This week's Official UK Singles Chart
1 MEN IN BLACK (Will Smith)
When Patrice Rushen recorded Forget Me Nots in the early 1980s, could she have forecast that she would have created an enduring classic that would have ended up reworked into no less than two Number One singles? First of all it was George Michael who paid homage to the original with FastLove last year and now it is the turn of Will Smith who uses the tune as the basis for his latest Number One smash. Neither the record, nor the film from which it is taken require much in the introduction, the big blockbuster of the summer spawning a soundtrack hit that finally becomes the record to break Puff Daddy's stranglehold on the Number One position. It is by no means the first time that Will Smith has been at Number One, the first was back in 1993 when under his old performing alter ego of The Fresh Prince he spent two weeks at the top with Boom! Shake The Room which was possibly a more originally conceived record than this rather lazy piece of songwriting. Men In Black is also the second rap hit in succession to hit Number One, the first time this has happened since 1993 when by a strange coincidence it was Boom! Shake The Room which took over from Culture Beat's Mr Vain as the chart champion.
2 I'LL BE MISSING YOU (Puff Daddy and Faith Evans)
Well after such a run they can hardly complain that it should now come to an end. Six weeks in total at Number One, in two separate runs of three weeks apiece. I'll Be Missing You has sold well over a million copies making it the biggest rap single of all time in this country, spending longer at the top than any other record of its genre. Indeed the only rap single in chart history that can even begin to challenge that title is more than 13 years old. White Lines by Grandmaster Flash may not have sold as many or indeed been anywhere near the very top of the charts but between 1983 and 1994 the single has spent 46 weeks in the Top 75, including an epic 38 week run in 1984 which saw the single bound up and down the Top 40 for most of the summer, peaking several times at Number 7.
4 YESTERDAY (Wet Wet Wet)
Curiously enough the two biggest new hits of the week are from soundtracks. 'Bean - The Ultimate Disaster Movie' opened at the weekend and is set to challenge 'Men In Black' for the title of the top film of the summer. Its soundtrack has already produced one hit in the shape of Boyzone's Picture Of New and now spawns a second in the shape of Wet Wet Wet's contribution. Whilst it may come as a surprise that the Scottish band should resort to a cover version once again, it has served them well in the past, not for nothing was their version of Love Is All Around one of the biggest selling singles ever. What is more astonishing is the way they are fast becoming something of a Beatles tribute act as this version of one of Paul McCartney's most famous compositions is no less than the third Beatles cover they have recorded. The first of course was With A Little Help From My Friends which was a charity Number One for them in 1988. They followed that with a live version of I Feel Fine which made Number 30 in August 1990. They now become the fifth act to take Yesterday into the charts. Never released as a single when first recorded by The Beatles, both Matt Monro and Marianne Faithful released their own versions in 1965, Monro winning the battle with his version peaking at Number 8. Ray Charles reached Number 44 with the song in 1967 whilst it was not until 1976 that the original became a single in this country, racing to Number 8. Thus the Wets have the biggest ever hit with their soulful version of the song, supposedly one of the most romantic ballads ever written, despite the fact that I have never found it to be anything other than mournful, dull and strangely unmoving.
6 EVERYTHING (Mary J Blige)
The coincidences stretch even further and the three biggest hit singles of the week are all rather depressingly cover versions or songs constructed around old hits. Mary J Blige has always done well with versions of other people's songs and now finds herself with the biggest hit of her career with this cover of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye's 1974 Top 5 hit You Are Everything.
11 NOT TONIGHT (Lil Kim)
The second Top 40 hit for Lil' Kim, and one which makes a vast improvement over her first 'Crush On You' which could only reach Number 36 just over a month ago. By no means the only rap single to be based on a disco classic this week, Not Tonight samples heavily from Kool and the Gang's Ladies Night which first reached Number 9 in 1979.
14 OUTLAW (Olive)
"Drum N' Space" is how Olive rather amusingly describe their musical style. Still, it worked for them once in the shape of You're Not Alone which spent a fortnight at Number 1 back in May. Now the acid test comes to see whether they can build a career around that success and despite the fact that Outlaw is if anything more melodic, more accessible and less frantic than its predecessor it looks set to be a far smaller followup than one might have expected.
20 YOUNG HEARTS RUN FREE (Kym Mazelle)
Kym Mazelle's version of Candi Staton's disco classic has been on the release schedules almost since the start of the year when the film of "Romeo and Juliet", from whose soundtrack it is taken, was released. A succession of release dates came and went to the annoyance of radio stations which had dutifully been playlisting the track in expectation of it becoming a hit. Finally the track makes a belated appearance, a fairly faithful version of the classic which originally reached Number 2 in 1976. Kym Mazelle has over the past ten years had one of the most interesting chart careers imaginable, having guested on many of the decade's most famous tracks. Her biggest success came in a duet with Doctor Robert on Wait which made Number 7 in 1989 since when she has had numerous solo hits and featured on records by Rapination, Soul II Soul and Motiv8 . Most memorably in 1994 producers Stock and Aitken teamed her up with Jocelyn Brown for the pair to belt their way through covers of Gimmie All Your Lovin' and No More Tears.
21 ANTHEM (Wildhearts)
After a break of over a year the loudest Geordies in pop crash back into the charts with what has to be one of the most frantic records you will hear all summer. Never known for their subtlety in songwriting the band notch up a fifth successive Top 30 hit with a record that has virtually abandoned all notion of melody and harmonics. Undoubtedly it appeals to some but I fear the musical tastes of most are a little too sophisticated to appreciate four minutes of attempts to produce as much feedback as possible.
26 DO YOU KNOW (WHAT IT TAKES) (Robyn)
The current US Top 10 hit from the Swedish singing prodigy makes an appearance over here. Robyn is by no means an unknown face having notably supported Tina Turner on tour around Europe last year and with substantial radio airplay for this single lands herself a credible Top 30 placing with the prospect of better things to come.
33 HYPNOTIZE (D-Influence)
Possibly the most famous dance act never to have had a hit single, D-Influence have over the last five years won countless awards and fans for their live performances and have kickstarted the careers of many other acts, most recently including Shola Ama with whose discovery they are credited. The closest they had previously come to a Top 40 hit was in June 1992 when Good Lover reached Number 46, a peak they now surpass with this brand new single.
35 DISCOHOPPING (Klubbheads)
A long-awaited and much delayed release for this new club anthem from the Dutch duo who had such a smash last year with the Top 10 hit Klubbhopping. Maybe it is the way the two records are so similar in theme, or maybe it is the way the single has taken so long to gain an official release that most harcore dance fans have bought import copies instead. Either way, this is a surprisingly low chart entry for such a popular club record.
37 MORE BEATS AND PIECES (Coldcut)
Jonathan Moore and Matt Black are Coldcut, the pair of producers who were at the very start of the UK House Music boom and have remained in demand as producers and remixers ever since, despite being considered yesterday's men by some less enlightened acts. Along the way they have kickstarted the careers of Lisa Stansfield, Queen Latifah, brought Eric B and Rakim into the Top 40 by way of an Ofra Haza sample and made the only officially approved James Brown remix disc. After three years of silence, broken only by their muttered disapproval for the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' remixing of their own People Hold On back in January they dig up one of their most famous productions Beats and Pieces was, alongside Say Kids What Time Is It the track that first made their name, one of the earliest British House records which they made in 1987. At the time this new style of music had no commercial foothold so the track has never been near the charts, until now when in a new remix it sneaks into the Top 40 and maybe to bring the pair back to the attention of those who have virtually ignored them for the last few years.
38 BEST REGRETS (Geneva)
Currently one of the most talented acts who have still yet to really make it, Geneva attempt now to reap the fruits of a string of support slots and appearances at festivals all around the country. Quite why their third hit of the year should also be their smallest is something of a mystery, as Best Regrets is a suitably epic production featuring the same sort of string arrangement that turned The Verve into superstars recently.. One day their time will come, for now this is their smallest hit single since No One Speaks gave them their Top 40 debut late last year.