1 MY HEART WILL GO ON (Celine Dion)
An astonishing fact for you here. Between 1969 and 1993 no single returned to Number One after slipping down the charts. One or two almost made it but on the whole it was a phenomenon that was confined to the late 50s and early 60s when the compilation of the charts was not as accurate as today and bizarre moves of this nature often took place. Recently the situation has changed. The trend started with Mr Blobby's self-titled novelty track at Christmas 1993 and now Celine Dion's epic film theme becomes the fifth single in the last three years to reach Number One twice within the space of a few weeks. You can put this down to two reasons. One is the continuing success of 'Titanic' which features the track over the closing credits. As the stories of marathon viewings, Oscar nominations and tabloid tales about Kate Winslet continue to roll in the publicity is having a knock-on effect on the single, giving it a surge in sales and helping it back to Number One. The other explanation is that the chart climate is gradually shifting again. Instant Number One singles are of course commonplace. A single which climbs from the lower reaches to the top is the exception rather than the rule. The past year has shown that this often results in flash-in-the-pan chart-topping singles, exiting the chart mere weeks after reaching the top thanks to sales concentrated in the first few weeks. What is rapidly emerging is a Premier League of such singles. Records which, yes, enter the chart at Number One but more importantly remain big sellers, crossing over to a wider audience and selling more consistently than singles which were released later. This is what has happened here. Although both Cornershop and Madonna have entered at Number One since My Heart Will Go On was released this has been due to massive first week sales. It is not that Celine Dion's single has stopped selling, it has merely waited patiently at Number 2 during this period. Brimful Of Asha has now slipped to Number 6 whilst Frozen tumbles to Nunber 3 this week, leaving the way clear for the sustained sales of the Titanic single to get their just reward. My Heart Will Go On now joins Aqua's Doctor Jones as the only singles to spend more than seven days at the top of the charts so far this year.
2 BIG MISTAKE (Natalie Imbruglia)
There is no escaping the fact. Torn was an absolute phenomenon. Released at the end of October last year, the debut single from the former soap actress entered the chart at Number 2, remained there for three weeks and went on to spend 11 weeks inside the Top 10. The airplay favourite also survived the mid-December "relevations" that the song was in fact five years old and had been recorded in both Danish and English by a variety of singers before Ms Imbruglia turned the song into an international smash hit. Much then rests on the followup, taken from her debut album and - a point the record company is keen to stress after the fuss over the origins of Torn - co-written by Natalie herself. The fact that the track hasn't been hawked around the continent for the best part of half a decade may explain why Big Mistake is possibly a lesser single, reportedly about the singer's failed relationship with "Friends" star David Schwimmer. To describe it as a poor mans Alanis Morissette is to run down the songwriting abilites she undoubtedly possesses, but despite this second successive Top 3 chart entry a chart career of the magnitude of Torn is somewhat unlikely.
3 FROZEN (Madonna)
Hampered possibly by the release of its parent album, Madonna's eighth Number One single slides down the chart after just a single week at the top, by no means a first for her as both True Blue and Who's That Girl suffered the same fate in 1986 and 1987 respectively. Still, she has the consolation of Ray Of Light becoming her first Number One album since 1990s Greatest Hits set The Immaculate Collection. Ironically it deposes the James Horner's Titanic soundtrack from the top the very week that My Heart Will Go On takes residency at the top of the singles chart once more. Both single and album from the film have dominated the top of the charts for the past few weeks but never at the same time.
4 WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT (Five)
The second chart hit from the young teen stars and one which sees their plot for chart domination step up a gear. Following the manic swingbeat of Slam Dunk Da Funk which peaked at Number 10 just before Christmas this new single sounds from the title as if it should be a slow ballad but in actual fact is more of the same. Brilliant pop it is not but for some reason the marketing is working a dream, teen magazines want pictures of the band and their second single has shot into the Top 5.
5 EVERLASTING LOVE (Cast From Casualty)
Following on from my comments last week about the "anything goes" nature of singles in this country which results in the likes of Space's current hit, here comes a perfect example of how this can be a double-edged sword. The BBC TV series "Casualty" first aired in 1986 and 150 episodes later it is still the jewel of BBC1s Saturday night schedules. The forerunner, and to this day a somewhat gentler, more human version of US TVs "ER", the series recently ended its current run with a cliffhanging two-part episode that climaxed in the marriage of Charlie and Baz, two characters whose romance had begun in the very first series. The closing scenes saw the cast uniting for a rather dire ensemble rendition of Everlasting Love which for reasons one can only speculate has been deemed worthy of single release and even more inexplicably has been bought by enough people to send it crashing into the Top 5. The song's author Robert Knight [uh-uh, he had the first hit single but he didn't write it] could quite possibly have retired several times over on the publishing royalties. Having seen his own version peak at Number 40 in early 1968 the song was covered later than year by the Love Affair who went to Number One. Since then cover versions have charted from the likes of Andy Gibb, Rachel Sweet, Sandra, Worlds Apart and most recently Gloria Estefan who made Number 19 with her version in 1995, the same position reached by the original version which belatedly became a hit when re-released in 1974. There have been so many chart versions that the song, however perfect a piece of pop it may be, has become so tired, so well known, so readily available that the fact that one of the worst versions ever should become such a massive hit becomes even more beyond comprehension. Only in Britain. Still, give the song itself some credit. Few enough modern day compositions have withstood no less than eight different versions charting - it has now been a Top 20 hit three times over in the last five years.
11 SHE LEFT ME ON A FRIDAY (Shed Seven)
It is 'difficult' third album time for Shed Seven. Let It Ride is due for release next month so for now here is a taster in the shape of this new single. Given that it is nearly two years since their last new material this is an impressive start for the single. To date they have only had one Top 10 hit, Going For Gold which reached Number 8 in March 1996. She Left Me On A Friday marks their highest chart position since.
13 HOLLER (Ginuwine)
The first hit of 1998 for Ginuwine who spent last year building up a reputation as a major star in waiting. A brace of Number 16 hits was followed by his unusual cover of Prince's When Doves Cry which peaked at Number 10 in early September. Holler is therefore a bit of a comedown but how many other acts can boast a 100% strike rate of Top 20 hits after four chart singles?
18 GLITTERBALL (Simple Minds)
I have to confess to a soft spot for Simple Minds. The ultimate 1980s Scottish rock band, they built themselves up from punk failures to guaranteed Top 10 hitmakers, stadium headliners and US radio favourites before settling down to the kind of regular mid-table chart action reserved for members of pops artistocracy. Glitterball is everything you would expect from a Simple Minds record, nothing more and nothing less. Three years since they were last in the charts it slots nicely into the Top 20, their 21st such single since 1982. Possible evidence of a decline comes from the fact that they habitually go Top 10 with brand new releases, Glitterball in this case can only match the peak of their last chart hit Hypnotised which was released in April 1995 rather than adding to their career tally of 8 Top 10 hits.
20 RUDE BOY ROCK (Lionrock)
The alias of producer Justin Robertson, this is the first Lionrock single to chart for a couple of years and by far his biggest to date. Debuting with Lionrock in late 1992, Robertson has released a series of dance singles which have often failed to fulfil their commercial promise, his biggest being Packet Of Peace which peaked at Number 32 in May 1993. A move to a new record company appears to have done the trick as Rude Boy Rock becomes his first to reach the Top 30. [No official video available which seems a shame, but this extraoradinary bit of modern day ska done as perfectly as any classic deserves even its TOTP airing].
21 MY BODY (Levert/Sweat/Gill)
An all-star R&B collaboration which sold over a million copies in America at the end of last year. All three men, whilst being far from superstars over here, are part of America's soul aristocracy. Eddie Levert is the most famous of the trio, lead singer of the O'Jay's on classics such as Love Train and I Love Music. Keith Sweat has been on something of a chart comeback recently, promoting a remix of his 1988 debut I Want Her (the original made Number 26, the remix nowhere) whilst most recently reaching Number 30 with Nobody, a hit in May last year. Finally Johnny Gill is best known in solo terms for his 1992 Top 20 hit Slow And Sexy as well as being a member of the revitalised New Edition who also made the Top 20 with Something About You in June last year.
26 DO I QUALIFY? (Lynden David Hall)
Vying with Connor Reeves for the title of the UK's hottest new soul prospect, Lyden David Hall makes his Top 40 debut with this pleasant, if unremarkeable single.
28 WATCHING WINDOWS (Roni Size/Reprazent)
Mercury Award winner Roni Size continues to sell to the select few who get the idea of his music without any suggestion that major commercial sucess is on the way. Following Brown Paper Bag which made Number 20 on the back of his award last year, this new single sees his singles slip back to the lower reaches, although a narrow Top 30 placing is still an improvement over the Numbers 37 and 31 peaks of his first two hits, Share The Fall and Heroes.
29 CHURCH OF NOISE (Therapy?)
A welcome return for Therapy?, the band from Northern Ireland who appeared to become overnight sensations in early 1993 with their album Troublegum and its celebrated single Screamager which propelled them into the Top 10, although in practice this peak had come through several years of hard slog and setbacks. Since those award-nominated days the band have soldiered on with a series of more minor hits, their last chart appearance coming in November 1995 when Diane made Number 26. With a new album on the way this is their first new single since but to peak at Number 29 will be something of a disappointment. How come Shed Seven can vanish for a couple of years and still go Top 20 whilst Therapy? will be lucky if they can still make the Top 50 by the summer.
35 ONLY YOU (Portishead)
The sensation may have passed since the halcyon days of the album Dummy and singles such as Sour Times and Glory Box but Portishead are as good as ever. It is a pity more people don't agree. After All Mine shot to Number 8 last year is has all been downhill and now this third single from their current album makes a barely-noticed appearance at the bottom end of the Top 40, waiting for the day when loping hip-hop beats and dark, moody atmospheric lyrics come back into vogue once more.