1 YOUR WOMAN (White Town)
White Town is the alias of Jyoti Mishra, born in India but brought up in Derby. He developed an interest in music, first of all on keyboards but then gradually taught himself to become a multi-instrumentalist, progressing to the guitar by a rather bizarre combination of Buddy Holly and Wedding Present albums. For the past few years he has been something of a hidden secret, writing and recording a series of gems all by himself on a 8-track recorder at home. An EP of songs called Abort, Retry, Fail? (so named because his hard disc crashed as he was about to mix it) found its way into the hands of Radio One DJ Mark Radcliffe who leapt upon the track Your Woman and played it constantly. That led to a deal with Chrysalis records and a rush-release for the track. The buzz surrounding White Town was too much to ignore and the single sweeps magestically to Number One, outselling the rest of the Top 10 by a margin of 3:1 to land him with a Number One hit with his very first single. Don't be fooled into thinking this is another Babylon Zoo and the product of a great deal of hype, Your Woman is quite frankly a stunning record, the distorted vocals blending perfectly with the eclectic mix of guitars, keyboards and Al Bowlly samples. Without a doubt the first smash hit single of 1997. [Jyoti Mishra was also a very active voice online, a regular poster to the uk.music.misc usenet group, often to be found ranting about the record label politics which prevented him ever following up this spectacular hit].
2 PROFESSIONAL WIDOW (IT'S GOTTA BE BIG) (Tori Amos)
The huge appeal of White Town proved too much for Tori Amos' single and Armand Van Helden's recreation of the album track slips a place in a move which seems certain to spell the imminent end of its chart run. Curiously enough the same fate befalls Lisa Stansfield's hit which tumbles to Number 10 but still leaves 20% of the Top 10 taken up by two records with identical instrumental bases.
3 SAY WHAT YOU WANT (Texas)
For many people one of the best singles around at present, Texas make a strong climb into the Top 3, making this far and away their biggest hit single ever.
5 WHERE DO YOU GO (No Mercy)
Another impressive climb from No Mercy, their five place climb making them the fastest movers on this week's chart. The fact that two songs can make such good progress towards the top end of the chart owes a little to a temporary lull in the parade of smash hit single releases. Don't be fooled though, a succession of smashes are due to hit the streets over the next couple of weeks.
6 SATURDAY NIGHT (Suede)
The third single from the album and yet another smash hit for Suede, this marking the first time they have ever had three successive Top 10 singles. Indeed, Saturday Night does so well it eclipses the Number 8 peak of 'Beautiful Ones' back in November last year. This single follows the Great Unwritten rule of record releases that the third single should be a ballad. Brett Anderson can write a strong song in whatever tempo, however, and the plaintive Saturday Night evokes memories of their 1994 hit Wild Ones and surely ranks alongside it as one of the best singles they have ever released.
8 COME BACK BRIGHTER (Reef)
Never mind brighter, they just seem to get bigger and bigger. Reef follow up Novembers' Put Your Hands with their second consecutive Top 10 hit. This is still a record based mainly on their currently colossal following and whilst it stops short of being an utter racket it is still far to loud to appeal to the populace at large... expect a tumble next week.
12 STREET DREAMS (Nas)
The second chart hit for Nas, following on from a long break after the Number 12 success of If I Ruled The World in August 1996. Matching that peak comes this new hit, based rather loosely on the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams to a not unpleasant effect. R Kelly supplies the mixes and the result is another Top 20 hit.
14 GET UP (EVERYBODY) (Byron Stingily)
Exactly eight years ago dance music suddenly rediscovered soul. Having taken the hardcore principles of Chicago House music as far as he could with the Roland TR303 sound of Acid House, Marshall Jefferson put the song back into dance music with the sound of Deep House, classic soul set to a house rhythm. Central to this mini-movement was the Jefferson-produced Ten City who reached Number 8 in February 1989 with the nostalgic That's The Way Love Is. Lead singer of the group was Byron Stingily who has not been idle since the dissolution of the band and now explodes into the Top 20 with his first solo hit single. Get Up (Everybody) may not be the greatest dance records ever made but it comes with the added bonus of one of the great underrated soul voices and is all the more welcome for it.
15 HEY CHILD (East 17)
[Want proof that intensive media-led firestorms which rage out of all proportion to their actual significance are not unique to the Twitter age? Check this story out. This really happened].
Welcome to the mad, mad world of East 17. The controversy first started on Thursday morning last week when a clearly tired and emotional Brian Harvey, the group's lead singer, gave an interview during the course of which he strongly advocated the taking of certain so-called 'recreational' drugs and boasted openly about his own personal habits. The popular press, which have in recent months given prominent coverage to several tragic deaths involving ecstacy and associated narcotics, leaped on this tale and condemned his actions. Questions were raised in the House of Commons, causing the Prime Minister to condemn Harvey's words and several publicity-hungry radio stations announced a blanket ban on all East 17 records.
By Thursday evening the hysteria was getting out of control, the band distanced themselves from the words of their erratic singer and Harvey himself apologised, explaining he had been caught unawares by the line of questioning and was in an antagonistic mood on the night of the interview. All was still not well and on Friday afternoon the other three members of the group Tony Mortimer, John Hendy and Terry Coldwell sacked Harvey for 'unacceptable behaviour' and threatened legal action over the potential loss of earnings the scandal had caused.
By Saturday the story had changed, Hendy and Coldwell having visited a distraught Harvey announced that his future with the band would be considered at a meeting today (Monday). Quite what the rest of us are supposed to make of this is anybody's guess, Brian Harvey's future with the band had been in some doubt for months; he had actually quit shortly before Christmas but changed his mind soon afterwards, despite failing to appear with the group to promote their new single. The fact that Hey Child makes a dramatic tumble to Number 15 this week will be attributed to the events of the past few days, although it is doubtful that anyone wanting to buy the single over the weekend will have been swayed by a few rent-a-quote MPs getting hot under the collar over the comments of a pop star or the decision of a few tin-pot local radio stations having fun smashing CDs on air. Nonetheless, the whole saga tells an interesting tale, although it is more one of how a few unguarded remarks can land an unsuspecting star in deep water rather than the amount of influence the lead singer of East 17 has over the opinions of the entire country. When one considers also that in the last couple of weeks Liam Gallagher has been cautioned for possession of cannabis without any of his records being banned, the whole affair appears to have been a bandwagoning excuse for some publicity by a great many people, all at the expense of the band who now have to decide whether their long-term future is to be affected by the increasingly erratic antics of their charismatic lead singer.
16 PONY (Ginuwine)
The current US Top 10 hit explodes into life over here to give Ginuwine his first ever British hit single.
18 LET ME HEAR YOU SAY 'OLE OLE' (Outhere Brothers)
Oh dear. Remember this pair? They burst onto the charts in the spring of 1995 like a sanitised version of the 2 Live Crew, 2 American rappers producing tailor-made party rap hits with banal singalong hooks and a constant sniggering innuendo thanks to the unexpurgated versions of the singles. What is most bizarre of all is that we fell for it and they had two Number One hit singles, first Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle) and then the interminable Boom Boom Boom. After a couple more hits they appeared to have vanished for good but not so. Here come the snickering pair again with another hit sounding pretty much like all the others. Once more it goes for the jugular, an uptempo party hit with a built-in crowd pleasing chant. One could write them off for entering so low, but bear in mind that the last single to climb to Number 1 from outside the Top 10 was none other than Boom Boom Boom which only made Number 15 in its first week on release.
26 BEYOND THE INVISIBLE (Enigma)
The third Enigma album Le Roi est Mort...Vive Le Roi was released a few weeks before Christmas and was scheduled to be accompanied by a single Beyond The Invisible. Worried that it would be submerged in the Christmas rush, the single was delayed until the new year leaving the album to flounder with little more than a few TV ads for promotion. Finally the new single is relased and Britain can wake up to the fact that there is a new Enigma album. For some reason it seems nobody cares. Whereas Sadeness was unique in its time (and a deserved Number One) and Return To Innocence was the start of a long-awaited return Beyond The Invisible carries with it little in the way of sensation. That Michael Cretu has created another immaculate production is beyond any doubt but does the average person really need to own more than about two albums or singles of meandering, trancy dance music. Those that do feel the need will of course have bought the album already and will have contributed to the sales of this single, the rest of us will just smile fondly at memories of having sex to Mea Culpa and put the Faithless CD back on. [I remember being grumpy at that final line being toned down by the editor at dotmusic. I preferred my original turn of phrase].
27 DON'T WAIT UP (Thunder)
Forever it seems the also-rans of British rock despite a string of near-classic singles, Thunder crash into the Top 30 with their first single since their 1995 cover of In A Broken Dream. A new album and tour are set to follow and further singles are surely due to follow, however much they seem to be sounding more and more like AC/DC with every successive release. Would anyone disagree that their best ever single was their 1990 debut Dirty Love?
32 WIGGLY WORLD (Mr Jack)
A faintly amusing piece of novelty dance, the largely instrumental track takes the 1970s as a reference point, samples Let's Go Round Again, gets used in a few nightclub sets and vanishes from the chart a week later.
33 HOUSE ON FIRE (Arcarna)
A debut single from the 3-piece group whose music pedigree is only slightly more impressive than their first hit single. Only a small hit but there is more to come from them.
36 MOON (Virus)
Virus my foot, the Perfecto record label and the whole sound of this track do little to disguise that this is yet another alias for messrs Oakenfold and Osborne who may not be the veritable hit factory they were a couple of years ago but who can still produce some stunning dance music. Moon is based loosely on U2s Lemon from 1993s Zooropa album and calls to mind the Perfecto remix of Even Better Than The Real Thing and that U2 themselves have a new album and single out soon.
40 MONTREAL (Wedding Present)
A welcome return to the Top 40 for the Wedding Present who are now attempting to reestablish themselves after a long absence and a series of record label swaps which would have broken the spirit of many lesser bands. The Leeds indie-kings of the last ten years are not going to go away easily, this is their first Top 40 single since No Christmas reached Number 25 in December 1992. That single was the final release in their celebrated sequence of a single every month for the whole of 1992. Every one made the Top 30 making them equals with Elvis Presley as the most consistent hitmakers within a 12 month period. Fitting too that they should be at the bottom end of a chart that is headed by a man who lists them as one of his greatest influences.