1 BLAME IT ON THE WEATHERMAN (B*witched)
Chart history is made this week as for the first time ever siblings take over from each other at the top of the charts. Twins Keavey and Edele Lynch who make up one half of B*witched depose older brother Shane, who is of course one-fifth of Boyzone. The four Irish girls also steer themselves into the record books as Blame It On The Weatherman is their fourth single and follows the other three to the top of the charts. The only other act to open their chart account with four Number One singles are of course the Spice Girls but what makes B*witched's feat even more impressive is that each of their singles debuted at Number One - the Spice Girls' first single Wannabe entered at Number 3 in its first week on release. As to why they keep having Number One singles, your guess is as good as mine, Blame It On The Weatherman is another fine pop single with a more acoustic flavour than previous releases but hardly the kind of record you would expect to shoot straight to the top - especially when you consider it is the fourth single from their album. Something tells me this will be a fairly short spell at the top for the girls as the bizarre popularity of a yellow gopher is about to sweep all before it. At the end of the day to criticise seems churlish when you consider that the foursome now have the second most successful opening run of chart singles in history and have sold over two million singles in less than a year. The Spice Girls' record of six in a row looms on the horizon...
4 STRONG (Robbie Williams)
After his barnstorming performance to open the Brit awards ceremony last month, Robbie returns triumphantly to the chart with his first single release of 1999. Strong is the third single to be released from I'm Been Expecting You and the track that opens the album. Apparently written by Robbie when he was recovering from his various addictions a few years ago it is by no means the strongest (if you'll pardon the pun) track from the album but was one which was always slated for single release. Although it only just scrapes into the Top 5 to match the peak scaled by No Regrets last December it does enough to continue his current red-hot run of singles form, now his fifth Top 10 hit in a row. Funny though, with the amount of hype and attention Robbie Williams is getting at the moment you would expect him to be a dead cert for a Number One placing every time out yet he has now had two different singles fail to hit the top. Anyone would think the singles chart was based on record sales...
8 MY LOVE (Kele Le Roc)
A Little Bit Of Lovin' was Kele Le Roc's first hit, hitting Number 8 in October last year. Her second hit follows the same sophisticated soul formula, slowing down the tempo even more, to make this a rather pleasant love ballad. Once again appears to have hit the spot, landing nicely in the Top 10 even if the extensive airplay given to her first hit appears to have been a little harder to come by this time around. Still, anyone who can survive what she had to go through on CD:UK last weekend deserves to be a star... [no idea what that refers to].
9 MUSIC TO WATCH GIRLS BY (Andy Williams)
As predicted on these pages just a few weeks ago, Andy Williams becomes the latest beneficiary of the mysterious power of the car advert. Just one month after Lenny Kravitz's career was dragged out of the doldrums and Steppenwolf found themselves in the Top 20 for the first time ever thanks to the use of tracks from both artists in TV ads, the veteran crooner has a song featured in a memorable advert for the Fiat Punto and as a direct result finds himself with a chart hit for the first time since 1976 and in the Top 10 for the first time since 1973. Music To Watch Girls By was first released in May 1967, spookily enough after first seeing the light of day as a Pepsi advert in the States. It was only a minor hit in this country, reaching Number 33 in asix-weekk run on the Top 50. Now this re-release means the track becomes Andy Williams' 9th Top 10 hit in a chart career that stretches back to 1957, just over 25 years since his version of Solitaire became his last. It is yet another chart victory for the oldies, born on December 3rd 1928, Andy Williams is a distinguished 70 years old making him far and away the oldest man ever to have a solo Top 10 hit.
12 PUSH UPSTAIRS (Underworld)
The men responsible for Born Slippy are back to conquer dancefloors all over the country. After a long gestation period their brand new album Beaucoup Fish was released at the start of the month and Push Upstairs becomes its first official single. I say 'official' as at the start of the year the track King Of Snake was promoed to clubs and radio stations and to all intents and purposes was set to be the first release. At some point someone changed their mind and instead of the uptempo stormer comes this single, a slow grower I suspect more in keeping with mainstream expectations of Underworld singles after the chart successes of Born Slippy and Pearl's Girl back in 1996. Push Upstairs may only just have nicked a top ten place but it does enough to become the second biggest chart hit ever for the band (who actually had their first hit way back in 1993) and may go some way towards helping people realise there is a greater depth to the talents of the band than "that song from Trainspotting".
15 KILLIN' TIME (Tina Cousins)
After the Number 20 hit Pray from November last year, this is the second solo hit for Tina Cousins, the lady still most famous for her vocals on Sash's Mysterious Times single from August last year. Once more the single is a bright Sash-alike piece of Eurodisco albeit one which was first released in early 1998 but stiffed that time around. On this release it easily makes the Top 20 and is every bit as well made a record as Pray but the fact that the talented lady who was thrust into the limelight by one of the continent's most talented producers is now making solo records with the team that created Steps is still somewhat jarring.
16 SEE THE STAR (Delirious?)
Another act returning to hitmaking ways after a long period away are Delirious?, last seen in the Top 40 in 1997 with their two singles Deeper and Promise, both of which reached a rather coincidental Number 20. Despite slightly more extensive radio support for this new release the band remain something of an enigma, albeit one which is surely about to turn into widespread mainstream recognition. The fact that they can go away for two years and return apparantly with their existing support still intact is extremely encouraging.
20 LET'S GET DOWN (Spacedust)
Spacedust you may remember scored a freak Number One hit in October last year with Gym And Tonic. At the time they were assumed to be an alter-ego for Bob Sinclair who had recorded the original track but it later transpired they were a creation of East West records who had tired of Sinclair's refusal to allow the track to be made into a single. Instead they commissioned a cover version and saw the single fly to the top of the charts. Now Spacedust are out for a hit in their own right and have done so by following the French disco-house formula (albeit in a more pop-orientated and without the deep seriousness that pervades most continental disco-house). This track also relies heavily on samples from Chic's I Want Your Love, a song which itself was only on the chart back in Febrary thanks to a cover version by Twilight. Spacedust will probably remain a novelty dance act for now but it is worth noting that whilst Spacedust can now count two Top 20 hits to their name, Bob Sinclair, whose actions caused their creation in the first place, only managed to reach Number 56 last week with his single My Only Love.
22 RUST (Echo And The Bunnymen)
Far from being a final burst of brilliance, the Bunnymen's 1997 comeback may well turn out to be the start of a whole new phase of their career as once again Ian McCulloch et al hit the chart with a single that more or less picks up where Nothing Lasts Forever left off almost two years ago. Rust just becomes the band's 14th Top 40 single since they first climbed this high in 1981 and who at the time would have thought that the band named after their drum machine would one day be having their new single added to the Radio Two playlist. The new album What Are You Going To Do With Your Life is due out soon.
34 NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD (Take 5)
Sadly not the legendary acapella act (now that would make a Top 40 shock) but yet another group of lads from the boy band mould. Take 5 come across as Hanson without the guitars and the single features a wonderfully cheesy rapped section that evokes memories of New Edition circa 1983. They are apparently big in Sweden and Asia but is there a market for them? Time will tell.
36 DO YOU FEEL ME (Men Of Vision)
The latest signings to the MJJ label make their UK chart debut with this single that seems destined for a brief chart run. Nothing wrong with it of course, it is just that they are not Blackstreet which as far as all male US R&B groups are concerned precludes them from having a major hit.
40 I SURRENDER (David Sylvian)
Alright he may have only sneaked in at the very bottom end of the chart but it is still nothing short of a joy to see David Sylvian back in the Top 40. He began his career with Japan in 1980, contributing to Top 10 hits such as Ghosts and I Second That Emotion. In 1982 he went solo and had a run of hit singles which peaked with Forbidden Colours and Red Guitar which were both Top 20 hits in 1983. This new single, a rather wonderful bluesey track that features Sylvian doing a Lou Reed impression that puts Shawn Mullins to shame, is his first Top 40 appearance since The Ink In The Well reached Number 36 in August 1984.