1 ROLLERCOASTER (B*witched)
The frantic turnover of Number Ones of recent weeks comes briefly to a halt as B*witched clock up a second week at the top with Rollercoaster. This for the moment equals the run of C'est La Vie which also managed a fortnight back in June. This four-week total means they have spent longer at the top of the charts than any other act this year except Run-DMC who managed a six-week run with It's Like That in March. 1998 has also been a phenomenally successful year for Irish acts. Never before has there been three Number One singles in a year from acts from the Emerald Isle and with a new U2 single on the way a fourth is by no means out of the question.
2 TOP OF THE WORLD (Brandy featuring Mase)
After a few minor chart entries in 1996 Brandy's career has certainly taken a shot in the arm with the runaway success of The Boy Is Mine. Her duet with Monica charted at Number 2 back in June and after an 18 week Top 40 run has only just dropped out of the chart. The track appears on the albums of both women and both were inevitably going to have further hits as a result of their worldwide smash single. It is Brandy who gets in first and equals the peak of The Boy Is Mine with this track, penned by Rodney Jerkins (who also wrote The Boy Is Mine) and featuring male rapper of the moment Mase, here making his second chart appearance within a matter of weeks having also duetting with Cam'ron on Horse And Carriage. Until now Brandy's biggest solo hit was Sittin' In My Room which peaked at Number 30 in February 1996. Watch out too for Monica who is due to chart herself very soon.
4 I DON'T WANT TO MISS A THING (Aerosmith)
The Diane Warren-penned ballad is starting to take on a life of its own. Having first charted at Number 12 five weeks ago the single dropped to Number 14 on its second week. Since then it has been on the rise climbing 8-7-4. Already Aerosmith's biggest hit ever it has even surpassed the peak of Run DMCs version of Walk This Way from 1986 on which the band made an uncredited cameo appearance.
5 YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT US (Placebo)
If Pure Morning reminded people of how good Placebo are, this new single may even help them to cross over even further. You Don't Care About Us is possibly one of the most commercially accessible tracks the group have ever recorded, sounding at times like something New Order might record and fully deserves its place in the Top 5, their third single out of four to climb this high. Despite not being officially a double a-side as such, the second track on the single is attracting almost as much attention. It is their contribution to the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack, a note for note cover of T-Rex's 20th Century Boy which goes some way to explaining the inspiration for Brian Molko's vocal style. Fans of the diverse range of musical styles that the UK chart can accommodate will doubtless be delighted by the presence of both Aerosmith and Placebo in the Top 10. Who said rock was dead?
8 CRUEL SUMMER (Ace Of Base)
Hot on the heels of Life Is A Flower which returned them to the Top 5 for the first time in four years, Ace Of Base turn their attention to a song that will inspire fond memories for two generations of record buyers. Cruel Summer was first recorded by Bananarama in 1983 when it reached Number 8. Six years later the single charted again in remixed form when it peaked at Number 19. Now the Swedish group have made the song the subject of their second cover version. Their first was the inspired treatment of Don't Turn Around, the Tina Tuner song that Aswad had taken to Number One here in 1988 and their rendition of Cruel Summer is equally well-done, retaining all the elements of the original yet turning it into something they could well have written themselves. By a strange coincidence it is the second Bananarama cover to chart in the last few months, Steps' Last Thing On My Mind began life as a flop single for the trio in 1992.
10 COME BACK DARLING (UB40)
It seems like a long time but believe it or not it is only just over a year since UB40 had a Top 40 single - Tell Me Is It True which made Number 14 in August 1997. Nonetheless they still sound like a breath of fresh air and something tells me their career will take off once more with Labour Of Love III, an album which follows the formula of the first two, their own interpretations of their favourite songs from the past. Come Back Darling duly becomes their first Top 10 single for five years, not since Higher Ground hit Number 8 in August 1993 have they been this high up the chart. The Birmingham group are far and away the most successful reggae act ever, charting regularly since 1980 and along the way having had 17 Top 10 hits and 3 Number Ones. This could be just the first of a new wave of lovers rock tracks to chart, the Culture Club chart comeback being just days away.
12 STAND BY ME (4 The Cause)
From the drawer marked "Was This Really Necessary" comes this R&B cover of the classic Ben E King song. To be fair the single is rather well done and as a modern interpretation of a soul classic works on the same level as Club Nouveau's version of Lean On Me. Purists will hate it but it grows on you.
13 ON A DAY LIKE TODAY (Bryan Adams)
Autumn and the run up to Christmas is always a good time to release a major new album and Bryan Adams is one such artist to be following that schedule. It will be his first studio album proper since 1996 and is certain to spawn hit singles - of which this is the first. On A Day Like Today is an intriguing record which eschews the usual Adams formula of guitar licks and a massive chorus in favour of a more understated semi-acoustic approach with a string quartet thrown into the mix. It is almost as if he has taken Oasis' Wonderwall and rewritten it for himself... or is it an affectionate rewrite of Eleanor Rigby? Herein lies the question, this is a single which is full of outside influences, but is he copying Oasis or merely copying the same elements of the Beatles that the Gallagher brothers have always acknowledged is the basis of their music. Such semantics aside it is a solid Top 20 entry, his first hit single since I'm Ready from his unplugged album made Number 20 in March this year.
21 QUESTION OF FAITH (Lighthouse Family)
This may be one single too many from the Lighthouse Family's current album. The fourth single release from Postcards From Heaven follows their usual formula of a gorgeous melody and a high quality production yet falls some way short of their usual chart expectations. Indeed this could be a landmark single for the group as they have never before had a single fail to reach the Top 20. Their first two hits Ocean Drive and Lifted both scaled new heights when re-released and so up until now their smallest hit has been Loving Every Minute which made Number 20 in December 1996 - and perhaps spookily was also the fourth single to be released from its parent album.
23 TEQUILA SUNRISE (Cypress Hill)
The long-awaited new single from Cypress Hill makes its debut this week, their first chart hit since Illusions also reached Number 23 in February 1996. The San Francisco rappers have their original lineup back in place and sound better than ever before, the laid back Mexican atmosphere of this single appealing even to a non-rap fan like myself. Expect a few more hits from their forthcoming new album over the coming months.
24 1998 (Binary Finary)
Another dance record with a long gestation, this track from Binary Finary was first heard as long ago as Spring 1997 and has surfaced at regular intervals ever since. Only now does the trance anthem get an official release and the support of the dance fans who have helped it to this Top 30 placing. As with all such singles, nobody else will care.
28 THE RIGHT TIME (Ultra)
A third and in many ways disappointing single for Ultra, the group who burst onto the charts at the start of the year with aspirations to become the new Wham! As it turns out they may well become the new Let Loose with a career that consists of one or two inspired early singles followed by a few more lesser hits that cannot decide whether they are pop singles or designed to appeal to a more mature audience. The Right Time is such a record, a bubbly single with a Motown flavour that has aspirations to be a great pop single albeit one that entirely lacks a tune. All MTV support in the world won't help this into the Top 20 like their first two hits which is a shame as their first hit Say You Do promised so much.
31 THE MUSIC I LIKE (Alexia)
Alexia takes the tempo down a notch for her third hit single, the follow-up to Uh La La La and Gimmie Love which made Number 10 and Number 17 respectively earlier this year.
32 STRONG IN LOVE (Chicane featuring Mason)
The return of Chicane, who had four hit singles in 1997, most notably Offshore which charted twice during the year both in vocal and instrumental versions. Believe it or not Strong In Love deserves better, a rather well produced pop-dance track that appears to have been overlooked by radio which in this case is very much to the singles detriment.
33 OYE (Gloria Estefan)
The most appealing thing about Gloria Estefan is the way she switches between musical styles with apparent ease, being it out and out pop dance or syrupy balladry. Her biggest strength however is with the music with which she began her career - pop-flavoured salsa. Ironically such tracks often turn out to be her less well-received hits. Take this track for example, a frantically paced blend of mambo rhythms, stinging brass and Gloria's voice itself and yet it is destined to become a minor chart entry. Following the Number 17 hit of Heaven's What I Feel from earlier this year the failure of Oye to do any better is something of a disappointment and in fact it is in danger of becoming one of her smallest hits ever, her first single to miss the UK Top 30 since her poorly received album of Spanish songs produced three minor hit singles in 1993.
39 TALKING WITH MYSELF 98 (Electribe 101)
A candidate for one of the most underrated dance singles of all time, Talking With Myself becomes one of the more welcome classic re-releases that have been gumming up the bottom end of the chart lately. Electribe 101 were active in late 1989 and early 1990, the distinctive selling point of their records being the voice of Billie Ray Martin, previously a singer with S-Express and the lady who in the future would record the Top 10 hit Your Lovin' Arms. After missing the chart first time around in Autumn 1989, Talking With Myself was re-released in February 1990 and made a creditable but still disappointing Number 23. Clearly someone somewhere has retained an affection for the track and so now this new set of remixes sees the single make a brief Top 40 reappearance. Remember you can play this game as well, just stick a pin in any Deep Heat compilation album and predict which classic dance hit is going to chart next week.