Cornershop's ode to filmic escapism, Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle and 7in singles has to be one of the most unexpected chart-toppers in history – a testament to pop music's strange currencies. This was a band, after all, that began life in protest at the apolitical nature of British music, that once wore their musical ineptitude on their sleeves and whose name inverted a whitey slur against British Asians. When Brimful of Asha was first released in 1997, it barely scraped the top 70. But by the time Fatboy Slim had given the slouchy original a big-beat makeover, its added bounce and puzzling lyrics took the indie underdogs to the masses, kicking Céline Dion's Titanic anthem to the kerb and introducing the phrase "everybody needs a bosom for a pillow" to the nation's playgrounds.
The best No 1 records: Cornershop – Brimful of Asha
Malik Meer is the Guardian's west coast editor based in the US