This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 HERO (Enrique Iglesias)

Three weeks at the top makes Enrique the longest running Number One hit since Christmas and also means that his Dad's record of just a solitary week at the summit is looking pretty poor by comparison. Once again he presides over a rather slimline looking chart countdown, albeit this week one with several new entries penetrating the Top 10 amd one of these in semi-serious contention to replace him at the summit. As it turns out the lad with the smouldering looks holds firm and he could even be odds on for a fourth week at the top as well, especially given that the romantic nature of the song fits perfectly for valentines day. Who said Hero wasn't going to be this years Whole Again?
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2 HEY BABY (No Doubt)

Gwen and the boys are back and a good thing it is too. The international career of No Doubt was, of course, kickstarted in grand style by Don't Speak, the tear-drenched ballad which conquered the charts all over the world and spent three weeks at the top in this country almost exactly five years ago. It did of course present the band with the classic problem of their most famous single being totally at odds with their usual output and whilst it served its purpose of turning many people (myself included) on to just how good the Tragic Kingdom album was, singles such as Just A Girl and Spiderwebs were less well received (even if the former did become a Top 3 hit in July 1997). The group as a whole were last seen in the UK Top 40 in March 2000 when Ex-Girlfriend made Number 23 although Gwen Stefani found herself with a big hit on her hands last summer when she appeared on Eve's Let Me Blow Ya Mind which hit Number 4. Hence it is nothing less than a pleasant surprise to see No Doubt back on form with this single from a brand new album. Hey Baby marks a natural progression from old skool ska rhythms into more straight down the wire reggae. The annoyingly catchy Hey Baby has been all over the radio and TV since just after Christmas and makes the most of that buildup by charging straight into the Top 3 to give them their biggest hit since Don't Speak itself. As a fun aside, the band also happen to be on the same label as Enrique Iglesias giving Interscope records the two best-selling singles in the UK this week.


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4 ADDICTED TO BASS (Puretone)

You know I have been doing this for almost ten years now, a period dominated by the relentless high speed turnover that has come to characterise the UK singles market. On occasion I've looked back over old charts and wondered what it would have been like trying to wring out a commentary on singles countdowns from the 1980s. This last fortnight has been a great chance to find out and indeed the chart this week is if anything even quieter than last week with a rather miserable looking five new singles entering the Top 40. As this is the second week of this still water the rest of the singles chart appears to have run out of ways to take advantage and indeed the chart is bereft of any surprising turnarounds or sudden upward movements. The problem is this has come at a funny time of year with the shops being full of either old seasonal hits still burning out and the large crop of new year releases which rarely represent the best that the industry has to offer. Still, at least Puretone have taken advantage, the club hit rising one place after last weeks three place climb so that it now occupies its highest chart placing since its second week on full release. The single originally peaked at Number 2 in early January and was actually only denied the top slot thanks to the handful of copies that had gone on sale a week early and which had resulted in the track debuting at Number 68 a week before it was supposed to.
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5 MOVIES (Alien Ant Farm)

Of the five new Top 40 entries this week, three-fifths of them have made it into the Top 10 and the second of these is the second single from Alien Ant Farm. The rock act can permit themselves a small sigh of relief at the performance of Movies as they had potentially painted themselves into a corner by having such a smash hit first time out with a cover, their version of Jacko's Smooth Criminal having made Number 3 back in September. Their first hit with their own material is a commendable enough melodic thrash which admittedly takes time to grow but does at least come with another inventive video that sees the band invading a movie screen and then taking part in a number of recreations of famous old films, including Ghostbusters and the Karate Kid.


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8 SO LONELY (Jakatta)

Last seen in the charts under the Raven Maize persona, Joey Negro morphs back into Jakatta for another club reworking of a well-known melody. The first Jakatta single was American Dream which turned the music from American Beauty into a dreamy club anthem. This time around the source of inspiration is an old hit from the 1980s, Monsoon's Ever So Lonely. Monsoon were actually little more than one hit (well, two actually) wonders but were noted back in their day as lead singer Sheila Chandra was hailed as Britain's first ever Asian pop star. Ever So Lonely made Number 12 in May 1982 but the follow-up Shakti (The Meaning Of Within) could only reach Number 41 and after that, the group were never heard from again. With both Basement Jaxx and Missy Elliott having taken sub-continental rhythms back onto the dancefloor in the past year it seems quite appropriate that Ever So Lonely should be resurrected. Chandra's vocal line remains more or less intact on this reworking but the rest of the production is brought right up to date, making this a deserved 21st century hit version of the 20 year old tune.


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19 ASLEEP IN THE BACK/COMING SECOND (Elbow)

Down we go to the bottom end of the Top 20 for the biggest hit single to date for the still underrated Elbow. They made their Top 40 debut in March last year with the heartbreakingly beautiful Red but their "next big thing" tag could not help the follow-ups Power Blue and Newborn which both hit the charts just short of the Top 40. By the looks of things the turnaround could begin here as Asleep In The Back ahem, elbows, its way into the upper half of the chart. Hey you never know, with things being so quiet this week this Top 20 entry may well get more attention than would otherwise have been the case. [The first of three Elbow singles over the next six years to peak at Number 19 before the 2012 Olympics finally gifted them a long-overdue Top 10 hit].
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29 LET'S STAY HOME TONIGHT (Joe)

The final new entry of the week is the first hit of 2002 for Joe, a man who could be forgiven for feeling rather frustrated at his inability to capitalise on the success of Stutter which hit Number 7 in February last year to give him his biggest hit ever. The followup I Wanna Know could only reach Number 37 in May and whilst this jazz-funk grower makes for perfect valentines listening the single just doesn't quite seem to have the spark that would have made it a bigger hit.
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37 HAVE YOU EVER (S Club 7)

Finally at the bottom end, the former Number One hit from S Club 7 makes an eight place leap to reclaim the Top 40 placing it lost three weeks ago. Bargain bin-itis strikes again as the track has now climbed 56-45-37 in the last few weeks, setting the scene nicely for the release this week of their next single You which is almost certain to be in contention for the top slot. See you next week when things should be a lot busier. By the way, Gareth was robbed. [Dating this piece to the day following the broadcast of the final of the first ever series of Pop Idol. Which means Phase II of the reality TV era is just a few weeks away].