Another week, another chart and another tick in the "Sugababes at Number One" box, the third if you are keeping count. Great pop record, sung by a group fast approaching legendary status after surviving personnel changes that would have floored any other act not called "Oasis". When you think about it there is very little to complain about.
With Fedde Le Grand locked at Number 2, the only change in the Top 3 is the very welcome arrival of Valerie which climbs four places to officially become Amy Winehouse's biggest ever hit single and Mark Ronson's second Top 3 hit of the year. Best of all the single is still only a download release, a physical version finally arriving in the shops this week. I'm dubious about whether this will push the single still higher, any potential boost from CD sales is likely to be limited. One fascinating aside to this single is the mysterious presence on the Top 75 of another rendition of Valerie, this time credited to Amy Winehouse alone and which is at Number 58 this week. This version is a performance of the track that she did for the Radio One Live Lounge and which was included on several versions of the single release of Back To Black earlier in the year. There are two explanations here. Either people are snapping up the acoustic rendition as a natural complement to the brass-heavy Ronson single or perhaps more likely, people are purchasing it by mistake gave that it is the only hit registered by an iTunes search for "Amy Winehouse Valerie". The listing for the "proper" version doesn't mention the guest singer at all. [A very poignant hit single this, the most inspired of all Mark Ronson's 2007 song remakes but the final hit record of note of Amy Winehouse's life. We'd spend the next three and a half years waiting for a new album which alas was never to arrive].
Now then, am I committing heresy by confessing I wasn't actually all that into the last Hoosiers single? Worried About Ray may have peaked at Number 5 in early July and had an impressive seven-week run in the Top 10, attracting rave reviews along the way but I just found it annoying, melody-free and was actually more worried about Irwin Sparkles and his incredibly punchable voice. If I was alone in this, then never mind because the good news is that the second hit single from The Hoosiers is actually incredibly, amazingly good. Eschewing endlessly repeated chords for an actual singalong melody, Goodbye Mr A consolidates their position as one of the most exciting new acts of the latter part of this year. A simultaneous online and physical release, the track storms the chart to match the peak of its predecessor and nicely sets up the release of their debut album Trick To Life next week. The only dissenting voices come from those who point out the way Goodbye Mr A bears a close musical relation to Mr Blue Sky by the Electric Light Orchestra. True, the similarities are there, but since when was it a crime to pay homage to a classic?
The second biggest new hit is (naturally) Elvis Presley hit of the week. For this, we flash back to the summer of 1959 for A Big Hunk O' Love. The single was cut at a celebrated session in the summer of the previous year when Elvis was on leave for the army and Col Tom Parker rushed him into the studio to add to the stockpile of tracks that would help keep him in the public eye whilst he was conscripted.
We all thought it had peaked a few of weeks ago, but Phil Collins' oldie In The Air Tonight gains a second wind this week, rising 20-14 after having fallen back as far as Number 22 and to now reach its highest position since it re-emerged as a hit single after being used in the memorable Cadbury's TV commercial. The new surge is almost certainly helped by a re-cut version of the advert aired during the last week with the drumming gorilla now having added a message of support for the England Rugby team to his kit. As an aside, particularly with England now having battled their way against form to the final, it is interesting to note that the occasion of the 2007 World Cup looks like it will be the first since 1991 not to have a rendition of Swing Low Sweet Chariot or World In Union nestling on the singles chart. One or both tracks have been singles to coincide with the tournament in 1991, 1995, 1999 and 2003 but despite the availability of a tie-in album, neither song has registered on the Top 75. There is, however, one chart single with a World Cup connection this week, but more on that later.
Up once again goes Mika, with Happy Ending rising 29-16. On the strength of this, the single stands a good chance of becoming his fourth Top 10 hit of the year although it will go down in history as a non-consecutive run thanks to album cut Lollipop which has proved oddly popular and has to date spent ten weeks on the Top 75, peaking at Number 59. The fact that this seemingly random track should have had a chart life of its own is all the more strange when you consider the fate of his first UK single Relax, Take It Easy which missed the Top 75 when first released in 2006 and has yet to register this year, despite having topped charts across Europe during the summer.
The supremacy of Let Me Think About It as the biggest club track of the moment is set to be threatened as Uninvited by the Freemasons moves into pole position as the next big crossover hit. Lacking for the moment a radio edit, it is the full-length version of the track which is selling strongly online and the track races to Number 21 on the singles chart this week, a full fortnight ahead of the proper physical release of the single. Top 10 seems more or less a formality which would make it the biggest hit single to date fo the Freemasons, who have yet to better the Number 11 peak of Love On My Mind which was a hit in September 2005. Uninvited is based heavily around the Alanis Morrisette track of the same name which first appeared on the City Of Angels soundtrack in 1998. Indeed the Freemasons track was originally a straight remix using the original vocal line before licensing issues got in the way. As a result, this official single gives co-credit to singer Bailey Tzuke who as the name suggests is the daughter of Judy Stay With Me Til Dawn Tzuke.
The Disney-sponsored teen pop of Aly and AJ fails to gain quite the foothold it could have done with the physical release of Potential Break Up Song only reaching Number 22 but it does at least have the proud honour of outselling the most hideous and pointless single release of the week. Samantha and Amanda Marchant spent the summer as near-permanent fixtures on our TV screens thanks to their participation in the latest Big Brother series. Once you got past the rather disturbing pink obsession of the 19-year-old pair they came across as two rather sweet individuals which although they didn't win, certainly ensured they had some degree of marketability. Regrettably, that marketability appears to have extended to trying to turn them into pop stars, even just as a novelty act. Hence the arrival on the chart of "Samanda" as they are billed, and their note for note autotune-heavy cover of one of the most famous hit singles of the late 90s. But for the song about the rose-flavoured candles, Barbie Girl by Aqua would have been the biggest selling single of 1997, a worldwide chart-topper and the start of a moderately successful career for the Norwegian group. Even ten years on however it neither merits nor requires a cover which makes this Big Brother single one of the more pointless releases of recent weeks. The embarrassment of having to explain to people worldwide if it had become a sizeable hit would have been hard to take, which is why seeing the track land at Number 26 to be swiftly forgotten next week is nothing less than a blessed relief.
On the other hand, we have newly released singles that probably should have done better. Into that category, you can put Let Me Know, the first chart single from Roisin Murphy's second solo album which slides in at Number 28. It is actually her second single release of the year, the first being the title track from the forthcoming album Overpowered but whether by accident or design, the remixes on the CD single pushed it over allowed limits and it was disqualified from the chart. Let Me Know is a more worthwhile release than its reception suggests and does at least have the honour of becoming her first ever solo hit single proper. Aside from her work with Moloko at the start of the decade, Roisin Murphy's only other chart forays were as guest star on a brace of dance hits, most notably Never Enough by Boris Dlugosch which hit Number 16 in summer 2001.
Also underperforming in contrast to the hype is Machines from Biffy Clyro which lands on physical sales at Number 29. Their fourth single release of the year, the Snowplay-esque ballad was tipped to actually become one of their biggest hits to date. As the second single from the album maybe, but not as the fourth. Whatever its merits, without even fan interest propelling it to the upper reaches its chances of a crossover were virtually nil.
Let's start to wind up on a better note then, noting the advance performance of two singles not due out until the end of the month. Both are from stateside R&B superstars, first Akon whose Sorry Blame It On Me rises 31-23 and none other than Timbaland who arrives in the Top 40 at Number 32 with Apologize. Both singles are officially released on October 29 by which time you suspect we'll know them both backwards. Rihanna isn't far behind either, next single Hate That I Love You debuts at Number 57 a month ahead of a November 12 release.
To finish then, what about that Rugby World Cup single? Well, it is none other than The Gambler by Kenny Rogers, popularised by England prop Matt Stevens who it was revealed warms up by performing the song in the dressing room on his guitar. Adopted as an unofficial anthem by the team, Kenny Rogers even recorded a good luck message for the England side prior to Saturday's semifinal victory over France. Thanks to the wonder of downloads, the track appears at Number 70 to become a UK hit for the first time ever and the first hit single for the C&W legend since Islands In The Stream hit Number 7 in early 1984.