This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 LEAVE RIGHT NOW (Will Young)

"Want to hear something interesting?" said a contact of mine who works in retail last weekend. "There is going to be one almighty row next week as there just aren't enough copies of the Will Young single to go round." He wasn't lying either. Having been stung by the underwhelming reception given to Gareth Gates' last single, the record company were playing it safe with the corresponding offering by Will Young, assuming that his popularity would have taken a significant dip now that the nation is concentrating its attention on the new crop of Pop Idol hopefuls. Hence plans were made to press and deliver to shops enough copies to ensure it was a comfortable Top 5 hit. What they didn't count on was that not only was Will as big a star as ever but that his new single was one to instantly fall in love with, a heart-wrenching ballad that suits his voice down to the ground and which was effectively a smash hit from the word go.

So it was that Leave Right Now sold almost 40,000 copies in a single day last week - enough to virtually exhaust the initial stocks of the single in one fell swoop. It meant that the sales graph for the single fell off the proverbial cliff immediately afterwards - some reports suggesting that on Wednesday the single barely sold 1,000 copies as this was all the stock that was left. It meant that the Shane Richie single effectively had an open goal to play for and the danger was that Will Young's sure-fire Number One single was going to be anything but. More copies arrived for the end of the week but it meant a nail-biting conclusion to the chart race. Could Will Young effectively sell a week's worth of singles in four days?

As it turns out he did, and Leave Right Now (to immense sighs of relief all round) sits proudly atop the singles chart. It is Will Young's fourth Number One hit single and returns him to chart-topping ways after his last single Don't Let Me Down/You And I stalled at the Number 2 position in December last year. It also now puts him on level pegging with Pop Idol rival Gareth Gates as both have now had three chart-toppers solo plus their duet on The Long And Winding Road which hit the top in October last year. Gareth Gates of course only made Number 3 with his last single Sunshine which means on the strength of the chart performance of this single there is no doubting whose career currently has the most momentum - the release this week of Gareth's own new single should be very interesting. Speaking of momentum it is worth noting that Leave Right Now is the fourth new Number One single in as many weeks, the highest turnover we have seen since December last year when Daniel Bedingfield, Eminem, Blue and Girls Aloud all topped the charts in quick succession.


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2 I'M YOUR MAN (Shane Richie)

.So what of the runner up in one of the most titanic chart battles of the year so far? As has become traditional of late, the BBCs annual Children In Need telethon has been supported by a chart single whose proceeds are all donated to the appeal. This year just to be different, rather than having a nominated hit by an established pop act, the appeal has been helped by this novelty release from Eastenders actor Shane Richie whose performance of the track was one of the much-trailed highlights of the night of TV fundraising. I'm Your Man will be familiar to any child of the 1980s as it is a cover of one of Wham!'s most famous singles, one which topped the charts for George Michael and Andrew Ridgley almost exactly 18 years ago. Most of the songs performed by the 1980s pop giants are treated with due reverence with only Last Christmas until now having made the charts as a cover version. Although it hasn't topped the charts, I'm Your Man still ranks as the most successful cover of a George Michael penned song to date.
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3 MANDY (Westlife)

They may have been dumped from the top slot this week but by hanging on to a Top 3 placing they give their record company reason to cheer. Although both Will Young and Westlife are signed by Simon Cowell's S records imprint it is still a subsidiary of BMG - who just happen to have released the Shane Richie single. Thus one label has the honour of having released the three biggest selling singles in the UK this week. Thank goodness they pressed enough copies.
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5 ONE MORE CHANCE (Michael Jackson)

Let us deal with the facts here as they stand.

  • Michael Jackson's last chart appearances were with the two hit singles from the disastrous Invincible album. You Rock My World made a creditable Number 2 in October 2001, the follow-up Cry was a resounding flop when it made Number 25 in December that same year.
  • Since then he hasn't had the best of times PR wise, what with his complaints that Sony records were deliberately stifling the promotion of the album (possibly because it was crap), the Martin Bashir interview and oh yes that small matter of those accusations which led to his arrest just last week.
  • He has a new Greatest Hits collection on release which topped the chart last week.
  • This brand new single is taken from self-same same set.
  • Brand new singles from artists of Michael Jackson's calibre tend not to chart at Number 5. When You Rock My World failed to top the charts two years ago it was a huge shock. This chart performance will be treated in the same light.
  • Some or all of the above points may be connected although it isn't my place to join the dots here.

Incidentally One More Chance is co-written by R Kelly. There is a joke in there somewhere. [It also now has an added poignancy. The last original hit single of his lifetime].


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9 CLAP BACK/REIGNS (Ja Rule)

No doubting the consistence of Ja Rule, with or without guest stars from the world of R&B. Clap Back storms into the Top 10 as a followup to the Ashanti-featuring Mesmerize which hit Number 12 back in March. Indeed the single is the rapper's biggest hit single since Livin' It Up made Number 5 in August 2002.
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13 RAINMAKER (Iron Maiden)

Just what you need on a cold winters afternoon, the appearance of the Maiden to inject a healthy dose of testosterone into the proceedings. Following on from the Number 6 hit Wildest Dreams from back in September, the heavy metal legends notch up their second hit of the year with this track, bought of course by their die-hard fans and appreciated by only a handful of music lovers outside that circle. Still, there is something rather comforting about seeing them chart singles with such efficiency.
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15 FEELING THIS (Blink 182)

After two years away, Blink 182 make a strong return to the singles chart with the first release from what will be no less than their fifth studio album. Oddly enough the group have never quite had the single success everyone always imagines they have. Aside from the storming Number 2 success of All The Small Things from March 2000, they have never again made the Top 10 and Feeling This is only their fourth Top 20 hit single.
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18 BEHIND BLUE EYES (Limp Bizkit)

Just what did Fred Durst do to piss people off so much? The backlash that has hit the charismatic leader of Limp Bizkit since the release of their new album has been breathtaking in the extreme. OK so he took forever to decide on the track list, decide on a name and actually release it but surely even that doesn't justify the abuse? Well, maybe the fact that after all that he forgot to make the album any good has something to do with it, certainly Significant Other has been hailed as a huge disappointment following the towering work of genius that was Chocolate Starfish... Still, one highlight of the album was the cover version of the classic Who track Behind Blue Eyes and it is no surprise that it here becomes its second single. The song first appeared on the classic Who album Who's Next in 1971 and although it was never a single was always something of a live favourite. Limp Bizkit's version stays true to the original save for the interesting additional prouction of what sounds like an old Speak and Spell toy spelling out the name of the band during the instrumental. In some senses the single sums up the whole of the album, not particularly bad but frustrating as it contains hints of how good it had the potential to be. As it stands Behind Blue Eyes will rank as their joint smallest hit ever, only matching the peak of Boiler from November 2001.


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20 IT'S MY LIFE (No Doubt)

The third cover version to hit the charts this week was hailed from the start as one of the best but oddly enough winds up as the smallest of all. No Doubt's first single release in a year was supposed to be the track that returned them to the top of the charts but instead struggles to make even the Top 20 - and in truth this should go down as the shock of the week. It's My Life was originally recorded by Talk Talk and hit Number 46 in 1984. It wasn't until 1990 that it finally became a large hit, reaching Number 13 after a number of club DJs discovered the track had the same bpm as many balearic hits they were spinning at the time. Many 80s purists seem to dislike this faithful new version from No Doubt, I have to confess to loving it.


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21 MAN OF STEEL (Meat Loaf)

Ah, ironic song titles of our time. After having made headlines for collapsing on stage in the middle of a live performance [something that would become a recurring theme with him over the next few years too, poor chap] Meat Loaf now hits the chart with this single, his second release of the year following Couldn't Have Said It Better which made a lowly Number 31 back in April. Man Of Steel does at least improve on that chart placing but the rock legend is still in search of his first Top 20 hit since 1999. You kind of get the feeling that his career is in the same place it was back in the mid 1980s when he was making records such as Rock N' Roll Mercenaries and Masculine - track that were OK in themselves but which were lacking that little extra spark that made for classic Meat Loaf. It has been ten years since Bat Out Of Hell II, is a little more Steinman magic just too much to ask?
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23 BILL MCCAI (Coral)

Clocking up a full complement of four chart singles this year are the Coral, here with the followup to Secret Kiss which hit Number 25 back in October. Oddly enough Bill McCai beats that chart placing, in a similar manner to their second hit this year Pass It On which made Number 5 in July to beat the Number 10 placing of Don't Think You're The First from March.
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30 JUS' A RASCAL (Dizzee Rascal)

Just two weeks after his last chart appearance as a guest star on Basement Jaxx's Lucky Star, Dizzee Rascal hits the Top 40 once more with his third solo hit of the year. Sadly this track barely scrapes the Top 30, a slight comedown from his last single Fix Up Look Sharp which hit the Top 20.
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38 MUSIC AND YOU (Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheatham)

Scraping into the Top 40, but only just, are Room 5. The big talking point here is not so much their teaming up once again with Oliver Cheatham but the fact that they have come close to setting a record for the least successful followup of the year. Their last single of course was Make Luv which topped the charts for four weeks back in April. To go from Number 1 to Number 38 is quite some going, beating even Daniel Bedingfield's feat a few weeks ago of hitting Number 28 with the followup to a Number One single. They can however take heart from the fact that two weeks ago one act managed to better even that. Stand up Tomcraft, at Number One in May with Loneliness but whose followup Brainwashed (Call You) hit a towering Number 43. First person to mail me with the all-time record holder for this kind of flop followup to a Number One gets a mention at the top of the column next week.