The Best of British 2012 is our unofficial countdown of the top ten UK a cappella tracks of the past year. Over the next few weeks leading up to the Christmas period, we will be counting down, from ten to one, what we believe have been the best tracks on show this year, ranging from awesome arrangements, sensational solos, marvellous mash-ups, punny parodies and everything in between.
In order to determine which tracks were to be considered for this accolade, we decided to restrict our selections to songs that fell under ONE or BOTH of the following categories:
a) A song that made its live debut in 2012
b) A song that was featured on a 2012 album
For example, although all of the tracks featured on The Accidentals‘ EP made their debuts at the 2011 Voice Festival, because the album was released in 2012, all of the tracks on the album were considered. Also, several tracks were considered that were not released on albums, for example songs by The Oxford Belles or The Sons of Pitches from their 2012 repertoire.
We made a list of all the eligible songs from all the eligible groups, and then picked the top three tracks from each group, where possible. We then narrowed this shortlist down to 25, before picking our 10 favourite tracks. Opinions were divided, scores were combined, and in the end there was only one winner. But who will it be?
The countdown continues here:
6. The Oxford Gargoyles – Dancing in the Moonlight
Dancing smoothly into the half -way spot is the second track from The Oxford Gargoyles, their mash-up of Toploader’s Dancing in the Moonlight. A real cracker of a blend, it incorporates Ain’t No Mountain, I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Fight For This Love and Tears Dry On Their Own, and seamlessly jumbles them all together with a typical Gargoyles’ jazzy twist to form a track that is perhaps one of the best arrangements on our countdown.
Arranging maestro Euan Campbell found the mash-up came about rather spontaneously though: “It developed quite naturally over time – I definitely didn’t intend to mash five songs together at first! The addition of each track came upon the realisation that the chord sequences were the same. Thing Called Love was originally intended to be a stand alone track, but once I sat down to work out the chords, I figured out they were the same. I was reluctant to add Cheryl Cole into the mix because it’s not really our style, but I gave in eventually. Tears was a very late addition.” The hardest part was the very end, claims Campbell. “When you attempt to sing all five songs together, it’s a completely different kettle of fish. The chord sequences aren’t EXACTLY the same, as you can tell when you listen to the bass line at the back end of the track, but after a lot of playing about, I eventually found a suitable combination!”
The song made its debut at the Voice Festival UK Oxford Regional in 2012, and although Campbell claims it was far from their best performance of the song, it still received a semi-standing ovation. “It arrived quite late into our repertoire, because the arrangement was only completely finished by January of this year. As such, it does seem like we’re saying goodbye to it a little too soon!” The rehearsal process of the song was apparently quite a comical one: “No-one knew quite what to expect from it after I had been raving about it for so long, and it really was a joy to learn because it had so many twists and turns.” The last performance of the song was at the BBC Choir of the Year final, and Campbell says there couldn’t have been a better send off for the number. “Singing the song on national television was unbelievable, and perhaps a fitting way to say goodbye to it.”
The song has been subject to much acclaim since its introduction into the Goyles’ repertoire, and Campbell claims it’s the varied nature of the song that is the cause of this. “So much is packed in that it’s impossible to get bored!” The Goyles’ energetic nature and utter commitment when performing this song, coupled with their tone, diction and choreography, have made this number one of the stand out tracks of the year.
You can buy Dancing in The Moonlight, as well as the rest of the Gargoyles’ album, Up The Scale right here.