In recent weeks the top end of the charts has been uncharacteristically stagnated. Little really changes this week, with the exception of one record which fulfills all the predictions made when it was first released. More of that later though, only 8 new entries, 10 climbers and no non-movers.
No. 38: NEW ENTRY. Orchestral Manouveres In The Dark - Dream Of Me
The second single from the Liberator album is this one, the track most commented upon when first released. Dream Of Me is based around Love's Theme by Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra which made No.10 in February 1974 [At least on the album. For single release the track was reworked to strip out the Barry White stuff, yet for legal reasons still had to be listed "based on Love's Theme"]. In many ways the OMD track could almost be a throwback to the days when they were Kings of the New Romantic synthesizer scene and its atmospeheric nature is sure to appeal to OMD purists (like myself actually). Commercial potential though may well be limited, unlikely to become a hit as big as Stand Above Me - itself not a major hit. Curiously enough it becomes the second chart single this week to have a Barry White connection.
No. 33: NEW ENTRY. Jon Secada - Do You Really Want Me
Exactly a year ago this week Jon Secada's deubt hit Just Another Day entered the charts. For the entire summer it became a radio and chart fixture and was regarded by many as one of the best singles of the year. Since then he has notched up just one other hit - Do You Believe In Us which peaked at No.30 in November. This new track from a new album is pleasant enough but unlikely to give him another massive hit.
No. 29: CLIMBER. Urban Cookie Collective - The Key: The Secret
An 11 place climb this low down the chart gives it the distinction of the fastest mover, an indication of the continuing stagnation of the top end of the charts.
No. 28: CLIMBER. Blur - Chemical World
A small climb to give Blur another Top 30 hit. Am I really the only one though to wonder why few others have commented on the similarity of this track to the Small Faces.
No. 26: NEW ENTRY. Utah Saints - I Want You
Fourth hit for the Utah Saints, in quick succession to Believe In Me and this time an almost totally original composition, even including a rap. It's unlikely to become as big a hit as previous singles though.
No. 25: NEW ENTRY. Oui 3 - Break From The Old Routine
Finally a followup hit for Oui 3 after the Top 30 success of their cover of 'For What Its Worth' and after their last single failed to reach the Top 40. This new hit is likely to have far more success, not least because of the way their tongues are so clearly embedded in their cheeks, with the single's hook of: 'We need a break from the old routine/What do you mean we need a break from the old routine/Ah you know what I mean' [I'd suggest "we aren't gelling no more/we are congealing" was an even better couplet].
No. 21: NEW ENTRY. Deacon Blue - Hang Your Head
Another single from the Whatever You Say, Say Nothing album from Deacon Blue and with it further evidence of their new direction of musical innovation which leads to them producing singles as far removed as possible from their melodic past. Groups like U2 may have the following to pull off such a move - for the Scottish band it has thus far failed to give them chart success of the like they have achieved in the past.
No. 16: NEW ENTRY. Paul Weller - Sunflower
Since leaving the Style Council the much-heralded solo career of Paul Weller has yielded a hit a year. Based on this premise, here it is for the next twelve months, borrowing copiously from a suspiciously familiar guitar riff. The result though is to give him his biggest solo hit ever, surpassing the No. 18 peak of Uh Huh Oh Yeah which was released almost exactly a year ago.
No. 15: NEW ENTRY. Dannii Minogue - This Is It
Kicking off a string of 70s remakes in the Top 20 this week is Kylie's little sister, although to use that phrase these days is perhaps to denigrated the lady's achievements. Her seventh hit reuses the formula of her third and fifth ones and is a cover of a 1970s disco classic. This Is It was of course originally done by Melba Moore and made No.9 in June 1976. Dannii Minogues last Top 10 hit was her cover of Jump To The Beat which may bode well for this cover - bear in mind also though that her version of Show You The Way To Go crashed out at No.30 last August.
No. 14: CLIMBER. Taylor Dayne - Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Babe
1970s part two with Taylor Dayne climbing for a second week. It's still got some way to go to pass the No.8 peak of Barry White's original but this week at least sits alongside OMDs Dream Of Me marking the first time since February 1974 that he has authored or co-authored two simultaneous chart hits.
No. 12: CLIMBER. Kim Wilde - If I Can't Have You
Only Ace of Base [sat at 13 this week] spoil a potential run of cover versions there. Kim Wilde's version of the Yvonne Elliman classic climbs slightly to give her her biggest hit since Four Letter Word at Christmas 1988.
No. 9: CLIMBER. Michael Jackson - Will You Be There
And as he climbs he sets another record. The eighth single from Dangerous becomes it's seventh Top 10 hit - the most any album has achieved ever.
No. 1: NEW ENTRY/1ST WEEK. Take That - Pray
One of the few bands around at the moment who are guaranteed to sell singles, Take That leapfrog all opposition and do what they have been threatening for ages. Their first No.1 single after seven previous chart singles does it in style and becomes the second single this year to manage the ultimate chart feat - straight in at No.1. Following on from the Five Live EP earlier this year, it is the 31st record to manage this feat, which is more of a rarity than some people overseas imagine. I'll go into more detail about the significance of this feat next week, for the meantime Take That are settled in for a few weeks, proving that the pop band is not dead. [And at a stroke, two years into their career, they crossed over to true superstardom].