This is The Story of Pop: 2000, our week by week revisit back to the sights and sounds of the UK charts and the acts behind the hits from the turn of the new millennium. Let’s crack on with this week’s huge hit…
2000 had a lot in common with 1999. Chiefly – as we’ll see in the rest of the series to come – the idea that anything went when it came to music and what was hitting the higher echelons of the chart. This period of pop is defined not so much by the artists but by the songs they made hits, whatever genre or style they were in.
Such was the case with Californian sisters Erica and Tina Atkins, collectively known as Mary Mary. They were former members of a travelling gospel band, and were so named after the two Marys found in the Bible; Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. Quite an appropriate name for a gospel duo.
Their joyfully uplifting debut single ‘Shackles (Praise You)’ was, according to them, ‘about Jesus and telling people who he is and of his love. That’s the whole purpose behind Mary Mary’. But it’s influences with the Swiss watch engineered R&B sound of the time – even down to a few choice vocoder effects – undoubtedly worked in its favour too.
It thus helped it to become a hit on multiple Billboard charts in the States, whilst here in the UK, it debuted and peaked at #5 upon its June release, staying in the chart all summer and becoming a radio staple for many months. Their career – in Blighty at least – fizzled out that November with ‘I Sings’ barely scraping the top 40, but if there are any songs that remind us of the summer of 2000, ‘Shackles’ is most certainly one of them.
Don’t forget to follow our brand new playlist on Spotify – updated weekly 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.