1 I'LL BE MISSING YOU (Puff Daddy and Faith Evans)
Well as sensations go they don't come bigger than this. I mentioned last week that the phenomenal first week sales notched up by Oasis would make prolonged success near the top of the charts difficult to sustain and so it has proved in quite dramatic fashion. The record industry was alerted to the possibility of an upset when midweek sales figures showed that Oasis had a lead at the top of fewer than 1,500 copies and despite a siege of press coverage and a controversial live performance on TV towards the end of the week, nothing could prevent the biggest band in the world from succumbing to the still quite astonishing sales of Puff Daddy's single. After having already topped the charts for three weeks upon its release, the record reverses the slide to move back into pole position, the fourth record to perform the feat since 1993. I'll Be Missing You has now spent four weeks at the top, making it one of the most successful rap singles of all time, matching the total of Partners In Kryme's Turtle Power from 1990 and only just behind the six week stay of Snap's Rhythm Is A Dancer (which of course you could argue was a dance single with rapping rather than a genuine rap hit). Of course, a great deal of fuss will be made of this unexpected turn of events, Oasis suddenly not the all-conquering force they apparently were. This must, of course, be put in context, neither of their two previous Number One singles managed more than a week at the summit and in its brief moment of glory D'You Know What I Mean sold enough copies to be the fifth fastest-selling single ever and enough to ensure it will be one of the biggest hits of the year. Nonetheless history will record that Oasis spent just one week at Number One and was deposed, not by a new release but by a previous chart-topping single that had been on sale for five weeks previously.
2 D'YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN (Oasis)
Whilst their surprising deposition from the chart summit will come as a shock, Oasis can take some consolation from the fact that whatever happens from now on, their previous chart achievements have already secured them an enduring place in all-time chart history. Throughout the whole of last year, every Oasis single ever released was continually available, often in discounted deals on multiple purchases. The result was an almost continual presence in the lower reaches of the charts, barely a week went by when there weren't at least one and sometimes as many as six Oasis singles within the Top 75. Most of the time this went largely unnoticed, only once mid-November did any break into the Top 40 and in one memorable week the band became the first for 15 years to chart as many as four Top 40 singles at once. The result was that Oasis spent a total of 134 weeks on the singles chart during 1996. It is a feat which is almost unprecedented, the only acts to even come close to matching that total are Bill Haley and Elvis Presley who notched up 110 and 108 chart weeks in 1956 and 1957 respectively, and considering that in those days the chart was just 30 records long it is arguably all the more impressive. To put this feat in context just one last time, in 1991 REM had more weeks on chart than any other act - just 36.
4 C U WHEN U GET THERE (Coolio featuring 40 Thevz)
I would never ever want to pretend to be an expert on classical music which explains why my blind acceptance of the advice of others led to me incorrectly identifying the piece used by Coolio as the base for his latest chart hit. It is, of course, Pachelbel's 'Canon for strings and continuo', by no means the first time it has been used as the basis for a pop song. In 1990 The Farm had a Top Ten hit with All Together Now which was based on the same famous theme. Coolio thus becomes a rather unusual addition to the list of acts who have taken famous classical themes and used them to their own ends, alongside such famous examples as Barry Manilow for Could It Be Magic and Eric Carmen for All By Myself.
5 FREE (Ultra Nate)
Still it refuses to die. Already one of the biggest hits of the summer, Ultra Nate's dance anthem rebounds up the chart yet again. Now seven weeks old it has spent the whole of that time bouncing between Nos. 4 and 8, all the while selling in remarkably consistent quantities.
7 BLINDED BY THE SUN (Seahorses)
After the frantic activity of last week, it is probably no surprise that there are less big new singles released this week, allowing the upper end of the chart to calm down somewhat. Biggest new hit of all is the second single from the Seahorses, a follow-up of similar quality to their first, Love Is The Law which peaked at Number 3 back in May. Of course, the Seahorses are by no means the only act to feature a former member of the Stone Roses, guitarist Mani joined Primal Scream for their Vanishing Point album and has already helped them notch up two Top 20 hits so far this year.
8 LAZY DAYS (Robbie Williams)
Pigeonholing artists as former Take That members is getting harder and harder to justify with no less than three of them now established as successful artists in their own right. Whilst Gary Barlow is ploughing a furrow as an AOR balladeer, both Mark Owen and Robbie Williams are going for the credible angle as purveyors of 90s indie rock with a teen-friendly face. Williams' second Top 10 hit of the year is in a similar vein to his last Old Before I Die, a well-produced slice of jangly-guitar pop that makes it hard to believe it is the same man who sang on Take That's dance reworking of Could It Be Magic. His only problem now will be exactly who his audience is, for the moment he is still trading on his teen appeal from his boy band days but as that steadily fades (as it will with more singles like this) he will need to make headlines for more than constant spells in rehabilitation clinics. [I think what he needs to do is to make his next single an all-time classic that will be played at weddings and funerals from now until the end of time. Just an idea]. Mind you, it is not insignificant that amongst the acts he has outsold this week is a certain former colleague of his...
10 G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T. (Changing Faces)
The R Kelly-penned American smash hit makes an appearance over here as Changing Faces notch up their first ever UK hit. Two million it may have sold over the pond, but I suspect that the unremarkable R&B track will fare slightly worse here.
11 SO HELP ME GIRL (Gary Barlow)
In an interview I did with him a couple of weeks ago Gary Barlow confessed that he had not seen his former colleague Robbie Williams since the day he left the band. Possibly that is just as well as in the first ever head to head battle between two former members of the biggest act of the first half of the decade has ended in defeat for the man who was always considered the biggest talent of the five. Not that Gary Barlow has made a bad record, quite the reverse in fact as his third solo hit is a record of extremely high quality. It was this song that inspired the direction the whole of the Open Road album was to take - highly produced pop ballads that seem set to cast him in the role of a young successor to Cliff Richard rather than the George Michael that was predicted by many. Hence the rather disappointing first-week position of this single, the first ex-Take Thatter to miss the Top Ten. It is a wonderfully made record, a very tender song but in no way a major commercial smash.
16 LOOK INTO MY EYES (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony)
Even with a rap song at Number One, US superstars Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have still yet to have more than a single UK smash hit. This latest offering is a vast improvement over the Number 37 placing for Days Of Our Livez back in February but they have still yet to scale the heights of Tha Crossroads which reached Number 8 just under a year ago.
20 PROMISE (Delirious?)
A second successive Number 20 hit for Delirious? whose profile is growing steadily thanks to an ever-improving series of concert appearances. Certainly they are unusual, very few bands ever manage mass commercial success with religiously-orientated material, even if they do dress it up in Ocean Colour Scene-styled rock.
24 THE INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE OF SCREAMING (Super Furry Animals)
Still searching for another Top 20 hit, Super Furry Animals improve on the Number 26 peak of Hermann Loves Pauline to score their biggest hit of the year. Their sixth Top 40 hit in all, they are still waiting for a major smash hit after their brace of Number 18 hits last year.
25 I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU (Rembrandts)
Still, it refuses to die. Now in its tenth chart week in this reissued run the "Friends" theme climbs the chart once again making its Number 31 low point of a month ago seem a distant memory. In just two more weeks it will have equalled the chart run it managed two years ago when first released and is more than capable of becoming one of the select band of singles to spend more than 30 weeks in total on the singles chart.
29 DOWN TO EARTH (Grace)
A deserved re-release for this track from Grace, first released in June last year when it reached Number 20. At the time it became her biggest hit since the smash Not Over Yet and has remained a club favourite ever since. This new set of mixes sadly fails to duplicate that success but the single remains a perfect example of Perfecto trance and at its heart is a great pop single too.
34 SHAKE YOUR BODY (DOWN TO THE GROUND) (Full Intention)
The words 'Full Intention remix' have been appearing on many singles lately so it was clearly only a matter of time before the pair stepped out from behind the desk to release their own single. In many ways it is a surprising choice, a fairly faithful reworking of the Jacksons' 1979 Number 4 hit. The fact that they have seen fit to change very little of the arrangement of the original is possibly less of a comment on their own abilities as producers and more of a tribute to the quality of the original, one of the all-time greatest disco singles that in common with many Jacksons and early Michael solo material needs little tinkering to keep it relevant to dancefloors 20 years down the line.
36 THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH (Strangelove)
A welcome return to the Top 40 for Bristolians Strangelove whose first single from their third album becomes their second Top 40 hit. Despite being hugely popular live and as this single shows, overloaded in the talent department, their only other brush with the upper reaches of the charts has been Beautiful Alone which reached Number 35 just over a year ago. The Greatest Show On Earth deserves far more than this lowly chart placing and one hopes it is only a matter of time before the populace at large wakes up to one of the best undiscovered bands.
38 SOMEBODY LIKE YOU (Elate)
Somebody Like You was first heard by clubgoers over three years ago but until now has never had a full commercial release. The problem has mainly been due to its wholesale lifting of huge sections from Clannad's classic Theme From Harry's Game which was a Top 10 hit for Christmas 1982 and has remained a favourite of soundtrack makers for TV and film ever since. Released as a limited edition in 1994 it finally makes the Top 40 to a rather muted response, disappointing really as Somebody Like You really is a quite superb pop record. Quite why some long-lost dance classics should become smash hits and others don't is often something of a mystery, the answer probably known only by those who decide what is and isn't worthy of resurrecting.
39 OUT OF MY HEAD 97 (Marradona)
Remix time for this slice of dancefloor fun, a hit first time round in February 1994 when it reached Number 38 but clearly destined never to be a major chart smash.