We continue on with the second installment of our brand new retrospective music series here on the blog now, as we tell you the story of the UK’s pop charts back in 1999. And it’s time for another chart topper this week…
Brighton born Norman Cook was no stranger to the UK charts, even twenty years ago. He’d topped the chart in 1986 with The Housemartins (featuring a pre-The Beautiful South vocalist Paul Heaton) on ‘Caravan of Love’, and then again in 1990, when he branched out in the brave new world of electronic dance music on Beats International’s ‘Dub Be Good To Me’.
But it was only eight years after that, in 1998, that he branched out into the era of his music career that he’s probably still best known for. Following his work remixing chart topping singles for Wildchild and Cornershop, he released his first singles as a DJ and producer incorporating a heady mix of hip-hop, dance and soul known as ‘big beat’. This was the sound of his alter ego, Fatboy Slim.
The first couple of singles from his debut album ‘You’ve Come A Long Way Baby’ – ‘The Rockafeller Skank’ and ‘Gangster Trippin’ – had both been top 10 hits for him that year. Come the dawn of January 1999 however, he was about to gain his biggest hit of all with the third single to be taken from that album.
Sampling an old obscure soul number, and coupled with an iconic music video of an interpretative dance group directed by the legendary music video and film director Spike Jonze, ‘Praise You’ sailed effortlessly to number one upon release, and instantly established Norman Cook as the biggest thing in British dance music since The Chemical Brothers. And twenty years on, we still have to praise this like we should.
Don’t forget to follow our playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 1999. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments or Tweet us, using the hashtag #StoryofPop1999.