Quiet isn't it? Relatively speaking a quiet chart with a few big new hits, but nothing compared to the onslaught next week with new hits from some major artists in the offing. 10 new entries, 5 climbers and 2 non-movers.
No. 36: (--) Brandy - I Wanna Be Down
An entry on the Top 40 for one of the big American hits of the moment but making over here a rather inauspicious debut. With the odd exception (such as Montell Jordan) the charts of Britain and America are as far apart as they have ever been, most big American hits struggle over here and with British artists few and far between.
No. 35: (--) Mary Chapin Carpenter - Shut Up And Kiss Me
The second Top 40 hit this year for Mary Chapin Carpenter, another American artist struggling to find her feet over here. This follows on from One Cool Remove, her duet with Shawn Colvin which reached No.40 back in January.
No. 28: (--) Curtis Stigers - This Time
The first hit in a long long time for Curtis Stigers. The American balladeer bucked a long-standing trend back in 1992 when he found more success overseas that in his native country. For some reason people took him to their hearts and sent I Wonder Why to No.5 and the followup You're All That Matters To Me to No.6 soon afterwards. His new single, the first for nearly 3 years is more of the same kind of style yet looking as if it will struggle this time around.
No. 22: (14) Take That - Back For Good
This week is one of those curious weeks which belie the fast turnover of the chart at times. The presence in the Top 40 of the Outhere Brothers, Take That, Oasis, Livin' Joy and Robson & Jerome means that at least 1 in 8 chart hits at present are No.1 hits - a figure that historically could increase given that one of the current chart hits could be a future No.1.
No. 21: (--) Happy Clappers - I Believe
A new entry for the happy clappers completes one of those curious chart coincidences - two songs in the Top 30 with the same title. Funnily enough the same thing happened in March 1994 - both Marcella Detroit and Sounds Of Blackness charted with hits called - I Believe. This hit is the ninth song in chart history to have that title, tying it with Tonight as the second most charted song title ever - one behind Crazy which earlier this year saw the tenth hit song of that name to chart.
No. 16: (--) Ladysmith Black Mambazo/China Black - Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Another year, another World Cup it seems. This time for Rugby Union of course, the competition still a fairly recent innovation but gradually becoming more and more important. The last tournament in 1991 was held in Britain and to celebrate this a concept album was commissioned. The brainchild of Charlie Skarbeck it spawned two hits. The first was World In Union, a new hymn set to Holst's Jupiter or I Vow To Thee My Country as it is most commonly known. Sung by Dame Kiri te Kanawa it reached No.4 in October that year. The second hit was a new adaptation of the old spiritual Swing Low Sweet Chariot entitled Swing Low (Run With The Ball). This was 'sung' by the Rugby World Cup Squad themselves, struggled at first but then leaped to No.16 when England reached the final. Fast forward then to 1995 and the current tournament in South Africa. The charts celebrate by resurrecting both those 1991 hits in new versions. The one to chart big is this one, Swing Low Sweet Chariot sung by China Black, hot on the heels of their hits over the last year and most interestingly Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The South African musicians first sprang to prominence in 1986 when they featured on Paul Simon's Graceland album. Since then they have popped up as guests on many albums but have never been credited on a chart single until now. Also released this week was their new version of World In Union which missed the Top 40 and charts lower down the Top 75. Thus the musicians score the unique feat of charting their first two chart hits in the same week - effectively establishing an unbeatable record for the fastest followup chart hit ever. That particular record has stood since 1973 when Dutch instrumentalists Focus charted their first hit Hocus Pocus on January 20th to have it joined by Sylvia the following week.
No. 15: (24) Jimmy Somerville - Hurt So Good
Jimmy Somerville climbs into the Top 20 with his second solo hit of the year, a song which was first a hit for Susan Cadogan in 1975 when it reached No.4. It's his first Top 20 hit since his version of To Love Somebody made No.8 in November 1990. It is curious to note that whilst he is a fine songwriter in his own right and has had Top 20 hits with songs he has penned, virtually all his big hits both solo and with the Communards have been cover versions.
No. 14: (--) Therapy? - Stories
The first hit this year for Therapy?, looking to capitalise on the momentum they had in 1993 and 1994 when they scored 7 Top 30 hits. This one does well too, their eighth Top 30 hit in succession but likely to tumble as quickly as it came.
No. 13: (13) Montell Jordan - This Is How We Do It
Down but not out, Montell Jordan holds fast at No.13, the position he climbed to last week after This Is How We Do It fell from its first week peak of No.11 to No.14 a fortnight ago.
No. 11: (--) Reef - Naked
The future looking bright for Reef with a smash hit single to follow the lead set by good feeling which reached No.24 back in April.
No. 5: (--) Baby D - I Need Your Loving (Everybody's Gotta Learn...)
After a couple of near-misses, Baby D hit big last October with the re-release of their underground classic Let Me Be Your Fantasy which wasted no time in charging to No.1. Their first hit single since goes for a surprisingly safe route in the form of one of those eclectic dance cover versions. This time it is a remake of one of those songs which one might regard as untouchable, the Korgis' 1980 classic Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime which is guaranteed to bring tears to my eyes every time I hear it. This new version has the same effect although I suspect it is for different reasons. It is hard to be harsh about a record which has hit No.5 first week out, but this has to rank alongside M-Beat's Sweet Love as one of the crassest dance remakes of all time.
No. 2: (--) Pulp - Common People
Happily I can calm down a bit now. Pulp were incredibly enough formed by Jarvis Cocker over 13 years ago whilst he was at school. After floating on the fringes of success for years the band finally broke through last year with a series of singles from their album His N Hers, the biggest of which was the 'Sisters EP' which reached No.19 almost exactly a year ago. Their rise to stardom was perhaps partially eclipsed by all the hype surrounding Blur's Parklife despite that fact that Pulp's album was more than equal as a perfect slice of witty, perfectly constructed British pop - a fact recognised by the jury for the Mercury Music Prize who awarded it second place. With the scene now much quieter, the time has come for Pulp to show their genius to a world ready to listen and there is no better way for them to do it than with this single. It is hard not to be irrationally prejudiced towards a single that you love so much but like the Boo Radley's before them, Pulp have produced for their biggest hit ever one of the singles of the year and an instant pop classic. The epic tale of the rich little Greek girl who wants Jarvis Cocker to show her what it is like to be "Common People" is full of the kind of lines that make you want to cry with laughter. He takes her to a supermarket: "I said 'pretend you've got no money', she said 'Oh you're so funny', I said 'Yeah, but I don't see anyone else smiling in here'." No.2 it is then, selling over 70,000 copies which in any other week would have made it easily No.1... sadly it seems they may just miss out with strong competition from Michael Jackson to come next week as well.
No. 1: ( 1) THIRD WEEK. Robson Green & Jerome Flynn - Unchained Melody/White Cliffs Of Dover
For the moment though Green & Flynn remain fixed at the summit. Their sales are well down from their phenomenal peak of last week but they still managed to sell over 300,000 copies to push sales of the single well past a million and to ease past Take That as the biggest selling single so far this year. It thus becomes the third single this year to sell 1 million copies - the fourth if you count East 17s Stay Another Day which crept past the magic figure towards the end of its chart run well into the new year. Their sales are still at such a high point that they may well deny none other than Michael Jackson a place at No.1 next week - or is that giving too much away? Seeya....