Part 50? Yes, 50, because 90s pop music really is rather fabulous. This is another group who found fame in the mid-90s with some memorable songs. The Wannadies are from Sweden and formed in the late-80s, their frontman is Par. They had already been famous in Scandinavia for a while, releasing their first album as early as 1990, along with several singles.
They didn’t really get noticed in this country though until January 1995 when “How Does It Feel” was released, but this didn’t chart. Next in August 1995 was “You And Me Song”, which reached a rather lowly unofficial no. 119. It was thought that this one had the potential to do better though. In November 1995 “Might Be Stars” reached no. 51, their first hit single in the UK. By now they were playing festivals, and in February 1996 “How Does It Feel” was re-released, and this time reached no. 53.
And in April 1996 “You And Me Song” was re-released, and this time reached no. 18, their biggest hit single in the UK. This is also their most famous single, which has featured on adverts and film soundtracks. I also remember one critic said that they were fond of this because they liked they way that he says “I know you hate that“. Another said “the Swedish band combine Everything But The Girl-type of easy tune with Blur influenced brash guitar pop”.
In September 1996 “Someone Somewhere” reached no. 38, but their next single “Friends” was cancelled. In April 1997 “Hit” was indeed a hit, and reached no. 20, but this was the final time that they made the Top 40. They also appeared on Channel 4’s TFI Friday, and by this point they were being favourably compared to fellow Swedes The Cardigans. In May 1997 their fourth album (but the first to be a hit in the UK) “Bagsy Me” made the Top 40.
I remember an amusing magazine interview from around this time (presumably with Par) who explained that the album title came from when he was in a taxi and was trying to explain a Swedish phrase, and wondered what the equivalent in English would be, when the driver said “I know! Bagsy me!”. In July 1997 “Shorty” reached no. 41. They appeared on BBC1’s The National Lottery Live, which usually gave songs a boost, but not really in this case.
They were also on ITV’s This Morning, but Per said in this interview that he was rather upset because Richard and Judy were away that day, he said “they weren’t there” (with the italics and everything). Can you imagine appearing on This Morning but not meeting Richard and Judy because they were absent? There can’t have been a more terrible thing to happen to people in 90s showbiz.
I’m sure that also around this time they had a gig cancelled simply on account of their name following the immediate aftermath of Princess Diane suffering an extreme setback and “everyone went mad” (© Private Eye). And not long after this I think that “You And Me Song” was released for a third (or was it fourth?) time, but they couldn’t convince anyone else to buy this. After a break, they returned in March 2000 with “Yeah”, which reached no. 56, their final hit single in the UK.
I remember the rather odd video being shown on MTV, and getting the approval of Zane Lowe. These were the days when if Zane liked your song, you were rather cool. Also in this month, fifth album “Yeah” made the lower end of the chart. Par also appeared as a panellist on BBC2’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks, but the fortunes of The Wannadies were faltering by this point, and they split not long afterwards. “You And Me Song” went on to feature in some memorable episodes of Coronation Street, and in more recent years, they got back together, celebrating 35 years of hits!