This week's Official UK Singles Chart
1 FAIRGROUND (Simply Red)
So, three weeks at the top, still holding off all-comers and still dominating the nation's airwaves to such an extent that often seems possible to turn on the radio at any time and to hear this track being played on one station or another. Simply Red also this week preside over one of the most static Top Ten's for a long long time, with all 3 of the Top 3 records standing still, along with both Mariah Carey at Number 6 and N-Trance at Number 9.
7 WHEN LOVE AND HATE COLLIDE (Def Leppard)
For the second consecutive week a rock band makes its entry inside the Top Ten, but the difference between Iron Maiden and Def Leppard could not be more pronounced. As you would expect, this new single from their forthcoming Greatest Hits collection finds the band holding the more commercial end of the heavy metal stick but they sound all the better for it. Sanitised commercial rock it may be but it has made them one of the biggest selling acts in the world, a trend that looks set to continue with the new album that collects together some of their best recordings. Inevitably this single looks set to join them, typical Lepps, layers of harmonies over the type of power ballad that was never really in fashion but still appeals nonetheless. It's their first hit single since their cover of the Sweet's Action reached Number 14 in January 1994 but is curiously enough only their third Top Ten hit in this country, this despite being their 11th Top 20 hit. Their biggest hit ever was of course Let's Get Rocked which reached Number 2 in April 1992.
8 LIGHT OF MY LIFE (Louise)
The strongest climb of the week goes to Louise who vaults into the Top 10 and sets herself up nicely for an interesting battle with her former colleagues in Eternal whose new single Power Of A Woman is released this week and is set at the very least to land at Top 20 place.
11 WHERE WILD ROSES GROW (Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue)
Well this has to be one of the most eagerly awaited and at the same time most bizarre new hits of the week. Nick Cave is the Australian leader of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, stalwarts of the indie scene for many years both here and in Australia but who has never translated that into commercial success. He has charted the odd single before but none has ever climbed higher than Number 68. Until now. For this new single he teams up with fellow Aussie Kylie Minogue on a gorgeous, mellow 1940s-sounding ballad. It is easily one of the most uncommercial records on the chart this week, yet at the same time one of the most dead cert hits. Cave's gruff voice contrasts brilliantly with Kylie's distinctive voice, in much the same way as their musical careers have contrasted. As Kylie herself pointed out in a recent interview, whilst she was singing I Should Be So Lucky, Nick Cave was in a clinic getting over his drug addiction.
14 CAMDEN TOWN (Suggs)
Another welcome sight, this time that of Suggs who follows up the Number 7 success of his cover of the Beatles' I'm Only Sleeping with this, his second solo single. An original tune this time, but still distinctively him, a ska celebration of the famous London suburb. He seems at the moment to be carving out a dual role for himself, with a new solo album due out soon as well as a set of Madness dates pencilled in for just before Christmas.
15 U KRAZY KATZ (PJ and Duncan)
I've commented before that the concept of PJ and Duncan is a curious one. Two former actors from a childrens TV series who made a one-off record as part of a storyline, only to follow it up with an entire album and a string of hit singles. Ant and Dec, as they are known in real life, are now carving out a career as television presenters in their own right, yet carry on releasing singles using the character names from the series that they left several months ago. That said, they are currently churning out, Take That aside, some of the most brilliant pop music around. This new single is their third hit of the year, matching the peak of Our Radio Rocks back in February and just behind the Number 12 peak of Stuck On U in July. Their bigggest hit came in July 1994 when Let's Get Ready To Rhumble reached Number 9.
16 FANTASY (Levellers)
Followup time again, this time for the Levellers, clearly in the middle of a run of hit singles from their latest album. This hit follows on from Hope Street which reached Number 12 back in August. This is similarly likely to give the band another quick in and out performance meaning this will become their sixth consecutive Top 20 single to fall short of the Top 10.
17 MY PREROGATIVE (Bobby Brown)
When this series of remixes of his old hits started, Bobby Brown was quoted as saying that he wasn't completely enamoured with the idea. It was hard to figure out why as Two Can Play That Game became his biggest hit ever at the start of the year and then a remixed version of Humping Around shot past it's original 1992 peak to make the Top 10 in the summer. Now it appears he has a point. My Prerogative was his very first big hit in this country, reaching Number 6 in January 1989. Back then it was a classic of its time, a fabulous bit of LA/Babyface swingbeat. This new remix does all the wrong things, stripping away everything that was good about the record to leave a rather sparse, plodding mix that does the track no favours at all. Bob, I'm sorry I ever doubted you.
19 BLUETONIC (Bluetones)
Despite my natural suspicious of semi-eponymous singles, this is a fine track. The second hit for the Bluetones, following on from Are You Blue Or Are You Blind which reached Number 31 back in June. They are now clearly the Current Big Thing as opposed to the Next Big Thing and they could well go Top Ten with their next hit.
25 DREAMS (Wild Colour)
A number of cover versions prop up the bottom end of the chart this week. The first of these is this, a curious dance remake of the famous Fleetwood Mac song. The track first appeared on the Rumours album and was the biggest hit single taken from that album, reaching Number 24 in July 1977. This new version is interesting enough, not all that bad but still not a patch on the original.
28 WEEKEND (Todd Terry Project)
As an regular reader of these pages will know, dance music has recently had a retrospective kind of summer, almost endlessly recycling hits from the past few years in new mixes to push the tracks to further chart action. That trend continues here, but in one of the most sensational ways so far. Weekend is certainly an underground classic, not an underground classic of the 90s but of the 1980s. Weekend was first made in 1988, at the height of the original House Music craze. It only reached Number 56 first time round but is no less famous for that and often pops up on lists of the favourite records of trendy dance DJs. So here it comes now from out of nowhere to reach the Top 40 seven years since it was made. It leaves one speculating what is to come next... C.O.D.s Uphill (Peace Of Mind) perhaps [a blatant bit of cool signalling there on my part]?
29 SUFFER NEVER (Finn)
It must be hard being a fan of the Finn brothers. Keeping up with the various guises they release records under is a confusing business. From Split Enz, through Crowded House through the solo albums of Tim Finn, they have left a stunning pile of hit singles in their wake. Now there is another one to add to the list as with the dissolution of Crowded House the brothers team up together once more and release an album under their own name. That album is heralded by this new hit single, pretty much the same as you would expect, a gentle track which is virtually impossible to criticise.
31 AMERICAN PIE (Just Luis)
Alright. Making dance records out of classic records is nothing new. For that simple reason you would think those people involved would have learned by now. Running through the darkest, deepest corners of my mind I can recall in recent years dance versions of Music and Get Here and so now the eternal Don McLean classic gets the dance treatment. Yet I cannot work out why it is done. There is no artistic merit involved in taking a classic tune and shoving a bassline and a thumping house beat on it whilst getting some anonymous session singer to warble the vocals rather badly. Moreover it implies a laziness and a lack of imagination. Dance music is a fantastic form of music and has been responsible for some of the best pop records of the last ten years and it deserves better than to have its name sullied by travesties such as this. If you are going to cover a classic (even in a dance version) you either do it with respect or not at all. Sadly the makers of this particular track followed neither of those two paths.
33 LOVE RENDEZVOUS (M People)
The Bizarre Fruit album was slated by the critics when it first came out for being something of a disappointment. The first couple of singles did not appear to bear that out, with both Open Your Heart and Search For The Hero making Number 9 and with the latter becoming something of an anthem for the summer just gone. Now it appears the rot has set in. Love Rendezvous has received no less exposure than any other M People single, filling dancefloors and radio playlists, yet few appear to want to buy it. If the track fails to progress any further (it won't) it will become (remixes aside) their smallest hit single since 'Someday' could only reach Number 38 back in April 1992.
34 OCEAN DRIVE (Lighthouse Family)
The Lighthouse Family have for some months been touted as another Next Big Thing but their progress has been slow and sure so far. Their first single was the wonderful 'Lifted' which was released earlier this year but despite extensive radio airplay it missed out on a Top 40 placing. Now the Newcastle soulsters finally poke their heads above water with this second single, a lovely, mellow track that is no less brilliant than the first. One day they could well be big but they will require a big push to do so, Their record company know a good thing when they see it and are pushing as hard as they can. I just hope the public at large wake up to them in time. [Not just yet, but 1996 would end up being their year in a big way].