1 IT FEELS SO GOOD (Sonique)
Well at the risk of simply restating the headlines that you are likely to read all this week, Sonique this week achieves what nobody else has done all year. Her third week at the top gives her the longest-running number one single of the millennium so far, the longest spell anyone has spent at the summit since Westlife's four-week stint at Christmas with I Have A Dream. It Feels So Good is now among the best selling singles of the year and is almost certain to top the table of top sellers shortly, if not by the time you read this. So go on, I hear you cry, tell us something we haven't read on teletext. OK try this for size: Sonique is the first solo British female to spend three weeks at the top for almost seven years. The last lady to manage this was none other than Gabrielle whose debut single Dreams had a three week run at the top in June/July 1993. Then again that has just been on teletext as I write this. I'll just have to content myself with oblique references to the track that is likely to replace her next week. You see the trouble with me is...
2 REACH (S Club 7)
Honourable mention has to go once more to S Club 7 who remain locked at Number 2 despite putting in a performance that has put many of this years Number One singles to shame. The song, which doubles as the theme to the TV series LA 7, is the first single to spent three weeks at a peak of Number 2 since Alice Deejay's Better Off Alone did the triple in August last year and coincidentally the last but one single to have a three week run in the runners up slot was the debut release from an act who have a Top 10 entry this week. You can sneer at the manufactured nature of S Club 7 but just as Bring It All Back was amongst the biggest sellers of last year, so too this single is likely to rank as one of the bigger hits of 2000. Incidentally at the risk of putting over a rival publication, the current issue of Q Magazine has a detailed feature on the whole teen band phenomenon, spoiled only by some very sloppy research. 20,000 copies gets you a Number One? Gibberish... 20,000 copies won't even put you in the Top 10. S Club 7 have shifted over a quarter of a million copies to date and haven't managed to top the charts at all...
3 MAMA WHO DA MAN (Richard Blackwood)
OK, six new entries in the Top 10 this week so time we get cracking. Strange to note that the biggest new hit of the week is not a football song, not a celebrity duet or even a piece of garage. Instead it is the debut release from all round media starlet Richard Blackwood. Blackwood first came to mainstream attention as the rather hyper MTV:UK presenter and his work on the channel led to his own self-titled series on Channel 4 where he is able to show off his talents for stand up comedy and music. Hence this debut single for the man who is being touted as the British Will Smith, a fun interplay of Blackwood's rapping and the background chorus of girls. The track is based around Mama Used To Say which was a Top 10 hit for Junior Giscombe in 1982 - and guess who his nephew is? Family ties aside it gives Richard Blackwood a flying start to his chart career, the record even entertainingly plugs his TV shows throughout, hence some rather glaring edits on the version played by certain national radio stations.
5 COMING AROUND (Travis)
Want an illustration of how big Travis are at present? Even after the last of its four hit singles faded from the chart, last year's The Man Who Album kept selling, topping the album chart for weeks on end at the start of this year without the band doing any promotion at all. Despite this the world needs new material from the biggest breakout stars of last year so here it is, a brand new single from the Scottish stars that heralds a new album later this summer. Coming Around sees the group move even closer to aping some of their musical heroes as it is easily the best single The Byrds never recorded, all chiming guitars and tight male harmonies. The single beats the Number 8 peak of last November's Turn to become their biggest hit single to date. Deservedly so and you will be hard pressed to find anyone who will argue against it. [Plus it had the most amazing video, just check this out...]
6 WHEN A WOMAN (Gabrielle)
Her status as a chart superstar, having been reaffirmed for a good many years to come thanks to February's chart-topping Rise, Gabrielle issues yet another gem in the shape of this third single from her current album. More than this it is hard to add, other than to say that it becomes her 8th UK Top 10 hit and her fifth in a row, a run which stretches back to her appearance alongside East 17 on If You Ever at the end of 1996.
7 GIRLS LIKE US (B-15 Project featuring Chrissy D and Lady G)
So is this track Raggamuffin or Garage? Well actually it is a bit of both, Chrissy D and Lady G have had plenty of underground reggae hits in the past without ever once threatening to break into the mainstream. They finally do so thanks to Birmingham producers B-15 Project giving one of their older hits the 2SG treatment which results in one of the more wonderful garage hits of the year. Or should that be raggamuffin hits? Either way it was assured of being a smash hit having crossed over from garage radio shows to mainstream playlists with almost indecent haste [and in the glorious summer of 2-step that was 2000, this was easily one of its high points. You simply could not escape this on the radio at the time].
9 IF I TOLD YOU THAT (Whitney Houston and George Michael)
Now you see if you work to the theory that ultimately all international superstars will find an excuse to make a celebrity duet with each other this was one of the permutations that was bound to come up sooner rather than later. Despite reports of friction between them for some years, Whitney Houston and George Michael have set aside their differences to make this track which features on Whitney's current Greatest Hits collection. The fact that such a stellar release can only manage to chart just inside the Top 10 will come as a surprise to anyone who hasn't actually heard it yet. Not that it is a song by any means, just a little bit too average to justify the hype that such a collaboration deserves. Of the pair, it is George Michael who appears to have had more success with his celebrity collaborations, having topped the charts with Aretha Franklin (I Knew You Were Waiting), Elton John (Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me) and Queen (The Five Live EP) whilst his last single was of course his duet with Mary J Blige on the cover of As, which made Number 4 in March 1999. Whitney on the other hand has had chart hits alongside Teddy Prendergast, Aretha Franklin, Bobby Brown and CeCe Winans but her only other collaboration to breach the Top 10 was 1998s soundtrack collaboration with Mariah Carey on When You Believe - a Number 4 hit.
10 JERUSALEM (Fat Les 2000)
Fat Les is the loose collaborative project of comedian Keith Allen, maverick artist Damien Hirst and Blur bassist and sometime columnist Alex James. Allen co-wrote the 1990 England World Cup anthem World In Motion and featured on Black Grape's Euro 96 tribute England's Irie. When nobody asked him to make a record for the 1998 World Cup he formed Fat Les and made his own - the result was Vindaloo which was the last but one single to spend three weeks at Number 2, as referenced earlier. The followup Fat Les single Naughty Christmas was something of a disappointment but now the collective are back, having been asked to supply the official England anthem for Euro 2000. Jerusalem is the result, the record avoiding comedy to keep the hymn intact, instead just drenching it with their trademark snare drums, choirs of every shape and size and a healthy dose of passion. The words of Jerusalem are a short extract from the epic poem by William Blake but as a patriotic anthem the hymn has been a mainstay of Last Night Of The Proms for decades. In the sporting world it is often mentioned when debating the anthems played by our international sides. Scotland are played onto the pitch to Flower Of Scotland, Wales to Land Of Our Fathers yet England stand in line to God Save The Queen which is technically a British rather than an English anthem... Jerusalem is almost certainly a more appropriate choice. Back to the record then, at it may not have been the massive hit single many, myself included, were expecting but at the very least Euro 2000 has been celebrated in the charts and thus the balance of nature has been preserved. Incidentally for all his extensive involvement with England football songs over the years, it is worth noting that Keith Allen is actually a Welshman by birth...
11 IT'S MY TURN (Angelic)
People seem to be falling over themselves to be rude about this record. In real life Angelic is Amanda O'Riordan, a graphic designer by trade but a graphic designer who just happens to be married to Radio One presenter and club DJ Judge Jules. The track even appears on Jules' own label prompting some to wonder just how far the nepotism stretches. So what are we saying here? Pop stars can be created by svengalis but dance stars have to make records on their own merits? Do me a favour... the track itself is a pretty if rather inoffensive trance melody which would probably have made Number 11 regardless of who was singing on it. All hail Angelic, even if she is Zoe for a new generation.
18 UGLY (Daphne & Celeste)
The gruesome twosome return. Be honest with yourself, Ooh Stick You was actually a rather good pop record wasn't it? Beneath the attitude of the two US teenagers lay a good production, some funny lines and if nothing else the Number 8 hit from February gave the world the expression about the coconuts. Well now they are back with a followup single which has as much class as the first and if anything even more of a sparkle. Maybe this chart position was midly disappointing but any record that reminds you that pop music is at the end of the day all about having fun can hardly be a bad thing. Those who need more convincing may care to note that the track isn't actually original. Ugly originally appeared on Fishbone's self-titled debut album back in 1986. [The pair had one more Top 40 entry left in them, plus there was the moment which wrote them into pop culture forever. But we'll come to that].
19 GOOD STUFF (Kelis)
Oh no... will people never learn. Kids listen to me, never ever make a record with a title that gives reviewers and commentators the opportunity to make lame jokes about it when compared to its quality and performance. After storming the charts with the much-hyped and rather brilliant Caught Out There (Number 4 in March), Kelis returns with a slightly under-appreciated followup. Not such 'Good Stuff' it seems. You see? I can't resist the temptation any more than anyone else can...
20 UNINTENDED (Muse)
Having finally broken through into the Top 40 back in March with Sunburn, Torquay's finest land their biggest hit to date with their fifth single release. Unlike fellow south coast favourites Toploader (whose break into the mainstream happened at the same time), the band have avoided the temptation to re-release one of their earlier low-charting singles and gone for a different track from the re-promoted Showbiz album. Maybe at some point the likes of Uno, Cave and Muscle Museum will get a second outing but you can hardly complain about the decision to release this rather haunting ballad instead.
27 ALL AROUND THE WORLD (Northern Line)
Still swimming around in the bargain bin of boy bands it seems, Northern Line see their third chart single fall some way short of the Top 20 entries of their last two singles Run For Your Life and Love On The Northern Line. At the very least the title of the single is worthy of note - yet another single entitled All Around The World, arriving hot on the heels of Aqua's simiarly titled Around The World. If one adds in Puff Daddy's Been Around The World it means that no less than 11 different songs dealing with global circumnavigation have made the UK charts, surely making it one of the most popular songwriting concepts of all time.
28 A9 (Ariel)
Argentinian dance? Well sort of, Ariel does indeed come from that country originally but this is every bit a European track and gets marks for being neither trance nor garage. More late-90s electronica with a gothic feel if you ask me, but all the better for it.
29 GOLDEN GAZE (Ian Brown)
The presence of another Michael Jackson cover (this time Thriller) on the CD single cannot help this latest release from Ian Brown's Golden Greats album into the Top 5 like his last single Dolphins Were Monkeys. Indeed Golden Gaze is set to become his smallest solo hit to date, dipping below the Number 23 entry of Love Like A Fountain in November last year.
35 EMBRACE (Agnelli & Nelson)
Dance fans could be forgiven for raising a few eyebrows at the sight of the third single from Agnelli & Nelson landing so low down the charts, something of a comedown from the Number 17 peak of their last single Everyday which charted in September 1999. Part of the explanation may lie in the fact that the commercial edit of Everyday benefitted from the addition of a vocal track to the single, something that was widely expected to be added to this single to help it onto the radio. Instead the single appears in its original instrumental form and ends up their lowest charting single to date, rather than the biggest as had been expected.