Before we embark upon the Top 10 - and, believe me, it’s worth waiting for (or, alternatively, worth putting off) - let’s take a moment to acknowledge some of the ones that got away. I’d hope my survey was as comprehensive as it got - not least because I’d dread to think there was some poor, lost soul out there actually attempting to do more to track these things down - but, even with the heightened availability YouTube and iTunes allows us, there were tracks that slipped through the net; if anyone out there can rescue any or all of the following - titles that caught my eye, yet sadly evaded my ear - from the obscurity in which they’re presently languishing, this writer, at least, would be much obliged.
10. (joint) Young Steve and the Afternoon Boys, “I’m Alright” (no.40, 1982), Arnee and the Terminators, “I’ll Be Back” (no.5, 1991)
Two bookends from DJ Steve Wright’s Radio One career, the latter a half-remembered Judgment Day cash-in featuring long-time “Afternoon Posse” member Phil Cornwell impersonating The Governator. With - no doubt - hilarious consequences.
9. Amoure, “Is That Your Final Answer? (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - The Single)” (no.33, 2000)
Because - until I hear it - I refuse to believe that anyone would actually come up with this as a workable concept for a pop single. Chart success? We don’t want to give you that, etc.
8. Mike, “Twangling Three Fingers in a Box” (no.40, 1994)
It probably wasn’t me. But I’d like to be sure. And I really want to know what “twangling” is.
7. Paul Shane and the Yellowcoats, “Hi Di Hi (Holiday Rock)” (no.36, 1981)
The theme to the “hit BBC series” (silent s to begin with), obviously - but how on earth did they stretch what was effectively a thirty-second stinger into a three-minute pop tune? Were there mirth-worthy lyrics about the off-season antics of the Su Pollard and Ruth Madoc characters? And was Jeffrey Holland involved in any capacity?
6. Hugo and Luigi, “La Plume de Ma Tante” (no.29, 1959)
Because if it’s what I think it is, then Eddie Izzard’s entire career has been based on a lie.
5. Wilfred Brambell and Harry H. Corbett, “At the Palace (Parts 1 & 2)” (no.25, 1963)
Steptoe and Son on vinyl - but as their best-loved characters, or attempting an ill-conceived Hylda Baker/Arthur Mullard-style duet?
4. Danny Peppermint and the Jumping Jacks, “Peppermint Twist” (no.26, 1962)
How could you resist a name and a title like that?
3. Abigail Mead and Nigel Goulding, “Full Metal Jacket (I Wanna Be Your Drill Instructor)” (no.2, 1987)
I partly remember this, although next to no trace of it remains: part of a curious mid-80s wave of militaristic pop - cf. Stan Ridgeway’s “Camouflage”, Status Quo’s “In the Army Now” - and the very fact this emerged on Warner Brothers Records suggests that - yes! - it may, after “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, be the only other novelty hit to have been sanctioned by Stanley Kubrick, presumably sampling R. Lee Ermey’s barked instructions from the motion picture Full Metal Jacket. (Also notable as a rare chart success for a man named Nigel. But who were the mysterious Ms. Mead and the shady Mr. Goulding?)
2. Electrafixion, “Sister Pain” (no.27, 1996)
I’d always thought the superbly moody “Lowdown” was this Bunnymen spin-off’s sole chart hit, but the record books state otherwise.
1. Black Gorilla, “Gimme Dat Banana” (no.29, 1977)
Seriously: how could you resist?
Normal service resumes tomorrow.