This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 UNCHAINED MELODY (Gareth Gates)

When the single was first released Mr Gates cheekily suggested that he had his sights set on beating the chart performance of Will Young. So it proves, for whilst the Pop Idol winner managed three weeks at the top, Gareth Gates this week notches up a fourth. Of course this is one of those occasions when chart positions don't actually tell the complete story as Will Young's single sold more copies in a shorter space of time and so ran out of steam much more quickly. Gareth Gates on the other hand took slightly longer than a week to sell one million copies and is simply burning out rather slower. Still, that is not to take away what he has achieved with the single. By topping the magical seven figure mark he has become only the third teenager to have a million selling single, following in the noble footsteps of Paul Anka and Britney Spears. Unchained Melody itself is now more a part of the record books than ever before, for not only is the only song to have been Number One in four different versions but it is the only song to have been a million seller in more than one version. For all the perfectly valid mutterings about karaoke classics and wild speculation about whether any of the Pop Idols can actually go on to have anything approaching a career, there is no denying the impact the two singles have made. When we tell the story of 2002 it will include breathless accounts of how a TV show produced two of the fastest selling singles ever and two of what will turn out to be amongst the biggest selling singles of all time (Will Young agonisingly close to the all time Top 10).
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2 LAZY (X-Press 2 featuring David Byrne)

Good grief, this has been a long time coming. Ashley Beadle's X-Press 2 had their first chart single almost nine years ago, London X-Press reaching Number 59. The first Top 40 hit followed in October, Say What! charting at Number 32. Since then there has been just one further X-Press 2 single to climb that high, The Sound which made Number 38 in March 1996. Indeed they are better known for their singles which have failed to hit the heights, and believe me there are plenty of them. In the last two years the charts have seen tracks such as AC/DC, Muzikizum and Smoke Machine all come and go without ever actually hitting the magic 40. Thus it is nothing short of a huge surprise to see the latest X-Press 2 offering not only breaking into the Top 40 but actually coming within an ace of topping the charts. The appeal of the track has of course been helped not a little by the presence of a guest vocal, none other than former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne. Byrne's chart appearance comes almost ten years since the last Talking Heads single Lifetime Piling Up reached Number 50. In their entire career the band only ever had one Top 10 hit, the classic Road To Nowhere which made Number 6 and which means that with this club track their lead singer is enjoying his biggest hit ever.


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3 WHENEVER WHEREVER (Shakira)

OK so everyone goes on about the line about small and humble breasts but for my money it is the one that precedes it in the song "lucky that my lips don't only mumble so they can shower you with kisses like fountains" that is more of a mark of genius. Somebody, somewhere, agrees as Whenever, Wherever continues to sell in solid quantities without much in the way of fanfare. The track this week spends a third successive week at Number 3 and its third in total. It peaked at Number 2 for two weeks when first released. In its first two weeks it sold more than enough copies to have been virtually assured of topping the charts at any other time and it was only Will Young's phenomenal sales figures that ensured it will perhaps unfairly always be seen as a runner up. Make no mistake, this is one of the big hits of the spring with the other one just one place below...
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4 HOW YOU REMIND ME (Nickelback)

Do they climb every time we talk about them here? If that is the case, here is another quick mention for How You Remind Me which cements its appeal still further with every passing week. The single this week climbs back to the Number 4 peak it first achieved five weeks ago on its second week on release.
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6 ONE STEP TOO FAR (Faithless featuring Dido)

OK, so the last couple of Faithless singles haven't exactly set the charts on fire. Tarantula made Number 29 in Christmas week, matching the peak of the funk-tastic Muhammed Ali from September 2001. At times like this you have to turn to the family to help you out. Dido, the 21st century's first new superstar, began her recording career as a backing singer on Faithless tracks, by dint of the fact that she is the younger sister of Rollo Armstrong. She sang lead vocals on a couple: Hem Of His Garment and Flowerstand Man but neither became singles. Time now for that balance to be redressed. Of course she is now so famous she gets her own credit but make no mistake this is a classic Faithless single that just happens to feature Dido on lead vocals. Inevitably the interest caused by this has propelled the single into the Top 10, the first time they have been this high since We Come 1 went Top 3 in June last year.


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9 MY CULTURE (1 Giant Leap)

Just three places lower than the new Faithless single is a debut single from an act who have a couple of members in common. 1 Giant Leap is a new concept project (complete with film and soundtrack) by Duncan Bridgeman and Jamie Catto. Catto of course plays a similar role to Dido in Faithless, appearing either as a backing singer or taking lead vocals on the odd track. His most famous moment with them came when he performed the spine tingling lead vocal on Don't Leave. This first single from the project features two guest stars on vocals. One of these is rapper Maxi Jazz - again the cornerstone of most Faithless tracks. The other is a certain Robbie Williams who appears prominently in the video, singing the central refrain of the track. With that kind of pedigree it could hardly fail really and true enough the jazz-flavoured single settles comfortably inside the Top 10. Quality music in the pop charts. See, it is always worth waiting for.
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10 BEAUTIFUL (Matt Darey featuring Marcella Woods)

A re-release for this club hit, originally released in July 2000 when it made Number 21. Matt Darey began his chart career under the alias of Mash Up but by the time this single was released he was gravitating to using his own name, hence the original release was credited to "Matt Darey's Mash Up". Marcella Woods is his better half and had previously sung on his previous hits such as Liberation and From Russian With Love before putting in her most memorable performance on Beautiful. Second time around airplay has been much in evidence for what is, in fairness, a cut above your average female sung trance hit.
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11 TAKE IT EASY (3SL)

It's like the Omen only in pop music. Not so much sons of the devil but brothers of Steps for the "SL" stands for Scott-Lee. These three lads are in fact the younger brothers of Lisa from Steps, big sister having played the role of mentor to them as they attempt to forge a pop career for themselves. Not that nepotism has much of a part to play in the success of this track for it is a bright upbeat pop track, taking over where Five's Keep On Movin' left off. As is so often the case with pop debuts this single has spiked mild interest rather than out and out excitement but if the three lads say the right things in interviews and have more material like this up their sleeves then there is at least one album's worth of hit singles to come from them.


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16 U-TURN (Usher)

After three successive Top 5 hits (Pop Ya Collar, U Remind Me and U Got It Bad) in 2001, Usher's first chart single of the year is somewhat smaller. Funnily enough this is likely to be his first chart single to peak between 11 and 20. His only other chart hits to miss the Top 10 were Nice & Slow which made Number 24 in 1998 and his debut Think Of You which made Number 70 back in 1995.

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19 RIDE WID US (So Solid Crew)

Busta Rhymes was the first rap star to realise the potential of the Knight Rider theme tune, using it to tremendous effect on Turn It Up back in 1998. Four years later the So Solid Crew have the same idea, the nagging bassline of the 80s TV theme having Ride Wid Us an urgency that adds to its infectious nature. Despite the fact that it is actually the most accessible So Solid Crew single yet and one with has far more crossover potential than any since 21 Seconds, it falls some way short of the Top 10 achieved by their other three singles.
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25 INFECTED (Barthezz)

A second chart single from Dutchman Bart Claessen, this the followup to his debut On The Move which made Number 18 in September last year. The track is something of an also-ran amongst this weeks new club singles although given that it does not sample a TV theme nor does it feature a 1980s alternative star or even his younger sister on lead vocals this perhaps isn't so surprising.
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27 BREAKING UP THE GIRL (Garbage)

Following up the Top 30 hits Androgyny and Cherry Lips, Garbage maintain similar chart form with their third single in recent months. Breaking Up The Girl also serves as the theme tune to the new movie version of MTV cartoon Daria but in truth this has done little to add to its appeal. It is of course the second time Garbage have contributed one of their songs to the titles of a film, having performed The World Is Not Enough for the James Bond film of the same title back in 1999. This single does at least have a little something to make completists drool, a rather fascinating cover of the Velvet Underground track Candy Says as one of the extra tracks of the CD and one which quite possibly may have been better served as the a-side.
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32 HIGHLY EVOLVED (Vines)

A chart debut for this Australian four piece act whose overseas success has thus far eclipsed anything they ever achieved back home. This is their second single release but the first to make the singles chart.
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36 SO I BEGIN (Galleon)

From France, Galleon first got together in Marseilles and now make the British charts with, well, pretty much what you would expect from a French dance act. Cod-disco rhythms and a breathless male vocal make for a wonderfully continental sounding track but one which probably struggles to find an audience here.
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39 ANSWERING BELL (Ryan Adams)

A new name to the Top 40 but one which has been dropped in trendy circles for a number of mo months now. Ryan Adams first came to people's attention at the back end of last year thanks to his single New York New York which found itself with added poignancy thanks to the rather spooky way its video featured the artist performing with the World Trade Centre as a backdrop in footage that was shot just days before September 11th. Even that buzz could not help the single though and it made a somewhat disappointing Number 53 when it was finally released in December. With his second single he makes that all important Top 40 breakthrough and although his balladeering style, complete with slide guitars and hammond organs means he is likely to remain little more than a popular adult contemporary artist rather than a chart hitmaker, fans of a true singer songwriter can permit themselves a warm glow at the way Ryan Adams appears on the verge of some David Gray-esque word of mouth popularity.
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40 WHY (Agent Sumo)

A long overdue Top 40 debut for Agent Sumo, aka Martin Cole and Steven Halliday. They made their name back in 1998 by remixing Love Is The Law for the Seahorses only for their mix to be rejected by the band. Undeterred they began putting music together for themselves, releasing singles like 24 Hours and Sunflowers without much in the way of chart success. The disco-flavoured Why creeps into the Top 40 to give them a profile hit for the first time ever and to rank as far and away the most underrated single of the week.


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