1 YOU SEE THE TROUBLE WITH ME (Black Legend)
The Sonique/S Club 7 duopoly is finally broken after 3 weeks and the nation can celebrate a brand new Number One single. Better still this is a chart-topping single with quite a story behind it. Black Legend are two DJs/Producers from Italy who made this record after coming across a fragment of a live recording of Barry White performing his 1976 hit You See The Trouble With Me. The sample was duly spliced with a wicked dance beat and an instant club smash was created, a sensation around Europe for the past few months. From that an official release in this country was bound to follow, except now there was the sticking point of licensing the sample properly. It wasn't that Barry White had a problem with the use of his voice on the track, just the amount of money he was being offered. Negotiations broke down and so the voice you hear on this commercial release is that of Elroy "Spoonface" Powell who does a reasonable job of impersonating the Walrus Of Love. This does, of course, mean that there are two versions of the track in circulation and consequently for the last five weeks imported copies have been flooded the country - some of them containing the original sample. As a result after five weeks on the lower end of the chart on import (hitting a high of Number 52 three weeks ago) Black Legend "debut" at the very top of the chart with a sale that is good but hardly the spectacular performance that the hype surrounding the single would have suggested. Indeed although Sonique was behind on sales for most of the week, the race was closer than most people realise. So it is that Black Legend top the chart, the single peaking one place higher than Barry White's original did and with the singer left to possibly rue the fact that he denied himself the chance to feature on a Number One hit for the first time since You're The First The Last My Everything in 1974. I can't help but wonder if the row over the samples has now defeated the whole point of the track. What started life as "inspired dance record based on Barry White live performance" has now been reduced to "hot dance cover of old Barry White song." This is a marvellous record, but then again it was to begin with...
3 SANDSTORM (Darude)
Just to prove that European integration is widespread, the second biggest new hit of the week has the honour of being the first ever piece of Finnish dance to grace the UK chart. This four minutes or so of high speed trace has been created by computer programmer Ville Virtaen and is rewarded this week with a Top 5 hit single. This may not be the last we hear of stars from Finland with European hits from the likes of Bomfunk MCs waiting in the wings for a commercial release over here. The only other chart stars from Finland that come to mind are cult rockers Hanoi Rocks although their only chart single came in 1984 in the shape of the Number 61 hit Up Around The Bend by which time they had two Englishmen in the lineup. Dotmusic reader Timo Pennanen pointed out to me during the week that honourable mention should also go to Iron Maiden's 1993 live version of Fear Of The Dark which was recorded in Helsinki. Personally I cannot listen to Sandstorm without being reminded of the electronic music that used to (and indeed still does) accompany the animation demos that were churned out endlessly for all manner of home computers from the mid-80s onwards. Most of those came from Scandinavia strangely enough...
5 PORCELAIN (Moby)
The hits from the Play album just keep on coming. Hot on the heels of Natural Blues (Number 11 in March) comes what most people would regard as the most hauntingly beautiful track on the album, a piece so evocative it also found its way onto the soundtrack of The Beach earlier this year. Incredibly enough for what is no less than the sixth single from the album it is also the highest charting so far and returns Moby to the Top 10 for the first time since his rendition of the James Bond Theme made Number 8 in November 1997 and indeed gives him far and away the biggest hit of his career. The only question that now must be asked is that now that the box of old blues tapes has turned the shaven-headed techno wizard into a global superstar, does he stay with this kind of style for the follow-up or does he give full vent to the kind of creativity that once led him to make a thrash metal album?
8 THE ONE (Backstreet Boys)
With all the fuss surrounding the phenomenal global sales of 'NSync it is easy to forget that there is another stateside boy band who are still valiantly plugging away at their last album. Perhaps that is why this new single from the Backstreet Boys seems to have crept into the shops without anyone noticing, aside from the 20,000 or so who actually bought the record of course. The One is the follow-up to Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely but the lack of hype may have cost it dear. To find their last single to miss the Top 5 you have to go back to the Number 8 peak of I'll Never Break Your Heart in November 1996.
11 CALL ME (Jamelia)
Great British R&B hope Jamelia notches up her second hit single of the year with the follow-up to Money which reached Number 5 in March. Like her last hit this single features one of the more eyecatching videos of the year, the period costumes of Money being replaced by an office soap opera. That the teenager from Birmingham can have fair sized UK hits with US-style R&B is no longer in question. You get the feeling that what her record company would really love is to sell this back to the Americans. We shall see...
17 MONEY TO BURN (Richard Ashcroft)
So just what was it that made Song For The Lovers such a grower? Was it that nagging, insistent melody? Was it the melancholy tone of Richard Ashcroft's voice? Or was it the video that featured the song following a man round every single room of his house? Whatever it was, it launched the solo career of the former Verve frontman with a bang, the single charging into the charts at Number 3 back in April. It is therefore only fair that the second single from his new solo album is given a little time to get under the skin. On first listen it sounds a bit of a mess, the song never quite coming to terms with the fact that at any time it is in serious danger of turning country-rock. This chart entry is perhaps a little disappointing but at the end of the day you would be hard pressed to find any Ashcroft composition from the last three years or so that wasn't destined to turn into a classic. Given time the same could well happen to this single.
26 THE GREAT ESCAPE 2000 (England Supporters Band)
OK so let me see, that makes two Euro 2000 singles so far. The idea of a supporters band to play in the stands at football matches was one the English borrowed from the Dutch, specifically the Ajax supporters band which stepped up to international level to play at Holland matches. I suppose making a record was the logical thing for the England Supporters Band to do, so here it is, a proficient mini-brass band run through (complete with a rap from Ricardo Da Force, ex of N-Trance and KLF) of the famous melody from the film The Great Escape which is one of a number of songs that have been adopted by football supporters over the years. In its original form the single was released during the World Cup in 1998 but could only reach Number 46. This Euro 2000 version does a little better and thus the growing tradition for major football tournaments to inspire more than one hit single continues and there is even a third Euro 2000 single lower down the chart in the shape of E-Type's Campione 2000, the official theme of the tournament which can only reach Number 58 this week. World Cup 98 produced no less than eight Top 40 hits; How Does It Feel and Don't Come Home Too Soon (the official songs of England and Scotland respectively) Fat Les' Vindaloo, 3 Lions 98, Ricky Martin's Cup Of Life and Chumbawamba's Top Of The World (Ole Ole Ole) not to mention Rendez-Vous '98 and Faure's Pavane, the two theme songs used by BBC and ITV.
29 BIG PIMPIN' (Jay-Z)
The decision to move away from musicals may turn out to be a bad one for Jay-Z, however much it will improve his credibility somewhat. His most well known British hits you may remember took their inspiration from the stage, first of all came Hard Knock Life which borrowed from Annie to reach Number 2 in December 1998 and then earlier this year Anything (which borrowed from Lionel Bart's Oliver) made Number 18. This latest hit may have nothing to do with the stage and ends up being slightly smaller than the aforementioned tracks but Big Pimpin' does at least give the prolific rapper his 13th Top 40 entry in one guise or another.
32 THESE WOODEN IDEAS (Idlewild)
Limbering up for the forthcoming festival season, Idlewild get their second Top 40 hit of 2000 with this single, albeit their smallest chart hit since the start of 1999. Their biggest hit remains their Top 40 breakthrough When I Argue I See Shapes which made Number 19 in February last year.
34 SEXUAL (Amber)
Now it isn't every day that American club culture gets exported back to this country is it? From Holland via America comes Amber, the latest international chart sensation (so it is hoped). Admittedly this debut single could have had a better start but the real interest is in the writing credits of the single which read Cremer/Nowells/Steinberg. 'Cremer' is Amber herself whilst Nowells and Steinberg are none other than Rick Nowels and Billy Steinberg, two of the kings of 1980s AOR with collaboration credits alongside the likes of Belinda Carlisle and Madonna between them. This single, I'm sure you will agree, represents something of a departure for them.
38 DREAMING (BT featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw)
Hit Number 9 for Brian Transeau, the followup to last October's Mercury and Solace which made Number 38. Vocals this time are supplied by Kirsty Hawkshaw [famously of Opus III and It's A Fine Day but I didn't think that worth mentioning it seems] who replaces Jan Johnston who contributed to his last hit. BTs biggest hit single remains 1996s Loving You More.