Something of a calm overcomes the Top 40 with no major new hits to cause waves, despite the usual crop of new entries. I suspect things are about to explode into action before too long, but in the meantime things drift along the same as they have done for the past few weeks... 13 new entries, 9 climbers and 5 non-movers.
No. 37: NEW ENTRY. Cyndi Lauper - I'm Gonna Be Strong
Another lift from 12 Deadly Cyns following on from her inspired reworking of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun last year. This new single turns down the tempo and lets Cyndi's voice come to the fore with another of the overwrought ballads she is so fond of. Her voice however is often only just strong enough to carry such powerful songs and despite the success of Time After Time and True Colours such singles from her often under-perform. Just like this one I suspect.
No. 33: NEW ENTRY. Sheryl Crow - Strong Enough
Virtually every radio station in the country fell on All I Wanna Do as if it was the best thing since sliced bread. The public followed suit and it resulted in a Top 5 hit and the long-awaited breakthrough for Sheryl Crow. The test now is to see if she can avoid being associated simply with that one hit. The evidence thus far is not so good with her second Top 40 hit entering at a rather lowly point and with none of the airplay flooding of its predecessor. Sad really, as in the midst of the current chart vogue for cod-country she is one of the few charting acts with a genuine country background.
No. 32: NEW ENTRY. Adam Ant - Wonderful
He's back! Again! The man with more comebacks than Frank Bruno returns after a five year absence with a brand new hit - just like he did five years ago in fact. Adam Ant was easily one of the biggest chart stars of the early 1980s with three No.1 hits, a string of Top 10 smashes and the astonishing achievement of spending 91 weeks on the chart in 1981. The hits tailed off towards the middle of the decade and he took time off to pursue an acting career. He returned briefly in 1990 with the No.13 hit Room At The Top but then vanished again when subsequent singles failed. Now the man forever associated with the facial warpaint of his early years scores another hit single, without the fanfare or the impact that one might have suspected and this single has a lot of ground to make up to live up to his past reputation.
No. 31: NEW ENTRY. China Black - Almost See You
A third hit in a row for China Black who seem to almost effortlessly turn out the kind of sweet soul which finds its way onto those interminable love compilations that flood the album racks this time of year. Almost See You is more of the same that was seen on Searching and Stars. A bit of variety may have possibly made for a bigger hit.
No. 29: NEW ENTRY. Apache Indian and Tim Dog - Make Way For The Indian
Apache Indian is easily one of the biggest Asian chart stars ever and certainly the only person to ever take hardcore bangra tracks into the Top 40. He has been silent since the Top 5 success of the Nuff Vibes EP which included the party hit Boom Shack-A-Lack. A major hit it may have been but it was certainly a sop to commercial success and a long way removed from his usual output. Apache Indian now returns to his hardcore roots and scores his fourth Top 30 hit. Further success is unlikely.
No. 27: CLIMBER. Vanessa-Mae - Toccata And Fugue
Well if Bill Whelan can make the Top 10 why not Vanessa-Mae. After standing still last week the 16-year old violinist is off and running again with her treatment of the famous Bach toccata. Comparisons are being made between her and Nigel Kennedy owing to her dramatic performance style and the way her records are selling to the masses rather than the usual classical audience.
No. 25: NEW ENTRY. Black Crowes - High Head Blues/A Conspiracy
The Black Crowes have never really cracked it over here. Whilst America went apeshit over their retro-styled rock during the early part of the decade, over here the band failed to attract more than just a hard core of fans. That hasn't stopped the Amortica album, pubic hair and all from gaining intense media coverage and that push has finally helped the band score a hit single. Interestingly enough it is only the third ever Top 40 hit for the group, following on from Hard To Handle which made No.39 on its second release in August 1991 and Remedy which made No.24 in May 1992.
No. 21: NEW ENTRY. Suede - New Generation
The third hit in recent months for Suede who are still selling with remarkable consistency despite the inky music press having fallen out of love with them. Curiously enough both of their last two singles We Are The Pigs and Wild Ones both peaked at No.18
No. 19: NEW ENTRY. Jade - Every Day Of The Week
The long-awaited new hit for Jade who have been silent for exactly a year since their collaboration with POV All Thru The Night made No.32 in February 1994. It has really fallen to the British group Eternal to make the running for female soul groups since Jade first made the breakthrough in 1993 with Don't Walk Away. The new single is as good as anything they have ever done before - and that can be read to mean it really is nothing too special.
No. 17: NEW ENTRY. Jimmy Nail - Cowboy Dreams
I suspect nobody is more surprised than Jimmy Nail himself at the success of Crocodile Shoes. The project centred around the BBC TV series of the same name which starred Nail as Jed, the working-class lad turned into a British C&W star. On the strength of the TV show the title track made No.4 at the tail end of last year and when he announced a series of concerts the tickets were snapped up the moment they went on sale (the ticket office at Bradford Festival Hall near me had never known such a rush for tickets for any event they had staged). On the back of all of this comes another single, another smooth piece of cod-Country and Western that may be as fake as they come but at the same time appears to have more soul than Garth Brooks et al could ever create. [Of the two, this was easily the better single].
No. 15: NEW ENTRY. Sting featuring Pato Banton - This Cowboy Song
Its official. Everyone has cowboys on the brain. Sting follows up the Top 10 success of When We Dance with a radical reworking of a track from his current Greatest Hits collection. Bringing his career in an almost perfect circle, Sting revisits his ska/reggae roots with a lilting reggae track that in many ways belies its title. The effect is completed with the appearance on the track of Pato Banton with what is effectively his followup to the No.1 Baby Come Back.
No. 11: CLIMBER. Deuce - Call It Love
Slowly but surely Deuce edge up the chart. The group are being billed as this years pop sensations, a mixed bunch of good-looking boys and girls with a simple but catchy pop hit to promote. It may work but it is painfully artificial and it will be interesting to see how their future releases perform - once this one has been and gone of course.
No. 8: CLIMBER. Perfecto Allstarz - Reach Up (...Pigbag)
The strongest climb of the week for the Perfecto Allstarz with the track first performed by Pigbag in 1983 and which was also covered in 1985 by Paul Hardcastle under the pseudonym Silent Underdog.
No. 4: NON-MOVER. Ini Kamoze - Here Comes The Hotstepper
Ini Kamoze rapidly becoming one of the most static hits of the year. Here Comes The Hotstepper has now spent four weeks at No.4, the first record to do so since Tease Me by Chaka Demus and Pliers in June 1993.
No. 1: SECOND WEEK. Celine Dion - Think Twice
Celine Dion extends her lead at the top for a second week of supremacy. Exactly how long she will last at the top will be interesting to watch, the track has spent so long on release it has already sold over 700,000 copies and one must wonder exactly how many more people are left to want it, particularly with the market at its traditional new year low point. Another week at the top is not out of the question but with a number of major new hits due in next week her days could well be numbered.