Christmas -2 as the tension mounts as to the identity of the Christmas No.1. As can be seen from this weeks chart it is still very much open. Despite all of this, a relatively quiet chart this week. 8 new entries, 10 climbers, 2 non-movers.
No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Nirvana - In Bloom.
It has to be said that the marketing strategy behind Nirvana's singles is very very clever. Release several singles off the album, yes, but space them out to the tune of about 4 months each so that they never become stale and are always something of an event. As a result, In Bloom becomes the 4th single of the Nevermind album but the sales are clearly petering out, given that the first two were Top Ten entries and the third entered just outside the 20.
No. 37: NEW ENTRY. KWS featuring The Trammps - Hold Back The Night.
'We're not simply a 70s cover band, we do write our own material' said KWS earlier this year after 'Please Don't Go' became one of the biggest hits of the spring. To prove this they followed up with a cover of Rock Your Baby and now for Christmas release this. The added bonus is of course the presence on the record of the original 70s hitmakers. Does this add legitimacy to the track or is it a vain attempt to breathe new life into a concept that has been done to death this year?
No. 35: FALLER. Club 69 - Let Me Be Your Underwear.
I know it is wrong to read too much into the performance of just one record but this is yet another example of a major club smash underachieving sales wise in the last few months of this year. Either this is a minor seasonal aberration or the charts could well be changing shape and moving away from the domination of dance that has shaped them for the last 4 years.
No. 29: FALLER. Kylie Minogue - Celebration.
A further example of a changing era is this. For the first time Kylie has had two consecutive singles peak outside the Top 10. Peaking at No.20, Celebration is her lowest charting hit ever.
No. 26: FALLER. Wreckx-N-Effect - Rump Shaker
A new entry last week at 24, this American top tenner fails to inspire the British record buyers. Maybe it is just the time of year but dance for the most part is having problems. [Yeah, I hated dance music at the time (this continued until about 1998 when I decided to grow up about it). The prospect of the singles flopping was delighting me clearly.]
No. 25: NEW ENTRY. Gloria Estefan - Miami Hit Mix.
Megamix time again with a selection culled from her greatest hits album. Thus there are now 2 megamix records in the Top 30, the Boney M one moving up to 13 this week. This compares with this time last year when the 'Joseph Mega-Remix' by Jason Donovan and the 'Jungle Book Megamix' by the UK Mixmasters vied for attention.
No. 21: NEW ENTRY. 808 State/UB40 - One In Ten.
For all the talk there has been about this record I still haven't heard it! [Just go to Spotify, duh] One of the more unusual couplings of the year, this may well be around for Christmas in two weeks time. So far in their career, UB40 have had chart hits with Chrissie Hynde, Afrika Bambaata, Robert Palmer and 808 State. Nirvana next perhaps? [Is my lack of reference to it being an 808 State remix of their ten year old hit single due to the fact I was unaware of this at the time of writing?]
No. 11: NEW ENTRY. Freddie Mercury - In My Defence.
For all the hype this one has had you would have expected this to go in higher. Nevertheless, the favourite for the No.1 slot at Christmas makes a strong debut with a single that is classic Freddie at his best with an overblown MOR ballad that will move many fans to tears. [Actually a seven year old recording, originally featured on the soundtrack of Dave Clark's space-age musial "Time"] As one reviewer put it - Freddie without Queen is still a far better prospect than Queen without Freddie.
No. 10: NEW ENTRY. Madonna - Deeper and Deeper.
I meant actually to look up the exact figure and forgot [these columns were being written in a university computer lab straight into the editor of the mail client] but Madonna by now has had more
records debut in the Top Ten than any other act, save perhaps the Beatles. The second single off the Erotica album finds her back to the basic pop/dance she does best. Top 5 for this but no chart topping potential.
No. 9: NEW ENTRY. Take That - Could It Be Magic.
On the same night they swept the board at the important 'Smash Hits Awards' (important in the sense that it is the teenage singles buyers that vote in them) the biggest teen sensation of the year get their 5th hit with a cover of the old Barry Manilow song. Cleverly they change it from a ballad into a medium-tempo pop/dance tune but although it is also fancied for Christmas No.1 it is just not as strong as songs like 'A Million Love Songs', their last hit which may well have been a better choice for a Christmas single.
No. 7: CLIMBER. Cliff Richard - I Still Believe In You.
Looks like money may be lost on this one. A two place climb means Cliff may not have the momentum to peak on the Christmas chart. Mind you, a heavy round of TV promotions did the trick two years ago with 'Saviours Day' so all may not be lost yet.
No. 6: CLIMBER. Rod Stewart - Tom Traubert's Blues.
Similar story here with only a 2 place climb possibly putting Rod out of the running.
No. 4: NEW ENTRY. WWF Superstars - Slam Jam.
Nobody is sure where the phenomenal sales of this record sprang from but here it is, a strong favourite for the top slot at Christmas. Quite a surprise really as it is just what you would expect - the WWF stars trying their hand at a rather dire rap about how hard they are. If this is No.1 next week I might as well go into a monastery. [Funny, in years to come I'd be a massive WWF fan but this at the time was utterly beyond my comprehension. This whole project was the work of one Simon Cowell, about to hit on a formula of turning random popular culture events into cash-in pop records.] Incidentally, by going in at No.4 they miss out by one place on equalling the record for the highest ever entry by a previously unknown act - an accolade currently held jointly by Vanilla Ice and Crystal Waters.
No. 2: CLIMBER. Michael Jackson - Heal The World.
This was close with Whitney's grip on the Top Slot looking shaky. Heal the World thus becomes the second biggest single (so far!) off the Dangerous album. It may still have a chance next week and if it
does go to No.1 it will be the first time Mikey [why the hell do I keep calling him that] has had two chart toppers off one album.
No. 1: 2nd WEEK. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You.
Probably her last week at the top [yeah, right] with most of the Christmas records lining up to take her place. If a record goes to No.1 next week it will stay there for the following week to be xmas No.1. If it is still Whitney next week then your guess is as good as mine. Historical precedent means nothing in the record industry but in December 1985 'Saving All My Love For You' held on until the last minute before letting Shakin' Stevens' Christmas record 'Merry Xmas Everyone' take the honours.