It’s ten years since the world was first introduced to will.i.am, Fergie, apl.de.ap and Taboo, with a little help from Justin Timberlake.
Back in 2003, you could almost be forgiven for blurting out an astonished “Who?” on learning an act called Black Eyed Peas had gone straight in at Number 1 with their single Where Is The Love? While they weren’t a new act, the Peas’ previous chart experiences had been a couple of showings in the lower reaches of the Top 40. It wasn’t until the band recruited velvet-tonsilled Fergie into the throng that they started out on the road to an array of pop hits.
By the time Where Is The Love? was released, Black Eyed Peas were in big need of a hit, and who better to help them have one than Justin Timberlake, who was in the middle of a fantastic year enjoying hit after hit off his debut album Justified. He lent his vocals to the chorus of Where Is The Love? but didn’t want any of the limelight – he wasn’t officially credited and was absent from the track’s video. Perhaps he had to wait in that day for a fridge to be delivered, we’re not sure. The hype surrounding the song took it straight to Number 1, knocking the one and only Elton John off the top, no less (imagine the outrage at Elton-Furnish Towers). But this was no flash in the pan – the track sat pretty at Number 1 for an astonishing six weeks.
Where Is The Love? was just the beginning for the band. It sold over 625,000 copies in 2003 to finish as the biggest selling single of the year, and has gone on to shift 927,000 copies in total. In fact, over 35,000 of you have bought it this year alone, which just goes to cement its status as a classic. The hits would keep coming, but it would be almost another six years before they hit the top spot again, enjoying a consecutive run with Boom Boom Pow, I Gotta Feeling and Meet Me Halfway. A further Number 1, The Time (Dirty Bit), would follow in 2010. Fergie and will.i.am would also have considerable solo success. Fergie managed a Number 1 with David Guetta and will has so far had three Number 1s, his most notable being Scream & Shout, which showcased Britney Spears doing her very best Kate Middleton impression for the first time.
Watch the video for Where Is The Love? before we wander through the rest of the Top 5 from this week in 2003.
In runner-up position was Rachel Stevens, former S Club chanteuse striking out on her own with Sweet Dreams My LA Ex, a very much more than brilliant pop tune which was penned by '90s pop ledge Cathy Dennis with Britney Spears in mind. Justin's Cry Me A River had hinted pretty strongly that Britney was to blame for the sweethearts' break-up, but Miss Spears decided silence was the best response and turned the track down. Sweet Dreams was spending its third week in the Top 3, but would sadly never make it all the way to the summit. It’s still done well for our Rach, though – it’s sold over 233,000 copies. Sweet, indeed!
At Number 3 dropping a place was that caterwauling bundle of hair and lurex and amazingness – The Darkness with I BelieveIn A Thing Called Love. They’d warbled their way into the chart at Number 2 the previous week, but couldn’t improve on that, unfortunately. It wouldn’t be the end for Justin Hawkins – so many Justins, so little time – and his pals. There were four more Top 10s ahead, including the seminal Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End), with its title taken straight from school desk graffiti.
New in at Number 4 was yet more pop starlets from the S Club stable. It’s the lovely S Club 8, who had previously been S Club Juniors until S Club (formerly known as S Club 7) split up. Clear? Good. Sundown was their sixth hit and wouldn’t go any further than Number 4. It was the last time we’d see them in the Top 10 in this form – their final release Don’t Tell Me You’re Sorry reached Number 11 in early 2004. It wasn’t over for all the S Clubbers, of course. Frankie and Rochelle have been charting regularly as part of The Saturdays since 2008, finally managing a Number 1 in March this year. Hurrah! Calvin turned to acting, Stacey tried out for The X Factor and Aaron became a dancer and a DJ. If you know what Daisy and Jay are up to, let us know.
Finally, at Number 5, it’s Dido with White Flag, on its way back down the chart after peaking at Number 2 a few weeks earlier. It was Dido’s big comeback after her massive-selling album No Angel – which is the fifth biggest selling album of the 21st century and the top seller of 2001. If she had a lot to prove, she certainly managed it – White Flag is Dido’s biggest selling solo single, notching up 417,000 copies. Dido’s collaboration with Eminem, Stan, has sold over 880,000 copies.