One of the delights of having The X Factor back on TV is the fleeting appearances of pop king Pete Waterman and the sublime Sinitta in the background of shots. Why these legends aren’t front and centre of the judging panel of the current The X-Factor Celebrity series is a question for another time? Since seeing Sinitta on the flagship ITV programme, we’ve been hooked on listening to the singer’s excellent compilation The Hits + Collection 86-09 and these hits aren’t half bloody wonderful. We thought it was the perfect time to celebrate the vastly underrated music career of pop sensation, palm leaf wearing, gay icon, Sinitta.
The first taste of Sinitta’s debut album (Sinitta!) came in the form of Cruising, a Hi-NRG dance number with lyrical content immediately relatable to the star’s building army of gay fans – or just fans of the 1980 Al Pacino crime thriller. The track also made some lyrical hints to what would become the singer’s most well-known track as she belts out “I’m looking for a macho macho man…”
So Macho (1985)
Perhaps Sinitta’s shining moment, and a massive pop injustice that this never got to #1 in the UK charts, So Macho is undoubtedly a pop masterpiece. From its cheeky lyrical content, Sinitta asserts herself as a woman who knows what she wants as she croons against high octane synths. She’s “after a hunk of a guy, an experienced man of the world.” Aren’t we all sis? This is camp eighties pop at its finest and asserts Sinitta as the pop icon the eighties needed.
Feels Like the First Time (1986)
With its sultry synths and romantic video, Feels Like the First Time has echoes of Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul about it. Unsurprisingly the track was a hit on the US Billboard dance charts as well landing comfortably in the UK Top 50.
Toy Boy (1987)
Returning to similar territory as So Macho as Sinitta sings about the ideal man, her Toy Boy. This Stock Aitken Waterman produced track is one of the production house’s best from the edgy wrap to the crystal clear upbeat production and soaring chorus. Sinitta even manages to make ribbon dancing cool in the video. We stan a multi-talented queen. This classic hit #4 in the UK charts and was another well deserved hit for Sinitta.
Sinitta, an educational queen, also taught us gays about cars. The star teamed up with several definitely legit oiled up mechanics to create this video educating homosexuals about a new form of transport – the car. This belting bop about a big red GTO (a type of Ferrari, thanks Sinitta hun) is an out an out Sinitta classic that saw her re-team with Stock Aitken Waterman.
Cross My Broken Heart (1988)
Even legends like Sinitta get double crossed by backstabbing best friends and pure sods of boyfriends. The relatable queen once again collaborated with Stock Aitken Waterman to deliver this anthem about heartbreak, but we love an upbeat break-up song and our British Beyoncé delivered another gem in doing so.
I Don’t Believe in Miracles (1988)
One of her last collaborations with Stock Aitken Waterman, I Don’t Believe In Miracles, launched her second album Wicked! Sticking with upbeat synths and slightly sadder lyrical territory (longing for a lover to come back, but never truly believing it will happen). It is anthemic pop bop that made it to #22 in the UK charts – most likely helped by the iconic video of Sinitta in her wedding dress.
Right Back Where We Started From (1989)
Another worldwide hit for Sinitta was Right Back Where We Started From, produced by SAW collaborator Pete Hammond. This cover of Maxine Nightingale’s 1975 Northern Soul disco hit got a synthy upgrade courtesy of Sinitta and Pete, complete with a beach set video with a sax playing lifeguard. This is 100% filmed on a real beach. Maybe. Ok. Definitely not.
Love on a Mountain Top (1989)
Another Northern Soul cover with a Hi-NRG pop update courtesy of Sinitta followed in 1989, Love on a Mountain Top. Charitable Queen Sinitta aimed to support her fans who may have grown tired of the cruising scene, here she provides a lovely alternative, banging on mountain tops. Sales of mountain climbing boots and two-person sleeping bags surely rocketed after Sinitta’s iconic update of Love on a Mountain Top.
Hitchin’ a Ride (1990)
Those that may have heard Love on a Mountain Top and thought “How do I get to the mountain?” were in store for some advice in Sinitta’s latest track, hitchhiking anthem, Hitchin’ a Ride. This 1990 classic is one of Sinitta’s most joyous upbeat numbers and a vast improvement on the Vanity Fare original. It marked Sinitta’s final single from her tremendous Wicked! album.
Shame Shame Shame (1992)
The first release from Sinitta’s third album Naughty Naughty was a nineties take on Shirley and Company’s Shame Shame Shame. It marked a smooth, funky shift into the nineties for Sinitta and saw her re-team with Pete Waterman, with the album released on his label PWL Records.
Sinitta’s contribution to the Hair soundtrack came in the form of her dramatic anthemic interpretation of The Fifth Dimension’s Age of Aquarius. With its cool nineties production and stirring strings, Aquarius is a true underrated Sinitta gem and continued to showcase the singer’s artistic range.
So Many Men So Little Time (2014)
The 2010s saw some revitalised music output from Sinitta as she teamed up with Energise Records for a number of Hi-NRG covers. The first was of her mother, Miquel Brown’s dance classic, So Many Men So Little Time. This queer anthem continued to cement Sinitta’s loving relationship with the gay community – and this track and its many remixes, go off! Poppers o’clock.
Touch Me (All Night Long) (2015)
Combining Sinitta’s voice with the song of another pop icon, Cathy Dennis, resulted in pure pop heaven as the singer covered 1990 classic, Touch Me (All Night Long). Hi-NRG electronic dance production and Sinitta’s smooth vocals combine to form dance-pop bliss.
Sinitta’s take on Pebbles’ 1987 track Girlfriend was another delightful collaboration with Energise Records. Whilst it didn’t have the instant appeal of her two previous collaborations with the label – perhaps with a slightly lessor known song among queer audiences – the track is an undeniable grower thanks to some excellent remixes from Pete Ware.
Whilst Sinitta is often regarded as a television personality, her contribution to the world of British pop music should not be overlooked. The singer has contributed a number of genuinely fantastic tracks to the world of dance, pop and Hi-NRG music and we hope that we will be revising this list in a few years with a dozen or so new entries.