50/Fifty Coming Up: #10 and #09
Into the top 10 with Leftfield/Lydon and EMF.
At #10, the huge and hugely influential Open Up by Leftfield and John Lydon from 1993. Probably the last time that John Lydon sounded relevant was on this out-of-nowhere smash, getting to #13 in the UK Charts. This was a dance tune that even the most anti-dance people could love. The mix of Leftfield’s Eastern exoticism and pumping beats gets blended with Lydon’s strident but wobbly vocals. Like him at his PiL peak. I have some recollection that this got virtually banned from radio play in the US because of the “burn, Hollywood burn” lyric coinciding with some severe forest fires in Southern California. This track had Chems and Weatherall remixes but none quite overcame the genius of the original. Be bigger than God indeed.
Best bit: burn, hollywood burn at 4.10
D, inevitably, has issues. She says “Leftfield – Not Forgotten (Hard Hands Mix) – Never went for Open Up and believe this is, by far, a better tune. Just a pumping, joyous mover. Progressive house classic.”
At #09, another of my somewhat esoteric choices, in that it’s a rare Orbital remix. But for Epsom Mad Funkers EMF, rather than any dance act. I’ve no idea how this collaboration came about but I’m certainly glad it did. This is one of the great lost piano house singles of the 90s – EMF – It’s You (13 1/2% Extra Mix), from 1992. The record says additional production and remix from Orbital, so it’s not clear to me how much original remains. It’s also unusual for Orbital to use piano in their work.
Best bit: when the piano comes in at 0.15 (gets me every time)