1 FAIRGROUND (Simply Red)
Four weeks at the top now for Simply Red but their run could well be coming to an end. This is due to the release last week of the album Life which topples Oasis with ease to move into pole position on the albums chart. The almost inevitable high sales of the album are almost certain to harm sales of the single, despite the stranglehold it still has on the airplay charts. A lack of any really big new releases this week gives Def Leppard the chance to challenge for the top but even they could face competition next week as hits from Diana King, Coolio and Meat Loaf explode onto the chart.
2 WHEN LOVE AND HATE COLLIDE (Def Leppard)
There is no better way to open the door for your Greatest Hits album than to have one of them a few weeks beforehand. That is just what Def Leppard have done, flying in the face of all conventional wisdom with the kind of classic rock ballad that just isn't supposed to be trendy anymore. When Love And Hate.. matches the peak of 1992s Let's Get Rocked to become their joint biggest hit ever. With Simply Red's album now on release and their hold on the Number One slot under threat there is a chance the Lepps could move up next week but that of course is subject to the flood of big new hits due next week.
3 LIVING NEXT DOOR TO ALICE (Smokie featuring Roy Chubby Brown)
..and yet it goes up again. Over two months after it first charted and without ever once experiencing a drop in chart position the Smokie song climbs once more to now equal the peak of their 1975 debut If You Think You Know How To Love Me and become their biggest hit ever. Part of the reason for the longevity of the track is possibly due to the fact that no radio station will support it, meaning that the only way to hear the record is to buy it yourself.
5 POWER OF A WOMAN (Eternal)
[In which Eternal ditch their superfluous member (sorry Louise) and become awesome] As the debut solo single of their former member Louise slips down the chart this week, the band she left make their long-awaited reappearance as a trio. Eternal gained for themselves a greal deal of respect by taking on the Americans at their own game and selling New Jill Swing back to them with a very British angle in the shape of hits such as Stay, Crazy and Save Our Love. After six Top 20 hits from their debut album they release the first single from their second. One reviewer recently commented that it was curious how many acts sell out to pop after making credible dance records, yet Eternal appear to be doing it the other way round. Certainly this new track is less of an immediate pop hit that some of its predecessors, instead being a rather dark yet no less brilliant R&B track. That alone is enough to make it the biggest new hit of the week, becoming their second biggest hit ever in the process. It will now be interesting to see how further singles from the album fare, especially if they really are deserting their pop roots in search of greater American success.
8 HIGHER STATE OF CONCIOUSNESS (Josh Wink)
Did you go to Ibiza on holiday this summer? Chances were you heard this track at some point as it was definitely one of the hits of the summer in the trendier clubs. Only available on import until now, the track finally gains a full commercial release and so explodes onto the chart, the first dance hit to genuinely do so out of nowhere for a number of months. Josh Wink comes from Philadelphia and has been fairly well known as a remixer and producer for a number of years and finally steps above ground for his first hit single.
11 RENEGADE MASTER (Wildchild)
A bit of an interesting one this. Wildchild first hit the chart back in May with a track called Legends Of The Dark Black Part 2 which reached Number 34. In common with several small dance hits I could mention, it was felt it deserved a second go and so the track has now been remixed and reissued, but under a completely different name. Thus it is that the startlingly hardcore track becomes Renegade Master and registers a dramatic improvement in fortunes to just miss out on a Top 10 placing. To actually retitle a track to reflect its remixed nature may sound bizarre but it has been done before. One example that springs to mind is that of the track This Brutal House by Nitro Deluxe which only reached Number 47 when first released in 1987. In 1988 at the height of the House Music boom the track was remixed, re-titled Let's Get Brutal and reached Number 24. [A desperately sad moment looking back, Roger "Wildchild" McKenzie would pass away just a month later at the age of 24. Renegade Master would wind up as a Top 3 hit thanks to a Fatboy Slim remix just over a year later].
14 ANGEL INTERCEPTOR (Ash)
The second hit single for Ash, easily one of the youngest bands in the charts at the moment, none of them having reached more than their 18th birthday. This hit follows on from the splash made by their debut Girl From Mars which reached Number 11 in August although it is slightly more restrained than its predecessor taking on an almost ambient, dreamy tone. The album should hopefully be worth the wait.
16 DO WHAT'S GOOD FOR ME (2 Unlimited)
Here they come again, the Status Quo of techno. 2 Unlimited do, to be fair, take more than their fair share of flak mostly as a result of the seemingly endless stream of records they produce, all to pretty much the same formula. To say no more than that is actually to do them a bit of a disservice as they are easily one of the most consistent hitmakers of the decade, this being their 13th consecutive Top 30 hit single with only Here I Go in March this year failing to make the Top 20. As for the current hit, well it continues the trend of much of their recent recordings, being more of a proper song than is string of noises but it will still struggle to progress much further.
17 I CARE (SOUL II SOUL) (Soul II Soul)
Contenders for the award for comeback of the year have to be Soul II Soul, suddenly on sparkling form again after a number of years in the doldrums. I Care follows on from the success of Love Enuff which reached Number 12 back in July and is their 11th Top 40 hit.
19 MISUNDERSTOOD MAN (Cliff Richard)
By heck it has been a while hasn't it? Cliff Richard is of course unique. Unique in the sense that he is in virtually every respect the greatest chart superstar this country has ever had, having had hit singles almost continuously since 1959 and proud maker of more hit singles than any other artist ever. In other countries his profile is a little more subdued and I periodically receive email from American readers of these pages asking exactly who he is and why they have never heard of him. As you might expect he is also getting on a bit, having had his 55th birthday on Saturday and in recent years his records have tended towards the naff, being a set of rather safe MOR ballads. This, however, is not to say that the first pop star ever to be Knighted is not capable of surprises and he does indeed surprise here. His first hit single since last Christmas is taken from the stage musical Heathcliffe, a stage version of Wuthering Heights he penned with Tim Rice and has been trying to put on stage for years. Earlier this year an attempt to stage the musical was abandoned until next year, but in the meantime he has recorded all the songs and is set to release them on an album. Misunderstood Man is possibly one of the best singles he has made for years, devoid of pretty instrumentation and cloying lyrics instead showing Cliff has never forgotten he started out as a Rock N Roll star as he growls his way through this steady grower of a track. It may not progress too much further but after 107 Top 40 hits do you think he is worried?
20 LUCKY YOU (Lightning Seeds)
Time now for a bit of justice to be done. 'Lucky You' was first released over a year ago as the first single from the Jollification album. To the surprise of many it struggled and could only reach Number 43. It was left for other singles from the album to bring the Lightning Seeds into the Top 40 once again, Change, Marvellous, and Perfect all making the Top 30 over the course of the last few months. Lucky You was arguably too good a song to be a hit, being as most first singles are, one of the strongest tracks from the album. So, with a welter of promotion and some kind help from radio the song is reissued and finally becomes the hit you always felt it should have been, making it Ian Broudie's fourth Top 20 hit.
23 THE MOVE YOUR ASS EP (Scooter)
In the absence of a crop of big new releases a window opens for a number of dance hits to flood the chart. This startlingly retrospective-sounding acid track from Scooter has had a long gestation having been around in one form or another since April. Into the Top 30 with ease and almost certainly out again with the same minimal effort.
25 IT'S ON YOU (SCAN ME) (Eurogroove)
One dance act showing something approaching consistency are Eurogroove, here with their third hit of the year. Despite their obvious commercial charms, the somewhat Europop nature of the tracks means they are struggling to gain a strong commercial toehold. This is at least their biggest hit yet, following on from Move Your Body which made Number 29 in May and Dive To Paradise which reached Number 31 in August.
28 TRANSAMAZONIA (Shamen)
Once they were a pop force to be reckoned with, now it seems they are stuck having only minor hits. The second hit of the year for the Shamen comes hot on the heels of the Top 20 hit Destination Eshcaton and a week before the release of their new album. It's not that there is anything fundamentally wrong with the track, but it lacks the pop brilliance of tracks from 1992s Boss Drum album which saw the band almost permanently in the Top 10 and the recipients of numerous awards.
29 MY FRIEND (Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
The second single to be released from their somewhat poorly received new album finds the frantic foursome in reflective mood. Their fifth UK Top 40 hit switches back to the laid back semi-acoustic sound of their biggest worldwide hit Under The Bridge and does at least give them a two place improvement over the first single from the album Warped which reached Number 31 in September. It is a shame that they should be scoring such small hits after the progress that was made last year when after years of trying they finally had a smash hit in the shape of Give It Away which reached Number 9.
31 BREAK THE CHAIN (Motiv 8)
Mixers Steve Rodway and Brian Higgins stick their heads above ground and chart a record in their own right for only the second time. Their first hit was Rockin' For Myself which was first released in 1993 when it could only reach Number 67. A remix in May 1994 saw the track chart big and reach Number 18. Since then little has been heard from them in the hit-making sense. The pair have though, had their names appear on many remixes of other people's hits, most famously earlier this year for their remix of Pulp's Common People which put the track on the dancefloors in a big way and has led the pair to be seen as masters of the more commercial end of the dance scene. As a result, here comes their new single, more of a song than Rockin For Myself and it is perhaps a surprise then that the track should chart so low down.
33 FLAVOUR OF THE OLD SCHOOL (Beverley Knight)
This one has been attracting attention on import for a while, the debut hit for Beverley Knight with an interesting if unexciting piece of R&B.
37 LET'S ALL GO TOGETHER (Marion)
To prop up the bottom this week comes the long-awaited Top 40 breakthrough for the band who were named after one of their old school friends. This is their third single, the first two narrowly missing out on Top 40 placings earlier this year. A slow start but there is chance for them to pick up speed yet, particularly when they are making records that sound as good as this.