As predicted last week, a frantically busy chart with a mere! 15 new entries, 3 climbers and 2 non-movers and with one of the most unexpected surprises of the year at the very summit.
No. 40: (--) Whitehead Brothers - Forget I Was A G
A bit of rap to start off the feast of new hits this week, the second Top 40 hit of the year for the Whitehead Brothers, following on from Your Love Is A 187 which reached No.32 back in January.
No. 38: (--) Charles And Eddie - 24-7-365
It's been a long time away for this pair. It's easy to forget the impact Charles and Eddie first had when they released Would I Lie To You back in October 1992. The single began slowly but within weeks as racing up the charts at a speed that had not been seen for the whole of that year, making No.1 and becoming one of the bestsellers of the year. After that the duo struggled to break free of the 'one hit wonder' tag, charting a series of increasingly smaller hits, such as NYC and A House Is Not A Home. Their first single for two years offers more of the same, almost pleasantly laid back soul which undoubtedly still has a market amongst the audience of easy listening stations but is unlikely for the moment to provide them with any more major hits.
No. 37: (--) Boo Radleys - Find The Answer Within
Well perhaps it was a fluke then... Wake Up Boo! is almost certainly one of the singles of the year, still played unmercifully on the radio and cropping up as a jingle on at least two national radio stations to boot. Surprising then that the second single from the bands No.1 album should make such a small impact. Musically it isn't too far removed from their classic Top 10 hit from a couple of months ago but somehow it lacks the same bright edge that made Wake Up such an unforgettable four minutes of perfect pop music. One cannot now think of the Boo Radleys without thinking of that single and it is a label that is to their detriment, as the poor initial showing of this single shows.
No. 36: (--) Shiva - Work It Out
Quite possibly a swift in and out performance for this piece of pop-dance Shiva, worth mentioning only due to the fact that last week I met the rather striking lady who performs vocals on the track who it has to be said is one of the most stomach-churning striking ice-cool tall blondes I have ever been a gibbering wreck in front of. [This story has a rather tragic ending, which will unfold in due course].
No. 35: (--) Verve - This Is Music
[Superstar debut klaxon!] The breakthrough Top 40 hit for Verve, another band who have seemingly spent years on the fringe of stardom without ever yet hitting big. Their first chart outing was in July 1992 with She's A Superstar which reached No.69 - an indication of how long they have been trying.
No. 33: (--) Aaliyah - Down With The Clique
Why _do_ Americans pronounce it to rhyme with 'stick'? Its 'cleek' as everyone here knows it which perhaps unfairly makes for rather grating listening as Aaliyah croons her way through her fourth UK hit, a direct followup to Age Ain't Nothing But A Number which reached No.32 in March. Her biggest hit was her first - Back And Forth which reached No.16 in July 1994.
No. 30: (36) Thunder - Castles In The Sand
The only record from Nos 40-26 on last weeks chart to survive the current clearout is Thunder's hit, to become the first single of theirs to actually climb the charts since Everybody Wants Her in October 1992.
No. 29: (--) Gigolo Aunts - When I Find My Heaven
The second hit single to come from the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack becomes the debut UK hit for the Gigolo Aunts, following on from the Crash Test Dummies rendition of XTCs Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead which made No.30 back in April.
No. 27: (--) Police - Can't Stand Losing You
Sting! Stewart! The Other One! Back in the early 1980s the Police rivalled people like the Jam for the title of biggest British group, scoring No.1 hits both here and in America and setting Sting on the path to being the global superstar he is today. In all their time together though, the band never officially released a live album... until now. To herald this comes a single release, an American concert recording of one of their first ever big hits - in actual fact their first ever chart single which reached No.42 in October 1978 first of all but then No.2 in August 1979 when re-released after the success of Roxanne. Despite activity from the Police's catalogue since they split up (most notably Sting's 1993 reworking of Demolition Man) this is the first chart hit credited to the band since their 1986 re-recording of Don't Stand So Close To Me in 1986. Oh by the way, just in case you are wondering, the third member of the Police was Andy Summers, I do know, honest).
No. 26: (22) Supercat - My Girl Josephine
Surprisingly a slide for Supercat given the expectation that unusually built up around this bouncy ragga hit as a result of copious radio play in the months before its release. Don't expect this to be the last we hear of them this year though. [It was].
No. 25: (--) Marc Almond - Adored And Explored
Well welcome back Markey. Marc Almond's solo career since the dissolution of Soft Cell has been rather chequered and until very recently was patchy to say the least. His most recent successes have come in the last five years when he discovered Jaques Brel songs and concentrated on other, epically staged records such as Jacky and The Days Of Pearly Spencer which benefitted from the high camp performances that showed off his voice to perfection. Hard to believe almost that this is actually his first hit single since Pearly Spencer became his biggest solo hit proper when it reached No.4 in May 1992. His first single for three years moves away from that particular style and goes for a more Hi-NRG sound to no less brilliant pop effect. I have to confess to being a massive Marc Almond fan and this single does him no harm in my eyes at all. Whether it will progress any further is in the hands of fate of course...
No. 23: (--) Shed Seven - Where Have You Been Tonight
The biggest hit to date for Shed Seven after three previous Top 40 hits, Dolphin, Speakeasy and Ocean Pie.
No. 20: (20) Joshua Kadison - Jessie
Joshua Kadison holds firm for this week at least. The song itself is one of those story-telling records that often take time to get into and which move you when you find yourself listening to the lyrics unawares for the first time. The party for this track may not be over yet...
No. 18: (18) Runrig - An Ubhal As Airde (The Highest Apple)
Runrig's biggest hit ever holds firm thanks to continuing exposure in a certain television commercial. I'm still unsure about whether this statistic is correct, but if I've missed one I'd be very surprised... This single is the first track sung entirely in Gaelic since Clannad's Theme From Harry's Game in 1982. For years Runrig have been massive in their native Scotland, their performances on the Scottish chart far in excess of those nationally (the Scottish chart being a separate publication although this national chart includes sales data from north of the border).
No. 15: (--) Manchester United feat. Stryker - We're Gonna Do It Again
Well the Red Army haven't quite been the invincible force they were last season, currently chasing Blackburn Rovers for the Premiership title and having been shat upon in the European Cup. For a second year running though, one of the most famous football teams in the country has a Top 40 single. Just as the annual final at Wembley stadium of the Football Association Challenge Cup is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, so too the appearance in the charts of celebratory records is one of the low points of the chart year. Not that the records themselves are often bad, just that the talent of footballers is generally best kept on the field and not in the recording studio. Last year however Manchester United's Come On You Reds did what no other club football record had done before and actually made No.1 in the wake of their league and cup success. Finalists then for a second successive year as the title suggests, United have this time gone for a trendier approach, enlisting the talents of local rapper Stryker for a somewhat curious record. Football rap records have been tried before though, most notably by Liverpool with 1988s Anfield Rap - before last year the most successful chart hit by an FA Cup squad. Whether they live up to the expectations of the title remains to be seen. The record is certainly no chart topper that is certain - what happens to the FA Cup will be decided a week on Saturday. I'll be behind them anyway, if only for the fact that A Man United win will increase Leeds' chances of gaining a UEFA cup place.
No. 11: (--) Montell Jordan - This Is How We Do It
A high new entry for the latest American star, quite possibly on the back of his current position atop the US Hot 100.
No. 10: (--) Supergrass - Lenny
Well if Oasis can do it, why not everyone else. Even in these days of inflated sales for singles, bands from the fringe can still storm straight into the Top 10. So it is for Supergrass, with their second hit of the year, following on from Mansize Rooster which reached No.20 in February.
No. 6: (--) Scatman John - Scatman
One of the more unusual smashes of the week is this, a European dance record from an American living on the continent. Scatman has been a dance smash all over the continent and now escapes over here, a bizarre part-rapped, part spoken, part-scatted dance hit performed by the enigmatic Scatman John who is almost as old as my father and really should know better. Still, a culpable hit it is and destined apparently for the Top 3.
No. 3: (11) Perez 'Prez' Prado - Guaglione
Biggest climb of the week goes unsurprisingly goes to Perez Prado with a single that has already embedded itself into the public consciousness. This was brought home to me last Saturday lunchtime which I spent wandering round Bradford city centre only to find it playing in virtually every single shop and pub and with virtually every single person there attempting to sing along to it. Bandleader and trumpeter Perez Prado was something of a superstar in the 1940s and 1950s, scoring a No.1 hit in this country in 1955 with Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White and has a small footnote in rock and roll history as having the last ever American No.1 before Rock Around The Clock. Although Guaglione was an American Top 40 hit first time round, his only other UK hit was Patricia in 1958. Thus when Guaglione first charted back in December it was over 37 years since his last hit. As Guaglione technically counts as a new hit for him it gave him the all-time record of longest gap between chart hits, smashing past Dinah Washington's record of 30 years at 71 days set in 1992. With the momentum still behind the track, it could well be on course to smash the record for the longest gap between No.1 hits - currently set at 25 years 259 days by the Righteous Brothers.
No. 2: ( 1) Oasis - Some Might Say
It was neck and neck all the way believe me, but in one of the biggest shocks of the week Oasis are deposed after just one week at No.1 in the most unusual of circumstances. Although not the most commercial single in the world its time at the summit was perhaps limited anyway, but nobody could have foreseen the record that would take its place so quickly...
No. 1: (RE) FIRST WEEK. Livin' Joy - Dreamer
If there has been any trend to be spotted so far this year, it is that of formerly minor hits being reactivated to become smashes second time around as witnessed most recently by hits from Bobby Brown and Strike. Now the trend hits a new height altogether. Dreamer was just another dance record when first released in September last year. It performed quite respectably, entering at No.18 and spending four weeks in the Top 40. Quite clearly this was not enough and now remixed and re-promoted the record explodes onto the chart and quite sensationally outsells all other singles as it does so. It establishes a number of records: (1) Only the second record ever to re-enter the charts at No.1, the first of course being Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody in 1991 which had of course been No.1 first time round as well. (2) The third successive No.1 single to enter the charts at No.1. This is in turn only the second time this has ever happened, the last time being in 1991 when Michael Jackson, George Michael/Elton John and Queen all crashed in in succession. (3) Dreamer is also the 40th record to enter the charts at No.1 and incredibly the 11th to do so in the last two and a half years although that total is inflated somewhat by the excesses of Take That who have had six instant chart toppers during that period. A reader asked me during the week just why this happens, given that it America the feat is unheard of. The answer is simply that even in a country of 55 million people, one record can capture the attention of enough people in its first week on release to sell enough copies to becomes the bestseller of the week. In America things are not quite so straightforward, especially with the Hot 100 taking airplay into consideration and allowing records to chart before they are actually released, making an instantaneous chart topper all the more difficult. All eyes then to next week with all of the top 3 currently selling in equal amounts and with Perez Prado coming up fast things could get a little frantic once more...
[Dreamer was historic in more ways than one, and the point at which the shape of the singles chart changed for the next ten years or more. The first beneficiary of a new distribution policy which saw new releases delivered to shops days before they were due on the shelves after the ERA had successfully lobbied to be able to hold stock ahead of release, rather than receiving them on the day it happened. This made it far easier for major new releases to have large quantities of product available the day they came out, rather than have them trickling onto the streets as retailers received shipments. The net result was it was now far easier to debut near or even at the top of the charts. Things would literally never be the same again].