Thank the Kooks for this week. Their inability to maintain their impressive first week Top 3 sales means they slide to Number 7 with Always Where I Need To Be and create a nice void above them, paving the way for a few interesting chart changes.
None of this affects Estelle of course and so American Boy sits proudly at Number One for a fourth week. Needless to say that all eyes will be on the top end of the chart next week, Estelle and Kanye West on the verge of becoming the fifth act in succession to have a five week Number One hit. At the risk of treading on next week's fun pack of statistics, I can tell you that such a situation has not arisen for almost 40 years.
Moving up two places to the delight of many is hot new discovery Sam Sparro whose Black And Gold single advances to the runners-up slot just vacated by Flo Rida's Low, this following the physical release of the track. Also on the rebound, as expected, are Madonna and Justin who turn a walk four places with 4 Minutes, the still download-only track now occupying its highest chart placing to date. Completing the Top 4 is Mariah Carey who advances one place to Number 5 with Touch My Body, that single now her 16th Top 5 hit.
The highest new entry of the week arrives at Number 9 almost from nowhere, although when you see that it appears on Hard2Beat records you will glean some clue as to its musical pedigree. Blonde bombshell September (real name Petra Marklund) hails from Sweden and originally recorded Cry For You way back in 2005, although it was not until last year when copies began making waves in clubland, the single registering high on club charts both here and on the other side of the Atlantic. The hit potential of the bright and appealing pop dance track is finally realised thanks to a new series of remixes and of course the patronage of a record label that has a near perfect strike rate of hit singles. In fact once again this week we can play the catalogue numbers game as Cry For You is listed on the chart as H2B03CDS, thus making it Hard2Beat's third release. The other two were both Top 2 hit singles and both still register a place on the Top 40 - Now You're Gone (H2B01CDS) is at Number 25 with What's It Gonna Be (H2B02CDs) at Number 21.
Also storming the singles chart and unlucky to miss out on a place in the Top 10 is the entertainingly titled I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You which gives Black Kids their first ever chart entry. Long-standing followers of the Florida rock band will be familiar with the song already, a demo version having been one of the tracks on the MySpace released EP Wizard Of Aahhhs which they posted last summer. Since then the word of mouth has spread, the group supporting Kate Nash on tour at the start of the year (the lady herself having been known to knock out an acoustic performance of her own of I'm Not Gonna…). One of those tracks you have to hear a few times to appreciate properly, it deserves at the very least a brief cup of coffee inside the Top 10 that it so narrowly missed this week.
On then to what I promised last week, the fascinated tale of the single that gets a phantom new entry at Number 16 this week - Toca's Miracle 2008. The tale begins way back in 1997 when longtime background singer Sue 'Coco' Brice was deemed ready to step forward from the shadows and be launched into the solo career that she had long been tipped for and which her voice and looks suggested she was destined. Her first single was a suitably energetic pop record entitled I Need A Miracle but despite breathless press promotion and a few radio spins it could only sneak to Number 39 in November that year. Her solo project progressed little further after that disappointment.
Fast forward to 1999. German producers Fragma are attempting to cash in on the current craze for atmospheric instrumental club tracks. Their first single release is an intense club record called Toca Me which wins fans and finds its way into the sets of many big-name DJs during the summer. Released in September that year, it landed on the chart at Number 11 but faded away fast, overshadowed by other more spectacular club tracks released around that time.
Legend has it that it was Nottingham-based DJ Vimto who first noticed a month or so later that the two singles worked rather well together. At the time nobody had heard of the phrase "mash-up", so what he created was a good old-fashioned bootleg mix, adding the vocals from I Need A Miracle to the instrumental breaks of Toca Me to create something that even in its rough form sounded rather magical. Now normally such mixes would never see the light of day commercially but by a lucky coincidence, both singles had come out on Positiva Records. Ramon Zenker of Fragma was sent the master tape of I Need A Miracle and to his delight discovered that the two singles could indeed be merged into one with the barest minimum of work, almost as if they had been written for each other to begin with.
Now an overground release, there was just no stopping the newly rechristened Toca's Miracle and the track shot to Number One in this country almost exactly eight years ago this week, becoming something of a pop classic along the way. With the single having been long deleted and as noted in this pages a few weeks ago, impossible to buy online, it seemed entirely appropriate that it should have the honour of a re-issue. Entertainingly the download sales of the single last week were attached to the catalogue number of the 2000 original, so it is only this week that Toca's Miracle 2008 officially charts in its new clothes and thus is a new entry this week. To tell you the truth the new mix does the song few favours, drowning the track in unnecessary new instrumentation and detracting from what made it such a magical piece of work in the first place. These were, after all, two independently composed and produced pieces of music that fitted together as if it was always intended to be that way.
As a strange postscript to the whole tale, although CoCo herself appeared in the video for the new version back in 2000 and promoted the single with gusto, the absence of any label credit for what were after all the vocals from her own solo single meant that it was Fragma who went on to build a chart career on the back of the Number One smash. Coco herself still sings and performs to this day, her fans continually talking up her songwriting and performing abilities. It seems however that for all time she will continually have to explicitly point out that she is the one singing on the classic pop record that everyone in the 2000s grew up dancing to. [Replaced in the video for the new version by an imposter too!]
The physical releases list for last week causes a cluster of singles to arrive at the very base of the Top 20. Leading the pack are Scouting For Girls who move 27-19 with Heartbeat, the follow-up to Top 10 singles She's So Lovely and Elvis Ain't Dead. Despite being just as bouncy and appealing as its predecessors, the law of diminishing returns kicks in to leave this stalled in mid-table. Also disappointingly stuck are Natasha Bedingfield and Sean Kingston who move 30-20 with the fully released Love Like This. In spite of the inevitable handicap of being - you know - a Natasha Bedingfield single, the track I felt was worthy of a more respectable chart placing, one which now looks increasingly beyond it.
Elliot Minor and their fans I suspect will now have to conclude that mainstream stardom will have to wait for their second album. The follow-up to February's Number 17 hit Still Figuring Out is a re-release of their very first single Parallel Worlds which originally crept to Number 31 exactly a year ago this week. The new issue improves on that placing, but sadly not by much and the single stalls at Number 22 leaving the group for the moment still a very highly regarded secret.
The rest of the movement down the lower end of the chart is confined to up and coming pre-release hits. Leading the way is Britney Spears who now rises to Number 23 with Break The Ice. She is released to the shops this week (April 14) along with The Age Of The Understatement from Last Shadow Puppets who make a good start with a Number 24 entry for their download sales. Also making a good showing at the moment is Heartbreaker from will.i.am which makes its Top 40 debut at Number 29. That single doesn't come out for real until May 5, some three weeks hence.
Finally for this week the Top 75 chart is currently notable for what it does not contain rather than what it does, thanks to the absence of any of the eternal long-runners such as Chasing Cars or Rehab with even Umbrella this week finally dropping out of the chart to end its continuous chart run at 47 weeks. Indeed the singles with the highest "weeks on chart" totals this week are a smattering of golden oldies that litter the bottom end. Of them all the most notable is Don't Stop Me Now from Queen which has begun climbing the rankings thanks to its use in the latest deliberately obscure Cadbury's chocolate advert and which now sits at Number 54, its highest chart placing since it was last a chart hit 29 years ago. The track was notable for maintaining a Top 200 presence all the way through 2007 after the new chart rules made it eligible once more. Although it never once made the Top 75 in all that time, the single still sold 53,000 copies and was the 160th best-selling single of 2007. To the entertainment of just about everyone, this was 3,000 copies more than Baby's Coming Back by McFly, a Number One hit lest we forget, which was only the 168th best seller of the year.