1 DON'T SPEAK (No Doubt)
Well you can't knock it but this does actually come as a bit of a surprise. Most of the midweek forecasts of the chart this week showed a slight drop in sales for No Doubt, causing them to surrender their place at the top of the charts. As it turned out a late surge at the end of the week gave them the edge over the records immediately below them and giving the band an unprecedented (for this year anyway) third week at Number One. Hopefully this should once and for all prove that the frantic turnover of the first two months of this year was little more than a blip caused by a lack of outstanding new product. Now it is just a case of how long they can hold on, especially when you consider that a new Spice Girls single hits the shops this week.
2 HUSH (Kula Shaker)
As expected, Kula Shaker walked away with the Brit Award for Best Newcomers. It crowned off an astonishing year for the mystically inclined band, this time last year they had yet to release a record after having won an unsigned band competition. Fast forward to the present and they have three Top 10 hits to their name, this new single becoming the fourth. Hush was first written back in the 1960s by erstwhile C&W star Joe South, best known internationally for his hit Games People Play. The song was made famous by Deep Purple, becoming their first US Hit single in 1969. Although the single missed out on the charts over here first time round it did eventually chart when reissued in 1988, peaking at Number 62. Kula Shaker's version stays faithful to Deep Purple's arrangement, complete with Hammond Organ. A far cry from their usual deeply mystic singles it is far and away one of their most commercially accessible singles ever and so crashes in to equal the peak of Hey Dude as their biggest hit to date. Speculation was rife that it could go one better and become their first Number One hit but in the end No Doubt proved to be too strong a force to be shifted.
3 DON'T YOU LOVE ME (Eternal)
As has been mentioned before, depending on how you view the figures, Eternal are the most successful all-female act of all time with no less than 11 Top 20 hits to their name to the end of last year. The barrage of releases from the girls seems never ending and so less than three months since Secrets, the fourth single from their second album Power Of A Woman peaked at Number 9, this new track from a forthcoming album becomes their 12th hit single. Despite never appearing to rest, the girls develop their sound with every record. If Don't You Love Me is anything to go by, their new material should give them some of their biggest ever hits. The single takes your breath away the first time you hear it, using the bassline from Don't Look Any Further and opening with a distinctive harpsichord figure it is a wonderful slow groove of a tune, building up to a chorus of children at the very end. After three previous singles peaked at Number 4 they break into the Top 3 for the very first time. In any other week this would have been a Number One single.
5 ALONE (Bee Gees)
An annoying typo last week meant I sold the Bee Gees slightly short, so to put the record straight their Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music marks 30 years of hit singles for the three brothers. In that period of time they have had no less than 18 Top 10 hits, 5 Number Ones and written hit singles for countless other artists, including career-reviving Number Ones for Barbara Streisand and Diana Ross. To put it all in context, their first hit single New York Mining Disaster 1941 charted in April 1967 in a week when Dusty Springfield was at Number One with You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and the Beatles were buried in the Abbey Road studios working on Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
6 NATURAL (Peter Andre)
Breaking his run of Number One hit singles is Peter Andre who does at least notch up his fourth Top 10 hit with this, the title track from his current album. It's another rather listless piece of teen-appeal soul sung by a man whose looks just about outstrip his singing abilities. All fairly harmless and inoffensive and nobody over the age of 13 will ever buy it. Perfect pop in other words.
7 WHERE DO YOU GO (No Mercy)
Regular readers will be only too aware of the mad couple of months near the top of the charts with a seemingly endless parade of Number One hits. Most tellingly of all, few of those chart-toppers have sold in great quantities, most registering quick in and out performances. As a result the best selling single of the year so far is, believe it or not, Where Do You Go. Having been released at the start of January it has spent eight weeks inside the Top 10 and will doubtless stick in the mind far longer than recent Number One from Blur, U2 and Tori Amos.
9 SHOW ME LOVE (Robin S)
Just a week after Candi Staton's 'You Got The Love' exploded back onto the chart, another classic piece of dance makes a somewhat unnecessary return. Show Me Love was the first of five singles released by Robin S back in 1993 and 1994. It peaked at Number 6 in March 1993 and now clearly merits a drastic reworking by modern day remixers. The new mixes don't do too bad a job and give the song a new lease of life, if nothing more. All that is missing is the lady herself who was dropped by Champion Records after one album and has not been heard of since.
11 GET ME HOME (Foxy Brown featuring Blackstreet)
A debut UK hit single for Foxy Brown, aided and abetted by Teddy Riley's backing band Blackstreet. They last charted in October last year, accompanying Dr Dre on the Number 9 hit No Diggity.
13 EVERY TIME I CLOSE MY EYES (Babyface)
A second hit single for Babyface, following on from This Is For The Lover In You which made Number 12 in November last year. Top 10 for his next single maybe?
14 THE NEW POLLUTION (Beck)
Isn't it a strange coincidence how several artists who won Brit awards at the ceremony last week just happen to have new products on release at the same time. Certainly it is the case for the Best International Male artist who follows up last years hits Where It's At and Devils Haircut with his biggest hit to date, sailing past the Number 15 peak of his debut Loser back in 1994.
18 CLOSE TO YOUR HEART (JX)
Producer Jake Williams and singer Carleen [unsure where that came from, all JX hits of this period were sung by Shena] notch up another piece of Hi-NRG dance, this single their first since There's Nothing I Won't Do became one of the dance anthems of last summer when it peaked at Number 4 in early June. The new single follows the same formula, a frantic synthesiser rhythm rounded off with an anthemic chorus. For now it is working a treat and the hits, however sporadic keep on rolling.
19 THE HOLY RIVER (The Artist)
He may not have won an award but his performance at last week's Brits ceremony was certainly one of the highlights of the night. The follow-up to Christmas' Betcha By Golly Wow sees The Artist in a continuing mellow mood, this single a far cry from the funk and guitar workouts you traditionally associate with the man. In fact The Holy River is a rather pleasant, lilting ballad. Hard to think it comes from the same pen as tracks like Sexy MF. Who else in modern pop is this versatile?
22 FALLING IN LOVE (IS HARD ON THE KNEES) (Aerosmith)
One of the all-time great rock bands, Aerosmith suddenly found the 1990s being extremely good to them. Having rediscovered a stripped-down bluesey sound, Steve Tyler et al had a serious of worldwide smash hits with tracks such as Crying and Crazy complete with now-infamous videos that introduced the likes of Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler to the world. Having been silent ever since Crazy made Number 23 in November 1994 the band now return in style, going back to what many feel they do best - uptempo brassy rock. Indeed this new single harks back to the days of Dude (Looks Like A Lady) with its brass accompaniment and the result is an extremely welcome return and their biggest hit single since Cryin' reached Number 17 in November 1993.
23 DON'T SAY YOUR LOVE IS KILLING ME (Erasure)
There was a time when Erasure were the undisputed Kings of electronic pop. Everything they released had a magic to it and the fact that the charts of the last ten years are littered with songs such as Stop, Drama! and Victim Of Love. Lately the magic appears to have gone. Every single they release is still as expertly written and produced as ever with Andy Bell's voice in fine form but there is something vital lacking. This new single is a case in point. At any other stage in an acts' career, it would be a high point, a wonderfully anthemic slice of pop with a singalong chorus and a synthesizer riff that lodges itself into your brain after hearing the disc just once. Yet for some reason this is destined never to be a smash. There is no rational reason for this, it just lacks a certain something that would make it as special as it is clearly trying to be. To get back to the facts of the matter, the single is the second from their forthcoming new album, following on from In My Arms which peaked at Number 13 back in January. More significantly if it fails to climb any higher it will be the first Erasure single to miss the Top 20 since the first release of Who Needs Love Like That way back in 1985.
24 CASANOVA (Ultimate Kaos)
Remember Ultimate Kaos? They were a cute 90s version of the Jackson Five, five London lads led by the squeaky tones of lead singer Haydn. The formula worked and there was something curious endearing about their debut single Some Girls in much the same way that made early Michael Jackson and New Edition singles so special. Their last chart hit was Right Here in July 1995, the enforced layoff being due to Haydn's voice breaking. They return with a cover of an all-but-forgotten classic, Casanova having first been recorded by Levert who took it to Number 9 in September 1987.
38 THE FUNK PHENOMENA (Armand Van Helden)
This man has had a Number One hit this year with few people having noticed. Armand Van Helden is the Dutch producer who was responsible for recreating Tori Amos' Professional Widow into the manic dance workout that topped the charts at the start of January. I wondered at the time why he was not given full artists credit on the track as all the instrumentation was his, Tori Amos' contribution to the track was the odd phrase sampled from the original and nothing more so to credit Professional Widow' to her alone was stretching the point a little. Such is the politics of licensing dance hits. Happily the balance is redressed slightly with the man himself scoring a hit in his own name and sneaking in to the bottom of this week's Top 40.