This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES (Ronan Keating)

Another week, another Number One hit. The comparatively long-running chart runs of Will Young and Gareth Gates a couple of months ago have made this kind of turnover seem almost unusual although this is actually the second time since the start of the year that we have had a brand new Number One hit four weeks in a row. Top seller this week is Ronan Keating, the former Boyzone singer making his first chart appearance since Lovin' Each Day peaked at Number 2 in April 2001. He returns to the top of the charts for the first time since Life Is A Rollercoaster spent a week at the summit in July 2000, making this his third solo Number One hit and if one counts the Boyzone hits, the ninth of his chart career. The gap in his release schedule was caused by attempts by his management team to break him as a star in America, a campaign which was centered around the aforementioned Lovin' Each Day single and one which was to ultimately prove fruitless. How appropriate then that he should pick up where he left off on this shores with a remake of an old American smash hit. If Tomorrow Never Comes is another example of manager Louis Walsh's knack of turning old C&W songs into pop hits for his proteges (and Ronan in particular) for it began life as one of the very earliest American chart hits for Garth Brooks. Despite being a superstar back home, Brooks' UK chart career is effectively limited to a handful of Top 40 hits in 1994 and 1995 following a determined promotional push for him, his biggest hit being the double a-side of The Red Strokes/Ain't Going Down which peaked at Number 13. If Tomorrow Never Comes was recorded by its author in 1989 and became his first ever country Number One single. Ronan's version comes complete with a tearjerking video and has clearly proved that his appeal remains as large as ever but after the unrestrained joy of his last few Gregg Alexander-penned hits there are mutterings that this is a disappointing return to blandness, even if it is chart-topping blandness.


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3 DJ (H & Claire)

It is almost par for the course these days that when a long-running and successful pop act calls it a day, they immediately break off into a series of less long-running micro acts. Just five months after the final Steps single Words Are Not Enough the charts play host to a mini battle of the former members. Winners for the moment are H and Claire who triggered the original split by quitting the band just after Christmas and who clearly feel there is some chart mileage in a perma-smiling boy girl lightweight pop duo. The single DJ hardly breaks new ground and to many ears is actually nothing more than an identikit reworking of S Club 7's Don't Stop Movin'. Inspired it isn't but a hit it certainly is, even if you cannot escape the nagging doubt that the duo almost seem too old to be bouncing up and down on Top Of The Pops.
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5 FOLLOW DA LEADER (Nigel & Marvin)

Time to set the wayback machine to 1996 when Tobago-born brothers Nigel and Marvin Lewis left their jobs as lead singers with calypso band Charlie Roots to go solo. Their recipe for success was "reactionary Calypso". Nobody has ever made a soca track that didn't sound like heaven at a sun-drenched beach party but the brothers took it a shade further by making records that consisted of enthusiastically shouted dance instructions. Movin' was the first and it was followed by their 1997 album Follow Da Leader. The title track has been danced to by everyone on a Carribean holiday ever since and it also spread commercially to Europe where it sold a respectable 125,000 copies across the continent and still has a home in the box of many resort DJs to this day. Meanwhile Nigel & Marvin kept touring, commanding support slots for the likes of Beenie Man, Shaggy, Lauren Hill and Wyclef Jean. So how then does a five year old soca track wind up in the UK Top 10 and set to become one of the biggest party hits of the summer? The answer is an inspired new mix of the track that removes the stripped to the bone ringbang rhythms of the original and replaces them with the backing for Cholocate Puma's I Wanna Be U (a Number 6 hit last year). Instantly the track was transformed from something you danced to at carnivals into a bone fide club track. The video for the track has been all over The Box for months and now slides with a bang into the Top 5 to make this one of the most inspired licensing deals Relentless records have ever pulled off. Maybe it has come a bit too early to be the genuine soundtrack of the summer but if you suddenly feel the urge to Jump And Wave or hop left and right on alternate legs, Follow Da Leader may well be the reason why.


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8 HOW YOU REMIND ME (Nickelback)

Meanwhile the long runners still cling on. Shakira's Whenever Wherever slips to Number 11 this week, leaving Nickelback high and dry as the longest runner inside the Top 10. This is now their 11th consecutive week as one of the nation's ten biggest sellers making How You Remind Me the first single to reach that total since Atomic Kitten's Whole Again also had an 11 week run over a year ago.
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10 SOMEONE LIKE YOU (Russell Watson & Faye Tozer)

When H & Claire quit Steps at the start of the year it appeared to be Faye Tozer who was the most bitter, lashing out at the pair in interviews over what she saw as a "betrayal". It seemed as though she would end up having the last laugh when record companies began waving contracts at her for solo deals. Her first ever single however comes from a rather unusual source. Whilst performing at a BBC Proms In The Park event last year Tozer met and performed with singer Russell Watson. The light opera singer has flirted with commercial records in the past and entered the Top 40 in October 1999 with his rendition of Swing Low Sweet Chariot accompanied by the England Rugby World Cup squad. In 2000 he also grazed the bottom end of the Top 75 with an extraordinary duet alongside Shawn Ryder on Barcelona but this single marks his biggest chart success to date. Someone Like You invokes a similar vibe to Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli's 1997 smash Time To Say Goodbye, the immaculate vocals of the opera star fitting in nicely with the more pop-orientated female counterpart. In actual fact Faye Tozer is a revelation here as she does her best Celine Dion impression on what is nothing short of a masterpiece of a pop record. OK so it is song for mothers rather than their pop kids but it is here in the Top 10 on merit. Whilst Faye may have lost the chart battle of the former Steps members this week she has, whisper it, actually made the far better record.
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12 ROCK THE BOAT (Aaliyah)

Spookiness ahoy for this single as of course it was the trip to film the video for Rock The Boat that proved to be the final work of Aaliyah's life. After topping the charts with More Than A Woman as a posthumous tribute, Rock The Boat performs slightly less spectacularly and settles for a place just outside the Top 10. Barring the release of any 'undiscovered' recordings or any further attempts by the record company to mine her final album for singles we can effectively regard this as the last ever hit single for Aaliyah. Her chart career thus totals 17 hits, 7 Top 20 singles, 2 Top 10s and one Number One. Not bad at all for someone who died at such a tragically young age.
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15 SILVER (Hundred Reasons)

Top 40 hit number three for Hundred Reasons and with every release they move further up the charts. March's If I Could brought them into the Top 20 for the first time when it peaked at Number 15 and Silver now takes over as their biggest hit to date.
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18 ALL I WANT IS YOU (Bellefire)

Talk about taking your time with followups. Bellefire are yet another project of Boyzone and Westlife svengali Louis Walsh, this time a four piece female group whose voices combine to produce some rather touching harmonies. Their first UK chart single came in July last year, Perfect Bliss sounding like the Corrs singing Wilson Phillips, scraping into the Top 20 and suggesting that they had great things ahead of them. For some reason that was all we heard of them until now and they finally chart for a second time (and match the peak of their first hit) with a fascinating choice of cover. All I Want Is You is indeed the old U2 song, recorded for their 1988 album Rattle And Hum and a Number 4 hit when released as a single in June 1989. Up there with the very best of U2 ballads, the song is impossible to ruin and indeed Bellefire's version remains pretty if lacking something of the emotion of the original version. They are far from the first act to attempt to cover a U2 ballad. Mary Kiani limped to Number 46 with her rendition of With Or Without You in 1997 but the most famous example is the Chimes' remake of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For which made Number 6 in May 1990. No discussion of U2 covers would be complete without mentioning the Pet Shop Boys' deliberately OTT reworking of Where The Streets Have No Name which made Number 4 in 1991, not to mention Clivilles and Cole's club smash version of Pride (In The Name Of Love) which hit Number 15 in early 1992. [Meanwhile on the forums the joke continued that Bellefire were a deliberate tax loss move by Louis Walsh as nobody could believe he'd sponsor an act this naff. They never did get around to releasing an album either].


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22 WHO NEEDS ENEMIES (Cooper Temple Clause)

Well they asked for it really, naming their first single Let's Kill Music and proving ammunition to many a reviewer only too keen to point out that the group sound like they are doing nothing more than attempting a revival of the long-dead Britpop sound. Whilst Who Needs Enemies does indeed sound like Oasis taking on a Bluetones song, there is enough inspiration in here to make the Cooper Temple Clause a pleasant enough breath of fresh air. This is their second Top 40 hit of the year, a single which charts a couple of notches down from the Number 20 hit Film Maker/Been Training Dogs which charted back in February.
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24 MAIN OFFENDER (Hives)

If Main Offender sounds eerily familiar then this is because this track was the music to which Kylie Minogue rode a bucking bronco in her pants in her now notorious Agent Provocateur commercial at the back end of last year. Now revealed as the work of the Hives, it becomes the second Top 30 hit of the year for the Swedish act who are being mentioned in the same breath as the Strokes and the White Stripes as the saviours of rock. The comparisons are apt as Main Offender is a clinically performed slice of stripped to the bone rock and roll, yowled rather than sung in a manner that activates the part of your brain that wants you to believe that this is one of the most exciting things you have ever heard. Main Offender is actually a better showcase of their sound than their last single, the Number 23 hit Hate To Say I Told You So and if the Hives ever become Top 10 hitmakers then this single may well turn out to be the turning point. [What do you mean you'd rather see the advert than the video to this? Oh. OK then].


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28 DID I DREAM (SONG TO THE SIREN) (Lost Witness)

A return to the singles chart for Lost Witness, this their first appearance since 7 Colours also made Number 28 just before Christmas 2000. The track actually has more of a history than most people realise, Song To The Siren having originally been written in 1971 by Tim Buckley and appeared on his famous album Starsailor. The song was covered by This Mortal Coil in 1983 and although it never climbed higher than Number 66 it was a fixture in the indie charts for the best part of a year. Almost ten years later Elizabeth Fraser's vocals were sampled by Messiah and used as the basis for their Number 20 hit Temple Of Dreams. Hence this revival by Lost Witness (which does actually sample the This Mortal Coil version as well) may only be a minor chart entry but for old fogies like me it contains some wonderful links to the past. The biggest hits for Lost Witness came back in 1999 when Red Sun Rising peaked at 22 and Happiness Happening reached Number 18.
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36 YOUTH OF THE NATION (P.O.D.)

Something of a comedown for Christian rockers P.O.D. who looked to be on the verge of great things when the impressive Alive made Number 19 back in February. Youth Of The Nation is rather darker in tone and takes the form of a mainly narrated cautionary tale which builds up to a chorus that probably isn't as anthemic as it sounded in a rehearsal studio. Not at all bad, but nothing to set the charts on fire sadly.


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