1998 in British music

1998 in British music

This is a summary of 1998 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.

1998 was a transitional year for music, when the hyped up sound of pure pop from the mid-1990s began to fade and popular artists began to experiment with different styles and new artists were brought onto the scene, while previous popular artists began to fade out. The usual domination of UK acts was continued like most other years during the 1990s. Four singles went on to sell over a million copies and throughout the year, 28 songs reached the summit. This year is also remembered for the debuts of B*Witched, the rise of the career of the All Saints and the end of the career for girl group phenomenon, the Spice Girls. The Corrs, The Verve and George Michael all experienced great success on the albums chart.


The first chart of the year saw the BBC Children In Need single "Perfect Day", performed by a collaboration of various stars, return to the top of the charts for a week, displacing "Too Much" by the Spice Girls.

Disappearances & Resurgences

January saw R'N'B vocalist, Usher Raymond score a #1 with his debut single "You Make Me Wanna...". Although he did not return to the top of the singles charts until 2004, he did experience success on the albums charts in between and 2004 was a massive resurgence year for him, in which he broke several notable records in the US, and solidified himself as an international star. Although Usher's resurgence was yet to come, the lead singer of The Stone Roses was to resurge this year. Ian Brown released his debut solo single "My Star" which peaked at #5. His debut album also became a success, making #4 on the charts. Oasis also scored their 4th UK chart topper in January, which was their last release for two years as they embarked on a massive world tour which brought along the expected controversy and increased publicity for the band.

Girl Groups & Boy Bands

Throughout the year, girl groups remained prevalent. All Saints who made #4 with their debut single in late 1997, clocked up 3 chart toppers across the year. The 1.25 million selling "Never Ever", popular covers of Red Hot Chili Peppers and La Belle "Under the Bridge/Lady Marmalade" and laid-back dance track "Bootie Call" were all tracks from their debut self titled album, which itself was a success, reaching #2. They did not release any new material during 1999, but returned to the charts in 2000. Irish quartet B*Witched receive great success across Europe and even mild success in the US. Comprising Irish folk with mainstream Western pop, they scored many hits. Their debut single "C'est La Vie" made them the youngest group to debut at #1 in the UK and even went Top 10 in the US. Dance-associated "Rollercoaster" and emotional ballad "To You I Belong" quickly became 2 more UK chart toppers for the girls.
Cleopatra made up of three sisters from Manchester. Cleo, Zainam & Yonah had major success in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States their first 4 singles went straight into the top 5 and later that year they were signed to Madonna's U.S. label Maverick Records.

Success was made easy for The All Saints and B*Witched because of the declining career of the Spice Girls. Their third release from their second album, "Spiceworld", "Stop" was a minimal hit in the US and became their first single to fail to top the UK charts, ending the run of consecutive #1's at 6. To make matters worse for them, Geri Halliwell (also known as Ginger Spice) announced her departure from the group on the 31 May after missing various concerts and an appearance on the national lottery. Their final release from their second album was able to top the charts for 2 weeks. "Viva Forever" became quite a popular single and the video was an animated one with the Spice Girls featured as fairies. At the time the Spice Girls were touring America hence why they couldn't shoot a video for it. "Goodbye" became the girls 8th chart topper at the end of the year, and was seen as a tribute to Geri. It took the Christmas number one position, making the Spice Girls only the second act to achieve 3 consecutive Christmas number one singles; the first being The Beatles. Solo careers started for the two Melanies from the group in 1998 with Melanie B hitting the top of the UK charts with "I Want You Back", a duet with female rapper Missy Elliott and Melanie C hitting #3 with "When You're Gone", a duet with Canadian rocker, Bryan Adams. Whilst Melanie B's career slowly went into a downward spiral, Melanie C's was yet to grow.

Although the 1990s was full of boybands, 1998 was not the strongest year for them on the singles or albums chart. Five managed to have their debut album hit the top, but were yet to experience a #1 single. Boyzone were by far the most successful boyband of the year with 2 #1 singles "All That I Need", and "No Matter What", the latter of which sold over 1.07 million copies (it was taken from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, "Whistle Down the Wind") and also saw their new album "Where We Belong" hit the top of the albums chart.

American Acts

Many American acts this year were very successful in the UK, yet were still slightly more successful back home. Brandy & Monica made #2 with "The Boy Is Mine", which had a 13 week run at the top in the US. This was actually a very successful year in the UK for Brandy, who had 2 #2 hits. Number one in the US, "I'm Your Angel", a duet with R. Kelly and Céline Dion only made #3 here in the UK, despite both acts being quite successful in the UK otherwise. Mariah Carey hit #4 with solo release "My All", which became another chart topper for her in the US, however her duet with Whitney Houston, "When You Believe" from the soundtrack to "The Prince Of Egypt" was a bigger hit here than in the US, making #4 here and only making #15 on the Hot 100; it was set up to be a much bigger hit than it became. Rock band Aerosmith scored their biggest global hit throughout their career to date. Emotional ballad, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", taken from the soundtrack to "Armageddon", made #4 in the UK and managed to top the US charts, entering at #1. Former Fugees member, Lauryn Hill began her solo career and hit #3 with her debut single "Doo Wap (That Thing)", which topped the charts in the US. Her album, "The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill" became a worldwide smash and was also very successful in the UK hitting #2 on the albums chart.

Other US acts who received fame in the UK during 1998, who were not quite as popular back home were the likes of Aaron Carter and Madonna. Aaron Carter had his most successful year ever in the UK clocking up 3 Top 30 hits and landing a place in the Top 20 with his eponymous debut album. Although Madonna did experience great success in the US, she failed to top the charts, but did so in the UK, with "Frozen", becoming her 8th UK chart topper; it was only able to make #2 in the US. It had, however, been 8 years since she last topped the charts with "Vogue". Her new mostly dance-influenced album, "Ray of Light" also topped the charts, producing several other hits including the title track which made #2. Hip Hop trio Destiny's Child also begin their career this year with the release of their debut single, "No, No, No", which was well received on both sides of the Atlantic, making #5 in the UK and #3 in the US. Their debut album was a relative flop in both countries, but was more successful here than in the US.

Noted for its long lasting popularity was the debut single from pop singer LeAnn Rimes, "How Do I Live". It spent 33 weeks in the UK Top 40, selling 714,000 copies, thus becoming the biggest selling single ever to peak at #7 (it even finished higher in the "year end" chart than in the weekly charts). It was even more popular in the US, spending 32 weeks in the US Top 10, 61 weeks in the US Top 40 and 69 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100; if the Hot 100 allowed singles to stay on if below No.50 for a limited amount of time, it is likely "How Do I Live" could have had an even longer chart stay. It is the single to have the longest stay ever on the Hot 100 and won Miss Rimes a Billboard Music Award.

British Acts

Two UK rock bands were prevalent on the albums and singles chart. The Verve hit the top of the albums chart with "Urban Hymns" for 7 weeks (non-consecutive). The album was largely successful and spawned 2 hit singles: the chart topping "The Drugs Don't Work" and the better remembered #2 hit, "Bittersweet Symphony", which was on the soundtrack to the film "Cruel Intentions". Welsh rock band, Manic Street Preachers scored their first #1 single, "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" and their new album "This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours" also topped the charts, despite their career starting in 1991. The album brought along a huge fanbase for the band, which continued to last as their career moved forward.

Ex-Take That member, Robbie Williams topped the albums chart twice during the year, when his debut album, "Life Thru a Lens" returned to the charts and managed to climb to the #1 spot. His second album, "I've Been Expecting You" topped the charts later on in the year and gave the star his first #1 single, "Millennium". Despite all this chart success, no single was as large selling as his #4 hit "Angels" from 1997 which went on to win the award for Best British Song of the Past 25 Years at the 2005 BRIT Awards. "I've Been Expecting You", however is his biggest selling album to date, with over 2.7 million copies sold. Irish family folk band, The Corrs received massive success with their album, "Talk on Corners" which went on to sell over 2.7 million copies and topped the albums charts for 10 weeks (6 of them were during 1998). The album also produced high peaking singles hits for the band, including the likes of "Dreams", "So Young" & "What Can I Do?" which all hit the Top 10.

Acts From Other Countries

As for acts outside of the UK and the US, there were a few successes. Australian singer, Natalie Imbruglia followed up the success of her #2 hit "Torn" from 1997 with 3 more hits, 2 of which went top 5. Danish pop outfit, Aqua completed a hat-trick of #1's after the massive success of "Barbie Girl", as "Doctor Jones" and "Turn Back Time" both hit the top. The first was a slightly similar sounding track to their debut single, but "Turn Back Time" was a much slower track than their previous two singles. Their debut album, "Aquarium" was also a great success clocking up high sales and peaking at #6 on the albums chart. They followed up their 3 consecutive #1's with two further hits by the end of the year; the former hit the Top 10 and the latter made the Top 20. They did not return to the UK charts until 2000.

Covers & Reworkings

Despite not being very successful in the French World Cup themselves, the 1996 hit "Three Lions" was re-written for the World Cup as "Three Lions '98" and topped the charts for 3 weeks, becoming more successful than the original. Reworkings of songs were very popular this year with the massive success of the remix of Run DMC's 1983 hit "It's like That", which, thanks to Jason Nevins topped the charts for 6 weeks and sold 1.12 million copies. It also kept "Stop" off the top of the charts, breaking the run of consecutive #1 singles of the Spice Girls. The song was one of the fastest selling singles of the year. A Norman Cook remix of the Cornershop single, "Brimful of Asha" saw the British duo top the charts with a track that originally failed to make the Top 40 the previous year. The song comprised music from the duo's Indian roots with Western rock beats.

Film Music - The Success Of Titanic

Film music dominated the February chart with the soundtrack to "Titanic" topping the albums chart for a cumulative total of 3 weeks. Composed by James Horner, the soundtrack was a massive success worldwide and the love theme from the song, "My Heart Will Go On" was also incredibly successful. Sung by Céline Dion, it sold 1.31 million copies in the UK alone and topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The film is the biggest selling worldwide in terms of box office sales.

Popular Genres

Various styles of rock bands topped the albums and singles charts in the earlier part of the year with everything from pop-rock to alternative electronic rock. This included Oasis, Garbage, Catatonia, Space, Embrace, Pulp and Massive Attack. Jamiroquai even topped the singles chart with their release "Deeper Underground"; their album "Synkronized" made #1 the following year. However, this did not stop resistance from pop acts such as Savage Garden who made #2 with their debut self titled album after the massive success of their #4 hit from 1997, "Truly Madly Deeply". Simply Red are able to top the albums chart with their new release "Blue", however their 1991 release "Stars" still remains their most successful in their career by far. Extending the success of pop acts on the albums chart during 1998 was singer Jane McDonald whos debut self titled album topped the charts for 3 weeks. She released one single from the album, "Cruise Into Christmas", a special release for the festive season which made #10 on the singles chart.

Breaking Records

Age records were broken in 1998 at both ends of the spectrum. Billie became the second youngest solo female to obtain a chart topper at the age of 15 (Helen Shapiro being the youngest - 14 years old) and became the youngest solo female to enter at #1. The year was successful for her after receiving a recording contract from appearing in an advertising campaign for Smash Hits magazine. Her debut single "Because We Want To" and more laid-back follow up "Girlfriend" both topped the UK charts, each for one week. On the other end of the range, Cher at 52 years of age became the oldest solo female to top the UK charts. "Believe" topped the charts for 7 weeks, becoming the longest stay since "Wannabe" in 1996 and also the last single to spend more than 3 weeks at the top in that millennium. "Believe" also became the largest selling single by a female artist in the UK, with 1.67 million copies sold. Her album of the same name became very successful also, producing other hits and both the single and the album topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Greatest Hits

The last few months of the year were filled with greatest hits compilations. Reaching #10 in the albums chart was the #1's compilation from Mariah Carey; a collection of all her #1 singles to that point. It contained everything from her debut single "Vision Of Love" to the likes of her most recent work "Honey", but also came with some bonus tracks, "When You Believe" a duet with Whitney Houston "Sweetheart" a duet with Jermaine Dupri & "I Still Believe", a cover of the hit song from Brenda K. Starr. The more successful compilations came from Phil Collins, whose album was entitled "Hits" and from U2 who released "The Best Of 1980 - 1990 & B-sides". Both were able to top the albums chart. However, the most successful came from George Michael, who topped the albums chart for 8 weeks, the longest stay since "Spice" managed a consecutive 8 week run in 1996, with "Ladies And Gentlemen - The Best Of George Michael". It included his 7 UK #1's such as "Careless Whisper", "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" and "Jesus To A Child" and other hits since his career began in 1984.

Hip Hop

Having sold more recolds in 12 years at the UK singles and albums, the Beastie Boys gave the biggest UK hit to date with the single Intergalactic which got #4, studio album Hello Nasty got to #1. They followed up with few further hits by 1998-1999. They did not return to the UK charts until 2004.

Sadly unlike the previous year, where LL Cool J, Puff Daddy and Will Smith topped the UK singles chart, none of the Hip Hop acts sold enough recolds to reached number one. However, Jason Nevins's remix with Run DMC "It's like that" reached the top spot, but as its a remix its considered as a dance song. Jay Z and Busta Rhymes both got as high as #2 with his signature song "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" and that Kyght Rider tune. Pras Michel of The Fugees released his breakthrough track "Ghetto Superstar", featuring Mýa and ODB, was one of the highest selling tracks in the UK, selling 680,000 copies.



Top 10 albums

Music awards

BRIT Awards

The 1998 BRIT Awards winners were:

*Best British producer: The Verve, Chris Potter and Youth
*Best selling British album act: Spice Girls
*Best soundtrack: "The Full Monty"
*British album: The Verve – "Urban Hymns"
*British breakthrough act: Stereophonics
*British dance act: The Prodigy
*British female solo artist: Shola Ama
*British Group: The Verve
*British male solo artist: Finley Quaye
*British single: All Saints – "Never Ever"
*British Video: All Saints – "Never Ever"
*Freddie Mercury award: Sir Elton John
*International breakthrough act: Eels
*International female: Björk
*International group: U2
*International male: Jon Bon Jovi
*Outstanding contribution: Fleetwood Mac

Mercury Music Prize

The 1998 Mercury Music Prize was awarded to Gomez - "Bring It On.

Record of the Year

The Record of the Year was awarded to "No Matter What" by Boyzone.

External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/chart/ BBC Radio 1's Chart Show]
* [http://www.theofficialcharts.com/ The Official United Kingdom Charts Company]
* [http://everyhit.com/chartalb5.html everyhit.com]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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