Backstreet boys

Flashback Issue #1, 1999: Backstreet Boys

The Backstreet Boys’ first UK No. 1 had been in the works for a long time. Released this week in May 1999, the track was the American boyband’s trailer for their third album and followed a string of hits (seven, to be exact) which, while popular, didn’t quite have the muscle for take them to the end. high.

The spell was finally broken with I Want It That Way, which rose to the top of the Official Singles Chart by selling just under 94,000 copies – finishing 33,000 ahead of their closest competitor, Irish boyband Westlife with their debut single Swear It Again, which had been number 1 the previous week. Beyond the UK, it has reached No. 1 in over 25 countries.

IWITW was produced by Max Martin, who had worked with the band since their self-titled debut in 1996. The track was introduced to the band during a two-week recording session in Max’s hometown Stockholm, and was completed in two quick days.

While the band knew they were on to a hit, their label Jive weren’t so convinced and were keen to lead their new album with Larger Than Life, which continued the failsafe formula of their previous hits. IWITW was a mid-tempo mature ballad (its acoustic intro was apparently inspired by Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters) with lyrics that ultimately made no sense. Who would want to listen to this? Millions, as it turned out.

IWITW sold 423,000 copies by the end of 1999, finishing as the 35th best-selling single in the UK that year. Total UK chart sales to date stand at 1.38 million, including 100 million streams since 2014. The song’s parent album, Millennium, spawned three more Top 10 hits, but IWITW was to be their only number 1, making it their signature hit in the UK. (although it’s a close battle with Backstreet’s Back).

Elsewhere in the Top 40 that week, British trio 911 completed an all-boys Top 3 with their cover of Private Number (the band’s final Top 10 before calling it a day later that year) , and Stereophonics landed a Top 5 with Pick A Part which is new at number 4.

Further down, Bryan Adams scored his tenth Top 10 with Cloud Number 9, and British girl group Fierce just missed out on a Top 10 debut with Dayz Like That.

See this week’s Top 100 Official Singles Chart for 1999

Listen to this week’s 2000 Official Singles Chart on Spotify below. Also available on Apple Music | Deezer