This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD (Kylie Minogue)

No real surprises at the top end of the chart this week. Kylie's sale last week of over 300,000 copies of Can't Get You Out Of My Head was enough to make it the third fastest-selling single of the year and it would have taken yet another spectacular smash hit single to dump her from the top. This second week on top means that the single is her first Number One hit to top the charts for longer than a week since Especially For You clocked up three weeks in January 1989. Both 1990's Tears On My Pillow and 2000;s Spinning Around could only each manage a week. Her most successful hit (in chart terms anyway) remains her first - I Should Be So Lucky having notched up five weeks at the summit in 1988. Her biggest seller is the aforementioned Especially For You which spent no less than four weeks over the Christmas 1988 period locked at Number 2 before finally advancing to the top in January, a chart run which helped it sell over 900,000 copies. Honourable mention should go to the authors of Can't Get You Out Of My Head, Cathy Dennis and Rob Davies. Cathy Dennis has written only one other chart-topping single before, S Club 7's Never Had A Dream Come True, whilst Rob Thomas has also written the lyrics to Toca's Miracle and Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) for Fragma and Spiller respectively. Thomas also topped the charts three times in the 1970s as a performer when he was a member of Mud although at the time the group themselves kept their songwriting talents hidden, most of their hits being written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman.
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2 CHAIN REACTION/ONE FOR SORROW (Steps)

Ask anyone in this country what their favourite Diana Ross song is and the chances are they will overlook classics such as Endless Love, I'm Still Waiting and Upside Down and go instead for Chain Reaction. The glorious Bee Gees-penned slice of retro Motown sparked new life into the legendary diva's career in 1986 when it returned her to the top of the charts for the first time in 16 years. The song also wound up as the b-side to her 1991 Number 2 hit When You Tell Me That You Love Me and was re-released in its own right in 1993 when it made Number 20. Strangely enough the song never even made the US Top 40. Now it is the turn of Steps to make this greatest of pop songs work for them and in truth it could hardly miss, despite mutterings that seeing pop acts cover 80s classics is a gimmick that has been done to death. The challenge of Kylie Minogue at the top was too much to overcome so for the second time this year Steps have to content themselves with a Number 2 hit. Of course this will hardly be a problem for them. Chain Reaction is no less than the 13th successive Top 10 hit for the eternally-smiling fivesome (their 14th if you also count the charity collaboration Thank Abba For The Music in 1999 on which they received an equal credit with several other acts). The only other British groups to have managed more are The Beatles (24 in a row) and the Rolling Stones (19 in a row). Those that pay attention to these things will note that this is now the second time that Steps have reaped the benefit of covering a song written by the Bee Gees, their version of Tragedy which topped the chart in January 1999 remains their biggest selling single to date. [I failed to spot here that the presence of the re-released One For Sorrow as the double a-side of this release made it one of only a small handful of singles to have peaked at Number 2 on two separate occasions].


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4 WHAT WOULD YOU DO (City High)

Well you can't knock this for a debut can you? New Jersey hip-hop trio City High are the latest proteges of Wyclef Jean and the lyrical bleakness of their debut hit has proved to be no barrier to it becoming a massive smash hit. The world has been waiting a long time for the new Fugees (witness the rise of Spooks). Could it be that one of the originals has finally managed to find them. [Wyclef follows up his own hit about strippers by producing one about hookers. Man had some issues to work through].


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5 THINKING IT OVER (Liberty)

Cast your minds back to the final days of the Popstars show. There were of course ten hopefuls left after the final round of auditions. Five made the cut and went on to become Hear'Say. The others, in true Weakest Link fashion went home with nothing. Well not quite, as of course the so-called Flopstars were no less talented than those who made the cut and quite a number of people could see the potential in a gimmick of proving Nasty Nigel et al that they made the wrong choices. Hence the "other five" signed to V2 records and set about generating headlines by threatening to release a record in opposition to Hear'Say (before it was pointed out they were contractually barred from doing so) and naming themselves Liberty (prompting complaints from a band who already had that name, a dispute which appears to yet to be resolved [they would lose and have to rebrand as Liberty X, in case you are confused]). Perhaps sensibly they also bided their time before actually releasing a record, determined not to be tarred with the same manufactured brush that is set to dog their more famous counterparts for good. They have also gone for the jugular in terms of producers, hence Thinking It Over is far from the cheesy pop hit you might have expected. Instead it is a sophisticated guitar-led garage smash co-written and produced by none other than Pete Devereux of the Artful Dodger. The Steps single may have been the biggest pop release of the week but this one is potentially the most important. Could it be that the "losers" of the TV show end up being the biggest winners?
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8 FAMILY AFFAIR (Mary J Blige)

Her last chart single of any kind was the Wyclef Jean collaboration 911 which made Number 9 last December but in truth this is Mary J Blige's first release in her own right since Give Me You made Number 19 in April 2000. For this hit she turns to a new producer, no less than Dr Dre who looks set to work the same magic for the diva that Puff Daddy did on some of her earlier hits. Her ability to score Top 10 hits appears intact, this becoming her biggest chart hit since her duet with George Michael on As made No.4 back in 1998. Incidentally this single has nothing to do with the Sly Stone track of the same name, but just wondering what that would have been like has virtually made my week.
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9 I WANT LOVE (Elton John)

Elton. He hardly needs an introduction despite the fact that this is his first chart single for over two years - his last coming in March 1999 when Written In The Stars (a duet with LeAnn Rimes) made Number 10. The formerly camp hellraiser turned national treasure clearly still has a love for music that drives him along and the British public clearly still have an appetite for his records over 30 years since he first hit the charts. Hence I Want Love in spite of reviews that quite rightly point out how dull it sounds, slips nicely into place as his 26th Top 10 hit since 1971 and his biggest hit since the song about the candles. Few indeed are the artists who can claim a chart career that spans three decades. The only other active recording stars with longer chart runs are Tom Jones (first hit in 1965), Diana Ross (first hit with the Supremes in 1964) and of course Cliff Richard who made his chart debut in 1958.
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13 BAD BOY FOR LIFE (P Diddy featuring Black Rob and Mark Curry)

Speaking as we did of Mr Combs, here he is in his own right and making his chart debut under his brand new name. We should of course congratulate him on picking yet another performing alias that it is impossible to say without smirking but at the same time note that this is in actual fact one of the best singles he has released for a long, long time. Nothing that will turn on the average rap hater of course and certainly not a patch on Come With Me but this is far from the Puff Daddy by numbers single it could well have been. His first single release since the R Kelly collaboration Satisfy You made Number 8 in March 2000, it duly becomes his 9th Top 20 hit.
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15 RIGHT ON (Silicone Soul)

What worked for Toca Me and Salsoul Nugget has worked again here. Right On began life in 1999 as an instrumental dance single which sank without trace. The commercial push it needed was not so much a remix as a reworking with a new female vocal track added. Stir in a little hype from some name DJs and you have a Top 20 hit. Simple really.
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16 STEP ON MY OLD SIZE NINES (Stereophonics)

Finally could this be a Stereophonics single with a bit of energy behind it again? Good though Mr Writer and Have A Nice Day were (and both were Top 5 hits) you could not escape the suspicion that they were a little, well, boring. There were hopes that this trend would be reversed with their third single release of the year but sadly no. It seems that the Stereophonics have gone all dad-rock on us, something of a shame when you listed back to such classics as Local Boy The In Photograph. Still fair is fair, their chart positions remain strong. In all it is their 11th Top 20 hit single.
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23 JUS 1 KISS (Basement Jaxx)

Just. One. Kiss. Will make it better. This is the message behind Basement Jaxx's second hit single of the year. Sad to report that in actual fact it isn't a patch on the rather glorious Romeo that tore up dancefloors throughout the summer. Just like Garbage they appear to have picked the wrong week to release this track as instead of being another storming chart triumph the single can do nothing more than creep into the Top 30, their first single ever to miss the Top 20.


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24 ANDROGYNY (Garbage)

Shirley! Butch! The others! Yes, the eeriest group in rock are back after an almost two year layoff, their last chart single being the Bond theme The World Is Not Enough which hit Number 11 in November 1999. Happily their style is still intact, a glorious mix of gothic intensity and genuine pop appeal although Androgyny will rank as one of their most uptempo singles ever. Sadly though it will also rank as one of their smallest. For this brand new track to miss even the Top 20 is something of a shock and in fact it is their smallest hit single since Only Happy When It Rains peaked at Number 29 in September 1995.
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27 COME WHAT MAY (Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor)

Given that the rather magical Moulin Rouge soundtrack featured a number of songs as performed by the two lead stars (neither hitherto renowned for their singing talents) it was almost inevitable that at least one would escape to the singles charts. Hence the followup to Lady Marmalade is this slushy ballad that forms the centrepiece of one of the film's most romantic moments. Although not a classic by any means, much of the appeal comes from the fact that you have to keep reminding yourself that this epic production is indeed being sung by Obi-Wan Kenobi and the woman who wandered around naked a lot in Eyes Wide Shut. If I was going to pick a track to be a single I personally would have gone for McGregor's rendition of Your Song but this will do nicely even if it is destined to be little more than a passing, if rather charming, novelty. Ewan McGregor is actually no stranger to the charts, his voice having featured on the PF Project's Choose Life which was a Number 6 hit in November 1997 and which turned his opening monologue from the film Trainspotting into a dance record.

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31 FIRST DATE (Blink 182)

More of the same from Blink 182 although of course that is far from a criticism. This is their second hit single of the year, the followup to The Rock Show which charted at No.14 in July. It seems such a shame that the momentum they had with the No.2 hit All The Small Things in early 2000 appears to have all but vanished.
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36 MUSIC (Erick Sermon featuring Marvin Gaye)

Is nothing sacred? Erick Sermon may be a new name in chart terms but as a hip-hop producer he is legendary, his career beginning in the late 1980s as one half of EPMD and then progressing to production in the 90s as one of the architects of the deep and lazy sound. His singles chart debut comes in the same week that he hit the headlines after being involved in a serious car crash in New York. By a strange and somewhat depressing irony the single is taken from the soundtrack of the film What's The Worst Thing That Could Happen about which no further comment is probably needed. The extensive sampling of Marvin Gaye on the track means that the late soul legend is given his first direct chart credit since he charted with Lucky Lucky Me back in 1994.