Hi, happy New Year. If last week's Christmas chart was arguably the most significant of the year, this week's is the most disjointed. Covering the period between Christmas and New Year, punctuated by Bank Holidays and dominated with the rush to the shops for post-Christmas sales. Amongst all of this record sales tend to tail off sharply, to one of their lowest points of the year. This results in some strange behaviour, with old singles on the rebound and some new entries from unlikely sources. 9 new hits, 11 climbers and 3 non-movers.
No. 40: NEW ENTRY. Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter - One Cool Remove
There is hardly enough evidence to detect a trend developing, but the recent success of Sheryl Crow certainly appears to have opened the door to a mini-invasion of new-wave American country rock. The result is the appearance of this duet. Its the first ever Top 40 appearance for either lady, both of whom have been pushed in the UK for a long time. Shawn Colvin in particular has been awaiting her success for quite a while having had her single Round Of Blues released here on three separate occasions - only to be ignored almost every time.
No. 38: NEW ENTRY. Runrig - This Time Of Year
The bastard cousin of the Christmas single is clearly the new year single. Runrig pop up here with their offering and in doing so score their first hit for over 18 months. The Scottish band, despite considerable following North of the Border have never really gained a foothold nationally, their biggest hit being Hearthammer which made No.25 in September 1991. New year singles tend to be even more ephemeral in nature than even Christmas singles (maybe for obvious reasons) - Cliff Richard could only reach No.30 with 'This New Year' in 1992 whilst probably the most famous new year song of all, Abba's Happy New Year was never even released as a single.
No. 37: NON-MOVER. Wet Wet Wet - Love Is All Around
Whilst a number of hits drop out of the chart this week, the oldest one of all surprisingly holds steady. Is there anyone out there who still hasn't bought the bloody thing?
No. 34: NEW ENTRY. Siouxsie and the Banshees - O Baby
On September 20th 1976 a large crowd was crammed into the 100 club in London. They were there to witness a showcase of up and coming bands in an event which is now acknowledged to have been the springboard for the punk era. Playing on stage were bands such as Slik, The Sex Pistols, The Damned, Adam and the Ants... and Siouxsie and the Banshees. 18 years later only one of them is still together and having hits, and in many ways that is testament to the way the band have grown and changed with the times, releasing records to fit the age in which they are released. O Baby is the first hit from the band (who these days consist of Siouxsie, Budgie and whoever happened to be passing the studio at the time) since Face To Fac' from the soundtrack of 'Batman Returns' made No.21 in July 1992. Despite a consistent run of hits, none of them have ever been what you would describe as massive, their biggest and only Top 10 hit being a cover of the Beatles' Dear Prudence which made No.3 in November 1983. Whereas Face To Face was a dark, slinky recording designed to blend seamlessly with Tim Burton's film, 'O Baby' is a startling contrast, bright and dreamy and sounding not unlike many recent Cocteau Twins recordings. By no means a major hit, but welcome all the same.
No. 31: NEW ENTRY. Charlatans - Crashin' In
A reappearance for the Charlatans after a gap of over nine months. When they made their breakthrough in 1990 they were very much a product of their era, the same kind of baggy, indie style of music pioneered by the Stone Roses. With the new album from the Roses being regarded in many areas as a disappointment the Charlatans seem to have suffered in time also, their last hit I Never Want An Easy Life... could only stagger to No.38 and this new single looks unlikely to do much better.
No. 30: NEW ENTRY. Dodgy - So Let Me Go Far
The second Top 40 hit for Dodgy sneaks in under cover of the New Year lull in sales, beating at least the peak of Staying Out For The Summer which made No.38 back in October.
No. 24: NON-MOVER. Eternal - Oh Baby I...
Eternal's two singles of the moment appear to be selling in tandem with the record company resisting the temptation to delete the older of the two. This has had a knock-on effect of the Always and Forever album, now over a year old and yet this week reaching its highest ever position of No.2 in the album charts.
No. 23: NEW ENTRY. Thunder - Stand Up
The first new hit in a while for Thunder, the rock band made up of veteran members of Terraplane. They have notched up a string of hits since forming in 1990 but have never appeared to make that major sales breakthrough you always feel they are capable of - their only Top 20 hit being A Better Man which reached No.18 in February 1993.
No. 22: NEW ENTRY. Megadeth - Train Of Consequences
Also making an appearance after a long gap come Megadeth, just over seven years since their first chart entry. It is possibly more than just a coincidence that a couple of heavy rock bands released records this week when they stand more of a chance than usual of their fan base sending them to artificially high chart positions. One of Megadeth's biggest hits ever was in January 1990 with their cover of No More Mr Nice Guy and chartwatchers are always ever mindful of the bare faced cheek of Iron Maiden who released a limited-edition single of Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter at New Year in 1991 - their fans bought it in such numbers the record went straight to No.1.
No. 13: CLIMBER. Baby D - Let Me Be Your Fantasy
A sequence of hits all on the rebound this week. What makes it all the more interesting is that two of them are former No.1 hits whose sales peaked several weeks ago. It is worth noting though that despite their climbs, most will have sold less copies this week than they did the week before.
No. 12: NEW ENTRY. Human League - Tell Me When
It may not be the biggest new hit of the week but it is certainly the most significant. The Human League were arguably one of the bigger New Romantic [not really, synthpop was more their genre] bands of the early 1980s, carving their names in pop legend with the classic Don't You Want Me - a million seller and a No.1 both here and in America. By the mid-1980s their sales had tailed off and it took the creative genius of Jam and Lewis to give them a mini-revival and a second American No.1 single with Human. Since then the band have been largely hitless, save for a brief reappearance in 1990 with Heart Like A Wheel which staggered to No.29 in early September. Now Phil Oakey and the girls are back with a new single, sounding like typical Human League of old and their biggest hit for nearly nine years. Tell Me When has obviously benefitted from clever marketing which has resulted in this chart position but their return is no less welcome for that - and Oakey still has a silly haircut too [dunno where that came from, he'd moved on to a sensible crew cut at this stage in his life].
No. 10: NEW ENTRY. Ini Kamoze - Here Comes The Hotstepper
Currently ruling the roost in America, Ini Kamoze makes no time in making an impact in Britain. The infectious dance track owes much of its success to the 'Na Na Na Na Na' hook, which surprise surprise is not original to that record at all. The chant is taken from the song Land of 1000 Dances, first written in the early 1960s and recorded by a variety of artists. Cannibal and the Headhunters were the first to make it a hit in America in 1965. The most famous version though is that by Otis Redding - the song will always be associated with him, despite the fact that it was never a hit on either side of the Atlantic.
No. 7: CLIMBER. Whigfield - Another Day
Of all the reverses on the chart this week, this one is the most surprising. Another Day appeared to have first peaked at No.10 three weeks ago, but is buoyed up suddenly and climbs back into the Top 10 to give it its highest chart position so far - is further progress still on the cards?
No. 4: CLIMBER. Celine Dion - Think Twice
Think Twice appears to have climbed the chart largely unnoticed having made a slow start before accelerating just before the holiday period. Now on the rebound after having fallen last week, it equals the peak of The Power Of Love almost a year ago to become one of her biggest hits ever.
No. 1: FIFTH WEEK. East 17 - Stay Another Day
As the hits in contention for the first No.1 hit of the new year stack up behind them, East 17 maintain a toehold at the top. To remain there much longer they are going to have a fight on their hands, the sales of their admittedly seasonal sounding hit will soon start to tail off and they also have to ward off the challenges from acts such as Rednex and Boyzone, plus the expected flood of new hits next week as 1995 gets underway in earnest.