1 RETURN OF THE MACK (Mark Morrison)
Just to show that you cannot always reply on reports of midweek sales positions [never believe the midweeks], Mark Morrison defies the odds and grabs a second week at the top of the charts, albeit in the face of some pretty strong opposition beneath. His hold on the top still looks pretty shaky and there will be stiff competition for the Number One position next week, not only from the Manic Street Preachers but also a certain George Michael.
2 A DESIGN FOR LIFE (Manic Street Preachers)
Richie Edwards vanished in September 1994 and has not been seen since. It is against this background that Britain's most coherent set of rock anarchists embark on the release of their fourth album. The band that managed to out-Oasis Oasis before the Gallagher brothers had even had the inkling of forming a group had always managed to combine a sneering attitude to much of the music industry with an ability to create some fantastic records. A Design For Life is their first single since Edwards vanished yet the group seem in no way diminished without him. The anticipation surrounding this release means that it charges into the charts to give them their biggest hit ever and only their second Top 10 hit. Despite a string of Top 40 hits since 1991 the closest they had ever come to a commercial smash before was their charity cover of Suicide Is Painless which reached Number 7 in September 1992. Even Motorcycle Emptiness, their defining moment, could only reach Number 17. Sales of this single were so high that many reports suggested that it would become yet another instant Number One but a late surge from Mark Morrison denies the Manics that accolade and they may miss out altogether with the release of George Michael's new single putting paid to their chances of climbing next week.
5 GOLDFINGER (Ash)
It seems to be a week for bands to have their biggest hits to date. Teenage prodigies Ash caused a stir last summer with their two hits Girl From Mars and Angel Interceptor which reached Numbers 11 and 14 respectively. After a break of a few months the lads return with what is easily their most commercial single to date. It lives up to its potential and charges straight into the Top 10 to give them, you've guessed it, their biggest ever hit.
6 CECILIA (Suggs)
Suggs makes a climb of 3 places to reach his highest chart placing since the reissue of Madness' It Must Be Love climbed to a similar position in mid-1992. The presence of this track in the Top 10 makes it part of a rather astonishing 1-2-3 for WEA records. This is not apparent until one studies the catalogue numbers of the various singles. Mark Morrison's single is currently at Number One of course, his single bearing the number WEA040CD. Two places below him is Gina G on Eternal records but with a WEA number of WEA041CD. To round off this strange string comes Suggs - his number is WEA042CD.
7 KEEP ON JUMPIN' (Lisa Marie Experience)
A look at any club chart published over the last few months will give you some indication of the anticipation that has surrounded the release of this track. The 70s styled dance hit has been one of the biggest club smashes of the past quarter and now with a commercial release the Lisa Marie Experience crash straight into the Top 10.
11 THE BOX (Orbital)
Paul and Phillip Hartnoll make up Orbital. They first came to prominence in 1990 with the instrumental Chime which reached Number 17 and still holds something of a record as one of the cheapest Top 20 singles ever made - reportedly the only money they spent on it was one pound for the tape it was recorded on. Since then the brothers have produced a string of middling chart hits, the last of these coming in September 1994 with Are We Here. Almost 18 months later the brothers return with what looks to be their most commercial project yet. The lead single from the album is 'The Box', a laid-back instrumental track that by a strange coincidence lands on the chart immediately behind Children and The X-Files to create a trio of some of the biggest instrumental smashes of recent years.
17 ANIMAL ARMY (Babylon Zoo)
Has Jas Mann blown it himself? Thanks to a certain Jeans advert, Spaceman rocketed to the top of the charts at the start of this year and made its creator into a star. Said creator at this point decided to talk up his talent at every available opportunity, a tactic that inspired a slightly negative opinion in many people and called to mind the early career of Terence Trent D'Arby. It now falls to Jas Mann to prove himself and demonstrate that the success of his debut single was indeed down to his phenomenal talent and not just the fact that the track had TV exposure. His second single leaves the question still open. Animal Army continues where Spaceman left off and even at times starts to sound like forgotten heroes Suede. Its first week position of Number 17 is respectable enough but still slightly disappointing given that it is the followup to a Number One smash.
18 HAPPY BIRTHDAY (Technohead)
Candidate for the strangest record of the year has to be I Want To Be A Hippy, the manic, speeded up dance hit that hung around the charts for months yet achieved minimal radio exposure thanks to its drug-related subject matter. A week after it finally leaves the Top 40 Technohead bounce back - literally with another hit that features the same high-speed trampolining rhythm and bears the same irritatingly catchy hallmarks. A second Top 20 hit was probably assured.
19 LET THE MUSIC PLAY (Mary Kiani)
The third hit single for Mary Kiani and a second Top 20 hit. Let The Music Play lands just short of the Number 18 peak of her debut hit When I Call Your Name which charted in August last year.
20 CHARITY (Skunk Anansie)
Re-release time for Skunk Anansie, in the shape of Charity which became their first ever Top 40 hit when it crept in at the basement in September last year. This time around it registers a 20 place improvement to follow on from Weak which also made Number 20 at the start of the year. That they should choose to re-release this track is curious, given that a more likely candidate would be I Can Dream which was released before 'Charity' and missed out on a Top 40 placing thanks to its sleeve which incorporated the all-important barcode of the single but which turned out to be unreadable by the scanners in many high street stores. As a result the sales never registered.
21 RUNNIN' FOR THE RED LIGHT (I GOTTA LIFE) (Meat Loaf)
The third single from Waking Up The Neighbourhood. This time Meat Loaf turns away from the power ballad and rocks out - big time. Runnin For The Red Light is more of a tribute track that anything else with a chorus that is lifted almost wholesale from the classic Good Times best known these days in the version released by INXS as part of the soundtrack to the film 'The Lost Boys'. This blatant bit of 'borrowing' [Harry Vanda and George Young of the Easybeats were given songwriting credits, the lift was an entirely deliberate homage] doesn't really harm the track and turns it into one of the more immediate party hits Mr Loaf has ever released. It will struggle to match the Top 10 peak of the last two hits Not A Dry Eye In The House and I'd Lie For You - even if the title is of a comparable length.
23 IF YOU WERE HERE TONIGHT (Matt Goss)
Matt Goss' attempts to become a solo star continue. After the relative failure of his first post-Bros solo release The Key he turns to an established soul favourite. If You Were Here Tonight was first recorded by Alexander O'Neal who took it to Number 13 in March 1986. Ten years on and Matt Goss releases his version which follows the original faithfully to give him a Top 30 hit, the highest he has been in the charts since Bros' Are You Mine made Number 12 in August 1991. One hint though Matt, lose the beard mate...
30 FOLLOW YOU DOWN (Gin Blossoms)
The second hit of the year for the Gin Blossoms, following on from Til I Hear It From You which scraped a Number 39 placing back in February.
31 NOT ENOUGH LOVE IN THE WORLD (Cher)
One By One was one of Cher's biggest hits of recent years, a semi-permanent fixture on many radio playlists and a Number 7 chart hit back in January. On the strength of that you would expect the followup to perform similarly but for some reason this track misses out and can only manage a rather miserable Number 31 placing. Cher's chart performances have always been rather erratic but given her current profile this is a surprisingly minor hit.
33 LOVE IS THE DRUG (Roxy Music)
It has been a long time since the roll of honour headed "Rather Silly and Extremely Unnecessary Remixes" has been added to so at least that is one way to welcome the return of Roxy Music to the Top 40. Love Is The Drug was one of their biggest ever hits, reaching Number 2 in 1975. This new set of mixes attempts to add to a track that was pretty well formed to begin with but it does at least become the first Roxy Music hit since Take A Chance With Me made Number 26 in September 1982 and marks the first chart appearance for Brian Ferry since he just missed the Top 40 with Your Painted Smile in late 1994.
Back in 1994, Joe Lewis Thomas was the next big thing in stateside soul. His talents had been used on many hits by artists such as TLC and SWV and Mercury records were quick to appoint him as one of their staff producers. His own recordings were reasonable sized hits yet were nothing spectacular, the biggest being I'm In Luv which reached Number 22 in January 1994. This new single is the first release from a new album but based on this chart performance he seems for the moment to be destined to be better known for his work behind the scenes. [He'd actually lost his record deal by this point, this single a one-off from the soundtrack of the satirical movie "Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood].
38 TOP OF THE STAIRS (Skee-Lo)
A second hit for Skee-Lo, this looks like being a rather disappointing followup to I Wish which made Number 15 just before Christmas.