It’s 20 years since Prince – or Symbol as he was then known – scored his first, and only so far, Number 1.
It’s hard to believe that in a career spanning over 30 years, Prince has only has one chart-topping single. When it comes to the Official Albums Chart, the Purple One has seen five of his albums hit the big one, but while he has had 16 Top 10s, just one track made it all the way to the top, and it did it 20 years ago this week.
When The Most Beautiful Girl In The World was released, our Prince was having a bit of an identity crisis. After having a ‘mild disagreement’ with his record label – the awkwardness of which could be seen from space – Prince ditched his birth name for an unpronounceable character called the Symbol of Love. It was a bit like a squiggle. It meant that for a while, Prince was known as Symbol or Artist Formerly Known As Prince. It was all very confusing.
In the midst of all this drama came one of Prince’s simplest songs – an anthem for all fans of ladies everywhere. The video showed Prince – sorry, Symbol – celebrating his fondness for womankind, and not in his usual, erm, saucy way.
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World shone at the top of the Official Singles Chart for three weeks, before being cruelly knocked off by Tony Di Bart’s The Real Thing. It’s sold over 255,000 copies and Prince has only scored two Top 10s since – his most recent being a reissue of 1999 in, you’ve guessed it, 1999.
Famously reclusive, Prince has been getting out and about a bit more in 2014, with a series of ‘surprise’ gigs and bringing all available swag to the BRIT Awards with his group 3RDEYEGIRL. Are we set for another Prince hit? You should never rule His Purpleness out…
Here's the rest of our retro Top 5…
2: Take That – Everything Changes
After two weeks at the top, Take That took a tumble to runner-up position, with the only chart-topper they had with Robbie on lead vocals. Take a look at Everything Changes’ very own Flashback for more stats than you can handle!
3: Tony Di Bart – The Real Thing
Climbing three places was a dance classic and a future Number 1 for Tony Di Bart – real name Antonio Carmine Di Bartolomeo. The Slough-born dance maestro only had one more Top 40 hit in him, Do Ya, but his place in chart history was assured with this pop favourite, which most people think is called If I Can’t Have You. But it isn’t. The Real Thing (for that is its name) has sold over 225,000 copies.
4: Erasure – Always
A 14th Top 10 hit for duo Erasure – Vince Clarke and Andy Bell. The poptastic pair had been releasing music for almost a decade at this point, enjoying their first and only Number 1 in 1992 with the Abba-Esque EP. Two more Top 10 hits would come after Always, their most recent was 2005’s Breathe, but the guys are still recording and releasing. Their latest album was a winter-themed extravaganza, Snow Globe, last year. Always has sold over 140,000 copies in the UK.
5: Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
Canadian band Crash Test Dummies enjoyed a new entry with this breakthrough hit about three children with unconventional lives. Its catchy chorus – lots of humming, basically – made the song a hit, and it went on to peak at Number 2. Another two Top 40 hits were on the way for Crash Test Dummies, but they never quite mmmatched the mmmassive success of Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.