1 I WANNA BE THE ONLY ONE (Eternal featuring Bebe Winans)
Every once in a while there comes along a record that cheers and inspires. One which achieves the ultimate for any pop record and makes the world seem brighter, the sky clearer and which motivates you to set the CD on repeat so you can hear the whole thing all over again. The latest Number One single in the UK is just such a record. For the second single from the Before The Rain album, Eternal team up with American gospel legend Bebe Winans for one of the most heartwarming duets you are likely to hear all year. Combining the best elements of pop and gospel in one wonderful package, the single is perfect summer radio material with a soaring chorus that defies you to dislike it. A masterpiece of production and arrangement, just listen to the way it changes key twice in the last minute as the mood of the chorus spirals ever higher and higher. From the moment it was released the single flew out of the shops and now easily gives Eternal their first ever Number One single, three and a half years since their chart debut with Stay. Perhaps I am waxing lyrical [no, just for once you are giving due praise to one of the greatest pop singles of its era], but when you consider that so far this year we have had Number One singles that have been naff rap covers of pop classics and tuneless barrages of noise the presence of a genuinely classic pop record at the top is something to be celebrated. Easily the best pop record of the year so far, at least until next week.
2 TIME TO SAY GOODBYE (CON TE PATIRO) (Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli)
Holding firm in the runners-up slot is the half English/half Italian love song that is probably a candidate for the most unusual chart hit of the year. Although much of the attention in this country has focussed on Sarah Brightman's contribution to the single, overseas quite the reverse is true. Indeed Time To Say Goodbye began life as a solo single for Andrea Bocelli a couple of years ago, topping the charts in Belgium. I should also thank Wim van Laerhoven from Rotterdam (you see, .dotmusic really does get everywhere!) who told me that Con Te Partiro was a contender to be Italy's Eurovision entry in 1995. This fact, plus the continuing presence of Katrina and the Waves' single in the Top 10 marks the first time that two songs associated with the Eurovision contest have been in the Top 10 since 1982 when both Nicole's winner for Germany A Little Peace and Britain's losing entry One Step Further by Bardo were both in the upper reaches.
4 CLOSER THAN CLOSE (Rosie Gaines)
All good things come to those who wait. Rosie Gaines first came to people's attention as a backing singer with Prince's group the New Power Generation, her vocals being much in evidence on the Diamonds And Pearls album. She went solo in 1995, releasing Closer Than Close as her first single. Although a sizeable American hit the track fell short of the Top 40. Continuing club support meant that a re-release was always on the cards and so it proves now as, better late than never, the single crashes into the Top 10 to become the second biggest new hit of the week and giving Rosie Gaines the boost she clearly deserves.
5 I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU (Rembrandts)
Of all the chart moves this week this is possibly the most incredible. Remember that the Rembrandt's single was first released two years ago, was a Top 3 hit back then and has been in the shops ever since, only being deleted just before Christmas to make way for this new release.. Despite this the demand for the "Friends" theme is still there and it climbs its way into the Top 5 to become only the second single (after the Source's You Got The Love) to reach the Top 10 twice in the 1990s.
8 LOVE SHINE A LIGHT (Katrina and the Waves)
A tumble for Katrina and the Waves this week which is something of a shame. Unless they reverse this decline (unlikely) the peak of Number 3 for the single will make it the lowest charting British Eurovision winner ever.
14 SMOKIN' ME OUT (Warren G featuring Ronald Isley)
It says a great deal for Warren G that he can persuade almost anyone to appear on singles with him. Last time around it was a cover of Tina Turner's What's Love Got To Do With It which featured the vocal talents of Adina Howard which was followed by a cover of I Shot The Sheriff. Both singles reached Number 2. Now he turns his attention to classic soul with this slightly renamed cover of the Isley Brothers' Coolin' Me Out that features none other than Ronald Isley himself singing the hook. The song itself is less well known than some of his previous covers which probably accounts for this lower chart placing but that does not detract from the joy of seeing rap and classic soul come together so brilliantly.
15 ASHES TO ASHES (Faith No More)
Probably one of the best rock groups of the 1990s, Faith No More have always seemed to suffer from their ironic take on life being misunderstood and lost. Their biggest ever hit is a case in point, a po-faced identikit cover of the Commodores' Easy which reached the Top 3 in early 1993. Most people (including Lionel Richie) himself missed the joke totally and it led to the band hammering the point home by once appearing on TV to perform the track only for the opening bars to turn into a rendition of the famous standard I Started A Joke. No such danger here with this, their first single for two years which heralds a forthcoming new album. Always sure of a good welcome, it charges into the Top 20 to become one of their biggest hits ever. Only the aforementioned I'm Easy and Midlife Crisis from 1992 have charted higher.
17 I HAVE PEACE (Strike)
A return to the Top 20 for Strike after a run of poor chart placings. Their two singles of last year failed to climb any higher than the bottom end of the Top 30, making this their biggest hit single since their debut U Sure Do charged to Number 4 well over two years ago.
18 SWEET LIPS (Monaco)
Few acts can have built up the anticipation for their debut album in the way that Monaco have. Peter Hook's band exploded into public consciousness with What Do You Want From Me, the anthemic single which reached Number 11 back in March. Present on the radio ever since, the track also found itself used as a backing track by just about every TV show which wanted to soundtrack some action. They don't disappoint with this second single either, another glorious piece of pop that possibly owes much of its brilliance to being an amalgam of just about every New Order record every made. Then again, who is going to complain about that?
19 FLY LIFE (Basement Jaxx)
More beats, more bleeps, more dance and a Top 20 hit for the Basement Jaxx.
24 TRANQUILLIZER (Geneva)
Getting bigger, although only by stages, are Geneva. Their first hit was 'No One Speaks' which reached Number 32 last October. Earlier this year they broke the Top 30 for the first time with Into The Blue (Number 26 in February) and now this new hit which improves their standing once more. Place your bets for a Top 20 placing next time - the quality of their material really deserves it.
25 ABSURD (Fluke)
One of a number of dance records to invade the Top 40 this week, remixers Fluke chart with this single, the follow-up to Atom Bomb which reached Number 20 back in November. That this single should chart lower is something of a shame as it is in the same vein of industrial and techno fusion championed by acts such as the Chemical Brothers, only on this occasion far less painful to listen to. [The recurring theme to Sky's Monday Night Football].
29 I WILL SURVIVE (Cake)
Bizarre. Who would have thought that Gloria Gaynor's all-time disco classic would withstand so many different interpretations. The trend was begun by Chantay Savage who took her mournful, soulful rendition to Number 12 just over a year ago. Now it is the turn of Cake who follow up their debut hit The Distance with this stripped-down rock version of the song. It is either to the credit of the song, or the skill of the band themselves that the whole thing sounds brilliant.
30 ARGENTINA (Jeremy Healy and Amos)
Another collaboration from two of the biggest names in UK dance. Their first was the dancefloor stormer Stomp which charged to Number 11 in October last year. Slightly less sensation for this new track but it still safely lands inside the Top 30.
31 RIPGROOVE (Double 99)
The enduring popularity of what has come to be termed 'electronica' has led to a startling rise in the number of instrumental records becoming hits. Double 99's track is another example of the genre, electronic dance that relies on the odd sample rather than any coherent vocal to provide the hook. Nine times out of ten it works so I suppose to see a record from the other 10% in the charts is refreshing.
32 THE ANSWER TO WHY I HATE YOU (Synopsium)
Chalking up their second hit of the year are Synopsium, the first was Farewell To Twilight which reached the slightly more impressive position of Number 25 back in March.
33 MORE LIFE IN A TRAMPS VEST (Stereophonics)
Winning the award for the most curious song title of the week is this debut Top 40 hit from the Stereophonics, coming after several months of support slots to various bands. They are notable for being one of the first new acts to appear on Richard Branson's new V2 label, which in itself is reason enough to suspect there are bigger things on the cards for them.