It’s time for some more pop trivia based on songs that have reached #1 in the UK charts. If this sort of thing doesn’t appeal to you, look away now.
Last September (blimey, four months ago already) I posted this piece about UK #1 hits whose titles run on (and on, in some cases). The clue “Status Quo (1975) Men at Work (1983)”, for example, gave the answer “Down Down Under”, and “Vanilla Ice (1990) Supremes (1964)” gives “Ice Ice Baby Love”.
The following challenge is about titles that run on in a different way. In each case the entire title of a UK #1 can be found at the start of another chart-topper.
This diversion has been prompted by the elegant fact (in my view) that the shortest title of a UK #1 is also the start of the longest: “If” (Telly Savalas, 1975) and “If you tolerate this your children will be next” (Manic Street Preachers, 1998). As pop trivia fiends will know, the Manic Street Preachers song shares its record for most letters in a chart-topping title (39) with “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” (Bombalurina, 1990) and (if you include words in brackets, and the brackets themselves) “San Francisco (Wear some flowers in your hair)” (Scott McKenzie, 1967). However, if you include spaces between words the Manics come out top with 47 characters rather than the 46 in their rivals’ recordings.
If this example were set as a challenge here it would be in the following format:
Telly Savalas (1975) Manic Street Preachers (1998)
And the answer would appear like this:
(If) you tolerate this, your children will be next
Here are 33 more examples. See if you can work out what the short and long #1 titles are.
In 1-24 the first #1 song title is a single word, and they are ordered as follows: first, according to the length of that first word; second, alphabetically. Each answer for 1-3 begins with a 3-letter word, each answer for 4-7 begins with a 4-letter word, and so on. #24 begins with a 9-letter word.
In 25-33 the first #1 song title contains at least two words, and they are the first words of a longer song title.
Answers will be posted within an hour of this page. Click on the link at the end of this piece when you’re ready.
The first song title consists of a single word
- Leona Lewis (2008) Jay-Z featuring Rihanna & Kanye West (2009)
- Charles Aznavour (1974) Beatles (1963)
- Anthony Newley (1960) Frankie Lymon & Teenagers (1956)
- Years & Years (2015) Wamdue Project (1999)
- Shakespear’s Sister (1992) East 17 (1994)
- Spandau Ballet (1983) Madonna (1986)
- Kalin Twins (1958) Billy Ocean (1986)
- Shaggy featuring Rayvon (2001) Wizzard (1973)
- Robbie Williams (2012) New Edition (1983)
- Ella Henderson (2014) Specials (1981)
- Pharrell Williams (2014) Captain Sensible (1982)
- Pet Shop Boys (1988) Blondie (1979)
- Adele (2015) Beatles (1967)
- Madonna (2006) Blue featuring Elton John (2002)
- The Jam (1980) Alexandra Burke featuring Laza Morgan (2010)
- Ken Dodd (1965) Johnny Nash (1975)
- John Lennon (1981) Barbra Streisand (1980)
- Tulisa (2012) Bluebells (1993)
- Don McLean (1980) Elvis Presley (1965)
- DJ Sammy & Yanou featuring Do (2002) Belinda Carlisle (1988)
- Akon (2005) Mud (1974)
- Calvin Harris (2014) Cliff Richard & the Shadows (1963)
- Fairground Attraction (1988) Martine McCutcheon (1999)
- Ja Rule featuring R Kelly & Ashanti (2004) The Shadows (1962)
The first song title consists of at least two words
- Blondie (1980) Carly Rae Jepsen (2012)
- Wretch 32 featuring Josh Kumra (2011) Elton John & Kiki Dee (1976)
- Frankie Laine (1953) R Kelly (1997)
- Snap (1990) Jennifer Rush (1985)
- Cliff Richard & The Shadows (1960) Gary Glitter (1973)
- Chicane featuring Bryan Adams (2000) David Soul (1977)
- Outhere Brothers (1995) Vengaboys (1999)
- Helen Shapiro (1961) Armand Van Helden featuring Duane Harden (1999)
- Adam Faith (1959) Emile Ford & the Checkmates (1959)
#33 is my favourite. The second song immediately followed the first at the top of the charts, and they even shared top spot for one week at the end of 1959.