1 (9PM) TIL I COME (ATB)
Presenting the strange tale of ATB and (9PM) Til I Come. German DJ Adrian Tannenberger made this record at the back end of last year, a haunting trance instrumental based around a central guitar figure and the sampled speech of an old interview with model Yolanda Riviera. Picked up for release in the UK by the Ministry Of Sound's Data label it was first given a rather low-key release in March this year (incidentally the label's first hit) when made a brief chart appearance at Number 68. Despite the limited availability of the disc in this country it became something of a club smash - yet getting hold of a copy was well-nigh impossible. Cue the import market. Readily available in Europe, copies arrived in the country in the middle of May and it led to the single making the Top 75 once more - this time on the Club Tools label. In a three-week chart run the single climbed as high as Number 72. More copies were brought over and a fortnight ago the single was back again, the Club Tools release charting at Number 55 but there were also copies from elsewhere in Europe on the Dancenet label available and they too sold enough to give the single a chart placing of Number 63. So it was that my mailbox was flooded with puzzled queries from people wondering how the same record was able to occupy to different chart positions. (9PM) Til I Come had managed to exploit a loophole in the chart rules which allows singles to chart twice if they are distinct releases on separate labels, and as both versions were unofficial imports from two different sources as far as CIN were concerned they were two different singles.
Happily such confusion can now be set aside as the single appears on its fourth label of the year, Sound Of Ministry re-releases the "official" version and as a result of the buzz surrounding the track and coinciding nicely with the start of the Ibiza club season it flies to the top of the charts. ATB now add to the cosmopolitan nature of the top of the charts in 1999. As well as the usual acts from Britain and America we have seen acts from Ireland, France, Netherlands, Australia and now Germany hit Number One. ATB also join Mr Oizo in having taken instrumental tracks to the top of the charts this year, the first time since 1963 that more than one such disc has topped the charts. 36 years ago there were no less than three instrumental chart-toppers. The Shadows had two - Dance On and Foot Tapper whilst former Shadows members Jet Harris and Tony Meehan also hit the top with Diamonds.
2 MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE (Whitney Houston)
To think that barely a year ago most would have considered Whitney Houston a shadow of her former self. A former singing superstar who seemed content to spend her time acting in some averagely successful movies coupled with the odd hit single lifted from the soundtrack. That was before her current album was released and the title track now becomes its third and biggest hit single. Remember that already this year she has had one of her biggest hits for many years in the shape of It's Not Right But It's OK which peaked at Number 3 and spent an impressive 15 weeks on the chart. Now she goes one better with this masterful song, written and produced by Wyclef Jean with more than a slight nod in the direction of Bob Marley, which lands in the runners-up slot and duly becomes her biggest UK hit single since the massive Number One I Will Always Love You in December 1992. Moreover and perhaps even more surprisingly this is the first time in her long career that she has had two successive Top 3 singles and indeed when one factors in the Number 4 peak of When You Believe at Christmas, only the second time she has placed three successive singles in the Top 5. When you look back at her early pop-inspired work the difference between the Whitney of old and the music she is making now is quite startling but there is no doubting that the lady who at one time was in danger of losing sight of what made her famous has reclaimed her crown as one of the Queens of R&B.
4 IF YOU WANT MY LOVE (Jennifer Lopez)
[Superstar debut klaxon] Appropriately enough we move from singers who moved into acting to an actress turned singer. Jennifer Lopez is probably best known for her various film roles, most famously of course opposite George Clooney in Out Of Sight. She also has another string to her bow as this single proves, already a Number One hit in the states and now a Top 5 smash in this country. Of course singing is nothing new to her as at one time she was a backing singer to the likes of Janet Jackson but be in no doubt that this wonderfully produced track is a hit on merit, more so than anything Adam Rickitt is ever likely to release.
6 BE THE FIRST TO BELIEVE (A1)
New pop sensations appear to be crawling out of the woodwork at a frantic rate. Following the 21st Century Girls, S Club 7 and Adam Rickitt come A1, launched by the same team that gave the world Steps. Interestingly someone must have decided that mid-late 80s europop is the way forward as the debut single from the foursome is a lusty, and if truth be told rather appealing, Hi-NRG production that would not have sounded out of place on an old London Boys album. Beyond that it is hard to comment, this strong Top 10 entry has come as a result of TV and magazine exposure and limited radio airplay and the true test of their appeal will come with later releases rather than this heavily-promoted debut. Here's a question for the statistical freaks among you though. Do A1 rank alphabetically above the band A to become the first act listed in British Hit Errors?
13 SHE'S IN FASHION (Suede)
Alright to give them their due, I may have dismissed their last single Electricity back in April as a below average offering from Bret and the boys but it still possessed that indefinable magic that meant it burrowed into your brain after a number of plays and its Number 4 peak proved that the appeal of the band was as strong as ever. The second single from the album Head Music sees them switch direction once more to the kind of string-laden epic ballad that cropped up on their earlier work. It isn't quite the masterpiece some reviewers have made it out to be but there is no doubt that it is the work of a band still at the height of their creativity, some seven years after they first hit the singles chart. Sadly She's In Fashion doesn't quite chart as its quality would suggest and brings to an end their run of successive Top 10 hits that stretches back to Trash in August 1996.
15 LOUIE LOUIE (Three Amigos)
Funny story this. If you are American then the song Louie Louie is a part of your cultural heritage, the anthem for your college life and the one you look for on every jukebox you come across. So I'm told. Over here the song is little more than a sixties novelty hit, the original version by the Kingsmen peaking at Number 26 in 1964. Many artists have covered the track since although strangely enough none have turned it into a large hit. Motorhead tried their luck in 1978, peaking at Number 68 whilst in 1988 the Fat Boys rapped their way to Number 46. Now in 1999 it seems it is time for the song to be reborn. This startlingly faithful cover version from the Three Amigos has proved enormously popular in clubs over the past few months, introducing a whole new generation to the track. Now it explodes onto the singles chart and immediately becomes the biggest ever hit version of the song. Maybe this will leave me with egg on my face this time next week but something tells me it isn't totally out of the question for the Three Amigos to find themselves in the Top 10 in seven days time.
20 TAKE ME TO YOUR HEAVEN (Charlotte Nilsson)
Douze points several times over was the order of the day for Sweden as they emerged winners of this year's Eurovision Song Contest with Charlotte Nilsson's Take Me To Your Heaven, a song which raised a few eyebrows with its blatantly Abba-esque production. Not that it ever did Steps any harm to sound like Abba of course but then again they never tried to win the Eurovision Song Contest with any of their tracks. Ms Nilsson did of course and no time has been wasted in securing a UK release for the track which duly lands on the chart this week. Thus the resurgence in chart form of Eurovision winners continues as Take Me To Your Heaven follows in the footsteps of Dana International's Diva (Number 11, 1998), Katrina And The Waves' Love Shine A Light (Number 3, 1997) and Eimear Quinn's The Voice (Number 40, 1996) in reaching the British Top 40 following victory in the telecast, and of course from this you can see that it is the third year in succession the winner has made the Top 20. Of course the relaxation of the rules regarding the language in which songs could be performed has meant that it has become much easier for winners from the European mainland to become hits in this country, British insularity normally relegating foreign language hits to occasional novelties. Take Me To Your Heaven has no such worries and it is no coincidence that all four Eurovision winners to have become British hits in recent years have been performed and sung in English.
26 THERE'S YOUR TROUBLE (Dixie Chicks)
This is the long-anticipated UK breakthrough for the grammy award-winning country trio whose brand of sweet harmonies set to traditional-sounding C&W sounds has carved out its own particular niche in the states. Even allowing for the mass-market penetration of country artists such as Shania Twain in recent months, I suspect over here the Dixie Chicks will remain a mere curiosity.
27 DEAR MAMA (2 Pac)
Somewhere there is a tape of famous radio bloopers which includes one nameless celebrity stating "I think my favourite Buddy Holly song was the one he made before he died." This entertaining verbal slip becomes pertinent here as the list of posthumous hits from Tupac Shakur is extended still further. Having had the biggest hit single of his career to date with the Number 3 hit Changes back in February, 2 Pac (or at least his estate) follows it up with this sensitive ballad that originally appeared on his 1995 album Me Against The World. Perhaps because hardcore fans already own copies it hardly ranks as one of his biggest hits - by contrast it falls below the Number 21 peak of I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto to become his lowest charting single ever.
31 808 (Blaque Ivory)
Hailing from Atlanta, this trio are America's latest R&B discovery and chart their first single here on the back of some fairly strong club support. The usual elements of the formula are in place, a bass-heavy groove thanks to production duties from R Kelly and a stateside profile built up thanks to support slots with 'N Sync.
35 AIN'T GONNA BE ME (CJ Bolland)
As Underworld's Born Slippy was to Trainspotting, so CJ Bolland's It Ain't Gonna Be Me is to Human Traffic, the cult new film centred around the lives of a group of clubgoers. As you might expect the soundtrack is stuffed with gems of which this semi-instrumental is just one. Admittedly given the hype you would have expected a bigger entry but never mind, the single duly becomes C(hristian) J Bolland's third Top 40 single, following in the footsteps of Sugar Is Sweeter which peaked at Number 11 in October 1996 and its follow-up The Prophet which was a Number 19 hit in May 1997.