1 GO LET IT OUT (Oasis)
Gosh, here's a shock. The long-awaited brand new single from Oasis is easily the biggest record release of the year so far and such an unstoppable sales force that everyone else has quite literally run scared of it. The paucity of big new singles in the shops this week had to be seen to be believed, it was almost as if nobody but nobody was willing to go head to head with Go Let It Out. Inevitably not even still big-selling Gabrielle stood a chance as the track debuts at the top of the chart with a massive first week sale, even though as many reports were quick to point out, the single actually sold half as many copies on its first day that 1997s Do You Know What I Mean, the last completely brand new Oasis single. Anyway, over analysis is pointless here as the single sets out their stall for the forthcoming new album, familiar enough to be unmistakeably Oasis but showing just enough innovation in the production to make you start to believe the Gallagher brothers' statements that Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants will be more of a musical step forward than the self-indulgent Be Here Now.
Go Let It Out duly becomes the fifth Number One single for the band and even the most casual chartwatcher will not have failed to observe that their failure to release any singles at all in 1999 meant they spoiled their chance of becoming the first act since The Beatles to have a Number One single in five consecutive years - their other chart-topping singles having come in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998. The release of Go Let It Out came complete with what now seems a customary re-issuing of their entire singles back catalogue but it may well be that ownership of their past output has now reached saturation point as none of their older singles registers in the Top 75 this week, a far cry from the week in November 1996 when such a programme of reissues led to no less than four old Oasis singles lining up in the bottom end of the Top 40, the most complete domination of the listing for 15 years.
3 MOVE YOUR BODY (Eiffel 65)
So what of the few foolish souls that dared to release new singles at the same time as Oasis? Top of the pile come Eiffel 65 with the identikit followup to the massive worldwide smash Blue which added Britain to the list of countries in which it topped the charts last summer, spending three weeks at the top in September last year. Move Your Body arrives in the chart exactly one week after Blue finally dropped off the bottom end of the Top 75 after an incredible 21 week run that saw it sell over a million copies to wind up as 1999s second biggest selling single. If one takes into account the weeks that Blue spent on the listing as a import single it means the Italian act have had a continuous presence on the chart since August 21st last year.
4 ADELANTE (Sash!)
Although he drops two places this week it is worth taking the time to clarify Sash's record-setting underachievement which was mentioned last week. With this fall Adelante is indeed confirmed for the moment as Sash's fifth Number 2 hit single, all of which have come without him ever topping the chart. In numerical terms that is indeed a chart record although others can claim to be even unluckier. The singles in question, Encore Une Fois, Ecuador, Stay, Mysterious Times and now Adelante have in total spent a "mere" six weeks locked at Number 2. This comes a poor second to the record of none other than Nat King Cole who has also never topped the charts in this country but whose 1950s hits Pretend, Smile and When I Fall In Love spent a total of 9 weeks combined at Number 2. For a more modern hard luck story, look to US balladeers All-4-One whose 1994 classic I Swear ended up lodged at Number 2 for no less than 7 straight weeks, all of them spent as runner up to Wet Wet Wet's Love Is All Around.
5 DOLPHINS WERE MONKEYS (Ian Brown)
You know for the past month I've been reading every Ian Brown interview I could find just to see if anyone dared ask the obvious question of just what his fascination with monkeys is. First came his solo album Unfinished Monkey Business and now this single, the followup to last November's Love Like A Fountain. We'll leave the way he looks out of it for now. At first glance the performance of this track appears to be a major shot in the arm for his career. A more obvious chart hit that its predecessor, Dolphins Were Monkeys flies into the Top 5, an 18 place improvement over the performance of his last hit and indeed his biggest hit single since his first solo offering My Star also went Top 5 back in 1998. Of course this is one of those singles whose popularity is explained by what we still quaintly like to refer to as the b-side. Track 2 on the CD single is his quite astonishing cover of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean, a song he regularly performs in concert and which has been the subject of a sustained campaign by fans eager for it to be committed to record. Hence this single has been a more essential purchase than would otherwise have been the case. Brown is now speaking enthusiastically about the possibility of recording an entire EP of Jackson covers. Do we take him seriously or not?
8 MUST BE THE MUSIC (Joey Negro)
Strange though it may seem, even in a sparse week like this one of the lesser new entries of the week manages to be something of a sensation. Joey Negro is the alter ego of Essex man Dave Lee who is one of the few people in UK dance who can claim to have been there at the beginning. When the UK discovered house music in the late 1980s it may have fallen to the likes of Tim Simenon, Mark Moore, Coldcut, Simon Harris and The Beatmasters to have pop hits with this new sound but to most officianados, the only people worth taking seriously were the likes of Frankie Knuckles, David Morales and indeed anyone who had a New York club on their CV. Hence Dave Lee's ironically named creation Joey Negro which enabled him to make records masquerading as a hot American producer. Even though everyone is now in on the joke the moniker stuck but despite his reputation Joey Negro has never had a major hit single - until now. Perhaps in the hands of anyone else Must Be The Music (featuring a vocal from Taka Boom who is none other than the younger sister of Chaka Khan) would be just another disco-house single but you cannot argue with the way it has made a small piece of chart history. Before now the highest charting Joey Negro single was 1992's Enter Your Fantasy which made a lowly Number 35.
16 DEEP DEEP DOWN (Hepburn)
Boy, the stories just keep on coming this week. As you may well have read on dotmusic (and if you haven't can I strongly recommend taking a moment to look at this story) [link doesn't work, naturally] the distribution of Hepburn's third single was scuppered earlier in the week thanks to a dispute between Virgin megastores and some of the major record companies. As a result at the start of last week the single was unavailable in branches of Our Price and Virgin - effectively slicing a huge chunk out of its sales potential. Thus it is that the sultry Garbage-esque radio favourite which was widely expected to become their biggest hit to date can only slide in to the Top 20, two places below the peak of Bugs last August to become their smallest rather than potentially their biggest. Now analysing just what effect the shop dispute had is a rather hit and miss science. Those who set out with the express intention of buying the single will have just gone to HMV or Woolworths or their local independent instead but buyers who might have been tempted into purchasing by casual browsing may well have been lost altogether. The power of the major record chains to influence the chart is one of the great intangible factors of chartwatching. No retailers in this country abuse that power quite as much as the likes of Wal-Mart in the States (who will not stock any record with explicit lyrics for example) but buyers for the major chains can claim to be some of the most powerful people in the industry. Suprising though it may seem a significant percentage of pop singles are bought each week at branches of Woolworths who notoriously restrict the number of new releases they allow on their shelves. Hepburn are probably eternally grateful that Deep Deep Down was one of them last week.
24 SIMON SAYS (Pharaoahe Monch)
From straight out of left field via always-crucial support from Radio One comes this debut single from Pharoahe Monch, better known (if that isn't stretching a point a little) as a member of Organised Konfusion (who needless to say have never had a UK chart single either). Be assured that the title is all this single shares with the 1910 Fruitgum Co's 1960s party hit as Simon Says rivals the likes of Nas in its nagging, sinister sound and is also Eminem-like in its profanity - not that you would know it from the sanitised radio edit.
26 YOUR EYES (Simply Red)
Another hit for Simply Red, the followup to Ain't That A Lot Of Love which made a rather disappointing Number 14. However, if that was disappointing then I struggle for adjectives to describe the performance of the slushy Your Eyes, especially this close to Valentines Day (almost certainly the motivation for waiting so long to release this single). Although there have been smaller Simply Red hits in the recent past (1998's Ghetto Girl which made Number 34 springs to mind) this does raise serious questions over the continuing marketability of the group who, lest we forget, recorded one of the biggest selling albums of the 1990s and indeed of all time. Not that Simply Red need bother that much about having hit singles any more but it is worth noting that as little as five years ago a track such as this one would have been a guaranteed Top 5 hit.
39 SHE'S THE ONE/IT'S ONLY US (Robbie Williams)
40 TALKING IN YOUR SLEEP/LOVE ME (Martine McCutcheon)
OK here's a funny thing. Two singles which have been in the shops for several months suddenly charge back up the chart to re-enter the Top 40. Put this down to the proximity of February 14th and opportunistic discounting by retailers keen to seize an opportunity to shift more copies of some of their more outdated stock. As a result Robbie Williams' version of the World Party ballad (a Number One back in November) charges 53-39 whilst Martine McCutcheon's double sided cover of the two Crystal Gayle and Yvonne Elliman love songs surges 51-40, both having dropped out of the Top 40 over a month ago. The same circumstances may well have contributed to trend-reversing performances by singles from the likes of R Kelly (37-30), S Club 7 (35-33) and John Lennon (62-45) although the 58-47 rise of Wamdue Project's King Of My Castle is a little harder to explain!
57 THE MASSES AGAINST THE CLASSES (Manic Street Preachers)
Not often that we delve this far down the listing but you may remember that back in January I mentioned that the limited availability of The Masses Against The Classes meant that the single stood a chance of breaking the record for the shortest ever chart run by a Number One hit. As it turns out the record is equalled rather than broken as this week the single scrapes a fifth week on the Top 75, matching the chart runs of short-lived chart-toppers such as Beetlebum by Blur, The Fly by U2 and Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter by Iron Maiden.