As easy as say, a profanity slipping off the tongue, Eamon notches up a third week at the summit of the singles chart this week, holding off the pre-eminent pop group of the moment in the process. I Don't Want You Back is only the second record this year to extend its reign at the top beyond a fortnight, shockingly enough the other one just happens to be Michelle's All This Time which kicked us off back in January. One more week will be enough to make him the longest running Number One single since the Black Eyed Peas' Where Is The Love managed a six week run starting in September last year. The continuing success of the song continues to baffle and impress in equal measure. Many years ago the slightest whiff of controversy would be enough to send sales of a single soaring, the famous case of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax springing immediately to mind. As if to show how much times have changed, nobody really cares that Eamon swears like a trouper on the single, radio is happy to play the edited version with the expletives deleted and anyone who wants to hear the full version can easily do so online or even see it on TV late at night. No, you cannot credit the subject matter of the song for its popularity. Could it be that people just like the record?In the meantime it is Busted who draw the short straw, finding their run of successive Number One hits coming to a
In the meantime, it is Busted who draw the short straw, finding their run of successive Number One hits coming to a halt, for now, thanks to Eamon's dominance. Earmarked as an obvious single from their second album from the very beginning, Air Hostess is if anything a far better pop record than Busted's last single Who's David which for all its good intentions was three minutes of guitar harmonies in search of a chorus. Unless they can pull off a miracle next week, this will be Busted's first single to miss Number One since Sleeping With The Light On was a Number 3 hit in August last year. Still, at the very least it is another Top 3 hit, their sixth in a row. In the light of Britney's recent video antics, it is only appropriate that someone paid tribute to air hostesses anyway. It will at least fill the gap until the evil schedulers at Sky get Mile High back on the screens. Chaps, how could you take it off air until the autumn, it was just about to get really good...
What's that? Oh yes, the chart. Sorry. Where was I?
Strange to relate it was well over two years ago that Mike 'Streets' Skinner burst onto the scene. The album Original Pirate Material stood out as the most original musical creation for a long time, a succession of tracks for all the world sounding like the output of any one of the hundreds of pirate radio stations that crowd the airwaves in big cities at evenings and weekends. Skinner's vocal style was not so much to rap as recite and in effect he had created the 21st Century's first spoken word classic, reciting urban poems about club nights, new music and rows with the girlfriend. In truth, none of the four singles released from the album became major hits (October 2002's Don't Mug Yourself the biggest at Number 21) but it was enough to make the forthcoming release of the second Streets album something to look forward to.
So here he is, attempting to capture lightning in a bottle for the second time and on the strength of this he has succeeded in a big way. Fit But You Know It was the subject of a newspaper campaign during the week as an attempt was made to propel the catchy track to the Number One position. In that particular aim it has failed but at the very least it has given Mike Skinner far and away the biggest hit of his career. For all the way Original Pirate Material was raved about it was more of a hit with journos than the public at large. With just one single there is a faint hope that Britain's foremost urban poet might be about to become the mainstream star we (and probably he) always dreamed that he could be. It almost makes you want to MC on the radio yourself... this is JM on the Docks FM. Peace out.
Oh no hang on, we are nowhere near finished yet are we? The third new entry in the Top 10 slides in at Number 9 and it appears that the Finnish rock invasion is set to carry on a while yet. Following the Top 5 success of The Rasmus (who still cling on this week at Number 6), it is the turn of HIM to surge forward with their biggest hit to date. For those keeping count, this is actually their fourth chart single but the first to make it all the way into the Top 10 although of course Solitary Man is far from an original song. The track was written and recorded by Neil Diamond and is one of the many classics that littered his earlier work. Although it was never a hit in this country, it made Number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 for its composer in 1970, a full four years after its original release. HIM's version turns it into the metal wig-out you never knew it could be but in actual fact manages to give the song a completely new lease of life. Neil Diamond's songs have been raided for cover versions many times over the years, the most famous one being UB40's 1983 rendition of Red Red Wine which topped the charts (although the band did not realise until after the fact that Diamond was the man who originally recorded it).
Whilst we are on the subject of eclectic cover versions, the Boogie Pimps' unique take on Jefferson Airplane's Somebody To Love is far and away one of the biggest club hits of the year, the single having peaked at Number 3 during a seven week Top 10 run in January and February. Now they follow it up with something equally inspired - a 21st century take on a genuine if not necessarily fondly remembered pop classic. Sunny began life in 1966 as a C&W song, written and recorded by Bobby Hebb as a tribute to his brother who was killed by muggers. A Number 2 smash in the States, the single was also successful over here, hitting Number 12 that same year in competition with cover versions from Georgie Fame and Cher. In pop terms however the most famous version is the one by Boney M, Frank Farian's creations releasing the track in 1977 as their second single and being rewarded with a Top 3 smash. It is, of course, this version that the Boogie Pimps base their track on and the result is a club track that is as equally inspired as Somebody To Love. The mind boggles as to what they will turn their attention to next. Could Son Of My Father make it as a dance record do you think?
A 14 place gap between new entries is only broken by a rather startling move at Number 18. After seven weeks on the slide, Britney Spears' Toxic gets a new lease of life this week, rising from Number 27 up to Number 18, the highest chart placing for the former Number One single for four weeks. The reason for this sudden move is easy to identify of course as Britney has been in the country for a series of dates which have provoked comment not only for the production values but because she appears to be miming her way throughout the entire performance. What is not so easy to explain is just why the live concerts should have reactivated an eight-week old single in quite spectacular style. The whole point of live gigs is of course to inspire purchases of the artist's music of course but such events normally result in album sales - for attendees or even their mothers to race to the local shops and dig out a single is unusual, to say the least. [Although physical singles sales were by now dipping so low that even a small surge in sales would result in a chart leap].
The only remaining new entry inside the Top 30 is the debut chart hit for the wonderfully named Dogs Die In Hot Cars. The Scotsmen (and one woman) specialise in witty, catchy guitar pop and come across like a bizarre cross between Dexy's Midnight Runners and Talking Heads. They made headlines last year when lead singer Craig Macintosh managed to electrocute himself onstage in Dundee, the incident coming at around the same time as the release of their cult single I Love You Cause I Have To although the single itself failed to chart. Godhopping marks their major label debut and the increased exposure this gives them their first ever chart hit. The album is due out later in the summer and should be well worth a listen when it arrives.
The final single of note on the chart this week comes way down at Number 38. Girlfriend's Story is the debut single from new R&B sensation on the block Gemma Fox, the track actually disappointing in this chart placing given the way it was being talked up by many people. Worthy of mention, however, is the appearance on the track of MC Lyte who is here racking up her first Top 40 entry for six years. The female rapper was last seen in 1998 appearing alongside Gina Thompson on It's All Yours which made Number 36. Her biggest hit single came back in 1997 when Cold Rock A Party (Diana Ross samples and all) made Number 15 but how many people know she missed out on making her chart debut way back in 1988 when Sinead O'Connor's I Want Your Hands On Me just failed to reach the Top 75.
Next week should be an interesting one, full of mixed emotions. I mean how do you pick a middle way between the release of Natasha Bedingfield's first single which fills you with excitement and the Ronan Keating/Leann Rimes single which fills you with a sense of dread...