The Story of Pop: 1999 (Chapter 11)

The Story of Pop: 1999. It’s the story, week by week, of the songs and stars that were riding high in the UK charts twenty years ago this very week. We continue onwards and into double figures, and this week – a comeback and then some from one of the greatest female vocalists of all time…

We don’t think it’s unfair to say that, her 10 week mammoth reign at the top with ‘I Will Always Love You’ in 1992 aside, that Whitney Houston was, for the majority of the 90s, concerning herself with her acting career, appearing not just in the film that song was the love theme from (The Bodyguard) but also blockbusters like Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher’s Wife (we had the latter on VHS as kids. It was quite the good from what we can recall).

By the end of 1998, it had been eight years since her last full studio album. She’d been back on the charts with fellow diva Mariah Carey with ‘When You Believe’, a top 5 hit from the soundtrack to animated film The Prince of Egypt. But she was saving her real – to use the Smash Hits term – BACK! BACK! BACK! moment for her first single proper off ‘My Love Is Your Love’, her fourth studio album.

Working with the man of the moment, R&B superproducer Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins – who had not long delivered the monster hit ‘The Boy Is Mine’ for Brandy & Monica – ‘It’s Not Right But It’s Okay’ was a sass fuelled floorfiller that saw Ms. Houston call out her wrong doing man – ‘Close the door behind you, leave your keys / I’d rather be alone than unhappy’ – over a Swiss watch engineered athletic groove that suited her powerful pipes down to the ground.

Launched with a spectacular comeback performance at the 1999 BRIT Awards (trust us when we say this is one of those ‘You have to see it to appreciate its genius’ moments), the single duly raced to #3 in the UK charts a few weeks later, and, along with the #2 follow-up and title track off the album in June, it ensured that Whitney staged a quite sensational return to pop, as she was one of just nine artists to sell over a million singles in the UK over the course of that year.

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.

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