The Only Way Is Up

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This article is about the Yazz song. For the Drugs EP, see The Only Way Is Up (EP). For the Tiësto and Martin Garrix song, see The Only Way Is Up (Martin Garrix and Tiësto song).
"The Only Way Is Up"
Only way Is Up Otis Clay.jpg
Single by Otis Clay
from the album The Only Way Is Up
B-side "Special Kind of Love"
Released 1980
Format 7" single
Genre Funk
Length 3:46
Label Echo
Writer(s) George Jackson, Johnny Henderson
Producer(s) Otis Clay, Troy Thompson
"The Only Way Is Up"
The Only Way Is Up (Yazz single).jpg
Single by Yazz and the Plastic Population
from the album Wanted
B-side "Bad House Music"
Released July 11, 1988 (1988-07-11)[1]
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
"The Only Way Is Up"
"Stand Up for Your Love Rights"
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.[2] 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, and once explained that, should she ever be anywhere, this is the song that she would sing.

Otis Clay version[edit]

The song was first recorded by Otis Clay and released as a single on the Echo label in 1980.[2] Though not a hit at the time, the song became the title track of Clay's 1982 LP, The Only Way Is Up.[3]

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.[4]

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. The song is in B major and has quite an up-beat rhythm.[citation needed]

A 2009 remix was released in the UK on 7 September 2009.[5]

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]


  1. ^ a b "BPI Certified Awards > Search Results > Yazz". Imgur. Archived from the original on 14 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Otis Clay - The Only Way Is Up / Special Kind Of Love (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  3. ^ Otis Clay, The Only Way Is Up, Discogs. Retrieved 10 January 2016
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 285. 
  5. ^ "Radio1 Rodos :: New Music :: U.K. Forthcoming Releases". Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "The Only Way Is Up", in various singles charts (Retrieved December 25, 2008)
  7. ^ German Singles Chart (Retrieved December 25, 2008)
  8. ^ Irish Single Chart (Retrieved December 25, 2008)
  9. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 39, 1988". Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  10. ^ "The Only Way Is Up", UK Singles Chart (Retrieved December 25, 2008)
  11. ^ a b Billboard (Retrieved December 25, 2008)
  12. ^
  13. ^ "1988 Belgian Flanders Singles Chart" (in Dutch). Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "Single top 100 over 1988" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Chart Archive - 1980s Singles". Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  17. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  18. ^ " > ARIA Full Accreditations List.". Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  19. ^ "Les certifications depuis 1973, database" (in French). Infodisc. Retrieved 21 September 2010.