This week's Official UK Singles Chart
1 NEVER FORGET (Take That)
Predictably enough, the four lads remain on top for a second week, holding off the still impressive challenge from the Outhere Brothers below them. Whilst any new Take That release is liable to generate substantial press interest, this particular track generated more than most, owing to the announcement a few weeks beforehand that Robbie Williams was to leave the band. Despite arguably making one of the smallest musical contributions to the band, Williams was one of its biggest personalities, dominating interviews and TV appearances and the target for screaming adulation from the group's pre-teen fans. Last month he apparently felt the confines of the band were restricting him too much and he tendered his resignation, just weeks before the release of the new single and the start of the group's new UK tour. The resultant media circus possibly blew the whole affair out of all proportion but the departure of one of their members certainly focused attention on the source of the groups' popularity - whether it is the people or the music. If nothing else it certainly gave the Take That entourage a few logistical headaches to sort out with new dance routines to be learned for both the tour and single promotion plus addressing the question of performing tracks such as Everything Changes and Could It Be Magic on which Robbie took lead vocals. His voice also features on the bridge of Never Forget, but despite press reports to the contrary the single as available in the shops was not re-edited (to do so would have been impossible to do in the timescale and would have exaggerated the value of the not-for-resale promotional copies which radio had been serviced with over a month ago). An edited recording does exist though and it is this to which the group have been performing on TV shows. Ultimately I would suggest that the loss of Robbie is unlikely to either hasten or delay the eventual decline of Take That. To lose a band member in such public circumstances is not without precedent either, back in 1976 Alan Longmuir left the Bay City Rollers to an almost identical tearful reaction from the group's female fans.
3 SO GOOD (Boyzone)
Whilst Take That languish at the top, their nearest rivals in terms of teen adulation crash in to become the biggest new hit of the week. Boyzone were manufactured from the very beginning and no secret is made of it - the Irish teenagers were all recruited at specifically held auditions but this fact has not harmed their success at all. So Good is now their third Top 3 hit in a row, following their version of Love Me For A Reason last Christmas and Key To My Life back in May. So Good finally moves them away from the pretty balladeering style of the last two singles and into a more uptempo pop groove. It is a competent enough single that sounds great on the radio in the sunshine yet somehow there is a magic missing that is present in most Take That singles which makes So Good a fine pop single yet somehow unremarkable.
7 I'M ONLY SLEEPING/OFF ON HOLIDAY (Suggs)
Suggs this week follows the lead of Edwyn Collins and becomes the second lead singer of a legendary early-1980s band to belatedly pursue a solo career. The former Madness singer claims his forthcoming solo album is being made simply to improve the health of his own finances but in reality it was a concept too delicious to resist. The first single explodes onto the chart following extensive radio support over the last few weeks. Covering a Lennon/McCartney song is something that requires thought and care and so rather than pick one of the more famous classics Suggs has covered the little known album track I'm Only Sleeping for this gentle ska hit. The track returns Suggs to the Top Ten for the first time since the re-released It Must Be Love made No.6 for Madness in 1992, which in itself was the first time Madness had made the Top Ten since The Sun And The Rain reached No.5 in November 1993.
10 DON'T YOU WANT ME (Felix)
If this goes on you will soon be pressed to find a 90s dance hit that has not been a hit twice over. Felix's Don't You Want Me started life at the start of the decade as an underground club hit, featuring the minimalist Italia House Piano sound that was so popular at the time. It was Rollo Armstrong who picked up on the track in 1992 and remixed it in a harder style and it was this new version that exploded from the clubs and into the charts to become one of the more enduring dance hits of that summer, making No.6 in early September. Three years later the current craze of rediscovery picks up on the track and it reappears with a brand new set of remixes to make the Top Ten for the second time. This could well turn out to be just the tip of the iceberg as well, JXs Son Of A Gun is re-released this week with a '95 mix of Expansions' Elevation to follow a week later.
11 GIRL FROM MARS (Ash)
Whilst it would not be unfair to say that BBC Radio One is not the force it once was, its power for breaking new bands still exists as demonstrated by the success of this track. Despite being one of the 'next big things' that are forever being touted by the Inky music press, Ash are all just 18 years old and have until now had no Top 40 pedigree at all but this has not stopped several DJs on the station from pushing the single heavily and it results in Girl From Mars making an impressive debut inside the Top 20. Good though it is, the track is far from commercial enough to justify a long stay in the upper reaches but is at least destined for partial immortality owing to the presence on the flip side of the band's manic version of Cantina Band from John Williams' soundtrack to 'Star Wars' which really has to be heard to be believed.
12 HOPE ST. (Levellers)
A return to the chart after an absence of a year for the Levellers, possibly the only folk band ever to achieve massive commercial success. The Brighton band are renowned for touring almost constantly and in doing so have built up a massive following, especially amongst students, which ensures that every single they release is guaranteed a good chart placing. Hope Street is typical of much of their recent output, commercial enough to sell as a pop single yet devoid of almost all production which means it will sound just as good on stage which is really the band's natural home. Number 12 is likely to be the single's peak which will once again leave the band frustratingly short of a Top Ten placing. Their last four singles have all crashed straight into the Top 20 but the biggest has been 1992s 15 Years EP which peaked at No.11.
14 '74-'75 (Connells)
Frantic promotion can do wonders for the success of a single, as witness by the arrival this week of the Connells, a band with little previous exposure or attention yet whose video has found itself onto virtually every relevant TV show over the last few weeks. Add to this slight but unspectacular radio support and a hit single is created for this gently strummed song to give the Connells their first ever hit single.
18 WHEN I CALL YOUR NAME (Mary Kiani)
It is a week for new artists it seems, Mary Kiani's first ever Top 40 hit lands in the Top 20 with ease following extensive local radio support for this pleasant, summery pop single and which could well do better than many of the new hits above it and actually climb next week.
20 RIDICULOUS THOUGHTS (Cranberries)
As well as their own record sales, REMs recent concert dates in Europe have brought new chart success to many of their support acts of which the Cranberries were one. With their recent performance at Milton Keynes Bowl broadcast live on the radio as an added fillip, the Cranberries score their second hit single of the year and score what is only their third Top 20 hit. Their last single to gain such heights was Zombie last December which coincidentally languishes at No.32 this week courtesy of ADAM featuring Amy's dance version.
24 TRY TRY TRY (Julian Cope)
Regarded by most as one of pop's eccentrics, Julian Cope has managed a fairly respectable chart career since his early days in the Teardrop Explodes. Whilst the Teardrop Explodes are famous for 1) releasing Reward and 2) being managed by Bill Drummond of the KLF, Julian Cope seems to be famous just for being himself. Whilst his singles have never exactly set the charts on fire, all new releases from him are eagerly awaited and his forthcoming new album is no exception. Try Try Try becomes his first chart hit since 1992 and his first Top 40 entry since Beautiful Love made No.32 in February 1991. Try Try Try has at a stroke managed to become his second biggest solo hit ever, just five places behind the peak of the enduring World Shut Your Mouth in September 1986. Interestingly he is the fourth male soloist on the chart this week to be the former lead singer of a famous band from the 1980s, his presence complemented by Suggs, Edwyn Collins and Paul Weller.
28 HOOKED (99th Floor Elevators featuring Tony De Vit)
As the bottom end of the chart approaches the small dance hits start to appear. Crossing over as a result of massive club success recently is this hit starring Tony De Vit, the latest celebrated mixer to put his name to a commercial hit single.
30 HEAVEN HELP MY HEART (Tina Arena)
Crunch time for Tina Arena as she attempts to follow up the massive Top Ten success of Chains earlier this year. She will struggle to do so with this new single which is just as competently made and sung yet lacking either the strength or the novelty of her earlier hit. By no means an unpleasant track, just a bit bland as evidenced by the reaction of Radio One Breakfast DJ Chris Evans who played a minute of the track on his show, complained it was more suited to easy-listening Radio Two and so had one of his team run over the road to present the single to Terry Wogan who was on air on the station at the time.
37 BEAUTIFUL IN MY EYES (Joshua Kadison)
A similar story for Joshua Kadison who finally had a hit at the fourth attempt with Jessie earlier this year. Now he is attempting to build a career on that success, which is possible although he is likely to sell more albums than singles. Nonetheless he scores a second Top 40 hit with this track, a re-release of a single which reached No.65 in November last year.
40 YOU OUGHTA KNOW (Alanis Morissette)
For the second week running the Top 40 sees a single climb into it from lower down the chart. The record to do so this week is this debut hit for Alanis Morissette with this rather quirky half-sung half-spoken track, notable if only for being one of a growing number of hits to come from Madonna's Maverick record label. [Yeah, it would become a little more notable than that, but her days of stardom were still a few months away].