This week's Official UK Singles Chart

No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Jomanda - Never

Well talk about crawling out of the closet. A full four years after she [it's a group!] made her UK chart debut, Jomanda finally scores a Top 40 hit, albeit in the briefest possible sense. Four years may seem a long time to wait but then again she [they] has charted only two singles in the past, Make My Body Rock which made No.44 in April 1989 and Got A Love For You which made No.32 in June 1991.

No. 35: NEW ENTRY. David Hasselhoff - If Only I Could Say Goodbye

Now I am a child of the early 1980s so I am more inclined to remember this chap as 'Mr Knight Rider' rather than by his current tag of 'Mr Baywatch'. The US TV series is unique in broadcasting history in that it was due to be axed until British TV companies, keen not to lose the most surprising ratings winner of recent times, put up most of the money for it to continue to be made. Thus it is that an American TV series continues to screen, despite audiences at home having little or no interest in it. The success of the series though has given David Hasselhoff a chance at once and for all having a pop career in Britain. On the continent he is a superstar, charting hit after hit with his single of a few years ago Looking For Freedom standing up as one of the biggest Europe-wide smashes ever. He's never charted in this country though - until now with this rather turgid piece of balladry which I suppose only goes to prove you can achieve more posing in flimsy swimwear than you can talking to your car...

No. 34: NEW ENTRY. Lesley Garrett and Amanda Thompson - Ave Maria

As I have stated in the past the 100% sales based UK chart can throw up some rather interesting surprises. None more so than this really, a rendition by two of the countries most well known Sopranos of the ancient hymn [there was more to this single than that, but we deal with it in a week or so when it climbs]. Appearing out of nowhere via play on Radio Two it makes at least for a breath of fresh air in the charts but is actually not the first time the hymn has charted, Shirley Bassey of all people taking her version to No.34 in 1962.

No. 33: NEW ENTRY. Rick Astley - Hopelessly

I will not make snide jokes about the title...I will not make snide jokes about the title...I will not.... excuse me... Dear old Rick. A superstar in 1987 with a No.1 in the shape of Never Gonna Give You Up, a few more hits in 1988 and 1989 and then a split from producers Stock Aitken and Waterman who gave him all of his biggest hits. Since then it has been down to the lad from Newton-Le-Willows to make it on his own. This is his first Top 40 hit since Cry For Help made No.7 in February 1991. Sadly that hit was to prove the last of his career-opening string of 8 Top 10 hits with successive singles from that album falling well short of the Top 40. If anything Hopelessly is actually a damn good record but with Rick largely perceived as yesterday's hero and with an adult audience for his music none-existent this may be as far as it gets. [His last ever original hit single in fact. He 'retired' for over 15 years following this release].

No. 31: NEW ENTRY. Cyndi Lauper - That's What I Think

Some would have expected this to go in higher given all the hype that surrounded its release. The cleverly constructed track is her first hit since the one-off The World Is Stone made No.15 in June 1992. It's also the 12th hit of her career which has seen her lurch from one extreme to another. 3 Top Ten hits, two others which made the 20 which leaves 7 chart singles which fell well short - that does mean though that if this new single fails to climb (it will) it will be her first Top 40 single to miss the Top 20.

No. 29: NEW ENTRY. James - Laid

Yes guys, what a risible title it is and thankyou for inspiring all my friends with it. Seriously though, the title track from their latest album crashes onto the chart to followup Sometimes which made No.18 back in September. If anything this is a better single so it will be interesting to see if this can progress any further, particularly with James' star on the wane - the first two singles from their last album Seven both made the Top 20. [In retrospect actually one of their most famous and enduring hit singles. Funny how different things look with perspective].

No. 27: NEW ENTRY. Judy Cheeks - So In Love (The Real Deal)

If there was a weekly reward for persistance then I think Judy Cheeks may just steal it from Jomanda this week. In a career lasting over 15 years this lady has only had one hit ever. This one. Famous in other respects for reasons which someone will have to remind me of [songwriting, backing singing, and featuring on the Thelma & Louise soundtrack which I think is what I was groping for there] Judy Cheeks finally scores a chart hit with this passable bit of pop that if nothing else is a mark on the board.

No. 25: NEW ENTRY. Guru featuring Dee C. Lee - No Time To Play

The ex half of Gang Starr teams up with the other half of Paul Weller for his second hit of the year. The first of course was Trust Me with N'Dea Davenport on vocals which made No.34 in September. Beating this at a stroke though is this track which also marks a return to the chart for Dee C. Lee. The backing vocallist for the Style Council had her biggest hit ever on her debut with 'See The Day' which made No.3 at the end of 1985. The followup Come Hell Or Waters High flopped and that was it for her singles career - until this week. Making it a family affair as well, hubby is just a few places above.

No. 18: NEW ENTRY. Paul Weller - The Weaver EP

Dee C. Lee's other half arrives in style, confirming his latest album as one of his finest works ever by way of a third consecutive Top 20 single to follwup Sunflower and Wild Wood. None of the other two progressed further than their first chart week though and this looks like doing the same.

No. 15: NEW ENTRY. Michael Bolton - Said I Loved You But I Lied

Perhaps surprisingly or unsurprisingly the British public has never been completely taken by a man with a silly haircut and a voice like a strangled cat. He still charts the occasional single though, like this the first hit from a forthcoming new album. His last album of cover versions failed to produce much in the way of massive hits, To Love Somebody and Drift Away making brief appearances in the Top 20 and Reach Out I'll Be There peaking at No.37 in March this year. Just under a year ago when Drift Away first charted I said that the only people I had ever heard discussing a love of Michael Bolton were the two ladies who ran my local off-licence. The same may still be true.

No. 14: CLIMBER. Shamen - SOS EP

A climb in possibly the most bizarre circumstances of all. All recent Shamen singles have featured a distinctive design of cover, all produced by the same design company. This new single was different, designed by different artists after the contract with the old designers had expired. The old designers however saw more than a passing resemblance and promptly took out an injunction - not on the record but the cover. This led to the EP being withdrawn from sale at the start of last week which under normal circumstances would have harmed the sales and thus the chart position of the track. Now reissued in a plain black sleeve though it climbs four places - incredible really given that the EP contains the sixth single from a year old album (Coming On) a remix of a two year old single (Make It Mine) and an unreleased live recording. No new tracks at all.

No. 13: NEW ENTRY. Leftfield and Lydon - Open Up

Leftfield are the production group who have thus far remixed the b-side of every David Bowie single from his current album to great success. Thus when they announced they would be releasing a record with a Global Megastar most speculated that the guest vocalist would be Bowie himself. Instead the world is treated to John Lydon, scrabbling about in the musical wilderness following the disintegration of PIL. What we have though is a rather brilliant piece of dance with Lydon's customary snarling vocals adding to the effect quite brilliantly and giving him a bigger hit than PIL have managed since Rise made No.11 in 1986. The only other interesting comment to make is the reluctance of US radio to play the track given Lydon's shouting of 'Burn Hollywood Burn' at the end [the news at the time full of the Malibu bush fires].

No. 11: RE-ENTRY. Soul Asylum - Runaway Train

Always a strong track and with 'hit' written all over it, Runaway Train was played to death on the radio when first released during the summer. After a slow start it finally hauled itself up to No.37 in July. Whilst the followup Somebody To Shove came and went at No.34 the first single became a Top 10 smash in America and more importantly in Europe. The result of this was that MTV Europe has been and still is playing the track to death creating enough consumer demand for the record to be re-released. In doing so to coincide with a tour by the group, the track makes a sensational debut to give them a long-deserved UK hit and to follow Sade, House Of Pain and the Goodmen in recharting minor Top 40 entries and turning them into hits within the space of 6 months.

No. 10: NEW ENTRY. Orb - Little Fluffy Clouds

Whilst we are on the reissue trail try this. One of the most famous underground dance hits of the 1990s was (and I suppose still is) Little Fluffy Clouds the ambient track that made the name of the Orb yet failed to sell and before now has never made the Top 75. Since 1990 though the profile of the Orb has grown with a string of hits and a No.1 album behind them. As a result the seminal track is reissued to give the Orb a second Top 10 hit to follow 1992s Blue Room and to give the nation as a whole the undoubted pleasure of listening to Ricky Lee Jones state her belief that the skies in Arizona are somehow different to anywhere else in the world.

No. 9: NEW ENTRY. Urban Cookie Collective - Feels Like Heaven

Oh my God someone's made a terrible mistake! Instead of a new hit they've just re-released the old one! Oh sorry, I got a bit confused there but it's an easy mistake to make. Effectively just a rewrite of this year's biggest sleeper dance hit The Key: The Secret which made No.2 in September Feels Like Heaven debuts strongly to become the highest new entry of the week. Strangely enough I actually prefer this track to the last one, which I have to confess I rubbished as a 'rather weedy piece of girlie dance' shortly before it crashed into the Top 10.

No. 4: CLIMBER. Culture Beat - Got To Get It

Dance music dominating the charts for what is really the first time this year, six out of the Top 10 records being geared for the clubs.

No. 1: FOURTH WEEK. Meat Loaf - I'd Do Anything For Love

Maintaining a duopoly at the top of both singles and albums charts, Mr Loaf hangs in there and looks set to continue for a few more weeks to come. Something tells me though that Dina Carroll is still to be watched...