Has anyone ever really cared about what the Christmas Number One is going to be? Is it as important as it used to be? Well this is an occasion when the race was rather exciting. Oasis had recently released “Wonderwall” which had been a big success, and one of their biggest hits so far. Then along came Mike Flowers Pops, who in December 1995 released a cover version of this in a totally different genre.
This version was rather like Easy Listening, it was rather unusual to hear, and it was definitely something of a novelty. I remember a show at the time that looked at the contenders for what the Christmas Number One would be that year, and this one entered the race so late that it barely featured, even though almost out of nowhere this became a frontrunner. I do remember having this single, and I was so amused that I played it twice in a row, and I can’t recall many other songs that I’ve done that with.
This meant that this one gained a lot of publicity, including trying to find out who this Mike Flowers character actually was, along with the important question, did he wear a wig. As it turned out, “Wonderwall” didn’t go all the way, reaching no. 2. It was another rare occurrence of two versions of the same song being in the Top Ten at the same time (this also happened with “I Found Lovin'” in 1987).
Mike did hang around a little longer though, including an appearance on the cover of Melody Maker, he went on tour, and he also made various other TV appearances, including an advert, and he also did his thing on Top Of The Pops, which was a great moment, and one he probably did except to happen not so much earlier. Mike did go on to have a couple more hits by covering classic songs in this style.
His third and final hit came at the end of 1996, maybe another attempt at making the Christmas Number One to make up for the disappointment of the previous year. But his cover of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” made only no. 30. It could be said that the joke was beginning to be a little thin by now, and he was barely heard of again after this, although he has continued to work in music. His brief moment of fame was something enjoyably different in 90s pop music though.