The History of Pop Music – 1997

A History of Pop Music – 1997

This is a series of articles looking at pop music from 1955 when in my opinion proper pop music began up to 1999 when they stopped making it. One article for each year.

I am only going to select one featured song for each article, which makes it hard. I am going to try and select a different artist for each year.

For many people, and I include myself, you tend to still like the tunes you heard during childhood, which your parents often played. So rather than just pick the top 10 hits of each year, I shall let you know what they were, but also the tunes of that year not necessarily in the top 10 or so, what were in my view classics.  I also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

So, on we go with memories from 1997: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about:

A landslide general election victory for the Labour Party under Tony B-liar; the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and the transfer of Hong Kong, the largest remaining British colony, to China.

What was I doing: Still driving to my office in Calais.  I remember well the dire telly and radio with the death of Dianna.  I spent a lot of time driving to and from work with the radio on, every tune was Puff Daddy (Missing You) or Elton John (candle in the wind) and if not one of them, then a slow sad ballad occasionally cheered up with Never Ever from the All Saints. I also remember well Tony the liar winning bigly and thinking to myself that this is going to bankrupt the country and bring in stupid law after law after stupid law.  I think I was right. OH and her sister decided on a part time job at weekends in the egg factory in Cranbrook.  I had to drive them, that place stank to high heaven and I can still smell it if I think about it.

Overall an exceptionally dire year, though some of the music was not bad.


Prime Minister – John Major (Conservative) (until 2 May), then Tony Blair (Labour) (starting 2 May)

6 January – Allegations of a Tory MP’s extramarital affair appear in the News of the World newspaper a week after Conservative Prime Minister John Major put “the family” at the heart of his campaign. Jerry Hayes – married with two children – denied the allegations.

15 January – The strengthening economy is reflected in a national unemployment total of 1,884,700 for last December – the lowest level since January 1991. The Conservative government who are mired in allegations of sleaze are still behind Labour in the opinion polls as the general election looms.

20 January – Death of Labour Party MP Martin Redmond ends the government’s minority. On the same day, the party vows not to raise income tax if, as seems likely, it wins the forthcoming general election.  (The mong GB managed to find god knows how many other stealth taxes though)

30 January – An underground anti-road protest ended as the last protester known as “Swampy” (Daniel Hooper) emerged from the network of tunnels beneath the A30 extension site in Devon. I think he is still going, living in a commune or something, probably still a twat though.

4 February – Moors Murderer Myra Hindley is informed by Home Secretary Michael Howard that she will never be released from prison. Hindley, who has now been in prison for more than 30 years, was originally issued with a whole life tariff by the then Home Secretary David Waddington in 1990, but not informed of the ruling until just over two years ago.

14 February – The Daily Mail newspaper accused five young men of the murder of Stephen Lawrence on its front page the day after a coroner’s inquest found that the teenager had been unlawfully killed in an unprovoked racist attack by five white youths in April 1993.  And so, it began…

27 February – The government loses its Commons majority again after the Labour victory at the Wirral South by-election.

7 March – John Major announces that the general election will be held on 1 May. Despite the opinion polls having shown a double digit Labour lead almost continuously since late 1992, Major is hoping for a unique fifth successive term of Conservative government by pinning his hopes on a strong economy and low unemployment – no incoming government since before the First World War has inherited economic statistics as strong as the ones that Labour will should they win the election.

18 March – The Sun newspaper, a traditional supporter of the Conservative Party, declares its support for Tony Blair and Labour. It condemns the Conservatives as “tired, divided and rudderless” – a stark contrast to its support for them in the run-up to the 1992 election where it waged a high-profile campaign against the then Labour leader Neil Kinnock and, after the Conservative victory, claimed responsibility for the result.

23 March – Unemployed continues to fall and now stands at just over 1,800,000 – its lowest level since December 1990.

30 March – Channel 5, Britain’s fifth terrestrial television channel and its first new one since the launch of Channel 4 in November 1982, is launched.  It has not improved any though.

1 May – General election:

The Labour Party under Tony Blair defeat the incumbent Conservatives under Prime Minister John Major to win the election in a landslide result, winning 418 seats.

Several high-profile Conservative MPs, including seven Cabinet ministers lose their seats, as do all Conservative MPs in Scotland and Wales. Michael Portillo, who was tipped by many to be the next leader of the Conservatives, is among those who lose their seats.

Mohammad Sarwar, elected for Labour in Glasgow Govan, becomes the first ever Muslim MP.  The quantity goes up each election, currently stands at 18, majority are women, less easy to shout down and much easier for them to play the religion/race card.

2 May – Being the leader of the party holding a majority after the general election, Tony Blair MP is appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by the Queen.

3 May – Katrina and the Waves win the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Love Shine a Light, the first time the UK has won the competition since 1981. Quite possibly my highlight of the year.

19 May – The new Labour government announces that it will ban tobacco sponsorship of sporting events.  Yup, the real start of their nanny state.

12 June – Law Lords declare that former Home Secretary, Michael Howard, acted illegally in raising the minimum sentence of the two juveniles who committed the murder of James Bulger, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, to 15 years. They also strip the government of setting minimum terms for prisoners aged under 18 who had received life or indefinite prison sentences.

1 July – The UK transfers sovereignty of Hong Kong, the largest remaining British colony, to the People’s Republic of China as the 99 years lease on the territory formally ends. This event is widely considered by historians and commentators to mark the end of the British Empire, the largest imperial endeavour in the history of mankind.

2 July – Chancellor Gordon Brown launches the first Labour budget for nearly 20 years, which includes a further £3 billion for education and healthcare, as well as a £3.5 billion scheme to get single mothers, under 25’s and long term unemployed people back into work.

21 August – The new Oasis album, Be Here Now, is released – selling a record of more than 350,000 copies on its first day.

31 August – Reports emerge in the early hours of the morning that Diana, Princess of Wales, has been injured in a car crash in Paris which has claimed the life of Dodi Fayed, the Harrods heir. Within four hours, it is confirmed that Diana has died in hospital as a result of her injuries. The United Kingdom and much of the rest of the world is plunged into widespread mourning.

1 September – French investigators reveal that Diana’s driver, Henri Paul, was over the drink-driving limit and had been travelling at speeds in excess of 100 mph before the crash that killed her. Lawyers for Mohamed Al-Fayed, father of Dodi Al-Fayed, lay the blame on the paparazzi who were pursuing the vehicle.

5 September – The Queen makes a nationwide broadcast in tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, following widespread criticism of the Royal Family’s response to her death.

6 September – The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales takes place at Westminster Abbey, London followed by a private burial at the estate of the Earls Spencer in Althorp, Northamptonshire. The Earl Spencer, brother of Diana, attacks the Royal Family’s and the media’s treatment of Diana in his funeral eulogy.

13 September – Release of Elton John’s Candle in the Wind remade as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales. This will be the second best-selling single worldwide of all time.  (To save you Googling, White Christmas)

18 September – Welsh devolution referendum on the creation of a national Assembly takes place. Voters in Wales narrowly back the plans.

24 October – WPC Nina Mackay, 25, is stabbed to death in Stratford, London, when entering a flat to arrest a Somali asylum seeker who was due to be deported.  How times change hey.

8 December – The bill to establish the Scottish Parliament unveiled by Secretary of State for Scotland Donald Dewar.

19 December – Moors murderer Myra Hindley loses a High Court appeal against the whole life tariff which was imposed on her by Home Secretary David Waddington in 1990 and later confirmed by Waddington’s successor Michael Howard.

31 December – Singer Elton John and football legend Tom Finney are among the men receiving knighthoods in the New Year’s Honours List.

TV programmes included:

Carlton Television presents Monarchy: The Nation Decides, a live studio debate discussing the future of the monarchy in the United Kingdom. The debate quickly descends into a shouting match, while viewers are encouraged to vote on the issue in what is the UK’s largest television phone poll. However, Carlton is forced to extend the deadline for calls following complaints from people unable to get through. Of the 2.6 million callers who vote, 66% are in favour of retaining a monarch while 34% are against.  30th March Channel 5 launches.  Hale & Pace moved from ITV to BBC (I liked them a lot).  Teletubbies started.

What a load of shite on TV this year, dreadful year indeed.

The Top 10 Singles with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top Tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Hits of 1997
   1 Elton John Candle In The Wind 1997 / Something About The Way You Look Tonight
   2 Aqua Barbie Girl
   3 Puff Daddy & Faith Evans + 112 I’ll Be Missing You
   4 Various Perfect Day
   5 Teletubbies Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!
   6 Will Smith Men In Black
   7 No Doubt Don’t Speak
   8 Natalie Imbruglia Torn
   9 Chumbawamba Tubthumping
   10 Hanson Mmm Bop

I did like Puff Daddy and Missing You, only problem is that no matter what radio station you had on, that was playing, so one of those great songs you come to hate.  Notwithstanding Aqua and Teletubbies, not actually a bad top ten.  Quit a few techno sounding ones this year, most of them shite of course.

My featured song: “Something about the way you look” was a terrific song, and the link will then play “Candle in the Wind” with the revised words for Dianna.  I have long enjoyed Elton and am incredibly pleased to have him as the featured song at last.  This song is the biggest-selling single since UK and US singles charts began in the 1950s, having accumulated worldwide sales of 33 million copies.

More writings on this song here: “Something about the way you look

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track:

It was not as dire as I thought it would be.  I remembered a lot of songs, mainly through the Dianna thing and Liebour winning the election.  Most of the really good ones are already in the top 10 (linked above.  However, a couple more came to mind and are perhaps worth a play.

All Saints – Never Ever – This would have been my featured song.  This was played on the radio between the Puff Daddy and Elton songs.  However, Elton has done so much in music, he has to be he the featured artist.  I just love this song though.

Robbie Williams – Angels – My favourite Robbie tune.  Sadly, murdered by so many karaoke people.  I have put the version with lyrics in, as I know you want to.  Yes you do, don’t lie to yourself.

Katrina and The Waves – Love Shine a Light – Has to be included.  Good tune and well worthy of the big win.

Robbie Williams – Old Before I Die – Not his best in my view, but great artist.

Eternal featuring BeBe Winans – I Wanna Be the Only One

Spice Girls – Who Do You Think You Are

GALA – Freed from desire – bit techno for my liking but this is very catchy.

Hanson – Where’s The Love – Not just a one-hit wonder, this is not bad as well.

Boyzone – Picture Of You – I am going to say it, I like them, so many great tunes.

Texas – Say What You Want – Great tunes from this band and Sharleen Spiteri, awesome.  They have sold 40 million records worldwide.

Spice Girls – 2 Become 1 – One for the GP ladies and wives.  I like it, first song they did in my view where their voices were really good.

Dario G – Sunchyme – catchy, I remember the video, quite weird.

DJ Quicksilver – –Bellisima – Bit techno, added for my mate Lord Brett (in the vain hope he does not post more shite like it)

Andrea Bocelli, Sarah Brightman – Time To Say Goodbye – I just like it.  Two superb voices.

Madonna – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina – Cannot help but like this.

Oasis – D’You Know What I Mean? – Cannot complete a 90’s year without a bit of Oasis, quite a classic this.

The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work – Another late 90’s classic.

The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony and another of theirs.

Oasis – Stand By Me – Another great one from Oasis.

Bee Gees – Alone – Not exactly breaking new ground, but super song by one of the best bands there has ever been.

PF Project – Choose Life (Original Uncensored Version) – Another techno thing, do not like the music at all but brings back memories of watching Trainspotting.

Fun Song:

Aqua – Barbie Girl

Just 21 songs for 1997, same as the previous year, in my favourites list.  I think they are all great, but the rest of the so called top 100 are pretty dire once again. Overall though, the ones that were good, were very good indeed.

Hat tips to:  these give the top 100 selling charts for each year   these give the top 10 songs for each year  you know them.

Next Time 1998 – More barrel scraping I am afraid.

© Phil the test manager 2020