1 NEVER FORGET (Take That)
Not your common or garden Take That single by any stretch of the imagination, starting as it does with an anthemic chord which gives way to a troupe of choirboys singing a plaintive refrain. What has transformed a rather weedy-sounding album track into a bombastic masterpiece is the credit on the sleeve which indicates the remixing presence on the track of one Jim Steinman, guru of the best Meat Loaf records whose Wagnerian aspirations are now unleashed on one of the most successful British pop bands of the era. From the moment of release it was yet another instant No.1 single for the band and upon fulfilling that destiny it states their claim even further to be one of the biggest bands in chart history. The fact that this now their seventh single to enter the charts at Number One is practically immaterial as they long ago shattered into oblivion any records related to that particular feat. A seventh No.1 single of any kind, however, enables them to draw level with Madonna on the list of 'most Number One hits'. There are now only five other acts in history with more Number One hits - and they are some of the greats of popular music: Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Abba and the Rolling Stone. These are the acts with which Take That's success is now comparable. What is even more impressive is that Madonna's total of 7 chart-toppers was achieved over a period of almost five years, Take That having reached that total 2 years and 2 weeks since Pray became their first Number One hit. The success of Never Forget also marks the second time the band have achieved the hat-trick of three Number One hits in a row, following their run of four between 1993-4. But for the (relative) failure of Love Ain't Here Anymore which only managed No.3 a year ago Take That would have by now notched up the second longest run of No.1 hits in chart history, beaten only by the Beatles' run of 11 between 1963 and 1966. Nonetheless their earlier run of four straight is beaten only by the aforementioned fab four, Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones. There you are... astounding what you can get from one pop song isn't it? All of the above is quite aside from the fact that during the last couple of weeks the band have quite publicly lost one of their members, an issue which can probably be safely left until next week as the single settles in for what is quite likely to be a lengthy run at the top.
2 BOOM BOOM BOOM (Outhere Brothers)
What goes around comes around as they say. Just as 'Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle) was turfed out of the top slot in April by Take That's Back For Good, so the second Number One hit for the Outhere Brothers finds its 4 week reign abruptly terminated by the all-conquering teen idols. Funnily enough history could well continue to be repeated. Back in April Take That sparked off an unprecedented run of 4 consecutive chart-toppers all entering at Number One and the chances are their current single will remain at the top until the release in the same week of two different singles, both of which have a chance of an instant Number One chart placing - one, ironically enough, by the band that brought Back For Good's run to an end earlier this year.
7 HOLD ME, THRILL ME, KISS ME, KILL ME (U2)
The erratic chart performance of U2's single from 'Batman Forever' continues with the track this week slipping down slightly to No.7. Whilst U2 singles normally do well, their appeal is so concentrated that their hits tend to perform rapid vanishing acts from the higher reaches of the charts once their fan base has had its appetite sated. Thus it is unusual to report that this single is now spending its eighth consecutive week in the Top 10, the most protracted chart run of any U2 single ever.
8 IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER (Black Grape)
..and to think we all though the success of the first Black Grape single was a one-off phenomenon. The band who, despite their recent concerts where they proved they are a single cohesive unit, continue to be seen as 'Shaun Ryder plus whoever' crash straight into the Top 10 for a second successive time. They beat by one place the peak of their first hit Reverend Black Grape which in spite of this only managed a 3 week run inside the Top 40. It is certainly possible that this new single will suffer the same fate.
12 THE HELL EP (Tricky vs The Gravediggaz)
Even in a week of big-name releases and reissues it is still possible for a record to creep into the charts from nowhere almost unnoticed. Actually that is to do Tricky a slight disservice as Top 20 success has been brewing for him for a long time. This is his third Top 40 hit of the year, following on from Overcome which made No.34 in January and Black Steel which reached No.28 in April.
13 WATERFALLS (TLC)
Even in this day and age when the musical tastes of the two countries seem further apart than they have even been, an American Numer One hit can sometimes be a help as TLC have discovered here. After two Top 40 hits already this year (one of which, Red Light Special reaching No.18) TLC explode onto the chart with Waterfalls which at a stroke becomes one of their biggest hits ever, matching the chart peak of their British chart debut Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg back in June 1992.
14 SING IT (THE HALLELUJAH SONG) (Mozaic)
The Perfecto team strike again. The label built around the remixing skills of Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne is rapidly becoming something of a pop/dance crossover hit factory. Following the success already this year of Grace's Not Over Yet and the Perfecto Allstars' Reach Up comes this hit by Mozaic. If the track is familiar, that's because it is another reinterpretation of a past chart hit, using the catchy chorus of Doctor Alban's otherwise rather naff Sing Hallelujah which reached No.16 in 1993. a peak that is instantly beaten by a record that could well go even higher.
17 BLUE MONDAY-95 (New Order)
The new album is entitled 'The REST of New Order, featuring updated remixes of some of their best known tracks. To trail its release it is perhaps inevitable that this single by which the band achieved near-immortality should be given the 1995 treatment and re-released as a single. Blue Monday is easily the definitive New Order track, written around the rhythm generated by a faulty drum machine, the track marked the completion of the band's transformation from the ashes of the angst-ridden Joy Division into the forerunners of modern day techno acts. First released in March 1983 it reached a respectable No.12, all the more surprising given that the track was only available on 12-inch single in the days when the 7-inch still ruled. What was even more surprising is that the track then became one of the few records to make the Top 20 on two separate occasions in the same year, returning to the chart in August to reach No.9. That was by no means the end of the story as five years later Blue Monday was remixed by Arthur Baker for an American release and the demand prompted the release of the track over here in a 7-inch version for the first time, reaching No.3 in May 1988. So it is then that the 1995 version of one of the most famous records of the 1980s crashes in to the Top 20 to give New Order their second hit of 1995, following Nineteen63 which reached No.21 in January. In doing so the track joins two Sister Sledge tracks We Are Family and Lost In Music as the only songs ever to chart on three separate occasions in a different mix each time. The reappearance of Blue Monday also states its case as one of the most charted tracks of all time, this by my reckoning the track's 50th week of chart action which by the end of its run should make it only the seventh track in chart history to total over a year on the chart although this will still leave it a long way behind Frank Sinatra's My Way which in 10 different chart runs since 1969 has spent no less than 124 weeks on the British charts. One final issue left to raise is that of the remix of the track itself, which to these jaded ears sounds an unholy mess. Arguably the track was so ahead of its time it did not need remixing in the first place but still... There are two things you can do when 'remixing' a classic, one can either beef it up or bugger around with it and whilst Arthur Baker did the former in 1988, this new version falls firmly into the latter category.
18 PANINARO '95 (Pet Shop Boys)
New Order are not the only act to be releasing 'alternative' collections of hits at the moment and coincidentally enough they are back-to-back on the chart with a band with a similar idea and who have often used the same producers and remixers on their hits. The new album from the Pet Shop Boys is a concept they have been promising to deliver for years - a compilation of b-sides and alternative versions which for any other band would be nothing more than a filler release but for Tennant and Lowe is a chance to draw peoples attention to some of the miniature masterpieces their singles contained hidden away on the flip. Paninaro is one such track, although it is not unfamiliar to many Pet Shop Boys fans. It started life as the b-side to their No.8 hit Suburbia in October 1986 and was also one of two new tracks on their 1986 remix album Disco, As a result of this inclusion the song has managed to become something of a fan favourite, especially a live gigs when it gives Chris Lowe the chance to take centre stage and reproduce the monologue of his around which the track is based. The new version is not so much a remix as a re-recording and gives one of Britain's quirkiest and most enduring bands yet another hit. It is their 24th chart hit in all (if one counts last year's Absolutely Fabulous single) of which only one has missed the Top 20.
19 WEIRD (Reef)
The rise of Reef continues apace, following on from Naked which reached No.11 on the back of its use in the Sony minidisc advert comes this new single, demand for which is boosted by the fact that it will be on sale for two weeks only before being deleted. Cynical though marketing tactics like this are, they do seem to work, most notably in the case of U2's The Fly which was on release for a mere four weeks yet still reached No.1. Masters of this act though are the Shamen who released and deleted singles so fast at the end of 1992 that they managed 3 Top 10 hits in 3.5 months before managing the crowning glory in March 1993 of 'Re:Evolution' a track that was deleted on the day it was released yet which still reached No.18.
22 THE AFRO-LEFT EP (Leftfield)
A second hit of the year for Leftfield, following on from the Toni Halliday sung Original which made No.18 back in March.
25 LOOSE (Therapy?)
Therapy? score their second hit of the year, following their Top 20 success with Stories back in June. A staggered release schedule for some of the formats for this single makes its progress up the chart quite unusual. This is not so much a new entry as a climb from a No.41 position last week. For a single to actually climb into the Top 40 from the lower reaches is getting steadily rarer with the number of records to do so this year still resolutely in single figures. No record has climbed straight into the Top 20 from outside since 4 Non Blondes' What's Up made the leap from No.43 to No.20 in July 1993.
30 SALVA MEA (SAVE ME) (Faithless)
As ever the bottom end of the chart fills up with past hits on their way out and a crop of semi-anonymous dance records, which are if nothing else useful as pointers to what might become smash hits sixth months down the line. [Or in this case 14 months as Salva Mea would be Top 10 for Christmas 1996]. This is not merely idle cynicism on my part either, with the release schedules for the next couple of weeks filled with re-releases of minor hits from the last year which are looking for greater success second time around. At least it helps to keep the singles chart active during the natural summer lull - and it is even spreading to the album chart as well. As a glance at one of the pages on this site will tell you, the only brand new entry in the whole of the Top 50 is an album of remixed Bobby Brown tracks, some of which are songs over six years old.
31 DIVE TO PARADISE (Eurogroove)
The innuendo of the title is probably no accident but it made me smile anyway, the second small hit for Eurogroove this year, following Move Your Body which reached No.29 in May.
36 TROUBLE (Shampoo)
No less than two singles on the chart this week are re-releases of recent Top 40 hits on the back of their use in film soundtracks. What is most incredible is that both were released at exactly the same time last year as Seal's Kiss From A Rose is joined by this hit from Shampoo. Trouble was first released in August last year and became something of a radio staple for the entire summer, a factor which prolonged the chart life of the single despite the fact that it never climbed higher than No.11. Now it puts in a brief reappearance, buoyed up by its use on the soundtrack of the new 'Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers' movie which opens here this week. I always felt Shampoo were the result of an ironic joke by Food records, two blonde (ish) teenagers who by no stretch of the imagination could be considered pinups, singing a series of raucous post-punk teenage angst tracks. Nonetheless the idea actually works, the album is a bit of raucous fun and incredibly enough the Japanese love them to bits.
37 GALAXIE (Blind Melon)
Propping up the bottom end of the Top 40 come Blind Melon making a welcome return after a long absence. The US band score here their third Top 40 single following the No.17 hit No Rain in December 1993 and July 1994s Change which reached No.35.