Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Boyzone 'When The Going Gets Tough'

Chart Peak: 1 (2 weeks)


This year's traditional Comic Relief single is a cover of the 1986 Billy Ocean hit 'When The Going Gets Tough...' The star-studded video for the track features comedy greats such as Graham Norton, Jo Brand, Phil {sic} Jupitus and Mel Smith as well as cast members from top soap Emmerdale.
Back after the Bank Holiday break on a new album. And yes, I suppose 43 might have been the more logical place to go after 33 and 3, but I've been meaning to do 42 for some time now because it's particularly interesting (and further away from 44, which I did early in the history of this blog).

The album was released in time for Easter 1999, but as long-term readers will know the biggest hit of early 99, '...Baby One More Time', didn't show up until Now 44 so we start instead with the song that eventually knocked it off the top of the chart. This was the Comic Relief single for the year, and follows the typical formula for this slot around the turn of the century, with a popular vocal group of the day performing a cover version and comedy represented by the celebrities in the accompanying video. I know it's a pretty generous definition of "comedy" that incorporates Mel Smith holding a TV aerial against his groin, but that's how things were in the 1990s. In fact the video's so 90s it even has Mystic Meg in it. 1999 was also the last year of Boyzone's original career, though they were able to go out in some style with two Number Ones that year, plus a solo Number One for Ronan Keating. Unsurprisingly, it's Keating who takes the lead on this interpretation of Billy Ocean's 1986 chart-topper, though there's a solo spot for Stephen Gately who was obviously the main solo prospect already. And the other three stand around and do something, I guess. It's a perfectly competent rendition, but really has nothing else to add (it's actually less funny than the original, because it doesn't sound like they're singing "Go and get stuffed" at any point). It does the job with an almost ruthless efficiency: to sell well for a couple of weeks, raise a handy amount for charity, bolster their image and then step aside to be dethroned by another Louis Walsh-managed act. Nobody seems to be having enough fun.

Also appearing on: Now 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 45, 71
Available on: Key To My Life (The Collection)

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