The usual story I suppose, a string of also-ran new hits, some major debuts and a few raised eyebrows at the top. 12 new entries, 5 climbers and 2 non-movers.
No. 34: NEW ENTRY. Pearl Jam - Not For You
The first hit of 1995 for Pearl Jam who, despite the apparant decline of serious grunge rock in recent months, turned their career on its head by scoring their biggest hit ever when Spin The Black Circle made No.10 back in November. It was of course a brief in-and-out performance and their new single makes a rather less spectacular debut, the one consolation being I suppose that it has less far to fall next week.
No. 31: NEW ENTRY. Thunder - River Of Pain
I've commented many times in the past that Thunder appear almost to be stuck in a yawning chasm between rock credibility and mainstram acceptance. True, the mutant offspring of 80s legends Terraplane have scored a string of Top 30 hits with their competent rock but they are neither commercial enough to become pop hits, nor heavy enough to be regarded as serious rock. Most of their fans though will quite possibly be outraged by that description - there are enough of them to make this their first Top 40 hit since Like A Satellite in June 1993. Their biggest hit ever came a few months before that when A Better Man made No.18.
No. 29: NEW ENTRY. Gun - The Only One
The story of Gun would be similar to that of Thunder but for one crucial difference. Gun up until recently struggled along with a small but sizeable following that ensured they had the odd chart hit. All that changed briefly last summer with the release of their rocked-up version of Cameo's Word Up. The track reached No.8 in July 1994 and briefly turned the Glaswegians into pop stars. Since then they have settled down since then and their second single since sees them back to more average chart statistics.
No. 28: NEW ENTRY. Moby - Every Time You Touch Me
Another in an ever-growing line of hits for Moby who has come a long way since the days of Go in 1991. Every Time You Touch Me is his first hit of 1995 following Hymn and Feeling So Real which made brief appearances in the Top 30 last year.
No. 27: NEW ENTRY. EMF - Perfect Day
Back. Back to hopefully conquer a different generation. EMF burst onto the scene like a breath of fresh air in 1990 with their debut single Unbelievable, an instant Top 5 smash and a dancefloor classic to this day. A series of hits from their debut album followed, along with the crowning glory of leading a mini-British invasion of the American charts in the summer of 1991 when Unbelievable reached No.1. Their second album appeared towards the end of 1992 but a more 'mature' sound failed to find as large an audience as before and most of their column inches stemmed from lurid tales of tattoing sessions and inserting fruit up foreskins. Now the band are back, refreshed and ready to conquer all again - but for the fact the music still isn't very good. Perfect Day makes a rather inauspicious debut and with minimal radio play is unlikely to progress much further.
No. 25: NEW ENTRY. Mike and the Mechanics - Over My Shoulder
The 'solo' career of Mike Rutherford has always tended to be overshadowed by that of his follicly-challenged colleague in Genesis but that has not stopped him from scoring hits. Mike and the Mechanics seem to be guaranteed at least one hit per album and this is clearly the one for this time round, a plodding semi-anthem immaculately produced of course and voiced as ever by the evergreen Paul Carrack. The bands biggest success came in January 1991 when The Living Years reached No.2 but even then that was the only track from that album to chart. This is only their fourth Top 40 since their debut with Silent Running in February 1986.
No. 23: NEW ENTRY. Stevie Wonder - For Your Love
Stevie Wonder is without a doubt one of the biggest soul stars on the planet. His track record is such that he doesn't actually need to have hit records any more to justify the legend, but there is no denying he will be pleased with the success of this track. For Your Love is incredibly his first Top 40 hit since My Love made No.5 in August 1988 - and even then he was just a guest on Julio Iglesias' record. To find his last truly solo hit you have to go back to 1986s Overjoyed which made No.17 in March that year. To dwell on this recent lack of form would be to do his past record an injustice though. Since he first charted with Uptight in 1966 he has had 18 Top 10 hits and 38 Top 40 entries. Only twice has he been at No.1 though - first of all in partnership with Paul McCartney on Ebony and Ivory in 1982 and then finally solo in 1984 with the million-selling I Just Called To Say I Love You. His wait of 18 years, 218 days for a solo No.1 is the fifth longest of all time, beaten only by Elton John, Cher, Ben E King and Jackie Wilson.
No. 17: NEW ENTRY. PJ and Duncan - Our Radio Rocks
Possibly proving they are more than just a TV-manufactured pop act, PJ and Duncan picked up a 'Best Newcomers' nomination at this weeks Brit awards and score their fifth hit on the trot. Our Radio Rocks is as formulaic as the others, more gentle pop-rap from the two actors whose run of hits started simply because their characters in the BBC series 'Byker Grove' needed a record to perform in a storyline - five Top 30 hits later there seems no stopping them.
No. 16: CLIMBER. Vanessa-Mae - Toccata and Fugue
The release of her album featuring combination of rock-up classic oldies and string renditions of more modern compositions appears to have not affected sales of the single as the sixteen year old continues her progress upwards.
No. 13: NEW ENTRY. Elastica - Waking Up
It would be to do the band a grave injustice to say their current success is due to singer Justine's relationship with Damian Albarn of Blur so I will not mention it [yet it truly was their most important marketing hook, sad thought it may sound], suffice it to say that the exposure it has given them cannot have harmed their chart prospects at all. Waking Up is the third hit from the band and the third to crash straight into the Top 20 on release, although this new single easily becomes the bands biggest hit ever. They are riding on a wave of female-lead indie bands at present, a wave which has seen Sleeper, Elastica and Belly all making significant chart impressions as well.
No. 9: NEW ENTRY. Bon Jovi - Someday I'll Be Saturday Night
By a whisker Cross Road became the biggest selling album of 1994 and at the moment Bon Jovi can do no wrong. A further new hit to be taken from the hits album is Someday I'll Be Saturday Night which follows on from their seasonal cover of the Eagles 'Please Come Home For Christmas' which coincided with the lengthly chart run of Always - their biggest hit ever. The new single sees Jon back in his favourite acoustic Urban Cowboy guise but that doesn't stop the track being another Bon Jovi anthem and an instant Top 10 hit.
No. 7: CLIMBER. Perfecto Allstarz - Reach Up (...Pigbag)
It is dangerous these days to write a hit off just for stalling in the charts slightly, even in the Top 10. Proving that last weeks dip to No.9 was just a blip, the Perfecto Allstarz climb again to their highest position so far.
No. 4: NEW ENTRY. Madonna - Bedtime Story
It was a shock to many just before Christmas when Take A Bow stalled at No.16 and became the first Madonna single for nearly 10 years to miss the Top 10. It brought to an end a record-breaking run of Top 10 hits but it was quite possibly just a blip as Maddy bounces back with the title track from her current album. Bedtime Story was, as is well documented elsewhere, written by Bjork which explains Madonna's breathy delivery of the minimalistic vocals as she attempts to emulate the Icelandic Pixie's own unique style. Its easily the most credible single Madonna has released since Vogue, hence the high chart entry to give her her biggest hit since Erotica made No.3 in October 1992. A dazzling performance at the Brit awards earlier this week should also give the single a further boost next week.
No. 3: CLIMBER. MN8 - I've Got A Little Something For You
They debuted high and a constant series of promotional appearances, plus the radio-friendly nature of the track pushes MN8 up into the Top 3 after moving just one place at a time for the last three weeks.
No. 2: NON-MOVER. Annie Lennox - No More 'I Love You's
True to form, after I waxed lyrical over the sure-fire No.1 potential of this hit last week Annie Lennox causes a shock and actually suffers a decline in sales over her first week. It is enough to ensure her biggest-ever solo hit remains rooted in the runners-up position and it may well have lost the chance to move into pole position. Reaching No.1 was always a struggle for the Eurythmics in their heyday, they only managed it once and for a solitary week at that in July 1985 with There Must Be An Angel. Their moment of glory was pushed aside by the ascent to the top of the rising star of the time - some woman called Madonna who is of course virtually unknown today.
No. 1: FOURTH WEEK. Celine Dion - Think Twice
Even without the surprising drop in sales of Annie Lennoxs' single it may well have been that Celine Dion would have stayed at No.1 anyway. Call it the influence of Valentines day, attribute it to what you will but Think Twice actually increased its sales dramatically last week. For a record to be still in the ascendant after four weeks at the top is quite impressive, to do so whilst its parent album is also at No.1 selling three times its nearest competitor is quite incredible but to do so in its 19th week on the chart is nothing short of unprecedented. Celine Dion's slow climb to the summit meant that Think Twice had already sold 600,000 copies by the time it got there and if it carries on at this rate another million seller is not out of the question. Don't go away...