1997 in British music

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Number-one singles
Number-one albums
Best-selling singles
Best-selling albums
Summaries and charts
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1989 2000
Top 10 singles
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
1989 2000

This is a summary of 1997 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.

Summary[edit]

Oasis released their highly anticipated 3rd album, Be Here Now, on 21 August (in the UK). It sold 695,761 copies in its first three days to become the fastest selling album in UK history. Radiohead's third album, OK Computer, was released in May and topped the UK album charts for two weeks. Met with widespread critical acclaim, it was voted the greatest album of all time by Q Magazine readers barely months after its release.[1]

Compared to just five years earlier, singles sales were very high this year. From 22 June right through to the end of the year, every single #1 sold at least 100,000 copies a week. Like the previous year, 24 singles topped the chart, double as many as 1992.

The Spice Girls continued their success from 1996, once again getting three number 1s. The first was "Who Do You Think You Are" in March, which doubled as that year's official Comic Relief single. This ensured the group became the first act to have their first four singles all reach number 1. This was followed by "Spice Up Your Life" in October, and "Too Much" in December, which once again gave them the Christmas number one single. They had now become the first act to have their first six singles reach number 1, but this run would be broken in 1998, with "Stop" only reaching #2. Backstreet Boys released their second international album Backstreet's Back. The album was a massive success reaching number 2 and selling over 800,000 copies in the U.K. The three singles released from the album were massive hits with Everybody (Backstreet's Back) reaching number 3 and "As Long As You Love Me" also reaching 3 and staying in the charts for 19 weeks. Six singles released this year went on to sell over a million. The first to do so was Puff Daddy & Faith Evans' "I'll Be Missing You", a tribute to the late rapper The Notorious B.I.G.. In November and December, three consecutive number 1s all sold over a million, for only the third time in UK chart history (it had previously happened in 1984 and 1995/6). These were Aqua's "Barbie Girl", the Children in Need charity single "Perfect Day", and Teletubbies say "Eh-oh!", the theme tune to the popular children's television series Teletubbies. In addition, All Saints' "Never Ever" was released in November and also sold over a million, though it wouldn't reach number 1 until January 1998.

In November, The Prodigy released Smack My Bitch Up, which received huge international media attention, due to the fact that many people believed it to be misogynistic and / or that it promotes violence against women. Some stores refused to stock the single and / or album from which it came, and some radio stations refused to play it. A graphic video showing bad behaviour on the part of the protagonist in the music video lead to its showing on television being greatly restricted.

By far the biggest-selling single of the year, though, came from Elton John. In August this year, Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash. At her funeral, John played a rewritten version of "Candle in the Wind" known as "Candle in the Wind 1997", a song originally written about Marilyn Monroe (made #11 in 1974, with a live version reaching #5 in 1988). When released this year, it quickly overtook 1984's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" to become the biggest selling UK single ever, selling 4.86 million copies, and the biggest selling in the world, selling 37 million. It continues to hold the record to this day.

Andrew Glover's string quartet The Fickle Virgin of Seventeen Summers was one of several new classical works by British composers. Others included Geoffrey Burgon's City Adventures, a percussion concerto written for Scottish virtuoso Evelyn Glennie and premièred by her during the 1997 Proms season. One of the UK's most prolific classical composers, Wilfred Josephs, died on 17 November. In April, Nigel Kennedy, now calling himself simply Kennedy, returned to the stage at the Royal Festival Hall after a five-year absence from the concert stage resulting from neck surgery.[2] Towards the end of the year, veteran composer Sir Michael Tippett developed pneumonia while visiting Sweden, which would lead to his death early in 1998.

Charts[edit]

Number-one singles[edit]

Issue Date Song Artist(s) Sales
5 January "2 Become 1" Spice Girls 95,000
12 January "Professional Widow" Tori Amos 80,000
19 January "Your Woman" White Town 119,500
26 January "Beetlebum" Blur 120,000
2 February "Ain't Nobody" LL Cool J 80,000
9 February "Discothèque" U2 125,000
16 February "Don't Speak" No Doubt 195,000
23 February 140,000
2 March 85,000
9 March "Who Do You Think You Are" / "Mama" Spice Girls 248,000
16 March 152,000
23 March 85,000
30 March "Block Rockin' Beats" The Chemical Brothers 84,700
6 April "I Believe I Can Fly" R. Kelly 51,000
13 April 76,000
20 April 87,000
27 April "Blood on the Dance Floor" Michael Jackson 85,000
4 May "Love Won't Wait" Gary Barlow 92,000
11 May "You're Not Alone" Olive 75,000
18 May 74,000
25 May "I Wanna Be the Only One" Eternal featuring Bebe Winans 150,000
1 June "MMMBop" Hanson 260,000
8 June 120,000
15 June 86,000
22 June "I'll Be Missing You" Puff Daddy and Faith Evans
featuring 112
109,000
29 June 156,000
6 July 167,000
13 July "D'You Know What I Mean?" Oasis 377,000
20 July "I'll Be Missing You" Puff Daddy and Faith Evans
featuring 112
124,000
27 July 127,000
3 August 100,000
10 August "Men In Black" Will Smith 182,000
17 August 133,000
24 August 122,000
31 August 105,000
7 September "The Drugs Don't Work" The Verve 105,000
14 September "Candle in the Wind 1997 /
Something About the Way You Look Tonight"
Elton John 658,000
21 September 1,546,688
28 September 1,067,000
5 October 572,000
12 October 274,000
19 October "Spice Up Your Life" Spice Girls 321,000
26 October "Barbie Girl" Aqua 190,000
2 November 239,000
9 November 190,000
16 November 165,000
23 November "Perfect Day" Various Artists 385,082
30 November 274,706
7 December "Teletubbies say "Eh-oh!"" Teletubbies 317,000
14 December 230,000
21 December "Too Much" Spice Girls 252,000
28 December 218,000

Number-one albums[edit]

Issue Date Album Artist(s) Sales
5 January Spice Spice Girls 119,000
12 January 65,000
19 January
26 January Evita – The Motion Picture Music Soundtrack Madonna
2 February Glow Reef 55,000
9 February White on Blonde Texas 47,000
16 February Blur Blur 92,000
23 February Attack of the Grey Lantern Mansun 48,000
2 March Spice Spice Girls
9 March Pop U2 152,000
16 March Spice Spice Girls 60,000
23 March 65,000
30 March 85,000
6 April 43,000
13 April Dig Your Own Hole The Chemical Brothers 62,793
20 April Ultra Depeche Mode 43,000
27 April Tellin' Stories The Charlatans 68,000
4 May
11 May Spice Spice Girls 23,700
18 May Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix Michael Jackson 37,000
25 May 30,000
1 June Open Road Gary Barlow 58,000
8 June Wu-Tang Forever Wu-Tang Clan 26,000
15 June Middle of Nowhere Hanson 24,000
22 June OK Computer Radiohead 136,500
29 June 48,200
6 July The Fat of the Land The Prodigy 316,951
13 July 98,000
20 July 66,000
27 July
3 August
10 August 30,500
17 August White On Blonde Texas 30,000
24 August Be Here Now Oasis 763,735
31 August 235,000
7 September 95,000
14 September 64,000
21 September Marchin' Already Ocean Colour Scene 64,000
28 September Be Here Now Oasis 48,000
5 October Urban Hymns The Verve 250,054
12 October 97,000
19 October 63,500
26 October 56,000
2 November 61,000
9 November Spiceworld Spice Girls 192,000
16 November 91,228
23 November Let's Talk About Love Céline Dion 91,000
30 November 91,000
7 December Spiceworld Spice Girls 121,000
14 December Let's Talk About Love Céline Dion
21 December 219,918
28 December Urban Hymns The Verve 225,000

Top 40 singles[edit]

Issue Date Song Title Artist Sales Highest Position
1 Candle In The Wind 1997 / Something About The Way You Look Tonight Elton John 4,770,000 1
2 Barbie Girl Aqua 1,590,000 1
3 I'll Be Missing You Puff Daddy & Faith Evans 1,360,000 1
4 Perfect Day Various Artists 1,270,000 1
5 Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh! Teletubbies 900,000 1
6 Men in Black Will Smith 880,000 1
7 Don't Speak No Doubt 830,000 1
8 Torn Natalie Imbruglia 810,000 2
9 Spice Up Your Life Spice Girls 780,000 1
10 Tubthumping Chumbawamba 780,000 2
11 MMMBop Hanson 710,000 1
12 D'You Know What I Mean? Oasis 700,000 1
13 "Never Ever" All Saints 690,000 1
14 I Believe I Can Fly R. Kelly 670,000 1
15 Mama / Who Do You Think You Are Spice Girls 660,000 1
16 I Wanna Be The Only One Eternal featuring Bebe Winans 600,000 1
17 Freed From Desire Gala 560,000 2
18 "Where Do You Go" No Mercy 540,000 2
19 Sunchyme Dario G 500,000 2
20 Free Ultra Naté 480,000 4
21 Encore Une Fois Sash! 470,000 2
22 Too Much Spice Girls 470,000 1
23 Time To Say Goodbye Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman 470,000 2
24 Bellissima DJ Quicksilver 440,000 4
25 As Long As You Love Me Backstreet Boys 430,000 3
26 Baby Can I Hold You / Shooting Star Boyzone 420,000 2
27 Ecuador Sash! featuring Adrian Rodriguez 420,000 2
28 Wind Beneath My Wings Steven Houghton 410,000 3
29 Don't Let Go (Love) En Vogue 400,000 5
30 Stay Sash! featuring La Trec 400,000 2
31 Lovefool The Cardigans 370,000 2
32 The Drugs Don't Work The Verve 370,000 1
33 Tell Him Barbra Streisand & Celine Dion 360,000 3
34 Together Again Janet Jackson 360,000 4
35 2 Become 1 Spice Girls 350,000 1
36 You Might Need Somebody Shola Ama 340,000 4
37 You're Not Alone Olive 340,000 1
38 Everybody (Backstreet's Back) Backstreet Boys 340,000 3
39 Angels Robbie Williams 340,000 4
40 C U When U Get There Coolio featuring 40 Thevz 340,000 3


Top 10 Albums[edit]

Issue Date Album Title Artist Sales Highest Position
1 Be Here Now Oasis 1,740,000 1
2 Urban Hymns The Verve 1,690,000 1
3 Spice Spice Girls 1,320,000 1
4 White on Blonde Texas 1,280,000 1
5 Spiceworld Spice Girls 1,265,000 1
6 The Fat of the Land The Prodigy 1,100,000 1
7 Let's Talk About Love Celine Dion 1,090,000 1
8 OK Computer Radiohead 980,000 1
9 Greatest Hits Eternal 955,000 2
10 Ocean Drive Lighthouse Family 940,000 3

Classical music[edit]

Opera[edit]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

Music awards[edit]

BRIT Awards[edit]

The 1997 BRIT Awards winners were:

Mercury Music Prize[edit]

The 1997 Mercury Music Prize was awarded to Roni Size/ReprazentNew Forms.

References[edit]

External links[edit]