[A few weeks later I'm sat in the office of Steve Redmond, the then editor of Music Week, discussing the new website they are about to launch. I was possibly someone they wanted to reach out to anyway, but the hundreds of emails which had poured into them from all four corners of the earth also convinced them that I had something to offer. If nothing else I came with a built in audience to which they could pitch this bold new internet venture. By the end of the afternoon I was their brand new chart commentator, licensed and official and a paid contributor.
This first dotmusic.com piece almost certainly didn't appear in this form. Whilst they worked out exactly how it would appear I just sent across my notes and left the rest to them. Hence this archive piece is reconstructed from what I sent them at the time].
40: Oh! What A World (Sister Bliss)
Hello I'm Back Again she shouts at the start, and indeed they are, the larger than life female dance duo [duo? really?] scoring their second UK Top 40 hit. They first appeared back in October 1994 with Can'tgetaman Can'tgetajob (Life's A Bitch) which reached No.31 and the new single appears in the wake of a major series of club appearances. It follows pretty much in the style of the previous one, a long string of declamations over a techno dance beat. Utterly bemusing stuff if you ask me, but destined for the moment to end up another smallish hit.
33: I Can Love You Like That (All-4-One)
Boy, must they hate Wet Wet Wet. American soulsters All-4-One created their own bit of chart history a year ago when their debut Top 40 hit I Swear found itself locked in a battle at the top of the charts with Love Is All Around, unable to shift the megahit and spending a record-equalling 7 weeks stuck at No.2. Nonetheless the single ended up one of the bestsellers of the year, but they found it strangely difficult to follow. Their first single So Much In Love was reissued in its wake but could only reach No.49 in November, complementing its No.60 peak upon its first release in April 1994. Finally though they get a second Top 40 hit with a track not too far removed from its famous predecessor. Currently and inevitable massive in the States, I Can Love You Like That makes what is a surprisingly inauspicious debut. Further progress is not out of the question but it will depend on a great deal of promotion and airplay, plus a sudden desire by the British public to hear some of the sweetest soul harmonies imaginable.
30: Misery (Soul Asylum)
Soul Asylum are of course deservedly best-known for their 1993 global monster Runaway Train, a hit which took time to catch on over here, only reaching its chart peak of No.7 upon a re-release in November 1993. It was the sort of hit that any band would find it difficult to follow, even a band such as Soul Asylum who had spent the whole of the previous eleven years being touted as The Next Big Thing. All of this notwithstanding, Misery makes a creditable debut and becomes their fourth Top 40 hit in all and the first since Somebody To Shove made No.32 in March 1994. In the current climate of reissues and re-releases it is worth noting that both Runaway Train and Somebody To Shove had already made brief appearances in the Top 40 before being re-promoted to reach their ultimate chart peaks.
29: I Go Wild (Rolling Stones)
They just seem to go on forever don't they? It is now over 32 years since their debut hit Come On reached No.21 and as I Go Wild becomes their 33rd Top 40 hit and 42nd chart hit of any kind, it reinforces their record of the longest span of chart hits by a still-active band, a feat topped only by Cliff Richard and at a pinch Frank Sinatra amongst currently active recording stars. It becomes the fourth Top 40 hit from the current Voodoo Lounge album and appears in the wake of the UK stage of their current tour. Whilst four straight Top 40 hits is an impressive enough feat for any band, it gives the Stones their best run of chart hits since the mid-1970s.
27: Be My Lover (La Bouche)
Ah summertime, the occasional sunny day, hayfever and Eurobeat records.... they all seem to go hand in hand somehow. Currently holding charts and dancefloors to ransom all over Europe, German act La Bouche make an inevitable landing over here with what could well turn out to be one of the pop smashes of the year. Right from the 'La Da Da De Dah' introduction and hook this is one Euro-hit that has 'floor-filler' written all over it. Radio stations are rushing to add it to their playlists and it all adds up to being one of the smashes of the summer. Top 10 within a fortnight, just watch. Incidentally, back to that chant at the start... it's reminiscent of another record but I've spent the entire week unable to place it.
26: Big Yellow Taxi (Amy Grant)
Slowly but surely, Amy Grant sleeps her way up the charts with her updating of Joni Mitchell's classic hit, a one place climb following on from her 2 weeks at No.27. It's Amy Grant's first Top 40 hit for four years after a string of near-misses over the past few years. Her biggest hit remains her British breakthrough Baby Baby which made No.2 in June 1991. There is still life left in Big Yellow Taxi but it still has a way to go to match the peak of the original which made No.11 in July 1970.
24: Is There Anybody Out There? (Bassheads)
Even in this high-speed age you would be hard pressed to find a nostalgic revival as premature as this. Following on from the reissue success of Liquid's Sweet Harmony comes another classic rave record from the early 1990s. Is There Anybody Out There was first released in November 1991, making No.5 and now, less than 4 years later is remixed and re-released and hailed as a classic of its time - which is quite an impressive feat for a record as hardcore as this. It makes you wonder quite what nostalgia fad is around the corner next. Only one thing puzzles me, here we are in the summer of 1995 feeling nostalgic for a genre of music from the summer of 1992 which itself was a throwback to the summer of 1988. Hmm...
22: Get Your Hands Off Of My Man! (Junior Vasquez)
It's something of a dance-dominated week as legendary remixer Junior Vasquez steps above ground for the first time and puts his own name to a chart hit. Get Your Hands Off Of My Man! is a Nightcrawlers-style Garage track, nothing exciting special or original, but a No.22 hit all the same.
19: 3 Is Family (Dana Dawson)
Another crossover Euro hit comes courtesy of Dana Dawson who has had several hits on the continent but has hitherto drawn a blank over here. All of this changes with the bright 3 Is Family which has been picking up a great deal of radio airplay over the past few weeks, all of which has aided its progress straight into the Top 20 to give her her debut UK hit. As an almost classic bit of summer pop it is almost certain to climb next week and could well be heading for the Top 10. Am I the only one though who thinks her voice sounds like Kylie Minogue?
17: Fine Time (Cast)
The La's were a strange group. Two classic singles and a magical debut album yet they seemed to hate it all, disowning their first album and destroying the master tapes of the second when it was felt it did not come up to scratch. The only voice of dissent came from bass player John Power who quite logically decided his path lay in other directions. Out of all this come Cast, who have spent the past few months building up a name for themselves as support to a number of bands and are about to join Oasis on their current tour. In the wake of this comes their debut single, but in all honesty they did not need any hype at all. Finetime is yet another in a string of classic singles by British bands that have emerged this year, radio-friendly, laden with hooks and once again pointing towards 1995 being labelled as one of the golden ages of British pop. Easily a top ten hit in a week or so - and believe it or not they are not the only band to chart a masterpiece single this week.
16: Grapevine (Brownstone)
The second hit single for Brownstone, following in the wake of If You Love Me which made No.8 back in April. Being the first act on Michael Jackson's label to make it big has certainly helped them in the attention stakes, despite the fact that they complain to be sick of all the talk of the connection, having they claim only actually met him the once...
14: Kiss From A Rose (Seal)
Another re-release, but no less welcome for all that. Kiss From A Rose was the second single released from Seal's second album, reaching No.20 almost exactly a year ago. Fate had not finished with the track though and it has wound up the love theme to the new "Batman Returns" film which has yet to open over here. That minor detail is of no matter though, and the new exposure propels the single into the charts to beat at a stroke its original peak. For a previously charted hit to reappear some months later after use in a film is nothing new though, Sade's No Ordinary Love made No.14 in June 1993 after being used on the soundtrack of "Indecent Proposal" less than 9 months after it had first reached No.26.
11: Keep Warm (Jinny)
No less than 3 of this week's new hits are re-releases of past chart entries, the highest coming in at No.11 for Jinny. Again as part of a mini revival of classic dance tracks from 1991/2 comes this remix from Italian vocalist Jinny. Keep Warm was first released in June 1991 to universal indifference, only able to reach No.68. Despite this it has remained something of a classic club anthem, in a similar manner to Baby D's Let Me Be Your Fantasy and now finally comes above ground to become the hit you always felt it should be. You are tempted to wonder though when dance music, supposedly one of the most vibrant musical movement around is reduced to scratching around in its own past for new inspiration.
8: Happy (MN8)
Three hits, all of them straight into the Top 10 and there seems no stopping them. MN8 have so far made some of the pop hits of the year in the shape of I've Got A Little Something For You which reached No.2 in March and If You Only Let Me In which made No.6 in April. Following all this comes Happy, another immaculate slice of swingbeat pop and another smash hit to boot.
7: In The Summertime (Shaggy featuring Rayvon)
Up goes Shaggy, shaking off the 'one-hit wonder' tag he acquired back in 1993 when he followed up the No.1 Oh Carolina with the No.46 hit Soon Be Done. The success of the remade In The Summertime comes exactly 25 years since Mungo Jerry were ensconced at No.1 with their original version.
2: Alright/Time (Supergrass)
The biggest new hit of the week goes to Supergrass who have gradually been making a name for themselves over the past few months, making the Top 40 first of all with Mansize Rooster in February and more recently with Lenny which reached No.10 in April. All of that though was clearly leading up to this. If every band has their masterpiece in them, then this is surely the one for Supergrass. Sounding like a cross between the Small Faces and Duran Duran, Alright was a smash before it had even been released, one of those perfect pop records that makes you want to turn the radio up as loud as possible whenever you hear it. No.2 is their biggest hit to date and that may not even be as far as it goes. It only goes to confirm what I have been saying for months. So far this year we have seen singles such as Whatever, Wake Up Boo!, Back For Good, Common People and now Finetime and Alright - all of them classic pop singles, all of them from young British bands and all of them destined to be immortal classics [very hard to argue with that analysis]. We are in the middle of one of the golden ages of British music [that too].
1: Boom Boom Boom (Outhere Brothers)
Despite strong competition from below, the Outhere brothers hang on for a second week at No.1, one week more than Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle) which could only manage a week before being turfed out by a certain Manchester fivepiece. The unrelated brothers have become only the 16th act in chart history to make No.1 with their first two hits and the first to do so since New Kids On The Block in 1990. This is also their second No.1 hit of 1995, making them the first act not called Take That to have two chart toppers in a calendar year since Queen in 1991. One final point worthy of mention is that after a run of No.1s going straight in to the top of the charts, Boom Boom Boom is the first record to actually CLIMB to No.1 since their own Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle) moved from 2-1 back in March. As I mentioned before, that hit could only hang on for a week before Take That came along and if this track can sustain its sales for just a couple more weeks it could well be in danger of getting in the way of the new single from... oh well I'm sure you can guess the rest...