1 IT'S LIKE THAT (Run-DMC featuring Jason Nevins)
Surely surpassing all previous expectations, Run-DMC cling on for yet another week at Number One, their fourth in succession to equal the run of Aqua's Barbie Girl at the end of last year. It's Like That began life as one of the first tracks they ever recorded, helped them to get a record deal in the first place and was subsequently ignored in favour of its original b-side. Fittingly the track is now an international smash hit and the revival is set to continue - rumour has it that several new mixes of classic Run-DMC tracks are on the starting blocks.
2 MY HEART WILL GO ON (Celine Dion)
....and as the dominance of Run-DMC continues so Celine Dion remains jammed at Number 2 for the third week in succession and the fifth in total. Working back from there you will realise that she could have potentially been at Number One for seven out of the last eight weeks had circumstances been different. When listing the singles by female singers that have sold a million last week I omitted from the list Whigfield's Saturday Night which also toppped seven figures in late 1994. When one considers that the other singles to manage this honour are overblown power ballads such as The Power Of Love, I Will Always Love You and Think Twice, the Whigfield track finds itself in the unusual position of being a refreshing breath of fresh air.
4 KISS THE RAIN (Billie Myers)
It is the stuff of legends. Young office worker is approached on a dancefloor by a record company boss who wants to know if she can sing as well as she dances. Whether true or not it has certainly helped draw attention to Billie Myers who on the strength of this is set to become a major star. In an unusual move she was pushed in America first of all and Kiss The Rain has spent the last few months entrenching itself in the upper half of the Hot 100. Quite whether the logic of "it's a hit in the States so it must be good" actually applies is open to some debate but it has meant that the reception for the track in her native country has been all the more favourable and in a relatively quiet week for new single releases enables the track to charge into the Top 3 and ensures that Billie Myers will never again go unnoticed on a dancefloor.
5 TRULY MADLY DEEPLY (Savage Garden)
With few outstanding new singles being released at the moment, several current hits have had the chance to put in chart performances that are normally unheard of outside the Christmastime rush. Take Savage Garden for instance. Their hit is now in its seventh week on the chart, all of which have been spent inside the Top 10. Having fallen as low as Number 9 the single has been moving up again over the past couple of weeks and now comes to rest at Number 5, just a place below its original peak at the start of March.
7 GIVE A LITTLE LOVE (Daniel O'Donnell)
As if to prove that easy-listening music doesn't have to be saved for Christmastime, Daniel O'Donnell pops up with the most surprising hit of the week. Since the "is he country or isn't he" debate of the early 1990s the Irish star has run up a modest tally of hit singles, his best to date being his debut I Just Want To Dance With You which made Number 20 in September 1992, his last chart outing coming last summer when The Love Songs EP made a brief appearance in the Top 20. Never before has he had a hit quite this big, recorded in aid of the Romanian Challenge Appeal which is raising money for Romanian orphans. With very little radio or press exposure the single cocks a snook at most marketing theories and has sold enough copies to send it crashing into the Top 10. Of course it is so twee as to be nauseating and nobody under the age of 30 is likely to touch it but let nothing take away the beauty of the fact that the presence on the chart of this single, combined with the way an orchestral soundtrack is dominating the top of the albums listing proves beyond all doubt that in the British charts anything is possible.
9 HOW DO I LIVE (LeAnn Rimes)
Of all the curious chart moves of the last few weeks, only LeAnn Rimes has crossed the line into simply astonishing. The Oscar-nominated track first charted at the start of March at Number 7 before beginning a graceful slide down to the bottom end of the Top 20, reaching a low of Number 19 a fortnight ago. Since she performed the song at the Oscar ceremony the single has taken on a new lease of life and now finds itself back in the Top 10 a full four weeks since it was last in the upper reaches, a feat that is almost without precedent in recent years.
16 MORE THAN US EP (Travis)
Their presence on the Oasis tour last year has meant that Travis have finally been given the high profile they had lacked before. Despite rave reviews their singles had struggled for exposure, the best they had managed before this was the enduring radio classic Tied To The 90s which reached Number 30. This is a situation that now changes with this new release. The EP contains not only a Beatles cover but a live track that features Noel Gallagher on guitar. The lead track is a re-recording of an album track More Than Us and is in startling contrast to any of their previous releases, an epic string-laden ballad that is simply outstanding. The string arrangement on the track is by Anne Dudley, part of the Art Of Noise and the choice of most acts if they want an orchestral arrangement for any reason. She is also now an Oscar-winner having picked up a statuette for her work on the score of The Full Monty.
19 READ MY MIND (Conner Reeves)
Another Top 20 hit (his third) for Conner Reeves, regarded by many as the biggest R&B talent in the country and who sounds more like Stevie Wonder with each successive release. Remixed from his album, Read My Mind ups the tempo and also the appeal. Still not enough to give him a major smash hit but that will surely come in time.
20 READY FOR A NEW DAY (Todd Terry)
Isn't it funny how after over a decade and a half of being one of the most celebrated dance producers in the world, Todd Terry should be in the middle of his best run of hits ever. Part of it is of course due to the decision to credit him directly with tracks such as It's Over Now and Something's Going On as he has masterminded countless other hits for too many acts to name. This new single sees him team up again with Martha Wash who charts hot on the heels of her remake of It's Raining Men which peaked at 21 just a few weeks ago.
22 LOVE SHY (Kristine Blond)
A strong chart debut for this single from new Danish sensation Kristine Blond. It's a great pop single, even if it sounds like it was made ten years ago - although maybe that is its strength.
23 SHOUT TO THE TOP (Fire Island/Loleatta Holloway)
Even straightforward covers can have a touch of genius about them. Fire Island are in fact Terry Farley and Pete Heller who as the Heller And Farley project reached Number 22 with Ultra Flava in February 1996. For this single they have drafted in the legendary Loleatta Holloway for this cover of the Style Council's 1984 Number 7 hit. A curious choice you make think, but the original has always been something of a club favourite and the kind of track that a DJ will put on towards the end of an evening as a surprise choice. Tracking Holloway's previous chart career is harder than it looks as her mid-80s track Love Sensation has been sampled on more 1990s dance hits than it is possible to name, most famously on Black Box's 1989 Number One Ride On Time and Marky Mark's Good Vibrations which marked the first time she had successfully demanded label credit for her most famous vocal performance. Her last chart credit came in 1992 when Cappella also used samples of her voice on their Number 25 hit Take Me Away. Shout To The Top is the first time she has appeared in the Top 40 with a straight vocal track. The single itself is nothing short of brilliant, the song lending itself perfectly to a dance arrangement but if the thought of a Paul Weller track being such a great dance hit is still puzzling to you, consider that the final Style Council recordings in 1989 were covers of classic House tracks such as Promised Land.
26 MOST HIGH (Page and Plant)
So the spirit of Led Zeppelin lives on. Three years after their celebrated reunion for an MTV concert the two leading lights from the metal legends have teamed up for a brand new album proper. Their last reunion produced the Number 35 cover of the Zeppelin track Gallows Pole but this brand new single goes nine places better and gives Robert Plant his highest chart placing since he reached Number 21 with 29 Palms in May 1993. As for Jimmy Page, he has never been this high in the chart, his best effort coming in July 1993 when in collaboration with David Coverdale he made Number 29 with Take Me For A Little While. All of this of course ignores their original recordings together as part of Led Zeppelin, one of the most famous being Whole Lotta Love which was famously released as a single for the first time ever in September last year when it made Number 21, the only single the band have to date released in this country.
28 SOMEDAY I'LL FIND YOU (Shola Ama and Craig Armstrong)
Almost since anyone can remember, Neil Tennant has spoken of plans to make an entire concept album of unusual covers. The Pet Shop Boys' own renditions of tracks such as U2s Where The Streets Have No Name and Steven Sondheim's Somewhere are evidence his willingness to experiment with other people's music. Now he has overseen a complete project at long last. The album is called Twentieth Century Blues - The Songs Of Noel Coward and features a variety of artists performing new versions of songs from the Master of English wit - all for the benefit of the Red Hot Aids charity. The first single to be released from the set is this version of Someday I'll Find You which sees Shola Ama and Massive Attack man Craig Armstrong stay close to the original ballad but lending a more soulful air to the famous song. Those seeking an example of the more eclectic songs on the album should check out the b-side of the single which features The Divine Comedy suggesting that I've Been To A Marvellous Party was actually the forerunner of Underworld's Born Slippy and really has to be heard to be believed. Not the biggest of hits but as a promotion for the forthcoming album it has performed its task well. I'm tempted to wonder if this will now inspire an album of Ivor Novello covers but knowing Neil Tennant he has probably thought of that as well.
29 REWIND (Celetia)
The award for R&B discovery of the week goes to Celetia, aged 18 from South London and with a debut hit that promises much, even if a minor Top 30 hit is all she can manage this time round. [This was Celetia Martin's one and only chart hit as a performer, but she went on to become a songwriter of some note. Not Giving Up by The Saturdays is one of hers].
31 FAILURE (Skinny)
This is something of a week for unusual sounding singles. Divine Comedy and Alabama 3 to name but two and they are joined by this debut hit for Skinny, which sounds like Bob Dylan singing Jaques Brel to a trip-hop beat. Unbelievably cool.
38 PUSH (Matchbox 20)
Surely familiar to a great many people, the debut hit from Matchbox 20 is a great mellow rock song, brilliantly produced, well sung and with a wonderful late night atmosphere to it. That itself should explain why it has been a massive American hit and is destined, tragically, to become a minor UK hit. The fact that this single is at Number 38 and Daniel O'Donnell is at Number 7 makes me wonder whether faith in human nature is a waste of time. [A genuine lost classic, as far as the UK is concerned anyway].
40 AIN'T GOIN' TO GOA (Alabama 3)
An unlikely sounding Top 40 single, but then again so is Daniel O'Donnell so who cares? The first hit for Alabama 3 is a bluesey country track set to a house beat with lyrics that espouse the rejection of anything remotely mystical and new-agey. Having been playing support to Chumbawamba in America recently the band are set to play some dates over here this month which should mean this won't be the last we hear of Alabama 3. [As far as Top 40 hits go it totally was, but the band behind Woke Up This Morning remain cult favourites].