Apr 9, 2023

It's a Miracle: The race for Easter number one

Can we talk about the extraordinary run of Easter number one singles we had in the second half of the 1990s? Yes, I know Easter is no Christmas, but bear with me.

By the mid-1990s, Take That had locked out the Easter number one spot. Yawn. Everything Changes? Easter Sunday number one. Back For Good? Easter Sunday number one. The Manchester popsters had become the second coming of Jesus. This was all about to change.

On Easter Sunday 1996, the Prodigy scored their first number one single with Firestarter. A devil-horned Keith Flint would contort and grimace at the camera and the Easter bunny would be writing a letter of complaint to its local vicar.

The following Easter, 1997, the Chemical Brothers would follow up their Noel Gallagher collab Setting Sun with the brilliant Block Rockin' Beats. Easter number one. Its b-side was Morning Lemon, which sounds like something you’d definitely eat at Easter.

The following year’s Easter number one was It’s Like That, Run DMC’s remix with LA producer Jason Nevins. The track kept Celine Dion off the number one spot for three full weeks, which is pretty much the equivalent of dying for our sins.

Already, we’re in uncharted territory. Cool hits had topped the charts sporadically at Easter – Let’s Dance in 1983, Pet Shop Boys’ Heart in 1988 – but never three years in a row. We’re truly in the middle of an Easter miracle.

In 1999, a puppet as yellow as an Easter chick topped the Easter chart. The underrated Mr Oizo scored his only hit single with Flat Beat. The sausage-chomping muppet Flat Eric (yes, it’s a muppet) denied Eminem a number one spot with his debut single.

Easter number one in 2000 was Fragma’s Toca's Miracle, and while this clever mashup wasn’t quite as critically acclaimed, it concluded a remarkable five years of electronic music Easter chart toppers. The following year? Emma Bunton or something. Rubbish.

2023's Easter number one is, as it happens, a song called Miracle. This trance collaboration between Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding is a real throw-back to the classic era of dancey Easter number one singles. Electronic music has risen again. It’s what Jesus would have wanted.