Put your hands together for Gary, Robbie, Mark, Jason & Howard’s first ever Number 1.
A lot can happen in 20 years, bands can form, break up and reform before you even know it. And one band who’s had their share of dramas is Take That, sitting pretty at the top of our Official Chart Flashback this week in 1993, with Pray.
Back in ‘93, however, there were no signs of the turmoil to come, as the Manchester fivesome celebrated their first ever Number 1 hit with the first single from their second album Everything Changes. The R&B-tinged track spent four weeks at the summit this time 20 years ago, and Pray would be the first of four consecutive Number 1 songs on the Official Singles Chart. The first time round with Robbie Williams, the group had seven chart-toppers, and four without him. Pray, supported by super slick video featuring the boys well-bronzed and in various states of undress, sold over 330,000 copies in 1993. It was, however, beaten by Mark Owen-fronted Christmas hit Babe in the end of year chart. Babe sold 350,000 copies and was that year’s 14th biggest seller.
Pray was about to be knocked off its perch by the record at Number 2 this week in 1993. Living On My Own was to be the first solo Number 1 for Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991. The track was originally released in 1985 but only reached Number 50. A contemporary remix gave the track a new lease of life, and once it deposed Take That, it spent two weeks at the top. Freddie’s biggest non-Queen hit while alive was Barcelona with Montserrat Caballe, a Number 4 hit in 1987. It got a new lease of life in 1992, when it reached Number 2 after it was used as the theme tune for the BBC’s coverage of the Olympics taking place in Madrid – only joking, it was Barcelona!
At Number 3, falling one place, is What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes. It was the band’s only Top 40 hit on the Official Singles Chart, but singer Linda Perry went on to pen oodles more hits – working with P!nk on that ridiculously good and far from ‘difficult’ second album Missundaztood featuring the Perry-penned Get The Party Started, and of course, Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful.
Chaka Demus & Pliers were at Number 4 with their debut hit Tease Me. They would have a total of six Top 40 hits, including a Number 1 a Number 1 with Twist and Shout in December 1993.