1 KILLING ME SOFTLY (Fugees)
The second Fugees single was always going to be big, especially given the way demand for this track to be released as a single built up from the moment copies of the album found their way into the hands of reviewers. I suspect that even Columbia records were unprepared for just how big - demand was such during the last week that jets had to be chartered especially to bring extra copies over from pressing plants on the continent as some areas of the country had run out completely. With a sale of well over 150,000 the record debuts easily at the top to give the Fugees their first Number One hit. The song itself has a story all of its own, first written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox for the American singer Lori Lieberman after she was inspired by watching a performance by Don MacLean. Roberta Flack recorded the song too and turned it into an international smash, reaching Number One in America and Number 6 over here in 1973. Since then few have dared to touch it and certainly no cover version has ever charted before now. The Fugees treat the song with the respect it deserves, adding their own touches and rhythms here and there but never once dulling the edge of one of the most magical songs ever recorded.
2 THREE LIONS (Baddiel/Skinner/Lightning Seeds)
So the 'anthem of the summer' is deposed from the top after a mere week, albeit in the face of some pretty stiff competition. Three Lions becomes the second record in succession to spend just a week at the top, meaning that in the past four weeks there have been four different records at Number One. It just goes to show that there is no such thing as an irreversible trend - between November 1991 and December 1993 no record remained at Number One for less than two weeks. Since then 12 different records have all had a solitary seven days of glory.
5 NAKED (Louise)
My body and my mind normally work in perfect harmony with one another which is why I am still baffled as to why my response to the opportunity to meet the divine Ms Nurding earlier this week was to be violently ill on the day she was due to visit the station. Life can be very cruel sometimes. In line the current raunchification of her image, the title track from Louise's new album is a sensual pop track, complete with revealing video and a series of semi-clad photo shoots. Her fresh-faced innocent looks make this desperate attempt to be seen as a sex symbol seem rather puzzling, but either way it seems to have helped as Naked charges into the Top 5, beating the Number 8 peak of her first hit Light Of My Life last October and only a place behind her biggest hits from when she was a member of Eternal. Incidentally, I'm thinking of spiking my smug colleague's food so that he can be the one to suffer when Fluffy come to visit this week. [What do you mean, "who"? This lot].
7 FABLE (Robert Miles)
His first hit Children missed out narrowly on a Number One slot several times and is far and away the biggest selling instrumental hit of the decade. Four months after its release it is still charting, this week slipping down to Number 29. Now a second single from the foremost representative of Italian dream music hits the chart to make him the first artist to have simultaneous Top 40 hits since Oasis earlier this year. Fable carries on where Children left off, plenty of dreamy electronic noodlings that somehow carry with them far more credibility that Jean Michel Jarre ever managed. An album is due shortly as well but it remains to be seen whether Robert Miles is indeed the prophet of a new era of dreamy instrumentals or whether he is just this years Engima, making an album that is little more than a perfect soundtrack for fornication [pah, just wait until the Faithless album comes out].
12 IN A ROOM (Dodgy)
Dodgy spent most of 1995 building and consolidating, charting a string of small hits before scoring a modest smash with a timely re-release of Staying Out For The Summer which made Number 19 exactly a year ago this week. Now they return with a new album imminent and a new single, for which the omens look good as they immediately grab their biggest hit ever with this typically melodic piece of harmonious pop. Dodgy never excite me all that much but they are a young British band making some great sounding music and because of that it would be very wrong to knock them.
13 ON SILENT WINGS (Tina Turner)
Let's face it, Whatever You Want was an embarrassing flop for Tina Turner and all around her. The epic song written by Arthur Baker and produced by Trevor Horn was supposed to be a globe bestriding monster yet instead fizzled out at Number 23 when released back in March. For this new single Tina is back on more familiar ground with a rather sweet ballad that stands comparison with many of her previous chart hits and this time lands a more respectable Top 20 placing.
15 FEMALE OF THE SPECIES (Space)
["Cold Feet" theme song klaxon!] The latest band to effortlessly make the transition from being Next Big Thing to The Current Big Thing are Space. They were first tipped for greatness earlier this year with the release of their single Neighbourhood which despite extensive hype missed out on a Top 40 placing. Second time round their luck has held and the quirky bunch of youngsters land a creditable Top 20 place with this inspired piece of weirdness which deserves at least a footnote in musical history for being the first chart hit in a long long time to feature a glockenspiel as one of the lead instruments.
17 SUMMER HOLIDAY (Darren Day)
Darren Day is clearly the product of an unjust genetic malfunction that meant he has had more than his fair share of the talent and good looks genes in the world, leaving many of the rest of us sadly lacking. He has been moderately well known for a number of years having appeared on stage in a number of West End plays and musicals and having made the odd foray into television. His first attempt at a pop career came at the end of 1994 when he charted briefly with a cover of Union Gap's Young Girl which could only reach Number 42. Having seen his profile grow ever larger over the past year, the time has come for the all-rounder to try again and this time he succeeds. Virtually everything about him resounds with niceness so it is somewhat appropriate that he should score a hit with the ultimate 'nice' record, a cover of Cliff Richard's 1963 Number One that was taken from the pleasantly cheesy film of the same name. Darren Day's public and professional image is such a mask of perfection that it would take a hardened old cynic motivated only by professional envy to point out that the single coincides neatly with the start of his most high profile TV presenting job yet which brings him to the attention of millions every Saturday ni.. oh bugger.
22 BEFORE YOU WALK OUT OF MY LIFE (Monica)
A sophomore hit in 1996 for Monica, following from her Number 33 hit in February Like This And Like That. It is her third hit in all and her biggest so far. Top 20 next time perhaps?
25 SENSUAL SOPHIS-TI-CAT/THE PLAYER (Carl Cox)
Just a place above his fellow producer/mixer Rollo, DJ Carl Cox scores his second Top 40 hit this year, following on from Two Paintings And A Drum which made Number 24 in early March.
26 LET THIS BE A PRAYER (Rollo Goes Spiritual)
Rollo Armstrong breaks off from his current role as remixer of choice and continues his curious record of charting a hit a year under different names. Only the 'Rollo' element of his name remains constant, each track being released under a name which complements the mood of the music. Hence his first chart entry Get Off Your High Horse was credited to Rollo Goes Camping whilst last years Top 40 hit Love, Love, Love Here I Come came from Rollo Goes Mystic. Let This Be A Prayer has been floating around for several months, first on white labels and then as foreign imports. That appears to have dulled any potential for a big commercial hit now that the track is officially available. A Top 30 entry may be his biggest hit to date but the popularity of the track in the clubs suggests that so much more was possible. [He didn't care, Faithless were about to go stratospheric].
33 ST TERESA (Joan Osborne)
A disappointing start to this second single from Joan Osborne. Whereas the catchy One Of Us shot straight into the Top 10 from a standing start back in February, her new single stutters uneasily into the bottom end of the Top 40. Various reasons can be sugested for this, most of them tending towards the conclusion that the single just isn't all that good.
39 LIGHT MY FIRE/PLEASE RELEASE ME (Mike Flowers Pops)
What on earth has he started? The current cult of easy listening and the elevation of composers such as Burt Bacharach to the status of cultural icons can be traced back to just before Christmas when Mike Flowers Pops surfaced with their extraordinary cover of Oasis' Wonderwall. Following the success of that hit and the huge crowds his concerts have been attracting ever since, it was somewhat inevitable that the bandleader with the highly developed sense of irony should release another single. It is a curious choice this time as the Doors' Light My Fire is no less a sacred cow than Wonderwall but it has of course already been covered as an easy listening classic. The honour for that of course falls to Spanish guitarist Jose Feliciano who made Number 6 in September 1968 with his soulfully strummed version of the hit, eclipsing the original which had only reached Number 49 the previous year. Mike Flowers' version borrows that arrangement to begin with, even down to the plucked guitar introduction, but then gradually develops the song into another lushly orchestrated piece of camp. The initial novelty has of course long since worn off, hence this rather lowly chart placing but you still get the nagging feeling that deep down it is Mike Flowers who is having the last laugh.