1997 in British music
|1990s in music in the UK|
|Summaries and charts
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
|Top 10 singles
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
This is a summary of 1997 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.
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.
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. 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.
|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|
|2 February||"Ain't Nobody"||LL Cool J||80,000|
|16 February||"Don't Speak"||No Doubt||195,000|
|9 March||"Who Do You Think You Are" / "Mama"||Spice Girls||248,000|
|30 March||"Block Rockin' Beats"||The Chemical Brothers||84,700|
|6 April||"I Believe I Can Fly"||R. Kelly||51,000|
|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|
|25 May||"I Wanna Be the Only One"||Eternal featuring Bebe Winans||150,000|
|22 June||"I'll Be Missing You"||Puff Daddy and Faith Evans
|13 July||"D'You Know What I Mean?"||Oasis||377,000|
|20 July||"I'll Be Missing You"||Puff Daddy and Faith Evans
|10 August||"Men In Black"||Will Smith||182,000|
|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"
|19 October||"Spice Up Your Life"||Spice Girls||321,000|
|26 October||"Barbie Girl"||Aqua||190,000|
|23 November||"Perfect Day"||Various Artists||385,082|
|7 December||"Teletubbies say "Eh-oh!""||Teletubbies||317,000|
|21 December||"Too Much"||Spice Girls||252,000|
|5 January||Spice||Spice Girls||119,000|
|26 January||Evita – The Motion Picture Music Soundtrack||Madonna|
|9 February||White on Blonde||Texas||47,000|
|23 February||Attack of the Grey Lantern||Mansun||48,000|
|2 March||Spice||Spice Girls|
|16 March||Spice||Spice Girls||60,000|
|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|
|11 May||Spice||Spice Girls||23,700|
|18 May||Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix||Michael Jackson||37,000|
|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|
|6 July||The Fat of the Land||The Prodigy||316,951|
|17 August||White On Blonde||Texas||30,000|
|24 August||Be Here Now||Oasis||763,735|
|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|
|9 November||Spiceworld||Spice Girls||192,000|
|23 November||Let's Talk About Love||Céline Dion||91,000|
|7 December||Spiceworld||Spice Girls||121,000|
|14 December||Let's Talk About Love||Céline Dion|
|28 December||Urban Hymns||The Verve||225,000|
Top 50 singles
Top 10 Albums
|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|
|4||White on Blonde||Texas||1,280,000||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|
|10||Ocean Drive||Lighthouse Family||940,000||3|
- Geoffrey Burgon – City Adventures
- Peter Maxwell Davies – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
- Alun Hoddinott – Spectrum 2: Lizard
- 22 January - Ivor Kirchin, bandleader, 92
- 10 February – Brian Connolly, vocalist (Sweet), 51 (liver failure)
- 18 February – Eric Fenby, music teacher, composer, and amanuensis of Frederick Delius, 90
- 7 March – Alfred Nieman, pianist and composer, 82
- 4 June – Ronnie Lane, member of The Small Faces, 51 (multiple sclerosis, pneumonia)
- 10 August – Conlon Nancarrow, composer, 84
- 8 September – Derek Taylor, press agent for The Beatles, 65
- 10 October - George Malcolm, pianist, organist, conductor and composer, 80
- 6 November – Epic Soundtracks, singer-songwriter and drummer, 38 (cause unknown)
- 17 November – Wilfred Josephs, composer, 70
- 21 November – Robert Simpson, composer, 76
The 1997 BRIT Awards winners were:
- Best British producer: John Leckie
- Best soundtrack: "Trainspotting"
- British album: Manic Street Preachers – "Everything Must Go"
- British breakthrough act: Kula Shaker
- British dance act: The Prodigy
- British female solo artist: Gabrielle
- British Group: Manic Street Preachers
- British male solo artist: George Michael
- British single: Spice Girls – "Wannabe"
- British Video: Spice Girls – "Say You'll Be There"
- International breakthrough act: Robert Miles
- International female: Sheryl Crow
- International group: The Fugees
- International male: Beck
- Outstanding contribution: Bee Gees
Mercury Music Prize
- Amazon.co.uk: O.K Computer: Music: Radiohead
- Obituary; accessed 22 September 2014.