Fairground (song)

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"Fairground"
Fairground.jpg
Single by Simply Red
from the album Life
B-side
Released18 September 1995
Genre
Length
  • 4:23 (single/video version)
  • 5:34 (album version)
LabelEastWest
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Simply Red singles chronology
"Your Mirror"
(1992)
"Fairground"
(1995)
"Remembering the First Time"
(1995)
Music video
"Fairground" on YouTube

"Fairground" is a 1995 single released by British soul and pop band Simply Red from the album Life. The song is co-written by frontman Mick Hucknall and makes extensive use of a sample of Dutch duo The Goodmen's 1993 hit "Give It Up".[1] "Fairground" became Simply Red's first and only number-one single on the UK Singles Chart, staying at the top for four weeks in September and October 1995. It became a chart hit in mainland Europe and Australia but failed to generate success in the United States or Canada.

Critical reception[edit]

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet noted the "hot rhythms and odd harmonies" of the song in their review of Life. They added that the album "would have needed even more such songs".[2] AllMusic editor William Ruhlmann said that on "Fairground", Hucknall "opts for a Latin-tinged sound that ends up evoking Herb Alpert more than Milton Nascimento". Another editor, Jon O'Brien called the song "a mesmerizing fusion of tribal rhythms and ambient chillout pop".[3] Larry Flick from Billboard described it as an "expectedly romantic soul tune" and wrote that "fueled by his now instantly familiar voice, the track combines old-school warmth with street-smart percussion that is largely derived from samples of "Give It Up" by the Goodmen. At the core are wonderfully soothing lyrics and a melody that permanently sticks to the brain upon impact."[4]

Tom Ewing from Freaky Trigger commented that it "surprised people at the time, and on the verses at least it's their strangest-sounding single. "Driving down an endless road..." it begins, and that's not at all a bad description of the lonesome vibe here – the odd combination of flowing, tumbling Latin percussion and Hucknall's ruminative vocal, working together to create something genuinely arresting, even haunting."[5] Music & Media noted that the song is "totally different from Hucknall's previous singles but still very much him thanks to the one-in-a-million voice and the trademark composition." They added that "the fairground attraction" of the lead-off single from Life is its "percussive arrangement and clubiness."[6]

People Magazine said that the "energetic" song "combines soulful abandon with tribal ecstasy."[7] Pop Rescue noted its "high-tempo percussive beat" and added that Simply Red had sampled a sample, and given credit to the original source of that sample – "Fandarra" by Sergio Mendez.[8] David Gaskey from The Rice Thresher described "Fairground" as "an innovative, futuristic jazz/pop song inspired by a popular fairground outside of Milan."[9] Mark Sutherland from Smash Hits stated in his review that Hucknall "still has a lovely singing voice". However, he felt the song "sort of tinkles along merrily without really going anywhere."[10]

Chart performance[edit]

It was the first and only single by the group to reach No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart.[11] It spent four weeks at the top, and fourteen weeks in the top 40.[11] The track also reached No. 1 in Ireland[12] and Italy[13] and peaked within the top 10 in more than 10 countries, including Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.[14][15] A remix by Soulshock and Karlin was included on the US single release and received moderate success on R&B radio but failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 14 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100.[16]

In 2012, "Fairground" was ranked number 47 in NME's list of the "50 best-selling tracks of the 90s", adding: "Shamelessly lifting the clattering samba percussion from The Goodmen's 'Give It Up' (but giving due credit), Mick Hucknall greeted his post-'Stars' future with a mid-tempo ballad that sounded like an on-the-money dance track. Everyone got on board the rollercoaster and Hucknall had a new diamond for his gnasher."[17]

As of October 2018, the single has sold 718,463 copies according to the Official Charts Company.[18]

Music video[edit]

Mick Hucknall in front of the roller coaster in the music video for "Fairground".

A music video was made to accompany the song. It was directed by Michael Geoghegan.[19] The video (which uses the shorter single version) shows Mick Hucknall driving in his Jaguar XK140 to and singing at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, Lancashire, that had been closed for the day and had been invaded by a group of his friends and opened up again. The majority of the video was shot on the Pepsi Max Big One and around the park, and some scenes are shot on the Promenade showing the Illuminations in 1994. Filming credits go to the single cameraman, Steven Young. It was uploaded to YouTube in 2009. By August 2020, the video had more than 15,5 million views.[20]

Track listing[edit]

CD maxi

  1. "Fairground" (single edit) — 4:23
  2. "Fairground" (extended single mix) — 5:32
  3. "Stars" (live) — 4:12
  4. "The Right Thing" (live) — 4:31

12-inch maxi

  1. "Fairground" (extended single mix) — 5:32
  2. "Fairground" (too precious remix) — 7:50
  3. "Fairground" (rollo and sister bliss remix) — 9:42

CD maxi – remixes

  1. "Fairground" (single edit)
  2. "Fairground" (extended single mix)
  3. "Fairground" (in the garden mix)
  4. "Fairground" (too precious remix)
  5. "Fairground" (rollo and sister bliss remix)

CD single

  1. "Fairground" (single edit) — 4:23
  2. "Fairground" (in the garden mix) — 5:32

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fairground". simplyred.com. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  2. ^ "SIMPLY RED Life". Aftonbladet. 6 October 1995.
  3. ^ "Simply Red - 25: The Greatest Hits". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. 30 September 1995. p. 87. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  5. ^ "SIMPLY RED – "Fairground"". Freaky Trigger. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  6. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. 16 September 1995. p. 10. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Life". People. 30 October 1995. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  8. ^ "REVIEW: "LIFE" BY SIMPLY RED (CD, 1995)". Pop Rescue. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  9. ^ Gaskey, David (19 January 1996). "Simply Red tries something new". The Rice Thresher. p. 7. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Singles". Smash Hits. 13 September 1995. p. 59. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  11. ^ a b c "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  12. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Fairground". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 12 no. 43. 28 October 1995. p. 25. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Australian-charts.com – Simply Red – Fairground". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  15. ^ a b * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  16. ^ a b "Simply Red Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  17. ^ "50 best-selling tracks of the '90s". NME (21 May 2012). Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  18. ^ Garner, George (23 October 2018). "Hitmakers: Mick Hucknall reveals the secrets of Fairground". Music Week. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  19. ^ "Simply Red Fairground VIVA VHS". YouTube. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Simply Red - Fairground (Official Video)". YouTube. 4 May 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Simply Red – Fairground" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Simply Red – Fairground" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Ultratop.be – Simply Red – Fairground" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  24. ^ Danish Singles Chart 20 Oct 1995
  25. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 12 no. 42. 21 October 1995. p. 23. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  26. ^ "Lescharts.com – Simply Red – Fairground" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Simply Red – Fairground". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (7.10.1995 – 13.10.1995)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 7 October 1995. p. 26. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 44, 1995" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  30. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Simply Red – Fairground" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  31. ^ "Charts.nz – Simply Red – Fairground". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  32. ^ "Notowanie nr719" (in Polish). LP3. 10 November 1995. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  33. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  34. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  35. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Simply Red – Fairground". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  36. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Simply Red – Fairground". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  37. ^ "Simply Red Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  38. ^ a b "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1995". ARIA. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  39. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1995" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  40. ^ "Rapports annuels 1995" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  41. ^ "1995 Year-End Sales Charts: Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 12 no. 51/52. 23 December 1995. p. 14. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  42. ^ "Tops de L'année | Top Singles 1995" (in French). SNEP. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  43. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1995" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  44. ^ "Árslistinn 1995". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 2 January 1996. p. 25. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  45. ^ "Single top 100 over 1995" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  46. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1995" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  47. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1995" (in German). Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  48. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1995". Music Week. 13 January 1996. p. 9.
  49. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Simply Red; 'Fairground')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  50. ^ "British single certifications – Simply Red – Fairground". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 July 2020.

External links[edit]