This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 HOLE IN THE HEAD (Sugababes)

With immaculate timing the music industry has chosen the one week I am away for the weekend to unleash a cornucopia of massive new hit singles, no less than 15 of which charge into the Top 40 this week. So, with Sunday night turning into Monday morning and a jugful of coffee at my side, it is time to start charging through these.

The big news of the week is of course the brand new Number One single. After six glorious weeks the longest run in five years has come to an end with the Black Eyed Peas slumping to Number 3. Taking their place as the nation's best selling act are the Sugababes who storm the charts with a brand new single from a forthcoming new album. The insanely simple yet catchy Hole In The Head gives the girls their third Number One hit - Freak Like Me and Round Round having topped the charts in 2002 - and is their first hit since the Sting sampling Shape reached Number 11 in back in March. In all it is their ninth hit single since they debuted in September 2000 and it confirms that their elevation to chart-topping from 12 months ago was no one off. Indeed the only cloud on the horizon appears to be the same internal divisions that caused Siobhan Donaghy to quit the Sugababes Mark I after their first album. The girls themselves insist that all is sweetness and light between them, but still the rumours will not go away.


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2 TURN ME ON (Kevin Lyttle)

Taking second place this week is a genuine out of the blue in from nowhere hit single. A native of the Carribean island of St Vincent, Kevin Lyttle has watched his tiny local single grow to become a transatlantic dancehall smash hit. Attention of most people on these shores was drawn to the track at the end of August when it became something of an unofficial anthem for the Notting Hill Carnival. The title may not mean much to some but it is almost inevitable that you will have heard the single on the radio at some point over the last month. Just like Lumidee and Wayne Wonder earlier in the summer it is one of those tracks that sits in the background and burrows its way into your brain so that now it is finally a hit it seems instantly memorable. Of course with that in mind it could hardly fail - Kevin Lyttle is your brand new star of the week.


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5 P.I.M.P. (50 Cent)

I remain immune to the charms of 50 Cent I have to confess but it seems increasingly clear I am in a minority. Two Top Ten hits in the shape of the long running In Da Club and its follow-up 21 Questions are now joined by this third offering from his debut album that kicks in with a steel drum of all things before setting off down the usual thundering hip-hop road. Number 5 means it beats the peak of 21 Questions but the Top 3 hit In Da Club remains his biggest hit so far.
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6 MAYBE (Emma Bunton)

We are trying desperately to write her off but the not so Baby Spice just keeps churning out the hits. Hard on the heels of an Absolutely Fabulous cameo appearance where she out-acted my bedroom door Ms Bunton hits the charts with her second hit single of the year. In fairness Maybe has more to commend it than her previous hit Free Me and is in truth an enormously appealing (no screw that, it is awesome) lounge pop single that evokes memories of mid-90s Cardigans hits. Counting her 1999 collaboration with Tin Tin Out this is actually Emma Bunton's sixth 'solo' hit single and in truth she is currently the only former Spice Girl with an active recording career. Geri Halliwell seems more famous for a crap choice in boyfriends (until someone gives her my number of course), Mel B isn't quite so loud these days, Mel C is currently in the process of becoming the bionic woman and sadly Victoria has deprived us all the opportunity of a good laugh by shelving her planned rap album. Big up to Emma then, all she has to do to sustain this is shift some albums. [One of those solo Spice singles which was actually well worth the wait, where Emma Bunton found a bossa nova groove and rode it].


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7 MIXED UP WORLD (Sophie Ellis-Bextor)

Top 10 entry number 5 marks the return of the most cultured sounding lady in pop. Yes the lady with the most properly enunciated singing voice since Patsy Kensit returns with a brand new track from her own forthcoming new album. As you would expect from Sophie Ellis-Bextor it is lavishly produced, swirling with texture and possibly caught up a little too much in a sense of its own importance to be completely appealing. Still, a Top 10 hit it has become and is her sixth hit single since she made the transition from failed indie frontwoman to classy club star with Groovejet back in 2000.
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8 BAD DAY (REM)

It is Greatest Hits time for REM this Christmas, the forthcoming compilation spanning the years 1988 to the present day - effectively covering the Warner years and dovetailing nicely with their 1991 hits collection which documented their 1980s albums with IRS. Yes, they have indeed been around that long and this brand new hit has the honour of being their 31st chart single. A track that was debuted at their festival appearances in the summer, Bad Day is up there with some of their very best singles and returns them to the Top 10 for the first time since arguably their last truly great single Imitation Of Life which was a Number 6 hit in May 2001. In all it is their 10th Top 10 hit and in truth the only honour they have missed out on so far is a Number One hit single. Number 3 is the best they have managed, hitting that height in 2000 with The Great Beyond.
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13 OH L'AMOUR (Erasure)

Also promoting a Greatest Hits album are Erasure, buoyed up by their comeback success earlier this year with an album of cover versions the veteran pop duo now have the chance to show a whole new generation just how good they used to be with their original material. Just like REM, Vince Clarke and Andy Bell have had a hits collection before, a collection of their first 20 hit singles having been released back in 1992. 11 years ago they promoted the collection by re-releasing one of their very earliest records, Who Needs Love Like That going Top 10 in a remixed form after having made Number 55 when first released back in 1985. Their current hit single Oh L'Amour dates from the same era having first appeared on their debut album Wonderland. Back in the day it was never a hit for the boys themselves and was instead covered by Dollar for a miniature comeback of their own in 1988 when the single hit Number 7. It thus now seems appropriate for the track to finally become a hit single for its composers and it dutifully slots nicely into the Top 20 this week. Vince Clarke was once famous for his fickle nature having been a member of Depeche Mode, Yazoo and The Assembly during the 1980s. With that in mind it is strange to look back now and note that the forthcoming hits collection will be his 12th album in collaboration with Andy Bell.
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15 WORLD FILLED WITH LOVE (Craig David)

Biggest injustice of the week? Well that will be the failure of Craig David's latest hit single to reach the Top 10. OK so in truth it is the fifth single from the Slicker Than Your Average album but that makes it all the more puzzling that it has taken this long for this standout track to be released as a single. Quite simply World Filled With Love is Craig David's play for recognition as an R&B balladeer supreme. The result is is a single that goes beyond great and into the bounds of phenomenally good. Shame the same cannot be said for its chart placing and the law of diminishing returns kicks in to cause him to *gasp* miss the Top 10 for the first time in his solo career.


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17 RIGHT THURR (Chingy)

Is there a rap star out there who isn't the protege of another rap star? I mean kudos to these performers who rather than splash their royalties on ever increasing amounts of bling prefer instead to give some other kid from the street the same chance they had, but what other genre of music is as self-generating as hip hop? Chingy is no exception having been given his big break by Ludacris on whose record label the single appears. A sensation in the US (as you would expect) and by all accounts set to make waves over here, he gets a Top 20 hit with a track that sounds even better if you imagine it performed in the Yorkshire accent that the title implies.
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19 JUST A LITTLE MORE LOVE (David Guetta)

[Superstar DJ debut klaxon!] Finally a UK Top 40 hit single for French dance star David Guetta whose failure up to know to place a record in the upper reaches has been something of a mystery. A single that harks back to the golden age of house music (we are talking 1988 vintage here) Just A Little More Love is far and away the most deserving club hit of the week. Prior to today, Guetta had come close in August last year with Love Don't Let Me Go (a Number 46 hit) [more on that one soon] and was widely expected to score a hit single earlier in the summer after remixing David Bowie's Heroes (with the blessing of the man himself) but sadly the single never took off and limped to Number 73.
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30 JUST A FEW THINGS THAT I AIN'T (Beautiful South)

The bottom end of the Top 40 is unusually crowded this week with no less than five new entries taking up residency in the basement although sadly none stand much of a chance of becoming bigger hits (do I really still need to point this out these days?). First up and sneaking into the Top 30 by a whisker are the returning Beautiful South, once national treasures more or less guaranteed a Top 10 hit with a brand new single but now it seems reduced to being chart also-rans. Having said that it has been a disturbingly long time since Paul Heaton et al had a major chart hit. Even the promotion of their 2001 hits collection was something of a disaster with its token new single The Root Of All Evil making a lowly Number 50 in November of that year. Perhaps more so than any other successful group of the last decade, they are notorious for their erratic chart performances, going Top 10 with one hit and then barely scraping the 20 with the next. Nonetheless it is now five long years since they even got that far and that itself is something of a tragedy.
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36 CHIHUAHUA (DJ Bobo)

You know we expected this to be the chart battle of the summer, a Europop rivalry to match that of, oh I don't know, Macarena or Living Next Door To Alice. In the event the whole thing has turned out to be a disappointment. The battle was over the chance to have a hit with Chihuahua, a mambo groove that embedded itself in the minds of people all over Europe when it was used as the soundtrack to a Coca-Cola advert (which itself has actually only recently begun airing in this country). The result was no less than three different versions of the track competing for attention on the continent this summer and with honours by and large being shared on a country by country basis. In this country it was down to two versions, both of which at one stage were set to be released within weeks of each other.

First out the blocks were going to be Dare, a group of women who were clearly being positioned as this year's Las Ketchup. The EMAP group of music channels and radio stations nailed their colours to this particular mast, playlisting the song and hyping it to death prior to its release in mid-September. The single was released, breath was held, and the single limped to Number 45 and shot straight out of the charts. How the licensees of the DJ Bobo version must have rejoiced. They even took the chance to delay the release of the track until mid-October, working on the basis that any fading memories of dancing to it on summer holidays would be counterbalanced by the fact that its eventual release would coincide with the airing of the TV ad.

In the event, DJ Bobo has wound up with a nine place advantage. Despite clearly aping Lou Bega in its production, the single has failed to capture the anticipated lightning in a bottle and instead barely scrapes the Top 40. At the very least however, it does finally throw up a UK hit single for Swiss producer DJ Bobo who has spent the best part of the last decade churning out novelty party hits by the barrelful. The closest he has come to UK success until now has been a couple of near misses in the mid-1990s, the Madonna sound-alike Everybody which hit 47 in September 1994 and a track called Love Is All Around which hit 49 in June the following year. I've actually this week lost a large bet with a friend over whether this single would be topping the charts before the end of September but as someone who is still the proud owner of a 12-inch copy of Everybody from nine years ago, I can't help but be pleased to see DJ Bobo in the Top 40.
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37 BRIGHTER THAN SUNSHINE (Aqualung)

Those of a sensitive disposition please turn away now because the sight of the astonishingly talented Matt Hales languishing at the bottom end of the Top 40 is not a pretty one. For all the praise and award nominations that were heaped upon his debut single Strange And Beautiful (a Number 7 hit in September last year) he has remained depressingly unable to follow it up. Good Times Gonna Come was left floundering at Number 71 come Christmas last year and now this new single, every inch as good as the first is a tiny, tiny hit. It would be enough to make a grown man weep, but for the fact that listening to the track actually has that effect already.
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39 I NEED YOU (Stands)

Almost there... the penultimate hit this week is the second chart hit for the Stands, following on from When This River Rolls Over You which made Number 32 back in August. That's all I have to say about that..
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40 DANCE COMMANDER (Electric Six)

...because finally we have to mourn the passing of Electric Six's ability to have smash hits after just two Top 10 smashes. OK so Dance Commander doesn't quite have the appeal of Danger High Voltage and Gay Bar but it still deserves more than this lowly chart placing, if only because Dick Valentine's cavorting in the video deserves a far wider audience. Still, I was lucky enough to catch them live last month when they performed at the Festival Of Dreams and they were pretty much neck and neck for second place (alongside the ever awesome Supergrass) on my night ending list of acts that kicked arse. What can I say, Har Mar Superstar will always have the edge... [oh my, I remember that night. Festival Of Dreams was an event promoted by the Faceparty website, taking over the old Billingsgate market for the night on Saturday in the summer of 2003. I've actually no recollection of seeing Electric Six, but Supergrass were amazing (despite grumpily refusing to play Alright. The highlight was indeed Har Mar Superstar, then at the peak of hs cult appeal and it remains a crashing disappointment he never managed even the tiniest of hit singles so I could write about him here. Good times].