1 I'LL BE MISSING YOU (Puff Daddy and Faith Evans)
Chartwatchers often talk in terms of the three week rule. The logic goes that in the current climate of singles entering the charts high only to tumble shortly after, any single which has maintained its position after three weeks can be considered to have crossed over to a very wide audience. Full marks then to Puff Daddy's single which remains at Number One for the crucial third week, just one short of the four managed by the Police's original of Every Breath You Take. It's continued success is all the more notable as the single was something of a rarity in marketing terms. Many major singles are normally released at a lower price for the first couple of weeks (one of the major factors in singles entering so high) before increasing to standard levels. I'll Be Missing You by contrast came with no such discounts and all its sales have been at the higher price, even in the face of cheaper priced competition from new releases. For a change it is possible to say with almost 100% certainty that this will not be topping the charts next week... officially this is Oasis -1.
3 THE JOURNEY (911)
Of all the seemingly endless parade of Boy Bands, three stand out as the ones who are guaranteed a smash hit with ever released. Boyzone are one obviously along with the Backstreet Boys but by far the most successful so far this year are 911. They edge ever closer to their first Number One with every successive release. The Day We Find Love made Number 4 in February whilst May saw Bodyshakin' reach Number 3. Their upward momentum stalls slightly with this new single but somehow I hardly think they will be complaining. The title track from their debut album it has a rather more serious theme than your average boy band single, being an account of singer Lee's childhood battle with cancer and is quite justifiably one of their most accomplished efforts to date.
4 FREE (Ultra Nate)
It has been a very quiet week for major new singles. Although still astonishing compared with ten years ago, just three new entries in the Top 10 and six in the Top 20 means that many singles which would otherwise have been pushed out by new entries suddenly find themselves gaining second wind. By far the most impressive performance comes from Ultra Nate who continues the yo-yo she began last week to climb back to the Number 4 peak the single last reached three weeks ago.
5 SOMETHING GOING ON (Todd Terry)
The biggest new dance hit of the week quite rightfully goes to one of the masters. Although primarily know as a producer, Todd Terry has over the past couple of years started to appear in the chart under his own name. His first ever Top 40 hit came in October 1995 when a remix of his 1988 classic Weekend made the Top 30. Then last year he reached the Top 10 for the first time with Keep On Jumpin' and now crashes into the Top 5 with this brand new single, his biggest ever hit.
8 A CHANGE WOULD DO YOU GOOD (Sheryl Crow)
A surprising rebound for Sheryl Crow whose singles appeared to be following the law of diminishing returns. After her successful comeback last Autumn with If It Makes You Happy successive singles peaked ever lower, climaxing in 'Hard To Make A Stand' which could only manage Number 22 in March. Suddenly the situation is reversed with this fourth single from the album which benefits from extensive radio airplay to crash into the Top 10 to give her a quite unexpected second biggest hit of her career so far... just four places behind the peak of All I Wanna Do from 1994.
11 ALL THAT I GOT IS YOU (Ghostface Killah)
This is one of those singles that makes you sit back and just revel in its brilliance. Rap has clearly come a long way in the last few years. No longer restricted to posturing against a hip hop rhythm (or any of its derivatives), several artists have proved that you can rap to almost anything. The piano and strings sample used for All That I Got Is You combine to make one of the most poignant rap singles since 2-Pac's Ain't Mad Atcha. Ghostface Killah is of course one of the members of the Wu-Tang clan, the rappers whose reputation is so great they recently hit Number One on the album charts without having had a single Top 40 hit (so far). The sad tale of his childhood also features a guest vocal from Mary J Blige, by no means the first time she has helped with a solo Wu-Tang project as she also guested on Method Man's You're All I Need To Get By which made the Top 10 exactly two years ago this week.
12 AIR WE BREATHE (Alisha's Attic)
Demonstrating a remarkable level of consistency, Alisha's Attic storm the Top 20 with their fourth hit single. Although their debut I Am I Feel remains their biggest seller it could only peak at Number 14 in August last year. Not so their other singles as Air We Breathe becomes their third hit on the trot to reach Number 12.
17 AIN'T THAT ENOUGH (Teenage Fanclub)
It is almost eight years since Teenage Fanclub were formed and six since they first charted a single. Since then the commercial fortunes of the Glasgow band have been a series of ups and downs, never quite hitting the heights their music and following suggests they deserve. 1995s Grand Prix album was a case in point, their best work to that date, full of melodic brilliant guitar-pop songs yet it could only spawn a few minor hit singles, the biggest being Mellow Doubt which reached Number 34. Somehow all that might be set to change. With a new album due in a few weeks and with a lucrative stadium support slot for the Beautiful South in the wings, 1997 might finally be the year of Teenage Fanclub. This new single is certainly a brilliant start, wonderfully catchy and commercial enough to hold its own against apparently more populist material from bands such as Cast or the Bluetones. Ain't That Enough is far and away their biggest hit single ever and may it be the first of many more.
22 I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU (Rembrandts)
Another one of this week's more surprising rebounds is the nine place climb for the Rembrandts, taking them back up to the position they occupied a fortnight ago. Remember this is a two year old single, never off the radio and which has spent a total of 20 weeks inside the Top 75 since it was first released, yet still it sells. This sudden boost is likely to be due to the fact that the long-awaited first episode of the third series was finally shown in this country last week... although why that should inspire yet more fans to rush out and buy the theme is anyone's guess.
23 GIVE ME LOVE (Diddy)
Re-release time once more for this classic underground club hit. It is the usual story, dance single is released to clubs, becomes enormously popular, gets a commercial release and then stiffs in the charts. Such was the case with Give Me Love, first released in February 1994 when it could only reach Number 52. The second part of the story is the same, "lost classic" gets re-released, everyone forgets why they didn't buy it the first time and voila... a Top 30 hit.
30 COPPER GIRL (3 Colours Red)
Still awaiting a really big hit single but winning awards for consistency, 3 Colours Red become the first act to have four Top 40 hits this year. To do so is not all that unusual but to do so at the start of July is quite phenomenal, even if it is due to their singles all peaking rapidly and selling for no more than a couple of weeks. Fewer acts still manage five Top 40 hits in a year and 3 Colours Red have over five months to manage it.
36 DAYS OF YOUTH (Laurnea)
The debut hit single for Laurnea, the current darling of the R&B world. This may be to do with not just her talent but her association with former golden boys Arrested Development, an association that extends to lead singer Speech producing and guesting on this track. She is by no means the first former Arrested Development singer to go solo, Dionne Farris of course being the most famous although her big American smash I Know never once made the UK Top 40 despite being released twice.
38 LOVE HAS PASSED AWAY (Supernaturals)
The Supernaturals should perhaps take heart from the fact that Teenage Fanclub have just had their first ever Top 20 hit after six years of trying. Fellow countrymen the Supernaturals are arguably one of the best bands around at the moment and their four hit singles to date have only served to reinforce that reputation This latest offering, a wonderfully sophisticated ballad of self-loathing in the same style as Day Before Yesterday's Man sadly becomes their smallest hit to date, something that is actually a crying shame.