The charts are in something of a state, at least the bottom end is anyway. Traditionally this week was the week to release singles for Christmas. The diluted and accelerated market of the last few years though has all but put paid to that and labels are holding back the biggest singles until as near the big date as possible. This week though has seen a few big releases, many of which have gone in high making for a packed Top 20 and a lower 20 filled with still-selling hits being shoved out of the way. 12 new entries, 4 climbers and no none-movers which spoils the surprise somewhat but still...
No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Go West - We Close Our Eyes '93
After having bubbled under for a couple of weeks, this re-recorded track by the dissolving Go West finally peeks its nose for a token Top 40 appearance. When first released in February 1985 the debut hit for Cox and Drummie looked set to establish them as part of a wave of brilliant new pop/funk bands. Sadly they never lived up to that potential, it being their only Top 10 hit (peaking at No.5). The past twelve months have seen something of a renaissance by the band with a succession of Top 20 hits Faithful, What You Won't Do For Love and Tracks Of My Tears but this is to be the swansong of the current lineup - Peter Cox vowing to carry on with new members. [Which never happened, Peter Cox went solo for a bit before reuniting with Richard Drummie after a break].
No. 38: FALLER. David Bowie - The Buddah Of Suburbia
Even the presence of Lenny Kravitz on guitar couldn't resurrect this track, despite some commentators suggesting the album from which it comes ranking alongside classic Bowie at his best.
No. 37: NEW ENTRY. Funkdoobiest - Wopbabalubob
Had to happen I suppose, a dance record made from Rock and Roll's ultimate clarion call. Pity they spelt it wrong, Awopbopalubopalopbamboo was first screeched by Little Richard in Tutti Frutti which charted at No.29 in February 1957. The rest is a pretty turgid rap that bears an uncanny similarity to Cypress Hill.
No. 32: NEW ENTRY. Lisa Stansfield - A Little Bit Of Heaven
Tricky one this. As Lisa Stansfield eases back onto the dancefloor for her third hit of the year it becomes her lowest entering hit for ages, the last three all charging straight into the Top 20. With the Christmas melee upon us it may get lost completely. If it progresses no further it will be her first single ever to miss the Top 30.
No. 31: NEW ENTRY. Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle - A Whole New World
US readers may well be surprised at the late arrival of this track, having already seen it charge up the US charts earlier in the year. The crafty decision of Disney to delay the release of Aladdin from whose soundtrack it comes has meant the single has been held back too. It's the third UK hit for Bryson who has only ever charted as a duettist. In 1983 he reached No.2 with Roberta Flack on Tonight I Celebrate My Love and his last hit was also from a Disney movie when Beauty And The Beast in tandem with Celine Dion peaked at No.9 in May 1992. Regina Belle by contrast has fared far worse, her only previous chart placing being a lowly No.73 for Good Lovin in October 1989.
No. 29: NEW ENTRY. Bad Boys Inc - Walking On Air
The third place runners up in this year's teen stakes, the Take That-styyled fivesome have managed only small hits this year, of which this Christmassy ballad is the third. Next year will be interesting though as they still have the potential to build up to be the sensations that Take That have managed to become over the past two years.
No. 26: NEW ENTRY. Gabrielle - I Wish
The release of her debut album has earned Miss Eyepatch 1993 critical plaudits but her singles sales are slipping despite the obvious continuing quality of her material. This is her third hit to follow the summer No.1 smash Dreams and the No.9 hit Going Nowhere.
No. 24: NEW ENTRY. UB40 - Bring Me Your Cup
A similar story for UB40 who have also scored a No.1 hit and a top 10 followup this year. For them though it is just the continuation of the success that has made them the most successful reggae band ever. It's their 37th hit in a career that has lasted since March 1980 and has included 3 No.1s and 16 Top Ten hits.
No. 17: NEW ENTRY. Blind Melon - No Rain
In a chart almost devoid of significant action in the bottom end things suddenly start to heat up with the debut Top 40 hit for US rockers Blind Melon with a stunningly good track, wearing it's Beatles influences on its sleeve and all the better for it. Possibly the sleeper hit of the season.
No. 16: NEW ENTRY. Pet Shop Boys - I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing
To followup September's No.2 smash of Go West the Pet Shop Boys have picked the other standout track from their Very album. 'I wouldn't...' is far and away the happiest, most barking mad pop single they have released in their seven year career and is all the better for it. Beefed up from the album mix this middling chart debut (compared to the Top 10 entries of the last two singles) may belie it's ultimate success as a must for any party this Christmas. Alright, so I like it, but it deserves to be big.
No. 15: NEW ENTRY. Cypress Hill - I Ain't Goin' Out Like That
Getting bigger with every subsequent single, the US rap sensations followup When The Sh** Goes Down with this new single which instantly smashes past the No.19 peak of its predecessor. None of their singles have ever progressed further than their first chart week though and this looks like doing the same.
No. 14: NEW ENTRY. Dina Carroll - The Perfect Year
It's actually meant as a Christmas song but the title could not sum up her life so far better, as 1993 has seen Dina Carroll build herself up to become much more than a dance crossover with a few minor hits to her name. In fact she has done so well that her last hit Don't Be A Stranger is still in the Top 10. The collision of the two singles is due to the fact the Christmassy ballad of The Perfect Year could obviously not be held back and so Dina Carroll joins Whitney Houston to become the second woman to have simultaneous Top 20 hits this year.
No. 13: FALLER. Village People - YMCA '93
What worked for Gloria Gaynor has not worked for the Village People as they slip a place and miss making the Top 10 with this song for a second time.
No. 9: CLIMBER. East 17 - It's Alright
I don't think I have ever seen a chart that has had to wait until the Top 10 to see a climber but here it is, East 17 defying the trend of their last two singles and climbing to achieve their third ever Top 10 hit.
No. 6: CLIMBER. Bee Gees - For Whom The Bell Tolls
Almost certainly one of the most deserving Top 10 hits of the year the chart resiliancy of the Bee Gees continues with their 17th career Top 10 hit and their first since Secret Love made No.5 in March 1991. Given that their first Top 10 hit was Massachusetts in 1967 that span of over 25 years is the longest ever for a group. They've got some way to go to beat the all-time record of course, held by Cliff Richard who has been having Top 10 hits since 1958 right up to this year.
No. 5: NEW ENTRY. Prince - Controversy
For a piece of marketing this can't be beaten. This 12 year old album track smashes straight into the Top 10 to give Prince one of his highest ever new entries. This is made even more surprising when you consider that his last single Peach - a completely new recording - could only make No.14 back in October. A reflection of the quality of music he is making lately perhaps?
No. 4: CLIMBER. U2 - Stay (Faraway So Close)
Climbing possibly due to the Frank Sinatra/Bono duet of I've Got You Under My Skin which is tucked away on the b-side of this single. It's supposed to be a double a-side but the flip is not even listed on most chart rundowns, hence the reason I missed it last week and was still expecting it to be released in its own right. The decision is a surprising one really as the track would have sold if it had been released as a single in its own right. The climber means though that Stay is now U2s biggest hit since the No,1 The Fly in November 1991.
No. 3: FALLER. Elton John and Kiki Dee - True Love
The No.1 that never was although this week is a significant one for the song itself. Past hit versions by Bing Crosby/Grace Kelly, Terry Lightfoot, Richard Chamberlain, Shakin' Steven and now Elton and Kiki mean that this week is the song's 50th in the UK charts. That ranks it as one of the most charted hits of all time. It still has a little way to go to beat the front runners. My Way tops the list with 163 weeks followed by Amazing Grace (94 weeks) and Unchained Melody (79 weeks). Curiously enough this year has also seen chart appearances by another two of the most charted songs ever, Can't Help Falling In Love and Relax. Although I didn't spot it at the time, the six weeks spent in the chart by the Frankie Goes To Hollywood Track took it up to 58 weeks in the charts, making it the third most charted recording ever, behind Judy Collins' Amazing Grace with 67 weeks over 8 chart runs and well behind the grandaddy of them all, Frank Sinatra's recording of My Way which in 9 chart runs has spent 122 weeks in the British charts. Now that is some record.
No. 2: FALLER. Meat Loaf - I'd Do Anything For Love
So the seven week reign of the longest ever No.1 single comes to an end. The album is still unassailable at the top of its chart though.
No. 1: FIRST WEEK. Mr Blobby - Mr Blobby
It's hard to know what to say. As feature writers in the quality press try to figure out why, national hero Mr Blobby joins Gabrielle as one of this year's additions to the list of acts who have made No.1 in only their second ever chart week. The presence of a novelty track at No.1 is not so unusual with Bombalurina's version of Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini in 1990 being a recent example along with The Stonk by Hale and Pace and the Stonkers in 1991. Mr Blobby is also the third non-human act to make No.1 following in the footsteps of the Archies with Sugar Sugar in 1969 and the Simpsons in 1991. Whereas both of those were cartoons though, Mr Blobby is real enough, even if it is to the extent of being actor Barry Killerby in a silly rubber costume. Nonetheless the industry revolves around him with Mr Blobby cakes, t-shirts, balloons and dolls being turned out by the thousand. Questions now have to be asked over the question of Christmas No.1. The Christmas chart is just 3 weeks away and it is hard to see Mr Blobby hanging on for that long (the record is still terrible, however amusing the idea may be). It all depends on Take That whose Christmas single is out this week. Look on the bright side, it's more exciting than last year anyway.