1 RETURN OF THE MACK (Mark Morrison)
Well, those of us with a taste for something approaching music have spent the past three weeks waiting for the Prodigy to be removed from the top of the charts, but the source of that removal is all the more surprising. Staking his claim as the King of UK R&B, Mark Morrison powers to the Number One slot and in doing so breaks the trend of the last six months. Return Of The Mack becomes the first single since Michael Jackson's You Are Not Alone way way back in September last year to actually climb to Nunber One. His climb has also been an unusually slow one, this being the track's sixth week on the Top 40. These days even if a single does not make the top first week out it will usually only take a couple of weeks to claim the crown. A six week climb is the slowest since Celine Dion's 'Think Twice' made an epic 16 week climb in early 1994.
2 OOH AAH... JUST A LITTLE BIT (Gina G)
The recent stagnation at the top end of the charts is cleared away at a stroke with both a new Number One and this 3 place climb by Gina G to give her the runners up slot. She thus equals the chart peak of Bardo's One Step Further in April 1982 and so is now the highest charting British Eurovision entry since Bucks Fizz' 1981 winning entry Making Your Mind Up reached Number One. Eurovision hits have made the Top 3 more recently that this, however. In 1987 Johnny Logan's winning entry Hold Me Now reached Number 2.
4 THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT US (Michael Jackson)
Michael Jackson appears to be a walking controversy magnet at the present. Not only did his attempt to 'cleanse' himself during his Brits awards performance backfire spectacularly thanks to a Mr J. Cocker of Sheffield but the shooting of the Spike Lee directed video for this new single was dogged by allegations over the way the slum areas portrayed in the film were benefitting from the exposure. They Don't Care About Us was also the track from HIStory which had to be re-edited after complaints about the supposedly anti-Semitic lyrics. Muck-raking aside, where does that leave us? Answer: Jacko with the biggest new hit of the week and yet another Top 10 hit as he continues the most successful chart run of his career, following up the Number One smashes of both You Are Not Alone and Earth Song. His public relations staff may be making a balls up at every turn at the moment but the music shines through regardless.
6 WALKING WOUNDED (Everything But The Girl)
Having started life in the early 1980s as a simple acoustic duo, Everything But The Girl entered the mid 1990s in severe danger of disappearing up their own production values. They had always been primarily an albums act - prior to last year they had only ever had three Top 40 hits, but even the albums sales were drying up as they released a succession of records that swamped the simple beauty of their songs in a wash of lavish production. It took the unusual source of New York house guru Todd Terry to snap them out of it. He took the track Missing from their 1994 Amplified Heart album and reworked it, stripping away the guitars and strings to just leave Tracy Thorn singing the achingly sad song accompanied only by the sparsest of backbeats. The result was an international smash, the biggest selling single worldwide in 1995 and a Top 3 hit in this country - their biggest seller ever over here. It has given Ben Watt and Tracy Thorn a new career direction as they now set out to be a dance act. The initial result of this is this single. Walking Wounded attempts to carry on where Missing left off, featuring a suppressed jungle rhythm to counterpoint Thorn's voice once more. This time the effect isn't quite so breathtaking and I suspect this new direction may prove to be a false dawn for the Hull duo. Nonetheless, it still gives them another Top 10 hit - only the third of their career and the first time they have ever had two Top 40 hits in succession.
8 PEACHES (Presidents Of The USA)
Presidents of the USA are very much stars in the ascendant as they follow up the new year success of Lump with this brilliantly commercial piece of stateside rock. Their biggest hit to date, and nothing to do with the Stranglers either.
9 CECILIA (Suggs & Louchie Lou/Michie One)
A few years ago feats such as this were commonplace. These days it is so much more unusual so major congratulations are in order for Suggs for this climb of no less than 24 places to grab a Top 10 placing with his cover of the Simon and Garfunkel song. The reason for this dramatic leap is simple. The National Lottery. Ever since the start of the year the Saturday night BBC TV show has begun to feature a music act just prior to the all important draw. With an average audience of around 18 million people it is inevitable that the exposure will result in a sales boost for the acts concerned. Indeed, it is possible to trace the performance of many singles back to the National Lottery show. Such is the case with Suggs who performed Cecilia before the draw on April 6th. That was too late for any sales boost to register on last weeks chart, hence its lowly Number 33 entry. This past week of course the sales have registered and the single takes the most impressive leap of the year, sailing past the the 23 place climb of Upside Down's Change Your Mind back in February.
11 IRONIC (Alanis Morissette)
The current darling of the music business both in America and abroad, Alanis Morissette makes the most of her current popularity to score her biggest hit yet as Ironic becomes her fourth Top 40 hit and beats the Number 22 peak of her debut You Outta Know. [Meanwhile somewhere in Dublin a young Ed Byrne had an idea...]
13 SALVATION (Cranberries)
It is hard to believe that the Cranberries' breakthrough came with the gentle, lilting Linger in 1994 given the sound of their current output. The first single from their forthcoming third album follows the path laid down by tracks such as Zombie and is a bleak, heavy affair but still no less melodic for this. It becomes the fourth Top 20 for the Irish group and almost imperceptibly their biggest hit to date, beating the Number 14 peaks of the aforementioned Linger and Zombie.
14 SICK OF DRUGS (Wildhearts)
1995 was a good year for the Wildhearts. They started it as relative unknowns and ended it as one of the more famous Newcastle outfits, alongside the Toon Army of course. Their first hit of 1996 follows pretty much along similar lines and makes an impressive debut to give them the biggest hit of their career so far, sailing easily past the Number 16 peak of I Wanna Go Where The People Go back in May 1995.
18 YOU AND ME SONG (Wannadies)
The cult of easy listening continues. After a couple of near-misses last year the Wannadies notch up their first Top 40 hit. You And Me Song is a lovely laid back affair reminiscent of a male version of the Cardigans. That formula may not make for a massive hit single, but Number 18 is a respectable enough start to their chart career.
21 I GOT THE VIBRATION/A POSITIVE VIBRATION (Black Box)
Was it really seven years ago that Black Box first burst onto the scene? The source of their impact was Ride On Time, a six week chart-topper in September 1989 that introduced the nation to the sound of Italian House. Daniel Davoli and Co. went on to score a string of hits over the next couple of years before things dried up a little in the early 1990s. Over the past few years they have only managed a couple of small chart entries, Rockin' To The Music which made Number 39 in August 1993 and Not Anyone which reached Number 31 in June last year. Now they return with a bang with this 70s styled hit that borrows copiously from Diana Ross' Love Hangover to create one of their best singles for years and their biggest hit single since Strike It Up made Number 16 in April 1991.
24 LIVIN' IT UP (Northern Uproar)
The second hit single of 1996 for bright young things Northern Uproar, albeit one that charts slightly down from their Top 40 debut From A Window which reached Number 17 back in February.
28 POEMS (Nearly God)
29 MY WAY (Shane MacGowan)
In the late 1960s Paul Anka obtained the rights to an old French ballad Comme D'Habitude. He wrote a new set of English lyrics to it and gave the strangely moving song to his friend Frank Sinatra to sing. By now it had a new title - My Way. Since then the song has become the most charted of all time. Aided not a little by the ten different chart runs of Sinatra's original, the four different versions of the track to chart have notched up an incredible 165 weeks between them. Now that total is to swell again as a fifth recording of the song has charted. One of the more celebrated (if that is the word) recordings of the song was that of the Sex Pistols featuring Sid Vicious and his own rather unique take on the lyrics. It is undoubtedly that particular arrangement that former Pogue Shane MacGowan has decided to follow in recording his version. He slurs his way through the song in his own inimitable style and just about avoids not ruining the song. This is his first appearance on the chart since he scored with That Woman's Got Me Drinking back in October 1994, a track recorded with his band The Popes and featuring Johnny Depp on guitar.
34 SHOULD I EVER (FALL IN LOVE) (Nightcrawlers featuring John Reid)
They may be making some of the more pop orientated dance records around, but the Nightcrawlers are struggling at the moment. This single charts far lower than most had expected to follow on from Let's Push It which made Number 23 back in February.