1988 in British music

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This is a summary of 1988 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.


The growing popularity of house music was evident in the charts by the start of 1988, with many songs of this genre becoming big hits, such as "House Arrest" by Krush, "Beat Dis" by Bomb the Bass and "Rok Da House" by The Beatmasters.[1] Acid house band S'Express had two Top 10 hits this year including a number 1 in April with the song "Theme from S'Express", but the biggest dance hit of the year came from London singer Yazz, who had first had a big hit with producers Coldcut on the song "Doctorin' The House".[2] Still with Coldcut, but now with her name billed as the lead artist, her song "The Only Way Is Up" topped the chart for five weeks, becoming the second biggest-selling single of the year, and paved the way for a successful solo career, including the follow-up "Stand Up For Your Love Rights" which hit No.2 in October.

One of the biggest successes of the year was 19-year-old Kylie Minogue, well known to the public from her role in the Australian soap opera Neighbours which had been airing on the BBC since 1986.[3] The popularity of "girl next door" Minogue and her on-screen character Charlene Mitchell ensured chart success. Signed to the production trio Stock Aitken Waterman, her debut international song "I Should Be So Lucky" was number 1 for five weeks, and all of her other solo releases this year – "Got to Be Certain", "The Loco-Motion" and "Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi" – reached number 2. Her album Kylie was also number 1 for six weeks, the biggest-selling album of the year and the fifth best-selling album of the entire decade. All Kylie's hits were produced by Stock Aitken Waterman who continued to score hit after hit this year. The production powerhouse also scored Top 10's with Mel and Kim ("That's The Way It Is", No.10, February) Sinitta ("Cross My Broken Heart", No.6, March), Rick Astley ("Together Forever", No.2, March and "Take Me to Your Heart", No.8, November), Bananarama ("I Want You Back", No.5, April), Hazell Dean ("Who's Leaving Who", No.4, April), Brother Beyond ("The Harder I Try", No.2, August and "He Ain't No Competition", No.6, November). In September, another star from Neighbours – Minogue's co-star Jason Donovan – debuted with his Stock Aitken Waterman-produced hit "Nothing Can Divide Us" which reached number 5 and he would go on to outsell even Kylie the following year.

Popular teenage acts other than Minogue to emerge this year included the American singer Tiffany who scored three Top 10 hits including the No.1 "I Think We're Alone Now" while fellow American teenage star Debbie Gibson also crossed over to the British Charts and had four Top 20 hits. Gibson's biggest hit was the 1980s-compilation staple "Shake Your Love" which reached number 7 in January. Meanwhile, from Italy came Sabrina whose infamous appearances in skimpy swimsuits became tabloid-fodder throughout the year as her pan-European smash hit "Boys (Summertime Love)" hit number 3 in June and the Stock Aitken Waterman-produced follow-up "All of Me" peaked at number 25 three months later.[4]

New British boyband Bros took five singles into the Top 5 this year including "When Will I Be Famous?" and their only number 1 "I Owe You Nothing", a re-issue of their first single originally released in 1987. Wet Wet Wet scored the first number 1 of their long run of hits with a cover of "With A Little Help From My Friends" which held the top position for 3 weeks.

Also making her chart debut this year was nineteen-year-old Tanita Tikaram, who launched her career with the critically acclaimed album Ancient Heart, containing the Top 10 hit "Good Tradition" and the intriguing "Twist In My Sobriety" which peaked at number 22 in October.[5] Eddi Reader also rose to prominence during 1988 as the lead-singer of Fairground Attraction. The band made number 1 with the song "Perfect" and followed it up with another Top 10 hit, "Find My Love" and number 2 album The First of a Million Kisses.

Making chart comebacks after long-absences were Cher, re-launching her music career with "I Found Someone", a number 5 hit written and produced by Michael Bolton. Belinda Carlisle revived her career this year with three Top 10's including the number 1 "Heaven is a Place on Earth" while Kim Wilde scored a career-best three successive Top 10's with "You Came" (No.3), "Never Trust a Stranger (No.7) and "Four Letter Word" (No.6). Pop duo Dollar scored their ninth and final Top 20 hit with comeback hit "Oh L'amour", a SAW-produced cover of an early Erasure single, which made number 7 in April, and also making a chart comeback was the song "A Groovy Kind Of Love", originally a hit in 1965 for The Mindbenders, it hit number 1 in September for Phil Collins, taken from the film Buster in which Collins also starred.

Some of the more unusual hits of the year included a remix of the theme tune from the popular television series Doctor Who, by "The Timelords", who would go on to have huge success in the early 1990s under the name The KLF. Their song "Doctorin' The TARDIS" (a play on Coldcut's "Doctorin' The House") was number 1 for a week in June. A television advertisement for Miller Lite beer used the 1969 song "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" by The Hollies, which became a number 1 in September 19 years after its original release, and an advert for Coca-Cola gave Robin Beck a number 1 with the ballad "First Time". Film and Television actress Patsy Kensit, a teenager in 1988, also reached the Top 10 this year in the band Eighth Wonder. Their Pet Shop Boys-produced UK debut "I'm Not Scared" slowly climbed up the Top 40 and peaked at number 7 in May. The band were more popular in Italy and Japan where they scored several number 1 hits.

The race for Christmas number one was a battle between Cliff Richard, with a career stretching back to the 1950s and his seasonal song "Mistletoe and Wine", and new star Kylie Minogue with "Especially for You", a duet with her Neighbours co-star Jason Donovan released to coincide with their characters' on-screen wedding. Cliff won the battle with the biggest-selling song of the year, but "Especially for You" climbed to number 1 in the new year of 1989, eventually selling just short of 1 million copies.

New classical works by British composers included oboe and trumpet concertos from Peter Maxwell Davies and Michael Finnissy's Red Earth for orchestra. Devotional works included Nicholas Jackson's Variations on ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty’ and John Tavener's The Akathist of Thanksgiving. Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin made his Proms debut during the 1988 season, whilst Sir Andrew Davis gave up his role as conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to become director of Glyndebourne.[6]



Number-one singles[edit]


Chart date
(week ending)
Song Artist(s) Weeks
2 January "Always on My Mind" Pet Shop Boys 2
9 January
16 January "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" Belinda Carlisle 2
23 January
30 January "I Think We're Alone Now" Tiffany 3
6 February
13 February
20 February "I Should Be So Lucky" Kylie Minogue 5
27 February
5 March
12 March
19 March
26 March "Don't Turn Around" Aswad 2
2 April
9 April "Heart" Pet Shop Boys 3
16 April
23 April
30 April "Theme from S-Express" S'Express 2
7 May
14 May "Perfect" Fairground Attraction 1
21 May "With a Little Help from My Friends" /
"She's Leaving Home"
Wet Wet Wet /
Billy Bragg
28 May
4 June
11 June
18 June "Doctorin' the Tardis" The Timelords 1
25 June "I Owe You Nothing" Bros 2
2 July
9 July "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You" Glenn Medeiros 4
16 July
23 July
30 July
6 August "The Only Way Is Up" Yazz and the Plastic Population 5
13 August
20 August
27 August
3 September
10 September "A Groovy Kind of Love" Phil Collins 2
17 September
24 September "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" The Hollies 2
1 October
8 October "Desire" U2 1
15 October "One Moment in Time" Whitney Houston 2
22 October
29 October "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)" Enya 3
5 November
12 November
19 November "First Time" Robin Beck 3
26 November
3 December
10 December "Mistletoe and Wine" Cliff Richard 4
17 December
24 December
31 December

Number-one albums[edit]

Chart date
(week ending)
Album Artist
2 January Now 10 Various Artists
9 January
16 January Popped In Souled Out Wet Wet Wet
23 January Turn Back the Clock Johnny Hates Jazz
30 January Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby Terence Trent D'Arby
6 February
13 February
20 February
27 February
5 March
12 March
19 March
26 March Viva Hate Morrissey
2 April Now 11 Various Artists
9 April
16 April
23 April Seventh Son of a Seventh Son Iron Maiden
30 April The Innocents Erasure
7 May Tango in the Night Fleetwood Mac
14 May
21 May Lovesexy Prince
28 May Tango in the Night Fleetwood Mac
4 June Flite Nite Various Artists
11 June
18 June
25 June
2 July Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman
9 July
16 July
23 July Now 12 Various Artists
30 July
6 August
13 August
20 August
27 August Kylie Kylie Minogue
3 September
10 September
17 September
24 September Hot City Nights Various Artists
1 October New Jersey Bon Jovi
8 October
15 October Flying Colours Chris de Burgh
22 October Rattle and Hum U2
29 October Money for Nothing Dire Straits
5 November
12 November
19 November Kylie Kylie Minogue
26 November
3 December Now 13 Various Artists
10 December
17 December
24 December Private Collection: 1979–1988 Cliff Richard
31 December

Year end charts[edit]

Best-selling singles of 1988[edit]


No. Title Artist Peak
1 "Mistletoe and Wine" Richard, CliffCliff Richard 1
2 "The Only Way Is Up" Yazz and the Plastic Population 1
3 "I Should Be So Lucky" Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue 1
4 "Especially for You" Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue & Jason Donovan 2[a]
5 "I Think We're Alone Now" Tiffany 1
6 "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You" Medeiros, GlennGlenn Medeiros 1
7 "A Groovy Kind of Love" Collins, PhilPhil Collins 1
8 "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" The Hollies 1
9 "With a Little Help from My Friends"/"She's Leaving Home" Wet Wet Wet/Billy Bragg with Cara Tivey 1
10 "Teardrops" Womack & Womack 3
11 "The Loco-Motion" Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue 2
12 "First Time" Beck, RobinRobin Beck 1
13 "Perfect" Fairground Attraction 1
14 "One Moment in Time" Houston, WhitneyWhitney Houston 1
15 "Push It"/"Tramp" Salt-n-Pepa 2
16 "Suddenly" Anderson, AngryAngry Anderson 3
17 "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" Carlisle, BelindaBelinda Carlisle 1
18 "Orinoco Flow" Enya 1
19 "Theme From S-Express" S-Express 1
20 "Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi" Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue 2
21 "Got to Be Certain" Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue 2
22 "The Harder I Try" Brother Beyond 2
23 "Tell It to My Heart" Dayne, TaylorTaylor Dayne 3
24 "Crackers International" (EP) Erasure 2
25 "I Owe You Nothing" Bros 1
26 "Heart" Pet Shop Boys 1
27 "Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car" Ocean, BillyBilly Ocean 3
28 "Don't Turn Around" Aswad 1
29 "Nothing Can Divide Us" Donovan, JasonJason Donovan 5
30 "Beat Dis" Bomb the Bass 2
31 "Drop the Boy" Bros 2
32 "Sign Your Name" D'Arby, Terence TrentTerence Trent D'Arby 2
33 "The Twist (Yo Twist)" The Fat Boys & Chubby Checker 2
34 "When Will I Be Famous?" Bros 2
35 "Boys (Summertime Love)" Sabrina 3
36 "House Arrest" Krush 3
37 "You Came" Wilde, KimKim Wilde 3
38 "Lovely Day" (Sunshine Mix) Withers, BillBill Withers 4
39 "I Need You" B.V.S.M.P. 3
40 "Girl You Know It's True" Milli Vanilli 3
41 "Stand Up for Your Love Rights" Yazz 2
42 "Cat Among the Pigeons"/"Silent Night" Bros 2
43 "Don't Worry, Be Happy" McFerrin, BobbyBobby McFerrin 2
44 "Hands to Heaven" Breathe 4
45 "Desire" U2 1
46 "A Little Respect" Erasure 4
47 "Big Fun" Inner City 8
48 "Love Changes (Everything)" (remix) Climie Fisher 2
49 "Together Forever" Astley, RickRick Astley 2
50 "Missing You" de Burgh, ChrisChris de Burgh 3

Best-selling albums of 1988[edit]


Position Title Artist Peak
1 Kylie Kylie Minogue 1
2 Private Collection: 1979–1988 Cliff Richard 1
3 Bad Michael Jackson 2[b]
4 Push Bros 2
5 Now 13 Various Artists 1
6 Popped In Souled Out Wet Wet Wet 1
7 Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman 1
8 Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby Terence Trent D'Arby 1
9 Tango in the Night Fleetwood Mac 1
10 Rattle and Hum U2 1
11 Money for Nothing Dire Straits 1
12 Now 12 Various Artists 1
13 Now 11 1
14 Dirty Dancing 4
15 Kick INXS 9
16 The Premiere Collection: The Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber Various Artists 1
17 Whitney Whitney Houston 6[c]
18 The Christians The Christians 2
19 The Greatest Hits Collection Bananarama 3
20 Heaven on Earth Belinda Carlisle 4
21 The Innocents Erasure 1
22 Hearsay Alexander O'Neal 4
23 Turn Back the Clock Johnny Hates Jazz 1
24 Introspective Pet Shop Boys 2
25 Bridge of Spies T'Pau 2[d]
26 The Best of OMD Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark 2
27 Greatest Hits Fleetwood Mac 3
28 Idol Songs: 11 of the Best Billy Idol 2
29 New Light Through Old Windows Chris Rea 12
30 The First of a Million Kisses Fairground Attraction 2
31 The Greatest Love Various Artists 11
32 The Ultimate Collection Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music 6
33 Buster Original Soundtrack Various Artists 6
34 Nite Flite 1
35 Actually Pet Shop Boys 5[e]
36 Flying Colours Chris de Burgh 1
37 Faith George Michael 6[f]
38 Greatest Hits The Human League 3
39 Whenever You Need Somebody Rick Astley 2[g]
40 Soft Metal Various Artists 7
41 Hits 9 5
42 To Whom It May Concern The Pasadenas 3
43 Watermark Enya 5
44 Hits 8 Various Artists 2
45 More Dirty Dancing 3
46 Give Me the Reason Luther Vandross 3
47 Smash Hits Party '88 Various Artists 12
48 Wanted Yazz 3
49 The Legendary Roy Orbison Roy Orbison 1
50 Hot City Nights Various Artists 1


  1. ^ Reached number 1 in 1989
  2. ^ Reached number 1 in 1987
  3. ^ Reached number 1 in 1987
  4. ^ Reached number 1 in 1987
  5. ^ Reached number 2 in 1987
  6. ^ Reached number 1 in 1987
  7. ^ Reached number 1 in 1987

Classical music[edit]


Film and Incidental music[edit]

Musical films[edit]

Musical theatre[edit]



Music awards[edit]

BRIT Awards[edit]

The 1988 BRIT Awards winners were:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cutting Shapes – How House Music Really Hit The UK", Greg Wilson, 18 July 2013. Accessed 13 November 2013
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 477. ISBN 1-904994-10-5
  3. ^ Idato, Michael (14 July 2005). "An institution turns 20". The Age. The Age Company. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Allmusic.com Sabrina biography. Accessed 13 November 2013
  5. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 993–994. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  6. ^ Alan Blyth, "Davis, Sir Andrew (Frank)", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillian Publishers, 2001).
  7. ^ "Gibb's Death Tied to Natural Causes". LA Times. UPI. 12 March 1988. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Eurovision Song Contest 1988 BBC Archives
  9. ^ "1988 The Number One Singles". Official Charts Company. 
  10. ^ Scaping, Peter, ed. (1991). "Top 100 Singles: 1988". BPI YearBook 1989/90. London, England: British Phonographic Industry. pp. 64–65. ISBN 978-0-9061-5410-6. 
  11. ^ Scaping, Peter, ed. (1991). "Top 100 Albums: 1988". BPI YearBook 1989/90. London, England: British Phonographic Industry. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-0-9061-5410-6. 
  12. ^ Volkov, Solomon: Shostakovich and Stalin: The Extraordinary Relationship Between the Great Composer and the Brutal Dictator. Knopf 2004. ISBN 0-375-41082-1
  13. ^ "The guide to musical theatre". 
  14. ^ Walker, Kathrine Sorley, "Ashton, Sir Frederick William Mallandaine (1904–1988)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 31 March 2013 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  15. ^ McLean, Hugh (June 1989). "H. Hugh Bancroft". The American Organist. 23 (6): 49–51. 

External links[edit]