1 MY HEART WILL GO ON (Celine Dion)
I have to confess I didn't like "Titanic". The film had too many flaws, the plot and characterisations too many holes for it to have been a satisfying experience to watch. Nonetheless there is no doubting the popularity of the film and curiously enough the knock-on popularity of the soundtrack. James Horner's score for the epic film recently duplicated its American success and climbed to the top of the album chart, the first time an incidental film score has ever topped the British charts. The only vocal part of the score is the contemporary song which plays over the end credits, My Heart Will Go On also appearing in a shortened form on Celine Dion's own Top 10 album Let's Talk About Love. It goes without saying that the song is a masterpiece. Beautifully arranged, movingly sung and with heart-wrenching lyrics. So much so that even seasoned Celine Dion-haters like myself cannot help but be impressed. Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most deserving chart-toppers of the year so far the single crashes straight into the top to give Celine Dion her second UK Number One. The first was Think Twice which famously spent almost four months climbing to the top in February 1995 before spending an even more astonishing seven weeks at the top. Competition in the next few weeks is going to be tough but who would bet against the biggest single from the biggest film of the moment settling in for a good few weeks more?
[Fun to note that her Vevo channel doesn't feature the 'official' video for the song, probably because it featured an extensive number of Titanic clips which are owned by someone else, so they substitute a live performance instead. Fortunately unofficial uploads abound].
3 NEVER EVER (All Saints)
The annual British Music Industry awards, the Brits, were presented in a ceremony last week which was also screened on television both here and around the world. Readers of the dotmusic news will be aware of the events of the ceremony, The Verve picking up three awards, famous politicians picking up a drenching and All Saints nearly outdoing the Spice Girls with their live performance. Never Ever was also a big winner, receiving awards for Best Single and Best Video - both categories being voted for by the public rather than the much-criticised Brits electoral college, effectively making them the people's awards. The resultant exposure has given the single yet another boost and so a full 14 weeks into its chart career and five weeks after it made Number One Never Ever advances back into the Top 3, in fact the first time the single has occupied the Number 3 position since it was first released way back in the middle of November. Not for nothing was it voted the year's best single, the destined to be classic ballad has already become only the third single by an all-girl band to sell over a million copies. The other two? Spice Girls singles, natch.
4 ANGELS (Robbie Williams)
It is hard to believe that this was Robbie Williams' Christmas single, a final throw of the dice to spark interest in the Life Thru A Lens album which had hitherto failed to generate the expected sales. 11 weeks on and the single is an almost permanent fixture in the Top 5 and has helped the album to leap from the fringe of the bargain bins to sustained Top 3 success. One of the highlights of last week's Brits ceremony was Mr Williams and Tom Jones duetting on a medley of hits and so he too benefits in sales terms. Having already had a varied chart career to date, Angels now climbs from Number 7 to Number 4, believe it or not the single has never been this high, its previous peak had been Number 5 the week before Christmas. Not bad for a single whose original seasonal intent is still highlighted by the use of sleighbells in the mix and its semi-rapped b-side Walk This Sleigh which itself picked up airplay during the festive holidays.
5 LET ME SHOW YOU (Camisra)
It is a sad but true fact that for every Celine Dion, All Saints and Robbie Williams record there is a Let Me Show You by Camisra. As I've said before I am no great fan of dance music but I would never let that get in the way of appreciating a record that is popular, tuneful and a deserved hit. This track is none of these. Straight out of the clubs, Let Me Show You is a dance track devoid of anything that might even merit it becoming a commercial hit, it has no hook, no radio appeal, no melody and some would argue no business crashing straight into the Top 5 [I had a vague memory that being nice about dance records was a new years resolution of mine for 1998. Seems that came later]. Still, enough misguided souls have clearly thought enough of it to buy enough copies to make it the fifth biggest selling single of the week. Those in the know call the track an "underground dance hit" which is really far and away the best place to hear it. [For the record, Camisra was the most well known hitmaking alias of then-superstar DJ Tall Paul].
10 SOLOMON BITES THE WORM (Bluetones)
One of the most welcome returns of the spring will be that of the Bluetones, the Liverpool band who were the stars of 1996 with hits such as Cut Some Rug, Marblehead Johnson and the radio favourite Slight Return which became their biggest hit when it peaked at Number 2. After over a year away the first single from their forthcoming second album makes an inevitable splash and becomes their fourth consecutive Top 10 hit.
12 PLANET LOVE (DJ Quicksilver)
Believe it or not there is an album of DJ Quicksilver creations due out soon for those who can stand a full CD of eurodisco noodlings. In the meantime here is his third hit single following his two of last year, the smash hit Belissima which made Number 4 in April and Free which peaked at Number 9 in September and which sparked one of the funniest stories of the last year after tales emerged of record stores having to move the single away from displays near the door after people began misunderstanding the title and trying to take copies without paying.
13 SEXY BOY (Air)
...or as the sleeve of the single would have it "Air: French Band" as if the point needed hammering home. The band have caused such a stir since the start of the year that their debut album crashed straight into the Top 10 just after Christmas despite the fact that they have until now never had a hit single. The fact that the album has been available for a number of weeks now has possibly lessened the impact of the single but this still impressive Number 13 placing should at least bring them to the attention of an even wider audience.
14 LOCAL BOY IN THE PHOTOGRAPH (Stereophonics)
For some reason the voting system for the Brit awards is forever the subject of criticism. Nobody ever objects that the Oscars are chosen by a group of faceless industry insiders but the fact that record companies and publishers get to choose who is honoured in British music circles is somehow an outrage. In recent years the Brits committee have sought to deflect these criticisms by allowing certain awards to be voted for by the public at large. Two, the awards for Best British Single and Best Video went of course to All Saints. The third "peoples award" was for Best British Newcomer and the vote was overwhelmingly for the Stereophonics. The band had three hit singles last year, each bigger than the last, culminating in Traffic which peaked at Number 20 in early November. It is therefore no surprise that this latest single, coupled with their well-deserved award gives them their biggest hit single to date.
16 A NANNY IN MANHATTAN (Lilys)
Levis jeans have been using individual songs in their TV adverts since 1986. As is well documented those adverts have in turn become a big source of hit singles and resulted in mini-revivals for classic artists such as Ben E King, Percy Sledge, T-Rex and the Clash to name but a few. In recent years the adverts have switched to using brand new songs from unknown acts and this strategy too has not been without its successes, Stiltskin, Babylon Zoo and Smoke City having had smash hit singles thanks to the Western world's favorite item of leisurewear. The latest series of adverts has given the Lilys the traditional leg-up and so here they come with their debut hit single. The only mystery is just how a single that clocks in at barely 90 seconds can be so tedious. [The Levis advert that time forgot. Eclipsed by the first of the famous series of Gap adverts which began running at about this time featuring Lucious Jackson's Stone Fox. Never a hit sadly].
17 MUCH LOVE (Shola Ama)
Another Brit award winner, Shola Ama picked up the gong as Best British Female in what is often a poorly contested category. Few would deny that she is a worthy recipient though and the proof is in this new single, the title track from her debut album and her fourth Top 20 hit.
19 ONLY THE STRONGEST WILL SURVIVE (Hurricane #1)
The transformation of Hurricane #1 from cult favourites to mid-table stars began at the end of last year when the re-released Step Into My World made Number 19 after having peaked at Number 29 a few months earlier. Their fourth single proper really deserves better having picked up far more radio airplay and critical acclaim than previous singles from Andy Bell et al. Nonetheless, another Number 19 hit is far from a disgrace but they surely have bigger hits to come.
29 THA HORNS OF JERICHO (DJ Supreme)
Clearly not one to rush with followup hits, this is the second chart single from DJ Supreme. The first was Tha Wild Style which spent a week at Number 24 during a brief chart run in May last year.
35 BOOGIE (Dive)
A slightly updated but still fairly straightforward cover of A Taste Of Honey's Boogie Oogie Oogie gives Dive a first Top 40 hit. The disco classic appears to be the revival favourite du jour after having been used as the basis for Peter Andre's All Right All Night last month.
36 TOO MUCH (Spice Girls)
Of all the chart moves as a result of the Brit awards, this one has to be the most curious of all. Almost in danger of stealing the show for a second year running, the Spice Girls performed their new single Stop which is due for release in a few weeks time. In the absence of that single's availability there has been a rush on their previous hit, the Christmas Number One suddenly rebounding from the Number 51 position it occupied last week to return to the Top 40, three weeks after it had apparently dropped out for good. Curiously enough this isn't the first time the girls have been the beneficiaries of such bizarre turnarounds, in April last year 2 Become 1 returned for a brief 3 week run inside the Top 40 a couple of weeks after it too had seemingly exited the chart for good.
40 HELLO TIGER (Uresi Yatsura)
After several near-misses this is the first Top 40 single for the Glasgow fourpiece who spent most of last year playing every festival possible and building up a substantial reputation whilst doing so. Their biggest brush with fame to date came last summer when a lighting rig at a festival in Spain collapsed in the middle of their set, missing the band by inches.