1 NO MATTER WHAT (Boyzone)
Three weeks gone now and there seems no stopping them, Boyzone maintain a strong lead at the top of the chart to ensure that No Matter What is set to become one of the biggest hits of the summer. Selling a million copies is by no means out of the question, the single is already edging close to the 980,000 copies clocked up by Julie Covington's Don't Cry For Me Argentina - a total that would make it the biggest selling single from a stage musical ever.
2 MUSIC SOUNDS BETTER WITH YOU (Stardust)
The continuing reign of Boyzone means that Stardust have to hold firm at Number 2 for a second week, never in the running to be Number One this time round but still making the race very close. Music Sounds Better With You has continued to make headlines of its own this week, so enigmatic are the producers that they have not enlisted anyone to front the single for TV performances and no video exists for the record. Still, it gave Top Of The Pops the excuse to be quite wonderfully retro in its attempt to get around the problem. [They aired a montage of famous clips from the show, all soundtracked to the Stardust hit. Affectionate and creative].
3 WHAT CAN I DO (Corrs)
The delight of long-standing Corrs fans that one of the most highly-regarded bands are finally having large chart hits in Britain must be tempered by the way it has happened. Successive single releases from the album Talk On Corners fell short of the Top 40 and it took the release of their cover of Fleetwood Mac's Dreams to give them mass commercial success - the single shot into the chart at Number 8 back in May and its subsequent addition to the album propelled it to the top of the chart. The problem was that Dreams was far removed from their usual musical style, thanks to the single version being a Todd Terry remix that transformed it into a dancefloor stormer, reminiscent of Everything But The Girl's Missing. Now the same has happened with What Can I Do, first released back in March in its original form only to peak in the mid-50s. For this new release the single is fronted by a Tin Tin Out remix which beefs up the guitars, adds some beats, naturally, and turns what was originally a rather sweet ballad into a quite irresistible pop song. It duly becomes their biggest hit ever, ensures that 2 of the Top 3 acts this week are Irish but equally means that Britain is virtually the only country in Europe where the Corrs cannot have a hit with their music the way they intended it to sound.
7 REAL GOOD TIME (Alda)
The latest European pop sensation to be exported over here is Alda, born in Iceland and now based in Sweden. This single has, as you would expect, sold by the bucketload in Europe and now becomes a Top Ten hit over here, one of those songs that is a killer chorus with the verses a mere irrelevance. Maybe a little uninspired but I suspect if I was 12 years old I would love it.
9 MY WEAKNESS IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS (Embrace)
...in which Embrace confirm that they are indeed a chart force to be reckoned with, as if their Number One album wasn't proof enough. Depending on who you talk to, The Verve could well be on the verge of disintegrating for the second time which leave Embrace nicely poised to fill the gap left. Their third successive Top 10 hit is more of the same, epic string-laden rock that somehow manages to tug on your heartstrings. A Top 5 hit may remain beyond them for the moment but that minor point aside, Embrace seem at present unable to do any wrong.
13 SPECIAL KIND OF SOMETHING (Kavana)
You remember this guy, the fresh-faced teenager with a string of chart hits to his name, most notably his cover of I Can Make You Feel Good and MFEO, both of which made Number 8 during 1997 and which contributed to him picking up the Smash Hits award for Best Male Solo Artist last November. Earlier this year he declared he was tired of being promoted as a solo boy band and decided he wanted a more mature sound - hence this is the first outing for the 'new' Kavana. Don't be fooled by this, he is still promoted as a heartthrob and is doing the rounds of the summer roadshows but the single represents a slight change in style, a song he co-wrote which has a more soulful edge to it than previous chart hits. For the moment it appears to have worked and the single lands nicely in the Top 20 with plenty of radio support behind it. Time will tell whether this new-found mature sound will produce further Top 20 hits.
20 WALKING AFTER YOU (Foo Fighters)
Soundtrack time now. Although it is Noel Gallagher's contribution to the soundtrack of the new X-Files movie that has generated the most interest, the honour of being the first single release from the film goes to the Foo Fighters with a track that surely must rank as one of their most commercially appealing releases ever. It gives them their second hit of the year, following My Hero which peaked at Number 21 in late January and is now the 6th Top 20 hit for the band since they first charted with This Is A Call in 1995.
27 HOW DO I LIVE (LeAnn Rimes)
Nope, no way is this single dead just yet. Last week How Do I Live dipped out of the Top 30 for the first time ever but now bounces back, just in time to celebrate its 26th week on the chart, six months of the years most syrupy ballad still managing to find people who don't yet own a copy and who didn't get round to buying it in March when it was first released. The single is now just a few short weeks from joining that elite group of records that have spent 30 weeks on more in the charts. This week it does clock up a record of its own, sailing past the 25 week run of Celine Dion's Think Twice to have the longest Top 40 run of the decade and indeed holds the honour being the most enduring Top 40 hit since Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax clocked up a staggering 37 consecutive weeks in 1984.
32 STORM (Storm)
A massive Euro club hit that calls to mind the summer of 1990 when electronic bleeps were all the rage. This somewhat anonymous dance single does carry an air of mystery to it - are Storm really Jam and Spoon under an assumed name? [Yes].
35 AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH (Jocelyn Brown)
At the start of the summer a covers war erupted with various acts competing with Hi-NRG versions of the classic Diana Ross song Ain't No Mountain High Enough. Alastair Whitehead's version (recorded under the name White House) was odds on favourite to reach the charts but in the event it loses out to this version by the ultimate disco diva Jocelyn Brown. This is actually something of a rarity for her, a single released under her own name as usually she appears either as a credited guest star on someone else's record or else she is not credited at all, her distinctive voice often the only thing that gives the game away. Indeed this is the first time she has had a Top 40 hit with a 'solo' single since 1984 when she made Number 13 with Somebody Else's Guy, recently covered of course by CeCe Peniston. This is only the second time that a cover of one of the most famous soul records ever made has charted. Diana Ross' original made Number 6 in 1970 whilst the Boystown Gang crawled to Number 46 in 1981 with their camp disco version. The presence of this single, plus that of Cleopatra means that this week there are two singles in the Top 40 that are remakes of classic Motown songs.
36 LET THE MUSIC HEAL YOUR SOUL (Bravo All Stars)
A curious charity conglomeration this, a record made by a supergroup of various acts including The Backstreet Boys, Aaron Carter, N-Sync plus popular continental acts such as Scooter and other names that mean little over here. The single is in aid of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy charity and is a typical sweet-melodied inspirational song complete with ensemble chorus that follows the template of virtually every charity single made since the mid-1980s.
38 PART OF THE PROCESS (Morcheeba)
Believe it or not this is only the second Top 40 hit for Morcheeba. Despite being one of the most written-about bands of recent years they have never quite managed to turn that into singles success. Number 38 for Part Of The Process means it becomes their biggest hit to date, Trigger Hippie having made Number 40 in October 1996. [Their most famous recording and a career-defining all-time classic record. And it genuinely only crept to Number 38 in Britain. What a waste].