1 NEVER FORGET (Take That)
Still holding all the competition to ransom, Take That spend a third week at the top of the charts. For all their success, they are one of those bands whose sales are compressed into such a short space of time that even their Number One hits never actually stay in pole position for very long. Of all their seven chart-toppers, only Pray and Back For Good have spent longer than 3 weeks at the very top. As to whether Never Forget can join both of these and manage a fourth, well, this is the most interesting of all. Monday August 14th 1995 has come to be known as "Manic Monday" amongst both labels and retailers alike over the past few weeks. Last month when the release schedules for the middle of August began to be put together it was quickly noticed that a larger than normal number of singles by major artists were down to be released on the 14th. Despite the frantic rescheduling of one or two of those singles, most notably those by Madonna and Michael Jackson, this week will still see the release of new singles from artists such as Bjork, Real McCoy, Clock, Michelle Gayle and most importantly of all Blur and Oasis. It is these last two that will present Take That with their biggest challenge of all as the two biggest rock bands in the country go head to head with releases for the first time ever. Blur's new single Country House is the first release from a long-awaited new album whilst Oasis' Roll With It is another single from their still-to-be-released second album and follows the instant Number One success of Some Might Say earlier this year. You don't need me to tell you what that means for their potential chart positions...
2 I LUV U BABY (The Original)
Most weeks the bottom end of the UK Top 40 is filled with at least one or two semi-anonymous dance records, about which I am faced with the need to write something coherent. Recently this has merely involved speculating, not on the likely progress of the record up the chart, but whether it will reappear at a later date to become a smash hit. Now this little joke could be seen as being smug, condescending or at best a little repetitive but for the one simple fact that I am not kidding! Here is your proof. I Luv U Baby was first released back in January after reasonably good club success over the Christmas period. It made a brief appearance at No.31 before vanishing from the charts. Seven months later and here comes the single again, demand buoyed up by continuous dancefloor play causing it this time to smash straight in to Number 2 and adding itself to the long list of chart singles this year which have found renewed success on their second Top 40 outing - and there is still another to come lower down.
4 WATERFALLS (TLC)
Aside from the new entries, TLC's US Number One hit is the only upwardly mobile record in the whole of the Top 20 and is now far and away their biggest hit single ever.
6 SON OF A GUN (JX)
The dance music time machine swings into action once more and whisks us back to April 1994 when producer Jake Williams created this bubbling synthesised dance hit. The track turned out to be quite popular and reached No.13. Clearly that was not enough. Back now to the present day then, and out comes the track again to beat by seven places its original peak from almost 18 months ago. Nobody has yet given a satisfactory explanation as to why this year should have seen so many previous chart hits being resurrected. As I have said before, the re-release of classic hits for a new generation to enjoy is nothing new but for so many singles to be resurrected within 1-2 years whilst they still remain part of the consciousness of the present breed of record buyers is quite unprecedented.
13 ON THE BIBLE (Deuce)
Deuce are a strange concept. A two-boy two-girl pop group, too old and not cute enough to be genuine teen idols, making records too Euro-pop sounding to be considered proper British pop and too tacky to have genuine trendy dancefloor appeal. That has not stopped them gradually worming their way into public consciousness since the start of this year beginning with their first hit Call It Love which reached No.11 in February. They then followed it with an attempt to represent Britain at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. They did not win through to the contest itself but their song still became a chart hit in its own right - I Need You reaching No.10 in April. Now comes their third hit, a track which if anything drags them further away from pop mainstream and into the realms of something altogether more camp. On The Bible is the kind of overblown Euo-dance epic that used to fill continental discos around ten years ago but which has neither dancefloor appeal over here, nor any guarantee of appealing to the tastes of radio programmers and record buyers. Don't interpret this as criticism, it is a fantastic pop record - hence its chart position, but exactly who are they being marketed to?
15 DESTINATION ESCHCATON (Shamen)
Trust me, the title is as hard to say on the radio as it is to spell. This is the first new single in a long while from the Shamen. After years on the periphery of the mainstream and after passing through several incarnations the band fronted by Colin Angus and rapper Mr C carved their own niche in chart history in 1992. Following the summer hit Love Sex Intelligence they released Ebeneezer Goode, a cheeky rap ostensibly about characters they knew from the club scene but which incurred the wrath of the tabloid press and the Radio Authority with its 'Eezer Goode, E's are good' chorus. The single reached No.1 but is seldom played anywhere these days. The string of singles from the Boss Drum album culminated in the release for one day only of Re:Evolution which was little more than 8 minutes of a sermon by New Age guru Terence McKenna - it reached No.18. With a pedigree like that behind them anything the band does is likely to attract attention. Having said all of this, the new single is nothing exciting. No gimmick, no novelty, just the same kind of commercially aware dance music with a chorus to die for and an appeal that stretches far beyond the clubs. I suppose again, one cannot criticise such a well made single but merely question whether the band can go on turning out singles like this for much longer. No.15 first week out is respectable enough and it gives them their 8th Top 20 hit in a row, but the single may not progress much further.
18 FREEDOM (Shiva)
ffrr records were proud of their discovery of Shiva. Two brilliant dance songwriters coupled with 24-year old Louise Dean, a singer with an astonishingly powerful voice and looks to die for. I met her once when they were promoting their first hit Work It Out and she came across as a lovely person, quite unaffected by the talk of stardom that everyone said was about to befall her. All of that changed on June 18th when Louise was hit by a van whilst crossing the road near her home in Huddersfield and died shortly afterwards. At the time Freedom was already going down a storm in the clubs but the record company immediately shelved the commercial release of the single only to reinstate it at the express request of Louise's family in order that it might stand as a tribute to her talents. So here it is, an uptempo dance track sung in such a powerful manner that impartial appreciation of it impossible when faced with the overwhelming thought of what if...
20 PUSH (Moist)
The third new entry of the week to be a re-release of a recent hit only this time not from the world of dance. The Canadian rock band have been pushing (if you'll pardon the pun) for success over here for a while now. So far they have met with a muted response, despite the popularity of Push which made No.35 when first released over here in November 1994. Now in the summer of 1995 it makes a welcome return, beating by a full 15 places its peak from first time round - but will this be the launchpad to a successful chart career at long last?
22 YOU OUGHTA KNOW (Alanis Morissette)
The impressive upward mobility of this track continues. Not content with vaulting into the Top 40 from the lower reaches of the chart last week, Alanis Morrissette continues the chart with an impressive 18 place climb. A few years ago climbs of this magnitude were not uncommon, although no less impressive. In recent years though, the trend has been towards the smaller climb. The only record recently to make a similar climb was Bill Whelan's Riverdance which climbed 17 places at Christmas and this is the biggest climb within the Top 40 since the Bee Gees leaped 25 places with For Whom The Bell Tolls in December 1993.
24 I'M YOUR MAN (Lisa Moorish)
Here is one lady who has been groomed for stardom for a long long time. Over the past five years or so she has released a number of singles, some as Lisa Moorish, some as plain Lisa M yet none have received much attention from record buyers. This one is slightly different, owing to the circumstances of its release. The single, which is in all honesty a rather turgid cover of Wham!'s 1985 No.1 hit was promoed to radio stations several weeks ago, long before what the record company had flagged as a provisional release date. That release date came and went but the single stayed around on the release schedules. All was revealed when it finally emerged that backing vocals on the record were by none other than a certain George Michael who had heard the track being recorded in a neighbouring studio and asked if he could feature on it. As most people are aware, over the last few weeks he and his advisers have been finalising the deal which finally releases him from his disputed contract with Sony records and because of this Sony refused to licence the use of his voice on the track until all was settled. Now the single is out it is likely to vanish fairly quickly. It is not that the song itself does not lend itself to the kind of husky female vocal featured here, but simply that it pales into insignificance beside the stunning brilliance of the classic original. George Michael has made something of a habit of turning up incognito on other people's records starting with his work with Elton John on tracks such as Nikita and Wrap Her Up in 1985. In July 1987 a cover version of the Bee Gees' Jive Talkin' was released by Boogie Box High who were strongly rumoured but never officially confirmed as having persuaded George to perform on the single. Two years later in 1989 George's bass player Deon Estus released Heaven Help Me on which Michael's backing vocals were often higher up in the mix than the artist credited on the record.
28 WATCH WHAT YOU SAY (Guru featuring Chaka Khan)
Currently floating around the middle end of the album charts is 'Jazzamataz Volume II' from Guru, a continuation of the project by the American multi-instrumentalist to record jazzy-styled dance tracks featuring famous vocalists. Back in 1993 that same idea produced Top 40 hits for Trust Me with N'Dea Davenport from the Brand New Heavies on vocals and No Time To Play which featured D.C. Lee to the fore. His first hit single since features none other than Chaka Khan on vocals, giving her her first chart hit since Don't Look At Me That Way made No.73 over two years ago and her first Top 40 appearance of any kind since she appeared on Quincy Jones' new recording of I'll Be Good To You alongside Ray Charles, a single which reached No.21 in January 1990.
29 THE GOOD LIFE (New Power Generation)
As the faintly amusing dispute between AFKAP and Warner Brothers rumbles on to an apparent conclusion, the former Prince exploits every avenue he can to continue releasing records. The second New Power Generation single follows the same ruse as the first - ostensibly a single from the band with whom he has made his last few albums but featuring the uncredited 'guest' vocals of someone who sounds suspiciously like... well you know the rest. It's the followup to Get Wild which reached No.19 in April. [Actually Prince was less in evidence on this track, although the video makes it plain the backing vocals are his].
31 ZOMBIE (A.D.A.M. featuring Amy)
In any chart there is always room for a few oddities. Whilst the latest Cranberries single vanishes from the Top 40 after only one week, the cover version of one of their earlier hits prolongs its chart life still further in the most bizarre manner. Despite having peaked at No.16 last month and despite appearing to be on the way out, ADAM's single has rallied slightly in the past few weeks and has now moved 33-32-31 for no apparent reason. The single has now spent 8 weeks in the Top 40 - 2 more than the Cranberries original version spent in October 1994.
34 ONE MORE CHANCE (Notorious B.I.G.)
The record which made history in America a few months back by becoming the highest new entry ever on Billboard's Hot 100 escapes over here to see if it can make similar waves. Only of course it hasn't, being a rather average RnB/rap record with pretensions to having commercial appeal. Which of course it hasn't. [Perhaps if he dies...]
36 BREAK OF DAWN (Rhythm Of Life)
To round things off this week comes another semi-anonymous dance record although this time one with quite a history behind it. In a similar manner to Jinny's Keep Warm, Break Of Dawn was first released back in 1991 but failed to chart at all. Since then it has been another of those underground classics that has never really gone away and another release for the track has finally pushed it into the charts, although perhaps in not quite as big a manner as was hoped. Never mind, they can always try again around November time...