This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 THE MASSES AGAINST THE CLASSES (Manic Street Preachers) 

Well praise be. After all the waiting and after a sold month of Westlife's karaoke classic nestled at the top of the chart, we have a brand new Number One single - the first of the year 2000. Whilst many other acts ran scared and cancelled their new year concerts, the Manic Street Preachers went ahead with their Millennium concert and packed thosands into Cardiff's Millennium Stadium for a gig that can claim to have spanned... well you know the rest. In the middle of their set they debuted a brand new song and announced it would be made available for a limited time in the new year. So it is that The Masses Against The Classes slides nicely into pole position to give the band their second Number One single to follow If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next from September 1998. Although not the most commercial song they have ever released (be warned - it grows on you) the single takes advantage nicely of the new year sales lull to ensure it goes down as one of their biggest ever hits.

One further point to note is that the single is almost certainly set to tumble down the chart next week. Just for a change that isn't cynicism talking but a mere statement of fact. Right from the start The Masses Against The Classes was to be a limited edition and indeed the single was deleted on the day it was released. To the consumer that means little but on the retail side it meant that shops could not order any more stock beyond their initial pre-release shipment. Thus there are no new copies arriving on the shelves to replace those that have been bought and those that remain are set to become extremely scarce. Although rare, such a marketing strategy isn't unknown and singles have been released as one-day issues and have charted high before. Never before though has such a single actually topped the charts and although a spectacular fall next week is by no means a given the Manics could well shortly be challenging the record for the shortest ever chart run by a Number One single - which currently stands at five weeks.


2 U KNOW WHAT'S UP (Donell Jones) 

One of the first breakout stars of the new year looks set to be Donell Jones who eases nicely into the runners-up slot this week. The singer-songwriter from Chicago first appeared in the UK charts back in 1997 when Knocks Me Off My Feet made Number 58. Since then he has worked with the likes of Madonna and 702 and is now set to step up to the next level and become a star in his own right. Featuring a guest rap from TLCs Lisa Left-Eye Lopez, U Know What's Up could well be the first of several hits this year from Donell Jones and you will be hard pressed to find a record that radiates cool quite as well as this one.


5 MORE THAN I NEEDED TO KNOW (Scooch) 

Well it's official. There is indeed room in the charts for both Steps and Scooch. The foursome first charted back in November last year with When My Baby, which could only reach Number 29. Second time around they do much better and have a massive hit on their hands with a single that confirms their musical path as the same Abba-inspired pop which has helped Steps to a string of massive hits over the past couple of years. Dare I point out that More Than I Needed To Know is actually a far better pop record than anything on Steps' current album and fully deserves its place in the Top 5. It is probably pertinent to note that Scooch are produced by none other than Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, the former associates and recent litigants of Pete Waterman, who of course is one of the creators of Steps. Funny how that works out isn't it? [Ironically for an act who would later crash and burn as UK Eurovision entrants, this song is the greatest Eurovision Song Contest winner that never was].


7 STAND TOUGH (Point Break) 

Another pop act who had a minor hit at the back end of last year only to now find themselves ensconced in the Top 10 are Point Break, the pop rock act featuring former Byker Grove stars Brett and Ollie along with new singing discovery Declan. Stand Tough is a curious song, the product it seems of a collision between East 17 and Robert Plant but in the process it too manages to be nothing short of a magnificent pop record. It was certain to become a hit, but whether others are set to follow remains to be seen.


11 RAINBOW COUNTRY (Bob Marley vs. Funkstar Deluxe) 

From one-off remixes, great concepts are born. One of the biggest summer dance hits was the Funkstar Deluxe remix of Bob Marley's Sun Is Shining which hit Number 3 in September last year to give the late reggae star his biggest ever hit single. Inspired by this the Danish producer has done the same thing all over again, taking a forgotten classic and welding Marley's original vocal to a deep house groove to once more transform a forgotten song into something just a little bit special. Rainbow Country, with its "feel like dancing/dance til we are free" hook, is yet another of those moderately well-known Marley singles which has never been a hit before despite also being covered a number of years ago by his son Ziggy. Rainbow Country just misses out on a Top 10 placing but continues the quite astonishing chart run the late star has been on of late, coming just one month since Lauryn Hill's duet with his original vocal on Turn Your Lights Down Low reached Number 15.


15 LET IT BE ME (Justin) 

Clearly it doesn't matter how much effort it is going to take. By hook or by crook Justin is going to be turned into a star. The teenager first hit the charts in August 1998 with a cover of The Beatles' This Boy which made Number 34, coinciding with his appearance on the TV documentary The Fame Game about his grooming for stardom. His next hit didn't come until January 1999 when he made a respectable Number 11 with Over You and this was followed in July last year with a cover of SWVs It's All About You which made Number 34. Over Christmas he was on TV again in yet another documentary, this time entitled Justin's Story and detailing his progress since the first programme. In the wake of its screening comes his fourth hit single, a rather sweet cover of the Everly Brothers song which made Number 13 in 1960. It gives him his second Top 20 hit exactly 12 months since his first and if you listen to the record very carefully you can hear the sound of lots of fingers being crossed that this time he is going to justify the time that has been taken to somehow turn him into a chart star.


18 HOT BOYZ (Missy Misdemeanour Elliott) 

The undisputed Queen of hip hop soul makes a triumphant return to the new year charts, a full three months since her last hit, the MC Solaar-featuring All N My Grill which peaked at Number 20. The in-yer-face attitude of Hot Boyz goes two places better and is her fourth Top 20 hit since 1997 - fifth if one counts I Want You Back, her hit alongside Spice Girl Mel B which topped the chart in September 1998.


19 RISE (Eddie Amador) 

In the constant search for new ideas around which to base dance records, a number of US producers have realised there is some mileage in connecting elements of gospel to modern dance grooves. First to have a British hit with this idea is LA-based Eddie Amador who arrives here with his second hit single, his first being the originally titled House Music which made Number 37 in October 1998. The hook of Rise is its samples of preachers which intertwine with a seemingly endless series of guitar loops. The effect is actually rather wonderful. Now all we need is a new term to describe this genre. Bibleadelica anyone?


31 DEAR LIE (TLC) 

After dropping out of the Top 40 altogether over Christmas, TLCs Dear Lie is certainly making up for lost time. Last week it shot back in to match its original peak and now the single climbs once more to a new high of Number 31. Is even further progress for the track a possibility?


38 WHAT I AM (Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton) 

This week is a chart of two extremes. One the one hand there are no less than 8 brand new Top 40 hits this week, every one of which has charted inside the Top 20. As a result the rest of the chart is a mixture of older hits on their way out coupled with a number of bursts of second wind for some even older hits. Amongst those making turnarounds this week are long in the tooth chart records from the likes of Savage Garden, Ann Lee, ATB and Mariah Carey but by far the highest charting of all such hits is this single from Tin Tin Out. What I Am you will remember was caught up a two-way battle of the solo Spice Girls when it went head to head with Geri Halliwell's Lift Me Up at the start of November although in the event Geri won by a large margin, topping the chart and leaving Emma Bunton et al to peak at Number 2 before sliding quickly down the chart. However since Christmas the single has seen its fortunes reverse, climbing from a pre-Christmas low of Number 57 to arrive just outside the Top 40 last week. The seven place rise experienced by the single this week not only returns it to the Top 40 for the first time for an incredible six weeks but also marks the first time What I Am has outranked Lift Me Up in the weekly sales figures, Geri's hit falling from 39 to 54 this week.