This week's Official UK Singles Chart

Preamble:

Well in a complete contradiction to what I had expected the record industry has decided in it's wisdom that this week is the official Christmas chart and the record at the top this week is to be Christmas No.1. To this mind it seems a little silly given that the sales period covered by the chart was 13-18th December, not exactly Christmas week at all. Surely the Christmas chart is the one for next week, covering 20-24th December sales. Oh well. Here it is then, the festive list for this year and with virtually all the Christmas hits on release already, the chart takes on a vibrant look with most records shifting around and fewer new hits than at any time this year. 4 new entries, 19 climbers and 2 non-movers.

Analysis:

No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

It's like a bad dream isn't it? Reissued to capitalise on the video release of the Bodyguard, last year's Christmas No.1 and the best selling single of all time by a female soloist returns for a brief appearance in the festive chart. It comes at the end of a year which has seen Whitney Houston add another 4 hits to follow her No.1 which did not relinquish the top slot until gone February. She is almost certain to be one of the most charted artists of the year. The reappearance of a seasonal hit is not so unusual - the Christmas Top Tens of both 1984 and 1985 saw Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas and Wham's Last Christmas registering a presence. The all-time champion in this though has to be Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody which first made No.1 for Christmas in 1973 and has been re-released almost every year since 1980 although it has not been seen in the Top 40 since 1983 when it made No.20 (NB a sample of it appeared in Jive Bunny's Let's Party which made the Christmas chart in 1989).

No. 37: NEW ENTRY. Saint Etienne - I Was Born On Christmas Day

It wouldn't be Christmas without at least one seasonal record in the charts. Saint Etienne have spent the entire year missing out on the success they so richly deserve. Two hits to their credit, the biggest being You're In A Bad Way which made No.12 in February. The new single is a special release yet charts too low and too late to be a seasonal smash.

No. 33: CLIMBER. Michael Jackson - Gone Too Soon

Always destined to be the lowest peaking hit from the Dangerous album but could this be the last Michael Jackson hit for a while?

No. 32: CLIMBER. Soul Asylum - Runaway Train

Just one of a number of records on the yo-yo this week as record buyers snap up what is available rather than any new releases. If it hangs on any longer Runaway Train will actually end up being one of the most charted records in the Top 75 overall of the year, given that on it's original release back in the summer it spent about 5 weeks in the lower reaches before breaking into the Top 40 briefly - add to that it's 7 weeks on the current run and you have a long running hit indeed.

No. 29: NEW ENTRY. Hulk Hogan and Green Jelly - I'm The Leader Of The Gang

No competition for that pink object but the second novelty hit in the current chart enters this week. Combining the 'talents' of Wrestling Superstar Hulk Hogan and Green Jelly, no strangers to novelties themselves having notched up two already this year with Three Little Pigs and their Flintstoned version of Anarchy In The UK. This track is a cover version of the Gary Glitter classic which made No.1 in July 1973.

No. 25: NEW ENTRY. Shabba Ranks - Family Affair

Biggest new hit of the week is from one of the crossover stars of the year. Before this year Shabba Ranks had a few minor hits to his credit along with guest appearances on other people's records. That all changed with the re-release of Mr Loverman in March which made No.3 and was followed by two more hits. His new hit is the theme to the film Addams Family Values and comes two years after Hammer reached No.4 with his theme to the first film. The song itself is of course a cover of the Sly and the Family Stone classic which made No.15 in January 1972.

No. 23: CLIMBER. EYC - Feelin' Alright

EYC capitalise on the Christmas market and make a huge leap. Provided they can survive the post-Christmas slump in sales of music overall that always take place they may well find themselves in the Top 10 for the new year.

No. 22: CLIMBER. Haddaway - I Miss You

Further still a strong climb for the ballad from Haddaway and its potential may be increased further with still another shopping week until Christmas.

No. 19: CLIMBER. Cliff Richard - Healing Love

Climbing to become his second Top 20 hit this year, Cliff Richard holds the distinction of having a hit in the Christmas chart every year now since 1988 - twice (in 1988 and 1990) he was No.1.

No. 18: NON-MOVER. Mariah Carey - Hero

Mariah Carey's ballad of hope and self-belief touching a chord with the casual Christmas buyers and holds at No.18 for a third week, despite having peaked at No.7 six weeks ago.

No. 17: CLIMBER. Diana Ross - Your Love

A strong climb for Diana Ross' seasonal offering to become her biggest hit since If We Hold On Together made No.11 last Christmas.

No. 13: CLIMBER. K7 - Come Baby Come

The US teen sensations look set to make it big in '94 and 'Come Baby Come' is now in an ideal position to steal a chart topping slot come the new year.

No. 12: CLIMBER. Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle - A Whole New World

School is out and families rush out to see 'Aladdin' and then run out to snap up the theme tune. Despite apparantly stalling with a 5 place climb to No.26 last week the single suddenly accelerates and may well make the Top 10 with sales during Christmas week.

No. 10: CLIMBER. Frankie Goes To Hollywood - The Power Of Love

Another record to make the Christmas Top 10 twice, The Power Of Love was at No.5 for Christmas 1984.

No. 8: CLIMBER. Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell

Meat Loaf climbs to make the Top 10 for only the third time in his career with the single from the original album far surpassing its original peak of No.15. He also becomes the first male solo singer to have simultaneous Top 10 hits since... well to be honest I'm not sure. It has happened before but certainly not in my memory... [John Lennon, 1981 duh].

No. 5: CLIMBER. East 17 - It's Alright

A further climb for East 17 to match the peak scaled by Deep back in February.

No. 4: CLIMBER. Bee Gees - For Whom The Bell Tolls

For Whom The Bell Tolls is now the Bee Gees biggest selling single since You Win Again made No.1 in 1987.

No. 3: CLIMBER. Chaka Demus and Pliers - Twist And Shout

A second Top 3 hit of the year for Chaka Demus and Pliers. It is also now the highest charting version of the song ever. Covered numerous times in a variety of styles the original by the Isley Brothers made No.42 in 1963 and this was bettered by Brian Poole and the Tremeloes who made No.4 later that same year, as did Salt N Pepa with their rap version in 1988. In case you're wondering the celebrated version by the Beatles never charted as a single in the UK - it was released on an EP which had to chart separately in those days. Had it been eligible for the main listings it would have been a sure-fire No.1.

No. 1: CLIMBER/SECOND WEEK. Mr Blobby - Mr Blobby

Well only at Christmas could this happen. Last week Take That went straight into No.1 but as it turns out only just - the gap in sales being a mere 16,000 copies. Reports midweek suggested Mr Blobby would outstrip them again and indeed here is the confirmation. This year's Christmas No.1 is ostensibly performed by a pink and yellow latex blob with lyrics along the lines of 'No end to his talents - no sense of balance'. Love or hate the record and the hype that has engulfed the nation with it its feat this week is highly significant. Not since January 1969 has a record retained the No.1 slot after having been deposed. A common occurrence in the 1950s and early 1960s, the practice had all but died out until Christmas 1968 when Lily The Pink by the Scaffold and Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da by Marmalade entered into a two-way battle, each holding the top slot twice. King of all the returning No.1s though is She Loves You by the Beatles which spent 4 weeks at the top in September 1963, dropping down for a whole seven weeks before returning once more in November to keep the top open for two weeks until they knocked themselves off the top with I Want To Hold Your Hand.

One final point that is worth noting amongst all of this is the fact that the race for Christmas No.1 has also coincided with another game the British record industry likes to play with itself. Mr Blobby was the 698th record to make No.1. Take That were thus the 699th. The next record to top the charts will become the 700th chart topper since records began in 1952. Back in 1987 the hype surrounding the 600th No.1 was just as bad with bets being placed and prizes being offered for whoever could predict it - the eventual champion being T'Pau's China In Your Hand.

So that is it for the 'Christmas' chart. As far as I'm concerned though the Top 40 next week will be a more accurate reflection on what has been bought in the run up to Christmas. Our computer centre is closed for the holidays next week so I'll write the article but post it a week late, along with the new year chart analysis and a rundown of the best sellers of 1993. To everyone though have a very merry Christmas and thankyou for all your comments on these articles over the past year. Here's to 1994 and whatever musical trends it may bring. Happy Christmas.