Do you know which song is number one in Ireland today? The official charts don’t hold quite as much sway today as they once did. When Bryan Adams’ (Everything I Do) I Do It For You remained at number one in Ireland for three entire months in the summer of 1991, it was news. And those of disco-going age at the time will remember it dominated the highly-anticipated slow set.
or those who celebrated their Leaving Cert results that night in August 1991 it likely evokes particular memories. The day you get your Leaving Cert results – whether they’re good, bad, or somewhere in between – is a memorable one and nothing evokes the memory of those celebrations (or drowning of sorrows as the case may be) as strongly as music.
Of course, the Leaving Cert has been an entirely different experience for students this year and the celebrations may be taking a different form but they will probably remember Cardi B featuring Meghan Thee Stallion’s WAP as one of the songs of the Leaving Cert summer. Here’s our annual look back at the tunes that were number one when the Leaving Cert results were issued, from the early 1980s to today.
A 34 week strike meant there was no chart in Ireland in 1980 but in the UK ABBA’s The Winner Takes It All was number one.
Shakin Stevens’ Green Door was number one for three weeks from August 15 having The Streets of New York by The Wolfe Tones off the top spot.
It has since become the definitive wedding song, but back in 1982 Dexys Midnight Runners’ Come on Eileen was bright and shiny and new. You probably found yourself leaping about to Fame by Irene Cara too which was number one the previous week.
For two weeks Wrapped Around Your Finger by The Police was the most in-demand single in the country.
Those who did well probably danced the night away to Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood which was number one until August 18 before being knocked off the top spot by Careless Whisper by George Michael, the perfect morose tune to wallow in if you didn’t do quite so well.
Madonna’s Into the Groove dominated dance floors across the country during the celebrations.
During the era of the slow set, Chris De Burgh’s The Lady in Red was number one for three weeks, allowing many lucky Leaving Certers to get the shift.
Everyone mumbled their version of the Spanish lyrics to La Bamba by Los Lobos. Students of that year will also remember I Just Can’t Stop Loving You by Michael Jackson featuring Siedah Garrett. The following week was the aptly (for some) named What Have I Done to Deserve This by The Pet Shop Boys featuring Dusty Springfield.
Don’t deny it – you did Kylie’s The Locomotion on the local dance floor that night. Yes, you did. Paddy Reilly’s Flight of the Earls and Yazz and the Plastic Population’s The Only Way Is Up will probably bring you right back too.
Another aptly-title tune, Swing the Mood by Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, beat Bros’ Too Much to the top spot.
The same song that had been the anthem of the exams was still number one when the results landed. It was the year of Italia 90 and Put Em Under Pressure (remember the Ooh Aah bit?) from the Republic of Ireland Football Squad was number one for 13 weeks. This one allowed manys a student to let off a bit of pent up steam.
Lots of lucky lads and ladies got the shift thanks to Bryan Adams this summer. It was number one for a whopping three months…
As dance music emerged on the Irish scene Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap! clogged up the dance floors from Dingle to Dublin to Dunfanaghy. Jimmy Nail’s Ain’t No Doubt was also doing the rounds.
4 Non Blondes’ What’s Up was around for a month, followed by Freddie Mercury’s Living On My Own, which some of you probably were by that point.
The phenomenon that was Riverdance dominated for four months. Bill Whelan’s musical masterpiece had been number one from the time of the exams to the results and beyond. Did you lash out an aul 1-2-3 on the dance floor? Of course you did.
Everyone chanted Blur’s Country House out on nights out unless they were Oasis fans in which case they rolled their eyes and downed their Woodies raspberry in one.
The Spice Girls launched on the scene with the eminently sing-alongable Wannabe. ‘ I wanna ah I wanna ah I wanna zig a zig ah’, or something.
Leaving Cert students all got morose together with Puff Daddy & Faith Evans I’ll Be Missing You as they contemplated life without their bessie school mates attached to their hips. Sob.
No Matter What by Boyzone was number one for a month.
‘Chicka cha, chicka cha, chicka cha ha ha…’
It was the era of the boyband. The reign of Boyzone continued as Ronan Keating’s When You Say Nothing at All hit number one the week before the results and he was ousted by Brian McFadden-era Westlife and If I Let You Go. It’s the one where they all paddle at the beach without rolling up their trousers.
Robbie Williams dance floor filler Rock DJ was number one for three weeks.
‘Wave your hands if you’re not with a man’ – swoon.
Another soon-to-be wedding reliable, the upbeat Hey Baby (Uhh, Ahh) from DJ Otzi, was number one for a month much to the students’ delight.
Were you singing the lyrics, “You’re a song written by the hands of God/Don’t get me wrong ’cause this might sound to you a bit odd/But you own the place where all my thoughts go hiding/Right under your clothes, is where I find them”? Yes, you were. Shakira was number one for two weeks.
XTM and Fly on the Wings of Love reigned. But it was also the summer of Crazy in Love by Beyonce and Jay Z.
Are those pan pipes?
Remember Dragostea Din Tei from O-Zone? Even if you think you don’t, you do. Have a listen:
Did you mouth the words to stalker anthem You’re Beautiful by James Blunt at your crush across the crowded dance floor?
Shakira was back with Wyclef Jean and Hips Don’t Lie prompting mass, questionable hips shaking. By the weekend it had been usurped by Cascada’s Everytime We Touch.
If you were pedantic about grammar you refused to sing The Way I Are by Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson, D.O.E, Sebastian. You nerd.
Kid Rock’s All Summer Long was the perfect anthem for the exam results.
Ditto The Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling which was number one for a month in 2009. Was this really an entire decade ago?
Eminem and Rihanna were number one for two weeks with Love the Way You Lie.
You probably tried to pull some Moves Like Jagger as Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera hit number one. It had ousted The Wanted and Glad You Came from the top spot.
Rita Ora’s aptly-titled How We Do (Party) was number one followed by Little Talks from Of Monsters and Men on August 16.
Everyone partied to Avicii’s Wake Me Up!
It was Milky Chance and Stolen Dance for two weeks in 2014.
Marvin Gaye by Charlie Puth featuring Meghan Trainor was number one until August 20 when it was knocked down by The Weeknd’s hit Can’t Feel My Face.
‘Let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on’. Indeed they did.
Major Lazer featuring Justin Bieber and MØ were number one with Cold Water for the month of August.
The Leaving Cert students of 2017 were shaking their bits to Despacito courtesy of Luis Fonsi/Daddy Yankee/Justin Bieber. It had spent 15 weeks at number one from early May so it was the anthem of the entire Leaving Cert journey.
The number one was George Ezra’s Shotgun. However, you were more likely to have been throwing a few shapes to Drake’s In My Feelings, which is sitting at No 2, or Jonas Blue’s Rise ft Jack & Jack at No 3 or No 4 – DJ Khaled’s No Brainer featuring Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper and Quavo.
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello were top of the charts this time last year.