1 MEN IN BLACK (Will Smith)
The prophets of doom were having a field day at the start of the year as single after single proved unable to sustain more than a solitary week at Number One. Fortunately that may well have been just a freak period as despite a strong challenge from below, Will Smith remains securely at the top of the pile with his second Number One hit. It's the third soundtrack Number One of the year following Ain't Nobody and I Believe I Can Fly, the highest total since 1992 when End Of The Road and I Will Always Love You made it a brace of chart-toppers from movie soundtracks and just one short of the all-time record of 4 in a calendar year, set in 1991.
2 TUBTHUMPING (Chumbawamba)
There are very few people who ever thought they would see this day, the most famous underground band in the country with a major commercial smash on a major record label. Chumbawamba have been around in one form or another since the early 1980s. A kind of soapbox with added instrumentation, the Yorkshire band have seemingly been on tour ever since, a perennial favourite with students and those who believe that songs about the downfall of governments and whoever happens to have got up their nose this week genuinely can change the world. Despite a longtime association with One Little Indian records they have rarely strayed into the charts, coming closest to a big hit in 1993 when they duetted with labelmates Credit To The Nation on Enough Is Enough which reached Number 56.
Four years on they crash into the Top 3 with one of the most astonishing singles they have ever made. Because it is an all-time enduring popular classic. Imagine a record like Tiger Feet and Hi-Ho Silver Lining for the 1990s, imagine a song with a chanting chorus of "I Get Knocked Down/But I Get Up Again", imagine a record devoid of all anti-political posturing and devoted instead to the joy of drinking as much as possible for as long as possible. Longtime hardcore fans of the band (of which there are many) will potentially be disgusted at the way their idols have suddenly turned commercial, the rest of us will just enjoy what is far away one of the best, most original and fun singles of the year and one which you can guarantee will be played at roadshows and Christmas parties from now until the end of the next millennium [pretty much]. The only shock is that it failed to displace Will Smith and become a Number One hit but the commercial lifespan of this single has only just begun.
4 ALL I WANNA DO (Dannii)
If awards are being given out this week for career transformations then Dannii Minogue must run a very close second to Chumbawamba. Kylie's little sister as she was fated to be labelled at first, made her first attempt at pop stardom in 1991 with Love And Kisses, a Number 8 hit which began a 3 year run of singles of varying quality, few of which ever ventured into the Top 20. Her last hit 'Get Into You' which made Number 36 marked the beginning of Dannii's transformation as a series of Playboy appearances, TV shows and image makeovers transformed her from an apparantly desperate wannabe into a mature star. That transformation is now completed with her first new single for four years. Gone is the rather drippy pop of Love And Kisses, gone is the reliance on covers of disco hits such as This Is It and Jump To The Beat. In its place is this euro-dance styled hit, credible enough to have picked up extensive club support and poppy enough to appeal to 13 and 14 year-olds. In short it is far and away the best record she has ever released. Should big sister ever get around to releasing another record (which she will in a few weeks time), even she will have her work cut out to better this.
9 FILMSTAR (Suede)
Suede' fifth hit single of the past year comes just over a year since the first Trash reached Number 3. Like all the singles from their current album it lands immediately inside the Top 10 to give them a career total of seven. It should be pointed out that their last single Lazy also entered at Number 9 before immediately plummeting to Number 37. One waits with interest to see how far this one falls next week.
11 ALL OUT OF LOVE (OTT)
OTT's third hit single and their biggest to date, a cover of Air Supply's classic love ballad. All well and good at face value but shouldn't a band attempting to build up a strong following and become the next Boyzone be doing more than churning out pretty cover versions?
15 THE MIND OF THE MACHINE (N-Trance)
Full marks to N-Trance for surprising everyone. Just as it seemed that they were reduced to cheesy remakes of old disco hits after the successes of Stayin' Alive and D.I.S.C.O. they return to the frantic jungle rhythms of their debut hit Set You Free. Like that original smash hit The Mind Of The Machine features a powerful female vocal sung against, rather than with, the off the scale BPM rate of the instrumentation. The effect is completed with a contribution from screen legend Steven Berkoff making this one of their most striking singles to date.
17 DEEP IN YOU (Livin' Joy)
Two years after they hit Number One with Dreamer, Livin' Joy are still going strong. This is the followup to Where Can I Find Love which hit Number 12 in April and is their fifth hit in total. It would, however, be remiss not to point out that their only single to chart lower than this was the first issue of Dreamer which could only make Number 18 in September 1994.
18 D'YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN (Oasis)
Despite its rather surprising deposition after just a week at Number One, Oasis' single is showing remarkeable staying power, now spending its sixth week inside the Top 20, this in a year when many Number One singles have struggled to manage two. This is of course partly due to the fact that it is still the only new Oasis track available although all that is of course likely to change this week - Thursday 21st August is the date, Be Here Now is the album and more smash hit singles are certain to follow.
21 YOU BRING ME UP (K-Ci & JoJo)
The two brothers from Jodeci branch away from the internationally successful act to launch their own solo offshoot. Although never as massive here as they have been in American, Jodeci have managed a creditable string of hit singles in the past, the biggest of course being Freek N' You which peaked at Number 17 in June 1995.
22 A THOUSAND TREES (Stereophonics)
The second hit single for the Stereophonics and an 11 place improvement on the chart peak of their last single More Life In A Tramps Vest. They have in common with many bands spent the summer on the festival circuit, converting fans along the way and hence increasing the demand for their product.
25 SANDMAN (Blueboy)
This is the eagerly-awaited followup to Remember Me, Blueboy's Number 3 smash dance hit which has become one of the biggest international hits of the year. Following it was never going to be easy and so it proves with this new single which charts at what looks like being a disappointing peak of Number 25.
29 I AM WHAT I AM (Mark Owen)
At some point serious questions are going to be asked about the continuing bankability of former Take That stars. After a brace of Number 3 hits Mark Owen discovers that the rapid in and out performances of recent singles by Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams was no fluke. His third hit becomes the smallest solo hit from one of the pop legends to date and casts into doubt his prospects of having any more Top 40 hits this year. Whilst Mark Owen may have chosen to tread a less commercial path than his erstwhile colleagues this will still be taken as a sign that the commercial potential of anyone associated with the band could well be over.
30 TIED TO THE 90s (Travis)
With critical acclaim ringing in their ears for their debut album, Travis continue their steady rise to stardom with their biggest hit to date. Tied To The 90s follows the same pattern as past hits U16 Girls and All I Want To Do Is Rock, a thumping, catchy rock track that promises a very big hit sometime soon. [They were still three years from becoming arena-filling superstars, but this first batch of minor hit singles were actually as good as anything they made during their imperial phase at the turn of the century].
31 THE WORLD IS FLAT (Echobelly)
Presenting the return of Echobelly with their third album and a switch of record labels to Epic. A string of Top 30 singles in 1995 staked their claim as an act to be watched as they reached Number 13 with Great Things but despite this new single picking up largely where they left off, their hardcore support appears to have diminished to the extent that they cannot even make the Top 30 this time round. One suspects that this is far from the strongest song on the album so it would be wrong to write off their prospects just yet and anyway, whilst King Of The Kerb remains one of the best singles of the decade there is still every chance they can produce something just as memorable.
34 ROCK THE BELLS (Kadoc)
Dance, a second Top 40 hit for Kadoc who made Number 14 last year with Nighttrain. Taking Sash's Ecore Une Fois as its inspiration the track creeps into the Top 40 but as with all such singles, sounds devoid of any appeal outside the context of a heaving nightclub. Mass appeal will always be unlikely.
38 CLOUDS (Source)
A brace of cover versions to round off the Top 40 this week, first of all a new hit single for The Source. John Truelove et al suddenly hit the charts after a long absence earlier this year with a remix of their 1991 classic You Got The Love. Until now both incarnations of the track have been their only Top 40 hits, their only other chart outing coming in 1992 when Rock The House peaked at a miserable Number 63. This new hit is a fiarly faithful cover of the Chaka Khan classic, never a hit in its original version but one of her most famous recordings all the same.
39 DUCHESS (My Life Story)
Another hit for My Life Story and yet again another disappointing chart position for the band the size of a football team who have yet to prove that their debut Top 40 hit 12 Reasons Why is their only strong song. Even with a cover version they appear to be struggling despite the obvious quality of this recording, a new version of the song the Stranglers took to Number 14 in 1979.