REWIND: Faithless - 'Insomnia' (Monster Mix)

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that entered the charts this week in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

The UK singles chart from 20 years ago this week (20 - 26 October 1996) featured a varied mixture of the great and not so great. We'll focus only on the great ones. See the full chart rundown from that week HERE.

Here's a legendary dance track that catapulted London-based Faithless into the upper reaches of the mainstream. I'd be VERY surprised if any of you were unaware of this massive floorfiller. One memory of this song involves me and my childish school classmates laughing at the line about "making mad love on the heath, tearing off tights with my teeth". The band formed in 1995, and consisted of vocalist Maxi Jazz, producer Rollo (real name Rowland Constantine O'Malley Armstrong), and the multi-talented Sister Bliss, who constructed most of the music herself electronically, also adding piano, violin, saxophone and bass guitar. The trio were also joined by songwriter Jamie Catto and bassist Aubrey Nunn, who was also a member of indie band Heavy Stereo, who were led by future Oasis/Beady Eye man Gem Archer.

Faithless released their debut single 'Salva Mea' in 1995, which reached number 9 in the UK singles chart. It was followed the same year by the classic 'Insomnia', which reached number 27 upon its initial release. The song became a massive hit in clubs, and after its popularity grew, 'Insomnia' was re-released in October 1996, reaching number 3 in the UK singles charts. 
It features Maxi Jazz singing from the viewpoint of an insomniac while he struggles to sleep. The subject matter was one that many dance music enthusiasts could relate to, since use of ecstasy and other stimulants were common in club/rave culture, with insomnia being a common side effect. The original version of the track can be found on the band's 1995 debut album 'Reverence'. 

Faithless went on to release five studio albums (all of which either went Gold or Platinum in the UK), plus a number of compilations and remix albums, before splitting in 2011. Sister Bliss is also a prolific club DJ and remixer, while Maxi Jazz has also been involved in the world of motor racing and formed a new band Maxi Jazz and the E-Type Boys in 2015. As well as remixing and producing for other artists, Rollo founded the record label Cheeky Records in 1991, and co-wrote Felix's 1992 hit 'Don't You Want Me'. As well as releasing tracks under his own name, he has also been a member of dance acts such as Dusted, High On Love, Mr V, Huff and Puff, Our Tribe, The OT Quartet and Stoned Love. Rollo is also the brother of the singer Dido. Jamie Catto left Faithless in 1999 and formed 1 Giant Leap, who collaborated with a massive and diverse range of artists and vocalists. Aubrey Nunn has also worked with the likes of Tim Booth, Santana, R. Kelly and many others, while also working as an A and R man, a producer, and as a teacher in Thailand.

After breaking up in 2011, Faithless got back together only a few years later in 2015 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band.