This week's Official UK Singles Chart

[In the end the hiatus lasted just seven weeks. Although the last thing I expected to do was return and find the same sodding record at the top of the charts. This resumption kicked off what you might regard as the short second era of the commentary as I moved on in the world, began my media career and in the process finally found my own creative voice. I'm no longer a passive observer of this stuff, as the weeks go by the modern day James Masterton will start to emerge through these words].

Preamble:

Oh alright then, I couldn't stay away for too long despite myself. Hopefully this is the return of regular postings, barring the kinds of events that make their way onto the small print of insurance documents. Anyway, down to business and with a genuine summer lull upon us the higher reaches of the chart stagnate to an extent that has not been seen for years whilst at the bottom end the world of dance proves it is not immune to having a 'repeats season' of its own. 12 new entries, 10 climbers and 5 non-movers.

Analysis:

No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Wrecks-n-Effect - Rump Shaker

Recycled dance hit No.1: Wrecks-n-Effect score their second hit of the year, following up May's No.26 Wreckx Shop with a straight remix of their biggest hit to date. First time around Rump Shaker made No.24 in December 1992.

No. 39: NEW ENTRY. Richard Marx - The Way She Loves Me

Third hit in a row for Richard Marx although he seems to be watching his UK chart success slipping back into the black hole it rested in at the start of his career. Now And Forever' made a respectable enough No.13 in February but Silent Scream could only manage a brief appearance at No.32 in May before crashing out totally with this new hit set to follow on the same path it seems.

No. 32: NEW ENTRY. Tin Tin Out featuring Sweet Tee - The Feeling

Recyled dance hit No.2: Sweet Tee's moment of glory came in January 1988 when following months festering underground, I Got Da Feelin' peaked at No.31 as part of the first mass chart invasion of house hits. Six and a half years later the rap emerges again, re-recorded under the control of mixers Tin Tin Out, just one place below the peak of the original.

No. 31: NEW ENTRY. Sophie B Hawkins - Right Beside You

Almost exactly two years ago Sophie B Hawkins promised much after her debut hit Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover made No.14. Despite a strong album she delivered very little, her only other chart hit being California Here I Come which made a lowly No.53 in September 1992. Now after a long absence the breathy balladeer returns with a track that has widely and often unkindly been compared to Madonna, despite sounding like nothing Madonna has ever recorded. Nonetheless the exposure has done her good she notches up a second Top 40 hit - and one that in the current climate may even have the potential to progress further.

No. 29: CLIMBER. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince - Summertime

Recycled dance hit No.3: As Britain swelters under the hottest summer for decades it seemed a logical move to re-release this 1991 Top 10 hit for Will and Jeff. Although unlikely to repeat its initial No.8 peak it does if nothing else prove that even rap has a catalogue that can be mined when the occasion dictates...

No. 24: NEW ENTRY. Carleen Anderson - True Spirit

The third and biggest hit to date for Carleen Anderson following Nervous Breakdown and Momma Said. Like the other two this latest single is a piece of strikingly sung soul yet at the same time made in such a bluesy way as to render it totally uncommercial.

No. 22: NEW ENTRY. Manic Street Preachers - Revol

Reverting back to the hardcore punk sound that characterised their early recordings seems to have given the chart career of the Manics a shot in the arm as Revol charges easily into the chart behind Faster/PCP which made an impressive No.16 back in June. It's unlikely to progress much further but one has to admire a band that can produce a not totally unpleasant noise like this one minute and then turn round and produce a piece of almost pure guitar-driven pop the next without a hint of selling out.

No. 18: NEW ENTRY. Public Enemy - Give It Up

Public Enemy could recite the words of the National Anthem and it would still scare the crap out of you. The most commercial hardcore rappers of all return to the chart after an absence of over two years with what is probably their least verbose recording to date. Give It Up is an impressive fifth Top 30 hit for the band since they began having hits in 1987. Incredibly enough their three Top 20 hits have all peaked at the same position: Don't Believe The Hype in July 1998, Welcome To The Terrordome in January 1990 and now this new hit, all crashing in at No.18.

No. 17: NEW ENTRY. Joe Cocker - The Simple Things

Whenever Joe Cocker appears to promote his latest single he almost seems embarrassed by the constant questions about his legendary performance at Woodstock 25 years ago. These days the rehabilitated wild man prefers to concentrate on the MOR ballads which he carries off with consummate ease. The Simple Things is the first hit from a new album and matches the peak of his last Top 40 hit Unchain My Heart back in July 1992. His biggest hit ever was of course his powerful rendering of With A Little Help From My Friends which made No.1 in November 1968.

No. 14: NEW ENTRY. Future Sound Of London - Lifeforms

It says a lot for the reputation of Brian Dougans that he can take his ambient dub tracks into the charts with ease. Lifeforms has been cut by popular demand from the album of the same name which first appeared in the Top 30 several months ago. Neither dance music, nor New Age but somewhere in between, the collection of noises drifts along for several minutes without form or structure and paying little regard to any previous notions of musical convention. It's easily the biggest hit to date for Future Sound Of London, eclipsing Papua New Guinea which made No.22 in May 1992. Tracking down the chart career of Brian Dougans is a little difficult owing to the number of names he has used over the years, in common with contemporaries such as the Aphex Twin who regard the music they create as more important than any coherent image.

No. 13: NEW ENTRY. Brand New Heavies - Midnight At The Oasis

Even Acid Jazz is not immune from the old adage that if you want a massive hit then you cover a classic. The third hit of the year for N'Dea Davenport et al is this faithfully rendered cover of Maria Muldaur's 1974 classic which made No.21 here but went Top 10 in America. It gives the band their biggest ever UK hit, passing the No.15 peak of Dream On Dreamer back in March.

No. 12: CLIMBER. Shampoo - Trouble

For years it has been the dream of many an A&R man to manufacture an all-female teen group to work alongside the success of similar male stars. My record collection is filled with many failed attempts at taking attractive girls off the streets and turning them into stars. Now it seems at last the formula has worked. Shampoo are clearly manufactured but it seems not to matter as extensive promotion has pushed the two teenagers from London and their rather corny rap about being out all night straight into the Top 20. Whether they can be any more than a summer novelty is open to question and I will watch with interest.

No. 11: CLIMBER. Youssou N'Dour featuring Neneh Cherry - Seven Seconds

As sleeper hits go they don't come any quieter than this. It's easy enough to see why this gorgeous ballad was a single in the first place but harder still to see why after 8 weeks of stalling and sliding the track has bucked all current trends to claw its way to just outside the Top 10. Despite a long-standing history of collaboration with Peter Gabriel, Youssou N'Dour has never before had a commercial hit and Neneh Cherry's contribution to the track means she has eclipsed all her recent solo work to achieve her highest chart placing since the Top 10 success of Manchild in June 1989.

No. 10: NEW ENTRY. DJ Miko - What's Up

The biggest new hit of the week comes straight from the clubs. After setting dancefloors alight for weeks, this rather pointless dance remake of the 4 Non Blondes track crashes straight into the Top 10. As a dance track it seems to work alright but of course pales in comparison with the original which made No.2 in July last year.

No. 6: NON-MOVER. Warren G and Nate Dogg - Regulate

No.6 this week appears to be a dividing line between the clutch of newer hits waiting to break into the higher reaches and the group of stalwarts in the Top 5 who still seem to show no signs of shifting.

No. 5: FALLER. BC-52s - (Meet) The Flintstones

On their way out possibly are the BC-52s having held at No.3 for three weeks now yet still spending a sixth week on the chart without ever once being out of the Top 5.

No. 3: CLIMBER. Let Loose - Crazy For You

Still on their way up it seems are Let Loose with their classic piece of pop now in an eighth chart week and showing no signs of slipping sales-wise, thanks in part to heavy radio rotation for the band who could become the next big teen stars with further careful marketing of the type that has brought them here now.

No. 2: NON-MOVER. All-4-One - I Swear

If it seems like they have been there a long time it is because they have. No.2 hits are rarely in a position to break records but this one on this occasion has. Not content with a marathon stay at the top of the US charts, All-4-One have now spent 7 consecutive weeks in the runners up slot. Only one other record has done the same - Pat Boone's Love Letters In The Sand back in 1957. With their sales still bearing up well and with few other big hits on the horizon another week near the top could well be on the cards. The track has already sold enough to ensure it will be on of the Top 10 best sellers of the year. This all seems strangely reminiscent of August 1991 when Right Said Fred's I'm Too Sexy spent 6 weeks at No.2 behind a certain long running No.1.....

No. 1: ELEVENTH WEEK. Wet Wet Wet - Love Is All Around

And still they sit there. Despite at times being shadowed frighteningly closely by All-4-One, Wet Wet Wet charged past the one million sales mark some four weeks ago and show no signs of letting up. This eleventh week at the summit overtakes Whitney Houston's 10 weeks in December 1992 to make them the longest running No.1 hit since Bryan Adams' record breaking 16 weeks in 1991. At present Love Is All Around is joint fourth on the all-time list of long running No.1 hits. In terms of total weeks at the top for a single disc the record is held by Frankie Laine's 'I Believe' which managed 18 weeks in a series of runs in 1953. Next is 'Everything I Do' on 16 weeks followed by Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody with a total of 14 weeks. Next come Wet Wet Wet alongside Slim Whitman's 1955 hit Rose Marie. All eyes are now on the Scottish band - just how much longer can they carry on?