This week's Official UK Singles Chart

Preamble:

As predicted last week, the chart sees several new entries as the rather gradual decline of the Christmas hits comes to an end. In many other ways as well this is the first 'interesting' chart of the year. 13 new entries, only 3 climbers (!) [start getting used to it] and 2 non-movers.

Analysis:

No. 38: NEW ENTRY. Hothouse Flowers - An Emotional Time

Quite a few run of the mill dance tracks entering this week, so forgive me if I do not mention all the new entries. This is the first really interesting one, the first single in almost 3 years from one of the most popular bands in Ireland (U2 being a possible exception). Despite a huge live following their singles have never quite taken off over here with none ever matching the No.11 peak of their UK debut Don't Go.

No. 37: NEW ENTRY. Shaggy - Oh Carolina

If at first you don't succeed. After 15 previous releases the ragga star finally achieves his first hit, helped in no small way by a surprising amount of airplay on national radio. If there is a dance craze at the moment it certainly has to be this 'dancehall' style of ragga, which has produced hits recently for Leila K and Shabba Ranks, amongst others.

No. 34: NEW ENTRY. INXS - Beautiful Girl

The Welcome.. album, despite being regarded as the best INXS work for ages has struggled to produce big hits, and so far has failed to give them another Top 20 hit. INXS, for all their superstar status have only ever had one Top Ten hit in this country - and that being a remix of Need You Tonight, commissioned by the record company in November 1988 in a desperate effort to give them a British chart career. Just for a change though, this week they are not the most important Australians in the chart...

No. 33: FALLER. Undercover - I Wanna Stay With You

The crown it slippeth. A startling turnaround in fortunes for the covers group whose last two singles were both big-selling Top Ten hits. Dare I suggest that this proves my assertion last week that the formula is getting just a _little_ repetitive?

No. 32: NEW ENTRY. Radiohead - Anyone Can Play Guitar

[Superstar debut klaxon!] Even in such a busy chart like this there is always room for a fanbase record to break through, only to see it break out again the following week. The trendy press may argue that it is bands like this that are the only ones breaking new ground they just never seem to sell to the masses suggesting that it is a different kind of ground they should be breaking. [Give it time, although history records it was only reflected American success which put Radiohead over the top in their home country].

No. 31: NEW ENTRY. Deacon Blue - Will We Be Lovers

Consider this: If you ever liked Deacon Blue before their new sound will put you off for life. If previously you thought they were bland Vegas-style rockers then think again as the virtual turnaround in musical direction, heralded on the last single Your Town is completed on this new one which in many ways, thanks to the celebrated production credits, sounds as far removed from the Deacon Blue of old that it is possible to get. Purists need not worry though, as reviews of the new album suggest that these two tracks are little more than minor glitches in the formula. Bear in mind also that a No.31 entry compares unfavourably with the No.12 peak of the last single.

No. 25: NEW ENTRY. Poison - Stand

Latest outing for the American commercial rockers with an entry that compares favourably with all their previous chart outings. Rock in general is holding its head up as well as can be expected at the moment but if memory serves me correctly only Bon Jovi and Guns 'N' Roses have managed Top Ten hits in recent months.

No. 20: FALLER. Tom Jones - All You Need Is Love

A thankful slippage for the charity track. I still stand by what I said last week although the record does have one redeeming feature.... listen to the last minute and spot the records that have been sampled in an attempt to recreate the effect of the original. U2 are in there... but who else?

No. 18: NEW ENTRY. Thunder - A Better Man

More rock, this time from the critically applauded ex-Terraplaners whose policy is simply to take rock back to its Bluesy origins. The result has been a steady progression up the charts until they have reached the stage now where they can hit the 20 first week out. It will not progress any further but at least there are still some real musicians around.

No. 17: NEW ENTRY. Sting - If I Ever Lose My Faith In You

New single from the ex-Police frontman and what is likely to be the only hit off the new album [so much for the predictive powers of 1993 James]. Whilst All This Time, the firstsingle
off the Soul Cages album also made the 20 in early 1991, his only real single successes have been the tongue in cheek version of Russians from 1985 and the Ben Liebrand remix of Englishman In New York from summer 1990.

No. 13: HIGHEST CLIMBER. Ultravox - Vienna

The nation holds its breath. Can the greatest piece of early 80s music better its original peak. Possibly unlikely, given that the single will stall against the album it is taken from - a complete Midge Ure career retrospective covering Ultravox, his solo singles and even collaborations such as Band Aid and Visage. Does that mean we can look forward to a reissue of 'Fade To Grey'? I hope so. [Actually it did, creeping into the Top 40 in August. Excellent predictive powers 1993 James].

No. 12: NEW ENTRY. Saint Etienne - You're In A Bad Way

Sometimes when writing these postings I occasionally slip into personal opinion rather than reasoned analysis. When that happens I apologise. In this case however, I make no apologies whatsoever about saying to the world in general that it has been a long long time since a record of such genius has made the charts. Having made their name with a series of ambient, dreamy dance hits which include a cover of Neil Young's Only Love Can Break Your Heart the band get their biggest hit ever with this masterpiece of classic pop. Sounding all at once like several old tracks at once [most of them by Joe Meek], it is produced by Alan Tarney, the overseer of some of Cliff Richards best work and producer of many of the early A-Ha hits. Anyone expressing hate for this record in this newsgroup will be liable for a severe flaming by me. You have been warned.

No. 9: NEW ENTRY. Rolf Harris - Stairway To Heaven

The record that is unique in my experience on rec.music.misc for creating a thread even before it has been released. Thanks to press and TV hype the tongue in cheek cover of the Led Zeppelin classic gives the celebrated Antipodean his first hit since 1970. His last hit was Two Little Boys which had the honour of being the last No.1 of the 1960s and the odds on this reaching the top are very very short indeed. He is also one of the oldest men ever to have a Top Ten hit with only Frank Sinatra just edging him out. It is not the first time the song has been a UK Top Ten hit. Far Corporation's version made No.6 back in 1985 and contrary to what some posters have asserted it was not a dance version. Ironically enough the only country in the world to have ever had the original released as a single was.... Australia!

No. 3: NEW ENTRY. Annie Lennox - Little Bird/Love Song For A Vampire

Few had any doubts this would be the highest entry this week. Whilst Little Bird has top credit it is certainly the double-A side that is selling the record, Annie's gorgeous contribution to the Dracula soundtrack, which opened in this country last week. At a stroke it becomes her biggest solo hit ever and returns her to the Top 3 after an 8 year absence since the Eurythmics managed it last. Next week should be very interesting indeed with both Annie and Rolf locked in battle for the top although they themselves may have problems against next weeks' highest entry.

No. 2: FALLER. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

So the 10 week reign comes to an end. In many ways a shame as if she had held on just a little longer may have had the chance to replace herself at the top, as I'm Every Woman has been receiving frighteningly large advance orders on the basis of its club remixes and will certainly be a top 3 entry next week. In the meantime though it means finally the nation will have had enough of the record - an attitude summed up by one DJ who dragged the needle off the disc at the weekend before saying: "We'd like to apologise for that.... we should have done it weeks ago!" [Someone on Radio One, but I forget whom that might have been].

No. 1: 1ST WEEK. 2 Unlimited - No Limit

A surprise chart topper in many ways given that the previous 4 singles from the group, all to the same formula have been selling steadily less each time. A string of notable firsts achieved by this record.... the first rave track to top the charts and the first band ever to hit No.1 with a number in their name [Not true, U2 had got there first]. 'No Limit' is also only the second ever No.1 hit from a Dutch act, the first being Pussycat who hit the top with Mississippi back in 1976. With several other records coming up fast though, the first No.1 of 1993 may not have long to reign.