Big thrills (so to speak) at the top of the chart this week but a lot of action as well down below. 9 new entries, 7 climbers and 4 non-movers.
No. 37: NEW ENTRY. Dave Clark Five - Glad All Over
I kid you not, you are not seeing things. Greatest hits compilation time again sees a new promotion of the back catalogue of one of the greatest bands of the early 1960s. The track itself needs little introduction suffice it to say it was their second hit and made No.1 for 2 weeks in January 1964 whilst also making Top Ten in America. It's also the first time the group have been seen in the British charts since November 1970 when More Good Old Rock and Roll made No.34.
No. 34: NEW ENTRY. Def Leppard - Tonight
Hit No.5 for Def Leppard off the Adrenalize album to follow the Top 20 placing of Heaven Is earlier in the year. It will be interesting to see if the current album can match the achievement of Hysteria of placing 6 singles in the Top 40 despite having sold more copies than Adrenalize has by this stage.
No. 31: FALLER. Various Artists - Gimme Shelter
Oho. John Beast and the organisers of the project were hoping for a massive hit with it as well. Sadly the record buyers shied away from such strange collaborations at New Model Army vs Tom Jones and Voice of the Beehive vs Jimmy Somerville. A shame really as they were actually all quite good.
No. 29: NEW ENTRY. Big Country - Ships (Where Were You)
Second Top 40 hit in a row for the Scottish stalwarts who have been plodding away for years making records just like this one. It's interestingly enough the first time they have placed 2 consecutive singles in the Top 40 since their halcyon days of 1986.
No. 28: NEW ENTRY. Blur - For Tomorrow
At the end of 1990 Blur were 'it'. The darlings of the indie scene with magazine covers galore and placing several hits on the chart including There's No Other Way. Since then of course their fortunes have fallen and successive single releases such as this one are regarded with little interest by the indie press that at one time held them so dear to their hearts. The only reason I mention this is due to the current slobbering over Suede and I am tempted to wonder just how long it will be before they go the same way. [And there you see in its full context the way Blur were genuinely viewed. Yesterday's men, with a new album so bad the label insisted they go back and re-do much of it. History has since been rather kinder both to the group and indeed the Modern Life Is Rubbish album. But it will take a while to get there].
No. 27: NEW ENTRY. P J Harvey - 5ft Queenie
Debut hit for the indie songstrel who made a huge impression on the alternative scene last Autumn with Sheela Na Gig which just missed out on a chart placing.
No. 22: NEW ENTRY. Sonia - Better The Devil You Know
Do I explain in detail here what the Eurovision song contest is? Oh go one then, suffice it to say it is the annual charade acted out by virtually all the countries in the European continent whereby they all contribute a song which is performed on the night and then voted on by members of the public in each country from which is produced a winner - the prize being the opportunity to host the contest the following year. A subject of derision across the whole of Europe yet strangely compulsive viewing as all our xenophobic tendencies are displayed to the full as several million British TV viewers gather round to see whether the French will give our effort zero marks yet again. The last time Britain won was in 1981 with Bucks Fizz's Making Your Mind Up and in an attempt to counter a string of near-misses the powers that be have taken to having an established artist perform the entry. Last year it was Michael Ball who apparently did it under great duress and so this year it turns to bubbly Liverpudlian songstrel Sonia to do the honours. Better The Devil You Know was chosen out of 8 by a national telephone vote to be this years entry and so a couple of weeks ahead of the contest it makes its chart debut, just a few places behind Michael Ball's peak last year. Further progress for the track remains to be seen, it's typical inane singalong Eurovision material. Will it win though? I'll keep you posted. [She wuz robbed!]
No. 20: NEW ENTRY. Inner Circle - Sweat (A La La La Long)
Back in October this record was released all over Europe, including this country. All over Europe it became one of the smashes of the year. In this country it bombed out at No.56. Summertime though is always a good time to reactivate long forgotten classics and the bouncy reggae singalong leaps straight into the 20 on its second release. Chances are it may well shape up to be a No.1 and is certainly a cod-reggae classic to rank alongside Girly Girly and Real Fashion Reggae Style which were both Top 10 hits in the mid-80s.
No. 9: CLIMBER. REM - Everybody Hurts
Despite in terms of singles, being the most prolific band of the last 2 years (largely thanks to a series of reissued oldies by old label IRS) REM have previously only had one UK Top 10 hit - Shiny Happy People which made No.6 in June 1991. Thus Everybody Hurts becomes the second and in turn the biggest hit off Automatic For The People. It's been climbing for 3 weeks now though and sales may just now begin to tail off.
No. 3: CLIMBER. Whitney Houston - I Have Nothing
The number of people I've seen blubbing to the sentiments of this ballad, you do wonder why I Will Always Love You came before it. Still, Whitney makes a strong climb to a position which forces one to bear in mind that previously she has only had 4 Top 3 hits - her 4 UK No.1 singles. She's got strong competition to beat though.
No. 1: NEW ENTRY/1ST WEEK. George Michael and Queen - Five Live (EP)
In a country the size of Britain this is physically possible. Occasionally a record can capture the imagination of the entire country enough for first week sales to send it straight into
the No.1 slot. The first to do so was Elvis Presley's 'Jailhouse Rock' in 1958 and since then 25 others have repeated the trick making Five Live the 27th record to go straight to the top and the 5th in the 1990s. It also sets in motion a bizarre string of coincidences. The last record to go straight in at the top also had a Queen connection - it was Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are The Days Of Our Lives in December 1991 [Incorrect, it was Abba-esque by Erasure but I correct myself next week]. George Michael's last UK No.1 was a live recording of a song he didn't write - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me with Elton John which also went to No.1 in the first week. The fact that one track on the EP is George's duet with Lisa Stansfield on These Are The Days Of Our Lives means that his last 3 No.1 hits have all been duets, the other two being the aforementioned with Elton and I Knew You Were Waiting For Me with Aretha Franklin in February 1987. The record itself is a series of 5 tracks recorded at last year's Freddie Mercury tribute concert at Wembley with all proceeds going to AIDS charities - making it the 8th charity record to go straight to No.1 since Band Aid in 1984. And after all that I'll save it until next week to tell you the significance of the No.1 hit for the artists involved. OK?