Official Chart Flashback 1998: Billie Piper's record-breaking debut at Number 1 with Because We Want To

Billie's arrival on the pop scene was bold, brash and annoyingly catchy.

Why you gotta play that song so loud? Because we want to!

The arrival of Billie on the pop scene 19 years ago this week was bold, brash – and annoyingly catchy.

Landing straight in at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart this time in 1998, she was and still is the youngest female artist to debut album the top of the singles chart – Because We Want To sold just over 80,000 copies in its opening week.

Having already made a name for herself as that girl in the Smash Hits TV advert, Billie’s battle cry to squeaky-clean teen rebellion arrived just in time for the huge pop explosion of the late ‘90s.

Because We Want To has sold just shy of 319,000 in its lifetime and has been streamed 710,000 times since Official Charts started counting them in 2014. For those of you who bought the CD single or cassette back in the day, you may remember it came with a cover of G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T by US R&B duo Changing Faces. Bizarre, but kind of amazing.

Billie with her Because We Want To CD single and music video on VHS...feel old yet? (Ilpo Musto/REX/Shutterstock)

A string of hits followed for Billie, including follow-up single Girlfriend, Day & Night in 2000 and Honey To The Bee – originally a hit in 1999 and a re-entry in 2007 due to a campaign by Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles to test out a change to the chart rules that would see any downloaded tracks included for the first time (before this, downloads only counted if there was also a physical release available).

MORE: View Billie Piper's complete Official Chart history

Despite shifting over 1.4 million singles, Billie switched the microphone off in 2000 for an acting career, which has been *somewhat* successful, you might say.

Elsewhere in the Official Singles Chart that week, Billie fought off fierce competition from R&B classic Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are), which climbed to 2, and B*Witched’s C’est La Vie completed the Top 3.

Chester rockers Mansun were a new entry at 7 with Legacy, and Matthew Marsden – famous for his roles in Emmerdale and Coronation Street – landed at 13 with The Heart’s Lone Desire, the first of two singles in his short-lived pop career.

There were a sprinkling of new entries further down, including Dr Dre’s Zoom at 15, With Me by Destiny’s Child at 15 (back when they were a quartet) and what was to be 2 Unlimited’s final single Wanna Get Up at 38. 

View the full Top 100 Official Singles Chart from this week in 1998

Listen to the UK Top 40 from this week in 2000 on our streaming channels! Subscribe to our weekly Flashback playlist on SpotifyDeezerApple Music or click the image below:

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Steven Pickup


Awe, Billie as pop act was perfect. Awe.