1 BRIMFUL OF ASHA (Cornershop)
Congratulations all round to Cornershop as at a stroke their ruin their reputation for being of the most acclaimed bands never to have had a major hit single. Tjinder and Ben released their latest album Born For The Seventh Time in the summer of last year and it instantly was labelled one of the classics of the year. It also contained the track Brimful Of Asha, a tribute to the Indian actress and singer Asha Bhosle who can be found warbling on the endless series of Bollywood films that you end up watching on Asian channels whilst flicking around the satellite. The single appealed to relatively few [although if memory serves it topped John Peel's Festive Fifty for '97], apart that is from Norman Cook who heard it on the radio and, so legend has it, immediately called the record company and offered to remix it. The man currently with the midas touch on hit singles (witness the recent success of Wildchild's hit) performed one important transformation on the track - he speeded it up and turned it into an insanely catchy commercial smash. A hit on the radio and already being used in TV commercials, the single smashes straight to the top of the chart, knocking none other than Celine Dion from the top. Suddenly the band, support to Oasis in America recently, find themselves the stars most trendy writers have always thought they should be.
2 MY HEART WILL GO ON (Celine Dion)
OK then so it won't be a lengthly run, just a week then [just you wait sunshine], the Titanic love theme unable to stand in the way of the unstoppable rise of Cornershop. Not that she will mind too much, the soundtrack of the film itself rises to the top of the album chart once more whilst her own Let's Talk About Love is also in the top ten, the single being present on both albums. Looking back over her previous hits it becomes apparant that Celine is rapidly becoming the Queen of the soundtrack hit. Her first chart single over here was the Beauty And The Beast theme and since then she has recorded When I Fall In Love with Clive Griffin for Sleepless In Seattle (it failed to chart), Because You Loved Me from Up Close And Personal and now this song from Titanic. Meanwhile the 1990s continue as the decade of the soundtrack hit with a track from a movie hitting the top every year since 1990, the only exception being 1996 which perversely merely had a song named after a film (Breakfast At Tiffany's) hitting Number One.
4 TRULY MADLY DEEPLY (Savage Garden)
The Australian duo looked like they would become one hit wonders after reaching Number 11 with I Want You in June last year but failing to reach the Top 40 with any subsequent singles. They discard that tag with the release of Truly Madly Deeply which having been a hit over most of the developed world already was hardly likely to fail there. The track that famously knocked Candle In The Wind off the Number One slot in America charges into the Top 5 even if the timing of the record company was a bit off - imagine if this had been released the week before Valentine's day rather than two days afterwards.
5 WHEN I NEED YOU (Will Mellor)
Clearly the ultimate sign of a successful soap opera is for one of the actors to step forward and release a single. Since its launch a year ago the Channel 4 series 'Hollyoaks' has become a cult favourite amongst its intended teenage audience and beyond. Time then for the cast to assault the pop charts and first in the firing line is Will Mellor, or Jambo as he is known to viewers od the series. His first single, which makes a spectacular debut inside the Top 5 is a fairly faithful cover of an accepted classic, Leo Sayer's classic ballad which spoolily enough was at Number One exactly 21 years ago this week. Herein lies the argument: what does it say about the abilities of the artist and/or the state of music that he should be able to produce a competent version of a song with a proven track record and have a major hit single. Plenty of people will be dimissive of the single but then again, Donny Osmond built a whole solo career from covering pop standards whilst Will Mellor has had no less involvement with the creation of his hit than Natalie Imbruglia had in Torn but guess which is the more credible single? Anyway, the success of the track focusses renewed attention on its writer, the great Leo Sayer whose last Top 40 hit was back in 1983 with Orchard Road. Last summer the Sun newspaper began a semi-ironic campaign for the singer to make a comeback, an exercise in which he happily participated leading to a string of appearances on chatshows and radio roadshows.
6 BE ALONE NO MORE (Another Level)
The classy debut single from Another Level gives them an impressive start, a Top 10 single first time out for Mark, Wayne, Dane and Bobak. The single stands out from the usual boy band fodder by the appearance of Jay-Z on certain mixes on the track, this coming hot on the heels of his own production of Gwen Dickey's remake of Wishing On A Star.
10 YOU'RE STILL THE ONE (Shania Twain)
Quite possibly as a direct result of an acclaimed performance on the National Lottery TV show a few weeks ago, Shania Twain becomes one of the first American C&W acts to successfully cross over to this side of the pond for a long time. Actually to compartmentalise her as country is a little unfair as with her current material she is moving more and more mainstream, hence this international smash hit. Nonetheless it is worth acknowledging the rareity of an American country act charting in this country, the last to receive heavy promotion being Garth Brooks in 1994 who despite his massive US success only has a Number 13 hit (The Red Strokes) to show as his biggest hit over here. Most would prefer me not to mention Achy Breaky Heart so I'll refrain.
12 IT'S A BEAUTIFUL THING (Ocean Colour Scene)
More quality rock from Ocean Colour Scene, this single possibly spoling their run of six Top 10 hits in a row but still becoming their eighth consecutive Top 20 chart single. The gentle ballad, a followup to Better Day features the uncredited vocals of sixties soul legend PP Arnold who also made a brief appearance on last September's Top 10 hit Travellers Tune. Ms Arnold's classic single was of course First Cut Is The Deepest which made Number 18 in 1967 but her biggest credited hit actually came more recently - Burn It Up, the house track she recorded with the Beatmasters which reached Number 14 in October 1988.
14 TREAT INFAMY (Rest Assured)
Charting at long long last, but surprisingly lower than one might expect, Treat Infamy is easily the most talked about dance single of the moment. This is due to the way halfway through an oddly familiar string breakdown forces its way through the mix... the melody of The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony. Except of course it isn't is it? As has now been proved the string figure is actually a sample from a rare orchestral mix that Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham made of The Last Time. The publishers success in proving the origins of the sample mean that The Verve have no control over where the melody is used, despite the fact is will be forver associated with Bittersweet Symphony, hence the use of it on Treat Infamy and US TV adverts. Bizarrely it also means that both this single and the Verve track now carry a Jagger/Richards writing credit, despite the fact that it was Loog Oldham who arranged the sample with the Stones themselves having no input at all.
16 TELEFUNKIN' (N-Tyce)
Still frustratingly waiting for the recognition that many feel they deserve, this is N-Tyce's third Top 20 single and their first since the start of the year. Possibly with less of a pop feel than its predecessor We Come To Party the girls are clearly one of the best R&B acts Britain has to offer, but for the moment it is All Saints who are grabbing all the awards and headlines.
20 MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND (Sandy B)
A re-release for this single which first charted in May last year when it reached Number 35. The improved position this time round is thanks to more extensive club support, especially for the main mix which has been done by Deep Dish, the team responsible for turning the Rolling Stones' Saint Of Me into their best track for years.
21 IT'S RAINING MEN... THE SEQUEL (Martha Wash featuring RuPaul)
This merits a small disco history lesson. Disco legend Sylvester always toured with a regular backing band and most famously his backing singers, Izora Rhodes and Martha Wash whose size led them to call themselves Two Tons Of Fun. In 1982 the two recorded a single called It's Raining Men and to fit the image called themselves The Weather Girls. Missing out first time around it finally charted in 1984, peaking at Number 2 and in the process becoming one of the all-time gay disco classics. Of Izora Rhodes little is heard these days but Martha Wash maintains a reputation as one of the best dance divas in the business, recording in the 1990s with C&C Music Factory and most recently duetting on Todd Terry singles with Jocelyn Brown. Enter into the picture one of the worst disco divas in the business, drag artiste RuPaul whose attempts to be a popstar resulted in his rather terrible duet with Elton John on a remake of Don't Go Breaking My Heart which reached Number 7 in early 1994. It's Raining Men... The Sequel is a slightly updated version of the classic song, not exactly that terrible but still hardly a patch on the original - but in all honesty could any cover ever be? [Paging Geri Halliwell].
23 GOOD ENOUGH (Milk Incorporated)
This week's in from nowhere dance hit, neither remarkeable enough to merit detailed comment, nor bad enough to justify a rant.
29 EVERY DAY SHOULD BE A HOLIDAY (Dandy Warhols)
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the Dandy Warhols are something of a professional support act having been the warm up for Oasis, Radiohead and the Charlatans on various American tours. Taken from their second album which is due for release soon, this is their first Top 40 hit.
31 LEGEND OF A COWGIRL (Imani Coppola)
Another US singer-songwriter in the Sheryl Crow/Alanis Morrissette mode, Imani Coppola has made a splash already thanks to this debut single which contains a sample from Donovan's Sunshine Superman. Enough to earn it plenty of airplay but not to give it a major chart placing.
39 WHAT TIME IS IT (Dust Junkys)
The debut chart hit from the Dust Junkys, a band featuring the lead vocals of a chap called Nicky Lockett. If his voice sounds famililar it is because in a previous career he was Manchester rapper MC Tunes who recorded two singles with 808 state, the biggest being The Only Rhyme That Bites which made Number 10 in 1990.
40 HAND IN YOUR HEAD (Money Mark)
Sometime keyboardist from the Beastie Boys, Mark Ramos Nishita is also a successful artist in his own right, his first album having reached the Top 40 of the album charts. With his second album imminent he charts his first Top 40 single too. Expect to hear more of his work soon, he has collaborated with Beck and there is a new Beasties album on the way as well.