This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 MARIA (Blondie) 

Between 1978 and 1982 Blondie were arguably one of the biggest bands on the planet. With the goddess-like Debbie Harry appearing on bedroom posters all over the land they crossed over from the world of American New-Wave to become genuine pop superstars. It helped the band to clock up a total of 10 Top 10 hits including no less than five Number One singles. Suddenly by 1982 it was all over, their final single War Child made a lowly Number 39 and Debbie Harry attempted a solo career which progressed in fits and starts over the course of the next decade. Their music has remained popular albeit thanks to some rather terrible remix projects which did at least lead to Atomic and Heart Of Glass reaching the Top 20 in the mid-90s. Now, the band are back together, not with a token new song to promote a Greatest Hits album but with a new deal and a whole new album. Maria is the first single to be lifted from that set and it manages to set a phenomenal record - returning Blondie to the top of the charts. To put this in context, the last Number One single for Blondie was The Tide Is High which hit the top in November 1980 - meaning they have bridged a gap of a little over 18 years and 2 months. This is the third longest gap between Number One hits in chart history, beaten only by the 23 and 25-year gaps clocked up by The Hollies and The Righteous Brothers. Bear in mind though that both these acts topped the charts with re-releases of previously charted singles. Blondie have done so with a brand new single and with a wave of interest that is based as much on merit as it is on nostalgia. The scale of this achievement cannot be understated.

[This is another one of those crazy licensing deals where their official Vevo channel substitutes a CD:UK performance by the band for the track's actual video - which has instead been uploaded by a third party].


2 YOU DON'T KNOW ME (Armand Van Helden) 

Spare a thought for Armand Van Helden who becomes the latest act to see his Number One single plummet from the top after just seven days. The Blondie single has continued the unprecedented turnover of Number One singles, the tenth different song to top the charts in as many weeks. "Where will it all end" cry the doomsayers as they complain about the top of the charts being devalued and predict the end of civilisation as we know it. Everyone else will just marvel at the breathtaking excitement of it all and point out that You Don't Know Me sold 120,000 copies to reach Number One, a figure that hardly devalues the impact needed to top the charts (quite the opposite surely) but at the same time is unsustainable at a time when record sales overall are at their annual low point.


3 BOY YOU KNOCK ME OUT (Tatyana Ali) 

Forced to settle for landing the final place in the Top 3 this week but no less massive a single is Tatjana Ali's second release, the follow-up to Daydreamin' which made Number 6 in November last year. Her links with Will Smith both as regards her current status as a recording artist and her past career as an actress are highlighted on this record as the man himself pops up to contribute a rap halfway through which makes reference to their characters in the TV series Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.


5 ENJOY YOURSELF (A+) 

As if to prove there is nothing that you cannot make into a rap single, 16 year old A+ lands a massive Top 5 smash with his first ever chart hit thanks to the rather unconventional nature of this single. The track takes the bassline, hook and title from the classic Jacksons hit of the same name (Number 42 in 1977) but for a melody it samples heavily from Walter Murphy's disco-fied take on classical music A Fifth Of Beethoven, an American Number One and a Number 28 hit here in 1976. It is worth noting that although it predated the film by a number of years, A Fifth Of Beethoven found its way onto the Soundtrack of the film Saturday Night Fever making it the ninth different song from the film to have been covered by another artist over the last few years or so. Indeed the only songs from the album that have not appeared on the chart in recent times are the lesser-known tracks from the likes of MFSB and Kool And The Gang.


8 CAN'T GET ENOUGH (Soulsearcher) 

Of all the dance hits to reach the chart this week, this female-vocal led track is by far the biggest. The track is released on the Defected record label which lays claim to having been the home at one time of the likes of Mousse T and Ultra Nate, to name but two.


12 GIVEN UP (Mirrorball)

The formula that made tracks such as Baby Bumps' Burnin' into hits works it magic again once more. Simply take an old disco hit, cut it into pieces and put them together again with some late 90s dance beats and voila... one hit single. Actually, the effect with this single doesn't grate quite as much thanks to the imaginative use of samples as rather than go for an established classic Mirror Ball have used an old Three Degrees hit as the basis for their record. Givin' Up Givin' In was released in 1978 and spookily enough also reached Number 12 yet it is hardly the best known track the girls ever released, at least until today.


 13 DREAMING (M People) 

Just like their last hit Testify, this new M People track is lifted from their Greatest Hits collection and yes, just like so many of the others it follows their usual formula so closely it is a wonder that Mike Pickering doesn't register the chord sequence as a trademark. Hard to knock it when it works though, this is their 13th Top 20 hit.


 15 TONITE (Supercar) 

More Eurodance, this time from Italian duo Supercar who have managed a quite surprising amount of mainstream radio airplay for this track, hence its higher than you would expect debut in the Top 20 this week.


 16 SIX (Mansun) 

Mansun continue to play the numbers game with an EP release titled Eleven (it is after all their eleventh single release and the first two were indeed called One and Two) and a lead track called Six which is the title track and fourth single from their rather poorly received album from last year. Like most Mansun singles it relies on atmosphere rather than hooks and as such works rather well, even if you cannot see anyone other than their still rather loyal band of fans wanting to inspire the single to any further chart success. It is at least an improvement on the chart position of their last hit negative which could only reach Number 27 in November last year.


19 WHEN I ARGUE I SEE SHAPES (Idlewild) 

Signed to the Food record label that kickstarted the career of Blur, Edinburgh band Idlewild are slowly but surely building a following and this, coupled with radio support for this single has given them the push they need to break into the Top 40 for the first time. The single wins the award for the most curious title of the week even though they probably have more commercially accessible songs in their repertoire. Incidentally the current shape of the singles market has never been more pronounced than this week. The trend for singles to chart high and then slowly slide down the chart is aptly demonstrated by the fact that there are 10 new entries to the Top 40 this week, a full nine of them inside the Top 20.


37 WE ARE LOVE (DJ Eric) 

As if to prove that anything the French can do the British can do as well, Glasgow-based DJ Eric [there were actually three of them behind the alias] takes samples from Hall and Oates' I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) and creates a piece of disco house that rivals anything from the likes of Air and Cassius. A shame then that he has the the somewhat dubious honour of being the only new single to chart in the bottom half of the Top 40 this week.


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