This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 LADY MARMALADE (Christina Aguilera/Lil' Kim/Mya/Pink)

As surely every chart fan knows, the first ever Number One single was Here In My Heart by Al Martino, as listed by the New Musical Express on November 14th 1952. Now nearly 49 years later the 900th single to rank as the biggest selling of the week can be revealed. After I've been hyping this moment up for a number of weeks now, one or two people have written to ask me just what the significance is. Really there is none, it is just a fun milestone to note but one which ensures that this single has more of a reason to be noted than most of the other 899 singles, just the ones that you can see listed at the end of this piece.

Happily the 900th Number One is a pretty significant single in its own right. It is the first track to be lifted from the soundtrack of the forthcoming Baz Luhrmann film Moulin Rouge, a soundtrack which is already available and which is another wonderful example of the director's knack for taking already familiar songs and twisting them to his own ends. If anything Lady Marmalade is one of the more conventional tracks on the soundtrack, even if it is a slightly updated reworking of an acknowledged disco classic. Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink give it their all both in the scantily clad video and on the single itself. Such a combination of diva egos and vocal styles could have ended up as an unholy mess but unlike some superstar collaborations it works - just. Of the four, only Christina Aguilera has topped the charts before, with Genie In A Bottle in 1999. Mya and Pink have both had Top 10 hits before but it is Lil' Kim who benefits the most. Until now her biggest chart hit was the Number 11 hit Not Tonight from 1997, itself coincidentally a superstar soundtrack collaboration which was from the movie Nothing To Lose.

Lady Marmalade can possibly rank as one of the most famous ladies of the night since Maggie May. The song was written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan and originally appeared as a track on an album by Eleventh Hour, a studio group that featured the vocals of Nolan himself. The song became famous thanks to a version by Labelle which topped the American charts in 1975 and was a Number 17 hit over here. More recently the song was covered by All Saints who topped the charts with the track in 1998. Indeed it is the All Saints connection that gives rise to the strange coincidence I hinted at last week. Once again all will be revealed at the end of this piece.

Tracking just how long it takes the UK charts to clock up 100 Number One hits gives a fairly good indication of just how fast the listings are moving. The gap between the 800th and 900th easily ranks as the fastest ever, just a few months short of three years. This compares to the 3 years and 8 months between the 700th and 800th and seems almost tiny compared to the 7 years and 4 months it took the UK to clock up its first 100 Number One singles.

So then, for those who are interested here are the celebrated nine. The singles that each in their own time marked a century of chart-topping hits:

100: Do You Mind - Anthony Newley (28 April 1960)
200: Help! - The Beatles (5 August 1965)
300: Knock Three Times - Dawn (15 May 1971)
400: Don't Cry For Me Argentina - Julie Covington (12 February 1977)
500: A Little Peace - Nicole (15 May 1982)
600: China In Your Hand - T'Pau (14 November 1987)
700: Twist And Shout - Chaka Demus and Pliers (8 January 1994)
800: Booty Call - All Saints (12 September 1998)
900: Lady Marmalade - Christina Aguilera/Lil' Kim/Mya/Pink (30 June 2001)


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3 THERE YOU'LL BE (Faith Hill)

Movie time yet again and just as Pearl Habour is to Titanic so Faith Hill's There You'll Be is to Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. Just as people flocked to see the film despite critics proclaiming it as a turkey, so the big soundtrack ballad has crashed into the charts in spite of a rather lukewarm reaction to the track in both reviews and on the radio. We can celebrate the track though, even if for no other reason than it is far and away the biggest hit to date for Faith Hill and may well give her career the shot in the arm it needs. The sometimes country star has had two Top 20 hits in the past (This Kiss which made No.13 in November 1998 and the remixed The Way You Love Me which hit No.15 in April) but this marks her first-ever appearance in the Top 10. The only question really is where she goes from here to have further hits. Will it be with Celine Dion-esque ballads such as this one, dance-pop in the vein of The Way You Love Me or with the kind of new country that made her famous in America?


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5 ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE (Brandy & Ray J)

Almost as if everyone was scared of going head to head with Lady Marmalade, there is a dearth of potential big new hits this week. Hence there are just two new entries inside the Top 10 which itself gives other older hits the opportunity to consolidate their position rather than being shouldered out of the way. Brandy and Ray-J's Phil Collins cover rebounds two places after having slipped by the same amount last week, the single thus reclaiming the Number 5 peak it managed when first released.
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8 ALL RISE (Blue)

All Rise it is indeed for Blue's hit single which also manages a two-place rise after looking set to drop out of the Top 10 altogether last week. The single peaked at Number 4 at the start of June and this represents its fifth week inside the Top 10. The longest runner is just a place below, S Club 7's Don't Stop Moving holds firm at Number 9 this week in its ninth week on the chart.
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14 PAPERCUT (Linkin Park)

Finally, we get a third new entry on this week's chart and coincidentally enough one that is linked to the second by way of its catalogue number. Faith Hill's single has a Warner Brothers reference of W563CD whilst her labelmates Linkin Park are listed as W562CD. Such fun and games aside this is the third Linkin Park single of the year and is further evidence of their steadily growing appeal. Their first single was One Step Closer which made Number 24 in January whilst the follow-up Crawling made Number 16 back in April. Thus Papercut becomes their biggest chart hit to date. Does this mean a Top 10 hit isn't too far away?


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15 THIS TIME AROUND (Phats & Small)

Presenting the second coming of Phats & Small, best known of course for the Number 2 hit Turn Around from April 1999. They have been unseen as hitmakers since December of that year when their third single Tonite reached Number 11. Now they return, just as the sun is shining with a new single that proves that as far as they are concerned the same formula can be kept intact. Vocal duties this time around go to Tony Thompson who is apparently something of a martial artist as well as a jobbing actor on the side. As you may have gathered there is very little wrong with this single, but for the unavoidable fact that it is their smallest hit single to date and carries with it the nagging feeling that nobody is that excited any more.
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22 IT'S OVER NOW (112)

Pronounced one-twelve, these guys hail from Atlanta and are all either 16 or 17 years old. Hailed as either the new Boyz II Men or the new Jodeci depending on who you talk to, this single marks their UK chart debut. They have the honour of being proteges of Puff Daddy who snapped them up for his record label and was recently rewarded by their debut album going Top 5 in the States. It's just a shame he wasn't more instrumental in the design of their official website which is "best viewed with a high-speed connection" and as I write has just taken almost two minutes to serve me with 10% of the monstrous Flash object in which it runs. If the record company don't want people with modems to take an interest in the act, who am I to argue with them? [Hashtag noughties problems].
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28 MUSAK (Trisco)

A refreshingly different club hit this one, driven by a thundering electronic bassline and an infectious funk guitar. This is the first ever chart single for progressive house producers Trisco who have also recorded as Spanish Fly in the past.
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31 JONATHAN DAVID (Belle & Sebastian)

Something of a departure for Belle & Sebastian this one as it marks the first time that guitarist Stevie Jackson has taken lead vocals on a single. The first single from a brand new album, this single sadly seems to show that the former Brit Award winners have taken a step backwards in popularity terms. Certainly, this is a rather disappointing chart entry when compared to the Number 14 peak of their last single Legal Man in June 2000.
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32 VIDEO (India.Arie)

Motown's latest bright young hope is India.Arie, a singer-songwriter hailing from the city of Denver who has already sparked comparisons with the likes of Tracy Chapman. Before you doze off be assured that she is actually damn good and her debut single has benefitted from an uplifting punchy production that stops her from being just another girl with a guitar and instead transforms her into a potential R&B star in waiting. You get the feeling that there will be one or two furrowed brows at the way this single has failed fly out of the shops, particularly in the light of heavy support from MTV and VH1 but I get the feeling this isn't the last we have heard of her yet.
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34 LET U GO (ATB)

Phats & Small need not worry too much. Although they seem only able to hit the Top 20 their 1999 chart contemporary has far greater problems. Two years ago Andre Tanneberger was the toast of the dance world with singles such as 9PM and Don't Stop which were so hot they were selling thousands on import before they could even be properly released. His last hit single was the Top 3 remake of Adamski's Killer in March 2000 but in the intervening period, everyone seems to have forgotten about him. Hence this first single from the second ATB album can do little but limp into the bottom end of the Top 40.
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37 VOODOO (Warrior)

A second hit single for Warrior rounds off the Top 40 this week. The trance meisters have had one hit single prior to this, an eponymous track which made Number 19 in October last year. This second single is just as memorable.


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