Uptown Top Ranking

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"Uptown Top Ranking"
Uptown Top Ranking.jpg
Single by Althea & Donna
B-side "Calico Suit"
Released 1977
Genre Reggae
Length 3:53
Label Lightning
Songwriter(s) Althea & Donna, Errol Thompson
Producer(s) Joe Gibbs

"Uptown Top Ranking" is a song and single by the Jamaican teenage singers Althea Forrest and Donna Reid, recorded when they were 17 and 18 years old respectively.[1]

Released in 1977, the song comprises the girls adlibbing to deejay track, "Three Piece Suit" by Trinity. The song was initially recorded as a joke. The record was played by accident by BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, resulting in him being inundated with requests for it to be played.[2] As a result, it was a surprise hit reaching number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1978,[1][3] after early championing by Peel and a performance on Top Of The Pops, but had only one week at the chart summit, despite spending 11 weeks in the charts.[4] It was produced by Joe Gibbs,[1] using a re-recording of the riddim of the 1967 Alton Ellis song "I'm Still In Love", which had already been re-popularised in the 1970s by Marcia Aitken's cover "I'm Still In Love With You Boy", and "Three Piece Suit" by Trinity, to which "Uptown" was an 'answer record'.[5] The single's UK release was on the Lightning record label.[1]

The lyrics were written by the duo and Errol Thompson.[1][6] Althea & Donna became the youngest female duo to reach the number 1 place of the UK chart.[6]


"Uptown Top Ranking" has been covered by Ali & Frazier, who released it as a single in 1993,[7] and Black Box Recorder, who included a version on their 1998 album England Made Me.[8] Zoë released a version featuring Prezident Brown in 2003 on her Zoeciety EP, and Scout Niblett released her version as a single in 2004.[9] The song was sampled for Abs Breen's 2002 UK Top 10 hit single, "What You Got".[10] and also for Sean Paul's UK Top 10 2003 single featuring Sasha "I'm Still in Love with You".[11] The song was also covered (with changed lyrics) and recorded as "Strictly Rude" for Big D and the Kids Table's album "Strictly Rude".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 188. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ "One-Hit Wonders at the BBC". … at the BBC. 17 April 2015. BBC. BBC Four. 
  3. ^ "Althia & Donna* / Mighty Two* – Up Town Top Ranking / Calico Suit". www.discogs.com. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 349. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ Colin Larkin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9, p.10-11
  6. ^ a b Roberts, David (2001). British Hit Singles (14th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 47. ISBN 0-85156-156-X. 
  7. ^ "Ali & Frazier– Uptown Top Ranking". www.discogs.com. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "England Made Me". www.allmusic.com. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Zoe-Zociety". www.discogs.com. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Abs — What You Got". www.discogs.com. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Sean Paul Feat. Sasha – I'm Still In Love With You". www.discogs.com. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
Preceded by
"Mull Of Kintyre" by Wings
UK number one single
4 February 1978
Succeeded by
"Figaro" by Brotherhood Of Man