t was 2005, music was changing, and it felt like a struggle at the time. I was no longer a DJ in pubs, bars, clubs or radio, but I was about to repeat two words a lot in the space of twenty minutes to reach the pinnacle of adulthood.
Before the main event, I want to talk about music - let’s take the downside first. As far as the Top 40 of 2005 went, it was a dire year for Dance music. Even my beloved Garage had completely evaporated. It is only now that I look back on the year’s most commercially successful tunes that it's dawned on me that 2005 has the most tracks that still get played in my current DJ set. On the RNB front, 50 Cent, Kanye and Ice Cube were dominating. Sean Paul was also becoming prolific. In Rock/Indie it was almost like the second coming. I was in university during the first wave headed up by the twin forces of Oasis and Blur. I was more appreciative of this year’s crop. Foo fighters, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, Arctic Monkeys, Stereophonics, and my faves, The Killers all had stand out tunes in this year.
One of the biggest moments of an adult human’s life is the day they get married. That day was 18th June 2005. Location: Wyndham Rose Hotel in Jamaica.
Claire and I had gotten engaged several years earlier. I had so much respect for her. I’d decided it was time to show that I was as fully committed. I’d made the phone call to her folks in Sunderland and asked the father-in-law-to-be for her hand in marriage. The romantic bit pretty much ended there. The proposal took place in Tenby… in a B&B… I was a little tipsy and fell off the side of the bed… found myself on one knee and blurted out what I’d been up to. Fortunately, this did not affect the positive outcome. We were engaged, with absolutely no plan to get married!
Just before the start of 2005, Claire’s friend took it upon herself to complete the cycle. The decision was made to get married abroad as it would be difficult due to distance to bring the families together, and a bit costly. Our families gave us their blessing but didn’t mind not travelling under the circumstance. Our friends were then invited. It was a very quick yes. Us and eight others were committed to covering all 4578 miles, heading out for two weeks to paradise. A week to get a tan and couple of ‘I do’s later and I was a married man.
My under-developed sense of romance improved momentarily. Claire and I had always said our first dance would be an 80’s tune by Boris Gardiner called ‘I Wanna Wake Up with You’. There was always a private joke that we’d head onto the dancefloor and get the DJ to play Eurythmics ‘Thorn in My Side’ first. Acting as Mr Loverman, I had put a personal CD player in my bag and a disc with our song choice on. As we headed back to our hotel room after the signing of the register, I produced the music machine, popped one headphone in Claire’s ear, one in mine, pressed play and had a much less public first dance.
So what are my five big tunes that sum up 2005?
The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
Mylo vs Miami Sound Machine – ‘Doctor Pressure’.
In a year bereft of quality dance music this wasn’t half bad. Essentially, it’s a mash up. According to Wikipedia… 'Drop the Pressure' from Mylo and Miami Sound Machine's 'Dr. Beat'. Originally created in October 2004 by mashup duo Phil n' Dog, the song was released as a single on 5th September 2005 and peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart.
Could have easily been, Gorrillaz – ‘Dare’, Audio Bullys – ‘Shot You Down’, Kanye West – ‘Gold Digger’, 50 Cent – ‘Candy Shop’, Uniting Nations – ‘Out of Touch’, or Ice Cube – ‘You Can Do It’.
The Twister: This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
Athlete – ‘Wires’.
There was one glimmer of hope for me in music. I started to develop a liking for chill out music in this year. This is a great laidback track with a matching vocal. According to Wikipedia this first track taken from the band's second album was a technological ground breaker.
"“Wires" was one of the first tracks available in iTunes Plus, after EMI and iTunes launched the new format on 31 May 2007."
Could have easily been, Gorillaz – ‘Feel Good Inc’, Arctic Monkeys – ‘I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor’, Razorlight – ‘Somewhere Else’, Stereophonics – ‘Dakota’, Green Day – 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams’, Kaiser Chiefs – ‘I Predict a Riot’, The Killers - ‘Somebody Told Me’, or Foo Fighters – ‘Best of You’.
The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
Bodyrockers – ‘I Like the Way You’.
I had this on CD. No disc was allowed to pass from my DJ box into real life. Nothing worse going to play a track as a DJ and not having it with you as you’ve left it at home or in the car. As my alter-ego, DJ Lamsie, was on a break, this one hit the in-car sound system, and only later made the journey to my DJ collection. A big fave of mine and Claire’s.
Could have easily been, The Chemical Brothers – ‘Galvanize’, Studio B – ‘I See Girls’, or Bob Sinclar feat. Gary ‘Nesta’ Pine – ‘Love Generation’.
The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Jay-Z/Linkin Park – ‘Numb/Encore’.
It has to be the version with them both, for me. Rap and Rock fused together perfectly. A few years on, Jamelia recorded a ballad like version for Radio 1’s Live Lounge where the lyrics stood out and were more poignant. From Wikipedia:
“Initially the idea was to create several mash-ups for a new show premiering on MTV called MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups in 2004. However, instead of simply reconfiguring the tracks, the two artists decided to enter the studio and re-record the raps on top of [Mike] Shinoda's songs. Some of the musical elements were also altered to create an alternative sound. Both Linkin Park and Jay-Z found the session so rewarding that they believed the international audience deserved to hear the results.”
Could have easily been: The Pussycat Dolls feat. Busta Rhymes – ‘Don’t Cha’, 2Pac feat. Elton John – ‘Ghetto Gospel’, Akon – ‘Lonely’, Sean Paul – ‘We Be Burning’, Mario – ‘Let Me Love You’, Amerie – ‘1 Thing’, or Ciara feat. Missy Elliot – ‘1,2 Step’.
The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
Nizlopi – ‘JCB Song’.
I remember on the odd occasion being allowed to go to work with my Dad. He didn’t have a JCB, but a transit van delivering carpets from the manufacturer in Newport to the showrooms of Frome. Oddly enough in 2017 this is one of only a handful of karaoke tracks I attempt to sing. According to Wikipedia this would have been Number 1 at Christmas, but the X factor was at the peak of its powers and Shayne Ward just pipped it. Regarding the song itself:
“The song is a reminiscence of childhood, based on singer Luke Concannon's memories; it is sung from the point of view of a young boy, travelling with his father on his JCB digger, listening to Christy Moore's song "Don't Forget Your Shovel". The song's lyrics refer to Luke's dyslexia; the resulting bullying; and characters such as B. A. Baracus, Bruce Lee, and Transformers, who would protect him against the bullies.”
Could have easily been: James Blunt – ‘You’re Beautiful’, Daniel Powter – ‘Bad Day’, Sugababes – ‘Push the Button’, Kelly Clarkson – ‘Since U Been Gone’, KT Tunstall - ‘Suddenly I See’, Phantom Planet - ‘California’, or Gwen Stefani – ‘Hollaback Girl’.
That’s almost it from 2005.
I’d also like to thank the team at Atlantica Café Bar on Market Street for sponsoring this series of blogs. They’ve got Britain’s Got Talent star Philip Green as part of a Pride Cymru after party on Saturday 26th August.
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