Welcome one, welcome all to the last in the present series of #ThrowbackTunesday, our weekly look back at five classic UK chart hits from this week in the last 25 years. It’s the last one for twofold reasons.
Firstly, this coming Saturday is 1st December, which means our Christmas Song Advent Calendar is back for 2018, and will take up most of our music side of the blog output next month (it’s also the last #SongoftheWeek on Friday for that very reason). Secondly, I’ve had great fun doing this series of blogs this year, but I have an exciting and equally retro new pop music blog series to take its place that I intend to start next year – more on that in January!
But now, for one last time, let’s see what songs are on the playlist before we profile our final #ThrowbackTunesday hit of the series…
- 1993: East 17 – It’s Alright
- 1998: Madonna – The Power Of Goodbye
- 2003: Will Young – Leave Right Now
- 2008: Take That – Greatest Day
- 2013: Lily Allen – Somewhere Only We Know
And our favourite song from this week’s #ThrowbackTunesday playlist is…
- ARTIST: Will Young
- SONG: Leave Right Now
- ALBUM: Friday’s Child
2003 wasn’t a vintage year for the single as we know it by any means. As internet speeds increased in households, so too did the rise of illegal downloading platforms, meaning the British music industry, like all others globally, began to feel the pinch as they didn’t embrace these new fangled things called the iPod and iTunes quickly enough. Certainly not in the UK at least.
There’s a point to us illustrating this because in that year, only the top two biggest selling singles sold over half a million copies. Compare that to five years previously when the top 20 did so, and you know there was a major problem. It seems fitting then, that the man who was behind 2002’s biggest selling single – and the last one to clock in a million sales until 2004 – had one of 2003’s top 5 best sellers.
After being everywhere following his coronation as the first winner of Pop Idol in 2002, 2003 was a comparatively quiet year for Will Young. Apart from an appearance at that February’s BRITs ceremony, where he took home the gong for Best British Breakthrough, he was working away on his second album for much of the year.
Meanwhile, his fellow contenders were finding the going tough. Sure, Gareth Gates had topped the chart for Comic Relief in March with ‘Spirit In The Sky’, the year’s second biggest seller, but a subsequent move into more ‘mature’ music, that fling with a certain glamour model, and the arrival of far more exciting new male popstars like Busted and Justin Timberlake on the scene that year saw to it that his chart positions and sales went into freefall.
With many decrying that fatigue with reality TV ‘idols’ was the reason they were falling out of fashion, by the time Will and RCA Records were preparing for the release of his now completed second album, titled ‘Friday’s Child’, there was a nervous air when Will delivered its first single a year after his last. Many assumed that, as with Gareth’s sudden decline, that the same would be true of Will.
However, this nervous air was reckoned on without acknowledging that, far from being tired of him, the general public still loved Master Young as much as they had twelve months previously. Hence why a panic descended midweek, when it was discovered that not enough copies had been sent to shops of ‘Leave Right Now’ to meet the demand that no one had accounted for, leaving it in a nail biting battle for number one with – of all people – EastEnders actor Shane Richie, who had released a cover of Wham’s ‘I’m Your Man’ for BBC Children In Need.
Fortunately, a last minute reprieve of stocks at the end of the week saw it to that by Sunday evening, Will was the proud owner of his fourth UK number one hit. A lushly orchestrated and heartfelt lament to the end of a relationship, ‘Leave Right Now’ was not just a contemporary ballad all in a class of its own, but a great pop record to boot. It’s little wonder it wound up one of the biggest singles of 2003.
But more importantly than that, it turned Will from being another talent show winner into a respected pop artist in his own right, and set him on course to be one of the Noughties’ best loved male solo stars. Here’s to ‘Leave Right Now’ – a career defining record and then some for Will Young.
Check out the full playlist here, and let us know what your favourite hit from the past is this week on our Twitter with the hashtag #ThrowbackTunesday!