This week's Official UK Singles Chart
1 KILLING ME SOFTLY (Fugees)
Another good week for the Fugees as their painstakingly crafted cover version sees its sales skyrocket to maintain a commanding lead over the opposition. A lengthy run looks even more assured with the release schedules containing little in the immediate future that could conceivably make a challenge for the top slot.
2 THREE LIONS (Baddiel/Skinner/Lightning Seeds)
Despite being unceremoniously dumped from the top of the chart last week the anthem for the England team clings on for a second week in the runners up position. The European championships kicked off at last this weekend and the charts are suddenly reflecting the mood of football mania that appears to be sweeping the nation. Two more football related tracks chart this week with another to follow very shortly.
3 MYSTERIOUS GIRL (Peter Andre)
It is of course only too easy to read too much into the circumstances surrounding the performance of a record but Peter Andre must be feeling slightly cheated... but for Euro '96 and but for the Fugees he could have had a massive Number One hit as Mysterious Girl this week spends a third consecutive week at Number 3.
4 THE DAY WE CAUGHT THE TRAIN (Ocean Colour Scene)
Very much the band of the moment, Ocean Colour Scene charge into the Top 10 with this weeks highest new entry and the biggest hit of their career to date. The gently strummed track is their third hit of the year, each one being bigger than the last, this single following up the Number 7 peak of You've Got It Bad back in April. Success like this is a far cry from when their first chart single Yesterday Today could only reach Number 49 when released in March 1991.
5 DON'T STOP MOVIN' (Livin' Joy)
Livin' Joy are the Italian act who first hit the charts in late 1994 with the Top 20 hit Dreamer. That track went on to become something of a club legend, refusing to die away to such an extent that when it was re-released in May 1995 it shot straight to Number One to give them one of the more surprising chart-toppers of last year. What is even more surprising is that no further Livin' Joy product has been forthcoming... until now. As you might expect the new single is in a similar vein to the last one, a hook-laden piece of pop dance that was inevitably going to be a smash hit. The appearance of both this single and Ocean Colour Scene's above it also make yet another bizarre catalogue number coincidence... both OCS and Livin' Joy have MCA catalogue numbers, Ocean Colour Scene being MCSTD40046 whilst Livin' Joy are MCSTD40041. This comes just a few weeks after three consecutively numbered WEA tracks occupied consecutive placings in the Top 5.
6 BLURRED (Pianoman)
Another dance hit charging into the Top 10 with ease, but this time one with a clear popular appeal. The 'Blurred' in the title of Pianoman's hit refers to the tracks sampling (with Damon Alban's approval) of the hook line to Blur's Girls And Boys. Whilst the original track was something of a dancefloor hit in its day, the appeal of a proper dance hit featuring that chorus clearly has a massive appeal and a hit was assured once the track was released. The speculation now is whether the aforementioned Blur singer will help to promote the hit which features his sampled voice so heavily.
7 THEME FROM MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen)
The various members of U2 are clearly trying to create a monopoly on hits from the big summer movies. Last summer the big film was Batman Forever with U2's Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me making Number 2 exactly a year ago this week to tie in with its release. This year the smart money is on the new Tom Cruise-starring film of the 1960's TV series to pull the punters in off the streets and once again members of a certain Irish rock group are in on the act. Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen reportedly thought long and hard over how to approach the theme to the new film and have remained true to the sound of the original series whilst adding their own personal stamp to the track. In the face of stiff competition the instrumental track doesn't make quite as big an impression as some had anticipated but a Number 7 hit is not to be sniffed at and it can only grow once the film opens properly.
16 PURPLE HEATHER (Rod Stewart and the Scotland Euro 96 Squad)
Rod Stewart's pains to constantly refer back to his Scottish ancestry can take on a comical turn at times, hence his propensity for tartan outfits at various stages in his career and the fact that every so often he will release celtic-sounding tracks such as Rhythm Of My Heart to hammer the point home. He is of course a massive football fan and so not for the first time combines the two by assisting the Scotland team on their official anthem for the European football championships. The track itself is pretty much as you would expect, Rod letting rip with a stirring anthem whilst the footballers chorus behind him whilst struggling to remain in tune. Interestingly enough this isn't the first time Rod Stewart has recorded a track with the team. Back in 1978 he released Ole Ola (Mulher Brasileira) with the Scottish World Cup squad which reached Number 4. In between these two tracks the squad had a hit in their own right, just prior to the 1982 World Cup when When Have A Dream featuring the un-credited John Gordon Sinclair made Number 5.
17 BIG MAN AND SCREAM TEAM MEET BARMY ARMY UPTOWN (Primal Scream, Irvine Welsh and On-U-Sound)
The whole nation appears to have gone football crazy at the moment and the pop charts appear to be following suit. After the Three Lions single and the Scotland teams anthem comes the first of a number of unofficial anthems dedicated to the tournament. As you may have guessed from the extended credits on this track, the protagonists are threefold. First and foremost this is a Primal Scream track, their first hit single since Cry Myself Blind just missed out on a Top 40 placing at the end of 1994. At various intervals the largely instrumental track features spoken contributions from Irvine Welsh, the Scottish author and poet who at the present time finds himself one of the hippest people in the country thanks to the success of the films 'Shallow Grave' and 'Trainspotting' which are both based on his books. The final credit on the track goes to the On-U-Sound System who mixed the final result. Dubsters On-U-Sound were in their heyday around five years ago when they toured the country extensively with their stage show and could be found on any number of successful dance mixes. Their biggest commercial success came in March 1991 when leading light Gary Clail made the Top 10 with Human Nature.
18 CAN'T HELP IT (Happy Clappers)
Another gospel-tinged dance hit for the Happy Clappers, following on from their two hits in 1995 Hold On and I Believe, the latter being the biggest when it reached Number 7 in November whilst on its second release.
21 LADY (D'Angelo)
A second hit for D'Angelo following on from his Number 31 hit Cruisin' back in March. He has been touted as the next big thing in British swingbeat for a while now so it was probably a little galling to see Mark Morrison sweep past and claim that crown for himself. Nonetheless D'Angelo looks likely to get bigger as the hits roll in.
27 HEAVEN KNOWS (Squeeze)
Another year and another album for the reconstituted Squeeze. Despite the way Crowded House neatly hijacked their understated balladeer style to massive acclaim, Messrs Difford and Tilbrook have spent the past few years very much in the sidelines, releasing a number of well-received albums but somehow never managing to have the hits to complement them. Slowly but surely they appear to be crawling back to stardom having broken into the Top 40 for the first time in six years in 1993 with Third Rail and then again last September with Last Summer. Thus it is even more encouraging that this first single from a forthcoming new album should go one better and break into the Top 30 for the first time since they made the Top 20 with Hourglass in September 1987. I have my fingers crossed for the future.
29 CRYING IN THE RAIN (Culture Beat)
Thankfully nothing to do with the Everly Brothers, this is the second hit single for Culture Beat this year, following on from Inside Out which made Number 32 back in January. Whilst this single is , as you might expect, a pleasant enough piece of Europop it still has something of a hollow ring to it, especially when compared with the output from the band in the early 1990's when the emphasis was on the poetry of their sound rather than straightforward commercial success. The missing link is of course the late Torsten Fenslau who died in late 1993 and who always was the guiding light behind the original Culture Beat and without whom they will always be a shadow of their original concept.
30 LET THE LOVE (Q Tex)
As summer gets into full swing, so the inevitable influx of summery dance hits begins, this hit for Q Tex being a case in point. The bubbly Europop track marks the first time the group have made the Top 40 have just missed out by a whisker in 1994 with Believe which could only reach Number 41.
32 TWO EP (Mansun)
The appearance of Mansun's second of the year probably needs little more comment from me... this is the followup to One EP which made Number 37 in April. [Except that their annoying early habit of just numbering their singles made it hard to keep track of which single this actually was. The lead track here was Take It Easy Chicken. They'd start labelling singles properly as of their next release, which just happened to be their best single ever as well].
34 GOOD SWEET LOVIN' (Louchie Lou and Michie One)
Louchie Lou and Michie One first appeared on the chart in 1993 when raggamania was at its height and it appeared that anyone could have a hit single provided it had a frantic reggae beat behind it. Their cover of Shout followed this pattern and was an instant smash hit, reaching Number 7 in June that year but they then struggled to find a followup and were only able to reach Number 54 with a version of Somebody Else's Guy. That appeared to be the chart swansong for the two girls until a couple of months ago when they contributed a rap to Suggs' Top 10 version of Cecilia. That has clearly given their career a new impetus and they now score their second hit this year and their first in their own right for nearly three years.
35 BEAUTIFUL ALONE (Strangelove)
A welcome first Top 40 hit single for Strangelove, a band from Bristol who have spent the past couple of years building up a following and supporting any number of acts whilst on tour. A Number 35 peak for this first hit seems a little unfair given the quality of the track but there is no doubt that their time will come. Remember even Oasis missed the Top 40 first time out [they so did not].