This week's Official UK Singles Chart


OK, so no surprises expected or delivered as Gareth Gates holds off what is, in all honesty, a rather sparse set of competition to hold on to the Number One position for a second week. Meanwhile the debate in some areas of the press rumbles on - is Pop Idol runner up Gareth being given preferential treatment by the record company over the people's choice Will Young? The case for the prosecution rests really on the fact that Gareth Gates' first single came out just a few weeks after that of Will Young and that the debut albums from the two artists are to follow within a few weeks of each other and that Will's album was initially due to come out in the same week as a new Elvis Presley compilation. Of course in all of this one has to remember that the voting for Pop Idol (in which in truth Will Young was the runaway winner from the very start) was done by a far wider group of people than the normal band of pop record buyers and that what appealed to them on television may well be very different to what a solid hitmaking career is built on. The truth is that whilst Will Young is an incredibly talented performer he is no heartthrob pop star. His destiny lies in the stage performances and MOR Christmas albums that have sustained the likes of Michael Ball and Darren Day for the last decade. Gareth on the other hand has it all, looks, talent and a disarmingly shy personality to match. He is the one that will sell singles and albums for the next three and a half years and who will sell magazines with his face on the cover. Want the proof that this distinction has already begun to show itself? Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake) sold about 100,000 more copies in its first week on sale than Will Young's Light My Fire did in its first week.

3 SHOOTING STAR (Flip & Fill)

Having scored a hit two years running with an opportunistic remake of a bootleg version of True Love Never Dies (based on Airwave by Rank One) and having seen the singer of that hit Kelly Llorenna have her own solo chart success with a remake of Tell It To My Heart, Flip & Fill charge back into the charts with the biggest new hit of the week. With this we can see their style crystallise itself - a not too unpleasant mixture of hard house beats and trance-inspired female vocals. This time the unnamed female singer trills brightly about her man being a shooting star across the night and just like that star the single shoots into the Top 3, beating the Number 7 peak of True Love Never Dies from February. Just like True Love Never Dies the track is actually far from original, being based on an old happy hardcore single from an act called Bang which was first released back in 1997. Actually I must confess to being slightly disappointed when first hearing the single as I'd been wondering if it was actually a remake of the old Dollar track from 1978. Dare I suggest that it might have been slightly more interesting.

4 YOUR SONG (Elton John & Alessandro Safina)

Your Song should be well known to anyone with even the slightest interest in Elton John's career. It was his first ever chart single, the one which announced the world the writing partnership of the former Reg Dwight and Bernie Taupin and one which over thirty years later is still one of the defining points of his career. It made Number 7 in 1971 although about ten years ago Elton was happy to tell anyone who listened that he didn't actually much care for the song these days, describing it as "the sound of a young man desperate to get laid." One person who did still care for the song however was Baz Luhrmann and it was one of the well known songs that he chose for a new interpretation on the sound track of last years smash film Moulin Rouge. In the film the song is crooned rather sweetly by Ewan McGregor only for him to be joined halfway through by a rousing orchestral backing and an operatic descant courtesy of Allesandro Safina. It was quite simply a breathtaking arrangement, one that took the song to a totally new level and I must confess to being baffled that it was never released as a single from the soundtrack. Into that void now steps the song's original composer who knew the perfect choice of track when he was asked to record a song to serve as the official anthem for the recent Sport Relief charity telethon. The result is this, a new version of the track using not only Baz Luhrmann's arrangement but the same opera star who made the Moulin Rouge performance so memorable. The result is an instant Top 5 smash hit, restoring him to the Top 10 for the first time since the release of I Want Love in October last year and giving the legendary star his biggest hit single since the song about the candles five years ago this summer. It is the first ever chart appearance for Alessandro Safina who actually has the honour of being the second opera tenor with whom Elton has had a hit single. back in 1996 Elton John made Number 9 with Live Like Horses, a duet with Luciano Pavarotti. That particular track is memorable not so much for the way it sounded but for the revelation in the autobiography of comedian Bob Monkhouse that when they performed it together on the National Lottery show, both stars confessed to the host individually from each other that they hated the record but were performing out of politeness as they were convinced that the other one loved it.


7 WORK IT OUT (Beyonce)

[Superstar (solo) debut klaxon!] Well those of us who were hoping for a chart appearance by a remake of the Scooby Doo theme will have to be disappointed but one summer hit movie that is producing soundtrack hits is the new Austin Powers film Goldmember. Not only does she sing the soundtrack hit but Destiny's Child singer Beyonce Knowles also has a starring role in the film, making this the perfect tie-in. The single itself is actually remarkably strong and would actually stand up on its own as a solo release, produced as it is by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo and sounding a world away from the usual R&B fare that producers like the Neptunes [they ARE The Neptunes, dickhead] have been guilty of churning out in their sleep lately. The single lands nicely in the Top 10 although a little way short of the Number 2 peak of the soundtrack single from The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999 - Madonna's Beautiful Stranger.

18 I GET ALONG (Pet Shop Boys)

At the risk of coming over all Harry Knowles [the founder of Ain't It Cool News who was notorious for reviewing films by telling us what he had for breakfast and how long the car journey to the cinema took], the first time I heard this single properly was about three weeks ago whilst in a cafe on a hot day in the middle of Kyiv. It struck me then that this was actually one of the best ballads Tennant and Lowe had produced for many years and that whilst many heads had been scratched over the sheer number of guitars that littered the songs on their current album Release, the material was actually as strong as ever. What the second single from the album has also proved though is that whilst the Pet Shop Boys still have a very loyal core fanbase they seem to have lost whatever appeal it was that made their singles appeal to the mainstream. Just like its predecessor Home And Dry, this single started off brightly at the start of the week and was selling enough copies to make it look like a dead cert for a place in the Top 10. Sales towards the back end of the week were slightly less impressive and the single has to settle for a place only just inside the Top 20. They aren't actually too far removed from their last Top 10 hit (that honour going to You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk in January 2000) but the fact remains that despite its quality and despite the way it brings back to me memories of cheap beer and Mila's deep blue eyes [my future wife making her first appearance in these writings], the 35th Pet Shop Boys hit is set to be their lowest charting since Was It Worth It made Number 24 in late 1991.


21 GOODBYE (Coral)

A much welcome chart debut this week for six-piece Liverpool band The Coral with what is actually their fourth single release and their second this year (Skeleton Key having received a favourable review here on dotmusic back in April). Their style is best described as "a bit of everything", an entertaining melange of styles that has had writers at times running out of names to drop. Ever wondered what it would sound like if you threw Pink Floyd, The Doors, The Animals and even Suede into a studio together and asked them to get on with it? Wonder no further.


Never wanting to let a popular movement go by them and never ones to shy from pushing the boundaries of taste, breakfast television station GMTV earlier this year decided to cash in on the success of Popstars and Pop Idol by launching their own version - Totstars, a nationwide talent search to find a new child performer. Out of this comes ten year old Demi Holborn, a prodigously talented youngster who is no stranger to public performance as she is already a Junior Associate of the Royal Ballet. Into the chart she comes with this single, a retread of the track that began life as a 1970s Coca-Cola commercial and which was originally taken to the top of the charts by the New Seekers in 1972. With this single Miss Holborn adds her name to the short list of singers who have hit the charts before they become a teenager, amongst them Lena Zavaroni, Charlotte Church, Little Jimmy Osmond and the assembled mass of the St Winifrid's School Choir. In fact at the age of just ten years and one month Demi Holborn now claims the record for the youngest ever female soloist to have a Top 40 hit, beating by a few short weeks the aforementioned Lena Zavaroni who was ten years and 4 months old when Ma He's Making Eyes At Me went Top 10 in 1974. The youngest chart star of all time was actually a 3 year old boy, Ian Doody making Number 29 (as "Microbe") with the track Groovy Baby in 1969. Honourable mention must also be made of actress and MTV presenter Natalie Casey who was also just three years old when she made Number 72 with Chick Chick Chicken back in 1984. [Demi Holborn is still performing in and around Cardiff to this day, even if her social media accounts are practically silent].


30 WISH I DIDN'T MISS YOU (Angie Stone)

A third Top 40 single for potential nu-soul sensation Angie Stone, this the followup to Brotha which crept into the bottom end of the Top 40 to reach Number 37 back in March. Like contemporary Alicia Keys, Stone makes some damn good records, it is just that it seems to be proving hard to get people excited about that fact. Her biggest hit remains her debut, Life Story hitting Number 22 in April 2000.


Even failed boy band members don't have to fade away you know, some of them attempt stardom via a different route. So it is for Glaswegian Dmac, Derek to his mother and one half of pop soul duo Mero whose one and only brush with fame came in March 2000 when It Must Be Love crept into the lower end of the Top 40. For his new career he has gone all urban on us, this single the product of recording with a variety of US producers in an attempt to create his own distinct sound. Nothing doing for this rather flat sounding single I'm afraid but let us reserve judgment in case his option is picked up. [Spoiler: It Wasn't]

34 AERIALS (System Of A Down)

Also with their third Top 40 hit this week are System Of A Down, and one which slots them nicely into the folder marked "not quite caught on with the public yet". Having made Number 17 with Chop Suey in November last year they have been sliding down the charts ever since, Toxicity making Number 25 in April and this single barely gaining a place in the Top 40 at all.


So whilst we are on the subject of third Top 40 entries, here come My Vitriol with their first chart hit since their brace of hits in 2001, Always Your Way and Grounded. Loud, crunching yet melodic and anthemic characterizes this single. Good enough for me and good enough until next week...