Once upon a time, in a world that wasn’t digital distribution, CD singles were a thing. Not being in to music growing up, I didn’t often by singles but when I did, well..
Shockingly, I can only remember buying three singles. Throughout my entire teen life I bought three singles. I knew kids my age that had stacks of those flimsy plastic cases as that’s all they spent their pocket money on.
Blondie – Maria
We can all agree that Blondie rocks and this 1999 single was no different. Hearing it played on morning radio as we took the coach to school, I decided I wanted it. Walking in to St Albans town with my trusty Walkman in pocket, I headed to the best shop ever, Woolworths. Little did I know that a year later, Woolworths would be my next job but that’s a story for another time.
The front shelves of the St Albans store were jam packed with CDs and VHS. Just round the corner though were the singles and chart albums – yes in cassette form too. Picking up ‘Maria’ on CD at a grand price of 99p was awesome at the time. We’d only had a CD player in the house for 4 or 5 years making it still highly entertaining. Looking back now, it would have made more sense to buy the cassette as I was still rocking that awesome Aiwa Walkman.
I have such vivid memories of getting home, playing Quake 2 mission packs on my brothers PC and playing Maria on repeat. Cool kid huh!
Bus Stop feat. Carl Douglas – Kung Fu Fighting
This is not a good song and I love it. There, I said it. I had just turned 14 and singles were still selling for around 99p. I’m wracking my brain while I sit here and type this, and still can’t tell you why I bought it. There was only one thing that came to mind:
It included the ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ video on CD.
My brother had bought the first proper computer our house ever had, it was a Dell running Windows 95. We had recently discovered Weezer performing Buddy Holly on the Windows 95 CD, I was somewhat addicted. Any opportunity to watch poorly digitized video became my want in life.
Static X – Black and White
What’s cooler than Terminators? If you said Terminators playing heavy metal then you’d be right. This came out just as I was properly discovering Rammstein etc.. I heavily blame on my working in Our Price for this.
Surprisingly, St Albans had two Our Price stores. One in the market place and one in the Maltings. In spite of how cool our store was, the Maltings one won prior to the total collapse of Our Price. All things considered, we had the better staff though. Most Saturday nights we would pack up shop and end up in the Beehive or Hot Coals, drinking and listening to good music. Often, it would end at some ones house to sleep it off as music videos played in the background – this is where I first hear Black and White.
The video captivated me, it featured blatant rip offs of the Terminator franchise but they played instruments. Fuck yeah. The song was pretty good to be honest and that’s that.
I was a bit of a dick and stole my brothers CDs when I found a song I liked. Obviously, if I could change that I would but it did help me find new music. He has forgiven me.
Green Day – Time of your Life (Good Riddance)
In the mid-90s I discovered ER on Channel 4. Coming from Casualty, this show blew my mind. It felt real, the characters had depth and oh god I fancied Lucy from Series 5 onwards. Without doubt, her death and Carter being stabbed upset me. There was however, one other scene that bought a tear to my eyes.
Jeanie was one of the characters who got an amazing story arc. In one series she is caring for a boy with cancer and she ends up singing this song to him. If memory serves me correctly, hospital boss banned him playing his CDs. She then sang it as his funeral and damn it’s powerful.
This is one of my all time favourite songs.
The Wildhearts – I wanna go where the people go
What a song and what a band. Bizarrely, as good as I wanna go where the people go is, I listened to this stolen CD for Give the girl a gun instead. Don’t get me wrong, I adored all the tracks on this single but Give the girl a gun was my favourite.
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