This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 STOP LIVING THE LIE (David Sneddon)

Fame Academy winner David Sneddon's week in the sun is extended to a second as his debut single sits at the top of the listings with his self-penned Stop Living The Lie. Just like the Girls Aloud single before it, Stop Living The Lie has at least gone some way to proving that for all the vitriol that is now being directed at the products of such music-based TV shows, the material they do produce does have the potential to be more than just a here today gone tomorrow hit (although the jury is still out on the actual acts themselves). Chances of him remaining at the top next week are somewhere between slim and none (think lesbians) but this will almost certainly not be the last time the words Fame Academy are mentioned in relation to a hit single this year. Come in Sinead, the world apparently needs you.
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2 03 BONNIE & CLYDE (Jay-Z featuring Beyonce Knowles)

Serial collaborator Jay-Z opens his chart account for 2003 with one of his biggest hits for many a long year and with yet a new duettee in tow. First of all the chart placing as 03 Bonnie & Clyde not only returns him to the Top 10 for the first time since November 1999 but also manages to equal the chart placing of his biggest ever hit. A Number One single still eluding him, Jay-Z can now at least claim two Number 2 hits to his credit with both this single and 1998s Hard Knock Life landing slap bang in the middle of the Top 3. Getting a co-credit on the single is Beyonce Knowles, this track ranking as her second solo hit, following on from Work It Out which peaked at Number 7 in July 2002 on the back of its appearance in the Austin Powers movie and which was at the time credited to simply "Beyonce" [still working the kinks out of the superstar image there]. 03 Bonnie & Clyde invites comparison with Nelly and Kelly's Dilemma, being as it is a smash hit single that marries a streetwise rap with the vocals of a well known R&B diva although melodically the two singles are a world apart from each other. The single borrows liberally from Prince's 1987 hit If I Was Your Girlfriend with Beyonce singing entire sets of lyrics from the song at one point and of course its title references the famous outlaw duo of Bonnie & Clyde who were once the subject of both a film and a Number One single. Georgie Fame's theme to the 1967 film The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde topped the charts but also caused some minor fuss at the time, owing to the fact that the final verse actually gave away the ending.


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3 THE OPERA SONG (BRAVE NEW WORLD) (Jurgen Vries featuring CMC)

A second hit single under the moniker of Jurgen Vries for producer Darren Tate, this effectively the followup to the Number 13 hit The Theme which charted back in September. The higher chart placing of this single and indeed the amount of attention it has attracted can be directly attributed to the mysterious "CMC" in the credits for the singer on the track is none other than Charlotte Church. The 16-year old from Cardiff became a recording sensation at the age of 12, becoming thrust into the spotlight thanks to some massive selling albums showcasing her heartbreakingly pure operatic voice. As time has worn on the child prodigy has grown up into a striking young woman who is now a tabloid favourite, even if it is for the wrong reasons thanks to reports of diva-like behaviour on a recent American tour and her typically rebellious choice of deadbeat boyfriend. The Opera Song marks her first ever venture into mainstream pop music and in truth it actually works a treat. Rather than being your typical dance vocal diva, chosen more for her blonde hair and size of her breasts rather than singing talent, she carries off her vocal duties on The Opera Song with something approaching perfection. In short to hear a "real" singer on even a throwaway club track like this is something of a joy. Although primarily an albums artist, Charlotte Church has one before made the singles chart, performing Just Wave Hello which hit Number 31 for the Christmas chart in 1999 and which was used in a TV commercial for Ford.


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10 HIDDEN AGENDA (Craig David)

Has anyone any idea just why people are busy writing Craig David's career off? The golden boy of the 2000 garage era has found the reception to his second album to be somewhat muted to say the least. Whilst it is clear that the days of flying straight to the top of the charts with tracks such as 7 Days and Fill Me In are behind him, there is still very little in the performance of his latest singles to cause concern. First hit What's Your Flava made Number 8 back in November and now this followup also slides nicely into the bottom end of the Top 10, thus maintaining his 100% strike rate with his six solo hits so far. Having said that, context is all and had the single peaked at say, Number 12, we would most likely be speculating on his future given that it was his first single to miss the Top 10. Pull me up on that if I do it next time round, OK?
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16 NICE WEATHER FOR DUCKS (Lemon Jelly)

Just to put a smile on the faces of everyone who needed cheering up in January, here are Lemon Jelly with another blissed out slice of weirdness but done in such a way that you cannot help but love it. The group charted at Number 36 with Spacewalk back in October last year but with this single take a large and well deserved step towards the mainstream. Hear this and smile.


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17 STORMY IN THE NORTH KARMA IN THE SOUTH (Wildhearts)

This appears to be quite a week for following up singles that were released during the autumn. The Wildhearts made their chart comeback back in October when Vanilla Radio hit Number 26 and this week they improve on that chart placing to chart nicely inside the Top 20. As a result, Stormy In The North... becomes their biggest chart hit since Sick Of Drugs made Number 14 way back (or so it seems) in April 1996 - a gap of almost seven years. In their entire career they have only had three Top 20 singles, this one, Sick Of Drugs and I Wanna Go Where The People Go which made Number 16 in May 1995.
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19 CRUSH (Darren Hayes)

Meanwhile here is Darren Hayes who just about manages to maintain his own 100% record of solo Top 20 hits, in the process beating by a single place the chart peak of his last single Miss You which charted back in November. Something tells me some brand new material will restore him to the Top 10 - this is after all the fourth single from the album.
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23 PLEASE (Robin Gibb)

By a sad coincidence, the death of Bee Gee Maurice Gibb a few weeks ago came just as his twin brother Robin was about to launch a new album of solo material. After some heartsearching it was decided that continuing with the release was as good a way as any of paying tribute to his late brother, and so with no small amount of sentiment this single arrives on the chart this week. Solo singles from the Bee Gees are rare but of course not altogether unknown and indeed Robin Gibb can actually claim to be the most successful when it comes to his own recordings. His biggest solo success came in July 1969 during a time when he had actually left the group after repeated arguments, hitting Number 2 with Saved By The Bell. Two other solo hits followed, August October which missed the Top 40 in February 1970 and then Another Lonely Night In New York which was taken from a 1984 solo album but which could do little more than limp to Number 71. So it is that Please returns him to the Top 40 in solo terms after a gap of over 33 years, although as a member of a band who have twice in the past gone over seven years between Number One singles he is almost certainly used to having been patient. The only other Bee Gee to be able to claim solo success is Barry Gibb who in 1980 produced an album for Barbra Streisand and who dueted with her on the title track Guilty which hit Number 34 late in 1980. His own 1984 solo album Now Voyager failed to produce any hit singles. Honourable mention must also go here to the fourth Gibb brother Andy, never a member of the Bee Gees, but who had a singing career of his own back in the 1970s. He charted four singles in this country, the biggest being An Everlasting Love which made Number 10 in 1978. In America he was far more successful, topping the charts no less than three times in 1977 and 1978.
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24 COCHISE (Audioslave)

Can you say "supergroup"? Audioslave is the new project that meshes most of the former members of Rage Against The Machine with Chris Cornell, former lead singer of Soundgarden. Bringing together the elements of two celebrated acts isn't necessarily going to be the sum of all its parts but to their credit the new outfit make a spirited and not altogether unpleasant noise on this debut single. Of course it is loud, angry and a world away from anything that is ever likely to climb up the charts but those into metal will love this to bits. Cochise, by the way, was apparently a nineteenth century Apache.
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26 FIX MY SINK (DJ Sneak featuring Bear Who)

In between the rock comes a small hit single from clubland, this marking the chart debut of Chicago's DJ Sneak some seven years since he first started releasing records.
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28 YOU DROVE ME TO IT (Hell Is For Heroes)

A timely re-release for the first Hell Is For Heroes single which first hit the shops in February last year when it could only reach Number 63. Having finally penetrated the Top 40 at the back end of last year with the Number 38 hit Night Vision, the bright young hopes of British rock are clearly now turning back to their earlier underappreciated material in an attempt for greater chart success. So far the tactic has worked and You Drove Me To It now takes over as their biggest hit so far and becomes their first Top 30 single.
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32 FREELOADER (Driftwood)

Did you know that although to the untutored ear Belgian and Dutch trance tracks sound pretty much the same as each other, the music of each country does actually have its own subtle differences. Proof of this comes with this track from Dutch outfit Driftwood which cranks up a thumping bass along with the usual euphoric synthesisers and looping melody. Compare this side by side with the likes of Lasgo and you start to appreciate the differences.
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34 DINOSAUR ADVENTURE 3D (Underworld)

Finally this week a second single from the current album by Underworld, this the followup to Two Months Off which hit Number 12 back in September. Very much part of the old guard of British dance music, they along with The Prodigy are starting to discover that generating the same kind of excitement that they once did is becoming more and more of a challenge.


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