Madchester had arrived. Yes, the baggies, the E tablets and those funny coats with the hoods that made one look like a dope addict splashed their mongy influence all over John’s last chart of the 1980s. And yet the top of the pops was the Sundays’ leisurely and longingly nostalgic Can’t Be Sure which also made a healthy showing in the All-Time 50 of 1999 (broadcast the following January). It was also the year of the new indie hopes that JP apparently couldn’t stand, the Stone Roses, who had no less than 5 entries. However, the Inspiral Carpets tallied the same number, including one from a session. Shoegazing made an early showing, in the shape of Galaxie 500 and Spacemen 3. Again, it was the type of chart that made JP despair: no African, no reggae (in fact the only ‘black’ music at all was De La Soul at a lowly number 34), and only one dance record of note by 808 State. It showed what he always feared: whatever he played, the audience only went for ‘white boys with guitars’. The available recordings, rather than being complete shows, are edits to highlight the chart, but are of high quality nonetheless.
The world turned on its axis and entered a new era post Cold War: the Revolurions of 1989 spread from Poland outwards and resulted in the fall of the Soviet Union two years later: and gave us one of the great moments in TV history, the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Hillsborough disaster marred a year in football that also saw England qualify for the 1990 World Cup (their best showing since 1966) as Terry Butcher played an entire game with blood seeping from a cut in his forehead (the final score against Sweden was 0-0).
Musically, we lost King Tubby, Lucille Ball, Herbert von Karajan and Vladimir Horowitz, and Disney’s The Little Mermaid packed ’em in at the box office.
And the world was introduced to the first full length episode of a series that I have never quite ‘got’.