TLC’s biggest hit is 15 years old this week, but it was beaten to the top by a little yellow puppet – remember Flat Eric? We look back at a pretty solid Top 5 from 1999.
Ever been in a bar and a club and had someone come up and pester you, even though you’ve made it clear such attention is very unwelcome? It happens all the time to us at Official Charts HQ – we’re all stunningly beautiful, you see – and when it does, our go-to song for sending these tryhards on their way is TLC’s No Scrubs. "Oh yes, son, I'm talking to you."
It’s 15 years this week since TLC’s anthem for anyone who’s sick of dating losers entered the Official Singles Chart at Number 7. It was the band’s third Top 10 hit, following 1995’s Waterfalls and 1996’s re-release of Creep and would go on to peak at Number 3, giving the band their highest chart position in the UK.
TLC took their name from the trio of Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins, Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes and Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas, three ladies who certainly didn’t take any nonsense.
The band’s first Top 40 hit was 1992’s Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg, which peaked at Number 13. They would have to wait another two and a half years for Creep to bring them back to the Top 40.
They’d have nine Top 40 hits in total, including four Top 10s, the last being 1999’s Unpretty (6). No Scrubs is the band’s biggest selling single, with a sales tally of over 618,000 copies. Waterfalls comes in second, shifting 333,000.
Left Eye died in a car accident in 2002, which brought a premature end to TLC’s chart success. Although TLC never had a Number 1, Lisa Lopes topped the Official Singles Chart in 2000 with a featured rap on former Spice Girl Melanie C’s Never Be The Same Again.
Arguably TLC’s most iconic song, No Scrubs has been covered by many popstars who know a killer track when they hear one.
Check out Bastille doing the song acoustically before we have a look at the Top 5 this week back in 1999.
1: Mr Oizo – Flat Beat
The tune that proved that puppets weren’t just for novelty records. Kind of. Although Flat Beat was actually by French DJ and producer Mr Oizo, it was really Flat Eric who was the main attraction.
The star of a Levi’s jeans commercial, the cute yellow puppet with a sideline in chair-dancing helped this fairly minimal house track storm straight to the top of the Official Singles Chart this week in 1999.
It was the tune that was absolutely everywhere, but Mr Oizo is a genuine one-hit wonder. Since his debut Number 1, he hasn’t troubled the charts at all. He did, however, sell over 700,000 copies of Flat Beat, so it’s not all bad news.
2: Cartoons – Witch Doctor
From an über-cool puppet to in-your-face wannabe animations. Cartoons hailed from Denmark and were like a more extreme version of fellow Scandinavians, the equally bonkers Aqua. Witch Doctor, based on an old novelty song from the 1950s, was their debut hit and would go no further than runner-up position. One more Top 10 song awaited them – the even more frantic Doodah got to Number 7 in June 1999. Witch Doctor certainly cast the right spell: it’s sold 510,000 copies in the UK, over 4,000 of those just last year!
3: Billie – Honey To The Bee
A fourth consecutive Top 3 for the lady now better known as Billie Piper, Honey To The Bee has had two shots at the Official Singles Chart. The first week all downloads counted toward the Official Singles Chart, Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles campaigned for his listeners to download Billie’s fourth single. Billie had long since given up the singing for chasing around the universe on Doctor Who, but the track still managed to make it to Number 17.
Billie had three Number 1s in total: Because We Want To – her bestselling single with 315,000 copies sold – and Girlfriend from 1998, and Day & Night from 2000. Honey To The Bee has sold 210,000 copies in the UK. Sweet.
4: Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time
The former chart-topper slips one more place. See Britney’s very own Flashback for all the essential Spears stats.
5: New Radicals – You Get What You Give
Another genuine one-hit wonder on our Top 5 from 1999, New Radicals’ empowering anthem never improved on its entry position, but did sell over 500,000 copies in the UK.
Although there were no Top 40 follow-ups, frontman Gregg Alexander did go on to become a songwriter for a number of top pop acts, including Texas, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and on the Number 1 hit Life Is A Rollercoaster from Ronan Keating.