On A Night Like This (S Torch/M Taylor/G Stack/B Rawling)- Kylie Minogue and Kids (R Williams/G Chambers) – Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams 2000 and Please Stay (K Minogue/R Stanned/J Gallagher/ J Themis) 2000 and Your Disco Needs You (K Minogue/ G Chambers/R Williams) – Kylie Minogue 2001.
Following the global success of Spinning Around, Kylie’s international comeback as a dance floor diva had been as stunning as it was unexpected, barely three months later she had gone into the Dreamhouse Studios in London with producers/songwriters Graham Stack and Mark Taylor to record On a Night Like This, a song co-written by Steve Torch and Brian Rawling. This song was not originally written for Kylie, as it had already been recorded by two other female singers, in 1999 Swedish disco diva Pandora recorded her version and in 2000 celebrated Cypriot singer Anna Vissi recorded the song, and performed it at the Miss Universe Beauty pageant, held in Nicosia that year.
Two of the co-composers of this song, Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling (L-R above), had built their reputation on the stunning comeback single Believe for Cher, some two years earlier, which they had co-produced. The record was notable not only for the fact that Cher’s vocals were entirely processed via Auto-Tune to produce an-other-worldly vocal effect, that was both beguiling and mesmerizing, but that the record notched up global sales of 11 million copies.
This made Cher the only performer to have #1 hits in the USA that were 24 years apart- Dark Lady (#1, in ‘74) and Believe (#1 in ’98), Believe sold 1.8 million copies in the UK alone and Kylie’s team took notice of this.
Of the previous versions of this song it was Pandora’s Europop dance version that most closely resembled Minogue’s version, the thumping bassline beautifully underscored Kylie’s sinuously sexy vocals, while the backing vocals provided by Kylie and Tracey Ackerman were Auto-Tuned to produce trance-like/robotic sounds that insinuated themselves between Mark Taylor’s blissful keyboards and a hypnotic string arrangement. The video clip was also sophisticated and star-studded, featuring a ruggedly-ageing Rutger Hauer and Kylie in a vignette inspired by Martin Scorcese’s 1995 movie Casino, there were three versions of the clip, with one featuring nude scenes with Minogue, that has not been generally released.
On a Night Like This charted top five in Australia, UK, Ukraine, and Romania, sold over 400,000 copies when it was the second single lifted from Kylie’s Light Years album, later in 2000 Kylie Minogue would perform to her biggest television audience of four billion people at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, she sang – On A Night Like This.
A duet between Kylie and Robbie Williams seemed obvious, she was powering back into the charts and his recent smash hits Rock DJ and the album Sing When Your Winning, saw him showered with MTV and Brit Awards, the duet Kids had already appeared on albums by Williams – Sing When Your Winning, and Minogue – Light Years, but never as a single. The press wanted the two to have a romantic involvement, but it was really just business as usual for the two singers who flirted and sashayed to the raunchy, funky beat, whilst having a wordy duel about how incompatible they actually were, it was good fun, and it charted #2 in the UK and #14 in Australia. The lyrics are quite self-referential and namecheck events in their respective careers, there is a self-deprecating reference by Minogue to her “singing budgie” days, when contrasting her style with Aussie bad-boy rockers AC/DC, and their smash hit album, Back in Black.
Robbie Williams would again duet with another Australian female on his next album, Swing While Your Winning, when he and Nicole Kidman would take their cover of Somethin’ Stupid to the top of the charts for a global million- seller in 2001.
Kylie was dipping her toe back into films again with a brilliant vignette in Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 Moulin Rouge, when he cast her as the fiendish absinthe fairy – addictive, decadent, and deranging. Kylie the hallucinatory green pixie, wriggled out of the absinthe bottle, did a bump and grind, morphed into a chorus of lookalikes as the drug went to work on Ewan McGregor, then screeched towards him, fangs bared and febrile wings buzzing like a manic mosquito -it was her most impressive movie role to date. Above – Kylie’s Absinthe Fairy.
Please Stay was the fourth single lifted from the Light Years album and it featured a strong Latin-pop style, and lyrically a poignant plea by the diva to a much-adored lover “I lose every time I’m near you… “, the light, fast, acoustic flamenco sound, backed by a thumping beat overlaid with soothing, inviting vocals from Minogue, further displayed Kylie’s pop versatility. The music video opened with Minogue driving a car through the night, intercut with images of her lying on a round rotating bed, wearing a revealing silk mini-dress, a candelabra reveals a fireman’s pole within the wall, which she slides down, emerging on the other side of an underground room filled with partygoers. Kylie commences a dance routine around a pool table and the clip fades out over images of a pinball machine featuring the cover of her Light Years album. It charted #15 in Aust and #10 in the UK, and was top 40 in several European countries, to be a minor hit for Kylie.
Your Disco Needs You was written especially for Kylie Minogue by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers but it was never released as a single in the UK, in a serious misstep by her record company Parlophone, because it was felt that it would further stereotype Kylie’s appeal – as a gay icon! The song was deliberately, and joyously campy, Kylie delivers a fiery speech in French exhorting her fellow clubbers “You are never alone/ You know what to do/ Do not abandon your people/ Your disco needs you” in a storm- the-Bastille battle cry. The song was only released in Europe and Australia where it charted top 40 in Germany, Switzerland and Poland and #20 in Aust. Musically it merged Village People backing vocals, an Abba-esque chorus, strings from Gloria Summer’s I Will Survive, with a Pet Shop Boys Go West ambience, and may well have been the #1 hit that Kylie should have had at the time. But in 2019 this song would take its place in Minogue’s definitive hits collection Step Back In Time, which would top the charts in the UK and Australia.
The music video for this song remains a largely undiscovered gem, given the limited release of the single, but it was a great over-the-top banger which was set to the Casino Radio & Club Remix of the song. Filmed in Los Angeles in 2000 it paid homage to the discotheques of the 1970’s, featuring an array of Minogue clones, Busby Berkeley-like formations, and Minogue appearing in a variety of costumes including an Uncle Sam Stars and Stripes outfit, coupled with a black leather whip/cane, and a black-and-white striped dress teamed with a black bondage cape – campy as hell, but sheer fun! Kylie also namechecked the board game Scrabble in this song, she is an avid player, and this was the first time the word “scrabble” appeared in a popular song “Desperately seeking someone willing to travel/ You’re a loss at conversation and useless at scrabble…”
Kylie’s love life had been a source of endless fascination for the UK tabloids so they were anxious to know who would replace Stephane Sednaoui at Kylie’s side, and in 2000, 28- year-old model James Gooding emerged as her new beau, they had met at the 2000 Brit Awards and she described him as her “delightful scruff from Essex”.(Minogue and Gooding above). But some of Gooding’s previous girlfriends weren’t so charitable, Martine McCutcheon said he was “cheap and disgusting”, Victoria Harrison called him a “pathetic loser”, and others agreed he was a world-class flirt who was not to be trusted, their three -year relationship would be closely scrutinized, and end badly in 2003