No. 40: (--) Teenage Fanclub - Sparky's Dream
The second smallish hit of the year for Teenage Fanclub, following on from Mellow Doubt which reached No.34 back in April.
No. 38: (--) Orb - Oxbow Lakes
Now officially consisting of Alex Patterson plus whoever, the Orb notch up their first Top 40 single since the reissue of Perpetual Dawn made No.18 in February 1994. It is back to typical Orb for this single, a formless, formula-less yet somehow beautiful aural soundscape that clearly is designed to sound best when tanked up to the eyeballs on alcohol or some other less socially acceptable intoxicant. Quite possibly one of the more uncommercial singles on the chart this week, but that has not stopped them having major hits in the past, their biggest hit ever being the 40 minute epic Blue Room which made No.8 in June 1992 and holds the record for the longest single ever, being just a few seconds short of the permitted maximum for a single. It is most famous for their Top Of The Pops performance which consisted of the band sitting around playing chess whilst the song played on behind them...
No. 36: (--) Blessed Union Of Souls - I Believe
A massive American hit and receiving a great deal of attention over here, the debut hit single from Blessed Union of Souls charts over here. Its somewhat lowly entry point will come as something of a disappointment to the record company who had arranged for the band to appear seemingly everywhere in order to give the track as big a boost as possible. There is still hope yet for the soul ballad though... those in the know are simply muttering 'watch it climb'.
No. 35: (35) Gompie - Alice (Who The X Is Alice)
Staying the same are Gompie, clearly failing to find a mass audience with their obscene, but no less amusing bastardisation of Smokie's Living Next Door To Alice, but that still has not stopped it going down a storm in clubs, admittedly the same clubs that found Black Lace's Bullshit such a hoot around Christmas time [that was their competing version of Cotton Eye Joe which lost out to the Rednex recording in a one-sided chart battle].
No. 34: (--) Frankie Knuckles f/Adeva - Too Many Fish
A long-overdue return to the charts for two very big names in dance music. Frankie Knuckles probably needs no introduction, being one of the more legendary Us producer/remixers of the mid-80s. He has released the odd single under his own name as well, the only one to chart big over here (until now) was 1991s The Whistle Song which reached No.17 in August that year. Adeva first came to chart attention in 1989 with her storming garage version of Respect which led to her charting several more singles later that year, most of which had a strange knack of peaking at No.17. She has been absent from the Top 40 since February 1992 when Don't Let It Show On Your Face reached No.32 but now storms back to form with what is to my ears one of the more brilliant US dance records released in ages, harking back to classic garage hits of the late 80s when dance music still meant a proper song with a proper singer. It may not get much further, but, as I am so fond of saying in these circumstances, comes as a breath of fresh air.
No. 33: (--) Sheryl Crow - Can't Cry Anymore
The third hit single for Sheryl Crow, still looking like a one hit wonder after the massive success of 'All I Wanna Do'. The followup 'Strong Enough' could only reach No.33 earlier in the year and this new single looks like doing exactly the same.
No. 32: (--) Charlatans - Just Lookin'
There was quite a buzz about this single when it was released but that has not helped its chart prospects too much, the second hit single of the year from fallen heroes the Charlatans, following on from Crashin' In which made No.31 at the start of the year. It would be a little unfair to write them off altogether, given that Blur were charting singles in this position around two years ago.
No. 31: (24) Everton FC - Altogether Now
Down slide Everton, despite having the last laugh on the field last Saturday, winning 1-0. If only Huddersfield Town would make a bad record [context: they were playing in the then Division 2 playoff final that weekend. Which they won].
No. 27: (--) Faith No More - Ricochet
A second hit this year for Faith No More, their usual style of music possibly too heavy to give them a massive hit single at present, this following on from Digging The Grave which made No.16 back in March.
No. 24: (--) Jimmy Somerville - Hurt So Good
By no means a classic but another hit single for Jimmy Somerville, matching the peak reached by Heartbeat back in January.
No. 23: (--) Incognito - Everyday
Time again for the veteran soul act to crawl out of the woodwork for another hit single. They have been around in one form or another since the mid-1970s, charting for the first time in this country in 1980 and finally managing hit singles in the 1990s. This spunky piece of soul/dance comes over a year since their last hit Pieces Of A Dream made No.35 in March 1994. Their biggest hit came in July 1991 when Always There featuring the imposing presence of Jocelyn Brown on lead vocals reached No.6.
No. 22: (--) Future Sound Of London - Far-out Son Of Lung...
More aural soundscapes, this time from Brian Dougans and crew, charting for the first time since Lifeforms made No.14 in August 1994. Precisely what the appeal of this kind of ambient dub is to people has always puzzled me slightly, this track at least having the distinction of the most bizarre title on the chart.... in full: Far-out Son Of Lung And The Ramblings Of...
No. 21: (--) Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees
You'd be hard pressed to find a band in the bottom of the chart this week not having their second hit of the year. In the case of Radiohead this follows on from March's High And Dry which reached No.17. It must be said though that this new single is an absolute triumph, the kind of understated semi-acoustic track that makes you realise that behind the miserable 'alternative' image of bands like this lies a genuine ear for a fantastic tune. A shame in many ways that they should have started their career with a smash such as Creep, but for that single, this would be the track for which they would be eternally remembered.
No. 20: (21) Bryan Adams - Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman
The release of "Don Juan de Marco" from whence the song comes possibly gives Bryan Adams a small boost as he does a yo-yo and climbs back a place.
No. 18: (28) Elton John - Made In England
The joint highest leap of the week for Elton John and his most glorious pop hit in ages, thankfully overcoming for now the lowly initial placing of the track. I suspect it may have received a slight boost from his appearance on David Letterman last week in London, this despite the fact that the special series of shows are being broadcast terrestrially a week after they were first transmitted by Sky.
No. 16: (--) Michelle Gayle - Freedom
Michelle Gayle's fourth hit single, and another bright Narada Michael Walden piece of pop, in a similar vein to Sweetness which had such a hold on the charts last Autumn. It's a pleasant enough pop track but nothing special, eclipsing 'I'll Find You' which missed the Top 20 altogether over Christmas.
No. 15: (20) Joshua Kadison - Jessie
After no less than three weeks at No.20 Joshua Kadison moves up again to continue what could well be a protracted climb. Despite the fast-moving nature of the charts there is still room for a single to grow steadily over a number of weeks, as Celine Dion proved at the start of the year.
No. 10: (--) McAlmont and Butler - Yes
This one could hardly miss. Former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler proves that the talk of him being the real talent behind the band was no idle talk. For his next step in the music industry he takes a musical step sideways and teams up with singer David McAlmont. Together they have managed to produce this, an incredible Philly-styled soul ballad with McAlmont singing like an angel and Butler's guitar playing adding a dimension almost unique to a soul record. It really is one of the most utterly wonderful records you have heard in ages. They have reportedly put plans for an album on hold whilst they see how this single performs, which makes me wonder could they really not spot that it has No.1 potential?
No. 8: (11) Celine Dion - Only One Road
Now four Top 10 hits for Celine Dion, following The Power Of Love, Think Twice and the record which first saw her in the British charts back in 1992 Beauty And The Beast.
No. 7: (--) Nightcrawlers f/John Reid - Surrender Your Love
Yet another sophomore hit, the biggest of the week going to the Nightcrawlers who scored a smash out of the blocks first time out with Push The Feeling On which raced past its original No.22 peak of last year to make No.3 back in March. The new single has more of a song structure than the last hit, owing to the presence of vocalist John Reid on the track. Another Top 3 hit could well be on the cards.
No. 6: (10) Billie Ray Martin - Your Loving Arms
Billie Ray makes another climb, matching the peak achieved by S-Express' Hey Music Lover which saw her first appearance on a chart hit. In case anyone is wondering, she sang the "I Wanna Take You Higher" line on the track.
No. 5: (15) Ali Campbell - That Look In Your Eye
The joint biggest climb of the week goes to Ali Campbell with his first ever solo hit, a brilliant single deservedly Top 10 first time out.
No. 2: ( 3) Perez 'Prez' Prado - Guaglione
Something strange and interesting here, and something that is not immediately apparent when looking at the chart rundown as it stands here. Scatman John, Perez Prado and Green/Flynne are all on RCA records, giving the one label a complete sweep of the Top 3 records. Interestingly enough this is only the second time in chart history this has ever been managed. The first was as far back as 1965 when in the week of April 1st the Rolling Stones were at No.1 with The Last Time, Unit 4 Plus 2 were at No.2 with Concrete And Clay and Tom Jones was at No.3 with It's Not Unusual - all of them released by Decca records and curiously each one, was, had been or was about to be a No.1 hit.
No. 1: ( 1) SECOND WEEK. Robson Green & Jerome Flynn - Unchained Melody/White Cliffs Of Dover
This is turning out to be yet another phenomenal year for singles. Last week Robson Green and Jerome Flynn crashed into No.1 with a total sale of almost 300,000 copies. This week they race past that mark selling an astonishing 470,000 copies of the single. Forget Whigfield, forget Take That... this is the highest weekly sale achieved by any single since Do They Know It's Christmas sold over 800,000 in its first week in December 1984. That total is almost ten times that of its nearest rival Perez Prado and enough to ensure it outsells the whole of the Top 10 put together. Not bad for a song which in the past has charted in 7 other versions making it the most covered song in terms of versions which actually made the charts. A postscript to the success of the record must also deal with the producers - Mike Stock and Matt Aitken. It's the biggest hit single they have produced since the heyday of the Stock/Aitken/Waterman partnership that dominated popular music in the mid to late 1980s. whilst Pete Waterman remains the mogul behind PWL records, route for many European dance hits into this country, Stock and Aitken have been quietly and unobtrusively making a name for themselves once more, their most celebrated feat being teaming Jocelyn Brown and Kim Mazelle together for cover versions of No More Tears and Gimmie All Your Lovin' last year. In all its the 14th No.1 hit they have produced together, a sequence which began with Dead Or Alive's You Spin Me Round in 1985 and was last added to in January 1990 with Kylie Minogue's Tears On My Pillow. It is enough to sustain their position as the fifth most successful producers in chart history in terms of No.1 hits, the record being held jointly by George Martin and the late Norrie Paramour who have manned the controls for 27 apiece.