1 DOCTOR JONES (Aqua)
Strange to relate but to see Aqua at the top of the chart for a second week is something of a relief. They bring to an end the frantic run of singles spending a solitary week at Number One. Let me just clarify the record that was in danger of being broken - the turnover of Number One hits, how many successive weeks there has been a different track at the top. The current run lasted six weeks, from the last week of Too Much's run at the top through Number One hits from Various Artists, All Saints, Oasis, Usher and the first week of Aqua's two-week stay. The record was set at the start of last year, again starting with the final chart-topping week of a Spice Girls single (2 Become 1) and continuing with Number One hits from Tori Amos, White Town, Blur, LL Cool J and U2 before No Doubt's 'Don't Speak' spent 3 weeks at Number One - a run of seven different Number Ones in as many weeks and one that, for the moment at least, remains to be beaten.
2 ALL I HAVE TO GIVE (Backstreet Boys)
Suddenly the lads are mainstream stars. Not simply a group of young Americans making songs for the pre-pubescant market, they are now the act responsible for As Long As You Love Me which transcended its original audience to become one of the most enduring hits of the latter part of 1997, peaking at Number 3, spending nine weeks in the Top 20 and surely winding up as a pop classic. The album Backstreet's Back now chalks up a third successive Top 3 hit with this new single which misses out on the top slot by a whisker to match the peak of 'Quit Playing Games With My Heart' which scaled the same heights almost exactly a year ago. The single isn't actually beyond criticism and is possibly one of their weakest singles to date, a rather bland harmonised ballad that wouldn't even make a Boyz II Men b-side. Then again, when you have just had your fifth Top 5 hit in succession these things hardly matter.
3 CLEOPATRA'S THEME (Cleopatra)
Watch out 'cause Cleopatra's comin' at ya! They are three sisters from the Manchester area aged 13, 15 and 17 respectively. For the past few weeks they have been the talk of the pop world and tipped for Spice Girls-style stardom. For a change the hype is somewhat justified. I met the girls in early January and was treated to an impromptu performance in perfect harmony that was, frankly, mindblowing. The single itself admittedly may not be the best showcase for their talents but it is catchy and poppy enough to appeal to many and the video that goes with it that features their mother and yet another sister is quite a gem.
11 ALANE (Wes)
A run of dance hits entering inside the Top 20 begins with this track from Wes which is possibly one of the most uplifting tracks to chart for many many months. Based on an old African inspirational chant it is an immaculately made track, a far cry from the easy listening ambient mush that was all the rage a few years ago.
12 LE DISQUE JOCKEY (Encore)
If you think this sounds like a Sash! single then you are on the right lines. The track, which to all intents and purposes is a followup to Encore Une Fois features the French murmerings of the same lady Sabine whose intonations made Sash's first hit single so distinctive although quite what clubbers make of her implorings to "regarde le disque jockey" on this track is anyone's guess.
13 WISHING ON A STAR (Jay-Z featuring Gwen Dickey)
After three succesive hits in collaboration with Foxy Brown, rapper Jay-Z turns to a legend for one of his biggest hits to date. Gwen Dickey was of course the lead singer for Rose Royce and here she reprises one of her most famous vocals on the song that first peaked at Number 3 in 1970. Rose Royce's last hit single was Love Me Right Now which charted in 1985 but the great lady has always been in demand and she teamed up with KWS in 1994 for a remake of Ain't Nobody as well as re-recording Car Wash in a more up to date style in 1990 on a single which peaked at Number 72. Wishing On A Star ranks alongside Love Don't Live Here Anymore as one of Rose Royce's most famous songs. Written by Undisputed Truth singer Billie Calvin the track has been covered in recent years by Lisa May, the Cover Girls and Fresh 4 who took the track to Number 10 in November 1989.
15 MEET HER AT THE LOVE PARADE (Da Hool)
Bleeps, beats, catchy. Three words that combine to give Da Hool a Top 20 hit with another blistering instrumental dance hit. The only question remains why the imaginative title, Meet Me At The Love Parade indeed, they could have called the track Toilet Duck and nobody would have been any the wiser. [Yes, I chose an acknowledged Ibiza classic to make that joke at, why not after all].
16 RECOVER YOUR SOUL (Elton John)
The last artist to have to follow up the biggest selling single of all time was Paul McCartney who released an acknowledged classic in the shape of With A Little Luck as the follow-up to Mull Of Kintyre. Elton John now has the task of carrying on his chart career whilst preventing the phenomenal success of Candle In The Wind 97 from becoming an albatross around his neck. Fortunately, the charity single was something of a one-off, removed from his usual musical output so this second single from his current album lands fairly respectably in the Top 20. Recover Your Soul is similar to Something In The Way You Look Tonight which was always going to be the first single until a Paris underpass intervened, pretty but unspectacular. It does enough to give the newly-knighted pop icon his third Top 20 hit in succession, his 12th of the 1990s and his 73rd chart single - only Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard can boast more.
18 IT STARTED WITH A KISS (Hot Chocolate)
Following the Top 10 success of the re-released You Sexy Thing and the repromotion of their Greatest Hits here comes another stage in the nth successive Hot Chocolate revival. Released as a timely accessory for Valentines day, It Started With A Kiss was one of their later hits, making Number 5 in July 1982. This is by no means the first time it has been re-released either, in 1993 it made Number 31 to accompany - you guessed it - a Greatest Hits collection. It is curious really, so far there have been 3 Hot Chocolate revivals, 1987, 1993 and today yet they have all concentrated on You Sexy Thing and It Started With A Kiss for promotion, despite the fact that their list of classic singles stretches back to 1970 - indeed they were the only band to have a Top 40 hit from 1970 to 1984 inclusive and included 12 Top 10 hits. So why ignore all but two of them? Note that the single this time round is credited to "Hot Chocolate featuring Errol Brown", presumably to avoid confusion as the original band still perform to this day albeit without their bald leader who fronts his own version of Hot Chocolate for revival tour purposes.
19 DESIRE (B.B.E.)
Almost a year after Flash made Number 5 here comes a brand new single from BBE, the continental masters of instrumental electronica. Surprisingly Desire looks set to become their first single to miss the Top 10 but given that it is nothing less than the third instrumental track to enter the Top 20 this week maybe one can have too much of a good thing.
21 HIDEAWAY 1998 (De'Lacy)
Hideaway was first released in 1995 and became one of those records that didn't exactly have a distinguished chart career (it peaked at Number in at the start of September that year) but somehow became a classic regardless. A revival was only a matter of time and here it comes now, complete with a new set of mixes which has united reviewers in agreeing that they are wholly inferior to the original Deep Dish mix that headed the single originally. De'Lacy should really have had more hits, but for the followup That Look which made Number 19 almost exactly a year after Hideaway there has been little heard of them since.
27 I THINK I'M IN LOVE (Spiritualized)
Always at the forefront of innovation, Spiritualized began their career at the start of the decade, their 1992 album Lazer Guided Melodies being considered one of the peak of their achievements. After a two year break, they returned last year with the Top 40 hit Electricity and now venture a few places further with this single which sails past the Number 30 peak of 1995s Let It Flow to become their biggest chart single to date, however uncommercial.
30 TOURNIQUET (Headswim)
A hit for the second time of asking for Headswim, hitherto one of the best known bands in the country not to have had a Top 40 hit. They made their chart debut in 1995 when Crawl made Number 64 but this is their first foray into the upper reaches.
34 HOW COULD I? (INSECURITY) (Roachford)
The followup to last October's The Way I Feel is another quality piece of music from Andrew Roachford et al. Its predecessor reached Number 20 making it his second biggest hit ever but this new track looks likely to disappoint but still gives him his first pair of consecutive Top 40 hits since 1994.
35 SKY'S THE LIMIT (Notorious B.I.G featuring 112)
Another posthumous hit for Biggy Smalls, his third in total. Whilst Hypnotize and Mo Money Mo Problems were both Top 10 hits this single is likely to disappoint, certainly it has none of the brilliance of Mo Money.. the track based on Diana Ross' I'm Coming Out which peaked at Number 6 in August last year.
38 HIGHER THAN REASON (Unbelievable Truth)
Watch out for these guys, tipped (aren't they all?) for big things in 1998. Part of that may be a family connection as part of the personnel of Unbelievable Truth is Andy Yorke, brother of Thom, the lead singer of Radiohead. You can smell the hype from here can't you? This is their first Top 40 hit.