This week's Official UK Singles Chart

Kids, print out a copy of the chart this week and stick it in a frame somewhere. The "last week" column next to the Number One position isn't filled all that often so this is one to remember and tell your own children about.

When DJ Casper's Cha Cha Slide entered the chart at Number 2 last week it was broadly in line with expectations. The single had been a cult success on import for a number of months and was set for a high chart entry. In spite of this, it wasn't exactly a mainstream hit single, many radio stations seeing its novelty value as being just a little too high to give it serious amounts of airplay. No, Number 2 was very good going and to see the single slip down the charts after this would have been no great surprise.

Well it just goes to show that even a sliding singles market has the potential to throw up some surprises. This week Britney Spears and DJ Casper swap places on the chart, sending Cha Cha Slide to the very top as it does something that nobody in this country does anymore - climb the chart to hit Number One. Just to give you some idea of how rare this is, in the last five years or so only two other singles have topped the chart after subsequently charting lower down. The last to do so was DJ Otzi's Hey Baby (another Euro-novelty you will notice) back in 2001 although that "climb" was actually a technicality, a result of the full release having the same catalogue number as the import and thus counting as the same record rather than being a new entry (which under any other circumstances it was). No, to find the last single which genuinely charted lower down on full release and then climbed to the top you have to go back to December 1999 and Cliff Richard's Millennium Prayer which moved 2-1, a feat now duplicated by DJ Casper.

You can, therefore, feel a certain amount of sympathy for Jennifer Lopez who is likely to make slightly fewer headlines than she otherwise would with the biggest new hit of the week. Pop's most famous bum spent most of the latter half of 2003 failing to get married to Ben Affleck and starring in some incredibly bad movies so in a way it is something of a relief to see her get back to hit-making ways. Baby I Love U is her first hit single since I'm Glad hit Number 11 in June 2003 and returns her to a Top 3 spot she last occupied exactly one year ago when All I Have was at Number 2. Coincidentally just as All I Have featured LL Cool J on guest rapping duties, this new single also features a heavyweight guest star in the shape of R Kelly. In all this is J-Lo's 11th Top 10 hit single since 1999, the only odd statistic being that she has to date only had a solitary Number One hit - Love Don't Cost A Thing in 2001.

Enrique Iglesias was hardly silent in 2003 yet his chart performances were far from up to standard. After starting the year with the new year hangover of Maybe (which made Number 12 in December 2002) he proceeded to chart at Number 19 with To Love A Woman and then in November at Number 11 with Addicted. His fans will, therefore, be cheered at the performance of this new single Not In Love which charges into the chart to give the second generation star his biggest hit single since Escape was a Number 3 hit in May 2002. Maybe the presence of his guest star has helped this time around, Kelis of course coming hot off the globe-straddling success of Milkshake which in turn has been one of the most consistent and also most irritating singles of the year to date. Kelis is no stranger to chart collaborations, most famously appearing last year on Richard X's Finest Dreams and Puff Daddy's Let's Get Ill which both charted simultaneously in the same week last August.

The third Top 10 new entry this week goes to the Black Eyed Peas with what is technically their first hit of 2004, Shut Up having charted before Christmas but which was still a Top 10 fixture into the new year. Hey Mama is taken from their Top 10 album Elephunk but the single release has the bonus of added vocals by reggae legend Tippa Irie, famous in this country for his hit Hello Darling which made Number 22 way back in 1986. All this, of course, is really just a warm up for the real piece de resistance as already people are drooling at the mooted collaboration with The Darkness becoming a reality on their next album. [Never happened].

As we drop out of the Top 10 we hit a run of three singles, oddly enough the three singles that I flagged up last week as the ones to watch. First out the traps are Fountains Of Wayne with a single that has already been massive in the States but which oddly enough failed to make an impact when first released here last year, missing the Top 75 altogether. A timely re-release and near saturation airplay later the single finally becomes the UK hit it always should have been and gives us the chance to see the famous Rachel Hunter pole-dancing video. The single is taken from their third album Welcome Interstate Managers which was almost four years in the making. Their only other UK hits largely came from their 1997 self-titled debut, their highest chart position coming in March of that year when Radiation Vibe made Number 32. Stacy's Mom is therefore far and away their biggest hit to date - and needless to say quite deservedly so. Honourable mention must also be made of Adam Schelsinger's authorship of That Thing You Do, the song from the Tom Hanks movie of the same name which was a Number 22 hit for The Wonders in 1997.

Just below them is the singles chart debut of a genuine UK chart phenomenon. Hailed as a jazz genius for a new generation, Jamie Cullum is a self-taught pianist whose debut album came from nowhere to become one of the sleeper hits of last year. Nominated and performing at the Brit awards last month, the album has now taken up what seems like a permanent residence in the Top 10 and it has now been judged time for him to attempt a pop crossover. Hence this single release which features the swinging track These Are The Days coupled with an extraordinary cover of Pharrell Williams' Frontin' which really has to be heard to be believed. The progress of the single has been watched with interest, many doubting whether despite his tender years and boyish good looks Jamie Cullum could really become a pop phenomenon on top of his more adult success. The fact that the single has made Number 12 will be greeted with pleasure by a great many people. It is by no means a smash but a long way from becoming the kind of flop that would have made this his one and only single release.

At Number 13 this week are a band for whom such a chart placing may not quite be enough. Phixx are of course the Pop Stars losers, the five who can count their lucky stars they were not chosen to be part of One True Voice. Like their female counterparts Clea though they have not quite managed to turn their TV show exposure into big chart success despite the fact they have been given some deliciously mould breaking tracks to sing. Phixx's gimmick is that they are firmly stuck in the 1980s, their songs inch-perfect New Romantic electronic pastiches that should really be making every 30-something in the country sit up and take notice. Their first single Hold On Me made a not too unimpressive Number 10 but big things were expected of Love Revolution. If anything the track is just a little too 80s, the single coming across like Duran Duran covering a collaboration between the Human League and Blancmange. As appealing a prospect as that is and notwithstanding the current feting of Duran Duran and with Tears For Fears songs topping the chart in the recent past, the 80s just aren't quite cool enough for the kind of revival Phixx are pinning their hopes on. Make no mistake both Hold On Me and Love Revolution are in their own way quite inspired pieces of pop music but I can't see them having bigger hits than this should they choose to tread this particular path.

Number 15 sees a new name arrive in the UK charts, that of Marques Houston. His musical career dates back over the course of almost a decade as he was originally one of the members of US boy band Immature whose one and only UK hit single came in 1996 (We Got It hitting Number 26). After a name change to the more grown-up sounding IMX failed to yield results, the group turned to production. Calling themselves Platinum Status they contributed to tracks by Destiny's Child and also B2K (Marques Houston is after all related to two of them). Now it is time for the UK to catch up with his solo album which was released in the States last year to some acclaim. Lead single is Clubbin' which has the honour of being produced by none other than R Kelly, thus giving the under fire star a hand in two of this weeks Top 20 entries.

Chart veteran Lionel Richie makes a simultaneous debut this week, hitting Number 5 with his new album Just For You and charting at Number 20 on the singles chart with its title track. Richie's last album was 2000's underappreciated Renaissance which saw him attempt to reinvent himself with a more urban flavoured sound. Singles such as Angel and Tender Heart were minor chart hits but a long way short of the kind of success he enjoyed when he first went solo back in the 1980s. Richie's last chart appearance was in April last year when he duetted with Enrique Iglesias on To Love A Woman and coincidentally this new single is written by the duo of Mark Taylor and Paul Barry who also wrote Enrique's new single I'm Not In Love (eagle eyed label watchers will also note that they had a hand in Cher's 1998 comeback so they have a proven track record in reviving the career of chart veterans). Just For You isn't going to set the charts on fire however but it does at least creep to Number 20 which is respectable enough, especially given it was up against the release of its parent album in the same week. I mean, was any fan of the singer really likely to fork out for both?

Moving outside the Top 20 now and the long awaited comeback single from The Vines makes a rather disappointing entry at Number 25. What seems like months of hype from the likes of Radio One and XFM have resulted in the single charting lower than their last two singles Get Free and Outtathaway which were released in 2002. The latter actually saw the group break into the Top 20 for the first time and the 15 month layoff looks to have done them no favours at all.

Just below them are B2K with their first single release of the year, the follow-up to Uh Huh 2002 which made Number 31 back in October. Guest star on Badaboom is Fabolous, this effectively the follow-up to his own Into You which was a Top 40 hit back in November. The career of Jet seems stuck in first gear as Look What You've Done slides in at Number 28. At the very least it is a better chart performance than Rollover DJ which made Number 34 at the end of last year but last September's Are You Gonna Be My Girl remains their biggest success to date - that single hitting Number 23.

A fun curiosity hits the chart at Number 30. The Jungle Boys are three contestants from the TV show I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here which of course has already spawned one chart hit in the shape of Peter Andre's re-released Mysterious Girl. The threesome are fallen aristocrat Lord Brocket, retired football Neil 'Razor' Ruddock and former Radio One DJ Mike Read. Whilst in the jungle they pondered the fun possibility of making a record together for charity and sure enough headed for the recording studio not long after the show ended. Jungle Rock is an old Rock n' Roll novelty hit, made popular by Frank Mizell back in 1957. Strangely enough, his original version did not chart first time around and only became a hit almost 20 years later, hitting Number 3 as a golden oldie re-release in 1976.

What is perhaps more significant about the single is that it marks the first ever chart hit after around 20 years of trying for Read. Although primarily a radio and TV presenter he always had designs on being a performer, carrying a guitar with him just about everywhere. Indeed when he hosted the Radio One breakfast show in the early 1980s part of his act was to perform the hits of the day with alternate lyrics that listeners had sent in. He made several records at the height of his fame but famously (and ironically given that he was one of the team that compiled the first editions of British Hit Singles) never made it into the charts. His closest brush with chart fame came in 1987 when he collaborated with David Essex on a musical based on the poems of Sir John Betjeman. A single Myfanwy which featured music written by Read made Number 41 in April of that year.

Finally the Top 40 is rounded off by two new entries, the first of which is from Gomez. This is the first single since 2002 for the Manchester bluesmen who surely are way past any chance they ever had of having major hit singles. Of slightly more interest is the entry at Number 37 from former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon. The Buzzcocks-esque snarling guitars of his debut solo hit were expected to make a slightly bigger impact than this and in a way you can label this single as the big under-achiever of the week.

Looking ahead to next week, the big new release surely has to be Will Young's new single Your Game, the follow up of course to the Number One smash Leave Right Now. I'm going to be interested in the progress of Katie Melua's second single too. The Closest Thing To Crazy is still inside the Top 40 this week whilst her album Call Off The Search remains entrenched at the summit of the long players listing. She is undoubtedly the find of the year and one of the biggest stars of the moment - but can she turn that into singles success? Like Jamie Cullum this week, her chart performance will go a long way to demonstrating whether the two bands of the record market are still in sync or drifting apart like never before.


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