1 BLUE (DA BA DEE) (Eiffel 65)
Love it or hate it, dance music is king at the moment and the flood of Ibiza-related singles continues as steady as ever. As another week rolls around so too we experience another new Number One single. Although technically a "new entry" Eiffel 65s smash hit has been floating around the lower reaches of the chart for the last five weeks thanks to import sales and did a "Lou Bega" a fortnight ago by sneaking into the bottom end of the Top 40 at Number 39. Once again the usual chart rules come into play, the imported copies are debarred from the chart as the single is released officially and to the surprise of nobody charges right to the very top, outselling a still resurgent Lou Bega by a margin of nearly 2:1. Although the fact that the Italian-made dance record was played extensively in Ibiza this summer one cannot blame blissed-up clubbers entirely for the popularity of the track as the annoyingly catchy single has spent the entire summer challenging Lou Bega for popularity on the continent (Number One in ten different countries at the last count) and this has almost certainly inspired the frantic demand for the track that we have witnessed in this country. Blue duly becomes the sixth European dance hit to top the charts in the summer of 1999 whilst the whole of this week's Top 5 has a distinctly continental flavour to it as well...
3 SUN IS SHINING (Bob Marley vs. Funkstar De Luxe)
Bob Marley first recorded Sun Is Shining back in 1971, some years before his international breakthrough. As such it was never a hit in this country but for those Marley devotees familiar with his entire output it is regarded as one of his most famous early recordings. So much so that Finley Quaye based his own hit Sunday Shining around the track's central melody back in 1997. Enter Danish DJ Martin Ottesen who has done what few have dared to before - take Bob Marley and remix him onto the dancefloor. The lack of any critical backlash just proves what a superb job he did with the single, turning the track into a quite inspired house shuffle that, you've guessed it, proved to be another Ibiza favourite this summer. Although not the massive Number One hit single some had predicted the single still manages to make a strong debut. At one point it looked as if it would be threatened with a 'spoiler' release, a note for note cover of the track that was planned by Universal records but whose release was aborted a few weeks ago. Perhaps most incredibly of all this single becomes Bob Marley's biggest ever chart single in this country, this Number 3 entry beating the 1983 Number 4 peak of Buffalo Soldier. Sun Is Shining is Bob Marley's eighth Top 10 single in this country and his best chart showing since 1992's Iron Lion Zion - which itself was a highly acclaimed reworking of an unfinished track which had previously lain undiscovered.
5 GET GET DOWN (Paul Johnson)
The parade of Euro-sourced dance singles continues with the debut of this club smash hit from Paul Johnson. Although the wheelchair-bound producer is actually from Chicago his single was first released in Italy from there spread across the continent - hence in the eyes of most people this is a European smash despite the distinctive Chicago House piano which carries the groove throughout the entire record. It goes without saying that Get Get Down charts in Britain on the back of massive club popularity on the continent over the course of the summer, all of which makes me hanker for a good old-fashioned superstar entertainer.
7 BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE (Tom Jones)
Tom! Just when we thought all was lost as well. Despite about to turn 60, the Welsh legend has always prided himself on making records that sound as contemporary as possible and when he decided to make his first album for five years what better way to do this than to team up with the cream of modern talent? He has done celebrity duets in the past, most notably on a series of TV appearances but this is the first time he has made an entire album with a series of collaborators. Reload is the result, easily one of the albums of the year. The first single is nothing short of wonderful as Jones The Voice teams up with the Cardigans for this storming (and actually quite faithful) cover version of an old Talking Heads song which first appeared on their 1983 album Speaking In Tongues. Strange though it may seem Tom's beefy growl sits quite comfortably with Nina Persson's own softer vocal stlye. So keen was Tom to capture the authentic Cardigans sound that he travelled to Stockholm and recorded the entire song in the space of a single evening. Burning Down The House duly lifts the great entertainer into the Top 10 for the 16th time and becomes his biggest hit single since his dramatic cover of Prince's Kiss reached Number 5 way back in 1988. Welcome back old wrinkly.
11 TOCA ME (Fragma)
OK then, back down to earth for one of the more low-profile dance releases of the week, not that it has stopped this trance single from becoming a sizeable hit, even if it is set to be overlooked in the light of the dance-related activity above it. [This brief paragraph taking on whole new levels of irony when we note that whilst it was a minor and forgotten hit in its instrumental form it would wind up as a Number One smash when combined with the vocal from a similarly overlooked hit from 1997].
13 BRAND NEW DAY (Sting)
Clearly there are two themes running through the big chart hits this week. European dance hits and returning superstars. Following Tom Jones the Top 40 sees the welcome return of Sting with his first solo material for almost three years and his first solo Top 40 hit since I Was Brought To My Senses hit Number 31 in September 1996 (or if you want to be picky, his chart credit on the Puff Daddy remix of The Police's Roxanne in December 1997 was his last actual Top 40 appearance). Brand New Day is an ubeat gospel-inspired track, complete with a Stevie Wonder harmonica line that does the job perfectly of establishing him back in people's minds after such a long break. At the risk of descending into cliche Sting has never been a big singles artist (his only solo Top 10 hit was When We Dance in October 1994) but this single has given him one of his best ever chart entries, his third biggest hit single ever in fact and you can bet that the forthcoming new album will be one of this Autumn's biggest sellers.
20 ALL N MY GRILL (Missy Elliott featuring MC Solaar)
Missy Elliott makes her first Top 40 appearance in over a year with this single that is lifted from her second album Da Real World. Last time around of course she was collaborating with Mel B on the Number One hit I Want You Back, although of course as you will recall labelling gave the impression that Missy Elliott was guesting on the track when in actual fact Mel B was the invited star. Although not a massive hit All N My Grill does at least have its own place in chart history as it marks the first ever Top 40 appearace for French rapper MC Solaar. Despite a huge cult following on the continent and in spite of having his work used in a number of recent TV commercials Solaar remains unmarketed and unknown over here, his closest brush with fame coming in 1994 when he just missed the Top 40 in collaboration with Urban Species.
22 SUPERSONIC (Jamiroquai)
Jamiroquai come back down to earth slightly after the Number 4 smash hit Canned Heat, just missing out on a place in the Top 20 with their second release of the year. Supersonic's rather darker feel has contributed to a lack of airplay and it is certainly one of the more challenging singles they have ever released - how many tracks released this year can you name with a Digeridoo at the front of the mix?. In short, it is a bold choice for release as a single but given time it grows on you, just like many other similarly challenging Jay Kay penned tracks before it. Their 12th Top 20 hit since 1993.
25 CANTO DELLA TERRA (Andrea Bocelli)
Amongst all the dance comes a little bit of culture in the shape of superstar Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli who has spent the past few weeks in the Top 10 of the album chart with his latest release Sogno, its astonishing surge in sales over the last few weeks having come as a result of a series of well-timed TV appearances - and it is not every day that you can credit the Des O'Connor Show with inspiring a hit single either. Nonetheless the song that he performed on the show sneaks into the Top 30 this week to give the singer his first ever solo hit single in this country. He is by no means unknown in chart terms having teamed up with Sarah Brightman in 1997 on Con Te Partiro (Time To Say Goodbye) which defied all analysis to reach Number 2.
26 FIVE FATHOMS (Everything But The Girl)
Having given their career a shot in the arm and almost totally reinvented themselves with the 1995 Todd Terry remix of Missing and 1996s Walking Wounded album Ben and Tracey have been curiously quiet ever since, unless you count Deep Dish's The Future Of The Future to which Ms Thorn contributed vocals earlier this year. They announce their long-awaited return with a track that sounds like they have never been away as Five Fathoms is another classy deep house groove that marries itself beautifully to Tracey Thorn's vocal. Of course the problem with making a record just like the ones you did three years ago is that musical tastes have moved on a little since then and whilst it is a fair bet that Five Fathoms would have been a Top 10 hit in 1996 (or even 1989), in 1999 it can barely scrape into the Top 30. Bear in mind of course that there have been times when they have struggled to even chart singles and few will complain about the performance of this track, especially given the way it has struggled for airplay. The nation's classiest boy-girl duo have drifted in and out of fashion many times during their long and illustrious career and you write them off at your peril. Just pray they don't decided to go Mambo.
37 CENTRAL RESERVATION (Beth Orton)
Ben Watt has the honour of producing two of this week's new entries having created not only Everything But The Girl's Five Fathoms but also this single, the title track from Beth Orton's second album. Central Reservation becomes her second Top 40 single this year, coming six months after Stolen Car peaked at Number 34. A set of remixes from the likes of William Orbit and Deep Dish meant that there were high hopes that this track would push her further into the mainstream, particularly in the wake of the publicity the album received after being nominated for this years Mercury Music Prize. Twas not to be it seems and Beth Orton remains one of music's best kept secrets.