This week's Official UK Singles Chart

Introduction

Well first of all my apologies for the late arrival of the article this week, caused by me overworking, my computer being crap and life generally having all the verve of a Cliff Richard record. Apologies also to the almost record-breaking number of new subscribers this week, hope you feel it was worth the wait. On then to better things and the chart itself, 14 new entries, 3 new entries and no non-movers... which of course always gives the big surprise at the end away, but never mind.

The Chart

No. 36: (--) Thunder - Castles In The Sand

An impressive three hits in the space of four months for Thunder, but then again not so impressive when you consider that none have hung around for very long. This hit follows on from River Of Pain which made No.31 in February.

No. 25: (14) Strike - U Sure Do

A string of hits taking a tumble, interspersed with a collection of also-ran new entries [one of which just happened to be Adina Howard's Freak Like Me. About which I had nothing to say, alas]. As ever, this means a potentially active chart yet again. Don't be surprised if there are around 15 new entries next week.

No. 24: (--) Mark 'Oh - Tears Don't Lie

[Dude, seriously nothing to say here either? My agnosticism/ignorance of dance music meant this passed me by - the first ever Happy Hardcore track to reach the British Top 40. And it is AMAZING].

No. 23: (--) R Kelly - The 4-Play EP Part 1

Another hit for R Kelly, now a chart star at long last following She's Got That Vibe and Bump And Grind, his two top ten hits to date. Incidentally, the latter hit attracted a surprising number of complaints from the busybodies who sadly keep broadcasting regulators in business in this country, most of which were rejected out of hand.

No. 22: (--) Supercat - My Girl Josephine

The debut Top 40 hit for Supercat, the latest act to be championed by the inky music press with commercial success presumably assured. It is worth bearing in mind that the act atop the countdown this week were in the same position just one year ago.

No. 20: (27) Joshua Kadison - Jessie

On the third attempt Joshua Kadison's worldwide hit becomes a Top 20 single. You can perhaps understand the record companies desperation for this to be a hit, the song sounding as if it was written to be a classic ballad in the first place. I would possibly suggest it lacks the impetus to progress too much further but now it is a hit, it is one of those records that will never die on MOR radio [not heard it on Magic for ages though].

No. 18: (--) Runrig - An Ubhal As Airde (The Highest Apple)

The second hit of the year for Runrig following the brief appearance made by This Time Of Year back in January when it made No.38. The rather more impressive showing of this track is owed in part to the rather unusual circumstances of its release. An Ubhal... was actually first recorded and released back in 1987 when the band were a small local interest in their native Scotland and sang almost entirely in Gaelic. The commercial reappearance of the track is down to just that, its use in a series of commercials for McEwan's lager... the haunting theme sending people into record shops in droves to buy the track. It gives the band their first ever Top 20 hit and the first Gaelic song to hit big since the days of Clannad.

No. 17: (12) Love City Groove - Love City Groove

Love City Groove slip down the charts slightly although this is before the commercial boost they will almost certainly gain from the broadcast of the contest itself on May 13th. I mentioned last week that it was the highest charting British Eurovision entry since Belle and the Devotions made No.11 in 1984. The last British Eurovision hit to go Top 10 was Bardo's One Step Further which made No.2 in 1982 and briefly made polka-dot miniskirts into a fashion statement. The contest has not made the winners into major hits for a long time either. Although Niamh Kavanagh's winner in 1993 In Your Eyes made No.23 the last to be counted as a massive hit was coincidentally also an Irish winner - Johnny Logan's Hold Me Now which made No.2 in 1987. Eurovision has in the past also been responsible for No.1 hits for the likes of Sandie Shaw, Cliff Richard, Dana, Abba, Brotherhood Of Man, Johnny Logan (in 1980), Bucks Fizz and Nicole. Interesting to note that Cliff Richard was the only one of these not to have actually won the contest with the song (he came second) and that Nicole was the only one not from Britain or Ireland - hers being the German entry although a hit in an English translation.

No. 16: (--) Wildhearts - I Wanna Go Where The People Go

Contenders for the title as one of the upcoming bands of the year are the Wildhearts, breaking the Top 40 for the first time with the double a-side If Life Is A Lovebank and the tongue in cheek Geordie In Wonderland. Their biggest hit to date comes in the form of a storming track, loved to death by Radio One and ignored by almost everyone else.

No. 12: (--) Weezer - Buddy Holly

US Quirk Rock is starting to gain a hold over here it seems, Green Day opening the door of course but you get the feeling Weezer would have made it anyway. They first charted earlier this year with Undone, a song about jumpers of course, and now they pop up again with this American smash hit, full of references to the Rock and Roll star and replete with a Happy Days video. It's not the first time Holly has been namechecked in the title of a chart hit. Mike Berry did it in 1961 with his Tribute To Buddy Holly whilst in 1984 Alvin Stardust hit the Top 10 claiming I Feel Like Buddy Holly.

No. 11: (--) Perez 'Prez' Prado and his Orchestra - Guaglione

The power of advertising as a way of subliminaly promoting records strikes again, this time in the form of the long-running saga of the Guinness adverts. The story runs something like this... last Autumn Guinness ran an ad campaign in this country, the award-winning Recursive advert which featured in the background Louis Armstrong crooning We Have All The Time In The World. Demand for the single was there, but the rights were tricky to arrange. Meanwhile in Ireland a completely different campaign was running featuring a man waiting for his pint to settle and dancing to a bizarre Mambo tune at the same time. The tune in question was Guaglione, which shot straight to the top of the Irish charts, deposing in the process Bill Whelan's Riverdance and set out to challenge it as one of the biggest hits of the year in the Republic. By last November the ad had started airing on British screens to similar acclaim and Guaglione was issued as a single also. By an unhappy coincidence the Louis Armstrong track from the previous campaign had been cleared for release around the same time and had flooded into the shops. To capitalise on this, Guiness switched ads again which sent Louis Armstrong into the Top 3 and Perez Prado into oblivion. Are you keeping up still? Once the new year came around the adverts were changed again. Guaglione was by now off the release schedules yet the track still made a brief appearance at the bottom end of the chart thanks to a brief glut of imported copies. Now the fourty year old recording is officially re-released and crashes straight in to return Perez Prado to the Top 40 after nearly 40 years... about which there is more to be said but that will have to wait until next week.

No. 10: (--) Bjork - Army Of Me

The first new hit from a forthcoming new album for Bjork lands her straight in the Top 10. Its impetus is also due in part to the track's inclusion on the soundtrack of the forthcoming 'Tank Girl' film with none other than Courtney Love following in the footsteps of Trent Reznor on Natural Born Killes and choosing the music herself. Incredibly enough it is her biggest hit ever, the first time she has ever made the Top 10 after near-misses with Play Dead and Violently Happy. Although I have an unwritten rule that I try never to play down an instant Top 10 hit, I would suggest that Bjork singles tend either to be hauntingly beautiful or a cacophonous mess and that as this falls firmly into the latter category its chart life could well be limited.

No. 7: (--) Paul Weller - The Changingman

Incredible really. Paul Weller is now into his third career incarnation and is still making classic records. With both the Jam and the Style Council long behind him, he is now making a series of brilliantly understated rock records, just like this new single which surpasses 1994s Hung Up to become his biggest solo hit ever. Although he's had numerous solo Top 20 hits, this is the first time he has been in the Top 10 since the Style Council's It Didn't Matter made No.9 in January 1987.

No. 5: ( 2) Outhere Brothers - Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)

The four week deadlock in the Top 3 is finally broken with the Outhere Brothers on a downward trail after no less than six weeks inside the Top 2 - one of those of course at No.1.

No. 2: ( 1) Take That - Back For Good

De-posed. Not that they will mind of course, four weeks at No.1 equalling their best-ever and with Back For Good close on a million seller and their biggest hit ever. The new album Nobody Else gets better with every play by the way, it was released last Monday and is apparently outselling its closest rival by almost ten to one.

No. 1: (STRAIGHT IN) Oasis - Some Might Say

Well would you credit it? Since their chart debut last year with Supersonic, each successive hit by Oasis has been bigger than the last. When Whatever made No.3 at Christmas it was perhaps inevitable that the big one would follow. Although it starts off sounding suspiciously like a Status Quo record, Some People Say quickly becomes an epic piece of harmonised rock, sounding wonderful through a good set of speakers at high volume. It is certainly the most surprising No.1 hit of the year and is the first rock track to make No.1 since Stiltskin's Inside a year ago next week. Yet another single to go straight into No.1, making the 1990s the most productive period in chart history for this kind of instant success - I'll do a full detail of that statistic next week, suffice it to point out also that Oasis and Take That are the first back-to-back instant chart toppers since Take That's Sure followed Whigfield's Saturday Night last September. Watch out next week though, the market for Oasis singles is fairly narrow and they could face a challenge... and not necessarily from any of the records currently on the chart... but soft, I give too much away. Later....