1 WANNABE (Spice Girls)
A further week and a further boost in sales gives the Spice Girls a comfortable second week at Number One. Whilst the record may be one of the strangest pop records ever many people have been quick to praise the group on their achievement. All-girl groups are for some reason few and far between and so for them to reach Number One is rarer still. In fact their are the first all-girl band to to the chart since the Bangles did so with Eternal Flame back in 1989 and the first British girl group to do so ever. The most successful British girl group are of course Bananarama who had nine Top 10 hits and countless others between 1982 and 1993 but the highest they ever got was Number 3 on two occasions. For all this, it seems quite possible that this will be their last week at Number One with the release this week of a new single from a former colleague of the man they replaced at the top.
2 KILLING ME SOFTLY (Fugees)
There seems to be no stopping sales of this track. Nine weeks on release, five of them at Number One and never once having dipped below Number 2 it has now sold over a million copies. But for the fact that Sony is now slowly but surely removing the single from distribution to push people in the direction of the album you suspect it could hang around for quite some time yet.
3 MYSTERIOUS GIRL (Peter Andre featuring Bubbler Ranx)
It is a similar story for Peter Andre's hit. Whilst it may not (yet) have been a Number One smash it has outlasted all expectations and simply refuses to die. This is now its tenth week on the chart. It appeared to be on the slide a few weeks ago, having peaked at Number 2 briefly some time back but after dropping to Number 5 it has gradually forced its way back up and now returns to the Top 3 after a four week gap.
5 EVERYTHING MUST GO (Manic Street Preachers)
Whether the Manics would have experienced this level of commercial success without the publicity surrounding the still-missing Richie James is perhaps a moot point. Regardless of the answer, the original post-modern punks follow up career best Number 2 of A Design For Life with the title track of their critically acclaimed album. The single is an epic, Spector-ish production and as a result makes the Welsh band sound uncannily like the work the great man did with the Ramones in the late 70s.
7 HEAD OVER FEET (Alanis Morissette)
At the moment it appears Alanis Morisette can do no wrong with a clutch of awards to her name and the world falling over itself to praise her. She has bucked many chart trends over here with her Jagged Little Pill climbing from lowly beginnigs when it was first released to become one of the best selling records of the year so far, currently sitting at the top of the album charts, a posisiton it has occupied on and off for the last few months. What is more surprising is that her single releases are getting bigger and bigger. Her last single Ironic became her biggest chart and most enduring radio hit so far when it reached Number 11 and found itself glued to the nation's playlists. Now she surpasses even that, making the Top 10 for the very first time with what is no less than the fifth single release from an album released just over a year ago. [This was also the prompt for Jagged Little Pill to spend the entire summer at the top of the album chart too].
9 WOMAN (Neneh Cherry)
The daughter of Don Cherry and a former member of Rip Rig and Panic, Neneh Cherry first shot into the charts in late 1988 with the frantic and rather bubbly Buffalo Stance. This initial hit was followed by an album, more hit singles and a sophomore effort released in 1992. Homebrew may have attracted commercial plaudits but it was something of a commercial disappointment and it only produced two Top 40 singles. Still it would have been a brave man to write the lady off and she re-emerged in the summer of 1994 duetting with Youssou N'Dour on the international smash Seven Seconds. Now after two years of silence she returns with a new album and a lead single that quite simply beats the pants off anything she has released before. Woman is written as a response to James Brown's It's A Man's World and uses the same groove only this time speeding it up slightly to create a track that is part soul and part trip-hop in a quite wonderful atmosphere. Easily one of the best things she has ever released it deservedly becomes the fourth Top 10 hit of her career.
14 DON'T PULL YOUR LOVE (Sean Maguire)
He is no Peter Andre but alleged teen heartthrob Sean Maguire has proved in the past he can make a reasonable fist of a job of having hit records. Best known of course as an actor in both 'Grange Hill' and 'Eastenders', this is his second Top 20 hit this year following Good Day which reached Number 12. I talk in rather level tones simply because although his singles are competent enough they appear to lack that certain magic to make them major smashes, this is his fifth Top 20 hit of which Good Day has been the biggest.
15 I AM, I FEEL (Alisha's Attic)
A welcome first hit single for Alisha's Attic who make the most of the extensive radio airplay they have been receiving for this release and so land themselves an instant Top 20 hit. [1996 James failing to mention the Brian Poole connection and how they are his daughters, but we'll get clued in soon enough. Girl Power rules at the top of the charts, meanwhile the best feminist anthem of all time lands almost unnoticed 14 places below].
20 HEY JUPITER/PROFESSIONAL WIDOW (Tori Amos)
It would be a rare Tori Amos single to become a major commercial smash, her rather offbeat style attracting a dedicated core audience which gives her perfunctory hit singles but little more. Having said that her single releases this year have been remarkably consistent. Hey Jupiter is the third in this particular run and matches the peak of Caught A Lite Sneeze back in January. Her biggest chart hit came in January 1994 in the shape of Cornflake Girl which reached an instant Number 4. [It hardly needs pointing out here, but the otherwise unregarded double a-side was a radical Armand Van Helden remix of the album track of the same name. Six months later as a single in its own right it would be Number One].
22 SORRENTO MOON (I REMEMBER) (Tina Arena)
Australian star Tina Arena appeared to have been on a downward curve ever since her first hit Chains became a Top Ten smash early in 1995. She followed the Number 7 hit with Heaven Help My Heart which made Number 25 and then could only make it to Number 29 with her version of Maria McKee's Show Me Heaven. Now she makes a slight resurgence with the rather lovely Sorrento Moon, a radio-friendly acoustic track that lifts her out of the realms of mediocrity and sets her back on the path of being a serious hitmaker. Number 22 even if it gets no further is the second biggest hit of her career.
25 ELEVATOR SONG (Dubstar)
The third hit of the year for Dubstar, this following on from Not So Manic Now and the reissued Stars. Their rather laid-back sub Pet Shop Boys style has won them a number of fans over the last few months but still not enough to give them a major hit single, Stars becoming their biggest to date when it reached Number 15 in March.
33 YOU GOT THE POWER (QFX)
Hit Number 2 for the pop orientated QFX who reached Number 22 with Every Time You Touch Me back in February.
36 DINNER WITH DELORES (The Artist Formerly Known As Prince)
I haven't myself heard the Chaos And Disorder album but those who have say it is just what you would expect from "Prince"'s last gasp of his hated Warner Brothers contract, a fairly perfunctory effort lacking in inspiration or innovation. Having said that, this belated single release is possibly one of the most unusual singles he has released in a long time, sounding more like the Smashing Pumpkins than anything he has released recently. Still, this whole project makes no pretence at being little more than a stopgap so an album rapidly heading for the bargain bins and his lowest charting single for over three years is of no cause for concern.