1 FAIRGROUND (Simply Red)
As expected, Simply Red maintain their lead at the top of the charts, alongside the seemingly unending stranglehold the single appears to have on the playlists of the nation's radio stations. Mick Hucknall could hardly contain his delight in press interviews last week at having finally achieved a Number One single in his home country. He had a long time to wait, Simply Red having first charted on 14 June 1985 with Money's Too Tight To Mention. That wait of 10 years, 102 days is the 22nd longest in chart history but does of course pale into insignificance beside the 29 year wait by Jackie Wilson before he had a Number One hit single.
2 MIS-SHAPES/SORTED FOR E'S AND WHIZZ (Pulp)
1995 could be said to be the year of a number of bands, but if that is the case Pulp are mos definately one of them. After having existed for almost 16 years in one form or another, the band led by the effortlessly charismatic Jarvis Cocker finally hit the big time back in June with the release of the anthemic Common People which easily lays claim to being one of the singles of the year. With the new album still not released, attention inevitably focuses on their second single of the year - and rightly so because it is a cracker. It charges in to match the Number 2 entry of Common People, not least by virtue of an interesting marketing strategy and not a little unnecessary press hysteria. The single is what is still historically called a double-A side, with two of the tracks on the single being pushed to the fore. What is unusual about this release is that there are two versions of the CD single available, one listing the jaunty anthemic Mis-Shapes as the lead track, the other promoting the Beatlesque Sorted For E's and Whizz upfront. Each features a different concept for the sleeve, Mis-Shapes taking the form of a 1950s dressmaking pattern when you can learn all kinds of interesting facts about the group's vital statistics including the fact that the lanky Jarvis Cocker has a 34 inch inside leg. The problems are with the sleeve for Sorted... which at first sight appears to be a rather strange set of origami instructions but on closer examination, and when taken in the context of the song are clearly instructions on how to fold an envelope of drugs in order to conceal it about your person. One day last week a tabloid newspaper, clearly short that day of stories about Will Carling and Princess Diana, devoted much of its front page to a denunciation of this blatant attempt to corrupt and deprave the record-buying public.
[And here indeed is that very story. Authored you will note by one Kate Thornton. Future X Factor and Loose Women presenter]
The resultant (brief) publicity will have done the single no harm at all of course, but has forced Island records to refrain from printing any more copies of that version of the sleeve. Above all of this must be made the ironic point that the song accompanying the sleeve can hardly be said to be promoting use of the named drugs, being more an account of Jarvis Cocker standing in the middle of a muddy field with a crowd of ravers and wondering what on earth the bloody point of it all is...
7 SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW (Wet Wet Wet)
8 SOMETHING FOR THE PAIN (Bon Jovi)
Refreshing it is indeed to see strong climbers in the current chart climate so they both deserve a mention. Wet Wet Wet make it three Top 10 hits in a row this year, Somewhere Somehow now matching the peak of Don't Want To Forgive Me Now back in June. It's their tenth Top Tenner since 1987. Bon Jovi in the meantime make similar progress, they too having now had three Top 10 hits this year, Something For The Pain being the ninth of their career.
10 MAN ON THE EDGE (Iron Maiden)
Iron Maiden are something of a contradiction, on the one hand being one of the heaviest most uncommercial bands around yet on the other commanding such a following that they are one of the most successful rock acts of all time on the British Charts, this being their 25th Top 40 hit since they first charted in 1980. Man On The Edge comes at a turning point for the band, their first studio release since the departure of lead singer Bruce Dickinson almost two years ago. Since then there has been nothing by the band save a brace of live albums released that same year, both of which spawned Top Ten hit singles. Now revitalised they explode back onto the chart, to score what is impressively their 10th Top Ten hit in 11 releases since 1988 (1992s Hallowed Be Thy Name the only one to spoil that sequence). I say impressively as they are still one of the more uncommercial rock bands around, their songs dealing not with chicks and fast cars but with classical and black magic imagery. Few, if any of their records sell to the casual record buyer but simply to their enormously loyal base of fans.
12 LIGHT OF MY LIFE (Louise)
Robbie Williams' departure from Take That wasn't the only celebrated musical flounce of the summer. Since October 1993 the four girls of Eternal had established themselves as one of the most potent soul acts in the country with a string of Top Ten hits from their debut album Always And Forever. Back in July, however, rumours that had been circulating for some months finally proved to be true as Louise Nurding announced she was quitting the band to go solo. Thus it is that Autumn 1995 sees Britain's foremost all-girl group operating as two units, Eternal continuing as a trio with a new single out next week and also Louise, now a solo artist in her own right releasing her debut solo single. That single arrives in style, a beautiful ballad that shows her voice off to perfect effect which lands straight into the Top 20 with enough momentum to see it climb again next week. Who knows, it may well still be around to be part of a chart battle with her former colleagues whose Power Of Woman single is poised for release.
14 WHAT DO I DO NOW (Sleeper)
It is clearly a good week for ladies called Louise. First of all Louise NolongerinEternal and now Louise Wener fronting Sleeper to their third Top 40 hit of the year and their biggest hit to date. Wener has attracted much press attention over the past few months for her typically uncompromising views on feminism and political correctness in general but that in no way detracts from the quality of the music, yet another example of a fine British band making fantastic hit singles.
15 THROW YOUR SET IN THE AIR (Cypress Hill)
The uncompromising American rappers return to the charts after over a years absence and prove that they are still able to fly in the fact of commercialism and score big hits, having already had three Top 20 hits from their last album. The new single represents no progression on their previous work, but to its credit it is one of the more accessible rap records around at present.
16 GEEK STINK BREATH (Green Day)
With a title like that it could only really be Green Day couldn't it? The US quirksters notch up their fourth hit of the year and their biggest since Basket Case made the Top 10 to finally bring their star into the ascendancy this side of the Atlantic. Whilst this is a respectable enough showing for the single they will still struggle to progress much further. As fellow crank rockers Weezer have found, this type of goofy US rock is as alien to British record buyers as much as bands like Blur and Oasis are a mystery to buyers across the Atlantic.
22 NEVER KNEW LOVE (Oleta Adams)
With her former mentors Tears For Fears making a similar comeback lower down the charts it is fitting that Oleta Adams should notch up her first hit single since 1993. Oleta Adams first came to attention in 1989 as the guest star on Tears For Fears' Woman In Chains and subsequently struck out on her own to release the magnificent Circle Of One album a year later. Single success was hard to come by though and it was not until her version of Brenda Russell's Get Here touched a chord during the Gulf War in early 1991 that she finally had a hit single. What is more surprising is that to date that is her only major hit single, her only other Top 40 appearance was with her version of Elton John's Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me which reached Number 33 in September 1991. She is, therefore, a welcome sight with this first release from a forthcoming new album although even this powerful track is unlikely to become a big hit.
24 FROM THE BENCH AT BELVIDERE (Boo Radleys)
Do you detect a pattern here? The fourth hit single this year for the Boo Radleys, still floundering in the wake of the enormous impact of Wake Up Boo! back in March. This new single drifts away from that bouncy style, being a relaxed acoustic strum which is by no means unpleasant but only a smallish hit. Despite this it eases past the Number 25 peak of It's Lulu a couple of months ago to become their second biggest ever hit.
27 DEEPER (Escrima)
They are in danger of looking as if they are left behind, not their fourth hit of the year but their second, Escrima finally following up Train Of Thought which reached Number 36 back in February.
31 RAOUL (AND THE KINGS OF SPAIN) (Tears For Fears)
A scary thought: It is ten years since Tears For Fears were a great pop act and were topping even the American charts with classics such as Shout and Everybody Wants To Rule The World. Now consisting of Roland Orzabel plus whoever, Tears For Fears emerge from the shadows once more for the first time since 1993s Greatest Hits collection which spawned a Top 20 hit in the shape of Break It Down Again. The first release from a forthcoming new album attracted almost as much attention as the release of Sowing The Seeds Of Love back in 1989, the new hit being an expansive, epic effort that even tries to tell a complete story with the lyrics. It is, therefore, something of a surprise that it should chart so low down, a lack of airplay and exposure possibly being to blame. Nonetheless a Top 40 hit it is at least, the band's 16th since 1982.
32 LOVE EVICTION (Quartz Lock featuring Lonnie Gordon)
The end of the chart, as is usual, propped up by a few dance records. This track in particular worthy of a mention because of the vocalist featured. Lonnie Gordon looked set to be a massive star in 1990 when she teamed up with Srock Aitken and Waterman to release what was possibly one of the best songs they ever wrote - namely Happening All Over Again which reached the Top 10 and is today something of a pop classic. Sadly after subsequent singles flopped she drifted into the background and this appearance is her first chart hit since Gonna Catch You reached Number 32 in May 1991.