The Chart Show 1996 Special (ITV, 1996)
This is the end of year special of The Chart Show that was shown on 28 December 1996, taking a look back at the biggest hits of the year. This was the first special after the big relaunch in May, and I found some of the graphics and sounds (“music” might not be the right word in this case) rather eerie at times. This was also sponsored by Twix in some of the most blatant product placement that I have ever seen. I wonder how they got away with their name appearing so big in the opening and closing sequences?
I think that this was the final edition to be sponsored by Twix after about 3½ years too. The first of the awards is Best Solo Artist, which is won by Louise, who had left Eternal the previous year, and she would go on to have hits on her own for a while yet. Also featuring throughout is Star Choice, where various pop stars reveal their favourite videos of the year (as part of the 1996 relaunch, brief interviews would be featured).
Then we have the Top Ten of The Best Videos Of The Year (this had been done as a Top Ten since the 1993 special). This just seems to be calculated by a few votes by the production team in the office (a more thorough poll was taken for the 1997 special when viewers were invited to vote via email). Among those played are “Something For The Weekend” by The Divine Comedy, “Everything Must Go” by Manic Street Preachers, and “The Day We Caught The Train” by Ocean Colour Scene.
But the winner, and seemingly by some margin, is “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai. Next is Best Indie Video, although there are no equivalents for Rock and Dance curiously. The winner is “On A Rope” by Rocket From The Crypt. Then, there are more Star Choices. Next is Best New Act, which inevitably goes to Spice Girls. Even though they only came on to the scene in July, they dominated the pop music scene in 1996, even by this point they seemed to be everywhere.
After another Star Choice, it’s The Worst Video Of The Year, which goes to “I Am A Clown” by Peter Ebdon, the snooker player’s attempt at pop stardom. Then it’s The Biggest Singles Of 1996, which is a Top 20, instead of the usual Top Ten. I don’t know how this was calculated though, as the official chart wasn’t usually used. Played are “Fastlove” By George Michael, and “Cecelia” by Suggs, one of the more unlikely big successes of the year.
Then there are some more Star Choices, including the bloke from Dodgy, who chooses his own song, how great. And finally, Ant And Dec reveal their fondness for The Presidents Of The United States Of America. On we go into the Top Ten of the biggest singles, and played are “Three Lions” by The Lightning Seeds, “Mysterious Girl” by Peter Andre (eventually a chart-topper in 2004, it’s a long story), “Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees, and “Wannabe”, by Spice Girls.
It seems rather unlikely that anybody could’ve outsold that one, but it seems that they did, and the winner, by a rather small margin, is “Return Of The Mack” by Mark Morrison. And we end with a Sneak Preview of a video that’s sure to be a hit in 1997, and it’s by East 17. This turned out to be their final hit single with this line-up, as although they didn’t know it yet they were rather spectacularly about to split, but that’s a story for another year…