t's 1998. Actually, no. Can we please flash back to November 1997 first? After an awful attempt to make a business from selling radio advertising for Falmouth College Radio, I’m back in Newport. With my tail between my legs (I think that’s the phrase) but with a newly untested degree qualification, it’s time to apply for a proper job. Step forward Legal & General.
Ok. Now it’s 1998. After six weeks of product, sales and financial services training I’m now a part time sales agent for a top 100 FTSE company. Working Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and all day Saturday, my mode of transport is a Number 9 from Mum's and a number 30 to Cardiff and back. In the day, I was still applying for radio jobs, but I was doing it all wrong. It's mad to think that these days I offer advice on CV’s and applying for work.
My mate Steve Mayo, along with his cousin, Kevin decided that we needed a ‘lads’ holiday to Tenerife. He was working for a door to door catalogue firm called Morse’s and was flush with cash as this was a side-line to his main job at Wrens Bakery on Caerleon Road. Steve kindly offered me money for going out and helping drop off the goods to all areas of Newport. I loved my trip abroad and decided where possible I would travel each year. On average this has pretty much happened. In those years, I’ve stayed in the UK, the year before or after I’ve travelled twice. Tenerife was the real deal. Club 18-30’s mayhem, waterparks, clubbing in the Veronicas, a row of buildings with legendary brands such as Linekers, Tramps and BCM. My favourite was a club called the ‘Open air disco’… which had a roof!
If I’m honest 1998 was a bit of a cheesy year for music. Britpop and Dance were fizzling out. RnB or soul seemed to be only just taking root in the UK Top 40, but I wasn’t worried. DJ Lamsie got another break. My mate Toni introduced me via her boyfriend to Alan aka Chris King Discos. Based in Barry, Alan had a set of mobile discos with accompanying branded vans. Cheesy tunes at a private party was exactly what I needed. My job was, mainly on a Saturday to finish work at L&G, pop on the train and then pick up the disco-wagon. My main residence that Christmas was the Park Hotel in the centre of Cardiff. This had the additional bonus of having the equipment all set up for my arrival.
So what are my five big tunes that sum up 1998?
The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
Mousee T – Horny.
Good cheesy dancy fun, According to Wikipedia… “a song by producer Mousse T, pop duo Hot 'n' Juicy, and vocalist Inaya Day. The song reached number two in the UK Singles Chart in June 1998.”
It could have easily been, The Tamperer – Feel It, T-spoon – Sex on The Beach, Vengaboys – Up and Down or Aqua – Barbie Girl.
The Twister:This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
Run DMC vs Jason Nevins – It’s like that. I didn’t like rap, Breakdance bypassed me, it all seemed too angry for my liking! With this remix, I was converted. Originally released in 1983, according to Wikipedia… "It's Like That is about life in the area where the group lives (unemployment, prices, death, etc.). Despite protesting those social and political problems, the song takes on a hopeful message encouraging listeners to abandon prejudice and to believe in themselves”.
It could have easily been, Cornershop – Brimful of Asha, Wildchild – Renegade Master, or Fatboy Slim – Gangster Trippin.
The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
Stardust – Music sounds better with you.
From a subtle start, this turns into a bit of a banger. This is a one hit wonder, who according to Wikipedia… “is a collaborative effort consisting of producers Thomas Bangalter, Alan Braxe, and singer Benjamin Diamond. The song uses a sample of the song "Fate" by American singer Chaka Khan”.
It could have easily been, Sash feat, Tina Cousins – Mysterious times, Touch and Go – Would you? Karen Ramirez – Looking for love or Tin Tin out feat. Shelley Nelson – Here’s where the story ends.
The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Pras – Ghetto Superstar. Sometimes my memory fails me. I can’t remember if I liked this at the time or if is been what’s classed in dj terms as a grower. Now where did that sample come from? Back to Wikipedia… “The track samples Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's 1983 single "Islands in the Stream" and was produced by Wyclef Jean and Jerry 'Wonda" Duplessis for Pras' debut solo studio album, Ghetto Supastar”.
It could have easily been, Brandy and Monika – The Boy Is Mine, Usher – You Make Me Wanna, Busta Rhymes – Turn It Up/ Fire It Up, or Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That thing).The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
Robbie Williams – Angels.
As a mobile dj, I had an end of the night smooch song. and this was it. It’s probably fair to say that Robbie is not the best vocalist, but he does his best on this radio friendly track. This even gave me the crazy thought that I could even sing it! After many years, I had a new karaoke song. There maybe other uses for it, according to Wikipedia… “In a 2005 poll, "Angels" was ranked the most popular song that Britons would most like played at their funeral”.
It could have easily been, Janet Jackson – Together again, Lighthouse Family – High, Savage Garden – To the Moon and Back, Eagle-Eye Cherry – Save Tonight or The Corrs – Dreams.
That’s almost it from 1998. At the end of each blog I’d like to thank some people who made the year very special for me. Big Love to Stephen Mayo, Kevin and the holiday lads.
I’d also like to thank the team at Atlantica Café Bar on Market Street for sponsoring this series of blogs. Check out their new Karaoke nights on Wednesday and Thursday with Rob Steed See all 125 videos on our You Tube Channel: