1 SPACEMAN (Babylon Zoo)
It is really quite strange, the most sensational Number One hit of the year has now reportedly sold well over half a million copies in its first couple of weeks yet virtually everyone who has expressed an opinion about the track has professed to hate it simply for not sounding like the advert all the way through. Time to set the record straight then, as Babylon Zoo spend a second week atop the chart and seeing off a very strong challenge from the Bluetones in the process. They are only the third act ever to have hit the top instantly with their first release, following on from Whigfield in 1994 and Robson & Jerome last year. Curiously enough both of those singles were also characterised by unprecedented sales during their first few weeks on release. Finally, for the benefit of everyone overseas who has mailed me asking just what this record sounds like - imagine David Bowie performing a Nine Inch Nails track, and yes, it really is as good as it sounds.
2 SLIGHT RETURN (Bluetones)
No less than 14 records make their chart debut this week but surely the most welcome of them is this hit from the Bluetones. The band released their first chart hits last year, making minor impressions with Are You Blue Or Are You Blind and Bluetonic which reached Numbers 31 and 19 respectively. Both hits were indications that this was a band destined to be massive and so it has proved correct with the release of this third single. Just like its predecessors 'Slight Return' has a gorgeous melody coupled with an eye for a pop hook and this hit takes that formula almost to perfection to create an anthemic track that demands to be labelled as a classic from the minute it begins. A big sale was almost a certainty and it crashes in to the runners-up position to give the lads their biggest ever hit single. A Number 2 entry also potentially exposes it to the jinx on entering at that position - no record has charted at Number 2 and subsequently climbed to the top for almost 3 years. What you might call a spiritual Number One nonetheless.
5 STREET SPIRIT (FADE OUT) (Radiohead)
With this hit Radiohead finally make a comeback that they have threatened for months. The band appeared to promise much when they had a massive US hit single with Creep in early 1993, a success which rebounded back home to put that single in the Top 10. Since then they have struggled to match that success, putting out several more hit singles, not of which have charted higher than a moderately respectable Number 17. Finally the breakthrough has come at long last and this gorgeous track, which sounds every inch a rock classic easily sails past the Number 7 peak of Creep to give them their biggest hit to date. One can lean on the Creep factor too much, but it was always going to be a potential millstone around the neck of the band, the first hit single that they were never destined to equal. On this occasion they have proved to be more than capable of rising to that challenge.
7 NOT A DRY EYE IN THE HOUSE (Meat Loaf)
What on earth is happening? For the second week running a hit single which had looked to only become a minor hit has surged upward to mark itself out as a genuine smash. First of all we had Upside Down last week and now Meat Loaf defies all the speculators and makes an impressive 16 place climb to put him back in the Top 10. His career turnaround over the past few years has been nothing short of astonishing with four Top 10 hits since 1993, including a Number One smash and the bestselling single of the year. Before the release of Bat II he had only ever made the Top 10 once in his entire career. It is impressive going for a man who claimed in a recent interview that he makes his songs so long so that people can have sex to them properly...
9 NO FRONTS - THE REMIXES (Dog Eat Dog)
After a long gestation, the New York rock/rap crossover group finally make their UK Top 40 debut. No Fronts first appeared on an album back in 1994 but it is only now after extensive re-promotion, touring and a huge push from Roadrunner records that they finally chart. It was well worth the wait, this collection of mixes of their most celebrated European hit gives them an instant Top 10 smash.
12 I WANNA BE A HIPPY (Technohead)
In a similar fashion, Technohead's manic and frankly bizarre techno hit finally charts in the higher reaches in this country. First released last year, it failed to gain a Top 40 placing but went on to become one of the dance smashes of the year around Europe. That success has now rebounded over here, despite the fact that a track containing the hook line 'I Want To Get High' is unlikely to attract much radio airplay. [Now here it is a shame I wasn't paying full attention because there was an intriguing story here. Britain's only Gabber act, Technohead were the latest creation of Michael Wells who alongside his late wife Lee Newman had previously charted hits as LFO and Tricky Disco in the early 90s].
15 BEAUTIFUL LIFE (Ace Of Base)
In a similar manner to Meat Loaf, Ace Of Base buck several current trends and climb six places to land a Top 20 entry. Beautiful Life thus becomes their biggest hit since Don't Turn Around reached Number 5 in June 1994.
17 FROM A WINDOW/THIS MORNING (Northern Uproar)
Well now that the Bluetones are successful, this lot must now take over as 'The Next Big Thing'. Northern Uproar have been attracting attention for many months now and a series of support slots over the last year have raised their profile no end. After a couple of near misses they finally have a Top 40 hit in impressive style, this double-headed single becoming an instant Top 20 smash and promises much more to come.
20 THE NAUGHTY NORTH AND THE SEXY SOUTH (E-Motion)
Gratuitous drug references ahoy. Banal and repetitive it may be but this high powered piece of techno was so bizarre it could hardly missing, crossing from the dancefloors to the charts, yet no doubt straight back again within a week.
22 EVERYTIME YOU TOUCH ME (QFX)
QFXs slice of Hi-NRG gives them a Top 30 hit. Unusually this is actually a remake, the original version having been recorded by Moby, his version reaching Number 28 almost exactly a year ago.
24 MR FRIDAY NIGHT (Lisa Moorish)
Efforts to turn Lisa Moorish into a star continue apace. After several failed attempts in the late 1980s she finally achieved a chart breakthrough last year with her dramatic reworking of Wham!'s I'm Your Man which reached Number 24 in August, largely thanks to the celebrated presence of the song's author on backing vocals. Now she bounces back to instantly match that peak with this track, a much better piece of pop-soul that probably deserves better than this likely peak outside the Top 20.
25 EVERY LITTLE STEP (Bobby Brown)
It is now a year since this project of remixing old Bobby Brown singles began. Since the start of last year, Two Can Play That Game, Humping Around and My Prerogative have all made the charts once more in rejigged versions. Now it is the turn of Every Little Step which first reached Mumber 6 in June 1989. The remix does its job, i.e. ripping the heart and soul out of the original to create a track that sounds dull and formulaic.
29 TIME (Marion)
The second hit single for Marion who are clearly going to grow with every release, this track beating the Number 37 peak of Let's All Go Together in October last year.
31 SITTIN' UP IN MY ROOM (Brandy)
Latest teen prodigy Brandy makes her second Top 40 appearance in this country following on from I Wanna Be Down which reached Number 36 in June last year. This track comes from the 'Waiting To Exhale' soundtrack which has of course already produced one hit for Whitney Houston with several more waiting in the wings.
33 PLEASE (Elton John)
Rocket records managed to raise a few eyebrows just before Christmas when they dramatically pulled Blessed from release just a week before it was due to hit the shops. The reason given was that as the track was rapidly becoming an American hit they wanted to concentrate on promoting it properly over there. Now it appears that track has been passed over for the moment in favour of this one, also lifted from Made In England. At a time when many Elton John recordings are drifting towards something approaching average, this one is at least one of the nicer romantic tracks he has released recently and this follows on from the two Top 20 hits he notched up in 1995. The only problem really is that when he starts singing Please, Let Me Grow Old With You you feel inclined to point out the obvious to him.
34 SOUTHSIDE (Dave Clarke)
Dave Clarke's techno track charts this week thanks to its dancefloor popularity over the last few weeks. Only a minor hit.
35 HEAVEN (Solo (US))
Jam and Lewis' latest prodigies Solo make their British chart debut with this track but in the process suffer a curious change of name. They have been forced to operate as 'Solo US' in this country thanks to dance producer Stuart Crichton who has released a number of minor hits under that name - hence the desire of the record companies involved to ensure there is no confusion. Conflicts between bands who have inadvertently chosen the same name as bands in other countries have caused many such changes to occur in the past. 1980s Ska band The Beat became The English Beat when they charted in America whilst Cliff Richard's backing band changed from The Drifters to The Shadows when the American soul group began to have hits here in the early 1960's. On the other side of the coin, soul legends The Spinners become the Motown (and subsequently Detroit) Spinners for their hits in this country to avoid conflict with the folk group of the same name. More recently in 1990 the band Sweet Sensation had to become New York's Sweet Sensation when promoting their US Number One If Wishes Came True owing to the presence of the British soul act with that name who made Number One in the 1970's with Sad Sweet Dreamer.