The Only Way Is Up

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"The Only Way Is Up"
Single by Yazz and the Plastic Population
from the album Wanted
B-side "Bad House Music"
Remix
Released July 1988 (1988-07)
Format 7" single, 12" maxi, CD maxi, cassette single
Genre Dance-pop, funk, acid house
Length 4:27 (album version)
4:02 (7" edit)
Label Big Life
Writer(s) George Jackson, Johnny Henderson
Producer(s) Coldcut
Yazz singles chronology
Doctorin' the House
(1988)
"The Only Way Is Up"
(1988)
"Stand Up for Your Love Rights"
(1988)
Music sample

"The Only Way Is Up" is a song written by George Jackson and Johnny Henderson and originally released in 1980 as a single by soul singer Otis Clay.[1] In 1988, it became a chart-topping single for Yazz and the Plastic Population. The song is the official theme tune for award-winning ITV2 series The Only Way Is Essex. The song was a favourite of M People's, who would frequently play it on their live tours. The band's lead singer, Heather Small, has described it as her favourite song of all time, and once explained that, should she ever be anywhere, this is the song that she would sing.

Yazz version[edit]

The Yazz version was produced by Jonathan More and Matt Black (better known as dance duo Coldcut, who had worked with Yazz on their hit single "Doctorin' the House"). Released as a single in July 1988, "The Only Way Is Up" became an instant smash, spending five weeks at #1 in the UK, and ultimately became the second biggest selling single of the year. In the United States, however, it fared less well, peaking at #96 on the Billboard Hot 100, though it did reach #2 on the Billboard dance chart.[2]

The song's opening horn blast is a sample from Sharon Redd's 1982 dance classic "Beat the Street". The opening lyrics of the song tell of the degradation of being at the bottom of the social class ladder. They are soon followed by a reference to the threat of eviction. Yet, despite the dire nature of the lyrics, the song is still in a major key and has quite an up-beat rhythm.[citation needed]

A 2009 remix was released in the UK on 7 September 2009.[3]

Formats and track listings[edit]

7" single / CD single / cassette
  1. "The Only Way Is Up" — 4:02
  2. "Bad House Music" — 4:28
12" maxi
  1. "The Only Way Is Up" — 6:44
  2. "Bad House Music" — 7:07
12" maxi
  1. "The Only Way Is Up" (UK extended club mix) — 6:45
  2. "The Only Way Is Up" (the up up up mix) — 7:01
  3. "The Only Way Is Up" (acid dub) — 5:50
CD maxi
  1. "The Only Way Is Up" (7" edit) — 4:02
  2. "The Only Way Is Up" (12" version) — 6:48
  3. "The Only Way Is Up" (speng) — 6:01
  4. "Bad House Music" — 3:00
12" maxi - Remixes
  1. "The Only Way Is Up" (the Bam Bam remix) — 7:24
  2. "The Only Way Is Up" (the up up up mix) — 7:24
  3. "Bad House Music" — 4:28

Charts and sales[edit]

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You"
by Glenn Medeiros
UK number-one single
August 6, 1988 - September 3, 1988
Succeeded by
"A Groovy Kind of Love" by Phil Collins
Preceded by
"The Loco-Motion" by Kylie Minogue
Irish IRMA number-one single
August 20, 1988 - August 27, 1988
Succeeded by
"The Harder I Try" by Brother Beyond
Preceded by
"Superstitious" by Europe
Swedish number-one single
September 21, 1988
Succeeded by
"Hand in Hand" by Koreana
Preceded by
"Stop!" by Sam Brown
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
October 1, 1988 - October 8, 1988
Succeeded by
"A Groovy Kind of Love" by Phil Collins
Preceded by
"Desire" by U2
New Zealand RIANZ number-one single
November 18, 1988 - December 2, 1988
Succeeded by
"Melting Pot" by When The Cats Away

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Otis Clay - The Only Way Is Up / Special Kind Of Love (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 285. 
  3. ^ "Radio1 Rodos :: New Music :: U.K. Forthcoming Releases". Radio1.gr. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "The Only Way Is Up", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved December 25, 2008)
  5. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 39, 1988". Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  6. ^ German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved December 25, 2008)
  7. ^ Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved December 25, 2008)
  8. ^ "The Only Way Is Up", UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved December 25, 2008)
  9. ^ a b Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved December 25, 2008)
  10. ^ "1988 Belgian Flanders Singles Chart" (in Dutch). ultratop.be. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Single top 100 over 1988" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  12. ^ "Chart Archive - 1980s Singles". EveryHit.com. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Les certifications depuis 1973, database" (in French). Infodisc. Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  14. ^ "UK certifications, database". Bpi. Retrieved 3 September 2008.