1 IT'S LIKE THAT (Run-DMC vs Jason Nevins)
In 1982 three friends from New York graduated from High School and changed the name of their rap group from Orange Crush to Run-DMC after their stage nicknames. At the forefront of the embryonic rap culture they recorded their first single It's Like That. Although something of an underground classic it was actually the single's b-side which attracted attention: Sucker MCs being regarded as one of the starting points of modern day Hip Hop. The rest is history, the big breakthrough coming in 1986 when they teamed up with then fallen giants Aerosmith for a smash remake of Walk This Way which gave them a Number 8 hit over here. A series of minor hits followed, their last chart appearance here coming in 1993 when Down With The King reached Number 69 and they managed the unusual distinction of being the first rap act to have a Greatest Hits album in 1991. Suddenly the story of Run-DMC has come full circle. DJ Jason Nevins late last year remixed It's Like That and found himself with a major club hit on his hands. One of the very earliest hip-hop singles had suddenly discovered a new lease of life, indeed since the start of the year it has been one of the biggest selling singles in Europe. Demand for the single over here has been such that it proved almost impossible to keep the track from the shops, import copies having charted at the lower end of the Top 75 in recent weeks. Now officially released the single sails to the top of the chart, shouldering none other than the Spice Girls out of the way - that is how big this record is. Run-DMC thus have their first ever Number One single a few months shy of 12 years since their first chart hit, almost 10 years since they were last in the Top 40 with Run's House and with a single that finally comes into its own 15 years after it was first recorded.
2 STOP (Spice Girls)
Stop is the Spice Girls' seventh single release. Wannabe was the first, entering the chart at Number 3 in July 1996 and advancing easily to Number One a week later. Since then they have entered the chart at Number One without fail with every single release. Until now. Far and away one of the best tracks from the album Spiceworld the Motown pastiche of Stop was an obvious choice as the third single and was widely expected to hit the top with consummate ease. Ordinarily that would have been the case but sensationally the single has been outsold by a margin of almost 2-1 by the Run-DMC track and so has to settle for the runners-up position. Of course this has immediately sent the press into a feeding frenzy of "are the Spice Girls finished" stories, most of which are of course pure hot air. Some have suggested that to release another single from the album was a mistake - why? Stop is only the third release from the album - its predecessor Spice produced no less than four Number One bits. It is also worth remembering that the last act to have a consistent run of Number One hits also had a wobble at one point. Between 1993 and 1996 every Take That single hit Number One first week out with the puzzling exception of 'Love Ain't Here Anymore' which could only make Number 3 in July 1994 - they still went on to have four more Number One hits before splitting up. Bear in mind also that Stop has still sold enough copies to have been Number One at any other time, circumstances have worked against them for now and whilst there is no doubting the sensation behind It's Like That it may well have peaked far too early, leaving the way clear for the girls next week. The search for their seventh successive Number One single is far from over.
4 SAY WHAT YOU WANT/INSANE (Texas featuring The Wu Tang Clan)
The Brit awards have always been an ideal stage for bizarre collaborations, whether it is the KLF performing with Extreme Noise Terror or Tom Jones gyrating with Robbie Williams. This year Texas also made an attempt to steal the show, enlisting the help of the Wu-Tang clan on a performance of the first single from White On Blonde, Say What You Want. The resulting collaboration is now released as a single, coupled with 'Insane', another track from the album just in case the thought of he pride of Scotland colliding with Gangsta Rap doesn't appeal. The somewhat unusual single has now crashed straight to Number 4, just behind the Number 3 peak of the original version from January 1997. Although one of the biggest hip-hop acts in the world at the moment, the Wu-Tang clan have so far struggled for commercial hits over here. Despite Wu-Tang Forever hitting Number One on the album chart all the singles released from it failed to reach the Top 40. Indeed it is as solo acts that the original members have had better luck, Method Man and Ghostface Killah having had Top 40 singles in the last year.
10 UH LA LA LA (Alexia)
Just to redress the balance a little. Whilst the clubs of the continent can produce near-classic hits such as It's Like That it can also be responsible for awful europop dance hits such as this hit from Alexia. Pure pop music it may be but the single is also the epitome of everything that is bad about handbag music It sounds like a bad Eurovision entry and really deserves just as much attention, despite the Top 10 entry.
13 REMEMBER YOU'RE A WOMBLE (Wombles)
Back in the mid-1970s Elizabeth Beresford's tales of the furry creatures who worked overnight to keep Wimbledon Common clean were turned into an animated puppet TV series. Musician Mike Batt was invited to write the theme music to the series an, inspired by the tune, wrote an entire albums worth of Wombles-inspired material. In the process he invented a whole new career path for himself as in 1974 the Wombles spent more weeks on the chart than anybody else. The Wombling Song reached Number 4 and spent 23 weeks in the Top 50, Remember Your A Womble reached Number 3 - the list went on, by the end of the following year there had been 8 Wombles hit singles. Now to mark the 25th anniversary of the show a new TV series has been made, maybe lacking the magic of the endlessly repeated 70s classics but enough to introduce a whole new generation to the antics of Orinoco, Uncle Bulgaria, Tomsk et al. As a result, here comes the music again, the most enduring Wombles hit entering the Top 20 once more. Alright there is a dance remix of the track on the CD but it is really the original that matters here, making a great many people feel both very old and extremely young once more.
14 BREATHE (Kylie Minogue)
With the much-delayed release of her new album imminent, here comes the revitalised Kylie Minogue with the third single from this latest project. Despite the curious failure of Some Kind Of Bliss to reach the Top 30 she has rebounded well, Did It Again made Number 14 just before Christmas and now she hits the Top 20 again at the same position with this new single, possibly not as good as either Some Kind Of Bliss or Did It Again but good enough to be her 25th Top 20 hit. The career of Kylie Minogue continues to astonish, the former Australian soap star who began her career making some classic but no less cheesy pop tunes is now a cult icon for musicians who are all queuing up to see what kind of bizarre musical style they can get her to record in next. [Bizarrely that was indeed the very nature of her 21st century renaissance, as the songwriters' favourite empty vessel].
16 EVERLASTING LOVE (Cast From Casualty)
Apologies first of all to Cason and Gayden, the writers of Everlasting Love. Robert Knight, whom I credited with the song last week may have been the first to record it but it was one of his few hit singles that he didn't have a hand in writing. The 8 versions of the song that have now charted make it far and away one of the most covered songs in chart history. Unchained Melody has also charted in 8 different versions, although one of these was an instrumental. The only other songs to come close are Only You and Mack The Knife which have each had six different versions make the chart. Everlasting Love is far and away the most contemporary of all these multi-version hits. Surprisingly the most recorded song in musical history Yesterday has only been a hit in four different versions in this country for the Beatles, Matt Monro, Marianne Faithful and Ray Charles.
17 DESTINY CALLING (James)
To herald the release of their Greatest Hits collection, James release this new track from that career retrospective. The Manchester band have been around far longer than most people realise. Formed in the mid-1980s they were contemporaries of Morrissey and The Smiths. They did not begin to have chart hits until 1990 when they signed to Fontana records. Since then the Top 40 hits have come in an almost continuous string, this is their 14th in total.
18 THE ANGEL AND THE GAMBLER (Iron Maiden)
How the mighty appear to have fallen. The veteran metal act sensibly paused to regroup following the departure of singer Bruce Dickinson in 1993 but even this has not stopped their popularity taking a knock. Two albums on and they are still a force to be reckoned with but their fanbase appears to be dwindling. This brand new single can only scrape in at Number 18 where previously they would have been all but guaranteed a Top 5 hit. Not that Number 18 isn't impressive (and to be honest this is one of the best singles they have released in years) but compared to their achievements in the past, including surprise Number One hits it is something of a comedown. Still, after the career they have had even this kind of chart position is quite astonishing. Never ones to stoop to commercialism, they have now had 11 Top 10 hits with nine more reaching the Top 20. Now approaching 20 years in the business they are quite simply one of the most enduring heavy rock bands ever
20 I'M READY (Bryan Adams)
A second hit single from the MTV Unplugged album sees Bryan Adams in power ballad mode, complete with sweeping orchestration. The Bruce Springsteen-a-like Back To You was maybe a better single but this is still Bryan Adams proving that when it comes to MOR melodic rock he is one of the masters of the art.
26 THE WORD IS LOVE (SAY THE WORD) (Voices Of Life)
A dance single, the first release from Voices Of Life that would be unremarkeable but for the name behind it. Look closely at the production credits and you will see the name of Steve 'Silk' Hurley. In the mid-1980s he was one half of JM Silk, legendary house producers who had a minor chart hit in late 1986 with Can't Turn Around. In 1987 a little-known solo recording of his called Jack Your Body suddenly became a massive smash hit, charging to Number One in January that year to become the first ever house music chart-topper. His achievements since then have been less impressive but, as this single proves, even ten years on he can turn out a storming dance single. With Run-DMC also spearheading the 1980s dance revival Mr Hurley's reappearance could not have come at a better time.
27 THE PROMISE (Essence)
Same people, different monkier. Messrs Simmonds and Jones, previously known as the Space Brothers for hits such as Shine and Forgiven now reappear as Essence for this Top 30 hit.
29 MY OWN SUMMER (SHOVE IT) (Deftones)
The first UK hit for the Deftones, signed to Madonna's Maverick label and set to become major stars after a recent US tour. Rock is far from dead, just suffering from bleeding ears from the sound of this track.
36 VIM (Jez & Choopie)
Funny how the old ideas are always the best isn't it? In late 1987 Coldcut remixed Eric B and Rakim's Paid In Full as a full-blown commercial house smash, laden with all manner of strange samples as was the trend at the time. Most distinctive of these was a haunting snatch of a Yemenite song, later identified as Im Nin'Alu recorded by Israeli superstar Ofra Haza. Use of the sample became so widespread that she re-recorded the song to a house beat and had a Europe-wide smash with the track, reaching Number 15 here in May 1988. Ten years on and Jez and Choopie have borrowed the sample again, constructing a whole record around it to make a quite distinctive dance track, as long as you don't question its originality.