1 TOO MUCH (Spice Girls)
In years gone by there would be no charts produced this week. Partially due to the problems of compiling the information in the days before the computer age, partially because Music Week does not publish an issue in the final week of the year but mainly due to the rather disjointed sales period it covers. This chart covers the sales of the Sunday through to Wednesday before Christmas plus the few sales from shops that were open on Boxing Day and all the sales from the traditionally slack period on Saturday immediately following Christmas. As a result, there are no new singles of any note released and the whole countdown has an eerily stagnated look to it with most singles simply rearranging themselves. Most startlingly of all the entire Top 5 holds firm, The Spice Girls, Teletubbies, Perfect Day, All Saints and Janet Jackson each failing to overcome the other. There are also no new entries of any kind this week, just three old singles on the rebound and notching up re-entries, the last time this happened was (perhaps unsurprisingly) exactly 12 months ago this week.
20 5,6,7,8 (Steps)
The longevity of Steps' single is proved once more as the pop/line-dance crossover spends a third week at Number 20. Expect this single, along with many others, to drop like a stone come the new year but the enduring popularity of this release means you can expect their forthcoming new single to make more of a splash than might otherwise
21 AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME (Backstreet Boys)
First released, believe it or not, at the start of October, As Long As You Love Me has proved to be the most enduring and far and away the biggest selling Backstreet Boys single to date, originally peaking at Number 3 when first released but now spending its 13th week on the Top 40 without ever having dipped below Number 25. Only the ubiquitous Candle In The Wind can currently match it for longevity.
29 SPICE UP YOUR LIFE (Spice Girls)
The intense Spice exposure on television over Christmas, coupled with the long-awaited release of 'Spiceworld - The Movie' on Boxing Day has led to a small surge in demand for Spice Girls product. Too Much unsurprisingly spends a second week at Number One but possibly more impressively its predecessor bounds back into the Top 30 having been on the verge of dropping out of the 40 altogether a week ago. Despite being a rather lowly selling single by their standards, Spice Up Your Life has already spent longer on the Top 40 that the single that preceded it, Mama/Who Do You Think You Are.
34 BUTTERFLY (Mariah Carey)
So here they come, the great surviving three who survive a week in purgatory outside the Top 40 to take advantage of this bizarre sales week to sneak back into the Top 40. Biggest of these is Mariah Carey's single but it will not prevent it becoming her most disappointing chart single for many a long year, only managing to reach Number 22, her first release to miss the Top 10 since Make It Happen in April 1992.
35 SMACK MY BITCH UP (Prodigy)
Possibly one of the few reasons to sit watching MTV into the small hours in the hope of catching as uncut a version of the video as possible, the Prodigy's most controversial release to date also sneaks back into the Top 40 after having fallen to Number 46 last week.
39 CRUSH ON YOU (Aaron Carter)
Curiously the Carter brat also experiences a small surge in sales and makes the most impressive leap of the week, climbing from Number 51 last week to bring up the rear in this week's Top 40. His cover of the Jets 1987 hit reached Number 9 in late November. I'm not sure which is the more worrying, the fact that a followup single is imminent or that he is just one of a set of twins. Happy New Year.