Gosh, just how much excitement can you take? More chart history to be made this week in one of the most active charts for ages. A staggering (not to mention tiring on my fingers as I try to write something intelligent about each one) 15 new entries, 3 climbers and 6 non-movers.
No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Anthrax - Only
A band destined never to cross over fully yet nonetheless showing remarkable consistency in their chart history with a steady string of releases, all of which have made the Top 50. Only is unlikely to progress much further as by a strange twist of irony, their biggest hits tend to be quirky novelties - I'm The Man making No.20 in December 1987 and their biggest hit - the remake of Bring The Noise with Public Enemy peaking at No.14 in August 1991.
No. 38: NEW ENTRY. Wet Wet Wet - Blue For You/This Time (Live)
The Wets, as they are commonly known, are a band who have had in the past some of the luckiest escapes in chart history. Starting their career in 1987, they ended up labelled somewhat unfairly as a teen band and consequently after a string of Top Ten hits found their fortunes on the wane as the teenage audience drifted away. Early last year those fortunes reversed yet again as an adult audience realised that the Scottish foursome were actually rather good at their own brand of bluesy soul and sent Goodnight Girl and its accompanying album High On The Happy Side to No.1. This double-A sided single is a live recording of an old album track taken from their recent open-air concert with all proceeds going to the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy charity. It's not the first time they've recorded for charity either. A remake of With A Little Help From My Friends from the Sergeant Pepper Knew My Father project made No.1 for 4 weeks in May 1988 whilst in 1990 they released yet another Beatles cover in aid of charity - this time a live version of I Feel Fine from the John Lennon memorial concert.
No. 37: NEW ENTRY. Robert Plant - 29 Palms
Just in case anyone believed the constant rumours about Led Zeppelin reunions, former members come out in force with their own projects. Jimmy Page has just had a Top Ten album in collaboration with David Coverdale and now here is Percy with the first single from a forthcoming new album. Plant has shown remarkable consistency with single success, managing a hit exactly every 5 years. Big Log remains his biggest making No.11 in July 1983 whilst his last Top 40 appearance was with Heaven Knows which after an arduous climb from the lower reaches made No.33 in March 1988. 29 Palms by contrast goes straight in and will probably dive straight out again just as fast, despite being in all honesty a fairly unobjectionable record. Safe almost. Is this really the man who sang Stairway To Heaven?
No. 33: NEW ENTRY. Gary Moore - Parisienne Walkways '93
Ageing rocker time yet again. Gary Moore is currently up their with the greats having turned his back on commercial heavy metal in the last few years and rediscovered himself as a bluesman. Hence his latest live album of all his recent Blues hits plus this one, his debut 'solo' hit from 1979 (originally with ex-Lizzy bandmate Phil Lynott on vocals) which made No.8. The track will vanish without trace next week being a worldwide limited edition but it is good to see it return, being regarded as a classic and featuring a guitar melody that has to rank
alongside Shine On You Crazy Diamond as one of the most beautiful in rock. Moore must like it too, which explained his strange compulsion in 1990 to rewrite it as Still Got The Blues For You [they are NOTHING alike you ignoramus].
No. 32: NEW ENTRY. Lionrock - Packet Of Peace
This week's unknown dance crossover comes with a style not normally seen in the charts. A spoken-word-cum-rap tune a la Pet Shop Boys and normally touted round the underground by the likes of Momus. Lionrock achieve something Momus has never done though - a Top 40 hit.
No. 31: NEW ENTRY. Disney Cast - Jungle Book Groove
It turned out to be the genius move of the summer by Disney Studios. Reissuing the Jungle Book (coincidentally the first film I ever went to see as a child) and watching it take advantage of the sex-and-violence backlash currently sweeping Hollywood and shoot to the top of the box office charts. No hit would be without a single cash-in and so here it is, a danced-up medley of I Wanna Be Like You and Bare Neccessities from the soundtrack of the film. Strangely enough it is not the first time this has been done either. The UK Mixmasters took a
re-recorded yet almost identically arranged mix of the same songs to No.14 over Christmas 1991 in the form of the Bare Neccessities Megamix.
No. 27: NEW ENTRY. Sounds Of Blackness - I'm Going All The Way
A hit a year perhaps? Second hit for the multitude that is Sounds Of Blackness, the US gospel choir who make dance records - following the Top 30 success of Optimistic almost exactly a year ago.
No. 22: NEW ENTRY. Depeche Mode - Walking In My Shoes
Second hit from the Mode from the new album to follow up I Feel You which made the Top 10 less than 2 months ago. Depeche Mode singles releases follow a familiar pattern - massive hit with first track from album and then a string of middle-range hits which are bought by completest fans who just _have_ to have seven remixes of the same track. I went to school with many of them.
No. 20: NEW ENTRY. Kingmaker - Ten Years Asleep
Stabbing in the dark here I'd say this was the third Top 40 hit and second Top 20 entry from the band who this time last year were touted as the next big thing before being eclipsed by certain other indie proteges (mentioning no names lest I get mailbombed by too many sad gits as happened last week!) [one fun thing about these old columns is the use of online terminology that has passed into history in favour of other neologisms. Back in the day if you said something wrong you were "flamed" or to suffer a deluge of replies you were "mailbombed. These days it is all trolling and dogpiling."]. That hasn't stopped them making good records though, Ten Years Asleep peaking here most probably, just a few places behind Eat Yourself Whole which remains their biggest hit.
No. 16: NEW ENTRY. Rage Against The Machine - Bullet In The Head
Making a chart assault of Nirvana-like proportions come Rage Against The Machine with their second hit and one which instantly eclipses the Top 30 peak of Killing In The Name. With the current vibe surrounding them it will be interesting to see if this can climb or whether the high entry is due to the many fans they picked up last time around buying in bulk in the first week. Hey, even my sister (whose musical tastes normally run to REM and Simply Red) like them.
No. 15: NEW ENTRY. Shabba Ranks and Maxi Priest - Housecall
Clearly the record company have a fixed pattern as to just what tracks from the X-Tra Naked album can be singles. Following the astonishing commercial success of Mr Loverman (which is still selling and this week slides to No.30), Epic records reactivate this track which originally peaked at No.31 back in September 1991. Is Slow and Sexy next we ask ourselves?
No. 12: NEW ENTRY. Utah Saints - Believe In Me
Either they are a pair of lazy bastards or they know how to keep the public hungry for more. The two club DJs from my home town of Leeds return with their third hit in 18 months. Just like the other two which were both Top Ten hits, its a highly commercial fusion of rock and dance, using a sample from a pop classic as a hook. Their last hit Something Good almost exactly a year ago marked the first time Kate Bush had ever allowed her work to be sampled when they used the line from Cloudbusting as the title. This latest track samples You Gave Me Love from the Crown Heights Affair and also Love Action by the Human League from whence the title of the record comes. It is shaping up to be another massive hit from the pair who may eventually one day make an album. My own personal Utah Saints story is that Tim Garbutt once answered the phones for me whilst I was presenting a show on a community station in Harrogate in the summer of 1991. Not many people know that. [I dined out on that tale for far longer than it merited].
No. 6: CLIMBER. Inner Circle - Sweat (A La La La Long)
Not often I make a prediction that is right is it? A strong 14 place climb from the reactivated flop that may well keep up the momentum and go Top 3 but believe me the competition has never ever been so intense. Stand by for a unique occurrence in the UK charts:
No. 5: NEW ENTRY. Ace Of Base - All That She Wants
Nope, this is only part of it. Ace Of Base doing a Sub Sub if you like and making a stirring chart debut by being not only the current trendy dance hit but also a damn good pop tune and receiving a bucketload of radio airplay as a result. Only a handful of completely unknown acts have ever debuted as high as this.
No. 4: NEW ENTRY. 2 Unlimited - Tribal Dance
Just as 'No Limit' loses its crown as the bestselling single of the year so far 2 Unlimited return with another hit that sounds the same as all the others. It has to be said though that 6 hits in a row is not to be sniffed at, especially from an act which started out with an underground record that had to be released in this country by PWL International's Pete Waterman when he could find no other company willing to accept it. This isn't the chart history either BTW.
No. 2: NEW ENTRY. Janet Jackson - That's The Way Love Goes
This is. New entries inside the Top 10 are getting more and more common but are still and achievement. New entries inside the Top 5 are quite an event. To have 3 in the same week is totally unprecedented. Janet Jackson completes the hat trick with an entry that surprised many people. She has never been as popular over here as in America with all of the tracks from the Rhythm Nation album struggling somewhat with none climbing higher than No. 15. That's The Way Love Goes changes all that however, becoming her highest ever new entry and also her biggest hit ever, at a stroke beating the No.3 peaks of What Have You Done For Me Lately and Let's Wait A While. Under any normal circumstances you would expect any of the 3 high new entries to stand a chance of climbing to the top but the opposition they face is formidable.
No. 1: 2nd WEEK. George Michael and Queen - Five Live (EP)
First of all my craven apologies. The most significant statistical event in the UK charts since I started doing this and I cock it up. As was pointed out by many the last single to go straight in at No.1 was not Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are The Days Of Our Lives but Erasure's Abba-esque EP back in June last year. Nobody is perfect I suppose. Back to this record which by
making No.1 adds another notch to the achievements of all the artists involved. It's Michael's 5th No.1 hit and his 3rd in collaboration with other artists (the other 2 being Aretha
Franklin and Elton John of course). For Lisa Stansfield (who duets with George on These Are The Days Of Our Lives from the EP) its her second following All Around the World in October
1989. For Queen themselves its the 4th time they've hit the top to follow Innuendo and the double-whammy of Bo Rhap in 1975 and 1991 [*cough* Under Pressure *cough*]. Watch out next week as the Top 5 lockjam as the strong batch of new hits this week queue up unable to displace this EP