Revisiting the sights and sounds of the UK charts from the year Professor Robert Winston started chronicling the lives of 21st century newborns in Child of Our Time on BBC One, and when Billy Elliot hit the box office, this is The Story of Pop: 2000. This week: the tale of two underperforming dance tracks that took the first bootleg to the top of the charts…
N.B For reasons that will become clear as you read this week’s blog, we are unable to provide you with an official video or the song in a streaming capacity on our Spotify playlist. We apologise for any inconvenience caused, and we hope it doesn’t detract from your enjoyment.
UPDATE, 23rd April 2022: As of today, with the reissue of Fragma’s debut album Toca, the original radio edit – albeit with re-recorded vocals of the single – is finally available to stream. We have now updated our Spotify playlist to include this version for completeness.
The story of this week’s classic hit really begins back in the winter of 1997. Susan Brice, a session singer who’d done backing vocals for East 17 and Massive Attack amongst others, had released a single, ‘I Need A Miracle’, under the stage name of Coco.
It peaked at #39 that November, and no more was heard or spoken of it despite it having a modest club following. We remember it from a free CD given away with a copy of Smash Hits magazine from around early 1998 and thought it was quite a good track.
Fast forward to September 1999, and German dance production team Fragma release their single ‘Toca Me’, as the Ibiza season drew to a close for another summer. That too, despite a small following amongst clubbers, was a bit of an also ran, peaking at #11.
And this is where the mysterious DJ Vimto of Nottingham comes into play. He’d noted how well the vocal of ‘I Need A Miracle’ slotted on top of ‘Toca Me’. Suddenly, two about average dance tracks had united to make something of an unforgettable banger.
He pressed a limited white label of his unofficial bootleg into service, which soon caught on like wildfire in clubland. Clearly, a hit was in waiting, but it just needed to be promoted to an official capacity.
Thankfully, both the original ‘I Need A Miracle’ and ‘Toca Me’ had both been released on the legendary Positiva, EMI’s dedicated dance label. Clearance for release was therefore fairly straightforward, enabling the newly mixed ‘Toca’s Miracle’ to be ready to hit the shelves on 10th April 2000.
It crashed straight in at number one a week later, with a phenomenal first week sale of nearly 200,000 copies, staying there for two weeks in all, finishing up as the year’s 7th biggest selling single and going onto become one of the defining dance anthems of the new millennium.
The track was also remixed again in 2008, in another version that saw it become a top 20 hit for a second time. However, of recent years, ‘Toca’s Miracle’ has gained something of an unfortunate notoriety as an example of the legal loopholes that seem to plague the dance music community in particular.
It’s arisen in recent years that Brice/Coco was never actually formally paid royalties for her vocals on the single, meaning she’s had to endure a lengthy legal battle with the publishers and right owners in order to receive her share of royalties.
For this reason, the original mix of ‘Toca’s Miracle’ that became a hit twenty years ago remains, at time of writing, unavailable for official digital consumption via video or music streaming and download whilst the royalties dispute continues.
This means that if you held onto your copy of the single or the 45th edition of the Now That’s What I Call Music compilations on which it featured, then this is the only way to still hear it (although Now 45 is still pretty damn good anyway, so get it second hand).
Fortunately, the Top of the Pops performance still exists on YouTube which despite not being great quality, is what we are featuring here this week. But to this week, we remember and celebrate the genius that was ‘Toca’s Miracle’ – and hope it’ll be available again soon.
Don’t forget to follow our brand new playlist on Spotify – updated weekly (except this week of course) so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 2000. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments or Tweet us, using the hashtag #StoryofPop2000.