[We've skipped a week here, this time because the March 13th column was missing from the old Dejanews archives from which I rescued these early ramblings about ten years after they were first published. If memory serves this coincided with a connectivity snafu which caused a great deal of UK-sourced newsgroup traffic to get backed up and appear a week or so after the fact. That may well have caused the missing column to vanish into the ether altogether. This did however prompt a few readers to ask if I could start emailing them out to them directly - a mailing list which would grow to over 2,000 subscribers over the next two years].
A refreshingly healthy chart this week as in complete contrast to recent form, 10 of last weeks new entries make further progress up the chart, and even those that fall remain in the 40 making this the most consistent chart for months. 9 new entries, 13 climbers and no non-movers....
No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Maxi Priest - One More Chance
For the moment he is the biggest reggae star in the UK. I say for the moment as for reasons which will become clear later, there are several challengers to the throne. It's a return to the charts for the middle-of-the-road reggae crooner after a long wait as many of his previous few releases have fallen short of the 40, a far cry from the days in the late 1980s when he was notching up Top 10 hits with covers of Wild World and Some Guys Have All The Luck. Nonetheless with the reggae revival well and truly underway his hour may yet come around again.
No. 37=: NEW ENTRY. Michael Bolton - Reach Out, I'll Be There
Another hit from the Timeless album for the soul crooner whose British success has never quite matched the superstardom he enjoys in the States. Reach Out is a followup to his version of Drift Away which made the Top 20 just in time for Christmas. It's the fourth time the classic song has made the UK Top 40. The Four Tops took the original to No.1 in 1966,
Gloria Gaynor's version made No.14 in 1975 and a remix of the Four Tops' original made No.11 in the summer of 1988.
No. 36: NEW ENTRY. Jade - Don't Walk Away
The cynic in me has the temptation to label this track as sanitised West coast production pop of the kind US FM radio is so enamoured with. Certainly all-girl groups of this particular genre never seem to make much of an impression over here, except it seems at this time of year. Predictions as to the future chart success of this one are divided but it is harmless and inoffensive enough to be an Easter hit.
No. 34: NEW ENTRY. Bananarama - More More More
Depending on which way you view the statistics, either Bananarama or the Supremes are the most successful all-girl group in British chart history. Lately the fortunes of the former appear to have been slipping. They split from the SAW production stable in 1990 to make records with trendy dance producer Youth which failed to inspire record sales of the sort they had been enjoying enjoying with Pete Waterman et al. Subsequently slimmed to a duo and back with Producers Stock and Waterman they try again, following up the Top 30 success last Autumn of Moving On with this, a fairly faithful cover of the Andrea True Connection dance classic which made No.5 in April 1976. With the 70s disco revival well underway it is a timely release and may yet see Sarah and Keren scaling the heights of Love In The First Degree again, surely amongst the greatest moments of 1980s pop.
No. 31: CLIMBER. Hot Chocolate - It Started With A Kiss
But not it seems ending with a repeat placing of its original Top 10 hit as the classic edges its way up slowly.
No. 26: NEW ENTRY. Alice In Chains - Them Bones
More Seattle rock, just in case anyone had dropped off to sleep again, unlikely to progress further after selling solidly to a fan base, but a healthy placing yet again for the band, following up the Top 20 success of Would? a few months ago.
No. 22: NEW ENTRY. Sybil - When I'm Good And Ready
What have the singer Sybil and rapper Ya Kid K got in common? The answer is both women have at one time or another achieved simultaneous chart records under two different billings. Early in 1990, Ya Kid K was the vocallist on both Technotronic's Get Up and Hi Tek 3s Spin That Wheel although the latter track did not actually make the Top 40 until it was reissued later that year. Sybil this week matches that feat easily with this new entry, her first solo Top 40 hit since Walk On By' in 1990, plus her current chart credit on West End's The Love I Lost which by a strange coincidence is one place above on the chart.
No. 20: FALLER. Madonna - Bad Girl
Down this week from its chart pea of No.10, making it the second lowest Madonna track ever and the first time she has had two consecutive records peak outside the Top 5 in the whole of her career. This 'failure' is however put in perspective as Bad Girl is still her 27th consecutive Top Ten hit - beating the record set by Cliff Richard in the 1960s.
No. 9: NEW ENTRY. Therapy? - ShortSharpShock (EP)
Last time I called a band 'underground' I got severely flamed so I will just content myself with describing Therapy? as a band with a large cult following who have yet again caused a chart upset by buying their bands record in such large numbers as to push it straught into the Top 10 on its first week of release, only to see it drop straight out again next week. Pretty much in a similar way to Iron Maiden's new entry last week which this week drops away to 19.
No. 8: CLIMBER. Snow - Informer
The track currently sitting atop the US Hot 100 makes rapid progress up the UK charts this week with a 16 place climb to make it the highest climber. Aside from the fact it is an enormously popular track it also has the added bonus fo coinciding with the biggest stream of ragga crossover hits the UK has seen for years and must surely be a contender
for No.1 within a week or two.
No. 4: CLIMBER. Right Said Fred and Friends - Stick It Out
Shifting up a gear this week following Comic Relief Day last Friday where the entire nation spent a day wearing plastic tomatoes on their noses and doing silly things all in the name of charity. All proceeds from the record go to Comic Relief but this is most probably the highest it will get as the joke quickly wears thin. Nonetheless, who could forget the band's performance on BBC TV on Friday night, with parody group Raw Sex ruining the performance to just the right extent...
No. 3: CLIMBER. Shabba Ranks - Mr Loverman
Proving that a compelling performance on Top Of The Pops can still do wonders for your record sales, Shabba Ranks achieves his biggest ever hit. It's a week of mixed fortunes for Shabba, though, as he finds himself dropped from Bobby Brown's US tour and publicly vilified after making several homophobic comments in public. Again though, a strong contender for No.1 next week, a far cry from the days when he was merely the added novelty on Scritti Politti's version of the Beatles' She's A Woman which represented his first ever chart appearance in this country.
No. 1: FIRST WEEK. Shaggy - Oh Carolina
Crossing over in the biggest way possible to reach the top in its 6th week on the chart, by todays standards a slow climb indeed. Oh Carolina thus becomes the first reggae chart topper since Aswad's Don't Turn Around in March 1988, unless you count Beats International's dub-reggae version of Just Be Good To Me which hit the top in February 1990. This week also ranks officially as the most successful week ever in the UK chart for reggae songs. Snow at 8, Shabba Ranks at 3 and Shaggy at 1 mark the first time ever there have been 3 reggae songs in the Top 10 and with all 3 registering healthy sales it is a situation that is unlikely to change in the next few weeks. [Next week they'd set an ever bigger benchmark].