Number Ones: #50


  • PRINCESS Say I’m Your No.1 (Supreme)
  • Week Ending 17th August 1985
  • 1 Week At #1


My personal charts reached a half-century of Number Ones with this aptly titled debut single from pop royalty, Princess. It may have only been for a solitary week, but at least I could say to her, yes you are my No.1.

Homegrown soul/funk/pop with an American outlook had become a thing in 1985, with the success of Loose Ends (breaking through with the seminal Hangin’ On A String) followed by the likes of The Cool Notes (Spend The Night, In Your Car) and the early efforts of 5 Star (All Fall Down, Let Me Be The One). It had also, via the rise of the Streetsounds compilation series and the continuing musical education provided by James Hamilton in Record Mirror magazine, become an increasing thing for me as well.

Say I’m Your No.1 was notable for being a Stock Aitken Waterman production, at a time when they were yet to be synonymous with chart-conquering pop and were still mainly associated with Hi-NRG records by Hazell Dean, Divine and Dead Or Alive’s then-recent smash You Spin Me Round. The striking Princess herself was also one of the first black female artists they’d worked with, paving the way for the likes of O’chi Brown, Lonnie Gordon and the June Montana-fronted Brilliant.

Showcasing SAW’s skills for mimicking any type of contemporary music style, Say I’m Your No.1 could be the work of any slick U.S. production team of the era, sophisticated and confident yet consummately commercial. It’s no wonder the track wasted little time in racing up the Top 40 and giving the trio their first real success since You Spin Me Round some six months before.

Sadly, despite an almost-as-sublime follow-up 45, After The Love Has Gone, at the end of the year and a solid self-titled debut album in 1986, it didn’t quite happen for Princess. The final single lifted from the album barely made the UK Top 75, and the working partnership with SAW broke down shortly thereafter (a sign of things to come for Mike, Matt and Pete, but we are getting ahead of ourselves a bit).

Late 1985 to the end of 1986 proved a sticky period all round for SAW, with the petering out of Princess’ promise accompanied by a string of underwhelming commercial flops from a host of names, ranging from chart has-beens such as Edwin Starr and Three Degrees, to never-weres like Jeb Million, Spelt Like This and the aforementioned Brilliant and O’chi Brown. This succession of misses were offset by their reinvention of Bananarama via the cover of Venus, and the discovery of sisters Melanie and Kim Appleby who became the perfect vehicle for a sound that had more in common with their old Hi-NRG attitude, updated for the fashion-conscious younger audience that was emerging.

And so, a new chapter in the Stock Aitken Waterman story would begin, but there’s a quality to all these 1985 and 1986 efforts that showed a possible alternative route that might have been further fulfilled had events (and record sales) taken a different turn.

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