Becalmed no longer the charts explode into action this week with the first of a batch of big releases that usher, as I keep saying, the biggest sales period of the year. 11 new entries, 4 climbers and 4 non-movers.
No. 40: NEW ENTRY. RuPaul - House Of Love/Back To My Roots
Second hit of the year for the US Drag Queen following his small debut with Supermodel which made No.39 back in July. One place below that then is his new track, an unremarkable bit of disco pop that is unliklely really to progress much further - however sexy he may look on the sleeve.
No. 39: NEW ENTRY. De La Soul - Break A Dawn
First hit in a long while for the US threesome who were once the pioneers of "Daisy Age" rap back in 1989. Since their debut with the No.22 hit Say No Go De La Soul have notched up an impressive string of hits, many making the Top 20. This new track is their first chart hit since Keeping The Faith peaked at No.50 in November 1991. It's the usual fare which may push up in the current climate to be a Top 30 hit, but probably little more. The Magic Number is their biggest hit, creeping to No.7 in the post-Christmas lull in early 1990.
No. 38: NEW ENTRY. Pauline Henry - Too Many People
Only two acts have ever successfully covered U2 songs and both are in the charts this week. In 1990 Pauline Henry was lead singer with the Chimes who made No.6 in June of that year with their version of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. After that they failed to impress and split soon after. Now Ms Henry makes her solo debut with a piece of soul that radio fell in love with instantly. Clubs are a little less keen, the song being just slightly too slow to dance to, making for a radio hit rather than a massive smash. Bodes well for things to come though.
No. 35: NEW ENTRY. Def Leppard - Two Steps Behind
As the hits from Adrenalize dried up earlier in the year, Def Leppard make what is for them a startlingly rapid return with this brand new track from a forthcoming retrospective album of old tracks and b-sides. Two Steps Behind goes with the current trend and is an unplugged acoustic ballad of the type that they do so well, with harmonies intact and Joe Elliot's emotive voice to the fore. Surprisingly enough it makes a very low debut, especially compared to the first single from Adrenalize - Let's Get Rocked smashed straight in at No.6
No. 34: NEW ENTRY. Luther Vandross - Heaven Knows
One of the few soul artists in the traditional sense to still be having UK hits is Luther Vandross. This new track follows up Little Miracles which peaked at No.28 back in May. Despite a string of hits he's never had a major smash, his biggest ever being a remix of Never Too Much which made No.13 in November 1989, unless you count The Best Things In Life Are Free which peaked at No.2 in September 1992 in tandem with Janet Jackson.
No. 26: NEW ENTRY. Shara Nelson - One Goodbye In Ten
I'll admit to a certain amount of bias towards this track, having bought it the minute it was released last week. Shara Nelson follows up July's No.19 hit Down That Road with a song which is a vast improvement on its predecessor. One Goodbye In Ten shows off her voice to dramatic effect, a ballad in the classic Motown sense, strings and all. If there was any justice this would be a massive hit. Sadly I fear most record buyers will be too insular to appreciate the brilliance of this track. Maybe I should predict it will sink without a trace and hope I'm as wrong as I usually am.
No. 24: NEW ENTRY. Jade - One Woman
Along with SWV, Jade are the pioneers of what is called by the music press with tongue in cheek as New Jill Swing. It's their third hit in all, following on from Don't Walk Away which made No.9 and I Wanna Love You which made No.13. Most readers in the US will know the track, the smooth ballad that shows off their voices to stunning effect. Most will remain unmoved by it, but it's by far their best record yet.
No. 20: CLIMBER. Lenny Kravitz - Heaven Help
After 2 weeks stuck at No.21, Lenny Kravitz claws his way up to make Heaven Help only his third Top 20 hit ever.
No. 18: NEW ENTRY. Chaka Demus and Pliers - She Don't Let Nobody
Tease Me was one of the sleeper hits of the year. Selling a great deal of records, slowly but surely to eventually sell over half a million copies without ever climbing higher than No.3. The new track from them comes in the same week that their previous hit falls out of the Top 40. That means they have had a record in the Top 40 continuously since the 12th of June, although that is nothing compared to Ace Of Base who have been resident in one form or another since the 8th of May. The new track is a cover of the reggae oldie and if anything is ever more commercial than the last hit. Top Ten assured.
No. 17: FALLER. Aftershock - Slave To The Vibe
Having been to see Sliver at the weekend, one is tempted to wonder how this track made it onto the soundtrack album at all. Could anyone spot the track who wasn't listening out for it?
No. 16: NEW ENTRY. Roxette - It Must Have Been Love
Now this is an example of a curious 1990s phenomenon. It all started in October 1990, when CBS records decided, in for a penny in for a pound, to re-release Berlin's Take My Breath Away to coincide with the British network TV premiere of 'Top Gun' in which the song played a prominent part. Their reward: Top 3 for the track which had made No.1 in the UK four years earlier when the film was first released. The same trick worked at Christmas 1990 when 'Dirty Dancing' was shown on TV and I've Had The Time Of My Life charged into the Top Ten for a second time. Thus it is that as last weekend saw 'Pretty Woman' on the TV, the soundtrack album suddenly finds its way onto display shelves and its most famous single is re-released. It Must Have Been Love is by far Roxette's best loved single and also their biggest hit ever, making No.3 in June 1990. With the reissue going in as high as this and on the back of their recent Top 10 hit with Almost Unreal who is going to bet this might just get as high second time round?
No. 12: NEW ENTRY. Kate Bush - Rubberband Girl
Quite why everyone should get so excited about this I cannot understand. Kate Bush was good about 15 years ago. Back then she turned out classics like Wuthering Heights and Babooshka. These days she restricts herself to indulgent artistic messes whose only redeeming feature is that they take about 5 years to make. Rubberband Girl is the first track from her first album since 1989's The Sensual World whose biggest hit was the title track which peaked at No.12 in October that year. Her only work since that album was the No.12 hit with her version of Elton John's Rocket Man over Christmas 1991. Whether Rubberband Girl progresses much further remains to be seen.. at least it has a tune I suppose.
No. 7: NEW ENTRY. Radiohead - Creep
As garage bands go, Radiohead have more potential than most. Creep was first released over a year ago and sank without trace, but thanks to the influence of college radio in America it became a Top 30 hit over there. It's time now for the British to catch up and the reissued track, helped by not a little airplay storms into the Top 10 to give Radiohead a surprise hit single. It will sink like a stone of course but should at least bring a smile to the people forever complaining to me about the state of the charts at the moment. I think this is one of the best things about the British charts. Would the US Hot 100 ever be able to accommodate Mariah Carey, 2 Unlimited, Radiohead and the Fresh Prince in the Top 10 all in the same week?
No. 3: CLIMBER. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince - Boom! Shake The Room
Reeking of attitoode the US rap duo push all opposition out of the way to land a Top 3 hit and their biggest chart smash ever, eclipsing easily Summertime which made No.8 in August 1991.
No. 2: NEW ENTRY. Pet Shop Boys - Go West
Some thought the Pet Shop Boys were dead. Their pop audience is no more, and although successive singles have sold well, none seemed able to recapture the magic of old. Sure, Can You Forgive Her was a No.7 hit but it was a little dull and was only bought by die-hard fans. Tennant and Lowe have learned one thing over the years though, when in doubt go over the Top. Back in 1991 they approached U2s Where The Streets Have No Name with that attitude and produced a storming Hi-NRG remake of that sacred track which will go down in history as one of the funniest parodies ever. Their cover of the Village People's Go West is affectionate rather than mocking but no less brilliant for it with Male Voice Choirs and Gospel Singers adding to what has to be one of the singles of the year. Small surprise then that it eclipses Always On My Mind as their highest new entry ever and becomes their biggest hit since Heart made No.1 in April 1988. A fifth No.1 for them next week perhaps? [Everyone was rooting for that to happen].
No. 1: FOURTH WEEK. Culture Beat - Mr Vain
That could be a distinct possibility with the Euro smash starting to run out of steam yet hanging on (just) for a fourth week at the top.