1 VIVA FOREVER (Spice Girls)
Not content with becoming one of the highest selling Number One singles for several months last week [277K, highest weekly sale since Christmas] Viva Forever proves still further the dominance of the Spice Girls by outdistancing the competition to become the first single since Three Lions 98 to spend more than a single week at Number One. It takes their total number of weeks spent at Number One to 20, just one short of Take That's career total of 21 which they achieved when How Deep Is Your Love spent its third week at the top in March 1996. Few other acts in the 1990s can come close to these two although honourable mention should be made of Bryan Adams who managed 16 weeks with just the one record and also Wet Wet Wet whose 15 week run with Love Is All Around in 1994 added to the four-week run of Goodnight Girl in 1992 gives them 19 weeks and even this is without counting the four-week run of With A Little Help From My Friends in 1988. Mention too must also be made of Madonna who, although she has only had five weeks at Number One since the start of the decade she also spent 13 at the summit between 1985 and 1989. The Spices' still have some way to go to beat the all-time record, currently held by Elvis Presley whose 17 Number One hits managed a combined total of 73 weeks.
2 COME WITH ME (Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page)
Jamiroquai may have had the first (and as it turns out for the moment the biggest) hit from the soundtrack of Godzilla but it is this unlikely pairing of the stars of two generations that has become the film's biggest worldwide smash. The track that blasts in over the closing credits at the end of the movies' cliffhanger is essentially a rewrite of the old Led Zeppelin track Kashmir that first appeared on the Physical Graffiti album. Former Zeppelin axeman Jimmy Page has reworked the track over which Puff Daddy contributes the gruffest, most urgent rap of his career. Purists will doubtless hate it but one thing is for certain, this is the most damn exciting record you are likely to hear all year. It is Puff Daddy's second hit single (at least that he has credited to himself) of the year and marks a return to form after the somewhat disappointing Number 18 peak of All About The Benjamins in February. Jimmy Page finds himself further up the singles chart than either he or any of his former bandmates have ever managed before and indeed if one regards Come With Me as a straight remake of Kashmir it is the highest charting Led Zeppelin song of all time, beating the only other one to make the Top 3, namely Goldbug's remake of Whole Lotta Love which charted in January 1996. Mixing different musical styles is always something of a hit and miss affair but arguably this single is a perfect example of rap and rock coming together to create something quite magical.
4 LOST IN SPACE (Apollo Four Forty)
I suppose it follows logically, if there is to be a film remake of a classic TV series then a modern day take on the original theme will follow in its wake. Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen did Mission Impossible whilst Orbital did The Saint. This time it is the turn of Apollo Four Forty to take John Williams' original theme to the classic TV series and turn it into a thumping, barnstorming dance tune. These guys you will remember are the ones who turned old recordings from both Eddie Van Halen and Gene Krupa into dancefloor classics so this remix of a little-known but still nostalgia-evoking TV theme is bound to smack of the same kind of genius. The single comes just a few short weeks since Apollo Four Forty charted in conjunction with Jean Michel Jarre on Rendez-Vous 98 and is far and away their biggest hit to date, beating the Number 7 peak of Ain't Talkin Bout Dub from February 1997.
7 I CAN'T HELP MYSELF (Lucid)
Regardless of whether there are only three tracks allowed on the single and whether they can only be 25 minutes long, if a dance single has enough mainstream appeal it will chart as high as it ones. This is the case with this long-awaited release of I Can't Help Myself, maybe not the most innovative of singles with its Sash- and Faithless-inspired pizzicato string hook but still far from offensively bad.
17 BURNING (Baby Bumps)
I've got this sussed now. Dance music is so popular because there isn't a modicum of creativity required. All you have to do is take a track written and popularised by somebody else (in this case Disco Inferno by The Trammps), rearrange bits of it, discard the dull bits such as the verses, add a new rhythm track and voila! One brand new single to which you can put your own name. In return you get a chart entry, the admiration of your mates and the chance to hire some scantily clad women to perform it on Top Of The Pops for you. I'm off to the studio right now.
22 HOW DO I LIVE (LeAnn Rimes)
Maybe she is attempting to set a record for the number of times I have to mention her in these pages but How Do I Live is developing a legend all of its own as the single that refuses to die. Remember this track was released in the last week of February and has been in the Top 40 ever since. 23 weeks later, despite never climbing higher than Number 7 it is the fifth biggest selling single of the year and now after slumping to a career low of Number 30 last week rebounds back up the chart to occupy its highest position since the end of June. Meanwhile her followup single waits in the wings having had its release delayed more times than anyone cares to count due to the longevity of this hit. Full marks to Curb records for resisting the temptation to delete the single, the usual tactic of record companies frustrated by the public actually daring to want to buy their singles over a long period of time.
25 I KNOW ENOUGH (I DON'T GET ENOUGH) (Theaudience)
The second Top 40 hit for Theaudience and one which reflects their steadily growing popularity as it eases past the Number 27 peak of A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed to become their biggest hit to date. The jangly I Know Enough buzzes with an infectious energy that makes it pretty much irrresitable. Alright it could have been released thirteen years ago and nobody would have batted an eyelid but as far as I am concerned there is nothing better than a bad making the kind of music that we have often lamented that they don't make any more. [Alas the third and final hit single for Theaudience as guitarist Billy Reeves quit and the label rejected their attempt at a second album. Sophie Ellis-Bextor carved out her own solo fame instead].
28 EVERYBODY DANCE (THE HORN SONG) (Barbara Tucker)
The lady best known for her 1994 hit Beautiful People makes a long overdue return to solo action with this current dancefloor smash, essentially a new mix of a rhythm track produced by DJ Pierre called The Horn Song. The addition of Ms Tucker's vocals turns it into a not too unpleasant garage anthem, if one that possibly deserves little more than this Top 30 entry.
32 YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE DANCING (Groove Generation featuring Leo Sayer)
Welcome to the latest embodiment of the strange fin-de-siecle cult of Leo Sayer. The singer with the curly hair had a string of hits in the mid-1970s. Nine Top 10 hits to be precise, including a Number One smash with When I Need You. By the start of the 1980s his star had all but faded and he became just another faded singer scratching a living however he could. Around a year ago the showbiz staff at The Sun newspaper decided to mount a campaign to turn Leo Sayer into a star again, first of all appealing for his whereabouts and then pushing him to the hilt whenever they could. Whether they were joking or whether indeed Mr Sayer got the joke himself is open to question but suddenly he found himself invited to showbiz parties, appeared on Radio One roadshows and one of the strangest cult figures going. Leo Sayer records suddenly started reappearing, Will Mellor taking a cover of When I Need You to Number 5 in February this year. Meanwhile his originals found their way into clubs and used as the basis for fun remixes, which is essentially what this track is. His 1976 Number 2 hit was his most danceable record and it is transformed into a club record by Groove Generation, all with the added co-operation of Leo Sayer himself. Fine in its own way provided you can get over the uncomfortable feeling that everyone is having a massive joke at the expense of a man who is too affable to notice.
35 SLEAZY BED TRACK (Bluetones)
The third single from the current album makes a disappointing chart entry for the Bluetones, disappointing that is after the Top 20 success of the last two. It is no great loss as Sleazy Bed Track is will hardly be considered one of their classic releases. Then again as far as I am concerned If... is one of the best singles of the year so they could hardly hope to better it.
36 BOYS BETTER (Dandy Warhols)
Another band apparantly experiencing a slump in chart form are the Dandy Warhols, this single something of a disappointment after the Number 13 entry of Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth. I can't be the only one to have wondered why this sounds like A Horse With No Name either...