You either loved these novelty songs or loathed them. However, fans of the trying tunes bought them in their droves, driving them up the charts and keeping some proper pop songs off the top spot! Below, in date order, are 11 such ear-offenders and the chance to hear them, too (sorry)!
1. Grandad by Clive Dunn (1971)
How was it allowed to happen? One of the cheesiest songs ever, it was written for Clive Dunn who played Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army. Clive apparently met songwriter Herbie Flowers at a party and challenged Herbie to write him a novelty song. Herbie came up with Grandad. The song would’ve actually been the 1970 Christmas No1, had it not been for a strike at EMI’s pressing plant.
What did it reach? No1 (eventually) in January 1971.
Notable song it beat in the charts: Cracklin’ Rose by Neil Diamond (got to No3).
2. There’s No One Quite Like Grandma by St Winifred’s School Choir (1980)
How was it allowed to happen? Nine years after Grandad got his personal pop song it was time to treat (and we use that in the loosest possible way!) your Grandma. But this wasn’t the choir’s first foray into the recording world, as they’d been recording since 1972. One of the children in the choir was Sally Lindsay, who went on to play Shelley Unwin in Coronation Street and was recently seen in BBC drama, Ordinary Lies. See if you can pick her out in the video.
What did it reach? Christmas No1 in 1980.
Notable song it beat in the charts: Stop the Cavalry by Jona Lewie (got to No3)
3. Shaddap You Face by Joe Dolce (1980)
How was it allowed to happen? This song has become infamous for keeping one of the biggest-ever tunes off the top spot (we’ll tell you which one in a mo…). Written and performed by one-hit wonder Joe Dolce, about a fictitious rebellious Italian boy. It remains the most successful Australian-produced single in Australian music history.
What did it reach? No1 in February 1981.
Notable song it beat in the charts: Vienna by Ultravox (got to No2 – which is a travesty).
4. The Chicken Song by Spitting Image (1986)
How was it allowed to happen? Written as a parody of such summer songs like Agadoo and Do The Conga, the song even made reference to Black Lace, who sung those sunny tunes. As a result, the rubber ones got their own chart-topper and made lots of kids (young and old) giggle at the same time!
What did it reach? No1 in May 1986.
Notable song it beat in the charts: It’s A Kind Of Magic by Queen (got to No3).
5. Fog on the Tyne (Revisited) by Gazza (1990)
How was it allowed to happen? Fog on the Tyne is a 1971 album by English rock band Lindisfarne. Following the Geordie footballer’s infamous 1990 World Cup (he cried), Paul had a very high profile. As a fan of Lindisfarne, Paul wanted to record their Fog on the Tyne song. So the band heavily reworked the tune and released it as Fog on the Tyne (Revisited) with Paul Gascoigne on vocals, credited to Gazza and Lindisfarne.
What did it reach? No2 in November 1990.
Notable song it beat in the charts: Step Back in Time by Kylie Minogue (got to No4)
6. (and 6½) Unchained Melody and
I Believe by Robson and Jerome (both 1995)
How were they allowed to happen? The English pop duo consisted of actors Robson Green and Jerome Flynn who rose to fame in ITV’s military drama Soldier, Soldier. An episode of the show called for their characters to sing Unchained Melody, after which ITV were inundated with fans wanting to buy the song. Enter Simon Cowell (who else!) who persuaded the pair to release it as a single. Unchained Melody spent seven weeks at No1 and went on to become the best-selling single of 1995. The lads’ follow-up single I Believe also topped the charts for four weeks in the same year, and, as you’ll see in a mo, kept a rather well-known band languishing as runners-up!
What did the songs reach? Both No1 in 1995
Notable act they beat in the charts: Unchained Melody beat Common People by Pulp (got to No2). I Believe beat Wonderwall by Oasis (got to No2)
7. Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble by
PJ & Duncan (Ant and Dec) (1994 and 2013)
How was it allowed to happen (twice)!? Byker Grove boys PJ and Duncan were played by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. Such was the popularity of the likeable lads that they released an album in 1994 called Psyche. Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble was actually the third single from this debut album, but by far the most well-known. So much so, that the boys re-released the song in March 2013, with royalties from sales donated to the charity ChildLine. And as you can see below, it did pretty well!
What did the songs reach? 1994 release: No9. 2013 release No1
Notable act it beat in the hit charts: 1994 release (no major upset for this outing). Their 2013 release: When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars (got to No2).
8. Mr Blobby by Mr Blobby (1993)
How was it allowed to happen? The big, annoying pink creature appeared on Noel’s House Party and would play pranks on unsuspecting celebs. Mr Blobby played another prank, this time on the public when he released a single which made it to the No1 spot more than once and ended up as the Christmas No1!
What did the song reach? Christmas No1 1993.
Notable act it beat in the hit charts: Complex movings around this year. Mr Blobby knocked off Meatloaf’s I’ll Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) which had held the top spot for seven weeks. The pink spotty one was then knocked off by Take That’s Babe, but returned to No1 for Christmas and stayed there for three more weeks.
9. Teletubbies say ‘Eh-oh’ by Teletubbies (1997)
How was it allowed to happen? The children’s TV characters were a phenomenon. Everybody was learning their names and wondering why one was carrying a handbag? What also needed answering was why they made a record? Oh, yes and we also need to know how the strange creatures robbed one of the country’s best-loved singers and a top tune of it’s rightful peak position?! (See below).
What did the song reach? No1 December 1997
Notable act it beat in the hit charts: Angels by Robbie Williams (got to No4)
10. Can We Fix It? by Bob the Builder (2000)
How was it allowed to happen? Although voted by Channel 4 viewers in late 2003 as one of the worst singles of all time, Can We Fix It? was the best-selling song in 2000! Bob the Builder was a popular chap from children’s telly and was often asked on the show: ‘Can we fix it?’ to which a confident Bob would reply, ‘Yes we can!’ Looks like the dungaree-wearing construction worker did a pretty good job of chart-fixing, too (joking)!
What did the song reach? Christmas No1 2000
Notable act it beat in the hit charts: What Makes A Man by Westlife (got to No2).
11. Crazy Frog by Axel F (2005)
How was it allowed to happen? Altogether now: ring-ding-ding-ding! Makes the hairs stand up on your arms, doesn’t it! The Crazy Frog featured in an advert for ringtones (which people used to buy back then) and it was so popular that it was released in its own right to make an assault on rhe charts! This irritating amphibian didn’t hang out in ponds, though, it rode a motorbike and didn’t appear to be wearing any slacks!
What did the song reach? Christmas No1 2005.
Notable act it beat in the hit charts: Speed of Sound by Coldplay (got to No2)
What songs made you cringe? Tell us below…