1 3 LIONS '98 (Baddiel/Skinner/Lightning Seeds)
Three weeks into the World Cup and the domination of 3 Lions continues, the single again just managing to maintain a lead over Vindaloo which continues to run it close. The single has now surpassed the two-week total run of the 1996 original to become the most successful chart version of the song and if the chants of the England fans at the Felix Bollaert stadium in Lens for the game against Colombia were anything to go by the popularity of the song will remain undimmed for a while to come. Meanwhile, note that the official England song Top Of The World is nowhere to be seen in the Top 40 this week. One other intriguing fact of note about the single is the existence of two slightly different versions of this new recording. The commercially available single features snatches of radio commentary from Euro '96 provided by Capital Radio commentator Jonathan Pearce. Unhappy about airing the work of one of their rivals, the BBC successfully lobbied for a new version to be made for them which substituted Pearce's lines with similarly appropriate ones from their own team of radio commentators. Consequently the Radio One Top 40 show is playing a version of the single which is unavailable to the general public. Perversely when the song has been performed on the Top Of The Pops the trio have mimed to the Jonathan Pearce version without anyone batting an eyelid. Inconsistency or publicity stunt? You work it out. [And funny to note that Pearce is now firmly established in the public eye as a BBC man, having made the jump a couple of years later].
5 INTERGALACTIC (Beastie Boys)
In the wake of the mini-80s rap revival recently it seems somewhat appropriate that it should herald the triumphant return of the Beastie Boys, labelmates of Run-DMC in the mid part of the last decade. First time around of course they were a sensation, a group of white middle-class Americans making music that had hitherto been confined to black acts and with lyrics that tended towards the cartoonish but at the time were seen by some as being dangerously subversive. The album License To Ill was the biggest selling rap work of the time and during the course of 1987 they had four Top 40 hits, the biggest being She's On It which made Number 10 in July of that year. After several years in the doldrums with a series of near-miss albums the Beasties returned revitalised in 1994, adding keyboardist Money Mark to the lineup and with a critically acclaimed album that returned them to the Top 40 for the first time in seven years, the single Get It Together reaching Number 19. Now that comeback is surpassed by this one, their first new single in almost four years crashing straight into the Top 5 to become the biggest new hit of the week and furthermore their biggest hit single of any kind ever and with a series of festival appearances on the cards the stock of the Beasties has rarely been higher since the days when their antics were front page news and no VW logo was safe in 1987. The success of Intergalactic appropriately enough comes hot on the heels of NYCCs cover of their most famous track Fight For Your Right which made Number 14 in May.
6 SAVE TONIGHT (Eagle-Eye Cherry)
When your father is the legendary Jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and you are the half-brother of Neneh it is inevitable that your own work will attract a great deal of attention. Certainly Eagle-Eye Cherry is one of the most-hyped new artists of the year but happily the hype is not without its justification. His debut single is quite simply magical, a fantastic melody that sits just on the commercial side of rock with some classic R&B influences mixed in to boot. His album comes out on July 13th and as a taster for it this could hardly be better.
10 HOW DO YOU WANT ME TO LOVE YOU (911)
Charting now with enviable consistency, 911 have their second Top 10 hit of the year with this new single, following the Number 4 hit All I Want Is You which charted in April. Distinct amongst boy bands for regularly modifying their musical formula so they never become stale, this is now 911s seventh successive Top 10 single since the end of 1996. Whilst singles success is all very well of course for an act to be considered a real success they have to translate that into albums sales which is one area where 911 have yet to make much of an impact. Even outside the teen press they struggle for the profile with which early 90s acts such as Take That and East 17 were gifted, the only member of the band who has featured much in the popular press is Lee Brennan and even this is not so much for his music as his on-off relationship with Baby Spice Emma [yeah, he'd be kicked to the kerb permanently in short order].
16 SAY IT ONCE (Ultra)
Speaking of boy bands, Ultra return with their second chart single which emulates the respectable Top 20 placing of their April debut Say You Do. They are still in the early stages of their promotion and only time will tell whether Top 20 singles can translate into album sales and widespread celebrity or whether they will just become another 911.
18 SURFIN' USA (Aaron Carter)
The least said the better perhaps, suffice to note that Aaron Carter has confounded all those who hoped and prayed that his first single Crush On You was a one-off novelty. This rather grating cover of the Beach Boys classic is now his fourth Top 30 single and marks an improvement on the chart position of I'm Gonna Miss You Forever which peaked at Number 24 in March. Four hit singles now means he is the most successful pre-teen soloist in chart history, surpassing the three chart singles notched up by Little Jimmy Osmond between 1972 and 1974.
21 BEGIN AGAIN (Space)
Continuing brilliance from the Liverpudlians. Hot on the heels of The Ballad Of Tom Jones and to coincide with a series of festival appearances their third hit of the year is a wonderfully sardonic cha-cha styled single that relates the semi-deranged thoughts of a man whose life and relationship has fallen to bits. Hopefully Number 21 will not be the high point of its chart career as a single that sounds like the best song Eartha Kitt never recorded surely deserves much better. More curiously should it indeed fail to progress further it will become the first Space single to miss the Top 20 since the original release of Neighbourhood made Number 56 in April 1996 (it was subsequently reissued and made Number 11 seven months later).
22 NAKED IN THE RAIN '98 (Blue Pearl)
Let me take you back to the summer of 1990. Eight years ago to the very week Blue Pearl made their chart debut with Naked In The Rain, a well-established dancefloor hit featuring the powerful vocals of Durga McBroom. The group were a dream team collaboration of Youth and Brilliant [a confusing way of putting it really, given that Youth was indeed a former member of Brilliant but the Blue Pearl project is generally seen as his own work] and such was their reputation they were able to persuade Pink Floyd members Dave Gilmour and Rick Wright to contribute to their album. Released on the then trendy Big Life record label the single Naked In The Rain soared to Number 4 and became part of the soundtrack to that summer. Subsequent releases from the group fared less well, the followup Little Brother could only reach Number 31 whilst their Top 40 swansong Can You Feel The Passion was swamped by a legal row when Bizarre Inc complained that it was based on a Youth remix of their hit Playing With Knives which they had rejected and it was pushing the bounds of acceptability for the group to claim it as their own work. The single has to be re-edited to make the two tracks distinct. Clearly now is the time for the revival and so after several weeks of club popularity the new set of mixes land neatly inside the Top 30 and nicely prompt a re-evaluation of the work of a group who maybe never lived up to the potential their reputations suggested but who left behind some quite marvellous dance music.
23 THINKING OF YOU (Hanson)
In the absence of any new material the process of mining their album for more singles has led to Hanson's chart positions slipping. Despite being one of their better tracks (and certainly with more commercial and airplay potential than their last hit Weird), Thinking Of You is set to become their first hit to date to miss the Top 20.
26 WORLD CUP '98 - PAVANE BY FAURE (Wimbledon Choral Society)
One World Cup chart battle which has been held back for a few weeks is the battle of the TV themes. With both BBC and ITV screening extensive coverage of the competition the themes they have chosen to introduce their coverage are exposed to millions at least once a day and there is always a hope within the organisations that this will translate into chart success. For years TV sports themes were a minor curiosity, rarely charting and bought only by a small group of enthusiasts. All that changed in 1990 when the BBC elected to use a classic Luciano Pavarotti rendition of Puccini's Nessun Dorma to introduce their programming. The single took off in a way few could have considered, turning Pavarotti into a pop hero rather than an ageing opera singer and peaking at Number 2 to become one of the biggest classical hit singles ever. In 1994 the BBC went for an edit of America from West Side Story as performed by Leonard Bernstein but it could only peak at Number 44 and ITV took the spoils by going for the tournament's official anthem Daryl Hall's Gloryland which made Number 36. For France 98 the roles have been reversed again. Whilst ITVs choice of Apollo 440's remix of Jean Michel Jarre's Fourth Rendez-Vous misses the Top 40 the BBC run out the winners with this single, - a specially commissioned recording of Faure's Pavane creeps into the Top 30. Unusual it may be to see a classical single in the Top 40 it shows you can never underestimate the power of television. Or football.
31 FUEL (Metallica)
Another single from the album Reload and quite simply another brief chart appearance from Metallica, their second of the year after the Number 15 hit Unforgiven II from March. Even if it is only once in a blue moon that they release a crossover single Metallica have still become one of the most consistent metal acts of the last decade. This is now their 14th Top 40 hit but curiously may well become the first not to make the Top 30. Blame the world cup, it seems to be responsible for just about everything else at present.
36 THE STRUTT (Bamboo)
Maybe it was just a novelty then. After their massive Number 2 hit in January with Bamboogie, a dance record based largely around KC and the Sunshine Band's Get Down Tonight, the same team attempt to repeat the formula with a similar idea. This time the disco inspiration is Frantique's 1979 Number 10 hit Strut Your Funky Stuff. This time for some reason the idea doesn't work and the single explodes with the force of a damp squib.
38 BODY BUMPIN' (YIPPIE-YI-YO) (Public Announcement)
The first UK Top 40 single from the group who began their careers as the backing group for R Kelly. Indeed on his early singles they received equal artist credit but this only lasted for his first two singles here Sex Me and the original issue of She's Got That Vibe in 1992. By the time the latter was re-released to hit the Top 3 in October 1994 their name had vanished altogether from the label.
39 CIRCUS (Eric Clapton)
A second minor hit for Eric Clapton, this the followup to April's My Fathers Eyes which made Number 33. This marks the first time he has had two Top 40 singles from the same album for a long, long time. Recent albums such as August, Journeyman and Unplugged all spawned one single that reached the upper reaches followed by a series of lesser chart hits. This single is now part of a sequence which stretches back to Change The World which made Number 18 in July 1996 and marks the first time he has had three successive solo Top 40 hits since the mid-1970s.