1 YOU'RE NOT ALONE (Olive)
Full marks to Olive who become the first act since R Kelly to remain at the top for more than a week. They did so in the face of stiff competition from Ms Brightman and Mr Bocelli and this, coupled with some strong new releases next week means a third week at the top may well be beyond them.
2 TIME TO SAY GOODBYE (CON TE PATIRO) (Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli)
Although best known these days for her stage performances in some of the world's most successful musicals, Sarah Brightman has had a surprisingly varied chart career. She started in 1978 as the lead singer of Hot Gossip who scored an international smash hit with I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper. Having put disco behind her she turned into one of Britain's most sophisticated musical artists, thanks especially to her marriage to Andrew Lloyd-Webber. She became one of the few acts to have had a Latin hit single when Pie Jesu from her husband's Requiem Mass made Number 3 in 1985 and as the inevitable choice for the lead role of Christine in The Phantom Of The Opera had a string of hits from the musical, the biggest of which was All I Ask Of You, duetting with Cliff Richard it made Number 3 in October 1986. Her last chart hit came in 1992 when she performed Amigos Para Siempre with Jose Carreras as the theme to the Barcelona Olympics. A chequered chart run saw the single eventually peak at Number 11. Five years later comes her biggest hit of all. This duet with Italian opera star Bocelli has been a Europe-wide smash hit, becoming along the way the biggest selling single in German chart history. As far removed as it is possible to get from the usual round of chart singles, the operatic ballad shoulders every new release of the week out of the way to become an unexpected, but no less welcome, Number 2 smash.
3 LOVE SHINE A LIGHT (Katrina and the Waves)
A inevitable climb for Katrina and the Waves' Eurovision winner but one which also gives the band their biggest ever UK hit. No British Eurovision winner has ever failed to make the Top 3. Sandie Shaw, Brotherhood of Man and Bucks Fizz all hit the top, the only relative failure being Lulu's 1969 joint winner Boom Bang-A-Bang which made Number 2.
4 PLEASE DON'T GO (No Mercy)
Remember the start of this year? The charts seemed to explode in a frenzy of big releases. Hits came and went far quicker than ever before and no less than seven different singles topped the charts in as many weeks. Amidst all this chaos was one consistent factor: Where Do You Go from No Mercy which entered the chart at the start of January and spent nine weeks inside the Top 10, peaking at Number 2 and outselling most of this year's Number One singles. Any followup was bound to be successful, which is just as well as this new single is so disappointingly formulaic as to be offensive. Fundamentally it is the same track with a different melody line and lyrics. All the other aspects of the track are there, the harmonies, the tempo and the flamenco-style rhythm guitar. Top 5 is not to be sniffed at but one can only hope that future hits tread a slightly different path.
9 I DON'T WANT TO (Toni Braxton)
It is unfortunate that Unbreak My Heart was released at the end of a year. Had all its sales been in one calendar year it would surely have been one of the bestsellers of the period. As it stands the single, which was released at the end of October, peaked at Number 2 and spent three months in the Top 10 and 17 weeks inside the Top 40. Part of this was due to the fact that the single was available in two versions, the 'album version' ballad and a remixed dance version that breathed new life into the track. Following that smash hit was always going to be hard so full credit to Toni Braxton for doing so in style with this single, perhaps less sensational than its predecessor but with one crucial asset that seems to benefit a great many hit singles at present - it is written by R Kelly.
11 I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU (Rembrandts)
The person at Channel 4 that decided to buy the US TV series 'Friends' for this country surely deserves a medal. Far and away the most popular US comedy on television it regularly tops the viewing charts for C4 and has sparked a cult which has seen mugs, calendars, T-shirts and cookery books in the shops, coupled with the fact that repeats of both series 1 and 2 are running concurrently on television in anticipation of the third series being screened here in the summer. Friends mania hit new heights this week with the release of a set of videos of the first series that have been flying out of the shops as fast as stocks arrive. To coincide with this comes the timely re-release of the theme song. I'll Be There For You will quite possibly wind up as one of the biggest singles of the decade, first released in the summer of 1995 it reached Number 3 and still figured on radio playlists at Christmas, being an FM stalwart ever since. Despite never being unavailable there is clearly enough interest in the track for this re-release to charge back into the Top 20 and become a smash hit all over again. Astonishing.
13 ALWAYS ON MY MIND (Elvis Presley)
It probably doesn't need saying, but there has never been a chart star like the King. Whichever table of chart statistics you read, he is at or very near the top. More weeks on the chart than anyone else, second only to Cliff Richard in terms of number of hits, 55 Top Ten hits (again only Cliff can boast more) and with the all-time record of 17 Number One hits. His material will always sell and so the lower reaches of the chart are occasionally peppered with re-releases of old hits. After all this time few ever sell in such quantities as to reach the upper end of the charts which makes the reappearance of this single such a surprise. Although cover versions by Willie Nelson and the Pet Shop Boys are more famous these days, Elvis' rendition of the song was the original, making Number 9 in December 1972. Incredibly enough this reissue gives him his first Top 40 hit since I Can Help made Number 30 in December 1983 and furthermore his first Top 20 chart hit since It's Only Love reached Number 3 in August 1980. Always On My Mind is one of the select band of songs to have been a hit in two different recordings by the same act. In 1985 RCA released an alternative take of the song which reached Number 59.
14 BRUISE PRISTINE (Placebo)
Placebo's second hit single, albeit one that lacks the appeal of Nancy Boy. That first hit set Placebo on the road to stardom with its catchy chorus and sheer sense of fun, instantly landing at Number 4 back in February. The new single doesn't quite hit those kind of heights but a Number 14 placing is still respectable enough and they are guaranteed large crowds when they tour here this summer.
15 IF YOUR GIRL ONLY KNEW/ONE IN A MILLION (Aaliyah)
The most alphabetically pronounced act in chart history has her biggest hit for some time with this double-sided single. It is actually a reissue of sorts, although One In A Million has never been a single in this country before If Your Girl Only Knew has, making Number 21 when first released last August. No matter, like all good wines it has clearly matured with age, giving the lady her biggest hit ever, just beating the Number 16 peak of her debut Back And Forth from July 1994.
16 TELL ME DO U WANNA (Ginuwine)
Ginuwine's second hit single, the followup to Pony which coincidentally also hit Number 16 first time out.
20 ASYLUM (Orb)
Another meandering epic soundscape from the Orb, makers of some of the most unconventional records around. It follows their Jean Michel Jarre reworking from earlier in the year Toxygene which became one of their biggest ever hits when it reached Number 4.
21 OUT OF MY MIND (Duran Duran)
Still they seem to go on forever. No matter how many misguided career moves they seem to make, they always bounce back better than ever before. The 1990s revival of one of the greatest bands of the previous decade began of course in 1993 with the Wedding Album and the single Ordinary World. For reasons best known to themselves they followed that up with 1995s ill-fated covers collection that spawned a couple of Top 30 hits but, as their rendition of White Lines demonstrated, was by and large embarrasing. The long silence is finally broken by this single, lifted from the soundtrack of the current film of The Saint and follows Orbital's rendition of the theme tune which made Number 3 last month. Not the best Duran Duran single ever, but after having been around for almost 17 years, to have hit singles at all is something quite special.
23 EXTREMIS (Hal featuring Gillian Anderson)
Hal were the musicians who created the theme and incidental music for the TV series 'Future Fantastic' which was narrated by one Gillian Anderson, the star of the X-Files and allegedly one of the sexiest women in the world. The oft-cited, seldom believed tale of a chance conversation and half-joking suggestion has led to this combination of the pair and Gillian Anderson's first foray into music. To the relief of most she doesn't sing but instead intones in a sultry manner the rather preposterous lyrics whilst Hal make various swooshing noises behind her. Of course, it is gimmicky but enough of a gimmick to ensure the single has a Top 30 placing.
24 BLUE DAY (Suggs & Co. featuring Chelsea Team)
The cut-off point for the chart each week is midnight on Saturday so virtually all of the sales of this single will not have been affected by Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon. Nonetheless the single registered a healthy increase in sales and improves a couple of notches to round off a celebratory weekend for the London side who have for so long been starved of major trophy success. Their opponents also released their Cup Final song this week but their collaboration with Chris Rea and Bob Mortimer fails to register a presence on the chart, the first time since 1993 that only one of the two Cup Final squads has not had a Top 40 single.
26 HERMANN LOVES PAULINE (Super Furry Animals)
The first hit single of 1997 for the Super Furry Animals. It follows their all-conquering run last year which saw them have four Top 40 hits, two of which made the Top 20. Always ones for unusual song subjects, the Hermann and Pauline in question are apparently the parents of Albert Einstein. Mind you, given that their last hit The Man Don't Give A Fuck was reportedly the most obscene song in chart history they are clearly capable of anything.
27 FOR YOU I WILL (Monica)
Monica's first hit of the year, her career over here taking time to hit the big time following her two Top 40 entries last year. A Top 20 hit still awaits her, Before You Walk Out Of My Life came closest, reaching Number 22 in June last year.
28 ASCENSION DON'T EVER WONDER (Maxwell)
No less than four of this week's new entries are making the Top 40 for the second time. Maxwell's Ascension was first released in August last year when it scraped in at Number 39. Always a single that deserved better, the classy piece of late-night retro soul will never be a major hit but now at least becomes a Top 30 entry, landing just a place behind the peak of his other hit Sumthin Sumthin' which was released in March.
30 SISSYNECK (Beck)
Suddenly the subject of endless magazine articles proclaiming him to be the coolest man on earth, Beck notches up another UK hit single to go with The New Pollution which made Number 14 back in March.