This week's Official UK Singles Chart

Preamble:

My apologies for a lack of posting last week. System problems at this end meant that the network was unavailable during the one free afternoon I had last week [hashtag 20th Century Problems]. I've tried to include many of last weeks new entries in this article to fill out the picture a little. This weeks chart sees 11 new entries, 7 climbers and 4 non-movers.

Analysis:

No. 34: NEW ENTRY. Gary Clark - We Sail On the Stormy Waters

A sign of many new entries to come next week, given the first six records on the chart are on their way out. Gary Clark is the former lead singer of Danny Wilson, best known for their hit of 1988 'Mary's Prayer' which is now regarded as a classic of its time. Their last chart appearance was Never Gonna Be The Same which made all of No.69 in September 1989. The group then disbanded, citing musical differences and the appearance of this lilting ballad on the charts is actually a surprise given that the track record of former lead singers striking it out on their own is not so good. All the more interesting given that also on the chart this week are new solo hits from the lead singers of two of the greatest rock bands ever.

No. 32: NEW ENTRY. Cathy Dennis - Falling

The lass from Norwich who has achieved the remarkable feat of becoming a superstar all over the world except in her home country. As a result, predicting the path of this, the third single from her latest album, is a little difficult. The single version is however billed as 'The PM Dawn Version' which may give it a slightly better chance than in its original Shep Pettibone mix. Mind you, even the PM Dawn magic has faded since the summer of '91.

No. 29: NEW ENTRY. Freddie Mercury - The Great Pretender

Dear old Freddie and dear old EMI records who are milking his enigma for all they are worth. His cover of the Platters classic is well known to the British, having been his biggest ever solo hit, peaking at No.4 back in April 1987. Nonetheless it is a moving version of a song that could well have been written for him and gives us at least the opportunity to wonder exactly _what_ has been remixed in it...

No. 28: NEW ENTRY. Undercover - I Wanna Stay With You

The covers bandwagon rolls on with Undercover notching up their third hit yet suffering their lowest entry yet. Gallagher and Lyle did the original of course, peaking at No.6 in February 1976. It is a less well known song than Baker Street and Slip Away so may rise higher or alternatively may sink into oblivion if only for the reason that they have used the SAME BLOODY PIANO SOUND as on the previous two!

No. 26: FALLER. Naughty By Nature - Hip Hop Hooray

A new entry last week at 22, I just thought I'd mention this to show that American hits can still sometimes get their nose in over here, even if the glory of this rising star on the Hot 100 has not lasted very long.

No. 25: NEW ENTRY. Mick Jagger - Sweet Thing

Another one jumping on the 70s bandwagon is Mr Rolling Stones himself, making a welcome solo return after 6 years. Sweet Thing, a solid funk track sung by Jagger in a falsetto voice is also at a stroke his biggest solo hit ever. The previous best was the No.31 peak of Let's Work in 1987 which many [me] thought to have underachieved following his sensational performance of the track on the BBCs Top Of The Pops. Sweet Thing is also a bigger hit than the Stones themselves have had since the mid-80s.

No. 23: NEW ENTRY. Jon Secada - Angel

Funny old game is the pop world. You start off with a Top 3 hit and one of the longest running of the year, then follow it up with a better song that misses the Top 30. Angel at least is an improvement on Do You Believe In Us but it is hard to believe this is the same man who was Mr Wonderful last August in the music press.

No. 21: NEW ENTRY. Ultravox - Vienna

[Early 1993 gets much better very quickly, but Jesus wept the charts weren't half clogged up with re-releases and re-makes for a bit]. The relative merits of this track have already started a train on rec.music.misc but few will complain at seeing this back in the charts, arguably one of the greatest records ever made and certainly a classic of the new romantic era. Mention Vienna's chart peak of 2 to any purist and they will instantly rant of how they were robbed by Joe Dolce and Shaddap You Face which blocked the top of the charts in February 1981. The last hit for the group was All Fall Down in 1986 although of course Midge Ure has had solo hits since. Watch this climb though as a new generation catches up on the making of an epoch.

No. 19: NEW ENTRY. Tom Jones - All You Need Is Love

In 1986 a charity helpline for abused children called Childline was established. It is a sad fact of today's society that it is overwhelmed with work and consequently always on a tight budget. Every so often it runs out of money and when this happens a charity record is made to alleviate the burden. The first example of this was Wet Wet Wet's version of With A Little Help From My Friends which made No.1 in 1988. This was followed by Big Fun and Sonia recording You've Got A Friend, an original song which made the Top 20 in 1990. Three years later and Tom Jones is dragged out of the cabaret bars to record the most atrocious version of a Beatles record I have ever heard. Please do not buy this record, but give the money straight to Childline, saving us all the bother of listening to the bloody thing but helping thousands of abused children at the same time.

No. 18: FALLER. Cult - She Sells Sanctuary

Puritanical Cult fan friends of mine were disgusted when this went in at 15 last week. To herald a new Gresatest Hits album the record company commissioned a rave remix of this, the most famous Cult record ever. As one friend pointed out it would be like remixing a Public Enemy track in the hope it would make it even harder - a stupid notion really.

No. 17: FALLER. Take That - Could It Be Magic

One of a number of long running hits in the chart this week. This should also just hang in next week, just in time for their new single to enter as well, making them the latest in a long line of acts to chart two hits simultaneously. This is due to the fact that since about 18 months ago the turnover rate in the chart as a whole shot up to epic proportions. Consequently singles were entering and leaving within a few weeks and as a result release schedules were stepped up. Now the merry go round is slowing down slightly release dates are too close together and singles by the same act are colliding. The new single from Charles and Eddie, for example keeps being rescheduled whilst the old single hangs around.

No. 15: NEW ENTRY. Extreme - Tragic Comic

Third single off the Three Sides to Every Story album which has been something of a sales disappointment it seems, given the expensive production. Maybe time will prove me wrong, but this latest track is yet another example of a record which is beautifully crafted yet has none of the energy of the Pornograffiti album.

No. 13: CLIMBER. Def Leppard - Heaven Is

Speaking of rock acts, a new entry last week saw the 4th consecutive hit from the Adrenalize album. Despite facing criticism for reciting formulas the album has had a better strike rate of hits than Hysteria which struggled to produce hits at first.

No. 11: CLIMBER. Lulu - Independence

This was one of the reasons why I regretted missing last week. The Scottish singer first charted in the UK in 1964 with a pop classic - her version of the Isley Brother's Shout. To this day it remains a party staple and made the Top Ten again back in 1986. She is best known in America for the No.1 hit To Sir With Love and the new single, her first trip into the recording studio for many years, gives her a span of hits just a few months shy of 29 years. Only Eartha Kitt can beat that and by the time the record ends its chart run Lulu will have become the woman with the longest span of hits.

No. 10: FALLER. Sister Sledge - We Are Family

It beat the peak of the original and now moves out of the way for a new mix of Lost In Music to be released. The single generated more interest than most remixes if only for the fact that it was realised that the vocals are mixed in such a way that is seems as if Kathy Sledge is singing We're Giving Love In A Femidom. Little things..... [A running gag on Steve Wright's Radio One show if I recall].

No. 9: NEW ENTRY. M People - How Can I Love You More

This track will again be familiar to some, having made No.29 in November 1991 in its original mix. Since then the track has been given a new lease of life thanks to a new, harder set of mixes and they have been one of the hottest tracks on the nation's dancefloors since Christmas. Understandably advance orders have given the commercial release of the mixes the momentum to make the upper reaches of the charts.

No. 6: CLIMBER. Duran Duran - Ordinary World

So the dinosaurs are not dead after all then. Duran Duran get their first Top Ten hit since All She Wants Is scraped in at No.9 during a post-Christmas low sales period in 1989. Ordinary World is not only their biggest hit since A View To A Kill in 1985 but is also a huge American hit as well. All that remains is to wonder just _why_ the bloated Simon Le Bon was ever considered a sex symbol [one day you'll be middle aged too you sneering little shit].

No. 5: CLIMBER. East 17 - Deep.

[And now a quite famous story as East 17 were dumper-bound after just two singles until..] Posit: You are a record company overseeing the career of a new set of teen idols who make No.10 with House Of Love their first hit. The followup Gold is less successful and misses the Top 30 and your album stiffs as well. What do you do? In this case what East 17 did was to cut a new song, a mellow rap and then promo it to the clubs credited to just 'Levi and Friends'. Once commercially released under the new title the new track raced into the charts and gave East 17 their biggest hit ever. Clever really, but don't get too excited. Gilbert O'Sullivan tried a similar scam in 1990 and failed.

No. 2: CLIMBER. 2 Unlimited - No Limit

Of all the techno-rave dance acts, 2 Unlimited are the most successful, notching up 5 hits in a row with all making the 20. No Limit being the latest and most frantic, it was their highest new entry ever at 4 last week and this week equals the peak of Get Ready For This and Twilight Zone only to find itself stuck behind:

No. 1: TENTH WEEK. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

Now the biggest selling female hit ever, Whitney joins an exclusive club and becomes only the 4th act ever to clock up a No.1 hit into double figures. The first two were in 1954 and 1955: David Whitfield's Cara Mia and Slim Whitman's Rose Marie which clocked up 10 and 11 weeks respectively. The other one is of course the ubiquitous Everything I Do which remains champion at 16 weeks. If total runs at the top are counted then two other records join them. The all-time champion is Frankie Laine's I Believe which managed 18 weeks during 3 or 4 separate runs in 1955 followed by Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody - the only song to top the British charts on two totally separate occasions which added 5 weeks in 1991 to its 9 week 1975 total, 14 weeks in all. The sad thing is there is still nothing really to topple Whitney next week [famous last words] and what a year or so ago would have seemed an unassailable feat in the current climate will go on and on and on.