A History of Pop Music Albums – 1997

A History of Pop Music Albums – 1997

Featured Album:  Van Morrison – The Healing Game

This is a series of articles looking at albums from 1960 to 1999.  Just cannot go on that much longer with the drivel that is the 90’s with worse to come from 2000 onwards!

I will select a featured album for each year and the link for the whole album, Plus list the songs on it.

As before, it is not just about the songs and tunes, it is very much about memories, and good ones, I hope.

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.

1997 was the year Tony Bliar started the ruin the country.  On a positive note, Katrina and the Waves won the Eurovision song contest, which was the last time we won. Princess Diana died, liked her but every radio and TV station just would not shut up about it and every other record being played was “Every breath you take” followed by the same music from Puff Daddy with “I’ll be missing you”.  It would have been about this time I stopped listening to Radio 1 and moved to Radio 2, but they played this all day long, so I moved to radio 4.  I think when you change your favourite radio station you are moving on with life!

My featured album was my antidote for “I’ll me missing you”.

The Healing Game is the twenty-sixth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released in 1997 by Polydor.  The title song “The Healing Game” is about the tradition of Belfast Street singing. Van Morrison in Q magazine said, “People find it incredible when I tell them that people used to sing and play music in the street. I think there’s a whole oral tradition that’s disappeared.” The song, “Rough God Goes Riding” is taken from a W. B. Yeats poem “The Second Coming” with its figure from the Apocalypse “rough beast”. Leo Green’s saxophone follows Morrison’s voice like a twin brother. In “Waiting Game” he is “the brother of the snake” which Brian Hinton says refers to both his lost friend Jim Morrison (known for writing about “The Lizard King”), and the Garden of Eden. “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” follows the children’s book, The Wind in the Willows closely and Paddy Moloney plays Uillean pipes with Phil Coulter on piano. On “Burning Ground” the singer relives a common scene from his childhood when jute was shipped to Belfast from India.

Track listing

All songs by Van Morrison, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. Rough God Goes Riding 6:19
2. “Fire in the Belly” 6:34
3. “This Weight” 4:37
4. “Waiting Game” 5:56
5. “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” 3:53
6. Burning Ground 5:38
7. “It Once Was My Life” 5:10
8. Sometimes We Cry 5:14
9. “If You Love Me” 5:01
10. The Healing Game 5:16


·         Van Morrison – vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica

·         Haji Ahkba – flugelhorn

·         Robin Aspland – piano

·         Phil Coulter – piano on “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and “At the End of the Day”

·         Alec Dankworth – double bass

·         Geoff Dunn – drums, percussion

·         Pee Wee Ellis – soprano and baritone saxophonesbackground vocals

·         Georgie Fame – Hammond organ, background vocals

·         Leo Green – tenor saxophone, background vocals

·         Matt Holland – trumpet, background vocals

·         Ronnie Johnson – electric guitar

·         Brian Kennedy – background vocals

·         Katie Kissoon – background vocals

·         Paddy Moloney – uilleann pipeswhistle on “Piper at the Gates of Dawn”

·         Peter O’Hanlon – dobro on “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and “At the End of the Day”

·         Ralph Salmins – percussion

·         Nicky Scott – bass guitar

More writings on this album here:  The Healing Game

So, on we go with 1997:

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

Top Tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Albums of 1997
   1 Oasis Be Here Now
   2 The Verve Urban Hymns
   3 Spice Girls Spice
   4 Texas White On Blonde
   5 Spice Girls Spiceworld
   6 The Prodigy The Fat Of The Land
   7 Celine Dion Let’s Talk About Love
   8 Radiohead OK Computer
   9 Eternal Greatest Hits
   10 Lighthouse Family Ocean Drive

Oasis riding high again, great album, particularly like “Stand by me”.  Liked “Bittersweet Symphony” from the Verve the rest not so much so.  Always enjoyed Texas and the delightful Sharleen.  The hateful Prodigy is there this year, utter noisy drivel, still, at least one of you likes this sort of thing.  Celine doing well again this year. Just never got into Radiohead, I feel I should have though. Last weeks featured album still doing well.  Spice girls, least said, soonest mended.

Most notable albums for my liking for 1997 though are below:

Queen – Queen Rocks – More classic Queen songs.

Blur – Blur – Some good tunes on this

James – Whiplash – A much underrated band this.

Van Morrison – The Healing Game – always a good listen

Travis – Good feeling  Another much underrated band, and very good they are too

Erasure – Cowboy – I know some of you enjoy this Friday night stuff.


As you know I like to review your “tunes” that you post.

*Note. Anyone scoring a Morrissey (lowest score possible) will be reported and blocked.

Hat tips to these sites:

http://www.everyhit.com/chart1.html   these give the top 10 songs for each year.

https://www.youtube.com/  you know them.

Next Time: 1998.  Will it get better?  Forecast: (You know what, it does a bit).

Featured Image: <a href=”https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moondance.jpg”>sahlgoode</a>, <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0″>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>, via Wikimedia CommonsCC BY 2.0

© Phil the ex test manager 2021