Prospects for the summer appear to look brighter than ever this week with a string of new entries and with hardly a dud amongst them including what is almost certainly one of the singles of the year at the top of the chart. 11 new entries, 8 climbers and 1 non-mover.
No. 37: NEW ENTRY. Roxette - Crash! Boom! Bang!
Despite the title this is actually a ballad believe it or not, the title track from the current album by the Swedish duo and the follow-up to Sleeping In My Car which made No.14 in March. Roxette have made some gorgeous ballads in the past but this one drifts by without ever grabbing the attention and so seems destined to become one of their smaller hits. Curiously if it does fail to get much further it will be their smallest hit ever.
No. 33: NEW ENTRY. Eddie Reader - Patience Of Angels
Fairground Attraction seemed like a breath of fresh air in 1988 when they burst on the scene with the sweet and simple Perfect which wasted no time in going to No.1 in May that year. A couple of hits after that and the band were no more. Mark Nevin went on to collaborate with Morrissey whilst lead singer Eddie Reader drifted into the background, popping up on the odd late night TV show. Now she finally releases solo material and charts straight away with this rather beautiful ballad, possibly not appealing much to record buyers as a whole but at least being the same breath of fresh air she was six years ago.
No. 29: NEW ENTRY. Worlds Apart - Begging To Be Written
Clearly the time has come to stop pushing Worlds Apart gently and market them aggressively. As a result they followup their version of Could It Be I'm Falling In Love which made No.15 in April with another piece of covered soul, scoring another Top 30 hit and yet to make any kind of impression whatsoever.
No. 26: FALLER. Seal - Prayer For The Dying
It may look a startling plummet for Seal after climbing to No.14 last week but the presence of the new album atop its respective chart may well have something to do with it.
No. 23: NEW ENTRY. Pink Floyd - Take It Back
It's official. Pink Floyd are the new U2... or should that be the old U2 as the first single released in the wake of The Division Bell's recent residency at the top of the album charts could have been lifted straight from The Joshua Tree. That said it is impressive to see the original rock dinosaurs chart at all. Never really a singles act, this is in fact only their sixth Top 40 hit in all and the first since Not Now John made No.30 in May 1983. It's a deserved hit though, Pink Floyd making some of the most gorgeous rock songs around which leaves me only to puzzle why this had made the Top 30 instantly whilst back in 1987 On The Turning Away could only reach No.55.
No. 22: NEW ENTRY. Guns N' Roses - Since I Don't Have You
Well this did take a while didn't it? Nearly seven months after Ain't It Fun made No.9 the second single from The Spaghetti Incident charts. Amid the rather dull selection of punk covers, this gorgeous version of the Skyliners Doo-Wop classic stood out from the very start. Twice scheduled for single release, first at Christmas and then in February it was mysteriously withdrawn on both occasions and now finally makes the chart but strangely enough becomes the first GnR single not to make the Top 20 first week out since Nighttrain in September 1989. The original version never charted here but made No.12 in America in 1959. Don McLean also made No.23 in 1981 in American with it but the only British hit version to date was by Art Garfunkel who peaked at No.38 in July 1979.
No. 19: NEW ENTRY. Pulp - Sisters EP
With this single Pulp are surely about to announce themselves as one of the best pop bands of 1994. Do You Remember The First Time was the start, peaking at No.33 in April but now the instantly classic tale of the one boy sleeping with two sisters charges straight into the Top 20 to give the band a massive hit at long last. I hope it climbs next week but the nation tends not to have such good taste in matters such as this. Doesn't bother me as I've just become convinced to buy the album... [And just think, if they'd never made Common People this track would remain their masterpiece].
No. 18: NEW ENTRY. Prince - The Beautiful Experience
The rules that govern what can make the chart are a strange lot and the distinction as to exactly what makes a single is often unclear. Despite being the length of a mini-album, this set of versions of Prince's The Most Beautiful Girl... clocks in at less than the 40 minute maximum and being all the same song becomes eligible for the singles chart. It gives Prince the unusual distinction of occupying 1/10th of the Top 20 with the same song. As far as I can tell that has only happened on two occasions in the past. First of all in January 1958 when Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock charted as a single in its own right and also on an EP of songs from the film. The other occasion was the most bizarre of all and concerned the notorious Je T'Aime.. Moi Non Plus in 1969. After a long climb the record stood at No.2 by the end of September 1969 when Fontana records who issued the Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg track capitulated to the moral storm surrounding the disc and deleted it. The master was quickly picked up by Major Minor records and re-released. As a result the chart of October 4th 1969 saw the remaining copies of the Fontana issue reach No.16 whilst the same song was a 'new entry' at No.3 on the Major Minor label.
No. 17: NEW ENTRY. Magic Affair - Omen III
Euro-disco strikes again, shooting Omen III in from nowhere. You can see instantly why it is such a hit, girlie vocals and a high-speed rap combining in a commercial formula that may well last another year before it finally runs out of steam.
No. 15: NEW ENTRY. Beautiful South - Everybody's Talking
It's worth raising a few eyebrows that a band as renowned for their songs as the Beautiful South should resort to a cover version but here it is. The follow-up to March's Good As Gold is this heavenly version of the theme to Midnight Cowboy which was first a hit for Nilsson in 1969 and gives the band their biggest hit since A Little Time made No.1 in October 1990.
No. 14: CLIMBER. Pearl Jam - Dissident
Interesting to note here that this two-place climb means that Dissident is now Pearl Jam's biggest hit ever...
No. 11: NEW ENTRY. Grid - Swamp Thing
I can detect a theme developing here over who can make the best dance record out of the silliest original idea. As if Doop wasn't bad enough we now have the Grid moving away from ambient dub and scoring their biggest hit ever with a dance track based on a banjo reel. It actually is quite inspired and gives them their first ever Top 20 hit, eclipsing the No.21 peak of Texas Cowboys in October 1993.
No. 7: NEW ENTRY. Big Mountain - Baby I Love Your Way
American readers will know this one already, the reggaefied version of the old Peter Frampton song duplicating its US Top 10 success with consummate ease. It's rapidly becoming a popular song, the original making No.43 in September 1976 whilst Will To Power's version made No.6 in January 1989.
No. 5: CLIMBER. Prodigy - No Good (Start The Dance)
Unlikely to go much further but this climb for Prodigy gives them their fourth Top 5 hit following Charly, Everybody In The Place and Out Of Space.
No. 1: FIRST WEEK. Wet Wet Wet - Love Is All Around
It's OK we can breathe again as the mob from Old Trafford finally give way to let Wet Wet Wet take the glory they deserve. It's now the third No.1 hit for the Scottish band who rose to prominence in 1987 as a result of being marketed for the teenage pop audience, despite their sophisticated soul roots. They first hit No.1 in May 1988 with a charity cover of With A Little Help From My Friends and then repeated the trick in January 1992 with Goodnight Girl which marked their transition from a burned-out teen band to a genuine set of stars with a strong adult following. In the light of the recent upheavals near the top of the charts and with several major new releases on the way it is dangerous to make too many predictions as to how long it will last [Call me foolish, I'm going with the next three months as a starting point], but the track has already sold 250,000 copies and if it carries on in this vein is sure to be one of the biggest sellers of the year.