1 YOU MAKE ME WANNA (Usher)
[Superstar debut klaxon!] The new year merry-go-round continues. Another new week, another new Number One hit. This particular track could hardly fail to be massive. Already a US smash for the 18 year old, Usher's single has been topping the dance charts since well before the Christmas holidays. Upon its release it makes him one of a select few chart acts to hit Number One with his first ever chart single and part of the even more elite few to enter the chart at Number One with his first hit. The speculation now mounts as to whether he can buck the current trend and spend more than a week at the top, but with new singles due out this week from the likes of Will Smith and Aqua, would you really put money on it?
3 MULDER AND SCULLY (Catatonia)
That's Mulder and Scully as in "this could be a case for...", Catatonia's hit is no more about the X-Files than Sleeper's Nice Guy Eddie was about Reservoir Dogs but that doesn't stop the pop-culture reference being any less cute. This is the first release from Catatonia's second album and marks their transformation from depressive indie-darlings to genuine chart stars. Lead singer Cerys Matthews is being feted as the new queen of indie and it seems almost irrelevant that the single is a masterpiece. Easily beating the Number 40 peak of I Am The Mob, from last November and the Number 35 of You've Got A Lot To Answer For from September 1996, their only previous Top 40 hits, Mulder And Scully is a guitar-laden potential classic that has a Top 3 new entry as its reward.
4 HIGH (Lighthouse Family)
Just to prove that there is still an opportunity for some curious moves in these post-Christmas charts, the Lighthouse Family suddenly accelerate once more. After a fortnight at Number 7 High ascends the chart to eclipse its original Number 5 peak to equal the peak of Lifted as their biggest hit single ever.
5 ALL AROUND THE WORLD (Oasis)
With most Oasis singles (and indeed albums it seems) following the pattern of massive first week sales followed by a swift decline, the chances of All Around The World spending a second week at the top were remote to say the least. So it proves as the single takes a spectacular dive and is notably even outsold this week by All Saints' Never Ever, the single it replaced at the top. What makes Oasis virtually unique is that they have "never ever" spent more than a single week at the top with any single. Back in 1995 Some Might Say was dumped by Livin' Joy's Dreamer, Don't Look Back In Anger lost out to Take That's swansong How Deep Is Your Love in 1996 whilst last year D'You Know What I Mean managed just seven days before the shock return of Puff Daddy's I'll Be Missing You. No other act has such an ephemeral record of Number One hits. Meanwhile the turnover at the top continues, Spice Girls, Perfect Day, All Saints, Oasis and now Usher make it five in as many weeks - last year's record of seven successive new Number One hits looms ever closer.
7 ANGELS (Robbie Williams)
There seems to be no rest for Robbie Williams' single which has so far reversed its movement week by week since it was first released. The single has now bounced 7-5-7-6-7-6-9-7 and is now far and away the biggest selling solo hit from a former Take That member, beating even Gary Barlow's two Number One hits.
10 AMNESIA (Chumbawamba)
If you have been through the higher education system in this country over the last ten years or so it is almost certain you will have seen one Chumbawamba concert. I know I have, June 1993 at Lancaster University, I've looked it up on their own website [No.465, Tuesday June 22nd]. Every single one of those people will have viewed Chumbawamba's transformation from jobbing anarchist musos into international chart superstars with a mixture of surprise and delight. Tubthumping was of course the track responsible, released at the end of August it was an instant Number 2 hit, spent 11 weeks in the Top 10 and after 17 weeks was still in the Top 40 just before Christmas. Meanwhile that surely oh so British of pop songs conquered the charts all over Europe before astonishingly becoming a modern day rock classic in America where the demand for the single has been such that the record company had to reverse their deletion of the single halfway through its chart run. So after several postponed release dates, here finally comes the followup and thankfully it is just as good. Still with a remarkably canny ear for a good pop melody, this is more like the Chumbawamba of old, biting and political. Indeed Amnesia is somewhat unique as it is the first protest song about a Labour government for a good couple of decades, the band objecting to the governments perceived abandonment of its socialist principles for the sake of being elected [a few weeks after this keybordist Danbert would be emptying ice buckets over the head of John Prescott at the BRIT Awards]. A smash hit as big as Tubthumping was always out of the question but a second Top 10 hit will do nicely thankyou and it sounds just a good on the radio.
11 TIME OF YOUR LIFE (GOOD RIDDANCE) (Green Day)
This must be the time for left field ballads. The first of a couple of American rock bands to go all sensitive on us, Green Day explode into the Top 20 with this almost magical track. It has certainly done the trick as far as their chart placings are concerned, after peaking at a lowly Number 25 with Hitchin' A Ride in October last year they charge up the chart and with this Number 11 placing score their second biggest hit ever, second only to the classic Basket Case which made Number 7 exactly three years ago this week.
12 GIVEN TO FLY (Pearl Jam)
Gosh, what are they putting in the Seattle water of late? After years of heads down, straightforward grunge rock Pearl Jam suddenly demonstrate their more sensitive side with what could well be one of their most commercial singles to date. After a quiet 1997 the band return with a smash hit. Their ever-faithful fanbase will always guarantee them at least one Top 20 hit per album but even this track has exceeded their usual chart placings and gives them their biggest hit since Spin The Black Circle became their only Top 10 hit in November 1994.
13 YOU MAKE ME FEEL (MIGHTY REAL) (Byron Stingily)
Almost exactly a year since his debut Byron Stingily charts his third hit single although sadly it is by going down the route of a rather predictable cover version. The song was first recorded by Sylvester in 1978 when he took it to Number 8. 12 years later it was the turn of Jimmy Somerville who also had a January hit with the track, peaking at Number 5. Now Byron Stingily, nine years since he first charted with Ten City also covers the song, keeping faith with the original and in the process following in the footsteps of both Sylvester and Jimmy Somerville by having his biggest solo hit to date.
15 SO GOOD (Juliet Roberts)
Ironic really that a single so lacklustre should be titled So Good. After a long break from the music industry Juliet Roberts charts her first hit single for over three years. Her name was made in the early 90s with tracks such as Free Love and Caught In The Middle, her biggest success which was a hit twice over, reaching Number 14 second time out in July 1994.
18 I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU (Solid Harmonie)
Nothing to do with the Rembrandts' song of the same name but I doubt it would have been quite as good had it been the case. Instead Solid Harmonie's debut single is a quite magical pop record which lands a place int the Top 20 after a late surge at the end of the week.
21 MY HERO (Foo Fighters)
Just two Top 20 hits was the tally for the Foo Fighters in 1997. This first hit of 1998 slips slightly, missing out on the Top 20 by a whisker but still does enough for Dave Grohl's band to maintain their 100% strike rate of Top 30 hits. Their biggest remains their debut, This Is A Call which reached Number 5 in July 1995.
36 RIDE ON THE RHYTHM (Little Louie Vega and Marc Anthony)
Just to show that there is no such thing as a long-lost hit single. Ride On The Rhythm is something of a celebrated 1990s classic, first released way, way back in 1991. First time around it could only reach Number 71 and a re-release a year later in May 1992 fared little better, improving on that by just a place. What better time to resurrect a classic than during a fallow period at the start of the year and so Louie Vega and Marc Anthony take their place amongst a string of acts rescued from obscurity by dance music's curious mid-90s re-release culture [neither of them all that obscure, even at the time 1998 James but never mind...].
40 BELO HORIZONTE (Heartists)
A re-release of this Ibiza classic from last year which for some reason is deemed worthy of re-promotion. Part of the logic may be due to the way the track was one of the few big summer dance hits to underperform when first released, it missed the Top 40 altogether first time out.