This week's Official UK Singles Chart

DISCLAIMER: Same story, still effectively homeless, still relocating my entire life to the capital so excuse any lack of comprehensiveness that may inspire the sending of outraged emails.


1 BLACK COFFEE (All Saints) 

Two weeks Mariah, that is all you can have I'm afraid. With an air of inevitability surrounding them, All Saints charge in to the top of the chart with the single that is set to launch the promotional campaign for their new album. Black Coffee is of course the somewhat belated followup to Pure Shores which topped the chart at the start of the year, its more advanced release owing to the fact that it was an integral part of The Beach soundtrack. Whatever the stories about the long-term future of the group, this single at least shows that for now the All Saints are pretty untouchable, Black Coffee being another masterful production from William Orbit that is big on atmosphere if, in fairness, a little short on excitement. With this single All Saints become no less than the sixth act this year to have two Number One hit singles (count the others: Westlife, Madonna, Craig David, Melanie C and Britney Spears) and at the same time is the fifth Number One of their career to date.


3 SILENCE (Delerium) 

Honours for the second biggest new hit of the week go to this airy trance single. Its own Unique Selling Point is the lady who supplies the vocals, none other than Sarah McLachlan whose star in this country perhaps dims a little less bright than in other places [I've no idea what I was hinting at there], her only solo hit to date being Adia which made Number 18 in October 1998. Still, as the likes of Aimee Mann have already proved this year, contributing to a massive dance hit is a good way of getting your name some attention so her legions of fans will doubtless be hoping some of the success rubs off. Silence has already been a hit in the likes of Australia and Ireland and thus this week has duplicated that success with ease in this country.


6 IN DEMAND (Texas) 

Hold on, let me check my calendar. Yep, Christmas is indeed just around the corner which must mean it is time for a few Greatest Hits collections to hit the chart. Certain to be massive is the collected works so far of Texas as a taster, here is the requisite brand new track to be presumptuously taken from that collection. The usual formula applies here, cocktail lounge rock with Sharleen's voice dripping with honey and of course a noteworthy video, this time featuring Ms Spiteri waltzing around a filling station with none other than actor Alan Rickman. This is Texas' first hit since When We Are Together made Number 12 in November last year. When you consider that this is their 7th Top 10 hit and 20th chart single in total since 1989, you get the feeling that a Greatest Hits album wasn't a bad idea.


7 I COULD HAVE THIS KISS FOREVER (Whitney Houston and Enrique Iglesias) 

So which of these two artists stood to benefit the most from this latest celebrity collaboration I wonder. A more curious pairing you would struggle to find, legendary soul diva dogged by rumours of personal problems along with the hunky offspring of a celebrated early 80s crooner. As far as Whitney is concerned this single is the followup to If I Told You That, her No.9 hit single with George Michael from June. Enrique Iglesias was last on the chart in September last year when Bailamos made Number 4, his follow-up Rhythm Divine faring less well when it failed to make the Top 40 just before Christmas. Strange though it may seem this single is now Whitney Houston's seventh chart duet as she has had chart singles with Teddy Pendergrass, Aretha Franklin, Bobby Brown, CeCe Winans, Mariah Carey, George Michael and now Enrique Iglesias. Only Elton John and Cliff Richard can claim to have performed duets with more people.


8 THE WAY I AM (Eminem) 

...in which Eminem makes it perfectly plain that despite topping charts all over the world both with the Marshall Mathers LP and him last single the Real Slim Shady, there is at times very little commercialism and at times some quite dark themes in his work. The Way I Am has certainly had nothing near the level of airplay as his last hit but does at least do enough to become his fourth straight Top 10 single. Stan is set to be the next single lifted from the album and virtually everyone I have spoken to is in no doubt that it is set to be massive [and how].


11 I BELIEVE (Stephen Gately) 

Little in the way of sensation for Stephen Gately's second solo single which might actually be something of a concern given that his best hope for a sustained solo career is to maintain Boyzone or at the very least Ronan Keating levels of anticipation for his work. Number 11 with your second single is certainly not the way to go. The follow-up to June's No.3 hit New Beginning has the added bonus of appearing on the soundtrack to the latest British feelgood film Billy Elliot but clearly even this wasn't enough to turn it into a second successive Top 10 hit.


16 COFFEE (Supersister) 

Common chart themes of our time: Acts named after sisterhood... one thinks of the likes of Sister Sledge, Sisters Of Mercy, Sister Bliss and if you cast your mind back to earlier this year, Sister2Sister. Supersister make their chart debut with a single entitled Coffee, quite coincidentally in the same week that All Saints top the chart with Black Coffee. These two caffeine-themed singles join others from the annals of chart history such as Squeeze's Black Cofeee In Bed, Mike and the Mechanics' Another Cup Of Coffee and Blur's Coffee and TV. I could go on all day... [a creative bit of writing there to disguise the fact that the bout of sofa surfing I was enduring at the time meant I hadn't heard this at all. Supersister (whose promotiona was largely funded by the Uncle of one of the trio if memory serves) would go on to become a guilty pleasure of mine whilst Coffee ended up as a gay anthem and a surprisingly iconic record for what was destined to be little more than a mid-table hit].


19 CHEEKA BOW WOW (Vengaboys) 

Oh hello, has this bubble burst all of a sudden. After an impressive run of no less than 7 consecutive Top 10 hits the Vengaboys suddenly taste the sour end of pop life and for the first time experience something of a flop single. To say this is a shock is not an exaggeration. Even though their last single Uncle John From Jamaica became their smallest to date when it charted in July, certainly nobody could have expected Cheeka Bow Wow to land barely inside the Top 20. Where next for the boys and girls from Vengaland?


24 FINE DAY (Rolf Harris) 

In which Rolf Harris, the veteran bearded Australian entertainer, 1960s hitmaker and manufacturer of impenetrable cartoons goes dance. Many were the headlines generated when it was announced that Rolf had been enlisted to provide vocals for a novelty dance hit, headlines which will almost certainly dry up when the chart position of this single is noted, the reality not quite living up to the hype. Not that Rolf Harris is any stranger to novelty hits. His last chart appearance was in 1997 with a re-release of his early classic Sun Arise whilst he was in the Top 10 as recently as 1993 when his rendition of Stairway To Heaven made Number 7. His biggest ever hit single was of course that all-time tear-jerking classic Two Little Boys which will forever have a place in history as the last ever Number One single of the 1960s.


36 WONDERFUL (Everclear) 

Funny this, Everclear appear to be stuck in some kind of twighlight zone, destined forever to chart singles on the cusp of the Top 40. To date the US group have notched up three other hits, Heartspark Dollarsign (No.48 in January 1996), Santa Monica (Watch The World Die) (Number 40 in August 1996) and Everything To Everyone (No.41 in May 1998). What will it take to give them a bigger chart success...