Thursday 22 August 2019

From Come on Eileen to Wannabe - which song was number one in the Irish charts the night you celebrated your Leaving Cert results?

Updated for 2019...

The Spice Girls and 'Wannabe' were number one across the UK and Ireland in August 1996
The Spice Girls and 'Wannabe' were number one across the UK and Ireland in August 1996
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

In August 1996, the day I received my Leaving Cert results, a feisty new girl group called the Spice Girls were number one in Ireland and the UK (when people still paid attention to the charts) with their earworm debut single, Wannabe. Given the gravity of the occasion (it seems like a bigger milestone at the time than it actually is, of course) that song is branded on my brain as a song of celebration (thankfully, I was happy with my results, apart from Physics, the result of which prompted my teacher to enquire with a mix off horror and sympathy, 'But what HAPPENED?').

That month of August 1996 also featured the Macarena and Killing Me Softly which likely reflected the extremes of emotion being experienced by students in discos (we had not yet graduated to calling them 'nightclubs' at that point) across the country that night. The day you get your Leaving Cert results - whether they're good, bad, or somewhere in between - is a memorable one and nothing evokes the memory of those celebrations (or drowning of sorrows as the case may be) as strongly as music. 

So, as a nation of 2019 students await Tuesday's results drop, we embark once again on our annual trip down memory lane to see which tunes were number one when the Leaving Cert results were issued.

Enjoy...

1980

A 34 week strike meant there was no chart in Ireland in 1980 but in the UK ABBA's The Winner Takes It All was number one.

 

1981

Shakin Stevens' Green Door was number one for three weeks from August 15 having The Streets of New York by The Wolfe Tones off the top spot.

 

1982

It has since become the definitive wedding song, but back in 1982 Dexys Midnight Runners' Come on Eileen was bright and shiny and new.  You probably found yourself leaping about to  Fame by Irene Cara too which was number one the previous week.

 

1983

For two weeks Wrapped Around Your Finger by The Police was the most in-demand single in the country.

 

1984

Those who did well probably danced the night away to Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood which was number one until August 18 before being knocked off the top spot by Careless Whisper by George Michael, the perfect morose tune to wallow in if you didn't do quite so well.

 

1985

Madonna's Into the Groove dominated dance floors across the country during the celebrations.

 

1986

During the era of the slow set, Chris De Burgh's The Lady in Red was number one for three weeks, allowing many lucky Leaving Certers to get the shift.

 

1987

Everyone mumbled their version of the Spanish lyrics to La Bamba by Los Lobos.   Students of that year will also remember I Just Can't Stop Loving You by Michael Jackson featuring Siedah Garrett.  The following week was the aptly (for some) named What Have I Done to Deserve This by The Pet Shop Boys featuring Dusty Springfield.

 

1988

Don't deny it - you did Kylie's The Locomotion on the local dance floor that night.  Yes, you did.  Paddy Reilly's Flight of the Earls and Yazz and the Plastic Population's The Only Way Is Up will probably bring you right back too.

 

1989

Another aptly-title tune, Swing the Mood by Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, beat Bros' Too Much to the top spot.

 

1990

The same song that had been the anthem of the exams was still number one when the results landed.  It was the year of Italia 90 and Put Em Under Pressure (remember the Ooh Aah bit?) from the Republic of Ireland Football Squad was number one for 13 weeks. This one allowed manys a student to let off a bit of pent up steam.

 

1991

Lots of lucky lads and ladies got the shift thanks to Bryan Adams this summer.  It was number one for a whopping three months...

 

1992

As dance music emerged on the Irish scene Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap! clogged up the dance floors from Dingle to Dublin to Dunfanaghy.  Jimmy Nail's Ain't No Doubt was also doing the rounds.

 

1993

4 Non Blondes' What's Up was around for a month, followed by Freddie Mercury's Living On My Own, which some of you probably were by that point.

 

1994

The phenomenon that was Riverdance dominated for four months.  Bill Whelan's musical masterpiece had been number one from the time of the exams to the results and beyond.  Did you lash out an aul 1-2-3 on the dance floor?  Of course you did.

 

1995

Everyone chanted Blur's Country House out on nights out unless they were Oasis fans in which case they rolled their eyes and downed their Woodies raspberry in one.

 

1996

The Spice Girls launched on the scene with the eminently sing-alongable Wannabe. ' I wanna ah I wanna ah I wanna zig a zig ah', or something.

 

1997

Leaving Cert students all got morose together with Puff Daddy & Faith Evans I'll Be Missing You as they contemplated life without their bessie school mates attached to their hips.  Sob.

 

1998

No Matter What by Boyzone was number one for a month.

'Chicka cha, chicka cha, chicka cha ha ha...'

 

1999

It was the era of the boyband.  The reign of Boyzone continued as Ronan Keating's When You Say Nothing at All hit number one the week before the results and he was ousted by Brian McFadden-era Westlife and If I Let You Go.  It's the one where they all paddle at the beach without rolling up their trousers.

 

2000

Robbie Williams dance floor filler Rock DJ was number one for three weeks. 

'Wave your hands if you're not with a man' - swoon.

 

2001

Another soon-to-be wedding reliable, the upbeat Hey Baby (Uhh, Ahh) from DJ Otzi, was number one for a month much to the students' delight.

 

2002

Were you singing the lyrics, "You're a song written by the hands of God/Don't get me wrong 'cause this might sound to you a bit odd/But you own the place where all my thoughts go hiding/Right under your clothes, is where I find them"?  Yes, you were.  Shakira was number one for two weeks.

 

2003

XTM and Fly on the Wings of Love reigned.  But it was also the summer of Crazy in Love by Beyonce and Jay Z.

Are those pan pipes?

 

2004

Remember Dragostea Din Tei from O-Zone?  Even if you think you don't, you do.  Have a listen:

 

2005

Did you mouth the words to stalker anthem You're Beautiful by James Blunt at your crush across the crowded dance floor?

 

2006

Shakira was back with Wyclef Jean and Hips Don't Lie prompting mass, questionable hips shaking.  By the weekend it had been usurped by Cascada's Everytime We Touch.

 

2007

If you were pedantic about grammar you refused to sing The Way I Are by Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson, D.O.E, Sebastian. You nerd.

 

2008

Kid Rock's All Summer Long was the perfect anthem for the exam results.

 

2009

Ditto The Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling which was number one for a month in 2009.  Was this really an entire decade ago?

 

2010

Eminem and Rihanna were number one for two weeks with Love the Way You Lie.

 

2011

You probably tried to pull some Moves Like Jagger as Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera hit number one.  It had ousted The Wanted and Glad You Came from the top spot.

 

2012

Rita Ora's aptly-titled How We Do (Party) was number one followed by Little Talks from Of Monsters and Men on August 16.

 

2013

Everyone partied to Avicii's Wake Me Up!

 

2014

It was Milky Chance and Stolen Dance for two weeks in 2014.

 

2015

Marvin Gaye by Charlie Puth featuring Meghan Trainor was number one until August 20 when it was knocked down by The Weeknd's hit Can't Feel My Face.

'Let's Marvin Gaye and get it on'.  Indeed they did.

 

2016

Major Lazer featuring Justin Bieber and MØ were number one with Cold Water for the month of August.

 

2017

The Leaving Cert students of 2017 were shaking their bits to Despacito courtesy of Luis Fonsi/Daddy Yankee/Justin Bieber.  It had spent 15 weeks at number one from early May so it was the anthem of the entire Leaving Cert journey.

 

2018

Last year's number one was George Ezra's Shotgun. However, you were more likely to have been throwing a few shapes to Drake's In My Feelings, which is sitting at No 2, or Jonas Blue's Rise ft Jack & Jack at No 3 or No 4 - DJ Khaled's No Brainer featuring Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper and Quavo.

 

2019

Currently sitting pretty at the top of the Official Irish Singles Chart are Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello with Señorita. 

From Cher to Shaggy to Robin Thicke - which song was number one when you did the Leaving Cert?

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