1 STOMP (Steps)
The new steps single is billed as "a tribute to Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards" but those who approach it expecting the colourful fivesome to be duplicating the classic Chic sound are probably going to wind up disappointed. True, the chorus borrows the chord sequence and string swirls from Chic's Everybody Dance (hence the disclaimer) but otherwise Stomp owes more to the camp Hi-NRG sound of Dan Hartman than Rodgers and Edwards. Such quibbles aside, the single becomes the perfect herald for their brand new album released next week by charging instantly to the top of the chart, denying U2 a second week at the summit. Strange though it may seem, despite their jaw-dropping run of hit singles (this being their tenth successive Top 10 single and 11th hit in total) they have only ever had one other Number One single. That record was their double sided single Heartbeat/Tragedy which rose to the top shortly after Christmas 1998. Coincidentally the CD single of Stomp features a new mix of the Bee Gees cover that now stands as their joint biggest hit to date. This is now the 34th different single to top the chart this year and with the Spice Girls set to make it a 35th next week, we are well on course to beat even last year's record of 36 different records at the top of the chart during the calendar year.
2 WHO LET THE DOGS OUT (Baha Men)
Strange how the end of the year appears to have crept up like this isn't it? Or maybe that is just me. Either way we are headed into the most frantic sales period of the year and one which in recent years has seen some rather out of the ordinary chart performances as a result of the market for music expanding dramatically. Who can forget Cher's epic run at the top with Believe two years ago? Or how about Macy Gray's I Try which landed on the chart with little radio support at the start of October last year and which was still in the Top 20 at Christmas with everyone proclaiming her the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, a rather bizarre Carribean novelty hit may seem a strange candidate to follow in those kind of footsteps but the Baha Men have managed the turnaround of the year so far with their single Who Let The Dogs Out. Two weeks ago the single charted at Number 13 and last week held reasonably steady, dropping just one place. Radio support for the single is still virtually nonexistent but somehow it is turning into a cult smash and this week makes what is nothing less than an astonishing rise to wind up as the second biggest selling hit of the week. Are further surprises on the cards? Watch this space...
3 BEAUTIFUL DAY (U2)
Ah well, they cannot complain really. U2 fail to become the third act in succession to spend a fortnight at the top of the chart and slide to Number 3 after just a week. In doing so it continues a somewhat bizarre jinx for the group as their other Number One hits (Desire, The Fly and Discotheque) all fell from the top after just one week. They share this streak of relative bad luck with Oasis who have had five Number One hits, none of which has lasted at the top for more than seven days.
5 BODY II BODY (Samantha Mumba)
Whilst the States continues to fall for the obvious charms of Samantha Mumba's first single Gotta Tell You (a Number 2 hit here in July) the Irish lass presses forward with her second release in this country. Just like the Steps single, this track is forced to wear its influences on its sleeve, quite literally in fact as the cover of the CD proclaims the source of the central sample in big bold letters. Body To Body is based around a snippet of David Bowie's 1980 Number One Ashes To Ashes and the sample is worked into another hot R&B groove which may lack a little of the instant appeal of her first hit but which is still enough to convince any doubters that this girl is in possession of some major talent.
9 SUNSET (BIRD OF PREY) (Fatboy Slim)
Could it be that Norman Cook has finally managed to divide people? The multitalented producer and remixer spent most of the 1990s releasing singles under a variety of pseudonyms before finally finding a persona that stuck. As Fatboy Slim he embarked on his most consistent run of hits since his days in Beats International, The Rockafeller Skank, Gangsta Trippin and Right Here Right Now going Top 10 whilst Praise You went all the way and hit the very top in early 1999. Truly he was the King of Big Beat. Listen then to the howls of anguish from some fans as Norman Cook pulls off a swerve, retains the name and persona but embarks on a slight shift in direction. Featuring the sampled voice of none other than Doors legend Jim Morrison, this new single manages to be a combination of Moby-esque melancholy and the energy of trance. A contradiction in terms? Not if you are Norman Cook clearly. So whilst Sunset (Bird Of Prey) may not be the kind of party-friendly record that characterised most of the singles from his last album it still manages to be a work of genius, another Top 10 hit for Fatboy Slim and an interesting taster of things to come from a brand new album.
10 MUSIC IS MY RADAR (Blur)
Their new Greatest Hits album serves to ram home the point that Blur have been a hitmaking force for what seems like an awfully long time. Their first release She's So High made Number 48 in October 1990 amongst the dying embers of the Madchester 'baggy' scene and Damon and the boys have hung in there, charting at least one Top 40 hit every year ever since with 1998 their only fallow year. It is perhaps fitting then that this brand new track to accompany the retrospective collection becomes in turn another of their biggest hits. Music Is My Radar may not be the most accessible single they have ever released but blasts its way into the chart all the same. The single is their 23rd chart hit in all and their 12th Top 10 hit, the first to achieve this status since Tender hit Number 2 in February 1999.
17 WHY DOES MY HEART FEEL SO BAD (Moby)
Given the ubiquity of tracks from the Play album in films and commercials it is possible that any of them could have been turned into a single. Hence it is perhaps a little surprising that Moby should follow up June's Number 5 single Porcelain with a re-release. Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad was the album's fourth single and originally peaked at Number 16 in October 1999, just before the world woke up to what a masterpiece it is. Although not reflected in all chart listings, the single is a double-sided one, track 2 being a reworking of Honey which has also been on the chart before, the track having reached Number 33 as long ago as September 1998 as the album's first single. This version of Honey is a different one, the sampled Bessie Jones vocals having been replaced by ones from Kelis on a special remix by Fafu. Kelis can thus claim another Top 40 hit this year just one week after her latest solo single Get Along With You bombed out at Number 51 and this is her second collaboration of the year, having already featured on ODBs Got Your Money which made Number 11 back in July.
18 PLEASE FORGIVE ME (David Gray)
Please Forgive Me can possibly qualify as one of the most delayed releases of the year but the record company perhaps quite sensibly held it back whilst the popularity of his last hit Babylon died down. Said record made Number 5 in July and proved to be a long-awaited breakthrough for the singer-songwriter who had been trying for commercial success for the best part of the last decade. This follow-up hit is if anything a better song than Babylon and shows off his gravelly tones to perfect effect. Perhaps that isn't surprising when you consider it was actually the first single to be lifted from his album White Ladder and crawled to Number 72 in December last year. Meanwhile, the parent album consolidates its position in the Top 10 this week, making it nicely placed for the seasonal rush.
22 RUMOURS (Damage)
Clearly Damage are struggling after such a long time away. Their comeback single Ghetto Romance did the business nicely back in July when it made Number 7 but the second single from their new album (due out, for now, in the new year) compares rather badly, only able to slide in just outside the Top 20. It is by no means their smallest hit to date (that honour belongs to 1997s Love Lady which peaked at 33) but you can be forgiven for wondering where this most soulful of boy bands goes from here.
24 NOT EVEN GONNA TRIP (Honeyz)
One day someone is going to write an entire soap opera plot around the personnel changes of the Honeyz as it is a tale which rivals that of Destiny's Child for complexity. Suffice it to say that after a shift in membership which led the girls to redo the vocals on their debut album Wonder No.8, the status quo has been restored and the original lineup which began their career just over two years ago is back together for this new single. Not Even Gonna Trip continues their transformation from smooth soul divas into hard-ass R&B chicks that began with their March Top 10 hit won't take it lying down. The only surprise really is the rather lowly chart position registered by the single. Not even the fact that this is lifted from the Nutty Professor II Soundtrack (following in the footsteps of Janet Jackson's Doesn't Really Matter) can stop this bringing their career-opening run of five Top 10 hits to a shuddering halt.
31 PASILDA (Afro Medusa)
Are there really still 'Ibiza favourites' from the summer still left to be given an official release. Apparently so as this dance hit is credited with having become popular during the summer and now makes a belated appearance in the Top 30. Pasilda could almost be a throwback to the summer of 1999 with Latino pianos and samba rhythms a go-go. Good enough.
38 ROSEABILITY (Idlewild)
Rounding off the Top 40 listings this week comes the third chart single of the year for Idlewild, this the followup to Actually Its Darkness (Number 23 in April) and These Wooden Ideas which made Number 32 in June. Roseability is their fifth Top 40 hit in total.