No change at the top of the charts this week, the two big debuts from seven days ago hold their positions firm. Leading the pile is Eamon, still riding on the wave of notoriety caused by having the first ever Number One single with an obscenity in the title. Just by way of interest it is worth noting that the single has also had a positive effect on sales of his debut album which might otherwise have languished lower down the charts. As it stands the long player (also titled I Don't Want You Back) vaults no less than 28 places to claim a Number 6 slot. Meanwhile, anticipation is building for the record claimed to be a response from the subject of Eamon's song. Frankee's F.U.R.B. is scheduled for a full release on May 10th but charts this week on import down at Number 68.
Just behind Eamon on the singles chart holding steady at Number 2 are D12. OK so one can point to Eminem's lead vocal contribution on the track as one of the reasons for its success, but the single has now matched the two week Number 2 run of 2001s Purple Hills and needs only to chart better than Number 5 next week to become (in terms of chart form at least) their biggest hit single to date.
The biggest of three Top 10 new entries lands at Number 3. This Love is further proof that Maroon 5 are without a doubt one of the finds of the year. Harder To Breathe may have been all over the radio but at the end of the day the insanely catchy track was little more than a Number 13 hit back in January. This second single from their debut album catapults them to Top 3 status and is if anything even more appealing than its predecessor. The album is a smash hit as well, Songs About Jane having climbed into the Top 10 last week and this week settles at Number 5.
Now, remember last week when we talked about Holy Crap moments? I hinted that there was one more to come and although the record at Number 7 hasn't made quite the impact some were predicting, it is nonetheless another triumph for fan power. Marillion began their career back in the 1980s, producing throwback prog-rock that was supposed to be deeply unfashionable and yet became a compelling listen thanks to the songwriting vision of leader Derek 'Fish' Dick. Their creative and commercial peak came thanks to a famous trilogy of albums released between 1983 and 1985 - Script For A Jester's Tear, Fugazi and Misplaced Childhood - the latter containing the singles Kayleigh and Lavender which both went Top 10 and are essentially the commercial hits for which the band are best known. After one more album, 1987s Clutching At Straws, and a further Top 10 hit in the shape of Incommunicado, Fish left the band for a solo career, forcing his bandmates to scratch around for a new songwriter and vocalist in the shape of Steve Hogarth. Commercially they were never quite the same act although their fanatical fan following ensured healthy enough album sales until their deal with EMI came to an end in 1996. Three albums appeared on an independent label in the latter half of the 1990s, the final one Marillon.com indicating their embrace of the internet as a marketing tool.
Hence in 2001 the album Anoraknophobia was released, a marketing revolution in that its recording was financed almost entirely by website orders placed before a note had even been recorded [the expression "crowd funding" had yet to be coined, yet this was an early example of the same]. Fan power has also been behind the creation of their brand new album Marbles - but this time the band have taken things a step further. Given the weak state of the singles market and given their solid fan community the chance existed for Marillion, the band the charts had forgotten, to make an assault on the Top 10. Hence the single You're Gone, their first single release in almost nine years and one which had racked up enough in pre-orders to make a Top 5 entry a distinct possibility. As it stands the single could not quite manage that but the track does more than enough to give the group what is only their fourth ever Top 10 hit, the first since Incommunicado hit Number 6 way back in May 1987.
The whole affair has echoes of the internet fan campaign that helped John Otway's Bunsen Burner to a Number 9 position at the end of 2002. That track of course was bought by just about nobody else and spent a grand total of three weeks on the chart as one of the shortest lived Top 10 hits ever. Speaking as someone who shed adolescent tears to the lyrics of Sugar Mice, I'd love to think that You're Gone has just enough life to stick around for a while longer. The return of one of British music's best kept secrets to the Top 10 is surely worth savouring for a little while longer.
What about a group whom people are shouting about though? Well, that would almost certainly be Franz Ferdinand who breathed life into the post-Christmas charts with the thundering Take Me Out which effectively launched them to stardom. Their third single (first one Darts Of Pleasure missed the Top 40 in September last year) proves that it was no one-off and Matinee duly gives the band their second straight Top 10 hit.
Down at Number 13 is a record on which a great deal of national pride is at stake. Memories are still fresh of last years Eurovision Song Contest debacle which saw the UK post its worst showing ever, scoring the dreaded nul points and killing the pop career of Jemini stone dead (although amongst all the fuss it was overlooked that Britain and Ireland were unique in not awarding Russia any points, thus denying Tatu the chance of victory). Anyway, to avoid a repeat of such a fiasco the talents of the leading songwriters in the nation were called upon to draw up the shortlist for our 2004 entry, the final selection being decided by a prime time TV audience. The choice they made was a rather surprising one. James Fox is - wait for it - a former Fame Academy contestant and his song features him and a guitar, performing a track that is almost but not quite David Gray. Well, it isn't going to win, I can tell you that much for sure. What will be interesting is how the song performs on May 15th in Istanbul and at the very least Hold On To Our Love has outperformed Jemini's Cry Baby which last year hit Number 15 in the week of the contest before crashing out of the chart in quite spectacular style.
The big club hit of the moment makes a startlingly lowly new entry at Number 19. Oceanlab's Satellite is one of those dance tunes that sounds equally at home on the TV or radio as it does in a club, thanks largely to the strong tune which accompanies it and the vocal talents of Justine Suissa. This is actually the second Oceanlab single to chart, back in 2002 they hit Number 48 with a track entitled Clear Blue Water, again featuring Suissa on vocals.
Moving out of the Top 20 now and Pink falls victim to the "one single too many" syndrome as Last To Know, the follow-up to February's Number 11 hit God Is A DJ has the ignoble honour of becoming her smallest hit single ever, her first ever to miss the Top 20 altogether. Just three places below her the chart plays host to the first Lasgo single for some time, the Euro-trancers finally following up their three hit singles from 2002, the biggest of which was, of course, Something which hit Number 4 in March of that year.
The final quarter of the chart is unusually busy with new hits, no less than four singles making their debut at the bottom end. Of particular note is Wash In The Rain, the debut single for The Bees at Number 31. The band's aim was to produce the most retro sound they could muster, going as far as booking the famed Studio 2 at Abbey Road for their sessions - the perfect environment to capture the Hammond Organ led atmosphere and general 60s spirit that imbues their debut chart single. 60s chic is most definitely in, as demonstrated by acts as diverse as Emma Bunton and The Thrills, and The Bees now make a welcome addition to the genre.
Next week the biggest challenges to Eamon's chart-topping status come from Busted (of course) but also the Boogie Pimps, riding high on the success of Somebody To Love. Also watch out for Fit But You Know It, the brand new single from The Streets. Can Mike Skinner capture lightning in a bottle for the second time?