‘In The Summer of ‘69’
Thus warbled Bryan Adams in the summer of ’85 but then he was wrong on both counts. What he should’ve been keeping his eye on was the summer (and autumn) of ’91 as that was the time when we all had something to worry about. That’s when a collective madness descended on the UK and billions of copies of ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’ were bought thus ensuring that it remained at number one in the singles charts for a concentration-wanderingly massive amount of time. Archives show that it was sixteen consecutive weeks to be precise and a record probably never to be broken.
It reminds me of spring of 1977 when I was a student whose first job on returning from lectures was to turn on Capital Radio (95.8!) and listen to the day’s ‘Hitline’ ( a daily chart voted by listeners) only to find that it was topped by Hotel-bloody-California AGAIN! This went on for months as I recall and has ensured that HC remains firmly on my ‘not to be bought under any circumstances’ list.
But that was then (1970s to 1990s) and this is now and one thing that is now guaranteed is that singles no longer have a shred of longevity, so perhaps we should be grateful. Looking back over the last 5 years or so, if you exclude Gnarls Barkley (‘Crazy’) and Rihanna ft Jay-Z (‘Umbrella’), no single has lasted more than 3 weeks at the top in the UK and the majority only hit the top spot for a single week. This not really surprising as first, the singles market is now vast and moves at close to the speed of light so blink and you’ll miss a release and second and infinitely more annoying, pent up demand is deliberately created by advertising a single in the media weeks before you can actually buy it. This ploy ensures maximum sales in the first week of release and hopefully a number one spot immediately.
But it also means no longevity, as all those who want to buy it have done so in one huge and unseemly rush. Anyway, there are ten billion new singles to choose from next week, so for any song to last in the top 40, let alone number one, for weeks on end is about as likely as a snowball in the proverbial. All these smart-alec music companies are on to a loser with me anyway, as my inclination is to buy a single I like soon after first hearing it and if I can’t do so for weeks, my memory is now so bad that I’ll forget about and paint the spare room instead. Age has its benefits and thwarting the music industry without really trying is one of them.