The Number One Song In Heaven

Album: No. 1 in Heaven (1979)
Charted: 14
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Songfacts®:

  • In 1978 Ron and Russell Mael were at a crossroads. They had grown tired of their operatic pomp rock and were looking for a new format. After they heard Giorgio Moroder's iconic production on Donna Summer's 1977 hit "I Feel Love," they decided they'd found their new direction and ditched their guitars for synthesizers and sequencers.

    After expressing admiration for Moroder to a German journalist, the Mael brothers discovered he was a friend of his, and the journalist was able to link them with the Italian producer. In 1978, Sparks and Moroder began work on what would become No. 1 in Heaven.
  • Released as the album's second single, "The Number One Song in Heaven" became Sparks' first Top 40 hit in the UK since "Looks, Looks, Looks," which reached #26 four years previously.
  • Ron Mael's witty lyrics recount what happens when the most popular song in heaven makes its way to Earth.
  • The song's synth-based sound was influential on '80s new wave bands such as Depeche Mode and Duran Duran, Other electronic acts such as Pet Shop Boys and Eurythmics also noted that a band didn't necessarily have to comprise four or five guys; it could be just two people with electronic gear. Said Ron Mael to Uncut magazine: "It was interesting as people weren't only emulating what we were doing musically, but also the persona of the duo – the stoic keyboard player and a hyper singer. So that became a template."
  • Sparks re-recorded the song in 1997, this time reaching #70 in the UK.
  • The song plays during the closing credits of the 2013 film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

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