As August comes to an end, it’s time to finally declare Kylie’s “Padam Padam” the song of the summer. But some people believe it could have been an even bigger hit.
When Kylie released the earworm in May, the collective queer hearts of the internet went “Padam Padam” in unison. The memes came in their thousands, and the song made its way on to the playlist at pretty much every Pride event, festival, party and wedding since.
It became Kylie’s biggest hit in years.
In the UK, it initially landed in the Top 40 at number 26, before crawling its way into the Top 10 – becoming the “Spinning Around” star’s highest charting song in more than 10 years.
In the US, too, it was a relative smash. For the first time in more than 20 years, the Aussie pop princess scored a top 40 hit. It became official: “Padam Padam” was everywhere, from on stage at the American Idol finale, to the aisles of art shop Hobby Craft in Wimbledon, south west London.
Kylie’s follow-up single “Tension” is out today (31 August), and features on her new album of the same name, which is due to hit the shops on 22 September. In December, she’ll host a one-off TV special, An Audience with Kylie, before heading stateside for an eagerly anticipated Las Vegas residency.
Despite the success enjoyed by “Padam”, the pop scientists behind the hit have suggested that it could have been even bigger, if only radio shows had paid it its dues.
Following the single becoming a viral sensation, Kylie fans were surprised and angry that it wasn’t being played on some of the UK’s best-known radio stations.
“We were trying to get it played on the radio,” said the song’s writer and producer, Lostboy, aka Pete Rycroft, in an interview with The Independent.
“It was everywhere, everyone was talking about it and it was at least top two in the charts, but Radio 1 and Capital were refusing to play it, essentially because she’s an older woman,” he claimed.
Kylie devotees also believed that casual ageism and sexism were behind the lack of air play, although, at the time, a BBC Radio 1 spokesperson denied this.
“Each track is considered for the playlist based on its musical merit and whether it is right for our target audience, with decisions made on a case-by-case basis,” they said in a statement.
But, for Ryecroft, it was “clear as day” as to why the song wasn’t being played.
“There are other 55-year-old artists, David Guetta for example, and he’s all over the radio, because he’s a bloke and he’s got some amazing tunes. ‘Padam’ should have been on there from the beginning and it’s just a reflection on Radio 1,” he said
After fan uproar, the BBC radio station eventually put the track on its C List, meaning it would be played “around five times in a week”, according to the BBC website.
For Rycroft, that wasn’t reflective of the song’s monster reception and chart potential.
“I’ve had songs that were way less of a social phenomenon that were straight on to the A list,” he claimed. “C list feels like a bit of an insult, but it was a small victory for her.”
While fans and the “Padam Padam” creators were understandably a little disappointed with the limited radio play, it’s unlikely Kylie is too worried about it now.
With a new album on the horizon and a diary pretty much full well into 2024, she’s enjoying one of the most exciting periods of her career – more than 45 years since bursting on to TV screens in Australian soap Neighbours.
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