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Do you remember which song was number one when you did your Leaving Cert?



Duran Duran

Duran Duran

Despacito was first recorded by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Despacito was first recorded by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Duran Duran

We've pulled this one from the archive as students around the country get stuck in to their first Junior and Leaving Cert exams...

It's exam time (as if you hadn't noticed) and whether you've been knuckling down to study or procrastinating like a pro you will probably remember the soundtrack to the summer exams for years to come.

The Irish charts may not hold as much sway as they did back in the day, but you can't help but notice Despacito (from Luis Fons/Daddy Yankee/Justin Bieber) is all over your radio as it's number one this week.

For those doing exams it will forever be etched on their brains, because whether you sat the exams in 1986 or 2016 you'll always remember the songs that served as the soundtrack to your study (or lack of study).

We've compiled a list of the tracks that hit number one in the Irish charts during exam time from 1981 (a 34 week strike meant there was no chart in 1980) to 2016.

Maybe you were humming Wham! Wake Me Up Before You Go Go during Maths paper 2 in 1984 or Crazy Frog was driving you insane in 2005...


The aptly titled for exam time 'You Drive Me Crazy' by Shakin Stevens was at number one for a whopping six weeks through the exams.



Again, an apt title.  Maybe you wanted 'A Little Peace' by Nicole?



Every Breath You Take by The Police dominated for four weeks as exams began, but for the six weeks before the big day F.R. David's Words reigned supreme (aside from one week in the middle when Spandau Ballet hit number one with True).


As the last minute cramming was underway Duran Duran were at the top with The Reflex but as exams got going Wham! hit number one with Wake Me up Before You Go Go.



Paul Hardcastle's '19' was played to death on the radio during study time.  When the exams kicked off, however, I'm on Fire/Born in the US by Springsteen took over.


Do you remember studying to Status Quo's 'Rollin Home'?  When the exams were under way Simply Red hit number one with 'Holding Back the Years'.  As exams wrapped and celebrations began, the uplifting 'Spirit in the Sky' by Doctor and the Medics was the top tune.



Johnny Logan won the Eurovision with Hold Me Now and the song was played to death as the Irish number one for four weeks up to and during the exams.  As the finished up, however, U2 took over with the aptly (for some) titled, 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For'.



'With a Little Help from My Friends/She's Leaving Home by Wet Wet Wet and Billy Bragg featuring Cara Tivey provided the study soundtrack but this was the year of Euro 88 and once the exams were underway it was The Boys in Green as sung, perfectly, by the Republic of Ireland Soccer Squad.  They remained at number one for four weeks.


It was a mixed bag in 1989 with Heart & Soul's No Sweat leading up to exams, Jason Donovan's Sealed with a Kiss on top for the first week of exams, and then All I Want is You by U2 nabbing top spot for the second week of exams.



How anyone could have studied for exams during the build up to Italia 90 is beyond us.  The Republic of Ireland soccer squad were back in the charts with Put Em Under Pressure - they stayed at number one for 13 weeks from May 31.  There was no escape.


Cher chewed the ears of exam students for six weeks with The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kisss) but there was a change of pace, thankfully, during the exams themselves when The Doors hit number one with Light My Fire.


Eurovision winner Linda Martin had students asking 'Why Me'?  Then Guns N Roses arrived with Knockin in Heaven's Door.



As we continued to dominate Eurovision, the winning songs continued to dominate the charts.  Niamh Kavanagh was number one for five weeks with In Your Eyes in the run up to and during exams.


Twas the year of Riverdance and there was no escaping it for 18 long weeks from May 5 right through to the first week back at school in September!



U2's Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me was at number one for three weeks just before and through exam time.



It was a bit of a morose few weeks in the charts for the 1996 Leaving Cert.  First we had Nobody Knows by The Tony Rich Project and then, during the first week of exams and for the following 6 weeks The Fugees' Killing Me Softly reigned supreme.


Study time was soundtracked by Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye) by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bochelli and during the second week of exams Hanson took over with MMMBop for three weeks. 



If you tackled your Leaving Cert in 1998 you're probably haunted by memories of B*Witched and C'est La Vie never ever leaving the radio.  They stayed at number one for 6 weeks...


Just to rub in the fact that you were doing the Leaving Cert during one of the sunniest weeks of the year (as is typical), the song at number one by Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrman. He lied, everybody wasn't free, to wear sunscreen or not.  They were cooped up in sweltering exam halls the length and breadth of the country.


In the run up to the exams, the Bloodhound Gang's Bad Touch dominated the airwaves followed by Samantha Mumba's Gotta Tell You which hit number one for five weeks in a row during and following exams.



Angel by Shaggy featuring Rayvon was the song of the summer.


Eminem's Without Me was the earworm of the moment.


Mickey Harte's 'We've Got the World' was all over the radio as the Irish number one for five weeks up until exam time.  Then R Kelly's Ignition took over for three weeks.



Remember The Langer by Tim O'Riordan?  It was number one for five weeks up to and during the exams and was played at manys a pub and nightclub throughout its reign and beyond.


Everyone was driven demened by Axel F's utterly appalling Crazy Frog but none more so than the poor Leaving Cert students who had to endure it through exam time.


More craziness in 2006.  Crazy by Gnarles Barkley was number one for seven weeks until exams and then I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair) by Sandi Thom dominated the first week of exams followed by nine weeks of Hips Don't Lie by Shakira featuring Whyclef Jean.



You were likely humming Rihanna's Umbrella as you tackled the life cycle of a liver fluke in your biology exam.  It was number one for eight weeks.


Rihanna was again at the top, this time for four weeks with Take a Bow.



Tinchy Stryder featuring N Dubz were number one with 'Number 1' for five weeks.



In the four weeks up to and during exams, Stereo Love from Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina was at number one.


Give Me Everything by Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer was the anthem of exam time.



You probably remember Euphoria by Loreen coming up to the exams followed by Chery's Call My Name and Fl Rida's Whistle as you navigated your way through exam week.



It was the summer of Blurred Lines.  Robin Thicke's hit featuring TI and Pharrell was number one from May 16 to June 27. 



Sam Smith's rather morose Stay With Me probably haunted you as you prepped while Ella Henderson's Ghost and Don't Stop by 5 Seconds of Summer alternated number one spot for three weeks during exam time.



It's only two years ago - Cheerleader by OMI and Lean On by Major Lazer and DJ Snake are probably still ringing in your ears.



If you did the Leaving in 2016 you'll definitely remember that One Dance by Drake featuring Wizkid and Kyla dominated the Irish charts from May 19 to July 21.


Ditto for Despacito, which released on May 5 last year and remained at number one until mid-August when it was ousted by Dua Lipa's New Rules.


'One Kiss' by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa was number one in Ireland for six weeks last summer, from May 4 to June 15.


This week's number one single comes courtesy of Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber.  If you're doing your exams this year you will never, ever, ever forget it.  Our condolences...


Online Editors