Say I'm Your Number 2
'Always The Bridesmaid... Never The Bride', 'For Every Winner There Has To Be A Runner-Up' or 'So Near, Yet So Far'. Whichever cliché you pick, they all allude to a similar thing... second place!
Let me ask you a question! Who came second in the Rugby World Cup Final 2003, FA Cup Final 1974, X-Factor Final 2012, I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here 2014 or the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest? Hard enough to name the winner, never mind the runner up, so does the same apply to the UK music charts? If you don't reach number 1 does that mean no-one will remember your song? Well of course not, there are plenty of hits that never made it to the top of the charts that will be remembered for many years to come. In this article I'm going to delve into the archives and dig out some fascinating facts about UK number 2s.
Every artist dreams of reaching the pinnacle of the UK charts, but for many it remains a dream. They may sell millions of records and perform to sell-out crowds worldwide but there are many acts who have never had a UK number one and have to accept that their highest chart hit will be a number 2!
FACT: Guns 'N Roses have sold over 90 million records worldwide, but their highest UK chart position was number 2 in 1992 with 'Knocking On Heaven's Door'. Every DJs favourite 'Sweet Child O' Mine' could only manage number 6.
There are some major recording artists who have never even reached number 2 in the UK, let alone top the charts. Tina Turner, Depeche Mode, AC/DC, R.E.M., The Eagles, Bob Marley and Neil Diamond are amongst the global superstars who have achieved top ten hits in the UK but never hit the number one or two spot.
Bruce Springsteen is another multi-million selling artist who has never reached number 1 in the UK. He came close in 1994, when 'Streets Of Philidephia' hit number 2, but the top spot still eludes him as a solo artist. Other artists whose highest UK chart position is 2 include Bon Jovi, Pulp, Drifters, Stranglers, Stone Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Dylan, Pogues, Temptations, INXS... the list goes on.
Some artists may look back and feel a little unlucky that their closest effort at topping the charts coincided with the realise of a track that offered them 'no chance'. Tears For Fears are a great example of this. They recorded a brilliant track in 1985 called 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World'. In any other circumstance that track would have been a worthy number one but it came up against... 'We Are The World' by USA For Africa... game over!
FACT: Despite having over 30 UK chart singles The Who have never had a UK number 1! 'My Generation' and 'I'm A Boy' both peaked at number 2.
'Wonderwall' by Oasis was denied by... and hold onto your hat for this revelation... Robson & Jerome with 'I Believe' / 'Up On The Roof'. Granted it was a double A-side, but really?! Mike Flowers Pops faired no better when their version of 'Wonderwall' was held off number one by Michael Jackson's 'Earth Song'... I’m not really sure if there was a deserving winner between those two!
'God Save The Queen' by the Sex Pistols was surrounded by controversy when it was kept off number one by Rod Stewart’s 'I Don't Want To Talk About It' / 'The First Cut Is The Deepest'. Nothing to be ashamed of, as Rod's offering is a classic, but the Pistols were understandably aggrieved after allegations of chart rigging due to the year being 1977... the Queen’s Silver Jubilee!
'The Jean Genie' by David Bowie was tamed by Little Jimmy Osmond’s 'Long Haired Lover From Liverpool... unbelievable! While Elton John thought he'd recorded his first solo UK number one in 1972 when he penned 'Rocket Man' but had to settle for number 2 after being denied by T-Rex’s 'Metal Guru'. No disgrace to be kept off number one by a band at the top of their game, however 'Swing The Mood' by Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers kept Kylie’s 'Wouldn't Change A Thing', 'Poison' by Alice Cooper and Lil Louis’ 'French Kiss' from the coveted chart position! The latter being something that a fair few famous dance DJs have reminded me of over the years!
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 78, Pages 36 - 38.