The Soundtrack of 1997
1997 was without a doubt an interesting year on many levels… and writing this, I find it hard to believe that it was ten years ago…it feels like it was only yesterday. I found out ironically enough, that it was the year that the term weblog (blog) was created by Jorn Barger
In 1997, the world lost one of the sweetest and selfless human beings to ever grace us with her presence – Mother Teresa. Tony Blair became the Prime Minister of England and that year he would endear himself to the hearts of many in the country and the world during the sad period of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales by christening her the Peoples’ Princess. Global reaction to Diana’s unexpected death was unprecedented and the live telecast of her funeral service would be watched by over a billion people around the world…confirming her status as the most loved member of the British Royal Family at the time of her death.
In 1997, downtown Lagos was brought to a standstill as the world mourned the death of the legendary Fela Anikulapo- Kuti. The decision of his family to disclose that he died from complications resulting from HIV infection would add a new dimension to the HIV/AIDS battle on the African continent—more people got tested, more people were careful. 1997 was also the year that the world’s first set of surviving sextuplets were born in the US.
Change came to Africa in 1997 as Mobutu Sese Seko, who would die in exile later that year was expelled from Zaire and the country was renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo.The UK handed sovereignty of Hong Kong to the Peoples Republic of China while JK Rowling released the first installment of Harry Potter and Madeleine Albright entered the history books in the US by becoming the first female secretary of State.
The movies Titanic, Selena, and Good Will Hunting which were released that year would launch the stardom of Leonardo di Caprio, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Hollywood also gave us the movies AirForce One with Indiana Jones as the President of the United States and Men in Black with the Fresh Prince of Bel Air battling aliens from out of space of course we learnt that Tomorrow Never Dies as another Bond movie was released
On the music front, iTunes has described 1997 as one of the years when music had an identity crisis, it’s no wonder – a lot was going on. That year the music world said goodbye to Jermaine Stewart of the We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off fame and Michael Hutchence who was the front man for the band INXS…while the battle of the East Coast vs West Coast of the US reached a new level with the murder of Notorious B.I.G leading to the release of chart toppers which would pay tribute to him
At the end of 1996, I had graduated from college and so in 1997, armed with my first degree or my meal ticket as my father nicely put it, I used my first NYSC allawi money to buy myself one of the most sophisticated sound systems that my money could buy and so I was able to get a front row seat to some of those hits and misses* which rocked our world then.
Here are some of them.
Enough Already!The following songs (with loads of remix versions) were played in every party you went to and in addition they were major annoyances on the streets of Lagos and that is just putting it mildly
I Believe I Can Fly – R Kelly -Forever etched in my memory is the image of a bus conductor (on a bus I had taken from Mile 2 to CMS) singing his off key version called – Ai Be Winch Ai Go Flai. I also remember that all of us in the bus (without exception, that is even the driver) begged him to stop but that further egged him on
Honey – Mariah Carey
No Diggity – Black Street and Dr Dre
Mo Money Mo Problems – Puff Daddy and Mase
In My Bed – Dru Hill (Sisqó is officially unleashed on the world)
Twisted – Keith Sweat
Pony – Ginuwine
I’ll Be – Foxy Brown and Jay Z
I’ll be Missing you – Puff Daddy & Mase
Stand in Front of the Mirror with a HairBrushThese are the songs that yours truly would stand in front of the mirror and sing. I remember for a fleeting moment, I actually convinced myself that I was the missing group member of the Spice Girls- Skinny Spice. Oh! By the way, when the spirit catches me, I still stand in front of the mirror with a hairbrush and belt out some of these tunes
Say You Will Be There – Spice Girls
2 become 1 – Spice Girls
For you I will – Monica
All Cried Out – Allure feat. 112
I Believe in You and Me – Whitney Houston
1997 was the year that marked my introduction to music of Erykah Badu and Baduizm was my favorite album of the year.
On & On
Let It All Loose!Barbie Girl – Aqua (I’m a barbie girl, in a barbie world, life in plastic, it’s fantastic) – it actually made it to the top of the British Charts
Macarena – Los Del Rio
Wannabe – Spice Girls
The MemorableCandle in the Wind – Elton John
Got ‘til it’s Gone- Janet Jackson, Joni Mitchell and Q-tip
MMMBop – Hanson
Fly Like An Eagle – Seal
Everyday is a Winding Road – Sheryl Crow
Gotham City – R Kelly
See You When You Get There – Coolio
Change the World – Eric Clapton
Take Me, I’m Yours!Hard to Say I’m Sorry – Az Yet featuring Peter Cetera the Glory of Love fame
You Make Me Wanna – Usher
Four Seasons of Loneliness – Boyz II Men
Everytime I Close My Eyes – Baby Face
I Love Me Some Him – Toni Braxton
How Do I Live – Lee Ann Rimes
I Finally Found Someone – Barbara Streisand and Bryan Adams
I’m Still In Love With You- New Edition (In My Humble Opinion, the greatest boy band of all time)
* These are my opinions and not to be taken to be the general world view