This week's Official UK Singles Chart

[Editor's note: we've skipped a week here. We are about three weeks before I started routinely archiving these postings on disc and for whatever reason the article for Week Ending July 31st never made it into the Dejanews/Google archive and must be presumed lost forever].

Preamble:

Smack in the middle of summer and a gentle lull still hangs over the singles chart, and only one record breaches the top ten. A mere(!) 8 new entries, 9 climbers and 5 non-movers.

Analysis: 

No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Ice Cube - Check Yo Self

Ice Cube continues his long-awaited British crossover that began in April with It Was A Good Day with this track, currently one of the fastest growing singles in America. Check Yo Self also probably sets a landmark for one of the first ever rap remakes of a rap song, it being new lyrics on top of the rhythm track of Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel's The Message. That original track was one of the first ever rap hits to chart big in this country, making No.8 in September 1982 and becoming part of the mainstream so much that it was used in a Road Safety advert the following year!

No. 38: NEW ENTRY. Secret Life - Love So Strong

First Top 40 hit for the soul/dance outfit who missed a Top 40 place by a whisker earlier this year with their cover of Stevie Wonder's As Always. Love So Strong is along similar lines but it is doubtful whether it has the potential to be a major hit.

No. 36: NEW ENTRY. Ali and Frazier - Uptown Top Ranking

The latest chart hit to jump on the ragga bandwagon is this one, newcomers Ali and Frazier covering the most famous piece of girlie reggae of them all. Back in 1978, Jamaicans Althia and Donna took the track to the top of the charts based, it seems, on nothing more than novelty value alone as they vanished without trace immediately afterwards. This new version has its fingers in several pies at once it seems, using samples of KC and the Sunshine Band's That's The Way I Like It in between verses and borrowing the rhythm track from Ace Of Base's All That She Wants, probably one of the first occasions a still active chart hit has been sampled by another.

No. 35: FALLER. Spin Doctors - Two Princes

Final week in the Top 40 for this track, having hung around for 13 weeks. Watch out next week for the reissued Little Miss Can't Be Wrong though.

No. 34: CLIMBER. Yazz and Aswad - How Long

Just a one place climb for them, but enough to continue a chart return for both acts who seperately both had No.1 hits in 1988. For Aswad, How Long has become their first Top 40 hit since Next To You made No.18 in August 1990. For Yazz it is a similar story. She has not been seen in the higher reaches since Treat Me Good made No.20 in July of the same year. Oh yes, and just to put the record straight for the entire population of the United States who have mailed me over the last week, this Yazz is NOT the 'Yaz' of Only You and Nobody's Diary fame. They were a duo comprising VInce Clarke and Alison Moyet who were actually called Yazoo but had their name shortened for some reason in America. This Yazz is soul singer Yasmin Evans who had a string of Top Ten hits in 1988 including a No.1 with The Only Way Is Up.

No. 31: NEW ENTRY. Daniel O'Donnell - Whatever Happened To Old Fashioned Love

Irish country singer Daniel O'Donnell makes a worrying second inroad [that's some awesome shade there] into the Top 40 to follow up his hit of last September I Wanna Dance With You which peaked at 20. Although in America he would be considered more MOR than country, he sparked controversy in 1991 when his records were removed from the country chart and were only reinstated after a prolonged protest by his record company. The song itself has never charted here but was an American country No.1 for BJ Thomas.

No. 30: FALLER. Ace Of Base - All That She Wants

What is, in all probability the final week in the Top 40 for Ace Of Base with this former No.1 which has now notched up 14 weeks in the charts. The cycle is likely to continue though with the followup Wheel Of Fortune finally being released - a full two months after it was originally scheduled.

No. 24: NEW ENTRY. Culture Beat - Mr Vain

Stand by for the dance hit of the summer. This track will be well known to European readers, it having dominated the continental charts for the past two months. It's release now in this country is a cleverly calculated move by Epic records, hoping to play on the 'Costa Del Sol' effect. It happens virtually every year, thousands of Brits rush to the continent in August for their summer holidays and spend time in bars and discos. Almost always there is one record played incessantly and it becomes the soundtrack to their holidays. Back home, they seek out the record as a reminder and consequently the track becomes a major hit. In the past this phenomenon has resurrected dead records such as Baltimora's Tarzan Boy (1985) and Twenty Four Seven's I Can't Stand It (1990) which had both been released before the summer and flopped, only to find new success following the holiday season. The same effect last year help Snap's Rhythm Is A Dancer to stay at the top of the charts for 6 weeks. Culture Beat can only be assisted by this, although in actual fact as one of the best European dance records of the year so far it would probably have been a major hit anyway. The German production duo are best known here for their 1990 club smash (Cherry Lips) Der Erdbeermund which made No.55 in February 1990 and is featured on the b-side of this latest single.

No. 21: NEW ENTRY. Bon Jovi - I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

In advance of their big concerts at the Milton Keynes Bowl next month, Bon Jovi release the 4th single from the Keep The Faith album. It has a lot to live up to, coming in the wake of their surprise Top Ten success of In These Arms back in May. Sleep When I'm Dead is an uptempo rocker in complete contrast to the last hit, and owing not a little to their 1988 classic Bad Medicine. It has started well though, entering the chart higher than either of the last two singles and may well make the 20 next week.

No. 19: CLIMBER. Bitty McLean - It Keeps Raining (Tears From My Eyes)
No. 18: FALLER. UB40 - (I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You

Bitty McLean achieves the interesting feat of appearing on two sequential chart singles, his own solo debut making a 12 place leap this week, just behind the former No.1 from UB40 on which he sings backing vocals.

No. 17: NEW ENTRY. Michelle Gayle - Looking Up

Highest new entry of the week belongs to this sophisticated bit of soul from newcomer Michelle Gayle. To 17 million TV viewers she is Hattie Tavernier in the BBC soap 'Eastenders' and as a consequence becomes the sixth member of the cast to have a hit single (although one of those, Wendy Richard, did so in 1961 a full 24 years before the show started). Eastenders thus beats even the celebrated feat of the Aussie soap 'Neighbours' for spawning chart stars. The record itself is quite simply stunning, and destined almost certainly for a top ten place next week.

No. 14: CLIMBER. Janet Jackson - If

A strong climb for Janet this week, giving her a second consecutive Top 20 hit from the Janet album. Both singles have already beaten the peaks of any of the singles from her last album Rhythm Nation.

No. 7: NON-MOVER. Madonna - Rain

Madonna still stuck in the bell end of the Top 10. If Rain goes down next week (which is likely) it will mean 4 singles in a row have missed the Top 5.

No. 6: CLIMBER. Urban Cookie Collective - The Key: The Secret

A surefire sign that sales of singles generally are improving is the growing number of hits that start small and gradually climb. This track is a case in point climbing 40-29-20-11-6 to make the Top 10 in its fifth week in the charts. That is quite a climb in comparison to the rest of the bunch. Of this week's Top 10 singles, five entered the chart inside the 10, two climbed to make the grade in their second week and the remaining two in their third chart week. Singles sales overall are actually up though. Total sales over the year to date are up 1.6% over this time last year, with the biggest sales period of the year [Q4!] yet to come.

No. 4: NON-MOVER. Chaka Demus and Pliers - Tease Me

An astounding fourth week in a row at No.4 for this track, which had already peaked at No.3 before that. It's now into it's 8th week inside the Top 10, six of which have been in the Top 5. If it continues in this vein it will surpass Snow's Informer as the longest-running Top Ten hit of the year not to make No.1 - that track managed 9 weeks in the spring.

No. 2: CLIMBER. Freddie Mercury - Living On My Own

The climb thus far of this track gives Freddie his biggest ever solo hit, alongside Barcelona which also made No.2 last August.

No. 1: FOURTH WEEK. Take That - Pray

Hanging by the skin of their teeth now, Take That notch up another week at the top, but it will take nothing short of a miracle to fend off Freddie Mercury next week. Even if they manage that, Michelle Gayle and Culture Beat are shoving their noses over the horizon...


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