This week's Official UK Singles Chart

Preamble:

A flurry of activity yet again following the relative lull experienced last week. That activity includes a long-awaited honour for one particular superstar. 13 new entries, 4 climbers and 4 non-movers.

Analysis:

No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Urban Species - Brother

Just nudging their way into the Top 40 to start this week are Urban Species with the followup to Spiritual Love which made a similarly brief appearance in the chart, making No.35 back in February.

No. 38: NEW ENTRY. Proclaimers - What Makes You Cry

The second hit single in recent months for the Proclaimers, following up 'Let's Get Married' which staggered to No.21 in February. It's lowly start suggests that the single may well progress little further, a shame really as it is actually rather good. The fact that it has charted at all is an achievement though - their first two albums only yielded one major hit single each.

No. 37: NEW ENTRY. Fluke - Bubble

Debut hit for the production team of Fluke who have been making a name for themselves in recent months with a series of remixes of popular hits, most notably Bjork's Big Time Sensuality and the single re-release of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Two Tribes.

No. 33: NEW ENTRY. Driza Bone - Pressure

This pair have been around for a while but are crossing over to the mainstream charts for the first time ever. Driza Bone were responsible for Real Love, one of the biggest underground dance hits of 1991. That track failed to chart though and their only previous dalliance with the charts was in October 1991 when Catch The Fire peaked at No.54.

No. 32: NEW ENTRY. Urban Cookie Collective - High On A Happy Vibe

The Urban Cookies are now suffering something of a burnout following the major summer smash of The Key: The Secret last (a No.2 hit) and its immediate followup Feels Like Heaven which made No.5 in November. Their fourth hit is more of the same kind of uptempo dance but is unlikely to progress much further.

No. 31: NEW ENTRY. Oasis - Supersonic

[Superstar debut klaxon! And about which I had absolutely zero comment to make at the time].

No. 29: FALLER. Frances Ruffelle - Lonely Symphony

A curious dip for the lady who caused a stir by performing her hit on television in a see-through dress and Union Jack boxer shorts [the video of which features in last week's piece]. The potential for improvement is still there though with continuing exposure for the track as this year's Eurovision entry, plus the televisation of the contest itself on April 30th although by then the record may have dropped from the charts altogether. It's now the fifth consecutive year that Eurovision has produced a hit single of the British entry although the last to make the Top 10 was the 1984 effort Love Games by Belle and the Devotions.

No. 28: NEW ENTRY. Garth Brooks - Standing Outside The Fire

Record company efforts to break the US Country superstar over here appear to be working slowly but surely as he charts for a second time to coincide with a series of concerts. Standing Outside The Fire is another ballad in a similar vein to his first hit The Red Strokes which peaked at No.13 in January. It's a shame in a way as the most effective advertisment for his music are the more uptempo numbers where his stage showmanship can be exploited to the full - or maybe the British public are judged to have closed minds to all but bland torch songs.

No. 27: NEW ENTRY. PJ and Duncan - Why Me?

[Oasis AND Ant & Dec making their chart debut in the same week. This was quite the epoch-making chart]. The power of television works its magic once again. PJ and Duncan are two characters in the BBC Childrens series 'Byker Grove' set in a housing estate in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. As part of the last series the characters made a record and it now gets a commercial release and smashes straight into the Top 30 [and mainstream entertainment would never quite be the same again].

No. 26: NEW ENTRY. Pretenders - I'll Stand By You

Stand by to have your heartstrings tugged. After the relative failure of 1990s Packed which failed to produce any hit singles, Chrissie Hynde et al are back with the first single from a new album. The fact that it is the first Pretenders single to chart in the Top 40 since Hymn To Her in December 1986 is due in no small part to the fact that it is a gorgeous ballad of the kind Ms Hynde can churn out easily if she puts her mind to it. A potential classic to rival 2000 Miles and the ode to motherhood that was their last chart hit, the track may well rise further. In their entire career the Pretenders have only had 5 Top 10 hits, their biggest ever being of course Brass In Pocket, the first No.1 record of the 1980s.

No. 17: NEW ENTRY. Crystal Waters - 100% Pure Love

La Da Dee... oh excuse me I was lost in nostalgia there for a second. The lady with possibly the most unusual voice in dance music is back. In 1991 she set what was then a record when she crashed straight in at No.3 with her seminal classic Gypsy Woman - at the time the highest ever new entry by an unknown artist. That track went on to peak at No.2 and subsequently made the chart twice more, first in January 1992 as part of a megamix and then in October that year in a remixed form, peaking at No.39 and No.35 respectively. Her first new hit for three years is more of the same kind of left-field nonsense, making a credible first week showing but without the impact of her debut classic may well find further going tricky. [Things I've discovered uploading this archive column: Crystal Waters has a Vevo channel. The Pretenders do not].

No. 11: NEW ENTRY. C J Lewis - Sweets For My Sweet

Just when you thought last year's craze of ragga remakes was dead in the water along comes another. The debut hit for C J Lewis makes a strong showing after plenty of radio airplay for his cover of the Searchers 1963 No.1 hit. One of those classic songs it is almost impossible to ruin, it was surprisingly never a hit in American for the Liverpudlian beat band who had to wait until 1964 to chart with Needles And Pins - a No.13 hit over there but yet another No.1 hit here. In all the band had 3 No.1 hits and 3 other Top 10s between 1963 and 1966.

No. 8: CLIMBER. Bitty McLean - Dedicated To The One I Love

Bitty McLean shifts up a few notches and scores his third Top 10 hit, making the song a Top 10 hit for the second time.

No. 5: NEW ENTRY. Crash Test Dummies - Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

With a sense of inevitability Canada's Crash Test Dummies make one of the biggest chart impacts by a new band this year. The left-field song, currently in the US Top 10 as well lands straight in the Top 5 after protracted radio support. The unusual song probably holds the record for the longest song title not to include a vowel in the title. The high chart placing of the band also makes them only the 14th act to spend their first week on the chart inside the Top 5. Curiously of those 14, all but 3 did so in the last five years.

No. 4: NEW ENTRY. Erasure - Always

Biggest new hit of the week though comes from Erasure with their first brand new recording since 1992s 'Abba-esque' EP. Now into their ninth year together, this is Vince Clarke and Andy Bell's 14th Top 10 hit and their fourth in a row following Breath Of Life, the aforementioned No.1 EP and the remix of Who Needs Love Like That. One of the best singles they have released for years, the anthemic pop song is sure to hang around the upper reaches for a few weeks yet.

No. 1: FIRST WEEK. Prince - The Most Beautiful Girl In The World

It seemed last week he had missed out completely, but not so. By deposing Take That Prince has finally achieved one of the few honours to have eluded him in his career - a UK No.1 hit. It's not that his songs have had problems in the charts before, Prince compositions having been No.1 hits for Chaka Khan in 1984 and most famously Sinead O'Connor in 1990. Never before had the man on his own topped the charts, his previous biggest hits being 1999 and Batdance. His first chart single was I Wanna Be Your Lover which made its debut in January 19th 1980, which means he has waited just over 14 years for a No.1 hit, the 12th slowest journey in chart history.