Just three weeks to go before the Christmas charts and it is from this point that record sales go through the roof as more and more casual record buyers wander into record shops. As a result certain singles are going to display some extremely strange sales patterns. A record 16 records make their debut on one of the strangest charts for ages. Only 3 records climb and there are 3 non-movers. It is worth bearing in mind also, that statistically speaking, this week's New Entries have an 80% chance of being Christmas No.1.
No. 40: FALLER. Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine - The Impossible Dream.
The outstanding number of new records this week means that many of last weeks entries fare worse than might have been expected. Carter make an instant drop of 19 places putting them well out of the running for the Christmas charts. A similar fate befalls the Manic Street Preachers who drop out completely, along with Brian May who was at 19 last week but is now nowhere to be seen.
No. 38: NEW ENTRY. Prince and the New Power Generation - 7.
Third single off the Love Symbol Album makes a startlingly low entry and with the Christmas competition this is unlilkely to become another massive hit for Prince. All eyes I suppose will be on the next single, the video for which is supposed to contain the answer to the riddle of what exactly the album is called. [I don't remember that ever being a thing, or indeed if that promise was ever paid off sadly.]
No. 36: NEW ENTRY. Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Intact.
This one gets the student vote as the underground band clock up another hit. Their last, 'Not Sleeping Around' made the Top 20 instantly before dropping like a stone and this one may well do the same.
No. 35: NEW ENTRY. HWA featuring Sonic The Hedgehog - Supersonic.
Need I say more? The computer game incidentally, outsold many of the records on the singles chart this week - no surprise when you consider the amount of space chains like Our Price and Virgin are giving over to console games. [A record that smells strongly of Simon Cowell, although this wasn't one of his. Actually produced by Jeremy Healy fact fans.]
No. 33: NEW ENTRY. Club 69 - Let Me Be Your Underwear.
Some would have expected this to go in higher, the quirkiest dance hit of the year with the main novelty being the sultry female vocalist urging people to take their trousers off. Opinion on this is mixed with some of the trendier clubs giving it a wide berth, possibly due to its connection with Pete Waterman of PWL and Stock/Aitken/Waterman fame. It may well be the highest climber next week...
No. 31: FALLER. Jason Donovan - As Time Goes By.
Maybe doing a ballad like this was not such a good idea, even at Christmas. This is Jason's second consecutive single to miss the Top 20.
No. 29: NEW ENTRY. Richard Marx - Chains Around My Heart.
Before this year the American superstar had only ever had one UK hit. This new single from the 'Rush Street' album follows 'Hazard' and 'Take This Heart' into the Top 30. British tastes have never really warmed to his brand of corporate rock so the potential of this single has to be doubted although bear in mind that 'Hazard' was another 'slow grower' taking 8 weeks to peak earlier this year.
No. 28: NEW ENTRY. Lemonheads - Mrs Robinson.
Stars of the American college circuit have their first major UK hit with a faithful, if loud, cover of the Simon and Garfunkel original. I've no idea what prompted this cover, suffice it to say it seems to be the in thing amongst this type of band at the moment with the Popinjays bubbling under with their version of 'I'm A Believer' and new band Oval set to make an appearance after Christmas with their cover of Def Leppard's 'Photograph'. [The Popinjays single never did chart, whilst this piece may well be the only reference on the entire internet outside discography databases of the Oval cover of Photograph. It did exist though and was a side project of Saint Etienne if memory serves.]
No. 27: NEW ENTRY. Philip Schofield - Close Every Door.
He said he was not going to but it looks like he could not resist it. Many eyebrows were raised last January when the children's TV presenter took over from Jason Donovan in the lead role in 'Joseph'. Despite denying he would be recording his own versions of the songs from the show he makes his Top 40 debut with this version of the song that must tie with 'Any Dream Will Do' as everyone's favourite from the show. 'Any Dream...' was No.1 for Jason in June 1991 and this is tipped for Christmas No.1 for Phil.
No. 23: NEW ENTRY. Boney M - Megamix.
Interesting one this. Boney M have not been seen in the Top 40 since December 1981 (unless you count certain Milli Vanilli records). In the summer of 1988 Europe went Megamix crazy and a Boney M one was a massive hit all over the continent. It was released here in the Autumn of 1988 but sank without trace, all of which makes me wonder if this is another attempt to cash in on the classic records by another mixer or if it is the same one resurfacing. Anybody any ideas? [It was a different one.]
No. 22: NEW ENTRY. Dina Carroll - So Close.
Yep, it's Christmas alright which means that disco divas such as Ms Carroll can follow up club classics like 'Ain't No Man' and 'Special Kind Of Love' with a ballad without any loss of crediblity. [To namedrop a moment, the lady herself told me years later that she was always a soul singer, the club singles an act of neccessity to give her hit records during this period.]
No. 18: NEW ENTRY. REM - Man On The Moon.
Time was when REM had difficulty cracking the UK market and classics such as 'Stand' would sink without trace. Here they are now with the second Top 20 entry from the 'Automatic For The People' album which may be typical REM but is not their most commerical ever. The wave of following they have at the moment though means they can do little wrong with this possibly following 'Drive' into the Top 10.
No. 14: NEW ENTRY. U2 - Who's Going To Ride Your Wild Horses.
Island records play clever devils again by releasing this U2 track in a completely re-recorded form. Despite this it will be a quick in and out performance for them, simply because the song itself is now a year old. U2 may have a massive fan base but their records do not sell outside of that so the casual record buyer is uninterested.
No. 9: NEW ENTRY. Cliff Richard - I Still Believe In You.
In all the reference books my favourite entry is that in Joel Whitburn's Billboard Top 40 book for Cliff Richard which explains that despite his minimal showing in America he is one of Britain's greatest superstars. Cliff, now into his 4th decade as a recording artist does what last year he swore he would not do - release a single for Christmas. Already this has made a more impressive start than last year's effort 'We Should Be Together'. It won't be No.1 but the housewife market will make this typical ballad a Top 5 hit for the season.
No. 8: NEW ENTRY. Rod Stewart - Tom Traubert's Blues (Waltzing Matilda).
Speaking of wrinklies, here is a surprise. Rod Stewart, throughout his long career has never had a record enter inside the Top 10 before, yet here he is with his Christmas offering. The song is an old Tom Waits one and is the type of thing Rod revells in, a sad, whisky-sodden song that suits his voice perfectly. The odds on this being Christmas no.1 fell through the floor the minute the chart was published - bookies had been offering as high as 25-1!
No. 3: HIGHEST NEW ENTRY. Michael Jackson - Heal The World.
Single No.6 off the 'Dangerous' album makes a startlingly high debut, given that the last couple only just scraped the Top 20. Always a cert for the Christmas single 'Heal The World' is odds on favourite to hit the top, but the fact that so many people already have the album with both the single and it's b-side on it may well kill the sales of this well before the day itself.
No. 1: FIRST WEEK. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You.
Well it was a close run thing but she managed it by a whisker. Actually last week I got it wrong by saying it was her biggest hit since 1987, forgetting of course 'One Moment In Time' which made No.1 in 1988. I Will Always Love You is thus Whitney's 4th UK No.1 (the others being 'Saving All My Love For You', 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody', and of course 'One Moment In Time'). In terms of female vocalists, only Madonna with 7 has had more No.1s. All eyes now will be trained on how long she can hold on but with 3 more charts to go until Christmas and a great deal of competition underneath her, Whitney may not last until then.