1 SHE'S THE ONE/IT'S ONLY US (Robbie Williams)
After the fuss surrounding last week's charts this week by contrast sees a change of honours at the top end which has passed almost without comment, despite the fact that it involves a single by the country's biggest male star of the moment. Yes, Robbie is back at Number One just over a year since Millennium became his first ever solo chart-topper and more than eight months since his last single Strong reached Number 4. The idea behind this single was to release a double a-side without putting an emphasis on which track was the lead one, just to see which would win out. The main selling point of the single theoretically is It's Only Us, a new track that doesn't appear on the album that sees Robbie at his uptempo storming best and which boasts a chorus of which the Manic Street Preachers would have been proud. Perhaps curiously though radio has chosen to focus on Robbie's preferred track which has been available for over a year on the I've Been Expecting You album. An old Karl Wallinger song, She's The One is a flag-waving ballad which whilst it doesn't quite hit the famous heights of Angels has still shown itself to be quite a concert favourite. Believe it or not in terms of Number One songs Robbie still isn't quite the most successful Take That member. He appeared on seven of Take That's Number One hits which means to date he has been on nine chart-toppers. Gary Barlow by contrast was on all eight of Take That's Number One hits, and he too has had two solo chart-toppers so for the moment he remains the champion. There have been numerous members of the global Williams family hitting the singles chart in the past apart from Robbie only Andy Williams, Danny Williams and Denice Williams have had Number One hits. By topping the charts solo for a second time Robbie can lay claim to being the most successful Williams ever to hit the chart - the only one to have two solo Number One hits to his name, this single also being his ninth solo Top 10 hit - equalling the tally of Andy Williams who was of course last in the upper reaches at the start of the year with Music To Watch Girls By.
2 WILL 2K (Will Smith)
Will Smith continues his tradition of terribly punsome titles with the new album Willennium and this brand new single. The standard Will Smith formula shows no signs of tiring as the Clash's Rock The Casbah is lifted almost wholesale to provide accompaniment to Will Smith's own chirpy rap. As always it is clever rather than creative but there is no denying that the effect is to create another infectious pop record and one which lands Will Smith yet another Top 10 hit. The single extends his incredibly consistent run of massive hit singles, extending to five his run of Top 3 hits which began with Gettin' Jiggy With It in February 1998.
3 EVERY TIME/READY OR NOT (A1)
A Top 3 made up entirely of new entries kicks off with the third hit single for boy band A1 which also turns out to be by far their biggest. After opening their chart account back in July with the storming Number 6 hit Be The First To Believe and subsequently reaching Number 5 with Summertime Of Our Lives in September, the boys slow the tempo down and follow the generally held pop rule that Thy Third Single Shalt Be A Ballad. Accompanying the song is a lavish video shot in the Sahara Desert and a 70 piece orchestra as befits the track's epic production.
8 TURN (Travis)
Looking back at the predictions for 1999 made at the start of the year, Travis didn't exactly feature all that high on the lists of "groups most likely too..." yet thanks to their album The Man Who and its ever-growing string of hit singles they have steadily lived up to all their early promise and become one of the most successful British groups of the year. This single, the fourth from the album, is likely to be the icing on the cake as it sails past the Number 10 peak of Why Does It Always Rain On Me to become their biggest hit single to date. More of an out and out anthemic rocker than the album's other hit singles it is clearly one of the album's most appealing tracks. Worth checking out as well is their cover of Baby One More Time which also appears on the CD single.
11 HURRY UP AND WAIT (Stereophonics)
Hit single number 4 of the year for the Stereophonics and their appeal remains as strong as ever with this masterful production that encapsulates everything that is good about the music they are making at present. The law of diminishing returns means that as the album's fifth single it lands slightly lower down the chart than past releases but still manages to extend their run of consecutive Top 20 hits to seven.
12 SHAKE YOUR BON BON (Ricky Martin)
This single was actually supposed to have hit the chart last week. At the eleventh hour (quite literally on the Saturday) the release date of the single was delayed for a week and only now registers a place on the chart. Perhaps there was method in that nervousness for despite the massive global success of Livin' La Vida Loca there is work to be done in ensuring that Ricky Martin is more than just a one hit wonder. It is easy to forget that he had a chart career before this summer but as something of a novelty act, Maria may have gone Top 10 but The Cup Of Life was considered so bad it was laughable. So it is something of a puzzle as to why this track has been plucked from the album as the next single, a rather tune-free OTT romp that once again manages to be funnier than it is raunchy. Radio has largely uninterested and this may well have contributed to this somewhat lowly chart entry. Although certain acts would kill to go straight into the Top 15 it is certainly not the kind of performance you would expect from a man whose last single was one of the years biggest sellers. Happily there are better tracks on the album and I suspect bigger hit singles to come from Ricky Martin. This isn't one of them.
13 ANOTHER WAY/AVENUE (Paul Van Dyk)
Many producers claim to be the king of trance but really when it comes down to it there is just one worthy of the title, Paul Van Dyk who operates out of Berlin and who can always be relied upon to produce some of the most beautiful club tunes you will ever hear. To date his chart career has been less than stellar, his only Top 40 entry to date being the well-known classic For An Angel which finally made Number 28 in September 1998, long after it was first made. His first ever Top 20 hit arrives this week, a double a-side of shimmering melodies that will either be loved or will leave people cold but either way are hard to criticise.
22 SWASTIKA EYES (Primal Scream)
Believe it or not it is almost a decade since Primal Scream hit the chart with Loaded, the radically remixed track that transformed them from just another bunch of indie no-hopers into a band that were quite happy to push the limits of innovation and veer wildly between styles. After two years away they return to the chart with their 11th Top 40 hit and once again it is quite the reverse of what you would expect. The influence of the Chemical Brothers is all over this track, a dark techno single over which Bobby Gillespie growls an angry rant about, well all kinds of dark and complex things. Not exactly their most commercial single release ever and for that matter it is their first track to miss the Top 20 since 1994 but chart comebacks don't come more astonishing than this.
23 CAN'T GET ENOUGH (Suede)
Another single lifted from Head Music and another hit for Suede. This single finds the band in full tilt metal mode and has actually managed to beat the Number 24 peak scaled by Everything Will Flow back in September - just.
24 BEST FRIEND (Puff Daddy)
From the album Forever comes its second hit single, the follow-up to PE 2000 which made Number 13 back in August. Best Friend finds Puffy at his most laid back and engaging, an acoustic guitar backing drifts through the tender rap which can actually rank as one of the most spiritual records to hit the chart for many a longer year - the Best Friend in question is actually God. For all its appeal it can only limp into the charts and perhaps incredibly the first time a single directly credited to him has missed out on a place in the Top 20. Puff Daddy has been on smaller singles in the past but always as a guest star, hitting Number 34 as a guest of SWV on Someone back in September 1997 and only staggering to Number 45 duetting with Lil Kim on No Time in April 1997.
27 SEXX LAWS (Beck)
...in which the laid back Gen-X loafer who once sang of the virtues of being a Loser suddenly sparkles and turns into a 1960s soul singer in the process. Is this really a Beck single? A Stax-esque brass section blares out the tune whilst the man himself cavorts about the stage like a modern-day Arthur Conley. The effect is to create what is far and away the most accessible single he has ever recorded and immediately propels him back into the Top 30 for the first time in two years. Admittedly I was expecting this to go Top 20 but then again I always was terrible at predictions. Beth Orton and Johnny Marr are among the guest stars on the new album and something tells me there are more hit singles to come.
33 LIZARD (Mauro Picotto)
Believe it or not it was as recently as June that Mauro Picotto made Number 27 with Lizard. Not too recent for a new remix though, as this chart entry proves. If the intent was to push the instrumental further up the chart than was managed first time around then you can consider this particular release to be something of a failure.