[Another reader find! My own original archive copy of this was corrupt, so this page existed as a placeholder until summer 2017 when the dusty files of Ronald Verbarendse came up with the goods].
1 AIN'T NOBODY (LL Cool J)
By a curious coincidence two rap versions of 1984 pop hits have hit the Top 10. Just before Christmas it was Warren G with his version of Tina Turner's What's Love Got To Do With It who reached Number 2 and now LL Cool J goes one better with his remake of Chaka Khan's Number 8 hit from 13 years ago. Just like the Warren G single to call it a cover is a slight misnomer as the record simply takes the vocal hook from the original as a base and then proceeds from there. Lifted from the soundtrack of the new Beavis and Butthead film (yet to appear over here) the appeal of the record was instant and so for the third time in as many weeks we have a brand new Number One single debuting at the very top. It is an impressive achievement for James Smith aka LL Cool J whose chart presence has been growing ever larger over the past twelve months and now rounds off with the biggest prize of all. His wait for a UK Number One hit has been longer than most acts have to endure. His first chart entry came in July 1987 with I'm Bad - giving him a wait of 9 years and 7 months. Such a delay is long, but falls a long way short of the record set by Jackie Wilson in 1986 when Reet Petite hit the top after a delay of over 29 years. This week also marks the fifth week of 1997 and the fifth different Number One hit single in as many weeks... this constant procession of Spice Girls/Tori/White Town/Blur/LL Cool J is the third time since last September that there has been such a rapid turnover of chart-topping hits. Twice before, in 1961 and 1968 the Number One position changed hands for six weeks running but on both only five different records hit the top overall. Speculation as to whether this record will be broken next week is rife.
2 WHERE DO YOU GO (No Mercy)
Just below the regular and somewhat frantic battle for supremacy at the top of the charts, No Mercy continue to defy the trends and make steady progress upward. After two weeks at Number 5Where Do You Go surges strongly to Number 2 and could well be a chart fixture for a few weeks yet.
4 TOXYGENE (Orb)
The Orb spent most of the 1990s as the hottest underground dance act in the country. Their lengthy, semi-ambient recordings sold prodigiously to a hard core of fans, helped by their being the only dance act at the time capable of putting on a full live show. At the end of 1993, the hits started to happen and classics like Little Fluffy Clouds and Perpetual Dawn made the Top 20 for the first time ever. After that they appeared to vanish, falling out of favour slightly with the fickle dance crowd and watching acts such as the Prodigy steal their live thunder. Their last chart appearance was in May 1995 when Oxbow Lakes made Number 38. Time for a comeback then and to kick it off they asked Jean Michel Jarre if they could remix one of the tracks from his classic Oxygene for their new album. He agreed with the principle but expressed surprise when the finished product arrived...none of the original had actually made it onto the record. Hence Toxygene, the first new Orb single in 18 months which lives up to its title as JMJ transformed for the end of the century. It gives the Orb their biggest-ever hit single... a far cry from the days of Little Fluffy Clouds being one of the most legendary dance singles of the early 1990s and almost impossible to buy.
5 DON'T LET GO (LOVE) (En Vogue)
This is a very strange chart indeed. While records tumble and new entries shoulder everything else out of the way, some discs seem to get a second wind. Don't Let Go (Love) peaked at Number 5 on its release in January and since then has slipped as far as Number 10. Now it suddenly bounces back to match the peak it achieved no less than four weeks ago.
6 DO YOU KNOW (Michelle Gayle)
Michelle Gayle has always been somewhat unfairly pigeonholed. The bubbly cockney singer has had to work very hard indeed to shake off the image that she has as a result of having acted in TV shows such as "Grange Hill" and "Eastenders" since she was young. Her first single release was in 1993 and since then she has notched up a string of rather fabulous hits such as Freedom and Happy Just To Be With You, the biggest being Sweetness which reached Number 4 in 1994. After a year's break she returns with the first single from her second album and - fingers crossed - the one that will finally bury her image as an actress and let her be seen for what she is - the writer and singer of some excellent pop/soul singles of which this new hit is one of her best to date.. Quite deservedly her second Top 10 hit.
10 I FINALLY FOUND SOMEONE (Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams)
Following one of the great unwritten rules of film soundtracks comes this slushy ballad by an all-star ensemble. In one of the more curious pairings in recent years, Ms Streisand and Mr Adams team up for this hit from The Mirror Has Two Faces. For Barbra Streisand it marks a remarkable return to the upper reaches of the charts after several years in the doldrums. True, she has had a few hit singles in recent years, the last being As If We Never Said Goodbye in April 1994, but this is her first UK Top 10 hit since Woman In Love made Number One in 1980. Bryan Adams, of course, is no stranger to soundtrack hits, having had his biggest ever hit in 1991 with a certain record that surely needs no introduction here and more recently in January 1994 with All For Love along with Rod Stewart and Sting - that single reaching Number 2.
14 LITTLE WONDER (David Bowie)
There aren't many people whose 50th birthday could elicit such media coverage which just goes to show the respect David Bowie still has in the music industry - even after 28 years of hit singles. Just prior to the release of a new album comes his first hit single for almost a year. Never one to stand still he manages to surprise yet again, Little Wonder being a full-blown piece of jungle music over which Bowie is as articulate as ever. Curiously enough it is one of his most accessible singles for years and gives him an immediate Top 20 hit, following on from last years Hallo Spaceboy.
15 PASSION (Amen! UK)
Amen! UK are a sort of dance supergroup, featuring a number of well-known names from other chart acts [over-egging the pudding slightly there, but one of them was certainly Paul 'Jomanda' Masterson]. Passion charts according to this pedigree, the biggest of a string of dance hits to chart this week.
20 LOPEZ (808 State)
A welcome comeback for 808 State. Back in the early 1990s they were one of the leading lights of the Manchester scene. Based around legendary record store Eastern Bloc they produced a string of instrumental hits, the most famous of all being Pacific State which made Number 10 at the end of 1989. For the past couple of years they have been silent, their singles sales having tailed off after their 1992 remix of the UB40 track One In Ten. They now return with avengeance to notch up a seventh Top 20 hit and their first for nearly five years. Welcome back lads.
24 RUNAWAY (Nuyorican Soul featuring India)
The best single to chart this week? Possibly. Runaway is one of those wonderful retro-sounding singles that could have come straight out of the 1970s, an inspiring piece of pure disco-soul that may be pure nostalgia [an updated cover of a famous Salsoul Orchestra track, originally sung by Loleatta Holloway] but it beats four minutes of bleeping noises any day.
25 THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY'S MAN (Supernaturals)
If there is any natural justice in the world then one day the Supernaturals will be massive. If one considers that every band has its own natural curve of progression then it is frightening to think what the Scottish band will be releasing in a years time. Following on from their Top 40 debut last October with Lazy Lover, the Supernaturals release what has to be one of the singles of the year so far. A wonderfully melodic song about being one of life's losers with a chorus that is catchy enough to elevate it to the ranks of a lost classic, should it fail to progress much further than this debut position.
26 INTO THE BLUE (Geneva)
A second hit single for Geneva, their first coming in October last year when No One Speaks made Number 32.
28 TAKE ME BY THE HAND (Sub Merge featuring Jan Johnston)
A Top 40 debut from this dance hit which has followed the usual path of being available in limited editions on import for several months, stimulating enough of a demand for it to chart immediately upon its official release.
34 MONDAY MORNING (Candyskins)
The first Top 40 hit single for the Candyskins who are clearly vying with the Supernaturals for the title of catchiest hit of the week. Another new single from another new act which has enough commerciality to be a massive hit, yet for the moment it appears they must languish towards the bottom end of the chart. Like so many bands who start in this position, their time will come.
39 WITHOUT LOVE (Donna Lewis)
Donna Lewis has taken her time with this single, but then again who can blame her? I Love You Always Forever was easily one of the best singles of last year, a Number 5 hit in October and such a smash in America that it spent most of the summer failing to dislodge the Macarena from the top and is to date still inside the US Top 20. Her second single is the opening track from her album, one of the most obvious choices for a single. Her problem is that following that enormous smash hit every song she releases will pale in comparison - as this lowly chart placing confirms. Even though I Love You Always Forever began life at Number 34, this new single will be doing well if it climbs any further.