1 SAY YOU'LL BE THERE (Spice Girls)
So how do you followup Wannabe? A million selling seven week chart-topping single, a contender for the best selling single of the year and one of Virgin records' best selling single releases ever. As far as the Spice Girls are concerned they just go from strength to strength. The second release from the feisty fivesome is less bubblegum and more smooth pop-soul in the manner of a female MN8. Previewed to radio some weeks ago, Say You'll Be There notched Take That-like pre-release orders to the tune of almost 400,000 copies. With so many on the shelves it was certain that the record would shift in huge quantities [reportedly 349,000], outselling Boyzone by a margin of 3:1 to give the girls their second UK Number One. Since the early summer the popularity of the Spice Girls has snowballed and they are without a shadow of a doubt the biggest pop act in the land with the ultimate accolade of turning on the Christmas lights in London's Oxford Street awaiting them next month. The single is also the fifth different single to top the charts in as many weeks, a rate of turnover not seen for almost twenty years. The recent run of The Fugees, Deep Blue Something, Chemical Brothers, Boyzone and now the Spice Girls is comparable only in recent history with August 1968 when Arthur Brown, Tommy James, The Beach Boys, The Bee Gees and the Beatles all took turns at the top over the course of five weeks. The all-time record for such a turnover at the summit was set in 1961 when there were six different Number One singles between August 14th and October 19th. That record looks safe for the moment as the Spice Girls look set to keep hormones raging for a good few weeks yet.
2 WORDS (Boyzone)
The current pretenders to the crown of top boy band find their glory at the summit is short lived thanks to the no-less sexually charged but (for obvious reasons) in a different way Spice Girls. Their solitary week of glory did at least give them the honour of being the second act this year to cover a Bee Gees song and take it to Number One, following on from Take That's rendition of How Deep Is Your Love earlier in the year. Although both Diana Ross and Barbra Streisand have had Number One hits penned for them by the Gibb brothers, neither song was recorded by the lads themselves but in recent years the Bee Gees songbook has been a useful source of material for artists seeking hit singles. First came Boogie Box High's Jive Talking in 1987, a Top Ten hit by an anonymous band who subsequently turned out to be the alter-ego of one G.Michael. In the 1990s came no less than two versions of To Love Somebody, by Jimmy Somerville and Michael Bolton respectively, N-Trance's storming remake of Staying Alive last year and finally the two Number One versions of their hits from the two teen acts of the moment.
3 INSOMNIA (Faithless)
The buzz about Faithless has been steadily growing all year and they now finally break into the big time with this track which is currently Top Ten around most of Europe. The half-spoken half-rapped dance hit is one of no less than five dance singles in the Top 40 this week to be charting for the second (or in once case third) time. Insomnia was first released to commercial success just before last Christmas when it reached Number 27 and even before now was their biggest hit single following the failure of Don't Leave to progress beyond Number 34 earlier this year.
4 FLYING (Cast)
Time for a new album from the immaculate as ever Liverpudlians. John Power et al continue where they left off earlier this year with their third successive Top 10 hit and their biggest hit to date. Flying is a gently moving track in a similar vein to their last single Walk Away which reached Number 9 in March. If this is just a taster of what is on the new album then expect a great many hit singles to follow.
8 THE BEAUTIFUL ONES (Suede)
The second hit of the year for Suede who have demonstrated that the best way to deflect any potential criticism following the hype surrounding their first two albums is to become as commercial as possible. The almost perfect pop of Trash made the first single from the album a Top 3 hit and the followup hits similar heights with a rather fine catchy melody that is by no means instant but gradually works its way into your consciousness with repeated listens. Another feather in the cap for one of the bands of the 90s, their fourth Top 10 hit so far.
13 MY KINGDOM (Future Sound Of London)
The first single release in over a year for the Future Sound Of London, the pair having evolved easily out of the frantic rave culture of the early part of the decade and are now very much at the forefront of technological ambient soundscapes. They have such a grasp on technology that they are exploiting it to the full, playing a series of live events via ISDN from their front room and now with another hit single to their name, the first since 1995's Far Out Son Of Lung EP and their biggest ever, beating the Number 14 peak of Lifeforms from August 1994.
17 THE NAUGHTY NORTH AND THE SEXY SOUTH (E-Motion)
Time for another re-issue in the shape of E-Motion's hit which first charted back in February when it peaked at Number 20. Continuing popularity in the clubs and rumoured talk of a royal seal of approval [a favourite of the then teenage Prince William it was reported] for the track have led to its re-release and so in it charges, sailing past its peak of eight months ago.
21 DREAMING (MN8)
They may not have either the commercial or sexual impact of some of their rivals but that does not stop MN8 from churning out some fine pop records. Take their last single Tuff Act To Follow as a case in point, only a Number 15 hit but one of the best pop-dance singles of the year so far. Dreaming is of similar quality, a gentle swingbeat ballad which proves they are an act of some character, albeit one whose commercial peak was clearly over a year ago when they scored with three successive Top 10 hits.
22 SO IN LOVE WITH YOU (Duke)
Persistence has paid off for Duke as after several near-misses the bald soul singer finally has a Top 40 hit with this track that has finally picked up airplay and finally kick starts a career for the man who has spent the past year being "about to be massive".
27 DON'T GO (Awesome 3 featuring Julie McDermott)
This hit has been a long time coming for Awesome 3, an act whose first release was way back in 1990. Don't Go was their second single, first released in October 1992 but it could only peak at Number 75. Two years later they tried again, remixing the track and this time sending it to Number 45 - again tantalisingly short of a Top 40 place. Finally, more than four years after the instrumental track was originally created a new vocal by Julie McDermott has been added and one of the slowest evolving dance hits in recent memory finally breaks into the upper reaches to give the group their first ever Top 40 hit.
28 I'M A DOWN FOR LACK O'JOHNNIE (Vanessa-Mae)
The first hit single in well over a year for Vanessa-Mae, the precocious girl violinist whose career has been overseen by Mike Batt and a hefty marketing spend by EMI records. When she first appeared she caused quite a stir, the teenager's talent on the violin being augmented with her frantic renditions of classical works, original modern scores and the fact that she was promoted using her sex appeal quite heavily contributing to the buzz that surrounded the project. This new single sees her attack another musical genre, this time a Celtic jig that could have walked straight out of 'Riverdance' or something of that ilk. Another masterful performance and another brilliant bit of marketing to wring another Top 40 single out of an artist who before now would just have been promoted to the classical market.
34 LAZY LOVER (Supernaturals)
A warm welcome to the charts for the Supernaturals, a band clearly on the verge of great things if their current concerts are anything to go by. Lazy Lover is their debut Top 40 single with more surely to follow.
38 JUST A GIRL (No Doubt)
[Superstar debut klaxon! Even if I could not have been less engaged with them if I tried] A brief appearance in the Top 40 for No Doubt following their recent gigs supporting the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was quite an apt pairing as the female [no, that's just Gwen] band sound just like a feminine version of their headline act.
40 FEEL MY BODY (Frank O'Moiraghi featuring Amnesia)
So to go alongside Faithless, E-Motion, Awesome 3 and Felix comes Frank O'Moiraghi as the fifth reactivated dance hit on the Top 40 this week. Feel My Body has charted already this year, having peaked at Number 39 at the start of June. Continuing popularity in the clubs has led to its return, but a major commercial smash is clearly not forthcoming.