The story of this week's Number One single technically begins back in 1979 when Abba released Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie (A Man After Midnight). One of the greatest moments in their career, the epic track simultaneously manages to be one of the greatest disco tracks of all time as well as one of the greatest pop moments ever. You suspect it would have been a massive Number One single but for the fact that when first released it was only available in a 12-inch format, at a time when the 7-inch was king [I later had to edit that in embarrassment, getting the song confused with Lay All Your Love On Me which was the Abba track which underperformed due to a lack of 7-inch. Never dare to contradict Abba fans]. The song did top the charts in 1992 in a cover version by Erasure but it wasn't until over 20 years after it was made that the famous synth riff was sampled on a pop hit. That honour goes to The Tamperer who used it as the basis for their 2000 Number 6 hit Hammer To The Heart.
So it is that we arrive in the present day and Madonna's brand new single Hung Up on which she makes a triumphant return to the dancefloor by using Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie as the musical base for the track. It is actually an inspired move. Whilst the fact that she hasn't really made a bad album for over a decade, the introspection of her last album (2003s American Life) almost certainly meant that she had to return from after two years away with something that made an IMPACT. Job done I think. Helped not a little by being the soundtrack to the Motorola advert, Hung Up charges to the top of the chart with an enormous sale and returns the grand old lady to the top of the charts for the first time in over five years. It isn't quite the 8-year dry spell she experienced in the 90s but the gap between Number One hits is still the second longest of her career and it somehow feels appropriate that at the age of 47 she is still able to show the young generation a trick or two. Hung Up is the 11th Number One single of her career, thus consolidating her position as the fifth most successful chart act of all time - and of course in the process, she replaces Westlife, the act who overtook her for fourth spot in the table. The success of the Elvis re-issues at the start of the year means that of the five acts in chart history whose total of chart-toppers has reached double figures, no less than three of them have added to that total in 2005. Cliff Richard (#3 in the all-time table) must be frustrated at only managing to reach Number 12 earlier this year.
Just three singles enter the Top 10 this week, all of them in the Top 5. Spookily the remaining two both feature former boy band stars attempting to make good on phase II of their career. First of these is James Bourne, once known as one third of Busted. This week he follows in the footsteps of former bandmate Charlie by forming a brand new band and storming into the chart as if nothing has changed. Ticket Outta Loserville is as energetic and catchy as you would expect but whereas Busted were a distinctly British take on the whole US college rock phenomenon, Son Of Dork go in the opposite direction and ape the sound of bands such as Bowling For Soup and Blink 182 almost perfectly. Therein lies the astonishing nature of this record. Criticising an act for simply sounding like their contemporaries and contributing nothing new isn't new. What is a first I suspect is the fact that Son Of Dork are expending all their energies on sounding like acts who ply their trade thousands of miles away on another continent. I remain to be convinced if this is really a recipe for success. Their first task I suspect will be to not fall into the hole currently occupied by Fightstar. A solid Top 10 hit followed by a relative mid-table flop will certainly not do Son Of Dork any favours.
The next act on Phase II of their career is Simon Webbe, the title of his second solo single I suspect giving us an insight into how he feels about his career at the moment. No Worries you see has done a great job, storming the Top 5 with ease to give him a second straight Number 4 hit single, the follow-up to Lay Your Hands which charted back in September. The chart placing is well deserved, No Worries being a very pleasant FM soul track with a touch of The Lighthouse Family about it. Constantly referring to him in terms of his former role as a member of Blue may well be to do him a disservice. As a solo star, his career seems to have legs. [This is one hit which deserved far more attention than it got, still a personal favourite of mine although it is as much a showcase for backing singer Yvonne Lewis as it is for Webbe].
In at Number 11 are the Kaiser Chiefs, rounding off their breakthrough year with what is either their fourth or their fifth Top 40 hit, depending on how you count them. The laid back Modern Way is the follow-up to the re-released I Predict A Riot which hit Number 9 back in September although it sadly brings to an end, for now, their run of Top 10 hits, landing agonisingly one place short of the target. Not that they have too much to complain about. Debut album Employment has sold shedloads, their singles have become some of the rock anthems of the year - all they have to do now is bring on 2006 and some new material.
There is a fun oddity at Number 12 in the shape of a new entry from an artist who isn't in a position to promote her material at the present time. Lil' Kim's incarceration for perjury began on September 19th, yet just a week later her brand new album The Naked Truth hit the shops, the controversial female rapper having used her last days of freedom to make sure she had enough material ready to keep her in the public eye. Lead single from the album is Lighters Up which debuts here just outside the Top 10. The single marks her first chart appearance in over two years, her last hit coming as a guest star on Christina Aguilera's Can't Hold Us Down which hit Number 6 in September 2003. Her last hit as lead act came earlier that year, The Jump Off giving her a Number 16 single. Perhaps better known for wearing daft outfits than for her music, at least on these shores, Kim has only ever appeared in the Top 10 twice - and spookily both were alongside Christina Aguilera, first on the aforementioned Can't Hold Us Down and of course also on the chart-topping Lady Marmalade track taken from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack in 2001. Her biggest hit under her own steam came way back in August 1997, Not Tonigh' peaking at Number 11.
Before we hit more new hits, a word now about a rather older one for Daniel Powter's Bad Day shows little sign of going anywhere in a hurry. Now 16 weeks old the single arrests its decline temporarily and climbs a place to Number 16. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a big deal but the continuing presence of the track on the chart has cocked up the release of his new single Free Loop which came out last week. The problem is that the single package includes a live rendition of Bad Day on the b-side. This unfortunately put it in violation of chart rule 2.1 which states that the featured track (ie a-side) of a Top 40 single cannot be released as a b-side or extra track on a subsequent single until it has dropped out of the Top 40. Just because Bad Day appeared as a live version wasn't enough to exempt it from that rule, and the result is that Free Loop is chart ineligible. In a way, it is possibly a blessing as early sales figures indicated that it was only selling enough to land a place in the Top 30, which would have lead to the rather odd sight of Powter's old single continuing to outsell his new one. [The tale of Daniel Powter's second single remains a cautionary tale about reading the chart rules carefully. This was nothing less than a colossal cock up by all concerned].
Strangely enough, that is exactly what has happened to James Blunt this week, You're Beautiful having leaped 12 places this week back to Number 37, three places higher than the follow up High.
The next new hit single arrives at Number 18, disappointingly low given its heavy rotation on TV. Following up Out Of Touch and You And Me are Uniting Nations with another catchy dance-pop track, this time a fairly straightforward retread of disco classic Ai No Corrida. The track was originally written by Blockheads keyboardist Chas Jankel in 1980 but it was a version by Quincy Jones with vocals by Dune that turned the track into an international hit, his single hitting Number 14 here in 1981. Uniting Nations turn the track into a bubbly pop hit that is catchy to the point of irritating - which may well have been the intention. Singer Laura More may be a new name as far as the charts are concerned but millions of teenagers are almost certainly familiar with her body, Laura having been one of the workout girls in Eric Prydz's famous Call On Me video.
There is a strangely busy look to the lower end of the Top 30 this week as between 23 and 28 no less than six different new singles compete for attention. Notable amongst them is the track at Number 24 Never Say Die 2005 from the Monkey Hangerz, supporters of Hartlepool United football club. The track was only stocked in two record shops in the Hartlepool area and was reportedly the biggest seller of the week in those particular stores. That was enough to send the single charging into the Top 30 to the bemusement of the rest of the country. Just two places below them at Number 26 are Bananarama, still attempting to make a go of their comeback despite a lukewarm response to their summertime single Move In My Direction. New single Look On The Floor is actually a thousand times better than its predecessor but has somehow managed to sell even less. Still, they have at least outsold Jamiroquai whose new single (Don't) Give Hate A Chance limps to a miserable Number 27 and is set to become their smallest hit single since Emergency On Planet Earth was a Number 32 single way back in August 1993.
Finally for this week a not altogether unwelcome re-release at Number 28 for My Chemical Romance. I'm Not Okay (I Promise) first hit Number 19 back in March since when the group have had two further Top 30 hits in the shape of Helena and The Ghost Of You. The plan I suspect was to re-release their strongest track in the hope of picking up slightly more mainstream attention than they have garnered at the moment. It wasn't a bad idea - even if it doesn't seem to have paid off quite as they had hoped.