The 70 best No 2 singles – ranked!

70. Mr Bloe – Groovin’ With Mr Bloe (1970)

The right one-hit-wonder single: an obscure American harmonica instrumental B-side re-recorded by Elton John’s backing musicians. With a contact of ersatz northern soul concerning the association and a glam-presaging stompiness to the drums, Groovin’ With Mr Bloe is the sound of a 1970 youth membership disco and a complete delight.

69. Spice Women – Cease (1998)

The Spice Women’ legacy rests extra on their empowering impression on younger ladies than their music, however there’s a handful of punchily simple pop songs on the core of their enchantment, amongst them Cease’s charming Motown pastiche – a short dip into the form of retromania that surrounded Britpop.

68. Rod Stewart – The Killing of Georgie Components 1 & 2 (1976)

The Killing of Georgie – a uncommon self-penned Rod Stewart hit – is a exceptional single, significantly for 1976: a young paean to a homosexual buddy that turns into an unflinching depiction of his homophobic homicide, then transforms itself right into a prolonged, heartbroken coda (its melody pinched – as John Lennon famous – from the Beatles’ Don’t Let Me Down).

67. Yazoo – Solely You (1982)

Yazoo weren’t a band constructed to final – they break up earlier than their second album had even been launched – however they left an enduring impression: their mix of gutsy, soulful vocals and electronics was massively influential, not least on home music. Their debut single’s icy synth solely accentuates the ability of Alison Moyet’s emotive vocal: a real tearjerker.

66. CeCe Peniston – Lastly (1992)

Home music as pure pop-soul, Lastly was a hymn to an idealised boyfriend sung by a former Miss Black Arizona. Initially launched in 1991, it was a remix by New York DJ David Morales that toughened up the beats for the dancefloor, solely to be stored off No 1 by Shakespears Sister’s Keep.

65. Rachel Stevens – Some Women (2004)

It’s tempting to present producer Richard X all of the credit score for Some Women’ ferocious digital replace of 70s glam, however the selection of vocalist was good: getting the previous S Membership 7 star and lads’ magazine favorite Rachel Stevens to sing a tune about how seedy and demeaning life as a manufactured feminine pop star may be is genuinely impressed.

64. Donovan – Sunshine Superman (1966)

Recorded in December 1965, Sunshine Superman might have been the primary psychedelic pop single – it was taped 5 weeks earlier than the Byrds recorded Eight Miles Excessive – nevertheless it wasn’t launched for one more seven months, by which era everybody else had caught up. It’s nonetheless a superb tune: heavy-lidded, however dripping with the hip vanity of the acid provoke.

63. Oasis – Wonderwall (1995)

Wonderwall has suffered a bit from 27 years of omnipresence – you’re by no means that far-off from listening to a busker belting it out – nevertheless it’s value remembering that it turned omnipresent for a purpose, largely as a result of energy with which Liam Gallagher belts it out, by some means managing to take a position its nonsensical lyrics with emotional heft.

62. House – Magic Fly (1977)

From a Twenty first-century perspective, House seem like Daft Punk’s dads: nameless, spacesuit-clad, helmet-wearing exponents of digital French disco. They had been a greater band than their novelty act standing suggests, however as novelty hits go, Magic Fly is fairly spectacular, boasting a barely unnerving, ghostly high quality.

61. Beyoncé ft Sean Paul – Child Boy (2003)

No matter single adopted up the 10m-selling Loopy in Love was at all times going to exist in its shadow, however Child Boy, a US platinum-seller in its personal proper, deserves some shine: its mix of Bollywood strings, tabla drums and dancehall rhythms is a high-quality instance of R&B blue-sky considering.

Candi Staton
Dancing on her personal … Younger Hearts Run Free hitmaker Candi Staton. {Photograph}: GAB Archive/Redferns

60. Candi Staton – Younger Hearts Run Free (1976)

Ah, the emotional pressure on the coronary heart of one of the best disco. Younger Hearts Run Free sounds blissful – as if particularly designed to waft out of radios throughout the sweltering summer season of 1976 – however the lyrics are a rueful, downcast cautionary story of “misplaced and lonely” marital discord and years “full of tears”.

59. Adam and the Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier (1981)

The only that launched Adam and the Ants v2.0 stays one among historical past’s flat-out weirdest bids for screamy teen stardom: the lyrics beckon new followers in – “a wild the Aristocracy, we’re the household” – set to a cacophony of thunderous drums, shouting, whooping, suggestions and Duane Eddy-style guitar. It’s unbelievably thrilling.

58. Kylie Minogue – Speak in confidence to Me (1994)

Kylie’s makes an attempt to reinvent herself as a extra “mature” artist had been unwell fated – she finally went again to what she excelled at, which was pure pop – however they produced one indelible single. Speak in confidence to Me was atmospheric, sultry, bolstered by strings enjoying the melody of Jane’s 1983 indie hit It’s a Fantastic Day.

57. Elvis Costello – Oliver’s Military (1979)

Its use of a racial slur might have doomed it when it comes to latterday radio play, however Costello’s greatest hit was a superb piece of sleight of hand: its buoyant poppiness – full with plangent piano hook impressed by Abba’s Dancing Queen – hides a livid lyric concerning the Troubles in Northern Eire, imperialism and mercenaries.

56. Eurythmics – Candy Goals (Are Manufactured from This) (1983)

A tune and not using a refrain, its lyrics regarding Eurythmics’ industrial failure previous to the discharge of breakthrough hit Love Is a Stranger, Candy Goals’s stentorian, immediately recognisable synth riff remodeled distress into iconic 80s pop, coated by each Marilyn Manson and Lorde, sampled repeatedly by rappers, dance producers and Britney Spears alike.

55. Phil Collins – Within the Air Tonight (1981)

Phil Collins would grow to be the undisputed king of 80s boomer divorce power, releasing ballads that felt like intemperate messages left on a ex’s cellphone. However Within the Air Tonight is magnificent, a creepy ooze of digital malevolence that all of the sudden explodes three and a half minutes in with one of many all-great drum fills.

54. Rihanna – SOS (2006)

In idea, Tender Cell’s Tainted Love must be too acquainted to work as a pattern, however making gold out of stuff different producers would have dismissed as too apparent was producer JR Rotem’s speciality. And SOS simply slaps, Rihanna’s busy vocal weaving expertly round an immediately acquainted riff.

53. INXS – Want You Tonight (1987)

Want You Tonight was the second the place INXS appeared to have all of it, an unnecessarily good-looking and charismatic frontman performing a tune that completely updates the swagger of prime-time Rolling Stones for a special, extra digital period. In fact, all of it finally went disastrously flawed, however Want You Tonight’s sweaty stop-start lubriciousness nonetheless hits.

52. Blondie – Dreaming (1979)

Overshadowed by Blondie’s chart toppers, Dreaming is each bit their equal: an ideal pop tune, delivered with diffident elan by Debbie Harry, powered by raging guitars and – most significantly – the sound of Clem Burke enjoying as if below the impression the entire tune is meant to be a drum solo.

51. Salt-N-Pepa – Push It (1988)

Push It was initially a B-side that first turned a minor hit, then turned an enormous hit after it was carried out at Nelson Mandela’s 7oth-birthday live performance. You would argue there have been edgier issues taking place in hip-hop in 1988 and also you’d have a degree: whether or not any of them had Push It’s jubilant party-starting energy is a extra moot level.

Corona’s Olga Maria De Souza
Euro zone … Corona’s Olga Maria De Souza, nonetheless on stage in 2019. {Photograph}: Gonzales Picture/Alamy

50. Corona – The Rhythm of the Evening (1994)

Nineties Euro pop-house was seldom a finely wrought creative enterprise, however simply often, it hit on one thing unimaginable. The work of shadowy Italian producers and British songwriters for rent, promoted by a “singer” who didn’t seem on the tune itself, The Rhythm of the Evening completely captures the anticipatory pleasure of night time out about to occur.

49. Britney Spears – Piece of Me (2007)

The grimmest irony of Britney Spears’ tawdry saga is that she made her best music whereas apparently at her lowest ebb: the superb Piece of Me is each a rejection of her clean-cut picture – “I’m Miss American Dream since I used to be 17” – and a snarling, distorted digital screw-you to the press and her detractors.

48. Slade – Gudbuy T’Jane (1972)

Their string of No 1s are extra ubiquitous, however Gudbuy T’Jane could also be Slade’s best single, the right expression of their ruthlessly fat-free method to songwriting: each second of it’s occupied by a hook. Its lyric, in the meantime, delivers Slade’s solitary flirtation with glam’s gender confusion: is its heroine a masculine girl or a “queen”?

47. Petula Clark – Downtown (1964)

A star because the second world battle, Petula Clark ought to have been on the flawed aspect of the divide within the 60s charts attributable to pop’s lightning-speed progress. But when Downtown is center of the highway, then it’s MOR of essentially the most simple form, an explosion of fantastically orchestrated pleasure that punches by the boundaries between grownup simple listening and youthful thrills.

46. Squeeze – Up the Junction (1979)

A kitchen sink drama – youthful romance and parenthood slowly undermined by penury and alcoholism – brilliantly compressed into three chorus-free minutes. You would recommend it’s an anomaly of the post-punk pop charts that one thing so bleak was such an enormous hit, however Up the Junction is compelling and its descending melody is yearningly attractive.

45. Dave ft Stormzy – Conflict (2021)

Previous to Conflict’s launch, Dave and Stormzy addressed the nation on ITV, earlier than England’s Euros semi-final. In case you needed extra proof of the central place UK rap has taken in British tradition, contemplate how coolly understated the drill-infused single the pair then put out was: full of sharp, good traces, it turned an enormous hit.

44. Candy Feminine Perspective – Flowers (2000)

Candy Feminine Perspective by no means had one other hit, however typically one hit is all you want, at the least if it’s as charming because the summer season’s day soundtrack of Flowers. Just lately, its toothsome pop-soul method to UK storage has proved massively influential: you’ll be able to hear its strains in every single place from PinkPantheress to ArrDee.

43. Roxy Music – Love Is the Drug (1975)

The definitive mid-70s Roxy Music strut: assured, insouciant, a tune that sounds prefer it simply walked into the get together prefer it was strolling on to a yacht, to borrow a phrase. The brass and the trace of disco suggests a moist ambiance, however Bryan Ferry stays ice-cool, even when claiming to be wracked with lust.

42. Lil’ Louis – French Kiss (1989)

The UK charts took rapidly to deal with music: Steve “Silk” Hurley’s Jack Your Physique made No 1 lengthy earlier than acid home’s Second Summer season of Love, paving the best way for umpteen different hits. French Kiss is pure, uncooked, attractive, Chicago home: the innovative on launch, it nonetheless declines thus far.

41. Ariana Grande – No Tears Left to Cry (2018)

You couldn’t assist however challenge latest occasions – not least the bombing at her Manchester Enviornment present that left 22 lifeless – on to Ariana Grande’s No Tears Left to Cry. It begins like a ballad, then turns into one thing softly however powerfully optimistic, fantastically sung and powered by a beat that nods in direction of UK storage.

Whitney Houston
Diva fever … Whitney Houston on stage in 1998. {Photograph}: Redferns

40. Whitney Houston – My Love Is Your Love (1999)

It nearly positively couldn’t have been written had Bob Marley not already written No Lady, No Cry, however My Love Is Your Love stays a implausible tune, projecting a heat and intimacy so infectious that Houston dialled down the vocal fireworks to sing it.

39. Kanye West ft Jamie Foxx – Gold Digger (2005)

Given latest occasions it’s value reminding your self of why anybody cared about Kanye West within the first place. One in all his most impermeable hits, Gold Digger’s good flipping of a pattern from Ray Charles’s I Received a Lady in service to a tune a few disastrous romantic entanglement ought to do the trick.

38. Sparks – This City Ain’t Large Sufficient for Each of Us (1974)

Sparks had been the band that launched a thousand cries of “Mum! Dad! Hitler’s on Prime of the Pops!”, however even if you happen to hadn’t clocked Ron Mael’s hanging look, This City … was like a three-minute warning that Sparks had been a band completely different from another: octave-leaping vocals, gunshots, incomprehensible lyrics and an unrelenting sense of drama.

37. Stevie Surprise – Sir Duke (1977)

Stevie Surprise’s tribute to his jazz-playing forebears – Ella Fitzgerald, Rely Basie, Louis Armstrong and “the king of all”, Duke Ellington. “You possibly can really feel it throughout”, he retains singing: the right description of the untrammelled joy-bringing high quality possessed by the freewheeling Sir Duke itself, with its effervescent brass riff.

36. Madonna – Ray of Mild (1998)

You would have picked Vacation, Borderline, Loopy for You, Justify My Love, or, if you happen to actually should, Hanky Panky – No 2 hits all – however let’s plump for Ray of Mild, the fabulous, if deeply inconceivable sound of Madonna turning a observe by the obscure proggy folks duo Curtiss Maldoon into euphoric pop-trance.

35. The Troggs – Wild Factor (1966)

The Troggs had been appropriately named: if their method to music had been any extra primitive, it could have concerned banging animal bones collectively in a cave. Wild Factor is 60s pop at its most elementary, feral and uncooked: that vocalist Reg Presley seemed like a sexually predatory farmhand solely added to its startling impact.

34. M – Pop Muzik (1979)

Made by Malcolm McLaren’s buddy and fellow artwork college provocateur Robin Scott, who offered M as a company, not a band, maybe Pop Muzik was supposed as cynical commentary on its titular topic’s trashy meaninglessness. If it was, it was a exceptional double bluff: it’s dementedly catchy, its synth-disco backing irresistible.

33. Underworld – Born Slippy .NUXX (1996)

We now have heard quite a bit this yr concerning the capability of soundtracks to make hits out of unlikely songs, nevertheless it’s actually nothing new. Would Underworld’s good, however brutal-sounding Born Slippy – a punishing kick drum; distorted, ranting vocals; three synth chords – have gotten to No 2 had been it not for its use in Trainspotting?

32. Women Aloud – Love Machine (2004)

One of the best British pop band of the final 30 years was successfully born out of neglect. Supervisor Louis Walsh was uninterested sufficient to let manufacturing staff Xenomania do what they needed, leading to a collection of exploratory, rule-breaking singles: the rockabilly-infused Love Machine is simply nice.

31. Mark Ronson ft Amy Winehouse – Valerie (2007)

The genius of Mark Ronson’s cowl of a then-recent hit by the Zutons lies partly within the classic soul association, however largely with vocalist Amy Winehouse’s resolution to not change the gender of the narrator: a tune from the usual perspective of a lovelorn boy all of the sudden turns into one thing else and crackles with power.

30. Candy – Teenage Rampage (1974)

Any of Candy’s No 2 singles might be on this listing: Hell Raiser, Fox on the Run, The Ballroom Blitz, all songs as viscerally thrilling as something to which the charts have ever performed host. However let’s go together with Teenage Rampage, an superior, hysterical explosion of chanting, stamping, crunching guitars and adolescent revolt: low glam in a nutshell.

29. Minnie Riperton – Lovin’ You (1975)

There’s nearly nothing to Lovin’ You: electrical piano (performed by Stevie Surprise), acoustic guitar, some birds tweeting and Riperton’s admittedly extraordinary voice, singing a melody she had devised to lull her child daughter to sleep. It’s a tune that grabs the listener with its tenderness, its candy energy undiminished by practically 50 years of familiarity.

28. Pet Store Boys and Dusty Springfield – What Have I Finished to Deserve This? (1987)

Dusty Springfield hadn’t troubled the Prime 10 for 19 years earlier than the Pet Store Boys sought her out, in opposition to their file firm’s needs. The ensuing duet – the saga of a jaded couple in a disintegrating relationship – performs on Springfield and Neil Tennant’s vocal idiosyncrasies to authentically heart-rending impact.

27. Billie Eilish – Unhealthy Man (2019)

Billie Eilish remodeled from tweenage phenomenon to lauded pop auteur because of songs like Unhealthy Man. In an more and more cookie-cutter local weather, right here was pop that was darkish, intelligent, witty – “I’m the might-seduce-your-dad sort” – and snottily dismissive (“duh!”), and that, furthermore, didn’t sound like anybody else.

26. Future’s Youngster – Lose My Breath (2004)

Their final nice single – from their so-so last album Future Fulfilled – Lose My Breath is imperial-phase Future’s Youngster in a nutshell: audacious (a clattering rhythm that’s equal components batucada and navy tattoo; wildly dramatic synth stabs; surprising mood-shifting chord adjustments) relentless, overwhelming, very stylish and terribly spectacular.

25. Prince – 1999/Little Pink Corvette (1985)

No single, even a double A-side, was ever going to seize the breadth of Prince’s genius, however the belated post-Purple Rain re-release of two tracks from 1982 – apocalyptic-but-dancefloor-erupting synth-funk on one aspect; completely executed pop-rock on the opposite – makes clear that this was an artist fully completely different from his friends.

24. Taylor Swift – Love Story (2008)

The primary signal that Taylor Swift was one thing genuinely particular, the self-penned Love Story takes a hovering, Springsteen-esque “let’s stop this dead-end city” narrative and views it from the angle of a high-school woman. And the clumsiness of its references to Shakespeare make it sound believeably teenage.

23. Manic Avenue Preachers – A Design for Life (1996)

The Britpop period is commonly decried as apolitical, nevertheless it did produce two of essentially the most profitable and enduring political pop songs of latest a long time. A Design for Life is one among them: as straightforwardly anthemic as something Oasis produced, however with a righteously livid examination of the British class system at its core.

22. Gloria Gaynor – By no means Can Say Goodbye (1975)

An outdated Jackson 5 ballad expertly retooled into relentless, delirious early disco: the album model is a part of a side-long combine, segued by pioneering producer Tom Moulton to imitate a DJ beat-mixing information in a membership – a primary – however even stripped of its context and edited right down to single size, it’s magnificent.

21. The Rolling Stones – Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown (1966)

Surly, sneering, clangorous, supremely pissed off, apparently designed to bother anybody in earshot over the age of 25, with an off-the-cuff reference to LSD tucked away in its third verse, and a last little bit of bass-playing that sounds as in case you are being dive-bombed, Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown is the mid-60s Stones at their darkish, dismissive, intentionally parent-scaring finest.

20. OutKast – Ms Jackson (2000)

Ms Jackson’s refrain is so acquainted – “wooo!” – you’ll be able to miss what a posh meditation on a failed relationship it’s: addressed to an ex-partner’s mom, it’s variously charming and exasperated, unhappy, indignant, optimistic and fatalistic (“You possibly can plan a reasonably picnic however you’ll be able to’t predict the climate, Ms Jackson”). And you’ll sing alongside to it.

19. Pulp – Frequent Individuals (1995)

The second massive hit of the Britpop period to concern itself with the category wrestle; extra particularly on this case, class tourism. It allies its fury to an enormous singalong refrain and a succession of air-punch inducing surges. Pulp made for profoundly unlikely rock anthem suppliers, however a rock anthem is exactly what Frequent Individuals has grow to be.

18. Deee-Lite – Groove Is within the Coronary heart (1990)

In the event that they’d had one other tune remotely nearly as good as Groove Is within the Coronary heart’s stew of samples, easy pop melodies and interjections from Bootsy Collins and Q-Tip, Deee-Lite would have been large. They didn’t, however this joyous pop-disco traditional shall be performed at events for eternity.

17. The Seaside Boys – God Solely Is aware of (1966)

God Solely Is aware of has belatedly grow to be essentially the most ubiquitous Seaside Boys tune – you hear it much more usually than I Get Round or Good Vibrations – however by no means thoughts: the crystalline fantastic thing about Carl Wilson’s vocal, the plaintive fantastic thing about its tune, the idiosyncratic sumptuousness of its association can nonetheless take your breath away.

16. David Bowie – The Jean Genie (1972)

The only that introduced the arrival of Aladdin Sane: a sleazier, noisier, extra decadent and chaotic tackle glam than Ziggy Stardust. A paean to Iggy Pop that sounded much less just like the Stooges than the Velvet Underground enjoying the blues, that is as a lot guitarist Mick Ronson’s present as it’s Bowie’s.

15. Elton John – Rocket Man (1972)

Launched the yr of the ultimate manned moonshots, maybe Rocket Man’s lyric displays waning public curiosity within the house race: in contrast to Bowie’s celeb Main Tom, its astronaut is a weary salaryman. However actually, it’s all about Elton John’s terribly wealthy melody, its easy shifts from lonely introversion to mammoth, stadium-sized refrain.

14. The Who – My Technology (1965)

Many years as an acknowledged rock traditional have barely blunted My Technology’s energy, however 57 years in the past, the charts had by no means performed host to something so lyrically confrontational and sonically aggressive: it expenses out of the audio system in a bug-eyed rage, its concluding 58 seconds are primarily the phrases “fuck off” in musical type.

13. Stardust – Music Sounds Higher With You (1998)

Thomas Bangalter and collaborator Alan Braxe hone Daft Punk’s French home blueprint right down to its barest necessities: a four-to-the-floor beat, a bassline, an outdated disco pattern (from Chaka Khan’s Destiny), two traces of vocals from singer Benjamin Diamond. As one reviewer put it: “It doesn’t do a lot … it doesn’t must – it exists in a state of perfection.”

12. T Rex – Experience a White Swan (1970)

The place the Seventies started, albeit 10 months late: T Rex had but to thoroughly shed the hippy trappings of their earlier incarnation, Tyrannosaurus Rex, however Experience a White Swan sounded new, particularly in a chart full of novelty information, bubblegum and MOR ballads: electrical, attractive, sparse, concise and bathed in 50s echo.

11. The Jackson 5 – I Need You Again (1970)

Everybody is aware of how grim the background story of the Jackson 5 – and their appalling abusive father – was, which makes the infectiously carefree temper of I Need You Again all of the extra exceptional. It’s the form of single you wrestle to think about anybody not liking; it appears like happiness in musical type.

10. Laurie Anderson – O Superman (1981)

The least industrial No 2 of all of them: eight and half minutes of single-note minimalism with vocoder-heavy vocals singing lyrics impressed by a Nineteenth-century aria by Massenet, O Superman is hypnotic, eerie and surprisingly lovely. It’s not unattainable to think about one thing equally bizarre being a success now, given TikTok’s capability to make unlikely songs pattern.

9. Jay-Z and Alicia Keys – Empire State of Thoughts (2009)

You would name Empire State of Thoughts hip-hop’s reply to New York, New York had been it not for the truth that – begin spreading the information – it’s a vastly higher tune, as thrilling and wondrous as your first cab journey from JFK to Manhattan.

8. George Michael – Exterior (1998)

The best screw-you response to being arrested for cottaging conceivable: launch a gleeful disco single full of police sirens, cascading strings and Stylish-y guitar that unrepentantly promotes the very factor you’ve been nicked for and throws in a reference to your love of weed in for good measure. As each a press release and a single, it’s fantastic.

7. Kelis – Milkshake (2003)

Like O Superman or Born Slippy, Milkshake is a observe so experimental that its hit standing can beggar perception: R&B and not using a bassline, its backing fabricated from fizzing, blaring noise and an Egyptian darbuka drum, its vocal alternately detached and attractive, it’s pop music designed to seize your consideration with its sheer originality.

6. Intercourse Pistols – God Save the Queen (1977)

A tune deemed so offensive that retailers displayed a blank space in the chart somewhat than horrify consumers by displaying its title. All of it appears ridiculous now, but when God Save the Queen’s shock worth has worn off, its sonic energy and the oppressive nihilism of its “no future” chorus stays undimmed.

Diana Ross
Stylish distinctive … Diana Ross, who hit No 2 in 1980. {Photograph}: CBS Picture Archive/CBS/Getty

5. Diana Ross – Upside Down (1980)

The Stylish Organisation on the peak of its astonishing powers, making disco that sounded just like the musical equal of massively costly luxurious items. Upside Down is refined, impeccable, impossibly funky pop music, so thick with hooks it looks like three completely different choruses welded collectively. And, after all, Diana Ross’s vocal is implausible.

4. Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Resort (1956)

In purely qualitative phrases, there’s a case for Elvis’s different No 2, Suspicious Minds, however Heartbreak Resort was a seismic occasion. British listeners had already heard rock’n’roll however, by all accounts, that they had by no means heard something like this: its brooding, echo-smothered energy should have sounded as if it had come from one other planet.

3. The Beatles – Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Without end (1967)

One of the best Beatles single of all of them: two acid-heightened bursts of childhood nostalgia – one aspect unusual and ambiguous, the opposite heat and joyous – teeming with invention, daring and wit, filled with new musical and lyrical concepts. In case you needed to clarify why the Beatles had been particular, enjoying this double A-side can be the right begin.

2. Janet Kay – Foolish Video games (1979)

Lovers rock’s second of chart glory, not too long ago reanimated by Steve McQueen’s drama collection Small Axe. The whole lot about Foolish Video games is ideal: its gently rolling rhythm, its lovely melody, Dennis Bovell’s refined manufacturing, Kay’s vocal that goes from understated to indelible, through the observe Bovell knew “each woman within the dance would try to sing”.

The Kinks
Ray of sunshine … the Kinks’ Mick Avory, Pete Quaife and the Davies brothers take Waterloo Sundown to Prime of the Pops in 1967. {Photograph}: David Redfern/Redferns

1. The Kinks – Waterloo Sundown (1967)

The august rock critic Robert Christgau once suggested Waterloo Sundown is “essentially the most lovely tune within the English language”: Pete Townshend in contrast it to a Turner portray. Even amid Ray Davies’ catalogue of songs, it stands out as a second the place lightning really struck, inflicting him to create one thing nearly supernaturally highly effective. Deceptively easy by the psychedelic requirements of 1967, it isn’t totally explicable why the lambent melancholy of its melody and lyrics – which discover Davies, the everlasting outsider on the swinging 60s get together, observing a pair assembly by the tube – is so endlessly affecting, however it’s.

The 15 finest singles by Australian cleaning soap stars – sorted

Australian soaps have spawned an infinite quantity of pop music – from true classics to earworms you’ve buried away in your deep unconscious.

We’re reaching the tip of an period now that Neighbours is ending, so we’re counting down the most effective songs to have come from cleaning soap stars who took half within the time-honoured custom of stepping right into a recording studio and giving it a red-hot go.

And we’re sorry for the overwhelming whiteness of this listing. Australian soaps haven’t historically been beacons of diversity and inclusion.

15. Learn My Lips by Melissa Tkautz

This Actual Housewife of Sydney’s signature pop music knocked Grease Megamix (the third best-selling single of 1991) out of the No 1 place on the Aria charts. It additionally established a template for soap-to-pop stardom that will be adopted for years to come back with its flirty, assured lyrics and simple danceability. It created one other legacy, too: the video stars a younger Simon Baker. A charmed Tkautz launched him her boss on E Avenue, touchdown him his first appearing position.

14. All Seats Taken by Bec Cartwright

Little has been written in regards to the former House and Away star’s pop profession. And that’s most likely honest sufficient. However we’ll fortunately struggle for her 2002 debut single, All Seats Taken. The music is ostensibly about reserving a complete venue for a romantic, intimate evening, which is one thing we are able to think about Cartwright and her husband, Lleyton Hewitt, doing after they first acquired collectively. The lyrics recommend that the venue is a restaurant however the music video is filmed in a curler disco. Sadly, there’s no skating within the video, which maybe explains why her pop profession by no means reached the heights of fellow Australian blond bombshell and roller disco enthusiast Olivia Newton-John.

13. In Your Room by Toni Pearen

The E Avenue actor was signed to the identical label as her co-star Tkautz, however Learn My Lips was deemed too raunchy for her – so she struck gold in 1992 with the extra dreamily flirty In Your Room, which peaked at No 10 on the Aria charts. Whereas her second single I Want You scored Pearen an Aria nod, In Your Room is the lovelier observe. There’s one thing splendidly particular, and completely lust-struck, in regards to the concept of getting right into a love curiosity’s bed room and making an attempt on all the garments.

12. Particularly for You by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan

The British pop songwriting trio Inventory Aitken Waterman wrote loads of Minogue earworms early on in her profession, and a few of Donovan’s largest hits. However none can surpass the pop cultural second of 1988’s Particularly for You, launched not lengthy after Donovan and Minogue’s characters on Neighbours, Scott and Charlene, have been married. It’s schmaltz of the irresistible selection, and was particularly enormous within the UK, the place it turned the fourth highest-selling document of the 12 months.

11. Mistake by Stephanie McIntosh

The Neighbours actor comes from a soap-opera household: her half-brother, Jason Donovan, his daughter Jemma and his father, Terence, have all appeared on the cleaning soap. The making of her album, Tightrope, was the topic of a 2006 reality TV show, which appears like a bit a lot till you realise the songwriters have additionally written bops for Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears. The album has an aggressively of-the-moment pop-rock sound that will be immediately forgettable if it didn’t embody a really bonkers cowl of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David traditional Wishin’ and Hopin’. After which there’s Mistake, a wonderfully assembled slice of lost-love-catharsis with a refrain that simply begs you to scream alongside.

10. Born to Attempt by Delta Goodrem

Goodrem debuted Born to Attempt, her first No 1 single, in 2002 on Neighbours, whereas taking part in an aspiring singer referred to as Nina Tucker. In contrast to different cleaning soap stars-turned-singers, Goodrem’s stint on the present was as a lot about launching her music profession as tv stardom. The piano pop ballad was our first introduction to her musical fashion however truly not her debut single. That got here a 12 months earlier with the poppy I Don’t Care (penned by the writers behind Christina Aguilera’s Genie in a Bottle), which did not make a lot of an affect. Fortunately, Sony realised she was extra snug behind a piano in singer-songwriter territory. Born to Attempt is one among her finest, with a superb, hovering vocal. The lyrics is likely to be a bit on the naive facet however we are able to most likely reduce the 17-year-old Goodrem some slack there.

9. Voodoo Youngster by Rogue Merchants

Right here come the drums. In 2004 the Melbourne digital rock band Rogue Merchants added a celeb to their lineup: Natalie Bassingthwaighte, who earned three Logie nominations for taking part in Izzy Hoyland in Neighbours. Once they launched Voodoo Youngster, they stored their identification of their new vocalist a secret at first: they didn’t wish to money in on her celeb. The observe reached No 4 on the Aria charts and was licensed platinum. There are a couple of the explanation why: first, there’s the re-recorded model of Elvis Costello’s Pump it Up riff, a magic ingredient that also kills (see Olivia Rodrigo’s Brutal), and there’s the Merchants’ electro-punk playfulness. But it surely’s Nat Bass’s vocals, pop pacing and readability, with a little bit rock-tinged growl, that pulls all of it collectively.

8. Kiss Kiss by Holly Valance

In some ways, Kiss Kiss was each a blessing and a curse as Holly Valance’s debut single: the Neighbours’ alum’s cowl of the English-language cover of Turkish artist Tarkan’s Şımarık (Spoilt) is simply sexy-pop-fun sufficient to be irresistible. The 2002 observe reached No 1 in Australia and cracked the highest 10 in 17 international locations. Whereas her two follow-up singles carried out nicely, she may by no means match the dizzying heights of Kiss Kiss. The music video, directed by Tim Royes, stays a traditional with its indulgent close-ups of Valance’s crimson lips, wet-look hair and louche choreography. The “mwahs” are each foolish and hypnotic. A masterpiece.

7. I Start to Marvel by Dannii Minogue

Dannii, a House and Away alum, adopted massive sister Kylie’s chart-topping Fever album along with her personal assortment of disco-tinged electro-pop: 2003’s Neon Nights. It’s such a robust album (lead single Put the Needle On It is tremendous attractive and refined, whereas Creep was proper within the pop zeitgeist) that it feels unfair of us to even point out Kylie right here. For the record, it’s pretty much as good as something Kylie has launched. I Start to Marvel is the standout, with its rapid-fire verses and cooing choruses.

6. Love at First Sight by Kylie Minogue

2002’s Love at First Sight was the third single from Minogue’s Fever album, on the peak of her profession renaissance. It’s three minutes and fifty-seven seconds of unadulterated pleasure. When Minogue sings “all the things went from flawed to proper”, you’d be hard-pressed to argue. The music scored the singer her first Grammy nomination and at all times offers the right hands-in-the-air Kylie-style love-in at her dwell reveals.

5. Can’t Get You Out of My Head by Kylie Minogue

Pop doesn’t come rather more effortlessly cool than this 2001 observe. The insistent, pulsating bassline drives house the obsession inherent within the lyric; it’s endlessly danceable; and its futuristic music video options one among Minogue’s most celebrated appears to be like: a flowing white jumpsuit reduce all the best way all the way down to her navel, testing the boundaries of each physics and nipple tape. The music was initially supplied to Sophie Ellis Bextor and S Membership 7, but it surely’s tough to think about one other artist who may carry the intimacy and all-encompassing need to life on this easiest of melodies. Minogue says she wished to document the music after listening to simply 20 seconds of the demo. Thank God she did. Thank God S Membership 7 didn’t.

4. Torn by Natalie Imbruglia

Typically an ideal pop music is simply ready for the suitable artist. Scott Cutler and Anne Preven (who co-wrote Beyoncé’s Dreamgirls quantity Listen) wrote Torn with Phil Thornalley, who additionally wrote Shannon Noll’s Drive (!!!). They recorded it themselves as Ednaswap, then Liv Sørensen launched the Danish-language model Brændt, and Trine Rein’s version hinted at its pop future. However when Imbruglia left Neighbours for Torn, all the things fell into place. Her take paired refreshingly prepared emotion with a music video directed by Alison Maclean that has Imbruglia singing into the digital camera as if she’s confessing her emotions right into a mirror. Discuss relatable pop: no marvel it was the 1997 No 1 on airplay around the globe.

3. This Is It by Dannii Minogue

This 1993 cowl of Melba Moore’s 1976 disco gem doesn’t mess a lot with the unique successful system, with a really 90s dance-pop beat thrown in by the producers Tim Lever and Mike Percy (of Useless or Alive fame). Whereas this single was launched on the tail-end of Minogue’s first section as a pop artist and obtained blended opinions from critics, it’s a stayer: her vocals are an prompt uplift – an entire room will get on its ft should you play the observe in a homosexual membership. It does precisely what a pop music is meant to do: it modifications the temper within the room. Attempt to take heed to it with out smiling.

2. Misplaced With out You by Delta Goodrem

In 2003 Goodrem was in all places. Not solely did she launch Harmless Eyes, the highest-selling album of the last decade, however she was nonetheless a Neighbours common. The second single, Misplaced With out You, stands as top-of-the-line Australian pop recordings of the previous few a long time. It’s one among simply three songs from her debut album which Goodrem didn’t write herself, however its dramatic construction, cascading piano riffs and tear-soaked lyrics all make it traditional Delta. It turned much more beloved when Darren Hayes covered the song at the 2003 Aria awards in an emotional tribute to Goodrem, who received seven awards that evening however was unable to carry out as she was recovering from remedy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

1. Higher the Satan You Know by Kylie Minogue

There may solely be one No 1, and it may solely be Kylie. This 1990 tune is the most effective of Kylie and the most effective of pop: a dancefloor sensation with a melody that builds, double backs and repeats. This music gave her a extra mature sound – together with a extra “grown-up” presentation that Pete Waterman was satisfied would finish her profession. As an alternative, it revealed her true power and endurance and positioned herat the forefront of the then rising pattern of digital pop. Earlier than this music, Kylie was beloved. After Higher the Satan You Know, she was a famous person.