1 SPACEMAN (Babylon Zoo)
A fairly straightforward third week at the top of the charts for Babylon Zoo with only the increasing popularity of 3Ts hit posing anything resembling a threat. With a third week on top they have equalled the achievement of Ben E King for the longest run at Number One by a Levis 501 advert - one more will make the track the most successful single from the series to date. Competition will, it seems, come from yet more TV adverts with one already on the chart and another recent hit about to be reissued thanks to an enormously popular TV advert...
4 LIFTED (Lighthouse Family)
One of the proverbial "next big things", The Lighthouse Family first appeared in the summer of 1995 with Lifted, a breezy acoustic track that sounded great on the radio and marked them out as a band to watch. Sadly, despite the exposure the track disappointed in sales terms and failed to break into the Top 40. Honours for their debut hit had to fall to the slightly inferior Ocean Drive which duly peaked at Number 34 in October but clearly the moment had gone. Lifted was, however, too good a track to leave alone so in recent weeks it has been re-promoted extensively and has received just as much airplay as it did first time around. The result is now a massive and deserved hit single for the band, giving them the biggest new hit of the week.
5 I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU (Etta James)
With a song from a TV ad reigning supreme at the top of the chart this week it doesn't seem inappropriate that another TV advert should generate one of the week's biggest new hits. The source for this is from the current series of adverts for Diet Coke which feature the now infamous spectacle of a hunky workman pausing in his labours to drink a can of the fizzy stuff whilst the girls in the office nearby stand and drool out of the window. The whole campaign has the feel of a tongue in cheek concept about it, a series of radio adverts running alongside it to apologise for the fact that you cannot see anything on the radio and encouraging people to view it in full on the television. The music to accompany all this blatant reverse-sexism is this, Etta James' legendary 1961 rendition of a song first written and recorded by Willie James but which over the years has become inexorably associated with the great lady. The instant Top 10 success of the track marks the first time the lady herself has ever charted a hit single in this country. Despite a string of US Top 40 successes in the early 1960's she has never ever charted either a single or an album - until now. Although Cola adverts often feature pop soundtracks, not many become big hits. Pepsi had something of a purple patch in the early 1990's when their policy of asking artists such as Hammer and Gloria Estefan to star in the commercials gave them hit singles but these hits were still merely coincidental releases by the artists involved - the advert being a promotion for them rather than the other way round. Whenever the Coca-Cola company gets a hit it is always very much tied to the advert - Etta James' hit has even been promoted by a series of co-operative adverts pointing out the link between the single and the commercial. As things stand there is a genuine possibility of the track making a challenge for the Number One slot - matching the achievements of the New Seekers' I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing in 1971 and Robin Beck's First Time in 1988 - both of which were songs used in Coke adverts.
6 ONE OF US (Joan Osbourne)
One of the more genuinely surprising new hits of the week, Joan Osborne appears from nowhere to land an instant Top 10 hit on this, her chart debut. This is one of those strange hits that appear every now and again. Not strange in the way it sounds, certainly, but simply for the circumstances of its appearance. The track has had a certain amount of airplay over the past few weeks but nothing too spectacular and nothing to suggest it has suddenly become part of the public's consciousness. As an average tempo rock song it has not had the benefit of dancefloor exposure. In short there appears to be no rational reason for this to have become such a big hit straight away. The record company say Joan Osborne is destined to be big but it is possible even they could not have predicted just how big this would be in such a short space of time.
7 DO U STILL? (East 17)
East 17 are turning out hits by now with something approaching a production-line mentality. Do U Still follows the same formula as many of their releases and yet still manages to press the right buttons and become a classic pop hit at the same time. It follows on from the Top 5 success of Thunder just before Christmas and becomes their 13th Top 40 hit since 1992.
8 I WANNA BE A HIPPY (Technohead)
It may be one of the most frantic, bizarre dance tracks out at the moment but whatever it was that attracted European record buyers to it has rubbed off over here as Technohead frantically bash their way to a Top 10 placing.
14 LOVING YOU MORE (BT featuring Vincent Corvello)
No less than 4 of this week's new entries are re-releases of old tracks hoping to gain recognition at long last. Recognition was not exactly lacking first time around for this hit, released by Perfecto records in September 1995 when it reached Number 28. Quite plainly the track was too good to go ignored like that and so BT and Vincent Corvello make a reappearance and this time land straight in the Top 20.
16 1979 (Smashing Pumpkins)
The second hit in recent months for the Smashing Pumpkins, this track making the Top 20 in the wake of Bullet With Butterfly Wings which peaked at Number 20 in October last year. Number 16 gives them their second biggest hit to date, just a few places behind the Number 11 peak of Disarm in March 1994. Naming a record after a particular year inspires me to throw in a completely useless bit of trivia - Number One in this week in 1979 was Heart Of Glass by Blondie.
27 AND I'M TELLING YOU I'M NOT GOING (Donna Giles)
More dance, here in the shape of the first hit single for Donna Giles. She has her hit in the shape of an astonishing reworking of a classic. And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going stakes a claim for being one of the most moving soul performances of the 1980's, first performed by Jennifer Holliday in the Supremes biopic 'Dreamgirls'. Released as a single, she took the track to Number 32 in September 1982. Donna Giles' dance remake of the track [it is bloody awful, whatever you do don't look it up] was first released in the summer of 1994 when, despite club popularity, it could only reach Number 43. A little-known dancefloor classic ever since, it finally gets a re-release and explodes onto the chart to beat the peak of even the original.
28 YOUR LOVE (Inner City)
Quite a number of long-absent acts make their Top 40 return this week but surely none of them will be as welcome as this. Arguably one of the most influential house acts of all time, Inner City exploded out of New York in 1988 with the anthems Big Fun and Good Life which were both massive Top 10 hits. Built around the production skills of Kevin Saunderson and the distinctive vocals of Paris Grey, they began to notch up a string of Top 40 hits over the next few years. Things gradually began to peter out during the early 1990's and their last Top 40 appearance was in June 1992 when Pennies From Heaven reached Number 24. They have released records since and had a string of near-misses in 1993 and 1994 but had remained away from the mainstream until now. With the same team still in place, Inner City score their first Top 40 hit for almost four years with this track. Welcome back guys.
31 HEAL (THE SEPARATION) (Shamen)
They may be more famous these days for their internet site but that does not stop Mr C and Colin Angus turning out hit singles, albeit with slightly less impact than they had at their commercial peak in 1992. This new hit becomes the third hit single of their current run, following on from Destination Eschaton and Transamazonia which were both Top 30 hits last year. Things look dodgy for this track, despite the fact that it is slightly more commercial than their last two offerings. If it fails to climb next week it will become their smallest hit since Make It Mine peaked at Number 42 in September 1990.
35 HEAVEN BESIDE YOU (Alice In Chains)
A second hit single in recent months for Alice In Chains, this hit following on from Grind which reached Number 23 in November. Despite the obviously uncommercial nature of their music they have still managed a credible run of hit singles over the last few years. This is their sixth Top 40 hit in total, the biggest being Would which reached Number 19 in 1993.
37 STEAL YOUR LOVE AWAY (Gemini)
A boy band of two identical twins brings back some strange memories of the late 1980's for some reason but that has not stopped attempts to turn the pair into pop stars. Gemini had the curious distinction of being the only new boy band to chart last year, when their first hit Even Though You Broke My Heart reached Number 40 in September. It was a somewhat inauspicious start and a period of re-evaluation followed, broken only by an appearance by the pair on the Childliners single at Christmas. Now they return with a second attempt at stardom, a pleasant enough pop anthem but yet again one that seems destined to underperform - especially as they have rapidly been overtaken by the fortune surrounding Upside Down. Maybe they should have signed up for a TV documentary.
39 TIL I HEAR IT FROM YOU (Gin Blossoms)
A welcome return for the Gin Blossoms after a long silence. They have not had a hit single since 1994 when they reached Number 24 with Hey Jealousy before following it up with Found Out About You which reached Number 40. This track thus becomes their second biggest hit to date - just.
40 GIMMIE THAT BODY (Q Tee)
To bring up the rear this week comes this track, a somewhat charming laid-back female rap track from Q-Tee with her first solo Top 40 hit. She has actually been on the fringes for a number of years and first charted back in 1990 as featured vocalist on History's Afrika which reached Number 42 in April that year. Her last chart appearance came around a year ago when she was part of Love City Groove who broke new ground by being Britain's first ever rap entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. Their eponymous hit came tenth in the contest and was a Top 10 hit in May last year.