1 READY OR NOT (Fugees)
Major surprises this week as Peter Andre finds himself unceremoniously deposed after just a solitary week at Number One. Top honours now fall to the record that slotted in behind him last week at Number 2. The Fugees now celebrate their second Number One of the year, following on from Killing Me Softly, the record that was so successful the record company had to forcefully kill it off. The fact that they should have another chart-topping single so quickly has surprised many. Killing Me Softly was seen as something of a one-off, distinct from much of their usual output such as that on the album The Score. Ready Or Not is more typically a Fugees track, a gentle rap based around a little-known soul classic yet despite this their commercial stock is clearly such that a massive success was assured. Killing... spent a total of five weeks at Number One earlier this summer and it will be interesting to see how long this track can last.
2 FLAVA (Peter Andre)
After just a solitary week to celebrate his first ever Number One hit Peter Andre finds himself squeezed out by the rampaging Fugees phenomenon. Flava thus becomes the fifth track this year to spend a single week at the summit, matching the total racked up last year. To find a year with a similarly rapid turnover of Number One hits one has to go back to 1977 when no less than six records had their seven days of glory. The suggestion might be that the Number One position is finally following suit with most of the rest of the chart and is speeding up but given the recent seven week success of the Spice Girls it is more likely that it is nothing more than the law of averages at work.
3 BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (Deep Blue Something)
If at first you don't succeed then re-promote as quickly as possible. That appears to have been the philosophy behind this debut hit from the American band which was first released back in March when it missed the Top 40 by a whisker. Fortunately the record company had more sense than to let the hit die and has now skillfully engineered this re-release to turn the record into the Top 3 smash you always suspected it should have been. The unbelievably catchy song tells the story of a couple who appear to have reached the end of the line until they remember the way they "both kinda liked" the film whose name features in the title and how it seems to now be all they have in common. It can either mean that it really is the end or the base on which to build something new. The famous film has been the inspiration for hit singles before, not least because of Moon River, the famous song from its soundtrack. It has been a hit for no less than three different artists, Henry Mancini's original instrumental, a Number One version for Danny Williams in 1961 and a cover by Greyhound which reached Number 12 in 1972.
8 ALWAYS BREAKING MY HEART (Belinda Carlisle)
Belinda Carlisle's second wind continues with her second hit of the year. Following on from the Number 6 hit In Too Deep comes this new single written by Per Gessle of Roxette. The idea of Roxette writing a song for Belinda Carlisle sounds so inspired you wonder why it has never happened before but in actual fact this single is a little disappointing with even Gessle's usual touch for the killer chorus appearing to desert him. Still, a Top Ten entry cannot really be criticised, it is her seventh such hit since 1987.
9 IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY (Sheryl Crow)
If she asked Santa for anything at all last Christmas it is quite likely that it was a chance to shake off the 'one-hit-wonder' tag. Sheryl Crow's one big smash has of course been All I Wanna Do, released in November 1994 it climbed to Number 4 and has been a radio staple ever since. After that she struggled with the followup singles, only the third Run Baby Run managing to briefly poke its nose into the Top 30. Hence the relief that this new single will be, the first single from what is likely to be her delayed second album charging straight into the Top 10 to become her second biggest hit.
11 I LOVE YOU ALWAYS FOREVER (Donna Lewis)
The song inspired by a passage from H.E.Bates' 'Love For Lydia' continues its trend-busting climb up from the lower reaches of the chart but just fails to land a Top 10 placing which one suspects is likely to follow next week. The track has yet to achieve the saturation airplay coverage it has managed in America but given the number of stations gradually adding the song it appears to only be a matter of time.
13 OH WHAT A NIGHT (Clock)
Clock's current remake of the Four Seasons classic spends another frustrating week hovering just outside the Top 10. A new entry a fortnight ago at Number 13, the track dropped a place last week despite registering an increase in sales large enough to be given a bullet. This week its sales increase again, still faster than most of the rest of the chart but still only enough to give it a one place lift back to its original position. Aside from these sales the track has attracted more critical derision than virtually any other around at the moment, leading to the conclusion that either all the critics are wrong or that there is a genuine desire by the public to hear the song regardless of what form it appears. After all it may well be new to the current generation of singles buyers, a 1976 song being considered something of an oldie these days, notwithstanding the 1988 remix which reached Number 49.
14 GOODBYE HEARTBREAK (Lighthouse Family)
Following their long overdue breakthrough with the reissued Lifted and Ocean Drive, the Lighthouse Family charge back into the Top 20 with a single that is for a change on its first release. Despite their obvious popularity their album is a steady rather than spectacular seller, this week sitting at Number 11 in the artist album chart.
16 VIRUS (Iron Maiden)
A career retrospective for Iron Maiden may be a tricky concept to get your head around (imagine listening to all their hits back to back) but that is nonetheless the plan for Iron Maiden. Judging exactly how the departure of long time frontman Bruce Dickinson is tricky given that this is only their second single release since. Nonetheless there are suspicions of a decline, Number 16 is for them a relatively lowly entry and if, as seems likely, it fails to progress further Virus will become only their second single since 1988 to miss the Top 10. Having said that to knock the track in this way would be a little churlish as there can be few bands with such a narrowly defined appeal that can lay claim to having been together for 17 years with a consistent run of hits to their name.
19 THREE EP (Mansun)
A third hit, no really, for Mansun who have spent the year releasing EPs which certainly have a logical trend in their names. The current release is led by the track Stripper Vicar which is easily their most accessible single to date. Inside the track there is clearly a pop song trying to get out and this has resulted in their biggest hit to date, a massive improvement on their two previous releases which both failed to reach the Top 30.
21 LOVEFOOL (Cardigans)
If any band deserve a massive commercial success at present it is the Cardigans. Their rather lovely laid-back jazzy pop is gaining more and more converts as time goes by and with a new album imminent their time may well have come. This brand new single certainly looks to be heading in the right direction, at a stroke becoming their biggest hit to date. [Patience grasshopper, it will be bigger next year].
23 IT'S A PARTY (Busta Rhymes featuring Zhane)
Getting a reputation on the strength of one hit single and a quite promotional tour is quite a feat but this is exactly what Busta Rhymes managed earlier this year. This was all down to a now-notorious no-show at a concert he was due to give on the back of the Top 20 smash Woo Hah! - a no-show subsequently explained by his failure to secure a work permit in time. Such problems now resolved, he scores his second hit single with another party-styled but no less credible rap hit. Added interest is provided by the presence on the track of Zhane who never really took off over here. This is far and away their biggest single credit to date, their only previous Top 30 entry being Hey Mr DJ back in September 1993.
24 NO MORE ALCOHOL (Suggs featuring Louchie Lou and Michie One)
After a slow start Suggs' cover of Simon and Garfunkel's Cecilia became one of the pop smashes of the year, reaching Number 4 during an 11 week run in the Top 40. Logically Suggs stays with the same formula for the followup, retaining the services of Louchie Lou and Michie One and looking to the past for inspiration. Although a new track rather than a cover No More Alcohol has a familiar sound as it is based around a recreation of the Champs' Rock N Roll classic Tequila. The single also comes in an inspired choice of two formats, one featuring the track on its own and the other featuring a specially mixed segue of both No More Alcohol and Cecilia to the delight of mobile DJs everywhere.
26 TOUCH ME TEASE ME (Case featuring Foxxy Brown)
A safe new entry for Case with this hit from the soundtrack of the new Eddie Murphy film 'The Nutty Professor' which opens in this country at the end of the week.
27 LIFE, LOVE AND HAPPINESS (Brian Kennedy)
Irish singer songwriter Brian Kennedy is clearly a big priority for RCA and they are pushing him as hard as they can. His first hit came back in June in the shape of A Better Man. It reached Number 28 but was spoiled slightly by its ponderous tone that made it sound like Michael Bolton at a karaoke party. This new track is much better, proving that the talk of his talent is not misplaced. Number 27 is still a little disappointing but I suspect a major hit for him is only just round the corner.
36 WATCHING THE WORLD GO BY (Maxi Priest)
Another change of style for Maxi Priest following on from the brilliant fusion of Ragga and R&B that was the Top 20 hit That Girl. This new single is the closest he has come to releasing a straightforward pop song for many years but sadly it looks like progressing no further than this initial chart entry.
40 SANTA MARIA (Tatjana)
The saga of Santa Maria is one of the more bizarre tales of recent pop history [and that is underselling it]. The blonde Croatian model became a major star in Europe on the strength of this single, first released on the continent in the Spring of 1994. Written by Mike Stock and Matt Aitken it is the perfect Europop hit and went down a treat in continental discos. Love This records were hoping to capitalise on this and so released the track over here in August last year. A series of TV appearances helped to boost the single and by the time it was released a hit looked assured, the single achieving a midweek placing just outside the Top 20. A couple of days later one or two retailers altered the chart compilers to a suspicious number of bulk sales of the single, symptomatic of an illegal attempt to hype the single up the charts. CIN were swift to react and instantly pulled the plug, barring the record from the Top 40 despite its sales during that week. Mike Stock went through the roof at this news, fervently denying any record company involvement in the irregular sales but this was to no avail and the record was pulled from the shops. A subsequent investigation failed to produce any solid evidence of organised buying and the track was cleared to chart once more. By this time of course the damage had been done and the track now charts with a whimper rather than a bang, a full year after it should have been a hit. Without being fresh in the minds of holidaymakers it becomes just another Europop hit, still one of the most brilliant summertime party tracks of the decade but now just a shadow of the hit it should have become.