Despite a flurry of activity at the top this is in many ways one of the most uninspiring charts for a number of weeks. Of last week's 12 new hits, 6 vanish from the chart completely and only 1 manages to climb from last week. With so many records falling at the moment next week looks like being a busy week indeed. The number of falling records does not necessarily mean sales have fallen, in fact much of the upper end retains the same order as last week, only to get shoudered out of the way by some very strong new releases. 14 new entries, only 1 climber and no non-movers.
No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Bill Tarmey - Wind Beneath My Wings
Well come on, life wouldn't be half as much fun if things were predictable. TV actor Bill Tarmey made the most of his other role in life as singer with a charity single last April when he took his version of Barry Manilow's One Voice to No.16. The success of that single prompted a Top 10 album and now he returns with a new single. His version of the song made famous in 1989 by Bette Midler is a farily plausible pedestrian croon, unlikely to set the world on fire and liable to vanish as suddenly as it came. [I think it is worth pausing to reflect that TV's Jack Duckworth actually had not one but two Top 40 hit singles during the early 1990s].
No. 29: NEW ENTRY. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince - Can't Wait To Be With You
Will Smith has been compared in some quarters to Eddie Murphy although the difference is startling. Whilst Murphy is a comedy actor who makes atrocious records, Smith is a clever commercial rapper and fine comedy actor at the same time. The third hit in recent months for the Fresh Prince comes in the wake of I'm Looking For The One To Be With which made No.24 in November last year. The new single is in a similar vein, being a rap/soul crossover and in this case wearing its influences heavily by sampling copiously from Luther Vandross' Never Too Much. I'd love this to be a big hit but it has a way to climb.
No. 28: NEW ENTRY. Saint Etienne - Pale Movie
Something really has gone wrong when a band like Saint Etienne make a string of such beautiful records and yet have still to have a really big hit. Pale Movie comes from their forthcoming new album (impressively their third in four years) and is the followup to I Was Born On Christmas Day which stalled at No.37 in December. I will happily dance naked around campus if this is a massive hit [seems I was looking for an excuse] - chances are though it will stagger a few places and become yet another missed chance for Sarah Cracknell et al.
No. 27: NEW ENTRY. NKOTB - Dirty Dawg
Ho hum. No longer 'New' or 'Kids', the five former proteges of Maurice Starr return for what they claim is their swansong. For a teen band to fly in the face and wisdom and refuse to split up even though their audience has now long grown out of them and their posturing will impress the credible crowd even less than it did in their heyday. The New Kids have had phenomenal success in the past though, between 1989 and 1991 notching up 9 Top 10 hits, the last of which was If You Go Away which made No.9 in December 1991. Early 1990 saw them rarely out of the charts, owing to the fact that they took a year to break over here. As a result, when they finally cracked the UK market, hitting No.1 with You Got It in November 1989, CBS records had to rapidly issue all their old singles here so that Britain could catch up before the Step By Step album was released. This meant that the last single released here from Hanging Tough was Cover Girl - which charted a mere four weeks before Step By Step was released.
No. 22: NEW ENTRY. Atlantic Ocean - Waterfall
More dreamy dance instumental stuff, this time courtesy of Atlantic Ocean who chart for the first time.
No. 21: NEW ENTRY. Proclaimers - Let's Get Married
The remarkable revitalisation of the Proclaimers made music news all over the world. Seemingly in the wilderness despite the success of their second album Sunshine On Leith, the Proclaimers suddenly bounced back when their 1988 No.11 hit I'm Gonna Be (500 miles) became a surprise American hit last year thanks to a film soundtrack. Chrysalis records here surprisingly passed up on the opportunity to re-release the track here and so as a result the timely Let's Get Married becomes their first UK hit since the King Of The Road EP made No.9 in December 1990. The new single is typical jovial harmonies from the Scottish brothers, exactly the formula which first made their name back in 1987 with Letter From America.
No. 18: NEW ENTRY. Urban Cookie Collective - Sail Away
Third hit in a row for the Urban Cookies, the dance act on Pulse-8 records who had two identical sounding hit singles in the shape of the summer smash The Key: The Secret and Autumn's Feels Like Heaven. The new single is more of the same really.
No. 17: FALLER. Haddaway - I Miss You
Something about Haddaway singles makes them long chart runners. What Is Love spent 13 weeks in the Top 40, Life stayed for 7 and now I Miss You is in its 10th and is still in the Top 20.
No. 16: NEW ENTRY. Meat Loaf - Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through
The 7-week No.1 run of I'd Do Anything For Love means the second single from the album comes a full 4.5 months after that stunning first single. By far the most romantic track on the album, Meat Loaf's single has had a long gestation, first showing up as a bonus track on Jim Steinman's 1981 solo album Bad For Good. Comparisons between this new version and the Rory Dodd-vocalised original are inevitable but both stand up as towering masterpieces of pop rock and it is perhaps with some justice that the surprisingly well-known song should finally become a massive hit - back in 1981 it could only stagger to No.52. [Noteworthy for the appearance of a young Angelina Jolie in the video].
No. 14: CLIMBER. Cranberries - Linger
Only a small leap but this week that is the most impressive thing of all. Despite a string of new hits last week, this is the only record on the chart this week to improve on last week's position.
No. 12: NEW ENTRY. Crowded House - Locked Out
By far the best track on the album, Crowded House's third single in recent months smashes its way to a Top 20 place, eclipsing at a stroke the No.19 peak of the first single Distant Sun. In doing so it also becomes their biggest hit since Weather With You made No.7 in March 1992 - for now their only Top 10 hit, though it would be nice to see this progress further.
No. 9: NEW ENTRY. 2 Unlimited - Let The Beat Control Your Body
A bizarre Top 10 begins with yet another hit for 2 Unlimited. The feats of the Dutch Duo speak for themselves really, their 9th hit since 1991 - more than any other dance act ever, of which only 2 have failed to make the Top 10. Who cares if they all sound the same - there are few acts around at the moment that are having hits so prolifically and consistently.
No. 7: NEW ENTRY. Cappella - Move On Baby
The mini-dance invasion of the present continues with Cappella's latest hit landing at the same place as their last one U Got 2 Let The Music which went on to make No.2 and become one of the biggest sellers of last year.
No. 6: FALLER. Aretha Franklin - A Deeper Love
The events above it cause all of last week's Top 5 to shift down, depriving the First Lady of Soul from further chart success. As I mentioned briefly last week, A Deeper Love is one of her biggest hit singles ever. Since her UK chart debut in June 1967 with Respect she has only had four previous Top 10 singles. Respect made No.10, I Say A Little Prayer made No.4, whilst the other two were duets, first with the Eurythmics on Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves which made No.9 in November 1985 and finally her duet with George Michael in 1987 on I Knew You Were Waiting which made No.1. A Deeper Love is from a new Greatest Hits compilation which covers the years 1980-1994. How well this will sell is anybody's guess. Aretha has made a string of records in recent years but few have become hits, only 1985 Who's Zooming Who did anything of significance, peaking at No.11 in the wake of the Eurythmics single.
No. 1: NEW ENTRY/FIRST WEEK. Mariah Carey - Without You
With Valentine's fever sweeping the country at large, there was possibly never any doubt that this would be a hit in the most dramatic way possible. Shouldering out of the way the opposition, Mariah Carey's version of the classic love ballad hits the top first time out to give her her biggest UK hit ever and a No.1 after nearly 5 years of waiting. Opinions are divided on the single, the late Harry Nilsson's original being one of the greatest pop records ever made, untouchable by any cover version. It is one of those singles that cannot possibly be improved upon and to her credit, Mariah Carey does not try to do that, sticking faithfully to the arrangement of the original which made No.1 in 1972. The single was supposed to have come out three weeks ago but was withdrawn at the last minute. No reason for this was given, the death of Nilsson himself may have been one reason but it is most probably that by releasing it just before St Valentine's day gave it the boost it needed. The track is destined for a long residence at the top, which is just as well as it establishes several records of significance, which are all going to have to wait until next week....