This week's Official UK Singles Chart
1 WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL (Ronan Keating)
Hot on the heels of Another Level's From The Heart and Elvis Costello's She, the Notting Hill soundtrack produces its third and biggest hit so far. Although there is no question of a formal split, Boyzone are officially on a break, giving their most charismatic member the chance to spread his solo wings - hence this single, despite also appearing on Boyzone's By Request hits collection is the first to give Ronan Keating a solo credit. Having been all over the radio for what seems like the last month, the single is familiar to most people and despite the shocks that the singles chart has sprung over the last few weeks was almost assured of topping the chart immediately upon release. As indeed it does, giving Ronan a Number One single to open his solo career to add to the six Number Ones he has participated in as part of Boyzone, the most recent of which was, of course, You Needed Me back in May and which is still making its way down the Top 75. Like many Boyzone singles before it When You Say Nothing At All is a cover version, albeit of a song that is virtually unknown over here. It was first recorded in 1995 by American C&W star Alison Krauss who picked up a CMA award for the song. Expect some more solo singles from Ronan to follow and on the strength of this single his marketability as a solo artist is without question. Just overlook the fact that there is probably a singer down your local pub with better vocal delivery than the Irish superstar.
4 IF YOUR GETTIN' DOWN (Five)
It seems like the done thing to demand chart re-runs at the moment. Both the music and the mainstream press gave much coverage to the row that erupted a few weeks ago when it emerged that a chart published earlier in the month was lacking data from some of the larger record chains, resulting in the data for some singles being badly skewed. Both Blur and Semisonic felt aggrieved by this as both Coffee + TV and Secret Smile were expected to land inside the Top 10 but instead were listed as falling some way short. After much behind the scenes muttering their pleas were heard and the relevant chart (the one for the first week of July) is to be recalculated with the missing data the benefit of the record books (and indeed overseas marketing). [In fact the revised chart remained a secret for nearly 20 years]. Less widely reported was the angry demands this week from the management of Five, denied by a whisker from topping the charts last week. They discovered that the second CD single of Livin' La Vida Loca ran to a total of 20 minutes and 2 seconds, thereby exceeding the time limit for a CD single which should have meant that sales of CD2 counted for the album chart and given Five the Number One position at the expense of Ricky Martin.
My response to this is, well, shit happens. Accidental time limit violations of the chart rules do happen from time to time and if nobody picks up on them in time then a blind eye is usually turned. Such a situation has affected the Number One position in the past. Back in January 1987 the 12 inch single of Steve Silk Hurley's Jack Your Body exceeded what was then a 25 minute time limit but was still allowed to count towards the chart, helping the track to head the listings. In reality, although Five can be forgiven for feeling aggrieved, adjusting the listings will achieve nothing. It is only right that if Blur's Coffee + TV was genuinely one of the ten biggest sellers of the week then chart listings should be produced to prove that, the data is present and correct and was merely omitted in error. On the other hand regardless of how long the single was, Livin' La Vida Loca sold more copies than If Your Gettin' Down and last week's chart reflected that fact correctly. Whilst you cannot blame Five for wanting the records to be rewritten so they can claim a Number One single the fact remains that Ricky Martin outsold them. Period.
8 MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE (Whitney Houston)
Although the single is on its way down, Whitney's current hit single is worthy of a small comment this week. My Love Is Your Love has now spent six weeks inside the Top 10 which means that with the minimum of fuss it has become her most enduring hit single since I Will Always Love You spent ten weeks at the top of the pile in 1992. Indeed it is just one of a number of singles inside the Top 10 this week which are enjoying protracted runs of success. Will Smith's Wild Wild West is now five weeks old and it too has spent its entire chart career in the Top 10 (his best run since Men In Black) whilst the Vengaboys' Boom Boom Boom Boom beats them all with a seventh week in the upper reaches. Only one single this year has had a longer Top 10 run - Shania Twain's That Don't Impress Me Much which recently came to the end of an epic 10 week stay.
9 STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART (Doolally)
You might be asking why this single, a Number 20 hit in November last year is being re-released so soon and in the process scraping into the Top 10. The answer is simple, Doolally are actually Shanks & Bigfoot, creators of the recent Number One single Sweet Like Chocolate and indeed to complete the link the single features the vocals of Sharon Wolf, chanteuse on the aforementioned chart-topper. Although another Shanks & Bigfoot single proper is on the way, it seemed appropriate for their earlier more reggae-tinged work to get another airing and benefit from their new-found fame. Logical really.
11 GROOVE MACHINE (Marvin and Tamara)
Full credit to svengali Clive Black for creating a new pop act based on a formula far removed from "another boy band." Marvin and Tamara are a bubbly pair of 13 year olds and who have the honour of being Epic records' biggest summer priority. After a whirlwind tour of radio stations and roadshows the pair arrive just outside the Top 20 with their first ever single. To be honest I expected this to be a Top 3 hit as Groove Machine is a glorious bouncy pop single, admittedly containing most of the best elements of New Edition's Candy Girl but which sounds like a breath of fresh air next to most of the current line of chart hits and which slides nicely between the squeaky vocals of Tamara and Marvin's ragga toasting. All in all this isn't a bad start to their career, their forthcoming album is packed with more of the same and I confess I cannot remember the last time I interviewed a pair of kids as disarmingly charming as these two.
15 DOUBLE DOUBLE DUTCH (Dope Smugglaz)
Back in the early 1980s, with the Sex Pistols confined to history and most of his other charges having deserted him, Malcom McLaren decided to turn himself into a recording star himself. Whilst he couldn't sing or play an instrument to save his life, as an assimilator of hitherto unknown musical styles he was a visionary. Go and check out his 1983 album Duck Rock if you don't believe me. It was the first ever World Music album. It's first single was Buffalo Gals which introduced the British charts to the nascent art of scratching and sampling and was followed the discofied skipping workout Double Dutch which hit Number 3 in August 1983 and remains his biggest ever solo hit. Almost 16 years to the week since Double Dutch was in the charts, the Dope Smugglaz hit the Top 20 with their own reworking of the single. Granted the charm of the original has been stripped away and really only the chorus remains of the original track but Double Double Dutch duly becomes the first Top 40 single for the Leeds-based duo, their only other chart single to date being The Word (which heavily sampled the Grease theme and which surely deserves another chance) which hit Number 62 in December last year.
19 AT THE RIVER (Groove Armada)
Having hit Number 25 back in May with If Everybody Looked The Same, Groove Armada hit the chart with what is quite possibly the most eagerly anticipated re-release of the year. At The River was first recorded in 1997 and is probably the only trip-hop record ever to centre around a trombone solo. The dreamy track paints a picture of lazy summer afternoons, salty air and quaint villages. Ignore the set of more uptempo remixes that come with the single, it is the original version that has been a cult classic for the last two years. After wowing the crowd at Glastonbury's Jazz Stage the single finally becomes a hit. Believe it or not, Groove Armada are on the same record label as Steps and Britney Spears.
22 WHERE MY GIRLS AT (702)
This all-girl trio are the first British chart assault by the a revitalised Motown label which has suddenly woken up to the fact that the early 90s success of Boyz II Men is rapidly vanishing into the past. Although having had a fair degree of success back home with their first album they remain unknowns over here, only charting two singles from that release, the biggest being Steelo which hit Number 41 in December 1996. Their debut Top 40 single improves on that slightly but with the likes of TLC taking the concept of an all-girl R&B act into a whole new dimension you cannot see 702 having too many big hit singles in the near future, sorry.
23 THE MIRACLE (Cliff Richard)
Don't ask me why, but this is the follow-up to Cliff's last single Can't Keep This Feeling In which hit Number 10 as long ago as October last year. You may remember that this last single was his attempt to prove a point as it was released as a white label and picked up a great deal of club and dance radio airplay until it was revealed exactly who the artist behind it was. The Miracle, as the title suggests moves away from cod-R&B and into the realm of gospel as a choir of powerful voices joins Sir Cliff as the single reaches a climax. Those still able to keep count will note that this is his 121st chart single in this country, Cliff having soared past Elvis' total of 112 some time ago to become the most successful singles artist ever. Nobody else can come close to this total, Elton John currently a poor third with 74 to date.
25 YOUR KISSES ARE CHARITY (Culture Club)
Although Boy George has quite freely admitted that relations between some of the members of Culture Club are still a little fraught they enjoyed their reunion at the end of last year enough to go back into the studio to make a brand new album, their first for 13 years. Although George himself has a solo album to promote first, there is time enough for this single to be released, credited to the band in full. Sadly after the joyful blast from the past that was I Just Wanna Be Loved (Number 4 in October last year) this brand new track isn't quite as inspired as it moves back into a harder reggae groove. Quality-wise it still stands alongside most of their earlier work but without the novelty value of it being their first release for years, another Top 10 hit was always unlikely.
28 MAGIC HOUR (Cast)
After the Number 9 hit Beat Mama this is a rather disappointing chart entry for Cast who ease back into a more relaxed, melancholy groove with the title track from their well-received third album. Unless it manages to climb higher next week (unlikely) this will spoil their 100% record of Top 20 hits.
29 YOUNG HEARTS RUN FREE (Candi Staton)
For the second week running a late-70s disco classic makes a reappearance in a new mix and yet again doesn't quite make the impact that was expected. Young Hearts Run Free is easily Candi Staton's most famous hit, reaching Number 2 when first released in 1976 and has inspired many cover versions although only Kym Mazelle has ever turned it into a hit again, reaching Number 20 in 1997 with her version. This new release comes with the obligatory remix (a fine effort by K-Klass), by no means the first time the track has received this treatment. A rather more terrible remix was released in 1986 but it could only reach Number 47.
33 LATELY (Skunk Anansie)
A rather low chart entry for Skunk Anansie's third hit single of the year and a far cry from the Number 16 and 17 peaks of Charlie Big Potato and Secretly. This is set to become their smallest hit single since the first release of Charity could only make Number 40 in September 1995.