1 WE'RE GOING TO IBIZA (Vengaboys)
The "industry sources" that the dotmusic news pages rather cutely refer to when predicting chart placings each week are actually the unofficial midweek listings which this week showed a gap between Lou Bega and The Vengaboys of just over 4,000 copies - by no means an insurmountable gap. As it turns out Bega continued to trail throughout the week and the result is a triumphant second Number One single for the Vengaboys. Love them or hate them, in a year that has so far been bereft of sensational blockbuster singles sales the Vengaboys are one of a select few acts to have sold over a million records since January, hits such as We Like To Party, Boom Boom Boom Boom and Up And Down have spent over 40 weeks on the chart altogether and have them in the running to become the most charted act of the year. This latest single is a fairly straightforward cover of a summertime novelty from the past, Typically Tropical's Barbados which topped the charts back in 1975. For their purposes the Vengaboys have changed the lyric slightly to make the track an ode to the party island where they claim they were first formed. If their past form is anything to go by expect an extended chart run for this single, if not a lengthy stay at the top. Personally I cannot help but smile at the incongruity of a cheesy novelty pop record about Ibiza topping the chart in the middle of a mini-invasion of all the trendy club hits of the summer. Do you think anyone should point out to them that by no stretch of the imagination does 'Ibiza' rhyme with 'Pizza'?
4 MICKEY (Lolly)
Whilst there is no doubt whatsoever that Lolly is being firmly targetted at the kiddy market both with her image and her music there is a growing feeling that she may well be about to turn into a superstar. You only have to witness her promotional appearances to see this, her personality shines out on every television show she appears on and it is clear that behind her lollipop-sucking image is someone itching to be a breakout star [Anna Kumble's destiny was indeed as a TV presenter, this pop career a mere stepping stone]. On the pitch, as it were, she could well be about to do that. Her first single Viva La Radio may not have made much of a splash as far as mainstream radio was concerned but it made a respectable Number 6 first week out back in July and spent six weeks inside the Top 40. With her second single she does even better and really it is the record she was born to make. As you may have guessed Mickey is a cover of Toni Basil's cheerleading classic which reached Number 2 in 1982. Whilst the original may carry with it some fond memories for a great many people it is certainly not too sacred for someone else to have a stab at covering it. A near perfect facsimile it may be but with this new version Lolly has just taken the next step towards proper mainstream appeal.
5 FRIENDS FOREVER (Thunderbugs)
What is this I hear you cry? Another four-piece girl band who play their own instruments? Ah, but the twist here is that they are multinational, the girls hailing from as far afield as Germany and France as well as Britain. A major Autumn priority for Epic records, they have certainly got off to a flying start with a Top 5 entry for their debut single. In all honesty Friends Forever doesn't exactly leave room for anyone to be cynical as it is a quite wonderful singalong track that is propelled by jangly guitars and a suitably lavish production. As is always the case, time will tell as to whether this is a one-off or the start of a long and successful career. For the moment I'm merely content to become the only music writer in the country to point out that they actually sound like a female version of Journey.
7 AFRIKA SHOX (Leftfield/Bambaata)
There are actually two ways of approaching this latest release from Leftfield, their first release since 1996's Release The Pressure and far and away their biggest hit single ever, propelling them into the Top 10 for the very first time. On the one hand the chart lists the single as Afrika Shox, a track lifted from their album Rhythm And Stealth and one which continues their reputation for collaborating with some extremely famous names. The vocodered vocals are supplied by none other than Godfather of rap Afrika Bambaata who himself is making an appearance on his biggest chart hit ever, sailing past the Number 17 peak he scaled in 1988 when collaborating with UB40 on Reckless. The second approach is to point out that the number of people that have bought this single to obtain a copy of Africa Shox pales into insignificance when compared to the demand for its unlisted b-side. Track 2 on the single is Phat Planet, a relentless pounding bass rhythm track that has been the soundtrack to the acclaimed TV commercial for Guinness (the "White Horses" one) since the start of the year. Phat Planet was actually promo-ed in limited numbers at the start of the year but this marks the first time it has been commercially available and is almost certainly a major factor in the success of this single. TV viewers will have noticed that there are actually two Guinness adverts running at the moment, both the one with the horses and surfers to accompany the release of Phat Planet but also the rather older "My brother's a hero" commercial that is now almost two years old - possibly serving as a gentle reminder of what few people realised at the time - the music used is actually Mambo No.5!
9 MOVING (Supergrass)
Surprisingly outperforming its predecessor, the Number 11 hit Pumping On Your Stereo, the second single from Supergrass' third album dutifully becomes their sixth Top 10 hit. As most reviewers have commented, Moving could almost be two different songs spliced together as the opening acoustic strum quickly turns into a funky rock song that even has some Philadelphia strings mixed in if you listen carefully enough. The song and its chart position proves that Supergrass as in a strong position both in terms of their creative powers and the support they can command. Not bad for a band whose commercial breakthrough came in the golden summer of Britpop.
14 THERE SHE GOES (Sixpence None The Richer)
If any record could claim to be the soundtrack of the early summer it was quite possibly Kiss Me, the gently strummed ballad that introduced the world to the dulcet tones of Leigh Nash and Sixpence None The Richer. For their second hit they have tackled what some would regard as an untouchable classic. There She Goes was the only major hit single for the La's, the slightly unhinged Liverpool band whose erraticism led to their premature breakup and whose only musical legacy is that of being the first band of Cast frontman John Power and of course the single itself, a Number 13 hit in November 1990. Robbie Williams has often cited it as a favourite of his and has been known to perform the song live on stage in the past, but never has he contemplated trying to record a new version. Sixpence None The Richer have and keep faithful to the spirit of the original, their reward being a Top 20 hit. Love it or hate it if you will but by all means have a quiet smile at the deeply religious group seemingly unwittingly covering a song whose lyric is an ode to the joys of taking Heroin. Then again maybe they did realise - why else would they not have changed the gender of the 'person' to whom the song is directed, now that a woman doing the singing?
16 SUMMER GIRLS (Lyte Funky Ones)
The massive American hit single makes its UK chart debut this week to give the Lyte Funky Ones a credible start to their chart career. A gentle rap song set against an acoustic backing, it is a whimsical and nostalgic tale of the memories of summers gone by and is surely the only song ever to namecheck both New Kids On The Block and Abercrombie and Fitch in the same line. Release schedules never seem to be too kind to songs that are supposed to be the soundtrack to long hot summers and whilst Summer Girls became a hit in the states at just the right moment of the season it only escapes over here just as the days are starting to draw in and thoughts turn to Autumn. For a record whose appeal is based on the atmosphere and the feelings it evokes, more than anything else that will prevent it from becoming anything more than a minor Top 20 hit.
22 RED SUN RISING (Lost Witness)
Hit single Number 2 for Lost Witness, the follow-up to May's Happiness Happening follows a similar techno formula and sneaks into the chart just outside the Top 20. Clearly there were far bigger records around in Ibiza this year.
24 EVERYTHING WILL FLOW (Suede)
Suffering like never before from the old law of diminishing returns, Suede's third single of the year limps weakly into the Top 30 and is unlikely to do anything to help what have so far been disappointing sales of the album Head Music. I won't be thanked for pointing this out but if, as looks likely, Everything Will Flow fails to progress further it will become their lowest charting single since their debut The Drowners reached a mere Number 49 back in 1992.
28 1ST MAN IN SPACE (All Seeing I)
One of the early highlights of 1999 was the bizarre and entertaining Walk Like A Panther which featured the vocals of Tony Christie and which made Number 10. After a long gap the Sheffield act return with a new release which just like Walk Like A Panther boasts a lyric penned by another son of Steel City, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker. Vocal duties this time are provided by someone almost as legendary, Human League frontman Phil Oakey whose influence was surely a part of the electro-pop production. 1st Man In Space carries with it less of a sensation and even less of the novelty that made their earlier hit such a smash, hence I suspect this rather disappointing chart placing.