Taking you back to the chart toppers and shakers from the top of the 21st century every Thursday at midday, this is The Story of Pop: 2000. And one of Ireland’s biggest boybands write themselves further into the record books for this week’s entry…
In a year of such rapid chart turnover, there was one thing certain – and indeed, that stood true for pretty much the next three years. If you were releasing the same week as a new single by Westlife, you were, commercially speaking, toast.
When we last left Shane, Kian, Mark, Nicky and Brian on The Story of Pop: 1999 with their Christmas chart topper ‘I Have A Dream / Seasons In The Sun‘, the Irish boyband had taken all four of their first four singles to the top of the UK charts.
That record was extended to five with the release of ‘Fool Again’, the fifth and final single off their self titled debut album in April, and after a short break from British shores to try and (unsuccessfully) crack America, they took that tally to six that September when they teamed up with Mariah Carey on a woeful cover of Phil Collins’ ‘Against All Odds’.
Just over a month later, ‘My Love’, the first single proper off their second album, Coast to Coast, was unleashed. A sweeping, grand Cheiron produced midtempo with the obligatory key change, it’s actually one of their better moments from their glory years, and is something of a notional blueprint for the kind of song that their then A&R guy – some high trousered exec called Simon Cowell – would be giving to numerous winners of a certain TV talent show a couple of years later.
It was never in any doubt that they’d break records again, and 20 years on, their chart feat as the first band to register seven number one singles from their first seven releases still stands – even snatching the Spice Girls’ previous record of six in a row in the process. They snatched the girls’ weaves in another way, when the Coast to Coast album trounced their third album, Forever, in an almighty album chart stand off the following week, going onto sell by the truckload in the process.
‘My Love’ also won them their second consecutive Record of the Year trophy in the annual ITV music awards show that December. Quite simply, in November 2000, Westlife were both the biggest pop act and boyband in the country. With a twinkle in their eye and a cock in their step, they eyed up the Christmas chart summit for a second year on the trot. They could surely make it eight in a row – couldn’t they…?
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