The Story of Pop: 1999 (Chapter 25)

This is The Story of Pop: 1999. It’s the story, week by week, of the hitmakers of two whole decades ago, and the smash hit songs they took to the top end of the UK charts. This week: one of the year’s biggest selling singles acts boom their way to their first ever number one single…

It’s amazing how the story behind this week’s act starts, not least because their beginnings were radically different to what they became. Back in 1996, Danski and Delumndo, two DJs and producers from Rotterdam in the Netherlands, were trying to break into the music industry after initially making their name holding illegal beach parties during the summer months in holiday hotspots across Europe.

In 1997, they decided it was time to form a group, and so they bought on board vocalist Kim Sasabone to front their records and be in the videos for their first two Benelux only singles, ‘Parada De Tettas’ and ‘To Brazil’. A year later, in 1998, three more members were recruited for the group – vocalists and dancers Denise Post-Van Rijswijk, Roy den Burger and Robin Pors – and from such small but mighty Europop seedlings, Vengaboys were born.

Their UK breakthrough came towards the end of that year in November, when the largely instrumental ‘Up & Down’ crossed over from clubland and went hurtling into the chart at #4. It stayed on for 10 weeks, but many thought it a novelty lightning bolt that wouldn’t strike twice. What a surprise those doubters had when the follow up, ‘We Like To Party! (The Vengabus)’ went one better, peaking at #3 in March 1999.

It was almost inevitable therefore, that the popularity of Vengaboys was only going to grow from there, not just here in the UK but across Europe, and sure enough, it happened with this, their next single. With a lyric that stayed on just the right side of risqué, ‘Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!’ shot straight to the top of the charts in the UK on this very week in 1999, becoming their biggest seller in the process with over half a million copies sold to date.

Success continued for them in September that year when their reworking of ‘Barbados’, a 1975 chart topper for Typically Tropical, titled ‘We’re Going To Ibiza’, gave them their second successive number one hit. All in all, they ended up shifting 1.7m singles in the UK during 1999, second only to Britney Spears, to make them one of the biggest selling singles acts of that year.

They would go onto release their second album ‘The Platinum Album’ in 2000 – all whilst changing lineups as Robin left to be replaced by Yorick Bakker – and more hits followed (even if it was to ever decreasing circles) before they parted ways in 2001. They have subsequently reunited since, and recently opened for Steps on their comeback tour in 2017, but for now, let’s toast to Vengaboys – Europe’s biggest sellers at the turn of the new millennium.

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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