Hooray! That is the sound of cheers all round as a buttock-clenchingly long run of Number One hits finally comes to an end. Tony Christie and his alleged collaborator Peter Kay chalk up a second week at Number One making Amarillo the first single to spend more than a solitary seven days at the top of the charts since Band Aid 20 back at Christmas. Since then we have seen (deep breath now) Steve Brookstein, Elvis (twice), Ciara, Elvis again, Eminem, U2, J-Lo, Nelly, Stereophonics and McFly all take a turn at the top - a run of 13 weeks with a different single at Number One each time. This has been the longest such run since the 14-week spell that ended in September 2000, and just to show how suddenly things on the singles chart had sped up, it was not until the end of May last year that we saw the 11th new Number One hit of 2004.
Actually given the lead they had over the competition last week, it is hardly any surprise that Christie and Kay remained ahead of the pack. Music Week reported that in its first week on sale the single sold well over 250,000 copies - far and away the fastest selling single of the year - and sales this week will have been boosted by the arrival on the shelves of the DVD single which features the memorable comic video that is Peter Kay's contribution to the success of the song. Finally here is a quirky one - it shouldn't actually have been no surprise that there was no new Number One this week. There hasn't been a new entry at the top on Easter Sunday since 1997.
Biggest new hit of the week comes from the world of R&B and in the form of Mario who confusingly isn't the bloke who topped the charts with I Don't Wanna Know last year but is, in fact, the star who notched up two Top 30 hits in 2003 with Just A Friend and C'mon. Taken from his second album Turning Point, the single Let Me Love You is your typically oily smooth soul track whose sing-along chorus has made it extremely radio-friendly and hence I suspect has helped it to this nicely elevated chart position of Number 2. Chalk it up as his biggest hit ever then and we'll say no more about it.
Lower down at Number 4 is the triumphant return of 50 Cent (or 29p as we call him here) and his long-awaited new single. The story of the former Curtis Jackson is well known of course, his 2003 debut becoming one of the rap (and indeed musical) sensations of the year and spawning a string of Top 10 hits plus enabling him to help his posse G Unit into the charts as well, the group joining him on his last chart single If I Can't/Them Things which hit Number 10 in March last year. His only problem really is that given that his first album was a detailed account of his life so far (complete with shootings) you wonder where the inspiration for new material can come from. Well, the answer with Candy Shop it seems is to sing about women's rear ends which although it inevitably makes for an entertaining video does little to advance his reputation as spokesman for a generation. Anyway, five Top 10 hits in a row is not to be sniffed at although his overwhelming mass appeal is as much a mystery to me today as it was two years ago.
The appeal of the Elvis reissues appears to be wearing thin as Return To Sender makes its appearance at Number 5 this week, the lowest charting so far of the string of re-released oldies to have hit the chart continuously since the start of the year. In a way, it is appropriate as upon its original release it was an early symptom of the malaise that would overcome his musical career in the mid-1960s. His fourth chart-topper of 1962 it hit the top in December and was taken from the soundtrack of his latest cinema vehicle Girls Girls Girls. Over the next few years, Elvis movies would be turned out as if on a production line, each one with a plot more feeble than the last and each featuring soundtrack singles from the King of comparative naffness. Yes, this is indeed the start of Elvis' crap period but if you are tiring of all these oldies then be happy. Return To Sender was his 13th Number One hit - in the whole of the rest of his lifetime he managed just four more.
At Number 6 is another returning favourite, Will Smith with his first hit single in almost three years. These days more of an actor than a musician, Will Smith singles tend to only come as a result of his movies (at least those that make it appropriate for him to contribute to the soundtrack). Case in point: his last hit single came back in 2002 when Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head) hit Number 3 as the theme to Men In Black II. With his latest offering 'Hitch' in the cinemas, his chart comeback comes thanks to Switch, lifted from his new album Lost And Found which is set to chart later this year. The single is typical Will Smith party fare with the sheer weight of his personality dominating all as per usual. The only thing worth noting is that it is his only Top 10 hit (at least as plain old "Will Smith") not to make the Top 3. He's had singles miss the Top 10 before (most recently Freakin' It back in 2000) but if his singles make the upper reaches they generally tend to be at or near the top. By his standards Number 6 for a brand new single is a very poor showing - heck, even 50 Cent outsold him.
The parade of returning stars continues at Number 8 in the not too unpleasant shape of Natalie Imbruglia. Years before Delta Goodrem, Natalie was demonstrating that it was possible to go from Aussie soaps to musical coolness with smash hits such as Torn and Big Mistake (both Number 2 hits in 1997 and 1998). She vanished from view at the start of the decade after her second album White Lillies Island appeared to general indifference but now she returns to the chart in some style with impressive new single Shiver. Radio support for this one has been a big factor too, the single winding up as the biggest played song on Radio 2 just before its release - and really it is hardly any surprise, Shiver being an uplifting slice of pop music that suggests that this comeback may well turn out to be a huge success. [It was a short-lived comeback, but whisper it carefully - this was actually her best hit ever].
Dropping out of the Top 10 now we come to The Faders and their Number 13 new entry No Sleep Tonight, a single that has both raised eyebrows and made many people very excited. The Faders are a teen girl group with a difference, a girl group who are actually a very competent rock band who pen their own songs, perform on stage and are a world away from the likes of Girls Aloud etc. The girls formed when studying at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music and are touted as a Runaways for a new generation. OK, so spunky female rock bands aren't actually anything too new but unlike say The Donnas, for example, The Faders appear to have the backing and momentum to actually go mainstream. Number 13 first time out certainly isn't bad. Just watch what they do next.
At Number 15 are Erasure, following up their Number 4 hit Breathe which charted back in February. Don't Say You Love Me is a chugging electronic anthem of the kind they have produced many times in their 20 years in the business. The difference being, of course, that back in the 1980s this track would have flattened all-comers chart-wise but in 2005 is little more than an afterthought. It is a shame as the single can rank above one of their best of recent years (indeed their new album as a whole shows more musical inspiration than the duo have managed to display for a decade) but for most people it is a genuine case of "Erasure who?" which will continue to hold them back.
Making a flying leap into the mainstream this week are British Sea Power who with their third single chalk up a well deserved Top 20 hit. The band managed two Top 30 singles in 2004, Carrion which made Number 36 and Remember Me which crept to Number 30. Their biggest hit to date is an enormously appealing track that deserves to escape the confines of XFM and be heard by a wider audience. Number 18 isn't necessarily going to make sure this is so for the moment but their continual chart improvement is to be celebrated.
Speaking of chart progress, Kasabian's appears to have come to a halt for the moment. After hitting the dizzy heights of Number 8 back in January with Cutt Off they land outside the Top 20 with this latest single. The chart placing is all the more frustrating as Club Foot was their first Top 40 single in May last year when it did slightly better, peaking at Number 19. Re-releasing a single that has already been a mid-table chart hit is always a risk, but one that can pay off in style - even if on this occasion the single has performed worse than it did the first time around. Still, with all the frantic promotion of the album that followed the success of Cutt Off I don't think there were many more sales left to squeeze out of it.
Next at Number 25 is the debut release from The Subways, a name to drop during 2004 after they were a hit on the undercard of many of last summers festivals and now genuine Top 40 stars in 2005 with their Ian Brodie produced debut single. Oh Yeah thunders through its four minutes with suitable energy, its release coinciding with their first headlining tour. The threesome are disturbingly young as well, boasting an average age of 18. I'll be shocked if they aren't Top 20 by the end of the summer.
Two more new entries round off the Top 30 this week, Give Me Your Love marking a return to the chart for XTM and DJ Chucky who were last seen in the summer of 2003 burning up dancefloors with a Eurodisco remake of Fly On The Wings Of Love, the single ultimately hitting Number 8. Whilst this new one hasn't quite had the same impact at Number 28 it is actually worth noting that it is still the highest charting new club record of the week. Just below them is Damien Rice who clearly won't ever make another record with quite the impact of Cannonball but whose third single Volcano makes a pleasant enough noise at slips in at Number 29.
Right, that's it for another week, enjoy what is left of Easter.