This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION (Elvis vs JXL)

A Little Less Conversation was originally written by Mac Davies back in 1968. The mid-late 60s were a time that even the most ardent Elvis fans will admit was his crap period, when his musical output consisted of little more than the uninspiring soundtracks to a series of increasingly terrible films, in this case, Live A Little, Love A Little. For years the track was little more than a small footnote as far as the charts were concerned, finding its way onto the b-side of Elvis Presley's 1968 American single Almost In Love. Then last year the track resurfaced on the soundtrack of the movie Ocean's 11 in a slightly more inspiring alternative version that had been unearthed. From there it found its way into the hands of advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy who were crafting a new global TV campaign for Nike to coincide with the arrival of the World Cup. Said advert is, of course, The Cage, directed by Terry Gilliam and featuring the world's best footballers playing a secret tournament inside an old tanker - all to the soundtrack of a radically remixed version of A Little Less Conversation. The remix work was done by Dutchman Tom Holkenborg who normally styles himself Junkie XL but in this case is merely credited as JXL, the irony of Junkie XL remixing the work of an XL junkie not being lost on the Graceland estate and who threatened to withhold consent unless the change was made. Needless to say not long after the advert began airing, demand for the single itself began to grow.

So it is this week that chart history is made. Almost 25 years after his death and his final posthumous Number One hit Way Down, the King is back at the top of the UK charts. In doing so he does of course break one of the most famous 2-way ties in the record books. When Way Down flew to the top of the listings following his death in 1977 it gave Elvis his 17th Number One single, placing him in a dead heat with The Beatles who had been the champions ever since they overtook him in the mid 1960s. Ever since chart watchers have been holding their breath waiting to see if this deadlock would ever be broken. There was much speculation that The Beatles would grab at 18th chart topper in 1995 with the release of Free As A Bird but that could only peak at Number 2 and so it is finally left to this remix of one of his more obscure recordings that gives Elvis Presley the honour of becoming the first act ever to top the UK charts 18 times. A Little Less Conversation tops the charts just a few weeks shy of the 45th anniversary of his first Number One hit All Shook Up and thus Elvis also grabs back from Cliff Richard the crown of having the longest-ever span of chart toppers. Incredibly enough this is also the third posthumous Number One hit of the year and actually makes Elvis Presley the third person (after John Lennon and Freddie Mercury) to top the charts more than once after his death. Finally, as if to prove that there will always be things to argue about, die-hard Beatles fans will only be too keen to point out that both John Lennon and Paul McCartney have topped the charts three times each away from The Beatles, giving them both a total of 20 spells at the top - still two more than Elvis.


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2 LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT (Kylie Minogue)

Amid all the fuss surrounding Elvis Presley's return to the top of the charts, poor Kylie Minogue has pretty much been overlooked this week, even though Love At First Sight ended up a fair distance behind The King in the race for sales. It is of course her second single release of the year and in chart terms her biggest hit of the two, In Your Eyes reaching Number 3 back in March. If nothing else though by landing at Number 2 she has managed to create a unique two-way tie of her own as Love At First Sight is nothing less than her 10th "unsuccessful" Number 2 hit single. With this she thus equals the total notched up by none other than Cliff Richard and moves ahead of the man with whom she has shared second place in this table ever since October 2000 - Elvis Presley [she'd have one more before the end of her career, leading her to set a record which I've a feeling she retains to this day. Calvin Harris has only had 6]. Also of note on this single is the b-side which features for the first time an official release of Can't Get You Out Of My Head mixed to the beat of Blue Monday, the arrangement that she performed at the Brit awards earlier in the year.
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3 GET OVER YOU/MOVE THIS MOUNTAIN (Sophie Ellis-Bextor)

Speaking of Number 2 hits, Sophie Ellis-Bextor was actually in line for a hat-trick of them this week but this double-sided single was sadly unequal to the task of overhauling Kylie Minogue in sales. Still, there is no doubting her chart consistency so far. If one counts Groovejet, this is her fourth single release since the breakup of her first band Theaudience and every single one has been a Top 3 hit.
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4 HERO (Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott)

Having wowed audiences in the States for most of the last month, the Spiderman movie finally opened in this country last weekend to the obligatory round of rave reviews and packed houses. Of course no major Hollywood blockbuster is complete without a complimentary soundtrack smash, so here is the one from the tender tale of Peter Parker. The two singers of Hero are better known for their membership of rock groups, Kroeger is of course the lead singer of Nickelback whilst guest star Josey Scott is better known for performing with Saliva. Although he doesn't receive a label credit, the drums on the track are played by Matt Cameron, better known as the drummer for Pearl Jam. The arrival of the track in the charts means that Kroeger is the lead singer on two different Top 40 hits this week as Nickelback's own How You Remind Me is still hanging around after no less than four months on release, this week dropping 11 places to Number 33.
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7 THE LOGICAL SONG (Scooter)

Well this isn't exactly a surprise to those who have been predicting for months that this would be a smash hit, but the casual observer can be forgiven for raising an eyebrow or two at the reappearance of Scooter in the UK charts. The Anglo-German act are widely credited as the pioneers of happy hardcore dance music, even naming their 1996 album after the movement. It was in the mid-90s that they first made the charts, hitting mid table with tracks such as Move Your Ass and Back In The UK. Their speciality was making buzzed-up and quite frankly mental new versions of established tunes, most famously in 1996 with a version of Billy Idol's Rebel Yell that has to be heard to be believed. After the release of Fire in 1997 they rather dropped off the map as far as the UK was concerned. The hits in Europe kept on flowing but for some odd reason none were ever picked up by a major label in this country and they spent most of the back end of the decade as an act with a strong following on the import shelves. All that changed at the back end of last year when word began circulating that their remake of Supertramp's The Logical Song was a potential return to the glory days of yore. Tiny label Sheffield Tunes picked up the licence and are rewarded with a genuine smash hit and the biggest ever hit single for Scooter. Quite why they should suddenly turn back into hitmakers after five years is anyone's guess as The Logical Song simply follows the same formula (speeded up vocals and the kind of wave your hands in the air and go mental breakbeat that unusually doesn't require mind-altering substances to sound intoxicating) that their releases normally do. Still who cares, just get out of your seat and dance...


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14 SHE LOVES ME NOT (Papa Roach)

Following hits in 2001 with Last Resort and Between Angels And Insects, Papa Roach this week return to the Top 20. She Loves Me Not is actually something of a return to the roots of the band for it was famously one of the tracks on their original demo that got them signed in the first place. More of a conventional rock track than some of their other work, the song was never in consideration for the tracklisting of their first album Infest. Having now made their name, the band are free to release something that is maybe slightly untypical and their reward is this - a third successive Top 20 hit single and one that nicely sets up the release of their second album LoveHate Tragedy.
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16 SOUTHERN SUN/READY STEADY GO (Paul Oakenfold)

I could use up a whole column listing what Paul Oakenfold has achieved in the music business over the last 15 years or so. Suffice to say they include "discovering" the clubbers paradise of Ibiza, dragging the Happy Mondays and U2 onto the dancefloor, making Deacon Blue sound like the best band in the world, almost single-handedly making the name of Ministry Of Sound thanks to his live sets, setting classic literature to music for Urban Soundtracks and together with Paul Osbourne founding both a record label and a distinctive remixing style in the shape of Perfecto. Strange to relate then that in all this time he has never had a Top 40 hit under his own name, preferring like so many dance producers to use project titles such as the Perfecto Allstars, Planet Perfecto, Element Four and Movement 98. Now it is time for him to step out of the shadows with the imminent release of a "solo" album Bunkka that is set to become one of the crossover smashes of the year. By way of a trailer comes this double-sided single, both tracks vying with each other for dancefloor popularity despite each being in totally different styles. As a minor point of note, Ready Steady Go features a vocal from So Solid member Asher D who made headlines himself recently for taking the gangster lifestyle a little too far and driving around London with a gun at his side. His solo debut Back In The Day missed the Top 40 by inches just two weeks ago. This may be the first ever single to be credited to Paul Oakenfold straight but he did chart under the "Paul Oakenfold Presents" label with a remix of Afrika Bambaata's Planet Rock which just missed the Top 40 last summer.

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20 ROLLOUT (MY BUSINESS) (Ludacris)

A welcome return to the chart this week for Ludacris, this with his first hit of 2002 after three Top 30 hits last year. Personal taste says to me that this single isn't actually as good as the rather sublime Area Codes which was his last hit back in September last year but the charts disagree, placing Rollout (My Business) five places higher than the aforementioned track. His biggest hit single remains his appearance alongside Missy Elliott on One Minute Man which made Number 10 a month prior to the release of Area Codes.
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24 LOVE WILL SET YOU FREE (JAMBE MYTH) (Starchaser)

A debut hit single for Italian threesome Danny JC, Speedcity and Fausto Fanizzia, all of whom have been names of note on the Italian scene since the mid 90s. This single is worthy of comment thanks to the fact that its vocal is penned by Steve Lee whose past writing credits include tracks for Cher, Hear'Say and S Club 7.
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28 SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT (Badly Drawn Boy)

A second hit single of 2002 for Badly Drawn Boy and like its predecessor Silent Sigh, this is drawn from his acclaimed soundtrack to the film About A Boy. The film has long been and gone in the cinemas but the soundtrack is continuing to sell, mainly on the strength of quality songs like this one.


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30 LOVE STORY (Layo & Bushwacka)

Bringing up the rear this week is the debut chart single from Layo & Bushwhacker, this track having first come to attention as the Miami Dance Conference earlier this year. Laid back and bluesy, it is the perfect soundtrack to a hot weekend like this one. See you next week if hayfever hasn't destroyed all my senses first...


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