1 SOMETHING IN THE WAY/CANDLE IN THE WIND 97 (Elton John)
The fact that by the end of last week it was possible to walk into a record shop and pick up a copy of Something In The Way You Look straight off the shelf speaks volumes for the way demand for Elton John's single is finally slowing down. Although another phenomenal sale and a third week at Number One was guaranteed for the charity record, the fact that most of those who care now have a copy to place on their coffee tables possibly means life can now start returning to normal at the top end of the charts. There is no telling how fast the burnout of the track will be but as Oasis proved a couple of months ago, even a phenomenal demand for a single can be concentrated into the space of a few days and I would not be surprised if Elton takes a tumble within the next couple of weeks. This week marks the release of Elton John's new album The Big Picture and I cannot help wondering just how many people will gleefully take a copy home only to discover that the rewritten dirge of Candle In The Wind has no place on the disc.
2 STAND BY ME (Oasis)
Oasis songs have one consistent factor about them (oh OK then two if you include the obvious). However average they mean appear upon your first exposure, repeated airings and countless hours spent humming them around the office mean that every single one sounds like an enduring classic. Stand By Me follows these rules to perfection, seemingly with little to commend about it but after a few weeks able to rank alongside some of their greatest hits. Under any ordinary circumstances it would have been guaranteed a Number One chart placing but for the moment has to make do with the runners-up slot but even this continues their impressive run of chart hits. Ever since the start of 1995 when Oasis-mania fully took hold, every single they have released has made either Number One or Number Two. The only current chart act that can even approach that level of consistency are, er The Spice Girls.
4 ARMS AROUND THE WORLD (Louise)
The more impartial observer cannot help but marvel at the way over the last two years Louise Nurding has been transformed from being the cute white girl from Eternal into a major sex symbol worthy of features in all the trendy men's magazines. Her forthcoming second album looks set to continue this trend further - well with a title of 'Woman In Me' what do you expect? It's first single at first appears to be a fairly unremarkable mid-tempo pop song but is one of those which grows on you with repeated exposure. Instantly it has become her biggest ever hit, just ahead of the Number 5 entries for Naked and Undivided Love which both charted in 1996.
6 GOT 'TIL IT'S GONE (Janet Jackson featuring Q-Tip and Joni Mitchell)
The first of what will presumably be around 10 singles released from Janet Jackson's new album makes a strong chart debut. Despite remaining with Jam and Lewis for production work, Michael's little sister proves with this track that she still has the capacity to surprise. Easily the most unconventional single she has ever released it samples heavily Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi although one wonders what kind of licensing arrangement Virgin records were forced to come to which has lead to the famous singer being co-credited with the single despite the fact that her contribution was recorded over 27 years ago. Always the worst offender in milking albums for singles until they are dry, Janet spawned no less than nine singles (including one double-a side) so it will not be unreasonable to expect her to be charting hit singles well into the year 2000.
7 PLEASE (U2)
As their spectacular stage shows continue to wow audiences across the continent, U2 continue their run of hits. Please is their fourth Top 10 hit of the year and one which improves on the Number 10 peak of their last offering Last Night On Earth. In fact this is their six such hit single in a row, a run which ranks as one of the best of their career. They had 10 successive Top 10 hits between Pride (In The Name Of Love) in September 1984 and The Fly in November 1991 but these were interrupted by the imported American single In God's Country which pottered around the lower reaches of the chart in late 1987.
8 JUST FOR YOU (M People)
If it seems to you that M People have never been away, just consider that this is their first hit single since their cover of Itchycoo Park reached Number 11 in December 1995. The group have been silent for a while whilst singer Heather Small has had a child but their music has remained in people's minds. This is mainly due to Search For The Hero which featured in a series of TV adverts for Peugeot, starting in March last year. The band resisted all calls for the single (which first made Number 9 in June 1995) to be re-released prompting a surge in sales for their last album Bizarre Fruit and making the song a popular choice amongst radio programmers. With all of that in their favour Mike Pickering et al embark on the promotion of their first album for over two years. Just For You proves that the wait was well worth it, a soaring ballad that shows that Heather Small's voice is in as fine form as ever. It instantly becomes their ninth Top 10 hit and their biggest since Sight For Sore Eyes made Number 6 in November 1994. Expect many more to follow over the next few months.
13 OH LA LA LA (2 Eivissa)
Another summertime Euro club hit makes the trip to these shores to remind holidaymakers just why they have such fond memories of the clubs they went to. The rest of us can just marvel at the deceptive powers of sun and alcohol.
16 SPIDERWEBS (No Doubt)
Always a strong candidate for a single, the opening track from Tragic Kingdom could hardly fail when released and so it proves, becoming No Doubt's third hit of the year albeit the smallest, coming nowhere near the Top 3 status of Just A Girl and Don't Speak which is still one of the year's biggest sellers.
22 ANYBODY SEEN MY BABY? (Rolling Stones)
Astonishing though it may seem the Rolling Stones just go on forever. When they first appeared in the UK charts in July 1963 with Come On could anyone have predicted that they would still be having hit singles over 34 years later? Arguably the whole point of their existence these days is to sell albums on the back of their always extravagant world tours but that has not stopped them having a fairly respectable singles record over the past few years. Indeed their last chart appearance was in November 1995 when their version of Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone peaked at Number 12, their biggest hit single for over ten years. Although they last had a Number One hit in 1969 and their last Top 10 track was Start Me Up from 1981 they will hardly quibble at the chart entry of Anybody Seen My Baby, their sixth Top 30 hit of the 1990s. Released as a taster for the new album it carries with it its own footnote as the only Rolling Stones track ever likely to carry the writing credit of Jagger/Richards/lang. This is due to the inadvertent similarity of the chorus to kd lang's Constant Craving and to forestall any copyright difficulties the band gave her a writing credit and a resultant share of the royalties.
23 DEBASER (Pixies)
Here is a curious oddity. Debaser was the lead track from The Pixies' 1989 album Doolittle. Always a fan favourite it was a staple of their live sets right up until the band split up at the start of the decade. For some reason at the time it was never considered for single release and was passed over in favour of tracks such as Monkey Gone To Heaven and Here Comes Your Man. Now after a long delay the track is released in its own right and instantly shoots into the Top 30 to become the biggest hit ever for the legendary US band, outstripping the Number 27 peak of their 1991 swansong Planet Of Sound.
27 PLAY IT COOL (Super Furry Animals)
Three singles, three Top 30 placings is the rather consistent record of the Super Furry Animals this year although Play It Cool is set to become the smallest of these. Their other claim to consistency is that almost all of the previous six Top 40 singles spent just a single week in the upper reaches of the listings, even hits such as If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You which entered at Number 18 had dropped out of the 40 a week later. The one exception was Something 4 The Weekend which also peaked at Number 18 in July last year and maintained a presence in the Top 40 by the narrowest possibly margin, dropping to Number 40 a week later.
Sleeper hardly need to make records to continue the cult of Louise Wener, the controversial lead singer of the band with the husky voice that many would happily die for. Their first single in almost a year from a forthcoming new album suggests that this course of action may well have been the advisable one. Although She's A Good Girl is as perky and bright a track as the band have ever produced, the end result is a rather poor chart showing, their first single in five goes to miss the Top 20 and set to be their smallest hit since Vegas could only reach Number 33 in April 1995. [In her autobiography Louise Wener claims that the band's label decided to experiment and skip the traditional first week discount for this, the first single from their third album, electing to sell it full price from the start. According to her this was the reason that lay behind this indifferent chart entry and marked the beginning of the end for the group].
30 BURNIN' (Daft Punk)
The third Daft Punk single which treads what is by now a tried and tested formula of a manic 70s funk groove coupled with 1990s house beats. Diminishing chart success suggests the joke may now be wearing thin, this entry barely scraping the Top 30 compared to Top 10 chart placings for Da Funk and Around The World.
34 JOANNA (Mrs Wood)
A timely re-release for this track which was first available almost exactly two years ago. Having been the beneficiary of continued club play and a popular choice for DJs in Ibiza this year the time was clearly right for the single to be given a second chance, although a six-place improvement on its original peak probably barely justifies the effort.