granny did. It went out to the charity shop ages ago, though.)

    Mina (8) - I'm probably adding a point or two out of nostalgia here. I remember my parents of all people buying this CD single in '97 after Princess Diana died, which was a big story in the US as well as in other parts of the world.

    londonrain (3) - This is the first time I've listened to this in years and I've realised I have no desire to go back to it. In the context of the funeral it was nice at the time but I just never want to hear the song on its own. (Probably summing up a lot of people's feelings there.)

    Filippa (6) - I loved the original tribute to Marilyn Monroe. And then he sang it to such a sad occasion … But today somehow the magic of the song is gone. (His performance of it was excellent, yeah. Link here for anyone interested.)

    Spiral (0) - Just because it's about a dead person, doesn't make it a good song.

    Ray (0) - I’ve heard this song at least 1997 times too many and at no point in time did I enjoy that. Poor Princess Diana.


    Well, may she rest in peace.​
    K94, ohnostalgia, Robsolete and 21 others like this.
  6. Speaking of Idol, America really did a lousy job of getting the right Kelly Clarkson songs to number 1.

    Behind These Hazel Eyes would have been an 11 contender; as it stands I think it would have been a Ms Jackson/Try Again coin toss.
    K94, CorgiCorgiCorgi, Blond and 3 others like this.
  7. @Ironheade your write ups are fucking amazing!
  8. Ruthless bunch here! No sentimentality is lost on PopJustice 90s Rate Part 1 or 2!
  9. I mean yes, it is the biggest selling single of all time, but I'd imagine a lot of people who bought it didn't play it more than once or twice. And my comment was more in reference to who would listen to it in 2018, which must be a vanishingly small number of people.
  10. Remember bizarre news footage of people buying stacks of copies. My Dad gave it to my Mom at Christmas... ??
  11. I thought my zero for this would be really controversial. I guess I was wrong.

    You're all not that different from me after all. I'll let that sink in.
    K94, ohnostalgia, Ray and 6 others like this.
  12. Wow, I didn't expect that to get so many 0s. It's what it deserves though.

    Two 0s down, six to go.
  13. I remember my friend shouting "TOO SOON!" at the trailer for the Diana movie. For the life of me, I can't remember which film we were there to see, but I think I missed the first five minutes trying to stop myself laughing.
    K94, Empty Shoebox and berserkboi like this.
  14. My thoughts exactly! I definitely didn't expect to be one out of nine 0ers.
    berserkboi likes this.
  15. Without getting political, it was exactly as you would expect. A certain group of the population reacted one way, a certain group reacted another way. Tony Blair was Tony Blair and that didn't help, but then people got sick fed up hearing about it and it eventually ended.
    Rooneyboy and Ironheade like this.
  16. It's not that surprising. I think it was really obvious at the time that Elton had just knocked something together at short notice because... well, when I lost close friends unexpectedly I could barely function, much less actually perform my day job to my usual standard.

    Elton was never the lyric-writer - he always wrote the music - so he literally did nothing for this version, but I can't blame him at all.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  17. I didn't buy that single but I bought the Diana tribute compilation album. That's how I discovered this song, which has since became my fave of Pete's

    Riiiiiiiii and berserkboi like this.
  18. Wasn't the whole thing a misunderstanding, i.e. Bernie Taupin's brief was to write something similar to Candle In The Wind rather than rewrite the song?

    As for the public reaction; it's a blessing that social media didn't exist in 1997. Can you imagine?
    K94, marie_05, Ray and 3 others like this.
  19. That compilation album was surprisingly good. I can’t imagine buying something similar these days but teenage me loved the sheer number of classics on it.
    P Grandson likes this.
  20. I'm not even that big a fan of Candle In The Wind, but the Elton John erasure going on on this forum is inexcusable.
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