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Cher's Legendary Comeback Single and Certifiable Anthem of 1998, Believe, Turns 15 Years Old.

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It’s 15 years since Cher’s 1.7 million-selling hit – and the most famous use of auto-tune ever – topped the charts.

There are three kinds of comeback in the pop arena. The first: an artist releases a comeback single, nobody cares and it fades away. The second: the comeback single does OK and everyone’s very happy indeed. The third? Cher.

Cher is no stranger to chart success. By 1998, she was celebrating over 30 years of hits, including three chart-toppers. Her most recent single had been a cover of The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore, a Number 1 for the Walker Brothers in 1966. It reached Number 26 for Cher, but every pop star wants to be Number 1 – and Cher is no exception.

So with that in mind, the pop legend teamed up with Brian Higgins, who’d just enjoyed success with the might Dannii Minogue and her Number 4 hit from 1997, All I Wanna Do.
Brian and his crack team of songwriting boffins – who would go on to work with a plethora of popstars including Girls Aloud and The Saturdays – worked away to create an instant classic, but few could have foreseen just how big the track was going to be.

Ladies and gentlemen, do you Believe in life after love? Cher did. And so did the record-buying public (you, basically). Cher was back! Back! BACK! And she meant business. Thanks to a deadly combination of a word-famous singing megastar, a dance beat and some serious auto-tune effects, a hit was born.

Believe stormed straight into the top of the Official Singles Chart in October 1998 and this week back in ’98 it was halfway through its impressive run. Cher refused to budge from Number 1 for an astonishing SEVEN weeks. Believe would sell an incredible 1 million copies by the end of the year and was the best selling single of 1998. It has gone on to shift over 1.7 million copies and is the biggest selling single by a female solo artist in the UK ever. Ever!

Watch Cher’s triumphant classic before we count down the rest of the retro Top 5 this week in 1998.

If you’re going to be held off the top spot by somebody, it might as well be Cher, and Steps were the third act to be pipped at the post by Believe. Steps were famous – some might say notorious – for their dance routines, and Tragedy was the most memorable of them all. Released as a double-A side (ask your mum) with Heartbeat, Tragedy was a faithful, yet totally nineties, cover of the Bee Gees Number 1 from 1979. While Lisa, ‘H’, Lee, Faye and Claire were probably disappointed to miss out on matching the Bee Gees’ record, they had reason to cheer when, 1 after bouncing up and down the Top 10 for another seven weeks, it finally hit Number 1 in January 1999. We may well come back to them later…

At Number 3, Stereophonics celebrated their first Top 10, and indeed Top 3 hit, with The Bartender And The Thief. Their previous singles had made the Top 40 four times, but this latest hit set a trend for the Welsh rockers – they went on to have ten more Top 10s, including a Number 1 in 2005: Dakota. That Number 1 would, coincidentally, be their last Top 10 – they haven’t reached it since.

At Number 4, The Tamperer followed up their huge chart-topper Feel It with If You Buy This Record Your Life Will Be Better, a canny marketing ruse if ever we saw one. Sadly, it wasn’t quite good enough to take the track, featuring singer Maya, to Number 1. It would peak at Number 3 and has sold over 280,000 copies. Not bad, eh?

And rounding off the Top 5 was another comeback, but not quite of Cher proportions. Three members of the successful boyband East 17 reformed and renamed themselves E-17. Brian, John and Terry decided they could do it without songwriter Tony and managed to reach Number 2 – they were foiled by the mighty Believe. They followed it up with one more Top 40 hit, Betcha Can’t Wait, but disbanded in 1999. Awww. John and Terry kissed and made up with Tony and reformed for a tour in 2010
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