So then to another chart, but first of all a few words of explanation about the widely reported errors in the chart as first published last week. The second erroneous chart in four months turned out to be caused by the same reasons as last time - Woolworths' own internal computer system duplicating sales data from a number of shops and subsequently passed onto Millward Brown for compilation at the chart. Red faces then at Woolworths but also at Millward Brown who, after the events of last December, coded a check into the computer code that compiles the chart in order to spot errors just like the one above. Unfortunately the data from Woolworths arrived so late this check was bypassed and the error was not spotted until Sunday evening when Woolworths admitted it may have supplied incorrect data. To quote the BPI: "This must be the last time." Onto this week now, a frantically busy chart featuring 15 new entries, 7 climbers and 1 non-mover.
No. 38: NEW ENTRY. Brand New Heavies - Close To You
A further hit for the band, who to these ears appear to get better with every single redease. Its their fifth hit inside the last year and follows on from Spend Some Time which made No.29 back in November. Aside from the Top 20 success last summer of their cover of Midnight At The Oasis the Heavies have never really had a major smash hit. This track deserves to do better, despite the fact that one colleague of mine complained today that the introduction sounds like bad elevator music, but the fact that it has arrived so far down the release schedule will probably mean it gets no further.
No. 36: NEW ENTRY. Sparks - When I Kiss You (I Hear Charlie Parker Playing)
The second hit in recent months for electro-pop veterans Sparks, following on from When Do I Get To Sing My Way which could only reach a criminal No.38 last October. I lean so heavily on the personal angle with this one simply because of the curious way their current Pet Shop Boys-on acid incarnation has given them their first hit singles in over a decade and yet seems to have not had the impact it should. The new single is as bizarre as the title sounds, featuring a high-speed rapped verse that Neil Tennant would I'm sure give his right arm to have written, coupled with an impressively commercial chorus. The chances of it getting further are unlikely but any band who can call a track on their album Now That I Own The BBC have surely arrived here on a collision course from the planet genius. With their first hit coming in 1974, the Mael brothers are only rivalled by Elton John as the longest-established act on the chart this week.
No. 35: NEW ENTRY. Cranberries - I Can't Be With You
Another epic single from the Cranberries, now it seems firmly established in the mainstream. Its hard to believe that it was only just over a year ago that Linger finally charted here following its success in America. This single is the followup to Ode To My Family which made No.29 just before Christmas and although Delores' yodelling sounds as hauntingly lovely as ever this may well only turn out to be a minor hit.
No. 32: NEW ENTRY. Aaliyah - Age Ain't Nothing But A Number
The third UK hit for the most alphabetically pronounced act in chart history. It follows on from her gorgeously treated version of You Are Love which could only reach No.27 last October. The new single moves back into swingbeat territory with the production trademarks of alleged lover R Kelly etched all over it. By no means a major hit though.
No. 29: NEW ENTRY. Glam Metal Detectives - Everybody Up!
Tee Hee. Concept corner ahoy. The Glam Metal Detectives are part of an all-round media project, the brainchild of Comic Strip creator Peter Richardson. It centres around a TV show of the same name that is currently airing on the BBC, effectively a wicked satire on trashy satellite television and featuring several regular slots. The centrepiece is the Glam Metal Detectives, an instantly-familiar spoof show about a rock band who lead a secret double life as fantasy detectives - their mission as the show says, 'to save the planet's ecology with their super hit records.' As a rock band they have to have a song to perform of course, and so here it is... a no-expense spared Trevor Horn production written by Lol Creme amongst others and featuring the musical talents of such illuminaries as Jeff Beck. The record itself is the kind of naggingly catchy tune that you are unable to shake off after hearing it once and this, coupled with a Top of the Pops performance on the night of the first episode means that the cod-Glam Metal track could hardly miss. The single may not end up a massive hit but that hardly matters with a whole album to follow and the inarguable fact that the series itself is achingly funny. Interestingly enough the GMD are not the first Peter Richardson creation to chart - the spoof rock band Bad News made No.44 with their "rendition" of Bohemian Rhapsody in September 1987. [The TV series is now largely forgotten, even in cult circles due to the way it was tiresomely the same every week. It is all on YouTube at the time of writing. The theme song though remains extraordinary].
No. 25: NEW ENTRY. Mory Kante - Yeke Yeke
More revivalist stuff, this time in the shape of this long-lost Eurodisco classic from 1988. In the summer of that year the Guinean vocallist was never off continental dancefloors with this disco rendition of an old African folk song (forgive the ambiguity, I forget which language it is in). After much radio support it went on to become a minor hit over here, reaching No.29 that August. Now out of the blue, the track makes a reappearance, complete with the now obligatory set of 90s remixes which in many ways appear to rip the heart out of the song - but that matters nought as it is already a bigger hit than first time round. Yeke Yeke also made a brief chart appearance in 1989 when used by Clubhouse as the new backing track for their version of I'm A Man.
No. 24: NEW ENTRY. Sophie B Hawkins - As I Lay Me Down
Alright admit it lads, how many of you have not fantasised about having Sophie B Hawkins singing you a lullaby. That fantasy now becomes reality with her third single of the last year quite deservedly exploding onto the chart following the comparative failure of 'Don't Don't Tell Me No' which could only reach No.36 last November. As I Lay Me Down is the kind of gentle ballad that is either best appreciated first thing in the morning or at the end of a long tired day. If nothing else in the chart deserves to go Top 20 - this certainly does.
No. 22: NEW ENTRY. Dodgy with the Kick Horns - Making The Most Of
The third hit in recent months for Dodgy, widely tipped as one of the best new(ish) bands of the year but having yet to have made a major impact on the charts. All that could change now with what is easily one of their best releases so far and instantly their biggest hit to date, helped I suspect not a little by the presence on the track of the legendary session brassmen.
No. 19: NEW ENTRY. Des'ree - You Gotta Be
Another reappearance, this time for a more recent hit. You Gotta Be was first released last April and made No.20, giving Des'ree the third Top 20 hit of her career. In the intervening period the track has become a surprise American Top 20 hit, the resultant exposure prompting this re-release. which instantly gives the record a higher peak than first time round.
No. 17: NEW ENTRY. Radiohead - High and Dry
Well they take their time over it, but Radiohead now have the the fourth Top 40 hit of their career. Following their Top 40 breakthrough with Anyone Can Play Guitar in February 1993 they finally broke big with the reissued Creep which made No.7 that September on the back of its American success. Their second album was first heralded last October with My Iron Lung which made No.24. Now the band return to the Top 20 with what is easily their best release since Creep, a brooding acoustic track which has that annoying habit of growing on you until you are forced to admit you love it, rather than suggesting that they are just another bunch of morbid indie-rockers as is usually the case.
No. 16: NEW ENTRY. Faith No More - Digging The Grave
The return after a long silence for the original wild-eyed manic rockers. Despite a deep-seated hatred of intense thrash metal such as this, I've loved Faith No More ever since their early track We Care A Lot became a turntable hit in early 1988. They first charted big back in 1990 with Epic which made the Top 40 twice that year and have followed it since with a string of hit singles, the biggest of which was their tongue-in-cheek cover of Easy which made No.3 in January 1993. Their first single for over a year sees them back in full-tilt heavy metal mode, by no means a commercial single but the following of the band is enough to give them an instant Top 20 hit - the third of their career.
No. 15: CLIMBER. Elton John - Believe
Hard to 'believe' I know but with all the action in the lower reaches, this is the first single on the chart this week to climb.
No. 13: CLIMBER. Scarlet - Independent Love Song
Of all the bizarre circumstances surrounding the erroneous charts last week. Scarlet may have benefitted from it the most. Top of the Pops producer Rix Blaxill had already booked the acts for last weeks show based on the chart that was first released on the Sunday. One of those acts was Scarlet, based on the fact that 'Independent Love Song' had held steady at No.14. When the revised chart was released the single had dropped to 16 but Blaxill decided to ignore this and based his show around the original listing. As a result Scarlet appeared on the legendary TV show despite having officially dropped down the charts. The resultant exposure gives the single another lease of life, pushing it back up to just behind the No.12 peak it reached three weeks ago. Airplay for the song is extensive, making No.4 nationally and topping the listings on many stations - all this despite the fact that it is probably the filthiest song in the charts at the moment, being an ode to the pleasures of cunnilingus [or was it masturbation, they never really clarified]. Oddities like this aside, their album is as gorgeous as the single and personally I'd sing an Independent Love Song for the both of them any time *ahem*.
No. 12: CLIMBER. Mike and the Mechanics - Over My Shoulder
Radio has been slow to pick up on the single but now they are falling over themselves, giving Mike and the Mechanics another boost to make Over My Shoulder their second biggest hit ever.
No. 11: NEW ENTRY. Stone Roses - Ten Storey Love Song
Their Second Coming album has generally been panned as a bit of a disappointment but that doesn't seem to have harmed its sales too much. Following on from Love Spreads which gave them their biggest hit ever when it made No.2 last December, the lads from Manchester release what is generally regarded as the best track on the album. The result is quite simply another smash, the seventh Top 20 hit of their career.
No. 10: CLIMBER. Clock - Axel F/Keep Pushing
There is no denying the brilliance of this record, making the Harold Faltermeyer classic more of a dance hit than he could ever have dreamed as the song makes the Top 10 close on ten years since the original did the same. With the group putting in a string of TV appearances as well a further climb could well be on the cards.
No. 9: NEW ENTRY. Boo Radleys - Wake Up Boo!
As anyone involved in the record industry will tell you, there is no such thing as a guaranteed hit. On the other hand there are some records which are so glorious, so perfect in their conception and delivery that they simply cannot fail. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you such a record. The Boo Radleys have been around for donkeys years, stuck on the fringe yet making an increasingly competent stream of records. All of a sudden the bunch of Liverpudlians have turned on the magic and released what has to be the best single of the year so far, and then some. Quite simply it is the perfect piece of exuberent pop, an exquisite pastiche of the Liverpool beat bands that inspired a whole generation before them, complete with Beatlesque harmonies and a melody that could have been lifted from every Monkees record ever made. Excuse me for waxing lyrical but there are times when you just cannot help it. It gives them the biggest hit of the week and almost certainly the highlight of their career. The rousing chorus of 'Wake up its a beautiful morning' makes it the kind of record that radio loves to bits and true enough it is being played all over the place. Its the kind of record that gives you the urge to stand on a hill, look the world in the face and say 'This is me, and I can do anything'. This is why pop music was invented - so that life really could be this good.
No. 5: CLIMBER. Bucketheads - The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)
The biggest climb of the week goes to the Bucketheads with their annoyingly catchy 70s-styled dance record that comes complete with tongue-in-cheek video featuring neon lights, platform heels and mile-wide afro haircuts. One of the more unconventional dance records at the moment and possibly by definition one of the best.
No. 2: CLIMBER. Alex Party - Don't Give Me Your Life
A one place climb but still not enough to give Alex Party the pole position. They were in the event just 10% behind her Celineship but still she holds firm...
No. 1: SIXTH WEEK. Celine Dion - Think Twice
Holding firm she does and in doing so surpasses yet another set of landmarks. During the course of last week Think Twice sold its millionth copy, making Celine Dion only the fourth woman ever to achieve this ultimate target for a single - Jennifer Rush, Whitney Houston and Whigfield being the only others. You may remember as well that when she made No.1 it was in the record's 16th week of chart action - equalling the record set by Jennifer Rush as the slowest continious climb by a record to reach No.1. The Power Of Love though only stayed on top for 5 weeks, and so Think Twice is now ruling the roost in its 21st week of chart life - no other record in the modern era has managed to still outsell all others after five months on release. Its a phenomenal achievement for the record... but still you have to question how much longer she can hang on...