Official Charts Flashback 1998: All Saints - Under The Bridge/Lady Marmalade

The group's controversial double A-side release debuted at Number 1 this week in 1998.

After All Saints' torch ballad Never Ever had finally reached Number 1 after an agonising nine-week climb, the quartet had fully established themselves as the UK's premier girl band. To secure their place at the top, they didn't take any chances with its follow-up, boldly opting for a double A-side release.

Braver still was that both releases were covers - of Red Hot Chili Peppers' rock anthem Under The Bridge and LaBelle's disco classic Lady Marmalade. On paper it read like career suicide, but the reality was very different; both were smartly re-worked with new lyrics and of-the-moment R&B pop production in-keeping with the group's coolly sophisticated aesthetic.

MORE: All Saints' complete Official UK Chart history

The response was mixed. The idea of a girl group meddling with the classics was always going to outrage certain critics, while Chili frontman Anthony Kiedis admitted he wasn't a fan of Saints' take on the song, which had stripped out the final verse and what he considered the tracks' most meaningful lyrics. "It was kind of funny, he said. "They looked so pretty and clean, it looked like they didn't know what they were singing about."

Despite that, the single went straight in at Number 1 on the Official Chart with impressive opening week sales of 107,000. Even more notable is that they charted ahead of Madonna, who was forced to settle for second place with the title track and psychedelic second single from her comeback album Ray Of Light.

MORE: Take our Official Charts' Pop Genius Quiz - The Noughties

As a CD single, Under The Bridge/Lady Marmalade sold 432,000 copies. In the digital era, where double A-sides no longer exist, Under The Bridge is just shy of 2 million UK streams, while Lady Marmalade is on 1.3 million plays. 

The single ranks as All Saints' third biggest, behind fellow chart-toppers Never Ever (1.6m chart sales) and Pure Shores (1.2m). 

Elsewhere in the Official Singles Chart Top 40 this week 23 years ago, British rockers Garbage claimed their second Top 10 single with Push It, Massive Attack's signature hit Teardrop was new at 10, and further down, there were new entries from The Bluetones, Aretha Franklin and Green Day. 

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

Listen to the Official Singles Chart from this week in 2000 on Spotify below. Also available on Apple Music Deezer 

Article image: Rex