This week's Official UK Singles Chart

No change at the top, which let's face it was not totally unexpected. With all the publicity generated by its spectacular debut at the top last week, the 2004 vintage of Band Aid spends a second week at the summit with Do They Know It's Christmas. I'm reliably informed that next week's chart will indeed be regarded as the official Christmas chart, meaning that Band Aid simply has to sustain its current sales (it will) to make history as the only song ever to have been Christmas Number One three times. Regardless of that of course, the chart due to be published on Boxing Day will also be worthy of scrutiny, containing as it does the results of sales in Christmas week itself.

As was also widely expected, the biggest new hit of the week goes to Kylie Minogue who slides in nicely at Number 2. Taken from her new Ultimate Kylie collection, I Believe In You sees the Aussie diva move ever closer to pure Europop, a move which actually in the process makes this one of her better singles for some time. The single is only her third chart entry in what has been a comparatively quiet year for her but in the process becomes far and away the biggest, her first Top 3 single since Slow topped the chart in November last year. With the bookmakers making her second favourite to be at Number 2 behind Band Aid come the Christmas chart this single actually marks her biggest chance for a Christmas smash hit since almost the start of her career. The last time she was in such strong contention was back in 1988 when her Christmas duet with Jason Donovan on Especially For You spent a full four weeks locked at Number 2 behind Cliff Richard's Mistletoe And Wine over the holidays, eventually having to be content with a three week run at the top when the new year rolled around. Her only other single released specifically for the Christmas market was her 2000 release Please Stay which actually turned out to be a disappointment, peaking at a mere Number 10.

The only other single that comes even remotely close to challenging for the summit is Misunderstood, Robbie Williams' follow-up single to the chart-topping Radio which lands this week at Number 8. Robbie is, of course, no stranger to the Christmas Number One slot, having landed the honour duetting with Nicole Kidman on Something Stupid back in 2001. Robbie is actually something of a Christmas stalwart as far as the charts are concerned, both solo and back in his Take That days. With Take That he was in the Christmas chart in 1992 with Could It Be Magic (on which he sang lead vocals) and in 1993 with the Mark Owen sung Babe. After going solo he was there in 1997 with Angels, 1998 with No Regrets, 1999 with She's The One, 2000 with Supreme, 2001 as detailed above, 2002 with Feel and then again last year with Sexed Up. Even the bookmakers don't really give Robbie a shot as far as the now to be coveted Christmas Number 2 slot is concerned but if nothing else he deserves a medal for playing the game of release dates better than any other contemporary act.

Of course, it being Christmas time there has to be room for a novelty hit, and one duly arrives in the shape of 3rd Wish's Obsession (Si Es Amor). The trio are American but took the unusual decision to base themselves in Germany for the purposes of starting a pop career. The move paid off spectacularly with the release earlier this year of the Latin flavoured hit single which wound up as a smash hit over most of central Europe. The time has now been deemed right to unleash them on a UK audience and whilst the single hasn't exactly made the most spectacular of splashes at Number 15 (although this was far better than had been expected of it midweek) it will be enough to make them a popular choice of stocking filler.

Below that there is nothing left except a handful of new entries with a distinctly "also-ran" feel to them - but amongst them a few surprises. First of the seasonal casualties are Maroon 5 who round off a successful 2004 with their smallest hit to date, Sunday Morning not even managing to make the Top 25 with a Number 27 entry. Still, if nothing else they have for the moment established themselves as the kings of the download market, their earlier singles dominating the first few official download chart listings published. Sadly even Sunday Morning cannot continue that streak and it (at least for the moment) doesn't feature anywhere in the current Top 20.

Just one place below at Number 28 is Mousse T with Right About Now, the follow-up to the frankly rather deliciously silly Is It Cos I'm Cool which made Number 9 back in September. Singer on this new hit is once again Emma Lanford whose association with the producer stretches back to 1998 when she was one-half of Hot 'N Juicy, the singers on his most famous hit Horny. Whether she was either Hot or Juicy is not documented but I'm sure it would be fun finding out.

At Number 30 is a surprise that will either delight or shock in equal measure. Having reached Number 29 back in October with the single Wonderful, former Beach Boys star Brian Wilson charts with the second single to be released from his Smile album - the masterpiece that caused him to have a breakdown in the 1960s finally completed over 30 years later. Good Vibrations was famously the only track to emerge intact from the original sessions for the album and it quite rightly stands proud as one of the Beach Boys' most famous hits, topping the charts here in 1966. I mentioned when Wonderful first charted that it was actually quite refreshing to see that the obvious choice of Good Vibrations as the first single from the new version of Smile had been sidestepped but clearly the chance to unleash the modern day version on the world was too great a temptation to resist. Here it is then, slotting nicely in at Number 30. At the risk of labouring the point however you do have to scratch your head and wonder why given that the original version was deemed good enough by its creator to release the first time around. A classic song retrodden, even by its originator doesn't necessarily make for a track equally as classic.

Moving further down the listings we come across lowly new entries for the likes of The Corrs and Ash (all victims of being overlooked by the holiday rush) before at Number 35 is Fifty Grand For Christmas from Paul Holt. Holt was famously one of the early rejectees from the auditions of TV talent series X-Factor [about to reach the climax of its very first series] and his single is a direct reference to Simon Cowell's bet that he would give the hopeful £50,000 if he ever had a Number One single. One label was brave enough to take him up on the challenge and so here for our entertainment is Paul Holt's first (and most probably) last ever hit single. In truth, it isn't actually all that unpleasant to hear with a cannot-fail Spector-esque production behind it, but needless to say the single has landed around 34 places short of forcing Cowell to make good on his bet.

Anyway that is just about it for this week. Next week of course is the big one, the chart that will determine the record that is topping the listings for Christmas. As always we cross our fingers and hope for an upset (wishes that of course came true in spectacular fashion last year) - the best chance of this coming from Ronan Keating and his duet with Yusuf 'Cat Stevens' Islam on Father And Son, the song that Islam wrote and which became one of Boyzone's most famous singles when they released it for Christmas 1995.


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