The Story of Pop: 2002 (Chapter 15)

Here as always for you every Thursday with a blog sized blast from the UK hitmaking past, it’s The Story of Pop: 2002. This week: the biggest hit single from the most unlikely dance music collaboration of to the year…

  • Artist: X-Press 2 feat. David Byrne
  • Song: Lazy
  • Released: 08/04/2002
  • Writers / Producers: Ashley Beedle / Darren House / Darren Rock / David Byrne / X-Press 2
  • Highest UK Chart Position: #2
  • Weeks on Chart: 13

Up until April 2002, dance production outfit X-Press 2 were an act that were, chart wise at least, not ones who were known for catching a break. They were less amongst the “Who’s Who” of the dance acts that did break the top 10 with regularity, and were more in the “Who’s That” category.

The stats don’t lie, either; before this week 20 years ago, the closest that the trio, consisting of Ashley Beedle and DJs Diesel and Rocky (aka Darren House and Darren Rock) had got was a couple of in-out top 40 singles, biggest of which was 1993’s “Say What!” (it peaked at #32).

However, with the release of their first full studio album Muzikzum, on no less a record label than Skint Records – the very same label that had seen the glorious rise and rise of one Fatboy Slim – they were about to hit commercial paydirt in a way that they never had before, or indeed would ever again.

A hypnotic and immensely addictive track with house influences and dark dancefloor synths, “Lazy” was highly praised and attracted attention from all quarters, not least because of its featured guest vocalist, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, who was something of an accidental pop culture icon for chart watchers of my generation at the time this was released.

Chiefly because computer software giants Microsoft had not long released their Windows XP operating system, on which copies of his then new solo album, Look Into The Eyeball, had been bundled onto their new Windows Media Player application. It meant those of us who were discovering the joys of Microsoft Paint, Minesweeper and PowerDVD for the first time (yours truly included, as my dad had just purchased our first fully operational home PC) were already familiar with him.

However, even with the post-punk band he had made his name with, their biggest and only top 10 hit had been a #6 in 1985 with “Road To Nowhere”. “Lazy” managed to surpass even that, and land X-Press 2 and David a none too shabby #2 hit upon release, just held off the top spot by the continuing dominance of Gareth Gates.

It eventually stayed on the chart for just over three months, whilst the Muzikzum album set up camp in the top 20. But without the presence of their unusual choice of featured vocalist on follow-up singles, X-Press 2 were to slip back into barely scraping the top 75 in some cases for the rest of their singles career.

However, that wasn’t the last dalliance with the upper chart echelons for Ashley Beedle at least. 18 months later in September 2003, his much in demand remix of Elton John’s lost classic “Are You Ready For Love?” was used on an advert for Sky Sports and promptly secured the British pop icon a huge number one hit. But to this week, it’s all about “Lazy” – a 00s club classic from the most unlikely of sources.

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 2002. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments, Tweet us or message us on Instagram, using the hashtag #StoryofPop2002.

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