This week's Official UK Singles Chart


Radio One announced this week that Mark Goodier was to quit the station at the end of the year, and in the process leave what is virtually the only regular show he does these days - the Top 40 show. Whilst I've nothing against him as a broadcaster, my first reaction to the news was "good". The Radio One Top 40 show has been sounding desperately tired for a long time now, despite the best efforts of a string of different producers. The main problem was that Goodier had been doing it for so long it was almost just a routine to him. You don't need a dramatic makeover to make it exciting again, just give it a presenter who is excited about revealing officially the biggest selling singles of the week and putting a sense of genuine anticipation back into it again. Wonder if Andy Parfitt knows my number? [Bad luck pal, they'd already given the gig to Wes. For a couple of years anyway].


1 ROUND ROUND (Sugababes)

Not that there were many people claiming that the chart-topping comeback success of Freak Like Me was just a brief flash in the pan, the Sugababes prove once and for all that their bootleg reworking was more than just a one-off. Returning to new material and the silky harmonised soul pop that characterised their first album, the trio top the charts for a second time, in the process becoming the third act this year to have two spells at the top, following Will Young and Gareth Gates. In all Round Round is their sixth chart single. Oddly enough they are no less manufactured than the likes of Hear'Say or S Club 7 but the difference is the music they make is a step above the usual throwaway pop which means that where it comes from is less of an issue. The new Bananarama anyone?


3 ROMEO DUNN (Romeo)

The So Solid Crew chart history this week gains another small offshoot as rapper Romeo chalks up his first ever solo hit single, three months after he was last in the charts with the rest of the collective on Ride Wid Us. He is of course by no means the first So Solid Member to strike out in his own right. The most famous members of the group are Oxide & Neutrino whose chart career actually predated the arrival of the rest of the members when they topped the charts in 2000 with Bound 4 Da Reload. More recently the currently incarcerated Asher D made his own bid for solo glory with Back In The Day but that single stalled at Number 43 back in June, its promotion stymied somewhat by the fact that he was in the process of being jailed for firearms offences at around the same time. The presence of these "side projects" from the main group is reminiscent of the parallel careers of the Wu-Tang Clan. The US rappers have only had the smallest handful of hits as a group but Method Man, ODB, Ghostface Killah, Genius and GZA have all charted in their own right with varying levels of success.

4 JAMES DEAN (I WANNA KNOW) (Daniel Bedingfield)

The Sugababes may not have had people questioning their ability to have another hit but for some reason Daniel Bedingfield certainly did. Despite the fact that his debut single Gotta Get Thru This topped the chart twice at the back end of last year and the beginning of this and went on to do well all over the world, including in America, the fact that his deal was based around the one single he had recorded had some wondering if he was able to produce material to the same kind of standard when the time came to deliver. Consider this a point proven, at least for the moment, as nine months later the New Zealand-born teenager returns to the chart with a follow-up. James Dean (I Wanna Know) actually takes a step away from the garage-pop of the debut but still remains eminently danceable and features his own oddly distinctive vocals in full effect. Some will still have their doubts but as a new singer-songwriter with two Top 5 hits under his belt already, he surely deserves a little bit of championing.


6 LOVIN' IS EASY (Hear'Say)

Now, this is where it gets interesting. When we last left the Hear'Say story it was December. The third chart single from the Popstars group was taken from a hastily released and recorded second album and whilst Everybody was still a good pop song and still made a respectable Number 4 in the charts, the thrill of their earlier TV-inspired releases had long since passed and you got the feeling that the press were just itching to write nasty things about them. As it turned out the group nearly self-destructed in their own right when Kim Marsh, by far the oldest of the group, turned on her heel and quit, citing major personal differences with Myleene as the main reason (it is a feud that continues in the press to this day). Undeterred, Hear'Say set about recruiting a replacement, holding open auditions to which the TV cameras were invited and sidestepping the resultant bad publicity when Kim's replacement turned out to be Johnny Shentall who was one of their former dancers, a former boy band member himself (remember Boom!?) and the better half of Lisa from Steps. Hardly a total unknown. Anyway, here they are with what is only their fourth single release, taken from a forthcoming third album. In truth there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, it is a fun straightforward pop song that drifts uneventfully through your head when you hear it on the radio. That won't stop the "career over soon" headlines from appearing of course, especially when you consider that *gasp* it is their lowest charting single ever. Hear'Say's only worry really is when people stop caring about them, hence you suspect the prolonged feud with Kim and planted tabloid stories about the prominence of Myleene's breasts. Still, if the next single misses the Top 10 altogether don't say you weren't warned. [And indeed this was their last hit single, the career of the first ever reality TV group fizzling out just over a year after it began. So long Hear'Say, we barely knew ye],

7 ALONE (Lasgo)

A second hit of the year for Lasgo and a worthy follow-up to Something which hit Number 4 in March and which went on to be one of the sleeper hits of the spring, spending nine weeks floating around the Top 20. Nothing to hate here.

8 HALF A HEART (H & Claire)

OK, I will be brutally honest with you and confess that I don't exactly see the point of H & Claire (two-fifths of Steps if you remember) but their appeal is still enough for them to notch up a second straight Top 10 hit. Once again there is little to actually get worked up about where this single is concerned but if this is to be one of six new entries inside the Top 10 then I'm quite happy for it to be the last and for the Sugababes, Romeo and Daniel Bedingfield to be chasing each other at the summit. Enough said?

14 DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT (Snap vs Plaything)

Sometimes it is best not to ask why something should be but just to assume that this is the way it is supposed to be. Do You See The Light was the second single for Snap! Mark II, after the departure of rapper Turbo B in the summer of 1992 and when the act had transformed themselves into the commercial face of the fledgling electronica movement, complete with female vocals and "proper" songs. Exterminate! had been the first and Do You See The Light followed swiftly in June 1993, the single peaking at Number 10. Looking back the singles always had an underlying hit of naffness but they were good enough to soundtrack the charts of the time and have a worthy place in pop history. For whatever reason however, a reworking has been deemed necessary, hence this transformation of the track by Plaything. It results in the first Top 40 appearance for Snap! since April 1995 when The First The Last The Eternity hit Number 15. Their last chart appearance of any kind came a year later when a re-recording of The Power (incidentally the first rap-based track ever to top the UK charts) [It wasn't, that honour actually went to Candy Girl by New Edition a full seven years earlier] featuring a new vocal from Einstein made Number 42.

17 RAINY DAYZ (Mary J Blige featuring Ja Rule)

Oh, wonderful. It is not every single whose release has you running for the reference books with eager anticipation, if only to work out of the performers have worked together before. First, the actuality and this is Mary J Blige's third release of 2002, the follow-up to the ace No More Drama which made Number 9 in May. Ja Rule of course already has a Top 40 hit to his name currently, Livin' It Up this week sliding to Number 22. Ja Rule is now the third rap star to appear alongside Mary J Blige on a chart single, following in the footsteps of Method Man (1995) and Jay-Z (1997) although on both occasions she was the credited guest star on one of their records whereas this time she has the lead credit. Ja Rule's four chart hits to date have all seen him alongside other singers, Case on his current hit and Christina Milian and Ashanti on the other two.

35 UH HUH (B2K)

I don't know how I would feel about being the US support act to Lil Bow Wow but it certainly doesn't seem to have done B2K any harm at all. On the back of some US success comes this debut single and a first Top 40 hit. All that holds them back for the moment is that nobody really knows who they are.

39 MISTI BLU (Amillionsons)

Well just for a change, one of the most interesting singles of the week actually winds up propping up the bottom end of the chart. Misti Blue began life as a much sought-after white label recording at the start of this year, an eerie club track based heavily on a sample of Dorothy Moore's Misty Blue - regarded by many as the definitive version of a classic song and which made Number 5 in the UK charts in 1976. Whether for copyright or artistic reasons, her vocal has been removed from this official release and replaced instead by an identikit version from Taka Boom. Everything else is unchanged and the result is a track that actually deserves a bigger audience than it is likely to get in this position.



Want the strangest Top 40 single ever? This one could certainly count... a techno track that simply recites "N-U-K-L-E-U-Z DJ Nation" over and over again for two minutes and then stops. How can you not love it?