What to make of this week then... a flood of new hits by artists with hits to their name already this year, re-releases of previous minor hits becoming the biggest hit of the week and a new entry for the greatest band of all time... Life is never boring in these parts I promise you... 15 new entries, just 3 climbers and 1 non-mover.
No. 40: (44) Queensryche - Bridge
Edging its way in to start the countdown this week, the second hit of the year from Queensryche, hot on the heels of I Am I which coincidentally made No.40 also back in January.
No. 37: (--) DJ Scott featuring Lorna B - Sweet Dreams
Coincidences abount with the entry one place below Annie Lennox of a 1990s reworking of one of her very first hits. DJ Scott follows up January's Do You Wanna Party with a remake of the Eurythmics 1983 No.2 hit. The original was of course a classic piece of synthesised pop and most certainly a record of its age. The new version quite skilfully retains the best bits of the original yet somehow still manages to make it a dance record for 1995. Maybe not a major hit, but following as it does on the heels of Apollo 440s The Reaper it is possible to speculate that dance producers have at last found the plot of how not to ruin classic records. We live in hope.
No. 33: (--) Van Halen - Can't Stop Loving You
Three new hits already and all of them the second hit of the year for their respective acts. Van Halen follow up January's Top 30 hit Don't Tell Me with another piece of laid-back soft metal, the sort of the track that picks up copious radio play (as this has been doing) yet never appeals to record buyers as much as it would have done, say 10 years ago.
No. 31: (--) Anticapella - Express Yourself
More dance, this time in the shape of Hi-NRG outfit Anticappella with their first Top 40 entry since June 1994 when Move Your Body made No.21. It's only the third Top 40 hit for the Anglo/Italian outfit, their other chart hit coming in November 1991 when 2/SQR(231) [in text based times that was literally the only way to render that title] made No.24.
No. 29: (--) Massive Attack - Karmacoma EP
A third hit in recent months for Massive Attack, attracting critical plaudits for their current album but so far rather indifferent sales, a pity in a way as they are turning out some gorgeous music at the moment. The Karmacoma EP follows hot on the heels of January's No.14 hit Protection which featured Tracey Thorn on vocals and came complete with an innovative gravity-defying video which was filmed entirely in one continuous take.
No. 27: (--) Reel 2 Real - Conway
Effectively the 2 Unlimited of ragga, Reel 2 Real notch up their Fifth hit inside the last year, although their first to chart outside the Top 20. They first hit in February 1994 with I Like To Move It which hung around for months and fast became one of the biggest hits of the year. Three more Top 20 hits followed, all sounding pretty much the same as the others before the team rounded off the year by producing Zig and Zag's Christmas Top 10 hit Them Girls Them Girls. [Totally 100% true that and a detail oddly missing from online discographies of Erick Morillo's work].
No. 25: (--) Shut Up And Dance - Save It Til The Morning After
Strange though it may seem with every week seeing a new faceless dance act charge into the lower reaches of the chart, the dance scene does still have its hidden stars. None more so than the production team Shut Up and Dance who since 1990 have turned out a string of underground hits on their own eponymously named record label. Save It Til The Morning After is probably the second most commercial single they have ever released, a well-crafted rap treatment of Duran Duran's classic Save A Prayer which made No.2 in September 1982 and could well climb to become a substantial hit. Playfully remaking other artist's songs can be perilous though as the group have found to their cost in the past. One of the biggest white label smashes of early 1992 was their remake of Marc Cohn's Walking In Memphis which came complete with new lyrics and a new title turning it into a celebration of the ravers life - Raving I'm Raving. Unfortunately Marc Cohn heard the track just before it was due to be released and took umbrage, in all fairness possibly due to a simple misinterpretation of the connotations of the title ('Raving' meaning something totally different in America). He obtained an injunction preventing the release of the single which sent a wave of panic across the people behind the label as to destroy all the copies that had been manufactured would effectively bankrupt the tiny label. After much negotiation the artist relented, save for insisting that all monies went to charity and that only copies already pressed could be sold on to the public. Partly because of the hype and partly because of the rarity of the track, Raving I'm Raving was released in May 1992. It went straight in at No.2, fell to No.15 a week later and was nowhere the following week - the most spectacular in-and-out performance the chart has ever seen.
No. 24: (--) Ultimate Kaos - Show A Little Love
You are hard pressed this week to find an act on the chart that hasn't charted already this year. The British kiddies band notch up their third hit, coincidentally a few places behind their immediate American counterparts. It follows hot on the heels of Some Girls which made No.9 last November and Hoochie Bootie which reached No.17 in January. The new single moves back to the bubblegum sound of their first hit with possibly more commercial appeal.
No. 21: (--) Brownstone - If You Love Me
Apparently sweeping all before them on the US chart at the moment, the young group who are proteges of none other than Michael Jackson [a connection which was played up for more than it was. They were the one and only hit signings to his MJJ Music vanity label but had to repeatedly point out that they hadn't even met the boss up to this point] make their British chart debut. If anything it is slightly better than the average US pop fare that finds its way across the Atlantic these days and further progress is certainly possible.
No. 20: (--) Snap featuring Summer - The First The Last Eternity
Snap have undergone something of a metamorphosis since the hard-edged days of Turbo B and have reinvented themselves as mellow trance-pop specialists. The change had been heralded with singles such as Exterminate and Do You See The Light in 1993 before coming to fruition last summer with Welcome To Tomorrow which despite a slow climb at first eventually made No.6. Their first hit since is more of the same really, new vocalist Summer dreaming her way through a pleasant enough song to give the group their 10th Top 20 hit since 1990.
No. 19: (--) NPG - Get Wild!
Hot on the heels of the Purple Medley - a record guaranteed to annoy Prince, comes a record guaranteed to annoy his estranged record company Warners... NPG are of course the New Power Generation, Prince's backing band releasing here their debut single in their own name on their own record label. What has caused umbrage is the presence of a 'guest vocalist' on the track who has actively helped to promote the single all over the world. A Prince record in all but name, Get Wild! is probably one of the rockiest singles he has released for ages yet with its funk roots clearly visible. The hype alone may have helped it reach this position though...
No. 17: (--) JX - You Belong To Me
JX score their second hit exactly a year to the week since their first, Son Of A Gun which made No.13.
No. 16: (12) Rednex - Old Pop In An Oak
A smash all over the continent yet Rednex's second hit stalls slightly over here. America be warned - Cotton Eye Joe has been picked up for release over there, which had my Programme Director speculating whether it would be played by C&W stations...
No. 10: (11) East 17 - Let It Rain
East 17 ease themselves upwards to ensure that all four singles from their current album have been Top 10 hits. Incredibly enough this is the first record on the chart to climb this week.
No. 7: (--) Beatles - Baby It's You
Well. Where to begin? It is hard to be nonchalant about the presence in the Top 10 once again of the biggest rock band the world has ever seen. A multitude of statistics can be spouted over the achievements of Liverpool's favourite four sons, the 'Four Lads Who Shook The World' as the statue famously states, most of which seem irrelevant next to the music. This new single is taken from the album of previously unreleased live session tracks recorded for the BBC in the early 1960s. No singles were ever planned for release but 'public demand' has prompted this turnaround and so their version of Baby It's You lands with a smash to give them their first Top 40 hit since a re-release of From Me To You reached No.40 in 1983. The song was first recorded by the Shirelles in 1962 but the song had to wait until 1964 before Dave Berry made it a hit, taking it to No.24. To have the Beatles back in the chart after all this time of course creates several new records worth commenting on. It's the first 'new' single release from the band since a Beatles Movie Medley made No.10 in 1982, or if you prefer, since Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released as a single and made No.63 in October 1978. When this was released, speculation was rife that the track would be an instant No.1. The reality falls a little way short of this, keeping intact one of the more romantic ties in chart history with the Beatles and Elvis Presley each topping the list of most No.1s with 17 each. In all this is their 26th Top 10 hit but that still puts them behind Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley, Madonna and Michael Jackson. Exactly where this track will go next week is open to question... I suspect its appeal will be limited to nostalgists only and its chart life will be short. Nonetheless it is unlikely that there will ever be a record charted by a band with this kind of pedigree. There is a generation in danger of growing up unaware of what the Beatles achieved in their time - maybe this will prompt their education.
No. 6: (RE) Strike - U Sure Do
The old record company excuse of 'public demand' comes into play once more for the two biggest hits of the week. First of all Strike and their dance hit based around Donna Allen's 1987 club classic Serious. The track was first commercially released just before Christmas but could only make No.31. It refused to die in the clubs though, and now with a new set of mixes lands straight into the Top 10 to become yet another commercial dance smash...
No. 5: (RE) Bobby Brown - Two Can Play That Game
It's a similar kind of story for Bobby Brown. Two Can Play That Game was first released in June 1994 where it staggered to No.38 before vanishing a week later. Now the track is back, drastically remixed by K-Klass to become a record that towers head and shoulders over the original mix [there was a tiny bit of spin going on at the time, portraying this sensational return as a brand new sound for the track. In actual fact the K-Klass remix was the version released in 1994 as well. But it was so good it deserved a second chance]. Whereas the original album track was a fairly average piece of swingbeat, K-Klass' reworking transforms it into one of the more brilliant pop hits of recent months. It marks a total turnaround in the career of Bobby Brown who has struggled somewhat recently. His highest new entry ever becomes his first Top 10 hit since 'On Our Own' made No.4 in July 1989. He has had hit singles since but none have come even close to this. Not a No.1 but almost certainly Top 3 next week.
No. 3: ( 6) Wet Wet Wet - Julia Says
A climb for Wet Wet Wet to give them their fourth Top 3 hit - the other 3 were all No.1s.
No. 1: ( 2) FIRST WEEK. Outhere Brothers - Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)
The hype over comic relief done with, Love Can Build A Bridge succumbs easily to the challenge of the Outhere Brothers, complete with 'Arse-on-face' lyrics yet a nagging feeling the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek. They are actually the fifth set of 'Brothers' to make No.1 in the UK following in the footsteps of families of Johnstones, Everlys, Righteous and Walkers. Ironically only Don and Phil Everly were actually related. A question mark now must hang over the record now. I suspect their tenure at the top may be as short lived as its predecessors.... Howard, Mark, Jason, Robbie and Gary are about to invade once more.