1 BOOMBASTIC (Shaggy)
Now this was, I will freely admit, quite unexpected. It was seen as almost inevitable that Michael Jackson would surrender the Number One slot this week, but most of the smart money was on the apparently unstoppable force of N-Trance's hit. As it turns out this is not the case and the honour of the nation's best selling single of the week goes to Shaggy with his second hit of the year following In The Summertime a couple of months back. The source of the record's apparently instant popularity is its use in the latest of a string of TV adverts for Levis jeans. Since the 501s campaign began in 1986 it has been responsible for a string of hit singles - many of which have topped the charts. Shaggy's single is in fact the fifth track from a Levis advert to top the charts, following in the footsteps of hits from Ben E King, Steve Miller Band, the Clash and Stiltskin. The track explodes onto the chart over here following a similarly successful run in the US Top 10 - one of the first ever ragga records to chart big in the United States. Finally it gives Shaggy his second Number One single in this country. He first topped the charts back in 1993 with Oh Carolina. As for whether he can remain there, well that is probably the most interesting question of all. Strong competition is likely to come, not from any of the current crop of chart hits but from the new Simply Red single due for release this week.
4 FANTASY (Mariah Carey)
Shaggy aside, the biggest new hit of the week goes to Mariah Carey. Fantasy is the first single from her brand new album and the first since the Music Box album finally helped her stardom over here catch up wit the rest of the world. So far the British public's admiration appears to have held, the record has been unavoidable on the radio over the past few weeks and upon release it becomes her ninth UK Top 10 hit single and her first since All I Want For Christmas Is You reached Number 2 last Christmas.
6 RUNAWAY (Janet Jackson)
Following on from their duet on Scream earlier in the year, brother and sister make the Top 10 on their own accounts, Michael at Number 2 and now Janet here at Number 6. Coincidentally both hits from the siblings are from Greatest Hits collections with Janet's due for release in a couple of months. The cynic in me is tempted to suggest that a Janet Jackson hits collection would amount to little more than a boxed set of all her albums, given her propensity for releasing as many tracks as possible as singles. Believe it or not this is her eighth hit single since mid-1993 yet the first totally new track since That's The Way Love Goes made Number 2 at the beginning of that sequence. Still, quibbles aside Runaway becomes one of her greatest hits at a stroke, her seventh Top 10 hit in this country.
7 LA LA LA HEY HEY (Outhere Brothers)
Two hit singles and two Number Ones to their name, the Outhere Brothers are far and away one of the most successful chart acts of the year. They have not been without their share of controversy either, with both hit singles almost too rude to play on the radio whilst their album proved to be so sexually explicit that some retailers refused to stock it and many tracks had to be re-recorded. The problem if anything is that the boys have become too successful, becoming pop stars rather than the credible dance act they clearly started out as. As a result they have tapped into a far larger market than would have otherwise have been the case - with the consequent need to tone down the records to sustain this mass appeal. Following all this then, their third hit single becomes possibly their cleanest and certainly most straightforward hit yet, even featuring a proper full length rap rather than the string of lyrical set pieces that characterised Don't Stop and Boom Boom Boom. This may actually have a detrimental effect as without the titillation and scandal of the records filling with explicit lyrics there is a danger that people will start to see them for what they are - two rather chubby blokes making rather juvenile dance records in a manner that has been done many times in the past. Time will tell.
15 STAY WITH ME (Erasure)
Another year, another album from the pair who are fast becoming one of the most consistent acts in chart history. Stay With Me, the first single from a forthcoming new album, becomes Erasure's 22nd hit single and maintains their 100% strike rate of Top 20 hits.
19 CRY INDIA (Umboza)
In a week of big new releases from big name acts, dance music takes a back seat with a smaller crop than usual of semi-anonymous dance tracks. The biggest of these is this one, Umboza originating from Glasgow, Scotland having produced some brilliant techno tracks in the past. This one is no exception, sampling heavily the Jamaican chant from Lionel Richie's 1984 hit All Night Long - which causes me to wonder why the track is called Cry India.
20 EYE HATE U ("Symbol")
Only the Artist Formerly Known As Prince could write a love song called I Hate You. Having finally resolved his arguments with Warner Brothers, the stage is set for the purple one to release The Gold Experience, the album which spawned last year's Number One hit The Most Beautiful Girl In The World and which has remained under wraps until now. Prince singles are rarely too much of an event, they are released and either become big hits or they don't... this one is unlikely to progress too much further even if it is one of his more laidback soulful efforts.
26 IN A BROKEN DREAM (Thunder)
Much mystery surrounded the release of this track when it was promoed to radio stations with no artist credited to the track, save for an invitation to guess who it was. One of my colleagues spotted it instantly, and in retrospect it wasn't too hard to guess. Thunder become the first act this year to have four Top 40 hit singles with this cover of a track first recorded back in 1972 by Python Lee Jackson. Back then the attraction of the track was the fact that the vocals were by an uncredited Rod Stewart. It helped the track to Number 3 and it has been regarded as a rock classic ever since. Thunder's cover is faithful to the original, although in all honesty it is hard to see how it could have been improved upon.
27 I CAN'T TELL YOU WHY (Brownstone)
Another cover, this time from Brownstone as for their third hit single they go for the unusual. 'I Can't Tell You Why' was first recorded by the Eagles and although it was never a hit in this country it became an American Top 10 hit in 1980. This new version gives the most successful act by far on Michael Jackson's MJJ label another hit to follow If You Love Me and Grapevyne which were both Top 20 hits earlier in the year.
30 I WANT TO LIVE (Grace)
Easily one of the best dance hits of the year so far has been Grace's Not Over Yet, Number 6 in April and one of many hits to come from the Perfecto label over the course of the last few months. Now Grace is back with her second hit single, this time a cover version of a Gavin Friday track which was released several times back in 1992 yet never once made the charts, an injustice which is now finally corrected by this new version.
32 DIABLO (Grid)
The first hit of 1995 for the Grid, the ambient dance act led by former Soft Cell man Dave Ball. They have been around in one form or another since 1990 but only in the last year or so have the hit singles started coming, most notably in summer 1994 when Swamp Thing reached the Top 3 and kicked off the craze for making Country and Western/Techno fusion records. Their new hit drifts back to the more ambient style of earlier hits to quite pleasant effect.
33 OOH-AH-AA (I FEEL IT) (EYC)
For some reason this is the song title that no DJ can pronounce properly. EYC spent most of 1994 in the British charts, one of the few US swingbeat acts to build up a large following over here, their biggest hit coming in July 1994 with Black Book which reached Number 13. Their first hit of 1995 builds nicely on that success and is in pretty much the same style, a good piece of swingbeat pop that sounds as comfortable in the British charts as it does in America. That said the single makes a poor start and will struggle to become their sixth Top 30 hit.
35 THE HEART'S FILTHY LESSON (David Bowie)
Whatever he does, you cannot really criticise David Bowie. He has been making records in his own unique style since the late 1960s, has had countless hit singles and a smattering of Number One hits. Over the past few years he has appeared to have undergone something of a chart renaissance, particularly with 1993s Black Tie White Noise album. From that came the single Jump They Say which became his first Top 10 hit for seven years when it reached Number 9. Part of the success of that album came from his reunion with producer Nile Rodgers and so for his latest album David Bowie returns another old mentor Brian Eno, who has been best known recently for his work with U2. Bowie's albums with Eno in the mid 1970s are considered some of his best ever and he is clearly hoping for the same critical reaction to this project. Sadly it appears that the hit singles might be lacking this time round, Heart's Filthy Lesson wanders around apparently aimlessly for four minutes in a most unmemorable fashion. Still, David Bowie is one of those artists who does not need hit singles to get by, which on reflection is possibly just as well...
38 THE MORNING AFTER (FREE AT LAST) (Strike)
The second hit single for Strike, last heard from back in April with U Sure Do, one of many dance records so far this year to become a hit on its second release. This could well be a strategy that this new hit may have to follow as by the looks of things it is getting no further.
39 CATCH A FIRE (Haddaway)
Frantic publicity appearances by Haddaway do not seem to be doing much good. The man who was seemingly never out of the charts in 1993 has been having difficulty maintaining that success with his second album. First of all came Fly Away back in June which dived in at Number 20 before diving straight out again and now this new hit, a typically bouncy piece of Europop but not one it seems that is going to find chart success to match past hits such as What Is Love and I Miss You.