Ultimate Kylie

Released by Parlophone in November 2004. Liner notes with Neil Rees (with thanks to Tom Parker).

Ultimate Kylie

When Kylie Minogue signed to Parlophone Records in 1999, she was told they did not have anyone quite like her on their label. Then at the age of thirty-two and on the verge of the most successful so-called ‘comeback’ in recent show business history, she responded with a mixture of shyness and uncharacteristic confidence: “Nor does anyone else”. After more than a decade as a recording artist, she was ready for the next chapter in what has become one of the most well documented fairytales in popular music…

…Kylie’s first album for Parlophone was an obvious bid to come up with the most perfect collection of disco pop songs. Released in June 2000, the lead single from Light Years was Spinning Around, an almost deliberate homage to her PWL days, albeit with an ironic wink. It propelled Kylie back to the top of the charts, and according to statistics, meant that Kylie, alongside Madonna, was now the only other female artist to have had number ones in the eighties, nineties and noughties. And if there was any doubt over the success of Spinning Around being a passing return to glory, it was soon disproved with follow-up On A Night Like This, debuting at # 2 in the UK, and # 1 in Australia. Fuelled by her appearance at the Sydney Olympics, where she performed the song alongside her explosive rendition of Abba’s Dancing Queen in front of 4 billion people, the song reclaimed pole position in Australia for a second time.

A last minute addition to the album was Kids. Written by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers solely for Kylie, Williams liked the track so much, he suggested that he and Kylie turn it into a duet. This, Kylie’s third single with Parlophone, became her third to reach the top 2 since joining the label, and spent a staggering eighteen weeks on the chart. Please Stay would become the final single to be lifted from the album, itself a # 2 smash, although Australia and Germany would go on to be treated to a single release for the ultimate camp classic Your Disco Needs You. Released with a cover of the festive favourite Santa Baby, Please Stay peaked at # 15 in Australia and # 10 in the UK.

Nine months later, Kylie’s next album, the multimillion-selling # 1 Fever was released, along with its lead off single. Written by early-90s pop star Cathy Dennis and former Mud guitarist Rob Davis, Can’t Get You Out Of My Head debuted at # 1 in the UK, and finished the year as Britain’s most played song of 2001. Accompanied by a state-of-the-art video, the single remained in the Top 75 for almost six months and sold over one million copies in the UK alone. Its phenomenal success went global as it topped the charts in every single European country bar Finland and became Kylie’s biggest US hit since The Loco-Motion, peaking at # 7. Now with over four million sales worldwide, Can’t Get You Out Of My Head is the most successful single of Kylie’s career past and present. Its follow-up, In Your Eyes was delayed until February of 2002 because of radio’s reluctance to let go of the track, still to this day one of the most played tracks on the airwaves. When eventually released, In Your Eyes entered the Australian charts at # 1, the fourth time a Kylie record had made its debut in the top slot since 2000. Its UK release became Kylie’s second # 1 radio hit and twenty-second top 10 hit when it entered at # 3.

In May, as Kylie embarked on her much-acclaimed Fever tour, the third single Love At First Sight was released, and became her third consecutive release to top the UK airplay charts. The single went straight in at its highest position of # 3 in the Australian charts and # 2 in the UK. The album’s final release was Come Into My World, which had been a last minute addition to the album. The track had gained momentum when it spectacularly opened the tour, and peaked at # 8 on the UK chart.

Following a twelve-month break at the peak of her success, it is probably true to say that Slow was as eagerly awaited as Spinning Around, and it seamlessly repeated its success. Lifted from Body Language, Kylie’s ninth studio album and a # 6 smash, the track was Kylie’s first self-penned # 1, and with its minimal production was touted as being as risky and groundbreaking in its style as was Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. With its # 1 debut on the singles chart, her seventh to make the top spot, Slow’s riskiness had been rewarded, and gave Kylie the record for the longest span of number one singles in UK chart history.

Red Blooded Woman followed, and with it came another change in direction, this time mixing Kylie’s pop roots with a more Urban approach. Backed by the highly sought-after Chemical Brothers remix of Slow, the single stormed the UK chart at # 5. Written and produced by Johnny Douglas, who had worked with Kylie on Light Years, and former Alisha’s Attic star Karen Poole, the same team were to be responsible for the third and final single to be lifted from Body Language. Chocolate delivered her thirty-seventh UK hit, and twenty-seventh to make the top 10, when it entered the singles chart at # 6 in July 2004…