This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD/SUSPICIOUS MINDS (Will Young and Gareth Gates)

Sales of The Long And Winding Road may well have been well down on the standards that Will and Gareth set for themselves with earlier releases but the lead they had over the rest of the pack was enough to make it almost inevitable that they would be spending a second week at the top of the charts, giving Will Young his seventh week at the summit this year, Gareth his ninth. The Long And Winding Road is the 25th Lennon and McCartney penned single to top the chart since 1962. That so many acts should be keen to sample the songbook of one of the great writing teams of all time is no surprise, but what is more of curiosity is that nobody has ever had a Number One hit with a cover of a track that the Beatles themselves took to the top. Indeed in the entire history of the charts only one cover version of a Beatles song has outperformed the original - that being the 1987 charity remake of Let It Be which topped the charts, one place ahead of the original. The Long And Winding Road, just like With A Little Help From My Friends, Michelle, Bad To Me and Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da are all new versions of album tracks which the Beatles never released as singles.
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2 DOWN BOY (Holly Valance)

So then for the rest of the chart and good grief, this one is busy. No less than 15 singles make their debut inside the Top 40 this week so I guess full credit should be given to the biggest of these. This is actually one in the eye for all those of us who thought Holly Valance's initial success was based solely around the semi-nude video for the first single Kiss Kiss. The followup single is devoid of any such sensation (and so the cynical would have you believe, much of a tune) but it still flies up the chart to lodge nicely at Number 2 as the biggest new hit of the week, the Australian star denied a second Number One single only by the continuing dominance of Will and Gareth. So she is no one hit wonder clearly... but is she just a one album wonder?



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4 DOWN 4 U (Irv Gotti Presents)

As well as being a producer and remixer, Irv Gotti is the CEO of the sensitively named rap label Murder Inc. This means he can rank as one of the most well connected people in rap and two years ago he used those connections to release an all-star compilation album called Murderers. Although response to that project was lukewarm, in 2002 he has tried again with The Inc, an all star album featuring guest appearances from the likes of Jah Rule and Black Child. In effect it is a commercial version of the label samplers that record reps dish out at music conferences, the album actually containing one or two familiar cuts such as the remix of Jennifer Lopez' Ain't It Funny which featured Ja Rule and which made Number 4 back in March. Now comes this single, credited to Irv Gotti himself but it is in actual fact a Ja Rule track with Vita, Ashanti and Charlie Baltimore providing the female vocals. The usual formula applies here and Down 4 U could almost be Always On Time Part II such is its tight adherence to the formula. Still, a Top 5 hit it is and if nothing else is a "real music" antidote for the processed pop haters.
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6 MY VISION (Jakatta featuring Seal)

Much has been made of the way the charts of the past few weeks have been somewhat devoid of big new entries by club tracks, most new dance releases falling some way short of the Top 40. This week the tide turns somewhat and in actual fact it is something of a relief to see this track in its rightful place as a massive hit single. After reviving Monsoon's Ever So Lonely at the start of the year, Dave Lee becomes Jakatta once again and teams up with a semi forgotten name from the early 90s. Seal first came to prominence as the uncredited singer on Adamski's 1990 Number One hit Killer before signing a solo deal and releasing a handful of acclaimed albums. His most famous solo hit is Kiss From A Rose which actually had to be released twice before becoming a Number 4 hit on the back of its use on the soundtrack of Batman Forever in 1995. His last chart single came almost four years ago when Human Beings limped to an unimpressive Number 50. Thus this track is a not altogether unwelcome reversal of fortune and in a way brings his career full circle, providing the standout vocals on what would otherwise be a rather forgettable club track. My Vision instantly becomes Seal's biggest hit single since the aforementioned Kiss From A Rose and the second highest charting Jakatta single, second only to American Dream which hit Number 3 in February 2001.


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9 BUNSEN BURNER (John Otway)

Now here is a story and a half. John Otway is something of a British musical legend although part of that legend has involved not selling very many records. He began his career in the 1970s performing concerts in conjunction with guitar and fidlle playing partner Wild Willie Barrett. The duo caused enough of a stir to catch the eye of the Who's Pete Townshend who produced some early singles for the pair. Their cult following grew ever larger, particularly amongst student audiences and they were rewarded in late 1977 with a major label record contract and a minor hit single Really Free (it peaked at Number 27). What happened next is still a matter of some debate with the favourite tale being that the pair shot themselves in the foot by releasing a syrupy ballad for their next single and immediately turning off the audience they had worked so hard to build. Whatever the case, no further chart records were forthcoming, save for a minor chart entry in 1980 with DK 50-80. In the meantime John Otway kept performing tirelessly for the next two decades, a loyal audience seemingly prepared to follow him anywhere. It was that same audience who decided that the time had come for him to be back in the charts, and what better time to do this than his 50th birthday? So it was that the fan club polled themselves as to what the anniversary single should be, arranged for its recording and production and then badgered as many record shops as they could to get it stocked, hoping against all hope that they could give him a Number One hit single. Well maybe that was a hope too far but as it turned out, enough people raced to the shops to buy the single that it has sold enough to register a place in the Top 10, giving the veteran performer far and away the biggest hit single of his career. Bunsen Burner actually contains a nod to the 70s, based as it is on the old Trammps single Disco Inferno but given that this is a man who once released a strangulated but quite mesmerising version of Delilah we should really have expected nothing less. Quite whether anyone outside his fan club actually cares is another matter altogether but there is no denying there is something quite charming about music lovers banding together to generate the kind of hype for their favourite act that is normally reserved for the latest teen sensation. The musical world isn't going to change now that John Otway has had a Top 10 hit but of course that was never the point. Happy birthday John. [A fascinating example of a fan campaign generating a hit out of nowhere. Pre-download era. And pre social media for that matter].

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11 LIFE GOES ON (LeAnn Rimes)

The transformation of LeAnn Rimes from innocent child prodigy into raunchy adult artist continues apace as the now 20 year old star puts on a skimpy floaty dress, thrusts her bosoms at the camera and croons to a David Beckham lookalike in the video for this mid-tempo country pop track. Perfect Radio 2 fodder, the track actually isn't a patch on the Shania Twain tracks it is aping but it is not altogether unlistenable for all that. Her second hit single of the year (following But I Do Love You from February), it falls agonisingly short of becoming her third Top 10 hit single.
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14 COME BACK AROUND (Feeder)

2001 had been such a great year for Feeder. After nearly five years as cult musical also-rans they had finally hit the bigtime with their Echo Park album and hit singles such as Buck Rogers and Seven Days In The Sun. They rounded off the year by donating the track Just A Day to a videogame soundtrack and invited their fans to mime to it in the video as a thank you. The single had barely fallen out of the charts after a pre-Christmas run when troubled drummer Jon Lee took his own life. After a period of mourning the remaining two members Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose decided that carrying on was the best way of remembering their friend, this single being the result. Most reviewers are falling over themselves to proclaim it the best Feeder single ever and there is no doubting that they have once again confirmed themselves as one of Britain's best rock acts. Come Back Around probably deserved better than just a place in the Top 20. It means that Buck Rogers remains their only Top 10 hit - so far.


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15 TRY (Ian Van Dahl)

The fourth hit single for Ian Van Dahl, this the first to miss the Top 10 after Castles In The Sky, Will I and Reason made Nos 3, 5 and 8 respectively. Chalk this one up as one for the usual formula, synthesisers go beep beep, drums clatter and bird sings some amazingly silly lyrics about flying on the wings of love. Just say no to drugs kids, they make you want to buy records like this.
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16 DAYS GO BY (Dirty Vegas)

Now this one is a very pleasant surprise indeed. Days Go By was the first single from Dirty Vegas and was first released back in May 2001 after having been a fixture on the club charts for some weeks beforehand. It performed solidly but unspectacularly, landing at Number 27. The threesome then took their time coming up with a followup, Ghosts finally seeing the light of day back in August but despite being just as appealing the single could only make Number 31. Rather than press on with new material and risk even more diminishing returns, the group have turned back to the track that first made their name over a year ago. Now given a new lease of life by some improved production, Days Go By returns to the chart and blows its original placing out of the water, giving Dirty Vegas their biggest hit to date. Here's hoping this time they can make the appeal stick.
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18 UNDERNEATH IT ALL (No Doubt)

The third single (albeit the lowest charting) of the year for No Doubt, this the followup to Hella Good which made Number 12 back in June. Longtime fans of the band will welcome the musical nature of this single as it is a lighthearted reggae tune that would not sound out of place on any UB40 album and features a guest rap from Lady Saw. The band have often cited British ska and reggae bands such as Madness and the Specials as inspiration and although they have moved forward a great deal since they first formed, Underneath It All is a welcome and affectionate nod to their past and makes the title of their current album Rock Steady even more appropriate.


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24 CAFE DEL MAR (Energy 52)

When inspiration fails, dance music has never been afraid to look to the recent past. German act Energy 52 first recorded Cafe Del Mar back in 1996 as a direct tribute to the waterfront bar in Ibiza where weary clubbers gather to watch the sunrise whilst superstar DJs and the odd surprise guest play the most laid back tunes in their bag. The track became a commercial single for the first time in March 1997, making Number 51 and proving that timing is everything. So it proved when the track was re-released at the correct time of year (summertime) which resulted in a Number 12 placing for the single in July 1998. Four years on and the time has come to dig it out again it appears and so it is that the single makes a reappearance in the Top 30 to become a Top 40 hit for the second time.
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26 VANILLA RADIO (Wildhearts)

Hadn't this lot split up? Well actually they had, the Wildhearts going the way of all flesh in 1997 after the release of the album Endless, Nameless. Time of course heals all kinds of wounds and having reformed earlier in the year they make a triumphant return to hitmaking ways, displaying all of the charm that made them such hot prospects when they first formed almost ten years ago. The comeback single Vanilla Radio thus gives them a first chart appearance since the single Urge hit Number 26 in October 1997, almost exactly five years ago this week in fact. Their biggest hit single came in April 1996 when Sick Of Drugs reached Number 14.
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28 FORMULAE (JJ72)

A chart comeback for JJ72 who like so many others before them have yet to live up to their Next Big Thing tag aside from collecting a string of rave reviews since their chart debut two years ago. Heralding a second studio album is this soaring Cocteau Twins-esque single, their first chart appearance since Snow reached Number 21 back in February 2001. This won't be the first minor new entry of the week that deserves to become a much bigger hit and indeed there may be furrowed brows all around that the group don't appear to be able to capitalise on the appeal that they steadily built up during promotion for the last album.
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29 UP THE BRACKET (Libertines)

A second hit single for the Libertines, this following What A Waster which crept to Number 37 back in June. Just like its predecessor this single is quirky and lyrically inventive and is it just me or is the lead singer [not important enough to be named - yet] doing his level best to sound like Jarvis Cocker?
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33 ANYTHING FOR YOU (Stamford Amp)

The routes that people take to fame grow ever stranger. Stamford Amp got their big break as the house band on the BBC television series The Saturday Show. From that exposure they landed a record deal and with that comes this debut single. Given that pedigree and the number of people who know who they are already the fact that the single can do little more than limp into the Top 40 has to rank as the biggest surprise of the week. Anything For You is actually enormous fun, a bounding pop rock track with a singalong track, na-na-na harmony vocals and an attitude that leaves you with a big grin across your face at the end. Did their barcodes get swapped with the John Otway single or something?


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35 INSATIABLE (Thick D)

Something of a minor Ibiza smash this year, Thick D is a polite concatenation of Thick Dick, an alter ego of producer E-Smoove. Insatiable is a good example of the sexy house sound that began to permeate club culture towards the end of the summer, characterised by mellow female vocals over a more laid back but still danceable backing. The track was actually originally scheduled for release in mid-August when you suspect it may have been better received and this minor Top 40 entry carries with it the air of wasted potential.


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