This week's Official UK Singles Chart

[A countdown here which was at the time flagged up before the fact as a true clash of the titans but in the end was anything but. Marking the point though when Kylie cemented her chart legend forever].

1 CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD (Kylie Minogue)

As head to head chart battles go it has to rank as the most anticlimactic of all time. Mouths were watering at the prospect of both Kylie Minogue and Victoria Beckham slugging it out head to head in the race for the top of the charts, a battle that mirrored the one between Posh Spice and Spiller's Groovejet just over a year ago. As it turned out the race between the two women had turned into a non-story by the middle of the week. Kylie was storming ahead, outselling Victoria by a margin of around 3 to 1, a knockout blow which all but sealed the fight there and then. Hence there is no surprise as far as the top of the chart is concerned, Kylie's first brand new single for well over a year has given her yet another Number One hit and in the process has become one of her fastest selling ever. It is her sixth Number One single since her debut in 1988, her 21st Top 10 hit and her fifth in a row since the start of her current career comeback with Spinning Around in July last year. Can't Get You Out Of My Head may not be the most straightforward pop record she has ever recorded (indeed for the most part it is simply an incredibly good dance record that just happens to have Kylie on lead vocals) critical acclaim for the track has been widespread. If nothing else it proves that her career resurgence last year was by no means a fluke and I'm tempted to suggest that she has transformed herself into the genuine star her fans always insisted she was, rather than just someone people made records with because it was an incredibly camp thing to do. This week marks the Australian singers 262nd week on the UK charts, a total which makes her the most successful chart act ever to hail from a country outside the UK or US.


2 HEY BABY (DJ Otzi)

His moment of glory may well have turned out have been just for a week but the technicality that saw him listed as having jumped from 45-1 last week does mean that the name of DJ Otzi will be written large in the record books for some time to come [eight years as it turned out]. As I mentioned last week, this is far and away the biggest climb to the top of the charts made by any single ever. Prior to this the only songs to have made the leap from outside the Top 20 were Captain Sensible's Happy Talk (33-1 in July 1982), John Lennon's (Just Like) Starting Over (21-1 in December 1980), Hey Jude by The Beatles (also 21-1 in September 1968) and Surrender by Elvis Presley (27-1 in May 1961). In a more modern sense, Hey Baby is the first Number One hit to have made a continuous climb from outside the Top 10 since Boom Boom Boom by the Outhere Brothers in 1995 and the first to climb to the top after first charting outside the Top 40 since Celine Dion's Think Twice (also 1995). Of the 48 chart acts to have styled themselves "DJ" who have charted over the years DJ Otzi is only the second to hit Number One. The first of course was DJ Pied Piper who topped the chart earlier this year with Do You Really Like It. By my reckoning the first "DJ" to make the UK charts was Holland's DJ Sven who partnered MC Miker G on the Holiday Rap in September 1986 although he was billed as "Deejay Sven" to further confuse matters. Beyond that technicality the next act to qualify is DJ Fast Eddie who was billed under that name for his hit Hip House in January 1989, two years after he first charted as "Fast" Eddie Smith.


3 SMOOTH CRIMINAL (Alien Ant Farm)

Another round of Jacko-mania is just around the corner (or so the record company hopes) so what better way to herald this than an astonishing cover version of one of his older hits? Smooth Criminal first appeared on 1987's Bad album and like almost all the tracks on the LP it became a single in November 1988 to coincide with the cinema release of the film Moonwalk, hitting Number 8. Lyrically it is one of the naffest Jackson songs ever but in the hands of Alien Ant Farm (buddies incidentally of Papa Roach) it becomes the nu-metal classic you never realised it was. Demand for the single was so high that it spent a couple of weeks in the chart on import, landing at Number 74. Last week the import copies ran out and the single dropped out the chart but the full release now charges straight in to the Top 3, demonstrating either the appeal of the song or the public's appreciation of a US rock act who are not taking themselves completely seriously. Straightforward covers of Michael Jackson songs have been thin on the ground over the years although several Jackson 5 songs and er, Ben have been hits for other artists in the past. His solo recordings have been plundered less often. Weird Al Yankovic of course had a hit with a comedy version of Beat It (renamed Eat It) in 1984 and Clubhouse turned Billie Jean into a medley with Steely Dan's Do It Again a year earlier but the closest we have come in recent years was the remix of SWVs Right Here which hit Number 3 in September 1993 and which sampled heavily from the melody of Jackson's own Human Nature.


5 LUV ME LUV ME (Shaggy)

Shaggy's chart performances over the past 8 years of his career have always been a little erratic, consisting mainly of one or two smash hits and then a series of rather less commercial singles until he rediscovers the formula again. This is possibly down to the way reggae acts have struggled over the years to become anything more than novelty acts but with two Number One singles to his name already this year, Shaggy is certainly no novelty. Hence his third single release of 2001 has little difficulty in grabbing a place inside the Top 5. A cute, bubbly reggae track featuring all of Mr Burrell's personality at full force and accompanied by a fun video that features Shaggy attempting to attend to multiple women in different rooms of the house it could hardly fail. I'm tempted to suggest that the summery track would have worked even better had it been released in June or July when the sun was shining rather than late September as the nights start getting longer but what the heck, it is his fourth successive Top 10 hit single. No complaints about that.


6 NOT SUCH AN INNOCENT GIRL (Victoria Beckham)

Tsk, to think we had almost forgotten her. The single that was supposed to be giving Kylie a run for her money at the top end of the charts eventually has to settle for not only charting at Number 6 but also only being the fourth biggest new entry of the week. As I have mentioned before, all eyes are on Victoria Beckham as if she ever tops the singles chart it will mean that the Spice Girls will become the first act in chart history to have all its members subsequently top the chart solo. Sadly it looks like she will have a struggle on her hands. For all her celebrity status, Posh Spice was never the strongest singer in the world and doesn't even have the personality of Geri Halliwell to cover it up. Hence she has little choice but to make ultra-processed sterile pop-dance singles like this which all the hype in the world cannot make into smashes. Let us not be too negative, it is after all her first solo single proper after she appeared as a guest on the True Steppers' Out Of Your Mind a year ago and it has still made a strong Top 10 debut. Nonetheless the novelty of Spice Girls solo singles has long worn off, and you cannot see Mrs Beckham's forthcoming solo album being anything more than her last.


10 ALCOHOLIC (Starsailor)

Enough of faded female popstars. Let us talk about the superstars of the future. Having had two Top 20 hits already this year in the shape of Fever and Good Souls, Starsailor continue to improve on their chart positions by breaking into the Top 10 for the first time ever. They could hardly have picked a better single to do it with, Alcoholic has been all over the radio for what seems like months and whilst some cynics may say it is little more than the best single that Coldplay have yet to release it is still nothing short of fabulous. If only people would go and buy the album...


13 FEAR (Ian Brown)

The hype that surrounded the start of Ian Brown's solo career has long since vanished but happily he seems quite able to manage without. The first single from his own brand new album becomes his first chart hit since Golden Gaze made Number 29 in June 2000 and in all is his seventh hit single since 1998, the eighth if you count his 1999 collaboration with Unkle. I confess I've never heard an Ian Brown single that is as good as anything the Stone Roses ever did but then again I spent years thinking the same thing about Morrissey as regards The Smiths. Judging a solo star against the work they did as part of a band is never a fair comparison. Unless they happen to be a Spice Girl of course.


14 SIDE (Travis)

During the week I read one wag asking if Travis' new single had a hook of "Side, side, side, side" after their earlier classics such as "Turn, turn, turn, turn" and of course their last song "Sing, sing, sing, sing." Happily the song features no such line and instead features all of the charm that managed to briefly wow America during their recent promotional appearances over there. Strange that the chart position should be so unimpressive then, their last single to chart as low as Number 14 was 1999's Writing To Reach You, released just before their career went into overdrive. Still, whilst it brings to a close their run of 5 consecutive Top 10 hits it is still their ninth Top 20 hit in a row, a run which stretches back to the 1998 release of the More Than Us EP which made Number 16.


22 URBAN TRAIN (DJ Tiesto)

DJ who? With Ferry Corsten he was one half of Gouryella whose biggest  hit was their eponymously named track which made Number 15 in July 1999. His solo debut arrives on the chart on the back of some strong club support but it isn't anything more exciting than a rather intense piece of Euro trance. Inoffensive enough I guess, and at the very least he can now claim to be yet another "DJ" chart star to add to the total I counted up earlier.


24 FINALLY (Kings Of Tomorrow)

Something of a slow burning dance hit this one, Finally was originally produced last year but did not chart until April when it could only stagger to Number 54. Continued club exposure made it a minor Ibiza hit earlier in the summer although the delay in re-releasing the track may have prevented it from being a bigger hit.


25 AREA CODES (Ludacris featuring Nate Dogg)

The third chart single but technically only the second hit proper for Ludacris. His first hit single was What's Your Fantasy which made Number 19 in May but he has been back on the chart since after featuring on Missy Elliot's One Minute Man which made Number 10 a month ago. Also featured on this track is Nate Dogg, himself clocking up his second collaboration in recent months after also appearing on Shade Sheist's Where I Wanna Be.


28 PAPUA NEW GUINEA 2001 (Future Sound Of London)

Future Sound Of London may well be several people but at the centre of all their work is Brian Dougans, a genuine innovator in the endlessly recycled world of dance music. With Future Sound Of London he had a five year run of minor hit singles, all of them a breathtakingly beautiful mix of subtle beats, dubs and noises that made them more aural soundscapes than pieces of music. The track that started it all was Papua New Guinea, first released in May 1992 at the height of the tuneless rave era. It slid into the chart at Number 22 and kicked off a run of singles that eventually peaked with the Number 12 hit We Have Explosive in 1997 that players of Wipeout 2097 on the Playstation will recognise immediately. 2001 appears to have been the Dougans retrospective year with a remix of 1988's seminal Stakker Humanoid having already done the rounds. Now it is the turn of the most famous FSL hit to get the remix treatment, albeit with the reluctant approval of the team themselves who complain it is hardly representative of their current work. Nonetheless the track still sounds as impressive as ever, a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere of stale trance singles and enough to give you rather more 1992 flashbacks than are healthy.


29 MUHAMMED ALI (Faithless)

Wow. Talk about a switch of styles. The followup to We Come 1 is as far removed from the usual Faithless sound as it is possible to get. Moving away from their usual laid back territory, the threesome have produced a single imbued with a glorious spirit of 70s disco-funk, their own tribute to the legendary boxer which has the normally restrained Maxi Jazz sounding as if he is about to expire with the sheer energy of it all. For some strange reason this has turned out to be a commercial disaster though as the Number 3 peak of their last single is in stark contrast to this chart entry which is set to become their smallest hit single since the first release of Don't Leave made Number 34 in March 1996. Muhammed Ali has been honoured in song on many occasions in the past. Johnny Wakelin and the Kinshasa Band were the first, taking Black Superman to Number 7 in 1975. More recently he was the subject of the Fugees' Rumble In The Jungle which was taken from the documentary film of one of his most famous fights. That track made Number 3 in March 1997.


36 THE PAIN INSIDE (Cosmic Rough Riders)

Those of us who are waiting for the country to wake up to the Cosmic Rough Riders will clearly have to be patient a little while longer. After breaking into the Top 40 for the first time with Revolution (In The Summertime) which made Number 35 in August, the proteges of Alan McGee land themselves a second chart hit, although one which can only chart one place lower. Their time is still to come but with songs as good as this it cannot be far off surely.