1 IT'S LIKE THAT (Run-DMC vs Jason Nevins)
It's still like that, Run-DMC hold firm at the top of the UK chart, once more in the face of some stiff competition. This is now their third week at Number One, the first single so far this year to manage more than a fortnight at the top and indeed in the current volatile chart climate, the longest run at Number One since Aqua's Barbie Girl managed a four week stay in November last year. After the frantic rush of big new singles at the start of the year, a rush which has seen no less than 8 new Number One singles in the first three months, things look to be settling down a little, indeed the continuing dominance of Celine Dion and Run-DMC at the top of the charts is due in part to a lack of potentially large-selling singles released this week, a situation which is likely to be repeated on the chart next week.
2 MY HEART WILL GO ON (Celine Dion)
Now into its seventh week on the chart, all of which have been spent in the Top 3, Celine Dion's Oscar-winning mega-hit confirmed its status as one of the biggest hits of the year by selling its millionth copy at the start of last week. It is the first million-seller of the year (All Saints' Never Ever although breaking through the seven-figure barrier in early January was of course released towards the end of last year). Just to put this in perspective, there are only three solo females to have had million selling singles, Jennifer Rush, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Dion's previous million-selling single was of course Think Twice in 1995, thus making her the first female to have two singles to have reached the holy grail of record sales.
3 LA PRIMAVERA (Sash!)
Some people's bet for a Number One, this brand new track from Sash! loses out in the face of revivalist rap and soundtrack slush respectively. This is the first single from a forthcoming new album from the production wizard who was responsible for some of the biggest-sellling and most enduring dance hits of 1997. Encore Une Fois, Ecuador and Stay all peaked at Number 2 making him the first artist in chart history to open his career with a hattrick of Number 2 hits and it is something of a trend-bucking surprise to see this new hit enter the chart at Number 3, his previous hits having all charted at their ultimate runners-up peak.
4 ALL I WANT IS YOU (911)
There seems to be something of a trend for cute pop ballads at the moment. Whilst Savage Garden linger in the Top 10 with their current offering here come 911 with All I Want Is You, another sweetly harmonised piece of teen romanticism that doubtless would have affected me deeply were I still 14 years old. It is the first hit of the year for the lads who were one of the most consistent chart acts of 1997, charting four hit singles which all went Top 5, the two biggest being Bodyshakin' and The Journey which both landed at Number 3. This now their sixth Top 10 hit in a row.
5 I GET LONELY (Janet Jackson)
Nobody embodies the American marketing strategy of singles as promotion for albums as much as Janet Jackson. The logic is that you release an album and then one by one issue as many tracks as possible as singles, get radio airplay and MTV rotation for the video and hopefully buoy the sales of the album a little. Chart positions hardly matter, they don't sell albums after all. That was almost certainly the case with Together Again, released just before Christmas it was expected to do little more than call attention to the Velvet Rope album and maybe have a quick run in the Top 10. For reasons that at present defy logic Together Again instead became Janet Jackson's biggest ever hit single in this country, spending no less than 10 weeks in the Top 10 and peaking at Number 4 either side of the Christmas holiday. It is still on radio playlists to this day and unless she happens to record a song that is used in a film about a sinking boat it is unlikely she will ever have a single that big again. Fortunately normal service is restored with I Get Lonely which plods along without any sign of a hook and sounds like the perfect Janet Jackson album track, which of course it is. If you like it, that is the format you are supposed to buy, regardless of the thousands that have bought the single instead, sending it straight into the Top 5, the 12th Top 10 hit for Michael's little sister. Those that study the printed chart listings carefully will notice that 911 and Janet Jackson have given the Virgin record label the two biggest new entries of the week and with nearly consecutive catalogue numbers - VSCDT1681 and VSCDT1683 respectively. I have to confess ignorance as to the owner of VSCDT1682 but it is nowhere to be seen on the Top 40. [A quick Google reveals that had been assigned to Daft Punk's Revolution 909 which had been and gone a month earlier].
8 TRULY MADLY DEEPLY (Savage Garden)
Lingering around the Top 10 longer than the average hit as befits its enduring popularity, Savage Garden's ballad shifts up a place after having spent a fortnight at Number 9. It's peak was Number 4 in its first week on the chart six weeks ago, but what is the betting that it goes on to outsell most of other Number 4 hits of the year?
11 ALL THAT MATTERS (Louise)
After Let's Go Round Again comes All That Matters, another track from the 'Woman In Me' album. A close to a formula Louise hit as is possible it is destined for plenty of pop airplay, the odd TV experience and a fairly perfunctory chart run. Although a consistent hitmaker since splitting from Eternal in 1995, she has never had a really big smash hit single, her highest chart position coming last October when 'Arms Around The World' reached Number 4.
12 HOW DO I LIVE? (LeAnn Rimes)
A surprise turnaround for Leann Rimes, her five week old hit reverses its decline and becomes one of the fastest growing hit singles of the week, shooting back up to the position it occupied a fortnight ago. The single's chart peak was Number 7 at the start of March, for the moment anyway.
14 CORPSES (Ian Brown)
His second solo single follows My Star into the chart albeit charting nine places lower and destined for a similarly short chart run.
19 MOVE ON UP (Trickster)
One of two remade singles to chart this week, this is a 1990s-style version of the clasic Curtis Mayfield track which first made Number 12 in August 1971. Alright first and foremost it is a dance single but there are enough elements of the original remaining, one of the first soul singles to be made with more than an eye on the dancefloor and the forerunner of the genre that came to be called "Disco".
21 WHINE AND GRINE (Prince Buster)
Ah, the power of the Levi's ad, now an acknowleged source for a guaranteed hit single. This is the second hit from a Jeans commercial to chart this year, following the Lily's Nanny In Manhatten which made Number 16 in February. Die-hard reggae and ska fans will view this with something approaching untrammeled joy. Prince Buster rivals Bob Marley as one of the most celebrated Jamaican artists ever. Credited with inventing the whole sound of ska music his back catalogue has inspired more artists that it is possible to name in a paragraph. His song Oh Carolina was a Number One when remade by Shaggy in 1993, his song Madness inspired Suggs et al to name themselves after it and they returned the favour by making their song The Prince their first hit single. Obituary columns were recently filled with tributes to the former bouncer Alex Hughes who named himself Judge Dredd after another Prince Buster hit and made a career for himself with risque reggae tracks that were all inspired by Prince Buster songs. As for the man himself, his celebrity is belied by his hitmaking career. Until now he has only ever charted one single - Al Capone made Number 18 in early 1967 and the 32 year gap between that and this new hit single is the fourth longest in chart history.
29 NO SWEAT '98 (North And South)
So what are North And South? Are they the new Monkees, musicians who have hit singles thanks to being featured in a TV show about the band, or are they a genuine pop band who just happen to have their own TV series. Either way, the childrens show 'No Sweat' has given the lads a number of unusually produced hit singles, the biggest of which was I'm A Man Not A Boy which made Number 7 in May last year. In preparation for a brand new series of the show, here is a re-recorded version of the theme tune which looks set to become their smallest hit to date. Either the concept has run its course or they just need the monmentum of being back on television once more. Expect a few more hits from the new album to accompany the new series.
33 MY FATHER'S EYES (Eric Clapton)
A timely release from one of the world's greatest guitarists as the newspapers are full of Eric Clapton's recent discovery of his long-lost family. As if to accompany the articles here comes the single that inspired a journalist to track them down, the first release from his new album Pilgrim, Clapton's first proper studio release for almost eight years. Although the intervening years have seen him dabble with film soundtracks and acoustic performances they have also given him a number of 1990s hits. Pride of place of course goes to Tears In Heaven which became his biggest solo hit ever when it peaked at Number 5 in March 1992. He is even credited with a Number One single thanks to his artist credit for playing guitar on the 1995 Comic Relief single Love Can Build A Bridge which Cher, Neneh Cherry and Chrissie Hynde took to the top of the charts. EC albums tend to produce just the one Top 40 hit, hence chart entries for Behind The Mask in 1987 and Bad Love in 1990 so if he has any more hits from the current album following My Fathers Eyes it will be something of a surprise.
35 TIME AFTER TIME (Changing Faces)
Clearly not an act to hurry with followup singles, Changing Faces first charted in 1994 with Stroke You Up which could only peak at Number 43. They had to wait until last summer for their first Top 40 hit - G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T. which reached Number 10. They now reach the Top 40 for the second time with a double-sided hit. One track is All Day All Night written by R Kelly but the lead track is Time After Time, an interesting cover of Cyndi Lauper's 1984 hit which peaked at Number 3. Curiously enough this isn't the first cover of the song to chart, Hyperstate charted the song briefly in 1993, peaking at Number 71.
39 MY MATE PAUL (David Holmes)
First released in mid-1996 this fusion of big beats and jazz rhythms finally makes a chart appearance after having missed out altogether first time round. Indeed its charting will come as something of a relief to David Holmes, this is his first Top 40 hit after having previously only managed to reach Number 75 with Gone exactly two years ago this week making him one of a select few acts with the smallest chart career possible.