More TV Memories – The 100 Greatest Number One Singles.

The 100 Greatest Number One Singles (Channel 4, 2001)

I thought that I would have a look back at another of those list shows from when they were briefly everywhere. And having already looked back at TV shows and adverts, it was now time to do a definitive list about pop music. At the time of The 100 Greatest Number One Singles, the UK chart had been going for almost 50 years, and there had been about 900 chart-toppers.

That means that there was plenty to choose from. Viewers could vote via the Channel 4 website, The Guardian, and The Observer. The host was Graham Norton, and over four hours, there was the now familiar formula of interviews with the people who made the songs, along with the stories behind them, and also lots of useless trivia (there’s no such thing as useless trivia!)

Of course, this would not be an exact science, and this would probably start more arguments about what songs are valuable than finish them. And looking back at the Top Ten now, it is really good to see that “Groovejet” by Spiller is there, as that really is one of my all-time favourite chart-toppers, but would this place so highly now? And what about other songs by the likes of Oasis and The Verve?

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It turned out that the winner was “Imagine” by John Lennon, although this doesn’t seem to have been as popular in more recent years, with lots of people thinking that they are being outspoken by saying “this song isn’t actually very good you know!”. I doubt that this would win now. In second place was “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, which almost always manages to feature very high up on these lists.

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And unlike “Imagine”, this seems to have maintained (if not actually increased) its stature in the years since by comparison. Over two decades have passed since this list was compiled, and there have been many more chart-toppers since then. I wonder how many of them would feature in a new Top 100 list, I’m sure that “Alex F” by Crazy Frog would do really well and confirm it’s the classic that we’ve always known it was.


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