The summer is now over. This is witnessed by the overall downward trend of the chart this week as a further string of new releases starts to displace the summer set - a group of the longest-charting singles seen for at least three years. As an example of this: records by Aswad (just gone) ,The Grid, BC-52s, All-4-One, Let Loose, Youssou N'Dour and Wet Wet Wet have all spent at least 10 weeks in the Top 40. Two years ago you would have been hard pressed to find a Top 40 single with a life longer than 7 or 8 weeks at the very most. This week sees 12 new entries, 5 climbers and 1 (*sigh*) non-mover.
No. 36: NEW ENTRY. Clock - Keep The Fires Burning
Another swathe of dance hits invades parts of the chart this week, starting off with this track, the second recent hit in recent months for Clock, following on from The Rhythm which reached No.28 back in May.
No. 34: NEW ENTRY. Shara Nelson - Inside Out/Down That Road
Just over a year since her first solo hit, Shara Nelson makes the Top 40 for a fourth time. Nothing that has gone before though could have prepared you for this. Easily the most outstanding track from her album, Inside Out goes back to basics featuring just her voice accompanied by a pedal steel guitar, both swathed in echo as if playing in an empty hall. The result is the most heartbreakingly beautiful record you are likely to hear all year and tragically this may be as far as it gets. The single is given a bit of a boost by a set of remixes of her first hit Down That Road which reached No.19 in July 1993.
No. 30: NEW ENTRY. Prince - Letitgo
With the album Come having charged straight into the Top 10 and then straight out again it is perhaps not a total surprise that Prince's first single since The Most Beautiful Girl fails to impress first week out. A fairly nondescript piece of Prince funk, it shows that despite a No.1 hit his performance both on record and in the charts can be as erratic as ever.
No. 27: NEW ENTRY. Rollins Band - Liar/Disconnect
Eyebrows hiked to the ceiling all round as Henry Rollins, for years respected as a live draw and albums seller, has his first ever Top 40 hit single. He has charted more minor hits in the past though, most notably Tearing which made No.54 in September 1992.
No. 26: NEW ENTRY. D:Ream - Blame It On Me
D:Ream began the year with a No.1 hit and have carried on in strength ever since. Blame It On Me follows up June's Take Me Away to become their fourth hit of the year and their sixth hit single in total. The new single clams things down a little from the rampant dance pop of their previous hits with an almost gospelly [that's not even a word] ballad which may well under-perform in the charts, despite being another example of a song well sung. The band have a far better ballad in their repertoire, in the form of the George Michael-styled Star which made the Top 30 exactly a year ago.
No. 23: NEW ENTRY. Pop Will Eat Itself - Everything's Cool?
Wolverhampton's finest score a second hit this year to follow Ich Bin Ein Auslander which made No.28 back in March. For a band who have never really broken beyond a dedicated fan following they have achieved remarkable chart consistency. This is their ninth Top 30 hit.
No. 19: NEW ENTRY. Blondie - Atomic
Released, it seems, for the sheer hell of it [actually to promote a hits collection The Platinum Collection and which would inspire a rather poorly received remix album the following year], or maybe to remind the currently label-less Debbie Harry what she was once capable of achieving. Atomic came at the height of Blondie's success and was the third of their five UK No.1 hits, hitting the summit in March 1980. This time around it is subjected to the obligatory remix, not that it needed it but nor is it spoiled by the addition of up-to-date dance beats. This isn't the first time that old Blondie tracks have been remixed. Back in 1988 a whole album of them was released but despite the presence of a number of big names of the time they were all pretty dire - as witnessed by Danny D's massacre of Denis which could only stagger to No.50 as a single in December 1988.
No. 16: NEW ENTRY. Wonder Stuff - Unbearable
The demise of a well respected band is always a good chance for reflection on a consistent career and this is now the fate of the recently dissolved Wonder Stuff. Unbearable is a timely re-release of one of their very earliest singles from 1987, back when they were mere indie rockers with an ear for a proper song and a far cry from the fiddles and banjos of Size Of A Cow. Despite never charting before Unbearable is still an instantly recognised classic - with a chorus line of 'Didn'tlikeyouverymuchwhenImetyou' could it be anything else?
No. 13: NEW ENTRY. Pet Shop Boys - Yesterday, When I Was Mad
Seemingly effortlessly Tennant and Lowe notch up another Top 20 hit, their second this year and one place above the No.14 peak of Liberation back in April. It heralds their new album Disco 2 featuring several tracks from Very in a non-stop remix. That in itself, plus the self-deprecating "Darling you were wonderful, you really were quite good..." spoken introduction is enough to give them a hit, but even so the song is Pet Shop Boys by numbers, and they have produced far better in the past.
No. 11: RE-ENTRY. M-Beat featuring General Levy - Incredible
To be trendy at the moment you have to be into Jungle House, the latest underground dance movement to emerge to dominate dance floors. Combining ragga rhythms with hardcore rave beats may not be everyone's cup of tea but the records are now gaining commercial release and starting to appear above ground. Incredible was the first of these and on its first release made No.39 briefly back in June. Three months later and the record has grown bigger and explodes straight into the Top 20 on a second release.
No. 9: NEW ENTRY. Corona - Rhythm Of The Night
More conventional dance though just has the edge for the moment, no relation to the deBarge hit from 1985, Corona smash into a startlingly active Top 10.
No. 2: NEW ENTRY. Kylie Minogue - Confide In Me
So near... so near. Arguably the biggest star ever created by Stock, Aitken and Waterman, Kylie Minogue virtually dominated the pop market at the end of the 1980s with a string of Top 10 hits, a 100% Top 20 strike rate and four No.1 hits to her credit. Now comes the crunch as she signs to a new label and after an 18 month absence attempts to win a new, more credible audience. Seemingly without effort she seems to have done it too, with reviewers falling over themselves to praise this exotic, string-laden single produced by DeConstruction [no, RELEASED by them, actually produced by Brothers In Rhythm]. Good, but not good enough it seems to break a jinx that has struck her entire chart career. New Kylie singles have always been an event big enough to give her a huge hit first week out, but she has never had a single go straight in to No.1, despite a number of near misses. Incredibly this is her seventh single to go straight in at No.2. Not that she should complain though, Confide In Me is her biggest hit since Give Me Just A Little More Time also made No.2 in February 1992 and another No.1 hit could well be on the cards.
No. 1: FIFTEENTH WEEK. Wet Wet Wet - Love Is All Around
[And now the bit that made this chart famous as Wet Wet Wet roll the dice and do something extraordinary with an already extraordinary chart single] Fifteen weeks and seemingly no end in sight, but for a series of rumours flying around the industry and stirring up a mini controversy. As I write this Polygram records has denied the rumours that it is going to withdraw all current copies of the single from the shops, but confirmed that from today (Tuesday) no more copies will be pressed - the single is being deleted. Singles which have overstayed their welcome in the eyes of the record companies have been deleted before, but never has such a step been taken on behalf of such a potentially record-breaking single. The reasoning behind it is perfectly clear - with no single available people will be forced to buy the film soundtrack album instead - also on Polygram records. It's a disgraceful, cynical move that effectively holds the public in contempt - removing from circulation a single that has moved a nation and brought people into record shops during a normally flat sales period - all for the sake of making a few extra quid. Anyway, I digress. The net result of all this will be that the band will struggle to hold on for another week next week and will certainly vanish from the charts completely within a fortnight. We may never know just how many it could have sold...