This week's Official UK Singles Chart

Preamble:

Crumbs... [blimey] an hour to type and probably a day to reply to all the comments that will land in my mailbox after this. What a week, what a chart. 11 new entries, 4 climbers and 1 non-mover which is not as depressing as it sounds...

Analysis:

No. 33: NEW ENTRY. Aswad - Warriors

They seem to be the band that can never die. The veteran reggae band, still together after nearly 20 years together, surprised many when Shine became one of the biggest hits of the summer, taking them into the Top 10 for only the second time ever and remaining in the Top 40 right up until a fortnight ago. Consistency has never been their strong point though and this new hit will do well to emulate its predecessor which will almost certainly end up one of the Top 20 best sellers of 1994.

No. 31: NEW ENTRY. M People - Elegantly American

The play on words of the title of their last album is the cue for an EP release of a set of American remixes of hits such as One Night In Heaven and Moving On Up. It is also a startlingly timely release, coinciding with the announcement on Tuesday night that Elegant Slumming had won the 1994 Mercury Music Prize for Album of the Year. This musical equivalent of the literary Booker prize is now in its third year and is fast growing in stature with the media paying more attention each time and is certain to give sales of the album a significant boost. Blur's Parklife was favourite to win but it was correctly speculated that it was too close in style to previous winners Primal Scream and Suede, leaving the judges to go for Mike Pickering et al as the surprise winners.

No. 30: NEW ENTRY. Roxette - Fireworks

The third hit of the year for Roxette, who appear to be on a downward spiral with their records currently failing to make as much of an impression as hits of yore. Fireworks follows on the heels of 'Crash! Boom! Bang!' which staggered to No.26 back in June.

No. 27: NEW ENTRY. Snap featuring Summer - Welcome To Tomorrow

...and welcome back to Snap who just two years ago had firmly attached themselves to the top of the charts with Rhythm Is A Dancer which would have been the bestseller of the year but for Whitney Houston. Since then the Germans have struggled a little following the loss of charismatic frontman Turbo B, despite two followup Top 10 hits with Exterminate and Do You See The Light. The new hit makes an unimpressive start and has a lot to live up to - their only chart hit ever to miss the Top 10 was The Colour Of Love in 1991 which only reached No.54.

No. 26: NEW ENTRY. Bad Boys Inc - Love Here I Come

It is always worth remembering that Bad Boys Inc are masterminded by Ian Levine who was also responsible for the initial hitless career of Take That. Unable to have quite the same impact, Bad Boys Inc struggled along until earlier this year when More To This World smashed into the Top 10, quickly followed by Take Me Away (I'll Follow You) in the Top 20. The new single charts slightly lower though but it has to be said is startlingly similar to much of Take That's current output. Clearly there is an extra bit of magic missing from Bad Boys Inc...

No. 21: FALLER. Shampoo - Trouble

The long running summer hits now start to peel away, Shampoo having spent 7 weeks in the Top 20 without ever reaching the Top 10 - equalling the achievement of the Cranberries Linger back in February.

No. 19: NEW ENTRY. Grid - Rollercoaster

It only dropped out of the Top 40 this week after 15 weeks, surprising many. I'm talking of course of Swamp Thing, the intriguing mix of banjo reels and dance beats which has ended up one of the best sellers of the year so far. It is now a case of Follow That for Dave Ball and his cronies and they do so with Rollercoaster, perhaps not quite as commercial as the last hit but enough to give them their second Top 20 hit.

No. 13: NEW ENTRY. Cyndi Lauper - Hey Now (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun)

Give her at least full marks for originality of concept. By way of a spicer for her current Greatest Hits collection, Cyndi Lauper has set aside the standard practices of re-releasing or remixing a past hit but has instead re-recorded one in a totally different style. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is possibly one of the pop records, a timeless classic which made No.2 in early 1984 and was only held off the top by Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax. The new version slows the track down to turn it into a far slinkier dance groove to quite inspired effect [borrowing the chorus line from Redbone's Come And Get Your Love but as this was never a UK hit I remained ignorant of this fact for some considerable time] and bringing her back to the upper reaches of the chart after her last two singles failed to reach the Top 30.

No. 9: NEW ENTRY. REM - What's The Frequency, Kenneth?

It may not be their most straightforward single ever (although lets face it when is an REM single straightforward?) but the first from a new album is enough of an event to give the band their highest new entry ever and only their third ever Top 10 hit. More it is difficult to say, aside from the fact that given that Automatic For The People spawned five Top 40 hits you can expect them to be a regular chart fixture until at least early next summer.

No. 4: FALLER. Kylie Minogue - Confide In Me

De-nied. It's a jinx, it has to be, for the fourth time Kylie enters at No.2 and then fails to progress any further. Expect the single to hang around for a couple of weeks, at least until the new album arrives. Confide In Me also prompts one curious statistic which was mentioned to me earlier in the week. Kylie Minogue has had a single stuck at No.2 behind every No.1 by Wet Wet Wet to date. First of all it was Got To Be Certain blocked by With A Little Help From My Friends in May 1988, followed by Give Me Just A Little More Time which was held off by Goodnight Girl in February 1992. Remind Marti Pellow not to grin too widely next time they run into each other...

No. 3: NEW ENTRY. Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey - Endless Love

Don't get me wrong, I'm a little romantic at heart but I have never really understood the appeal of what is to me a rather bland ballad that does a disservice to most other Lionel Richie songs. The original Diana Ross/Lionel Richie version made No.7 here in 1981, was No.1 for 9 weeks in America and at the time was the biggest selling Motown single of all time. Now in 1994 it is the turn of Luther and Mariah to turn their hand to it and they do so in style, straight into the Top 3 with an almost identical version. The effect is spoiled somewhat by the fact that, as one reviewer put it, they are singing around each other rather than with each other and near the end virtually swamping the song as they try to out-sing each other. Still, enough respect it gives Luther Vandross his second biggest hit ever, his only Top 10 hits being duets with female vocalists who have previously had bigger hits than he has ever had. Some message there surely?

No. 2: FALLER. Wet Wet Wet - Love Is All Around

It is hard to know where to begin. The announcement last week that the single was to be deleted sent a shock around the industry. To delete a single that has outstayed its welcome is, as I said last week, nothing new but to do so when it has the potential to break records is nothing short of astounding. The only other No.1 single ever to be withdrawn whilst at the top was U2's The Fly in November 1991 which caused no sensation at all as the band had always made it clear that was their full intention. Let's be clear on one point, the single has not been physically pulled from the shelves, merely that no more copies are being pressed from this week and current supplies will simply dry up very quickly. If last week's announcement was intended to have a positive effect it certainly worked. A rush to the shops prompted an 80% increase in the sales of the track giving it it's biggest weekly sale for over two months. Even that though was not enough to keep the single at No.1 and so Love Is All Around settles into place as the second longest running No.1 hit ever and the third longest in terms of total weeks. Long-running megahits of the kind we have seen in the past few years have proved at least one thing - if the single is supposed to be dying it is only due to the record companies treating it as a promotional tool for an album. The one thing that Everything I Do, I Will Always Love You and Love Is All Around have in common is that they were not at the time featured on regular album releases by the acts concerned but were instead on film soundtracks and thus did not have their sales diluted as much as would have been the case if they had merely been album plugs. The film connection is also a major factor, exposing the music to a far wider audience than just regular listeners to pop radio. So for now Wet Wet Wet have a lot to live up to having made one of the Top 15 best selling singles of all time. The only way to go from the top is down and it will be a great pity if people fall into the trap of judging their future output by the standard of this one. Fifteen weeks may have been long to the point of tedium but one can do little else but applaud them for it.

No. 1: NEW ENTRY/FIRST WEEK. Whigfield - Saturday Night

So what of the record that has caused this upheaval. Thankfully enough it has a story of its own. I talked last year of the 'Costa Del Sol' factor which can prove so crucial to record sales at this time of year. Millions of Brits flock to the continent every summer and the memories of their holidays will be coloured by whatever music that was playing in the clubs at the time. Once back home a demand is created for those same tracks and massive hits can result, as was the case with Culture Beat's Mr Vain exactly a year ago. The beneficiary this year is Saturday Night, the Italian record fronted by Danish model Whigfield which even spawned its own dance. The record has been selling well on import for some weeks and at one point had picked up enough local airplay to sneak into the bottom end of the Airplay-weighted Network Top 50 chart. Once released commercially there was no stopping the track and it charges in to the No.1 slot making Whigfield only the second solo woman artist ever to achieve this feat, but most importantly setting an unbeatable record of the highest ever new entry by an unknown artist. Many acts have come close but nobody has ever made No.1 in their first ever week in the charts. I'm tempted to suggest that it is a triumph of circumstance and marketing strategy more than musical quality but you cannot easily be cynical about a record-breaking No.1 - it would be like suggesting Michael Schumacher only wins Grands Prix because he drives a fast car.


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