1 DON'T CALL ME BABY (Madison Avenue)
The story of this week's Number One single begins at a jumble sale in Melbourne when Andy Van discovered a copy of Ma-quale-idea by Pino D'Angelo, a hitherto undiscovered disco classic from the 1970s. Feeling that the groove had potential, he and songwriting partner Cheyne Coates put new lyrics to the track. The original idea was that Don't Call Me Baby was to be submitted for someone far more famous to sing. Fate had other ideas and the song, complete with Coates' original demo vocal became one of the biggest smashes of last year in Australia. Having received a warm response from dancefloors in this country and with its international chart pedigree emphasised, the single was released in the UK in November last year only to limp to a rather disappointing Number 30.
Still, the track refused to die, reappearing at the bottom end of the Top 75 for a week or so shortly after Christmas. Hence this long-awaited reactivation with the original pressing of the track having long been withdrawn from the shops. Re-released, Don't Call Me Baby charges to the top of the chart to deprive none other than Britney Spears of a second week at the top. In the process, Madison Avenue become the first Australian group to top the UK charts since Men At Work hit the top with Down Under back in 1983. Plenty of Aussie soloists have reached the summit since then of course, including Baz Luhrmann last year but Australian groups have always found it harder going. Some have come agonisingly close, Savage Garden's To The Moon And Back made Number 3 in September 1998 whilst INXS peaked at Number 2 with Need You Tonight in November 1988.
3 SEX BOMB (Tom Jones & Mousse T)
There is no doubt about it. Reload has turned out to be Tom Jones' most successful album in years. The collection of duets and collaborations has spent most of the last month lodged in the Top 3 of the albums listing, this week climbing to the very top after having also done so back in October, his first Number One album for 24 years. Whilst singles featuring Cerys Matthews and the Stereophonics have duly raced up the charts in this country, most of Europe has been going wild to one of the few tracks from the album that features a solo vocal from Jones The Voice. Sex Bomb is said track, one which justifies its place on Reload by giving an equal credit to the producer - German DJ Mousse T who is best known over here for Horny, the single which was arguably the defining sound of early summer 1998. Now it is time for Britain to find out why the ageing legend has suddenly become a dancefloor superstar on the continent. Sex Bomb is quite possibly the song he was born to sing, an out and out ode to one's libido and which of course he carries off in style. This Number 3 entry beats the Number 4 peak of Mama Told Me Not To Come and Sex Bomb is thus his first Top 3 hit since A Boy From Nowhere hit Number 2 in 1987.
4 KOOCHY (Armand Van Helden)
So where is this going to end? In recent weeks we have had a dance record based on the theme to Casualty and a dance record based on Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. To round things off, here is a dance record based on an old Gary Numan classic. Actually to put it in those terms is to do the single a disservice as Armand Van Helden has created yet another instant classic himself, mixing the famous synthesiser riff from Numan's 1979 (and if you insist, 1988, 1993 and 1996) classic Cars with some rather suggestive vocoded male vocals. One of those tracks you will either love or come to loathe very very quickly, needless to say it can rank as one of the most anticipated releases of the week and it returns the New York-based producer to the Top 10 for the first time since his chart-topping You Don't Know Me back in February 1999. Whatever next, dance records based on Barry White songs?
7 TELL ME WHY (THE RIDDLE) (Paul Van Dyk featuring Saint Etienne)
Speaking of vans... German trance wizard Paul Van Dyk was last in the charts in November last year with his double-sided single Another Way/Avenue which peaked at Number 13, surpassing the Number 28 peak of his 1998 single For An Angel which remains one of the biggest anthems of the movement. He now manages to chart a single which is bigger than all of these, reaching the Top 10 for the first time ever. Maybe part of the reason for this is his celebrity collaboration, the single credited to Paul Van Dyk featuring Saint Etienne, although in actual fact only singer Sarah Cracknell provides the vocals for this shimmering epic. It worked anyway, proving that you don't have to graft a pop song onto a trance single a la Fragma in order to score a massive hit. Lots of people may try to tell you that trance is dead but this is one heck of a lively corpse...
9 THE WICKER MAN (Iron Maiden)
It is funny to think that Iron Maiden are now 20+ year veterans of the business, isn't it? Originally formed in 1976 and having released their first single in 1980 as part of the much-trumpeted New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, the 'Maiden have since carved out a chart record that is as consistent as it is long. Never compromising their full-on metal for the sake of commercialism the band have survived many personnel changes with their long-standing support remaining intact over the years. Hit after hit after hit has come, almost always without the benefit of radio airplay or any kind of mainstream promotion. That said, the mid-1990s weren't the kindest to the greatest living rock band. The first-ever signs of a slight dip in their overall support came after long-standing singer Bruce Dickinson quit the band in 1993 to be replaced by Blaze Bayley. Hardened fans of the band will claim they remained as popular as ever but the charts told a different story and the band who could once be almost guaranteed a Top 5 placing with every release slipped slightly down the charts. The three singles they released during the Bayley era, Man On The Edge, Virus and The Angel And The Gambler peaked at Nos. 10, 16 and 18 respectively, the latter being one of their smallest hits since the mid-80s.
Things are about to change. The Metal scene has been abuzz since last year when it was announced that not only was Bruce Dickinson returning to the fold but that has was being joined by guitarist Adrian Smith, effectively recreating the 'classic' mid-80s lineup of the band. So it is that their first new single for two years arrives in the shops amidst great sensation. Needless to say, it does not disappoint, flying into the charts to become their first Top 10 hit since October 1995. It is their 12th Top 10 hit and 30th chart record in total.
12 MAMBO ITALIANO (Shaft)
Ah, remember last summer? When the world went Latino crazy? As an aside to this Europe also went Mambo crazy with Lou Bega sitting at the top of the charts and being joined in the Top 10 by Shaft with Mucho Mambo. Said track was based around a Rosemary Clooney recording of the old standard Sway (although her vocals had to famously be removed from the released version at the very last minute) and it peaked at Number 2 in September. Nine months down the line and they are trying to repeat the trick using almost exactly the same formula. Mambo Italiano was also recorded by Rosemary Clooney and is one of her more famous recordings, topping the NME chart in January 1955. Shaft's new version is just as good a single as Mucho Mambo except of course the novelty has gone, Mambo Pop (as Lou Bega discovered just before Christmas) was a very fleeting fad and although this entry just a few places outside the Top 10 is by no means unimpressive you cannot help but feel it has been released a year too late.
16 PROUD (Heather Small)
Die-hard fans need not worry. M People are by no means at an end, but lead singer Heather Small has taken the time out to record her first ever solo album, from which this gospel-inspired track is the first single. Although the lead singer on all 19 M People hits she only ever once received a direct chart credit on any of them, their 1992 hit Someday being credited as "M People featuring Heather Small". Although M People's biggest ever hit was Moving On Up which made Number 2 in 1993 the most famous piece of Heather Small trivia concerns her appearance on a Number One single as it was her voice that was used on the hastily re-recorded Ride On Time which was a chart-topping hit for Black Box in 1989.
18 AUTOPHILIA (Bluetones)
Hit single number 2 of the year for the ever-consistent Bluetones, this track following up nicely the Number 13 hit Keep The Home Fires Burning which was released in March. Maybe their days of having Top 10 hits are behind them but this is still their 8th Top 20 hit single.
19 SHORTY (GOT HER EYES ON ME) (Donell Jones)
How does the saying go? You are only as good as your last hit. Donell Jones' last single was U Know What's Up which made an impressive Number 2 back in January. Popular though that track was, he seems to have misfired badly with this follow-up which is unlikely to progress beyond this entry barely inside the Top 20. Maybe if he had invited Left-Eye onto the track again...
23 FUNKY MUSIC (Utah Saints)
The Utah Saints comeback that began in February with the Number 37 hit Love Song steps up into a new gear as this latest release flies into the Top 30. This Number 23 peak is enough to make the Edwin Starr-inspired Funky Music their biggest hit single since Believe In Me made Number 8 way back in May 1993 (and good grief was that really seven years ago? How time flies). Pioneers of the notion that dance acts can play live as well, Utah Saints are due to hit the festival circuit this summer. Should be quite a spectacle.
33 BREATHE (Faith Hill)
New Country rears its head again in the shape of blonde bombshell Faith Hill, wife of fellow country legend Tim McGraw and who is best known in this country for her 1998 hit This Kiss which made Number 13 in November 1998. This single from her latest US smash hit album of the same name pushes most of the same buttons, a song that treads nicely the line between country and rock complete with a rousing chorus (which some cynics have pointed out is more or less exactly the same as her 1995 single It Matters To Me). As ever it is left to the reader to ponder just why Shania Twain is an international superstar whilst more authentic C&W females such as Faith Hill and Martina McBride remain well-kept secrets. Still, a second Top 40 hit (however small) for Faith Hill is infinitely better than none at all and the fact that Lonestar's Amazed has crept back up the chart yet again this week (it is now at Number 30) indicates that the audience for country is out there... you just need to prod it awake every so often.
35 FEELING THIS WAY (Conductor & The Cowboy)
"Welcome to the Serious Records website. This site is currently under construction." Very helpful don't you think. Anyway, this track is the debut chart hit for Conductor & The Cowboy and is classed in the release schedules as 'trance' which is puzzling as the only trance it sends me into is the violent one due to it being so damn cheesy.
37 SHAKE YA BODY (N-Trance)
Gee how long has it been? Oh hang on, I'm the man who is supposed to know these things aren't I? Shake Ya Body is the first hit single for N-Trance since Tears In The Rain made Number 53 in December 1998 and their first Top 40 hit of any kind since their rather risible disco-rap cover of Paradise City made Number 28 three months prior to that. The tenth N-Trance single proves the rule that there are good disco-rap covers and bad ones as this just happens to be one of the good ones, a fun recreation of the Jacksons' Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) which made Number 4 in 1979. The law of averages suggests that their next single is liable to be an abortion. Forewarned is forearmed after all...