What were you listening to 30 years ago?

Music is like a time machine. An old song can transport you right back to the first time you heard it.

Each week, we wind the clock back 30 years and replay what you were listening to.

Come with us as we dive into the UK Top 40 and listen to the hits, the misses, the could-have-beens, the shouldn’t-have-beens, the whatever-happened-to-thems.

Let’s try to remember what it was really like to be alive in the 90s. The good, the bad, and the Cotton Eye Joe of it all.

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The Adams Files

Over the course of 16 weeks in 2021, we relived the nightmarish experience of Bryan Adams’ unprecedented reign at Number One.

Most of these essays weren’t actually about Bryan Adams. Instead, we talked about culture, the music industry, nostalgia, love, time, and Canadian broadcasting laws.

They serve as a kind of manifesto for this whole project. Take a look and you’ll see what we mean.

Part 1: The Journey Begins [July 7, 1991]
Part 2: What’s the big deal about being Number One [July 14, 1991]
Part 3: How to change your life in 45 minutes [July 21, 1991]
Part 4: A statistical analysis of Number Ones (with graphs) [July 28, 1991]
Part 5: The reclusive genius behind the song [August 4, 1991]
Part 6: When Canada accidentally banned Bryan Adams [August 11, 1991]
Part 7: A history of movie tie-in singles [August 18, 1991]
Part 8: The love songs that lied to us [August 25, 1991]
Part 9: Did we dream the 90s? [September 1, 1991]
Part 10: Confessions of a Real Music Wanker [September 8, 1991]
Part 11: Slow dancing in hell [September 15, 1991]
Part 12: The 80s ended slowly, then all at once [September 22, 1991]
Part 13: Oh yeah, I guess we should talk about the song [September 29, 1991]
Part 14: How do old songs teleport us back to the past? [October 6, 1991]
Part 15: Nostalgia is a trap, especially for Generation X [October 13, 1991]

Part 16: Sixteen weeks [October 20, 1991]

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Every week, we look at the UK chart from 30 years ago. From Take That to Nirvana, from The KLF to Wu-Tang Clan, join us as we relive music's last big party before the streaming era.


Bernard O'Leary

Currently doing This Week in the 90s, a nostalgic weekly newsletter about pop music.