1 IT'S LIKE THAT (Run-DMC vs. Jason Nevins)
Maybe the expression is overused but on this occasion quite justified. Run DMC pull off a major shock to spend a fifth week at Number One. Having been lead by a large margin by Busta Rhymes throughout the week only a late surge by the incumbent led to it retaining its crown once again. It's Like That now becomes the longest running Number One single since Candle In The Wind also managed five weeks in September last year. It is now within an ace of the six week record set by Puff Daddy last summer to be in with a chance of becoming the most successful rap single ever.
2 TURN IT UP/FIRE IT UP (Busta Rhymes)
Second place will have to suffice for Busta Rhymes after having loked a certainty to shoot straight to the top for most of the week. Still, a big Top 3 entry is no mean feat, and this single could hardly have expected anything less. Turn It Up/Fire It Up is possibly the most talked-about single of the moment and suddenly turns Busta Rhymes into a major chart star. His biggest hit up to now was his 1996 debut Woo-Hah! Got You All In Check which reached Number 8 but that pales into insignificance next to this massive Number One hit. The reason for the appeal of the single can be traced to one important factor - the inspired move to base the track on the theme to the classic 1980s TV series Knight Rider, the show with the talking car and a pre-Baywatch David Hasselhoff. Of course the use of such an original sample is a double-edged sword. Nobody would buy a single of the Knight Rider theme but this single is selling by the bucketload as it is "that record with the Knight Rider theme on it". Busta Rhymes of course is incidental to the success of the track. The single charts almost five years after the star of the original TV show David Hassehoff had his own hit single, although in reaching Number 35 If I Could Only Say Goodbye hardly stands comparison with this hit. Who knows, this might spark a trend of records using the themes from classic Saturday teatime TV shows. I always had a soft spot for 'Wizzkids' myself.
6 FOUND A CURE (Ultra Nate)
Proof that all good things come to those who wait came last summer when Ultra Nate stepped out from the shadow of her famous underground garage hit It's Over Now to score one of the worldwide dance smashes of last year. Free first entered the chart in the middle of June 1997 and spent no less than 8 weeks inside the Top 10, peaking at Number 4 on two separate occasions and remaining a radio staple to this day. Quite understandably the followup has been delayed to allow the memory of the single to fade and so only now does Ultra Nate land on the chart with her second UK hit single. Not quite as immediate as Free, this single is nonetheless every bit as good, building up to a storming dance chorus that is equally at home on the radio or in a club. Quite deservedly another Top 10 smash, now how long before some enterprising record label picks up the licence for It's Over Now?
8 ALL MY LIFE (K-Ci and JoJo)
It has taken a while for the two brothers to followup last summer's Number 21 hit You Bring Me Up but they have now done so in style witht this ballad which is wonderfully made if a little formulaic (what an American friend of mine described as a "cookie-cutter" track. Nonetheless the American Number One hit explodes onto the British chart to give the pair their biggest hit to date, far surpassing either their solo work or the hits they had as part of Jodeci, the biggest of these being Freek N' You which peaked at Number 17 in June 1995.
11 SAY YOU DO (Ultra)
The debut hit for the latest boy band to try their luck at pop fame. Ultra have made a good name for themselves with a series of appearances as support act on recent tours by Louise and Boyzone. They now land agonisingly short of the Top 10 with, what it must be said is a quite wonderful pop song that is easily a cut above the typical formulaic offering one has come to expect from a hopeful bunch of heartthrobs. No Osmonds cover this, Say You Do maybe lacks that little something to make it a massive pop hit but a few more tracks like this and their stated aspirations to be the Wham of the 90s may not be as far-fetched as they sound. Then again, aspiring to be like George Michael maybe isn't the best of career moves at present... [this was a week or so after the toilet incident].
15 WHAT YOU WANT (Mase featuring Total)
Mase you will remember were one of a number of acts who boldly released their first single just before the Christmas period in the face of all conventional wisdom. They had been on the chart before of course, singing on Puff Daddy's Can't Nobody Hold Me Down but despite this were still relative unknowns. The tactic was partially successful as the single Feel So Good, based on an old Miami Sound Machine track landed at Number 10 in Christmas week but was quickly lost amongst the other seasonal offerings. In quieter times the followup should hopefully stick in the mind a little longer, this Top 20 entry as good a start as any.
16 I WANT YOU TO WANT ME (Solid Harmonie)
Solid Harmonie seem to have a thing for new songs with familiar song titles. First came their debut in January the magical 'I'll Be There For You' and now comes I Want You To Want Me, nothing to do with the classic Cheap Trick song but instead another rather wonderful pop record which for some reason has struggled slightly for exposure. They can be pleased with a second successive Top 20 entry, particularly this which just beats I'll Be There For You which peaked at Number 18.
22 JOURNEY TO THE PAST (Aaliyah)
Another holiday season, another Disney film. The latest from the classic cartoon stable is Anastasia which is due for release over here very shortly. As if to herald it, here is the big ballad from the soundtrack which gives Aaliyah her first chart hit of the year, the followup to The One I Gave My Heart To which made Number 30 last November. The 1990s resurgence of the Walt Disney studio has led to a string of artists benefitting from the exposure of being on the soundtrack and it is not just American artists either as Elton John, Eternal and Boyzone have proved in recent years.
26 BRICK (Ben Folds Five)
Already a smash American hit, this annoyingly catchy single from the critics' favourite band gives them their fourth UK hit. Although still not major chart stars their profile has improved since their 1996 debut Underground reached Number 37. This is the first of what will doubtless be several hits for them this year and equals the peak of Battle Of Who Could Care Less from March last year to become their biggest hit single to date.
27 REMEMBER (BT)
The second hit of the year and the second from his current album, Brian Transeau follows up the annoying catchy Flaming June with this single, featuring a vocal this time and some alarmingly retro vocoder effects. It beats the Number 28 peak of its predecessor by a whisker but considering that Flaming June made Number 19 when originally released in July last year then Remember should really be considered the a smaller hit. His biggest hit remains Loving You More which reached Number 14 in February 1996.
28 BEST DAYS (Juice)
This must be the year for young black female R&B acts to emerge. Hot on the heels of Cleopatra come Juice, fresh from a support role with 911 with this rather stylish debut single. Perhaps not quite the initial impact they could have hoped for but a solid Top 30 entry nonetheless.
29 SEX AND CANDY (Marcy Playground)
A break from pop/dance singles comes with this rootsy song, the debut chart single from rising stars Marcy Playground.
30 THIS IS IT (State Of Mind)
Another big club smash crosses over to land nicely inside the Top 30, distinguished by its unusual use of an electric guitar, an instrument usually anathema to dance producers but on this occasion proving startlingly effective.
31 R U SLEEPING (Indo)
It was 1994 when 'RU Sleeping' was first released and became a minor club hit whilst failing to reach the singles chart. It is one of those dance tracks that refuses to die and has appeared at regular intervals since. Now a new series of remixes has breathed new life into the track and with enough of a push from dance radio stations finally becomes a Top 30 hit.
34 DOCTOR JONES (Aqua)
There seems to be no stopping Aqua, just as it looked as if 'Doctor Jones' was about to slip out of the Top 40 for good it suddenly rebounds five places to land at Number 34 to spend an 11th week on the chart, still somewhat short of Barbie Girl's epic 18 week Top 40 run but enough to indicate that it could well be hanging around still when the followup Turn Back Time is released.
35 CRACKING UP (Jesus And Mary Chain)
Funny this, only a few weeks ago I was wondering what had happened to the Reid brothers. Here comes the answer as the eternally-wonderful Jesus and Mary Chain reappear after a long absence with a brand new single. Believe it or not this is their first chart single since I Hate Rock 'N' Roll made Number 61 in June 1995. To find their last Top 40 hit one has to go back further still, to July 1994 when Sometimes Always made Number 22. To see them still recording hits in the late 1990s is a testament to their staying power. They were formed at the start of the 80s, had their first hits in 1985 and were at their commercial peak over 10 years ago when April Skies reached Number 8 to give them their biggest ever hit. Way to go lads.
36 BELIEVE (Goldie)
Something of a comedown for Goldie after Tempertemper reached Number 13 in January this year and a crying shame in many ways as this is possibly one of the most accessible singles he has ever released. Put it down the time of year, but this still becomes his first Top 40 single to miss the Top 20 since the re-release of Inner City Life made Number 39 at the back end of 1995.