2020 has been a weird year hasn’t it? Well, it gets weirder because 2020 is the year that pop/rock band McFly decided to make their comeback after several years of passive-aggressively telling their fans to back off and be patient.
Full disclosure: I love McFly. I’ve got all their albums and I’ve seen them live (and will do again provided the government doesn’t force the four of them to retrain for a career in cyber). I admittedly had forgotten however, that in their hey-day McFly racked up seven number one hits. Seven!
So in honour of their upcoming sixth album (seventh if you include the ‘Lost Songs’ they released last year), I’m going to rank all seven of their number one singles to find out which McFly song is the pick of the crop.
7. Please, Please (2006)
I’m not entirely sure how this song got to number one. It was released as a double A-side (because that was still a ‘thing’ back in 2006) along with their Sport Relief cover of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.
Firstly I should say that nobody can touch Queen but in fairness McFly give it good crack but the main attraction here is Please, Please the fast-paced, guitar heavy blast about drummer Harry Judd’s alleged romp with Lindsey Lohan. It’s a weird song that doesn’t sound like the sort of thing you’d release as a single and is one that the band themselves seem uninterested in reprising with it rarely featuring in any of their sets since the Motion in the Ocean tour.
6. Transylvania (2006)
If I was ranking these on how much I actually like the song this one would probably top the list. Unfortunately for Transylvania this list is all about how good a number one single each song is and this song has the dubious honour of being the biggest dropping number one single in UK chart history (hooray?) falling from #1 all the way to #20 the following week.
It’s another song that sounds more like an album track than a single, and it also shares its A-side billing with a cover: Jellyfish’s Baby’s Coming Back which is perfectly ‘alright’ by McFly but not a patch on the original which is a bop.
Unlike Please, Please however, Transylvania is a crowd-pleaser and regularly performed at McFly gigs (back when they used to do gigs). The more up-to-date arrangement of the song is actually pretty awesome and better than the original – check out their Anthology tour version or their Royal Albert Hall performance.
5. Obviously (2004)
The follow-up single to their debut smash 5 Colours in her Hair, Obviously was the band’s first ‘proper’ single. An easy ballad that was radio-friendly enough to warrant airplay (you’d think – the radios never really got on board with McFly) it hit number one for a week, sandwiched between Britney’s ‘Everytime’ and Usher’s ‘Burn’.
Obviously may be one of the band’s more famous tracks but overall it just doesn’t have the lasting appeal of the next four number ones.
4. I’ll Be OK (2005)
McFly released their second album Wonderland in 2005 and were desperately hoping not to fall foul of the dreaded ‘second album syndrome’ following the success of their debut album. They needn’t have worried, Wonderland became their second UK number one album and the lead single off the album – I’ll Be OK – became their fourth number one.
Featuring lyrics that include “…overhead the skies are clear but it still seems to rain on you” and “it’s been so long now you’ve forgotten how to smile” the McFly boys were a touch ahead of their time with this cheery ode to beating the blues and dealing with depression, and it was a step up thematically from their first album where their biggest hardship was convincing a girl that she’s “better off when Daddy’s not around”.
This is probably the most underrated of their number ones, despite its cheesy lyrics it still holds up well after all these years. In fact, fifteen years later the boys are still waxing lyrical (ish) about picking themselves up on their latest single Tonight is the Night* which features lyrics that are somehow even more on the nose than those of I’ll Be OK (scared of asking for help for my own mental health – wow, read between the lines people). It just shows that the message of this number one still resonates today.
*Tonight is the Night is actually a banger
3. 5 Colours in her Hair (2004)
The debut single that launched McFly’s career. If you didn’t dance along like a maniac when this dropped at the student union then you were either a) one of those lost mature students or b) deprived as a tween/teen (in which case, I’m sorry).
Everything about this song screams one-hit-wonder: the guitar hook; the doo-doo-doos; the bizarre concept (a girl with no name but a wigful of colours). When McFly burst onto the pop scene with 5 Colours many dismissed them as an inferior version of Busted (who sang about more serious issues like air hostesses and time travel) but instead they hit number one with their debut single and album (beating the Beatles as the youngest band to have an album debut at number one).
5 Colours sounds just as good today as it did when it first came out – which is impressive since the production value of their first album was admittedly not that great. Today it would be remiss of McFly to leave it off a setlist and their extended, more rock influenced version of the song that has become their go-to version is just as good as the original.
2. All About You (2005)
Probably their best known song, All About You has become synonymous with McFly. Released as the official Comic Relief single it was knocked off the number one spot a week later by the unofficial single Is This the Way to Amarillo by Tony Christie, mimed by Peter Kay and all your other BBC favourites (except Jimmy Savile, ugh).
Being usurped by Mr Blobby didn’t have as devastating an impact on All About You as you may think, it went on to be McFly’s biggest selling single and is their only song to achieve a Platinum sales certificate.
Still favouring the double A-side gimmick, the boys also release a bland version of You’ve Got a Friend (the Carole King version, not Toy Story) but it’s safe to say that All About You did more than enough to warrant sole A-side billing.
1. Star Girl (2006)
McFly’s best number one single is officially Star Girl, it has everything a good McFly song should have; silly lyrics, a huge chorus, harmonies, guitars, and a name for their fan base (Galaxy Defenders…shrug).
Star Girl stayed at number one for two weeks, received Radio 1 playtime (one of only a handful of McFly tunes to do so) and was even played in space by NASA to wake up sleeping astronauts (which I’m sure they loved).
McFly still play this on the regular on tour and even did a version of it during their recent BBC Radio 2 live set. You feel they could release this tomorrow and still have a good crack at the number one spot which is why it has to rank as the best of McFly’s number one singles.
Agree? Disagree? Is there a McFly single out there that deserved number one more than one of these lucky seven? Let me know in the comments below!