This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION (Elvis vs JXL)

The golden summer of Elvis continues as A Little Less Conversation proves beyond a doubt that it is more than just a novelty short-term chart-topping single but is in actual fact a hit that is steadily crossing over to the mainstream. Three weeks makes this the longest running Number One hit since Gareth Gates managed four back in April although it still has a long way to go before ranking as Elvis' longest-running Number One hit. That particular honour belongs to It's Now Or Never which had an 8 week run at the top in November 1960. During his lifetime Elvis also had runs of 7 weeks (All Shook Up) and 6 weeks (Wooden Heart and The Wonder Of You). I was, I must confess, a little unfair when the single first charted by branding the song as dating from Elvis' crap period. Although it did indeed form part of the soundtrack to a terrible Elvis film, A Little Less Conversation was part of the set of songs he performed for his 1968 "comeback" special which sparked new life into his career in time for the start of the 1970s. Never a hit before, it is somehow appropriate that this new version is even managing to transcend the memory of the TV commercial that spawned it to potentially rank alongside some of his most memorable hits. Something tells me the King is stacking shelves in Lowestoft and enjoying every moment of it.
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2 THE LOGICAL SONG (Scooter)

Well, those that were hailing this right from the start as a potentially massive hit can award themselves a huge pat on the back on the basis of this chart performance. Without much in the way of hype, or at first airplay on mainstream stations, the first hit in over five years for Scooter has now transcended all expectations, rising up the chart for what is, in current times, an unprecedented second week to now challenge Elvis for a place at the top of the charts. Further advancement is perhaps unlikely but given the way this single has performed so far, can it totally be ruled out? The only surprise is that given the almost unrelenting popularity of Scooter singles on import it has taken so long for someone to promote one of their tracks to the mainstream.
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3 WHEREVER YOU MAY GO (Calling)

So then to the biggest new hit of the week and hearty congratulations to The Calling who manage almost effortlessly to live up to the hype. The debut single from this LA band managed a lengthy chart run back home in the States and the good looks of singer Alex Band, not to mention the undoubted appeal of this emotion-drenched ballad have helped to propel the singer to a Top 3 berth in this country. As the recent success of Nickelback has proved, the nu-metal invasion that characterised the charts of 2001 has opened the floodgates to more conventional-sounding songs that happen to feature guitars rather than dance beats. OK, so this doesn't exactly break new musical ground but may there always be room for a song that sounds great in a darkened room with a semi-clothed female next to you.


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9 TELL IT TO MY HEART (Kelly Llorenna)

I'm sorry, its the heat. It does things to me. Still, if simmering sexuality is indeed your bag then you could do far worse than the second biggest new hit of the week. Kelly Llorenna is perhaps best known as the voice of N-Trance (at least the female bits) and in particular, their three-time smash Set You Free. She also featured on Flip & Fill's True Love Never Dies (a Number 7 re-release back in February) and has guested on other club tracks in the past. Until now her only solo chart credit came back in 1996 when the track Brighter Day limped to Number 43. All that changes this week as she finally (and perhaps deservedly) gets a solo smash hit with this adrenaline soaked cover of Taylor Dayne's 1988 Number 3 hit. Tell It To My Heart is a song that needs an incredibly powerful voice to do it justice - which may explain why this cover works so well.
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14 TWO WRONGS (Wyclef Jean featuring Claudette Ortiz)

After closing off 2001 by daring to ruin Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and getting a Number 28 hit out of it, Wyclef Jean redeems himself with this brand new single from his forthcoming third album. Wyclef is one of those artists who has a lower profile than his record sales would suggest, most people seem to regard him as a mid-table unspectacular hitmaker but in actual fact his musical CV includes tracks such as Gone Til November, It Doesn't Matter and of course Perfect Gentleman, all of which were massive Top 5 hits. Claudette Ortiz here becomes the latest artist to guest on one of his records, adding herself to a list that includes Destiny's Child, Bono, Mary J Blige, Destiny's Child and er, Queen. No write-up of Wyclef Jean can go without mentioning his starring role in a TV commercial for mobile telephones which sees him sign a contract that condemns him to doing the ironing for a harridan in a trailer park. How many other superstars would send themselves up in that way?
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18 MOTHER (M Factor)

Via the Miami Music Conference comes this club track, released in the UK through Judge Jules' Serious Records label. I have nothing pertinent to add. [The artists formerly known as 187 Lockdown, research fans].
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24 CLUBBED TO DEATH (Rob Dougan)

Now here is a "holy crap" moment if ever there was one. Australian by birth, Rob Dougan came to England in the late 1980s and struck up a partnership with an aspiring dance music producer called Rollo Armstrong. Together they set up Cheeky records, to this day the home of Faithless as well as the likes of Skinny and Pauline Taylor. In 1995 Dougan made his debut as a recording act in his own right, producing a single called Clubbed To Death. It never made the charts but lived on underground as one of many long-lost club classics that can flood dancefloors but never drive people into the shops. The fame of the track lived on though and it was used to soundtrack a TV campaign for Caffrey's and then most famously became the cornerstone of the Matrix soundtrack. A full commercial release of the track was not forthcoming, owing largely to the fact that Cheeky records went under at around the same time and had to be bought out by BMG. Fast forward to 2002 and suddenly Dougan is about to find his star is on the rise. Not only is his work to feature prominently on the Matrix II soundtrack but his 1998 album Furious Angels (the title track became his only chart single in the same year) is to finally get a proper release - and heralding it is, of course, his most famous piece of work. For all of that backstory, the single doesn't exactly set the world alight which in its own way is something of a shame. Still, you can guarantee that if there is one thing about the chart rundown this week that creates a talking point it will be the "what is that song from The Matrix doing in the Top 30?" question that is bound to be on the lips of many a casual observer.


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25 (SOMETHING INSIDE) SO STRONG (Rik Waller)

Following up his, admittedly rather stirring, rendtion of I Will Always Love You (Number 6 in March), Pop Idol reject Rik Waller continues his bid for post-television fame with yet another cover version. (Something Inside) So Strong was the track that brought Labi Siffre out of hiding back in 1987 and giving the underrated singer his biggest ever hit single when it hit Number 4. A powerful anti-apartheid song, its meaning has pretty much been stripped away these days (no thanks to that damn car advert either) but it is still a beefy enough track for Rik Waller to get his lungs around and in actual fact it is quite refreshing to hear the song sung by a powerful baritone voice as opposed to its composer's own rather high pitched tones. Sadly this single has little else to recommend it, devoid of creativity and charm it comes over as just another karaoke remake - hence you suspect this rather lowly chart placing. Unlike around 80% of pop acts Rik Waller can actually sing, and damn well too. He can be a star but some original material would not go amiss.
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27 GOLD (Beverley Knight)

Following up Shoulda Woulda Coulda (Number 10 back in March) is this second hit of the year for Beverley Knight. Panic not, this is not the Spandau Ballet song but a rather mighty soul anthem that you suspect plays a little better live than it does on the radio.
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29 THE DAY IT RAINED FOREVER (Aurora)

Pretty much bringing up the rear this week are Aurora. This too is their second chart hit of the year, the follow-up to Dreaming which made Number 24 back in April. There is an odd symmetry about Elvis being at the top and drippy, insipid trance gravitating towards the other end, don't you think? Have a good week all..