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Back to NOW!

44 EpisodesProduced by Pop RamblerWebsite

Celebrating all things related to the variously compiled world of pop. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


NOW 58 - Summer ‘04: Michael Cragg


This episode contains scenes of graphic and often gratuitous pop perfection. Listener discretion is advised.

Summer 2004. 

The wettest summer in the UK for fifty years, and with it being another three years before Rihanna invents the umbrella, there is a need for something more drastic to help dodge the dampness. 

So where does one shelter from the storm? 

Well, certainly not the World Cup, at the cinema it’s a web-spinning yawn with Spider-Man 2 and TV offers up the first Strictly winning couple….who were of course…erm…shuffles notes…any-way…

Of course, the real protection from a soggy summer is always POP and who better to serve up a slice of the latest and greatest top chart hits, than the ever resplendent NOW, Thats What I Call Music team, with it’s 58th wonderful offering of 42 tracks. Phew, what a scorcher!

(Adopts serious journalistic look) 

But what was the state of the pop landscape in the year 2004?

Actually, let’s not beat about the proverbial bush, Smash Hits would have confirmed at the top of its glittery lungs, Very Healthy Indeed, thankyouverymuch.

The wizardry of pop’s perfect professors such as Richard X and Xenomania were dazzling us with their weird and wonderful masterpieces as served up deliciously by the likes of Rachel (it’s not anything like Goldfrapp) Stevens, Girls (who sang that line, Miranda?) Aloud and Sugababes version 2.0 (or was it 3.4?). 

Jamelia, Kelis and Christina Millian were proving that the girls could indeed more than hold their own with their ‘flavas’ (really - ED?) of r’n’b. And ver lads McFly and Busted (only slightly conjoined, obviously) were reclaiming power pop, silly hairstyles, big eyebrows and reinventing the boyband in the process - again, with full apologies to anyone who was on ‘that’ Air France flight (yeuch!)

And of course there was SO much more! Franz Ferdinand and Scissor Sisters continuing to sell supermarket CDs to everyone, George Michael flying a flawless flag, Britney being weird, delicate and dead all at once and some couple called Eamon and Frankee, who weren’t a couple at all, were very potty mouthed and (checks notes) WON STRICTLY! Possibly.

So, who better to steer us through this spectacular summer of sonic supremacy than writer, journalist and tall person Michael Cragg. In celebration of Michael’s utterly smashing book Reach For The Stars, Fame, Fallout and Pop’s Final Party 1996-2006, we explore the stories behind many of the tracks on NOW58, a time of pop perfection but as always much, much more behind the curtain. Michael also reveals his first (king of) pop passions, how he escaped a shoe shop to discover his own musical journey and why Louis Walsh (and not for the first time) was very wrong about pop indeed!

Along the way expect memorable and possibly even knowing nods towards Popjustice, MySpace, CDUK, Geri Halliwells’s dogs, Kimberley the BOSS and absolutely nothing about The Rasmus, O-Zone or Fatman Scoop. 

Was it all a sugar-induced, pop fever dream? Possibly, but isn’t it fun after all these years later heading back for one more bite…? 

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

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