Down The Dumper – The 2000s Part 4.

Here’s yet another pop star who burst on to the scene. Daniel Bedingfield was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and moved to the UK not long afterwards. His first single gained some publicity because he produced this at home, and his voice sounded curiously female. “Gotta Get Thru This” was released in December 2001 (there were two videos made for this) and was a chart-topper for three weeks. Not a bad way to start your career.

I thought that this was rather catchy, and well, he went from his bedroom to being a famous singer and getting the crowd into a frenzy on Top Of The Pops in no time. Daniel went on to have more Top Ten hits, and in September 2002 his debut album, also called “Gotta Get Thru This”, was released and made the Top Ten. And he was also an entertaining interviewee on whatever TV shows he turned up on.

He proved he could hop around genres and went on to have further chart-toppers in 2002 and 2003 with “If You’re Not The One” and “Never Gonna Leave Your Side”, but these were much more on the soppier side, as it seems he wanted to be a balladeer too and decided to aim for the “buy this for your loved one to show them how much you care on Valentine’s Day” market.

After recovering from a serious car crash in New Zealand, Daniel returned to the scene in 2004, and he won a Brit Award for Fanciest Beard or something. Also in this year, his younger sister Natasha made her chart debut. In August 2004 she reached Number One with “These Words” for two weeks, making them the only brother and sister to have individually had a chart-topping single in the UK. In November 2004 Daniel’s second album “Second First Impression” was released, and this also made the Top Ten.

In June 2005 though, what turned out to be his final hit solo single “The Way” (not a cover of the Fastball song) was released, and somewhat surprisingly this didn’t make the Top 40, reaching only no. 41. Natasha went on to have hit singles for another year or two, but Daniel went back to this bedroom. In more recent years he had has success as a songwriter, he has also been a judge on the New Zealand version of The X Factor, and performed in a stage musical.

The One-Hit Wonders – The 90s Part 3.

It might surprise some people that this group are going to be featured in this series, as they don’t sound much like anything I usually enjoy, but here’s how I became interested in this one. In the summer of 1998, when I was in my early-teens, I was still discovering what radio stations I might like to listen to, and my favourite genres. Even as late as this, I had barely listened to BBC Radio 1 or Capital, but over the next few years I would eventually become a much more regular listener.

Around this time I listened to Virgin, which played new songs along with classic album tracks, mostly in the rock/indie genres. I remember that they played a new song very regularly. It seemed to be on all the time for a while (well not all the time of course, but for a short while they were very keen on it), so this really did begin to grow on me, I always knew it was coming on because of its distinctive radio static opening, and it became something of an earworm (“they’ll never get old and grey!“). So who were they? f1

Fastball are an American trio that formed in Austin, Texas in 1995, and their first album was released in 1996. In October 1998, “The Way”, from their second album “All The Pain Money Can Buy”, was released in the UK, and this was the song that led to their breakthrough in the US, so there was a chance that it could do well over here too, but although they didn’t realise it at the time, this was going to be this group’s only hit single in this country. vlcsnap-00032

They performed this on a few US TV shows including Late Night With Conan O’Brien, they were nominated for a couple of Grammys, and the video, which has had over 2½ million views on YouTube was directed by McG (who would also direct some films including Charlie’s Angels). “The Way” reached no. 21 in the UK, and this earned them a Top Of The Pops performance, although I think the release was just too late for the video to be featured on The Chart Show that had ended a month or two earlier. Bad luck. vlcsnap-00033

Although “The Way” didn’t make the Top 100 in America, it did do rather well in other specialist charts like Adult Rock. This would be the last that we would hear of Fastball in the UK though, their second album just missed the Top 100, they had no further hits, and even Virgin eventually took them off their playlist. They are still together though after more than 25 years, and they have now released seven albums.