Official Chart Flashback 1998: B*Witched say C'est La Vie with Number 1 debut

*So* many 90s pop icons were present in the Official Singles Chart 26 years ago this week!
bwitched flashback c'est la vie

Say you will...say you won't...

This week 26 years ago, four bright-eyed Irish gals with a penchant for denim made a career-making Number 1 debut on the Official Singles Chart.

The girls were Keavy, Edele, Lindsay and Sinead aka B*Witched, and the song was their fiddle-heavy debut single, C'est La Vie. The cheery, optimistic track has been immortalised by the almost cartoonish video where the girls dance in a green field chasing a boy, and their outfits of double denim.

But look a bit closer at the lyrics of C'est La Vie and there's more edge and innuendo than you might think; "Do you play with the girls? Play with the boys? Do you ever get lonely playing with your toys?" Ok, gay rights!

C'est La Vie burnt a bright trail up to the top of the Official Singles Chart in 1998; the much-hyped track sold 895,000 copies in its first week on sale, managing to edge out more well-known US stars Brandy and Monica, who had to settle for Number 2 with their now iconic duet, The Boy Is Mine (this is where we regret to tell you The Boy Is Mine never reached Number 1 in the UK, sorry).

C'est La Vie would by no means be the last Number 1 for B*Witched, in fact it would be the first of four Number 1s, including Rollercoaster, To You I Belong and Blame It On The Weatherman, all of which were claimed consecutively. The success of B*Witched, and their cooler, edgier peers All Saints, proved that there was fresh blood yet in the UK girl group system following the slow burn out of the Spice Girls following Geri's departure, and laid the path for a new millennium to bring in genre-bending experimentalists like Girls Aloud and Sugababes.

According to Official Charts Company data, as of 2024, C'est La Vie's all-time UK chart units now stand at 1.5 million, which includes ove 852,000 physical copies sold. For a song quick approaching 30, it has some very healthy streaming numbers too; combined stats clock out at 65 million streams in total.

Elsewhere on the Official Singles Chart this week, those attending London's Mighty Hoopla festival this weekend will be glad to see the presence of B*Witched at Number 1, as well as All Saints' second Number 1 single Under The Bridge/Lady Marmalade at Number 5 and Steps' crying-at-the-disco classic Last Thing On My Mind (the first Top 10 single for Lisa, Faye, Claire, Lee and H) at Number 9.

Not only will B*Witched be performing at the UK's biggest pop festival, but Shaznay Lewis from All Saints and Steps's Claire Richards will be performing their own solo sets across the weekend.

Better get adding to the playlist now...

See the full Official Singles Chart from this week in 1998

Image: Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

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Oliver Timmons


I assume C'est La Vie did not sell 895,000 copies in its first week, right?
But it's a timeless classic up to this day! The charts back then were sooo good! <3


Velvet Android


You've slightly undersold their chart achievements here if anything, George.

They were only the second act ever to have four straight Number Ones to open their career, after the Spice Girls two years earlier. (Indeed they must've been only the fifth to begin with three straight chart-toppers, after Gerry and the Pacemakers, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, and the Spices.)

And, considering the Spice Girls' Wannabe initially entered at no.3 before climbing, B*Witched became the first act in chart history to debut at the top with each of their first three singles – and then, when Blame It On The Weatherman followed the other three directly to the summit, their first four singles.

OK, they went swiftly off the boil with their second album, and disappeared without trace soon afterwards. But they burned very brightly for a little while there. And the C'est La Vie video is still cute as anything.

Incidentally, I still maintain Blame It On The Weatherman is their best song  :)