Despite a flurry of activity near the top the bottom end of the charts are deathly quiet this week, making for possibly one of the shortest pieces of work I've produced for several months. Before this paragraph is written the file only takes up just over 7K - call it my concession to bandwidth if you will. 9 new entries, 4 climbers and 2 non-movers make up the stats this week...
No. 33: NEW ENTRY. Des'ree - You Gotta Be
The first solo hit in a long while for Des'ree makes its debut on the Top 40 this week. Her only previous solo success was her debut hit Feel So High which made No.13 on its second release in January 1992. Follow-up hits to that missed the Top 40 completely but she did, of course, enjoy a further Top 20 hit when she duetted with Terence Trent D'Arby on Delicate in June last year.
No. 31: NEW ENTRY. Ice-T - Gotta Lotta Love
A second hit for Ice-T to follow That's How I'm Livin which managed to make No.21 over Christmas. The new single is more of the same type of hardcore rap, made slightly more interesting by his sampling of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells to use as a base for the track.
No. 25: CLIMBER. Toni Braxton - Another Sad Love Song
Another slow and sluggish week for newer hits, the biggest move being this five place climb by Toni Braxton.
No. 19: NEW ENTRY. Bitty McLean - Dedicated To The One I Love
After a lean stretch in the lower reaches, the action starts to hot up. First of all the fourth hit for Bitty McLean, on a roll after the No.10 success of Here I Stand back in January. The new hit returns to the theme of his first being a reggae-fied updating of a 1950s classic. Dedicated... was first recorded by the Shirelles, never charting here but making No.3 in America in 1961. The only previous hit version of the song was that recorded by the Mamas and the Papas who reached No.2 with their version in 1967.
No. 18: NEW ENTRY. Little Angels - Ten Miles High
The Little Angels have been billed as the Next Big Thing in British rock for so long now it comes as a surprise to relate that they have now notched up 10 Top 40 hits. As far as the record company is concerned that is enough to justify a Greatest Hits collection and with it a new single, typifying why they are the critics' darlings but have yet to have a really major hit. That said, Ten Miles High becomes their second biggest hit ever, trailing behind the No.12 peak of Womankind from January 1993.
No. 13: NEW ENTRY. Tony Di Bart - The Real Thing
Possibly the most startling new arrival this week is this one, the unknown Tony Di Bart smashing straight in with his debut hit, a pleasant, poppy piece of soul far removed from the kind of hardcore dance that usually makes surprise entries in this manner.
No. 12: FALLER. Haddaway - Rock My Heart
Haddaway slipping slightly. Unless he turns around next week this will be his first hit to miss the Top 10.
No. 11: NEW ENTRY. Paul Weller - Hung Up
It says a lot for Paul Weller that a group of tracks recorded as an afterthought can sound as good as this. Hung Up is released to coincide with a tour by the man himself and is a completely new track, not included on last years album. That said it sounds pretty much like the three Top 20 hit singles from it and almost begs comparison with Bruce Springsteen for its brooding nature. No.11 makes it Paul Weller's biggest solo hit ever and the closest he has come to a Top 10 placing since the Style Council's It Didn't Matter in January 1987.
No. 4: NEW ENTRY. Prince - The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
What do Prince and Chris Rea have in common? Answer: they both keep delivering material before their record companies are ready for them. Last Autumn's Greatest Hits albums are still selling well so when Prince presented this gorgeous ballad to Warners they declined to release it at once, prompting him to issue it himself on his own record label. The result is an instant smash with probably his most MOR recording since Diamonds and Pearls proving that behind all the raunch and funk lies a soul talent that is second to none. It's Prince's 14th Top 10 hit in all and his highest new entry since Batdance smashed straight in at No.3 in June 1989. The obvious commercial potential of the song makes it a contender for No.1 next week, a position he has never managed in the UK despite both Sinead O'Connor and Chaka Khan taking his songs to the summit in the past.
No. 1: NEW ENTRY/FIRST WEEK. Take That - Everything Changes
'You can whisper it in hushed tones or shout it from the rooftops but the achievement is so great it cannot be understated' I wrote back at Christmas when Babe became the third Take That single in a row to go straight in at No.1. Well, the same applies once again as the title track of last year's album becomes the group's fourth No.1 hit, following the same course as the other three and outselling every other single in the land first week out. That alone will see the boys go down in the record books for all time. No other act ever has had four singles go straight to the Top. Slade and the Jam managed it three times whilst Elvis and Queen have done it twice. Prospects for the single next week though look interesting, the track itself being typical of the band, a pop-tinged slice of 70s disco soul but likely only to sell in large numbers to their vocal horde of fans, most of whom will have bought the single this week or will already have it on the album. The major selling point of the single is the inclusion on the b-side of the medley of Beatles tracks the band stole the show with at the Brit awards ceremony in February but this in itself may not be enough to hold off the challenge of Prince next week. [A detail which wasn't that relevant at the time, but this track is notably the first ever Robbie Williams lead vocal to top the charts, and indeed the only Take That single on which he sang to do so].