This new series (the title stolen from a Mark And Lard feature) will tidy up all the other pop songs I want to write about because I like them or I think they have interesting stories, that don’t qualify for either “The One-Hit Wonders” (because they had more than one hit) or “Down The Dumper” (because their last hit in a decade made the Top 40) from the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and there’ll be a dozen or thereabouts for each decade.
Faith Evans is an American singer who had some minor hits in the UK in 1995 and 1996. In June 1997, she was suddenly put into the spotlight for her contribution along with Puff Daddy to “I’ll Be Missing You”, a tribute to the late rapper Notorious BIG (Evans being his widow). This one spent six weeks at Number One in the UK, and 11 weeks at Number One in America. This was a surprise because Notorious BIG wasn’t really that well-known a figure in the UK, it was more a case of the lyrics about grief and loss connecting with many people.
How could Evans follow a huge hit like this? Next was “Love Like This” which was released in November 1998, and reached no. 24 in the UK, and no. 7 in America. This one sampled “Chic Cheer” by Chic from 1978. Now I wasn’t really familiar with Chic at the time, and I didn’t realise that they’d made so many disco classics. I was always pleased when this came on the radio. This was one of my favourite singles of 1998, and I was disappointed that it didn’t do better, I presumed that after leaving the chart its moment had passed.
So imagine my surprise when five years later in November 2003 an American rapper called Fatman Scoop (real name Isaac Freeman), and not forgetting Crooklyn Clan either, came along and released “Be Faithful”, which was essentially him shouting (that really is the word) over “Love Like This” (“DJ KNUCKLES!!!“), accompanied by a rather weird computer-generated video. And then imagine my further surprise when this became a chart-topper for two weeks.
So somehow, long after I had expected it, “Love Like This” was finally a big success, and in some rather unlikely circumstances. After this, the Fatman did have one more Top Ten hit in 2004, but the last time I heard anything about him was when he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother a few years ago. I can only imagine that he had plenty of great anecdotes about DJ Knuckles to share with his housemates.