This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 HAVE YOU EVER (S Club 7)

The current parade of big pop hits topping the charts continues as Blue are unceremoniously bounced into second place just as Westlife were a week ago. As part BBC's Children In Need Appeal S Club 7 have once again recorded a brand new song to be released in aid of the recent charity telethon. The Jo O'Meara voiced ballad thus becomes the third successive Number One hit for the septet, following on from May's Don't Stop Movin' and of course Never Had A Dream Come True which was the Children In Need single from 2000. It is their fourth chart-topper overall, the first having come back in 1999 when their debut Bring It All Back shot to the summit. I often marvel how S Club 7 seem to avoid much in the way of negative comment or cynicism, despite the fact that they are as manufactured as they come, with songs provided for them by the best teams around (Cathy Dennis wrote the current hit) and are theoretically still supposed to be a fictional group who star in their own TV series about their quest for fame. I think it is worth noting that whilst Westlife get the adulation and Hear'Say have the media gathering like vultures waiting for their next record to flop, S Club 7 simply get on with the business of making some rather wonderful pop records. A new album to accompany a third TV series is in the works. I cannot wait.


3 WHO DO YOU LOVE NOW (STRINGER) (Riva featuring Dannii Minogue)

Just like Groovejet and Salsoul Nugget before it, Who Do You Love Now is a perfect example of that turn of the millennium phenomenon - the instrumental club track turned into a pop hit by the addition of some vocals. Riva (a mysterious duo rumored to be an established act under an assumed name [the same pair of Dutchmen who were behind Chocolate Puma as it turned out]) originally released the track as Stringer earlier this year to a warm club reception but nothing in the way of commercial success. That success now comes to the track thanks to the vocal contribution of no less a figure than Dannii Minogue. The younger, less clothed Minogue sister has been toiling away at being a pop star for the last ten years without ever really managing to escape from the shadow of her more famous sibling despite arguably being in possession of the same measure of talent. Her last stab at the fame game was four years ago when All I Want To Do actually became her biggest hit to that date when it hit Number 4 in August 1997. Her chart career can be traced back to 1991 when she had Top 10 hits with Love And Kisses and Jump To The Beat. Who Do You Love Now is her first chart record since Disrememberence made Number 21 in March 1998 and as you will have gathered now ranks as her highest charting single ever. Rumour has it that the Minogue sisters duet that the world has been clamouring for for a decade could now be in the pipeline.


5 WALK ON (U2)

The fourth single from the All That You Can't Leave Behind album may well have wound up the smallest so far but even so is still a Top 5 hit. Confusingly it is actually their fifth chart single in the last 12 months thanks of course to Musique's New Years Dub which hit Number 15 earlier this year and which gave U2 a co-credit on the sampled track. But for that technicality Walk On would be their fifth Top 10 hit in a row, equalling their best ever chart run.


Far too much has been written about the success of DJ Otzi's Hey Baby already, suffice it to say that those of us who predicted a massive hit single despite those in charge of the nations airwaves avoiding it like the plague were absolutely right. However there is one golden rule of novelty records and one which DJ Otzi has now broken. Never, ever follow them up. After that you stop being a novelty and indeed run the risk of becoming plain annoying. The same formula applies for this track - take an already familiar 1960s party hit (in this case the song that Manfred Mann took to the top of the charts in the summer of 1964 but which was originally a US hit for the Exciters several years earlier), record it with a cheesy keyboard track and emphasise the singalong part of the chorus by having a crowd chant it on the record. Somehow the magic that made Hey Baby such an instant classic all over again is missing from this identikit soundalike. Perhaps quite telling is the way Do Wah Diddy has ended up on sale in the shops (although it was selling well on import even before Hey Baby had been released) before its predecessor has had time to burn out. Indeed DJ Otzi came within an ace this week of joining the select list of acts to have had two simultaneous Top 10 hits, Hey Baby slipping to Number 11 this week despite at one point being predicted to outsell the newer single. In actual fact Hey Baby is "only" 11 weeks old and plenty of other acts have had multiple hits at far shorter intervals but you suspect the desire to have at least one DJ Otzi single in the charts for Christmas was too great a temptation to resist. Still the question must be asked, if DJ Otzi is still officially the worst act in the charts today, why are so many people convinced that the Hermes House Band and their similarly cheesy party remake of John Denver's Country Roads is going to be Christmas Number One?

14 PAID MY DUES (Anastacia)

Indeed you have Anastacia my dear and in fact that seems to have paid dividends. After struggling down in the Top 30 for her last two singles Cowboys & Kisses and Made For Loving You, Miss Newkirk finds her fortunes taking a turn for the better. Paid My Dues is now her biggest hit single since her second hit Not That Kind made Number 11 back in February.


OK so arguably Jamiroquai singles are just as formulaic as DJ Otzi's (albeit in a totally different way) but for some reason it is a formula that has yet to become tiring. Anyway even if you have not heard You Give Me Something yet you will know exactly what to expect, a bubbling funk track that allows Jay Kay's vocals to zing about as if they had a life of their own. Or something. If truth be known this is actually a much better track than Little L which kicked off the album by hitting Number 5 back in August. This is now Jamiroquai's 15th Top 20 hit since their debut in 1993.

19 DANCE & SHOUT/HOPE (Shaggy)

Fascinating pop facts: Dance And Shout was originally supposed to be the big hit single that kicked off the promotion of the Hot Shot album in the States. That was before a Hawaiian radio station pulled It Wasn't Me off the net and turned it into the international smash that resurrected the career of the Jamaican star. Now we can listen to the original choice for a lead single and ask what the hell the record company were thinking. Sure it is another fun ragga track (taking its title from the sample of The Jacksons' Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) around which the track is based, but at the end of the day it has hardly any of the wit and personality that made tracks like It Wasn't Me and Luv Me Luv Me such joys to experience. As it turns out Dance And Shout struggles to reach the Top 20, his smallest hit single since Something Different/The Train Is Coming made Number 21 in March 1996.


OK time to mop up the stragglers at the lower end of the Top 40, of which there are a fair number this week. Top of the also-rans are Muse who round off a successful year with their fourth Top 30 hit, following up Plug In Baby, New Born and Bliss, their last single which made Number 22 back in September. [Needless to say I pay no attention to the startling cover on the b-side of this single which would, much to the bemusement of the band themselves, turn into their signature anthem].


27 GOT YOU (Pharoahe Monch)

The man with the most impossible name in rap (I seem to have it spelt three different ways across my databases) notches up his first solo hit for over a year but in actual fact celebrates his second chart record of 2001. This is down to his co-credited appearance on Oh No alongside Mos Def and Nate Dogg, a track which made Number 24 back in February. His only other Top 40 hit prior to today was Simon Says which also hit Number 24 in February 2000.


A small pre-Christmas run at the singles chart by Marti Pellow who kicked off his solo career in fine style when Close To You made Number 9 back in June. Surprisingly enough this is his first single release since and you suspect that the momentum has been lost even though he was never likely to become a major singles artist. The credits for I've Been Around The World reveal that the producer of the track is none other than Memphis legend Willie Mitchell with whom Pellow's band Wet Wet Wet recorded the first version of their debut album back in the 1980s. That version of the record was scrapped in favour of the more pop flavoured Popped In Souled Out, the Mitchell tracks eventually surfacing on the memorable mini album The Memphis Sessions in 1988. Meanwhile the fascination with global circumnavigation as a theme for chart records continues. When Aqua charted with Around The World a year ago I noted that there had been 10 different hit songs titled All Around The World or Around The World or Been Around The World. To this we can now add Marti Pellow's tale of having done the trip as well as noting that this year we have also seen the Super Furry Animals Drawing Rings Around The World. The A*Teens attempted it as well but only managed to get Halfway Around The World but still, they are young yet.

29 60 MILES AN HOUR (New Order)

Resisting the temptation to work out how long it would take you to get around the world whilst travelling at 60 miles an hour (please don't write and tell me), it is best that we merely note that this track is the followup to Crystal with which New Order relaunched their career after eight years away from the spotlight in August. Those who are somewhat shocked that 60 Miles An Hour barely makes the Top 30 can be reassured that New Order have a habit of only managing tiny hits with some of their most famous songs. Thus whilst hits such as Blue Monday, True Faith and Regret have all been deservedly large hit singles, plenty of potential classics such as Round & Round, Shellshock and Ruined In A Day were also only Top 30 chart entries whilst celebrated masterpiece Bizarre Love Triangle did not make the Top 40 at all when originally released.

31 A MAN NEEDS TO BE TOLD (Charlatans)

The second chart hit of the year for the Charlatans, this the followup to Love Is The Key which made Number 16 in September. The USP of this single is that it features a guest guitarist in the shape of famous producer Daniel Lanois (best known on these shores for his work with U2). The only question is where on earth did Tim Burgess pick up that vocal style?

33 OUTSIDE (Staind)

Similarly, a second hit single for Staind, this the follow-up to It's Been Awhile which made Number 15 back in September on the back of their memorable festival performances over the summer. More of the same is the order of the day here, some rather intense, morose but still beautiful nu-metal. Just try to be in a good mood when you hear it.

35 THE SPACE BETWEEN (Dave Matthews Band)

After several years slogging away as virtual unknowns, native Virginians the Dave Matthews Band appear to be on the verge of a breakthrough. Support for The Space Between has not been overwhelming but certainly more than any single they have ever released in the past (singles which include Ants Marching, Crush, Tripping Billies and Don't Drink The Water - none of which have ever come anywhere near the charts). So it is that one of rock's best kept secrets finally have a UK hit single, not a big one and not one that justifies the almost desperate hype that certain parts of the music press have been putting behind it. Nonetheless there is more talent present on this track than on many other similar tracks that have been far bigger hits so far this year. Worth checking out if it has not hit your musical radar yet.

Chart Watch UK is supported by:
Mark and Sarah Talk About Songs