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> Geri Halliwell - Look at Me vs. Boyzone - You Needed Me, The UK chart battle that Geri lost...
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Jay ☆
post Aug 24 2019, 11:33 AM
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This discussion was raised on Popjustice, but I tend to just lurk there - so I decided I'd make it a thread here instead of replying there.

QUOTE
"Geri was gutted when 'Look At Me' charted at #2, but then convinced herself it was because she didn't release two versions of the CD single."
https://forum.popjustice.com/threads/geri-h...60#post-7045824


I believe that Look at Me being released on CD1/CD2 with different track lists (i.e. one of the releases including B Sides) would have made all the difference actually. A cheaper price in the first week on sale would have surely made a significant difference too.

That's what Boyzone did - two CDs with different track lists / artwork and they were both just £1.99 each. Whereas Geri released a digipak (cardboard) and jewel case (plastic) versions of Look at Me, with the same track list, both £3.99. I don't remember what their cassette prices were, but I would assume Boyzone's would have been cheaper than Geri's too.


Their first week sales:

#1 Boyzone - 142,901
#2 Geri - 142,153

Just 748 copies difference sad.gif


Music Week ( http://scans.chartarchive.org/UK/1999/UK%2...01999.05.22.pdf ) revealed the format sales breakdown for Geri's single:

90,195 - Digipak CD
49,893 - Cassette
2,065 - Jewel Case CD

(I was quite surprised when I first discovered the above info, considering that the Digipak has a Limited Edition sticker on the cover... yet supposedly it sold considerably more copies than the jewel case version. To me this would suggest that most stores only had the Digipak version in stock, or at least far more copies than the jewel case. Could Music Week have got them the wrong way around and it was actually the jewel case CD that sold more? Maybe the above info is true and the Limited Edition sticker was just a record label tactic, and it wasn't really limited at all... and it was the jewel case that was actually limited? Perhaps the Digipak was limited to the first week on sale and then the jewel case CD was more widely distributed afterwards? I have no idea! Whatever is true, the main point we can take from the above sales is that one version of the CD far outsold the other version)

The CD sales show that the majority of buyers only opted for one version and weren't swayed into buying two copies that were in essence the same as each other. If Look at Me had been released on CD1 & CD2 with differing track lists (one with remixes, one with B Sides), I'm sure she would have sold more CDs. Granted, some of those 90,195 digipak buyers may have opted to get the alternative CD instead if it had had a different track list, i.e. it wouldn't have sold as much as 90,195, while the other version would have theoretically sold way more than 2,065. Ultimately though, I think she'd have more than made up the 748 copy deficit and would have got to #1.


Her CDs costing £3.99 in week 1 was a very confident move from EMI, it was more typical for a new release to be cheaper than that. The fact that Geri sold that many CDs for £3.99 is impressive! Despite lazy track list formats & a high price, Geri/EMI very nearly pulled off a #1. Boyzone's cheaper CDs (with many of their fans buying 2 copies) must have resulted in less overall transactions than Geri's single. Look at Me would have made more money too. Unfortunately Boyzone got the #1 glory though, while Geri was seen to have stumbled at the first hurdle, even though she actually did incredibly well.

Look at Me's first week sales were higher than 27 weeks of 1999 #1s. Rather annoyingly that includes the week prior to Look at Me's release. #1 a week earlier was Backstreet Boys - I Want It That Way, which only needed to sell 93,000 copies.


Evidently EMI learned their lesson with Mi Chico Latino, releasing a CD1/2 of different track lists. I can't remember what the prices first week were though - did they go for £1.99? Mi Chico Latino sold 132,500 to get to #1, around 10,000 less than Look at Me's first week (worth noting that Mi Chico Latino was a post album release though). Fun fact: If Mi Chico Latino had come out a week earlier, she more than likely would have prevented Westlife from #1 with I Let You Go. She could have ended their consecutive streak of #1s before it even began! If I Let You Go got to #1 with 90,491 sales.


Funny to think that Boyzone vs Geri battle occurred 20 years ago - after all this time I still wish it had turned out differently! I'll never understand the label's logic with their Look at Me formats, that was such an own goal... I feel like they threw away the #1 due to carelessness. I may be biased but I think Look at Me deserved #1 over the forgettable You Needed Me. Having said all this, Shania Twain's That Don't Impress Me Much (which entered and peaked at #3 that week) is a classic... that probably should have been #1 over both Geri & Boyzone, but she "only" sold 109,000 that week.
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tommie
post Aug 24 2019, 12:17 PM
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I'm kind of surprised cassette sales were that high at that point.

I know most people at the time still had cassette players in their cars, but still.
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Jay ☆
post Aug 24 2019, 12:19 PM
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That also surprised me! Cassettes contributed to 35% of its first week. It makes me wonder what the cassette/CD sales split was for Spice Girls singles!
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Babyboy
post Aug 24 2019, 02:23 PM
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I love Boyzone but that song was so boring.
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Algernon Monquee...
post Aug 24 2019, 03:32 PM
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Apparently she fired her WHOLE TEAM after it flopped! laugh.gif
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Spiceboy
post Aug 24 2019, 05:30 PM
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It hardly flopped, it was a big seller and is in the top 10 solo Spice releases...

I find it incredibly frustrating they only did one CD release like seriously give her the very best shot at #1! Never knew that about Westlife a week earlier, damn wish she had released then, she would have had 5 consecutive #1s from debut single a record in its own right for a female artist (still now!?) and Spice Girls would retain their record #1s from a debut single overall!
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Mr.X
post Aug 25 2019, 09:30 AM
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QUOTE(Algernon Monqueef @ Aug 24 2019, 04:32 PM) *
Apparently she fired her WHOLE TEAM after it flopped! laugh.gif


Geri's talent for firing her team everytime she wasnt happy about one thing has been well documented throughout the years blink.gif
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Spice Girls Net
post Aug 25 2019, 10:08 AM
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Thank you Jay for all the facts and info. Much appreciated.

So frustrating sometimes reading these knowing if a release had been earlier or later by just a week things would have been so different.

I was amazed to see that Geri sold nearly 50k cassettes in 1999. How times have changed.
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ThePensmith
post Aug 29 2019, 01:29 PM
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'Look At Me' definitely missed out on top spot because of an own goal re: formats, no bones about it. I think what's important to remember is that Geri was probably pumped full of ego at this point, it being her first release after leaving the Spice Girls and having a lot to prove, which is why the promo campaign was as big as it was. I remember that day when she bought it in to Zoe Ball on Radio 1 for it's first play on the Breakfast show, and then them showing the video on Top of the Pops that same night for the first time.

Everyone in school was talking about it the following Monday (I was in Year 5 at the time for context). It felt like a massive pop/media event and that's something she always did perfectly certainly in the early part of her solo career, there was always a massive fanfare and cloud of smoke that came with each new release from her, whether it was writhing around on a yacht in her bikini in 'Mi Chico Latino' or emerging pole dancing from a pair of legs at the BRITs 2000 for 'Bag It Up'. She got what pop was and where it was at at that moment in time.

A debut #2 single with that many copies sold first week out is nothing to be sniffed at - most artists would kill for that kind of success now - but the press trend for sticking the knife into all things Spice Girls that had started when they sacked Simon Fuller was still alive and well by this point. They set up the narrative that anything less than number one was a flop and obviously with how this played into Geri's head space at that point in her life, where her career meant so much to her, and which is quite well documented if you read 'Just For The Record', led her to make some of the decisions she did with her solo career - some of them were good, and some did her damage in the long run.

TBH I'm not sure even Boyzone fans are that fond of 'You Needed Me'. If you asked me to name five of their best singles that probably wouldn't be one of them, but equally you have to remember that they were riding a crest of a wave at that time where everything they touched turn to gold. They were the biggest boyband in the UK at that point. They'd had 'No Matter What' out, and also 'When The Going Gets Tough' for Comic Relief which had been both massive number ones. Also I forget if it was around the time of this single or not but it was also when Stephen Gately came out which had raised their profile and fanbase as well.
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Jordan Lee
post Aug 29 2019, 01:41 PM
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Itís so crazy looking at those sales and seeing how then an artist could genuinely be disappointed by a #2 debut.
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sammy01
post Aug 29 2019, 02:19 PM
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I vividly remember buying the digipack it was £4.25! at my local Asda, the most I've ever paid for a single.

The digipack included the postcards which swayed most people to buying it I would expect. If the jewel case had had the b-sides then I'm sure that would have pushed it to number 1.
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Aug 29 2019, 04:10 PM
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Geri's song is definitely more well remembered (I can't even remember how 'You Needed Me' goes?), I'd say it deserved the #1 unquestionably but as they did f*** up on the formats it's their own fault anyway (as others have pointed out).
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ThePensmith
post Aug 29 2019, 05:35 PM
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As Jay has aptly pointed out though, Shania Twain actually won the marathon where that week was concerned. It never even made number one but 'That Don't Impress Me Much' ended up outselling and staying in the charts longer than either the Geri or Boyzone singles - in fact it sold more than all but six of the year's number ones!
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Jay ☆
post Aug 29 2019, 06:20 PM
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^ Shania was so unlucky to be stuck at #3 for three weeks! She was rather close to climbing to #2 in her third week sad.gif


Week Ending 29th May 1999
1- SWEET LIKE CHOCOLATE- Shanks & Bigfoot (251,000)
2- YOU NEEDED ME- Boyzone (81,000) <--- Quite a decent second week sale tbh! Geri fell to 57,000 sales.
3- THAT DON’T IMPRESS ME MUCH- Shania Twain (64,000)

Week Ending 05th June 1999
1- SWEET LIKE CHOCOLATE- Shanks & Bigfoot (141,000)
2- OOH LA LA- Wiseguys (70,000)
3- THAT DON’T IMPRESS ME MUCH- Shania Twain (68,000)


I didn't remember Ooh La La based on title, but I'm playing it now and I recall it. I would venture to say it's fairly forgotten about 20 years on?

So impressive that Shania managed to outsell Shanks & Bigfoot by the end of 1999, despite those huge first two weeks for Sweet Like Chocolate!


End of Year 1999 Chart:

7 That Don't Impress Me Much – Shania Twain [3] 763,000
8 Sweet Like Chocolate – Shanks and Bigfoot [1] 706,700
49 You Needed Me – Boyzone [1] 343,300
56 Look At Me – Geri Halliwell [2] 316,100
75 Ooh La La – Wiseguys [2] 237,400
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ThePensmith
post Aug 29 2019, 07:01 PM
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'Ooh La La' was used on a TV advert for Budweiser beer - the one with the dancing lizards and frogs going 'Bud WEIS ERRR'. Hence it's high debut. Largely forgotten otherwise without that context!
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Spiceboy
post Aug 29 2019, 08:09 PM
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Wow looking at those sales poor Shania! She really deserved the #1 over both Boyzone and Geri! (Still wish Geri got it though)
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Aug 29 2019, 08:19 PM
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I still hear 'Ooh La La' around a lot, and even people singing it from time to time. I wouldn't say it's forgotten, but then maybe it is entirely down to that Budweiser advert. laugh.gif
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gabry
post Tuesday, 12:03 PM
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thanks jay for these info, it's true for a few copies geri not touch 'the number 1 but a number 2 is a great result, (i always hope in a chart error as it was' for mel b with word up haha)
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