Gotta Get Through This Daniel Bedlingford (3rd in total)
In a particularly quiet post-Christmas lull, even by British standards, the 25,000 copies this sold to regain the top slot was a record low. Move along, there's nothing to hear here except for a few hooks.
More Than A Woman Aaliyah
Sales were still low, but 45,000 is about par for the course for the second week of the year. With seven dance records crashing into the top 10 sellers - at least four of them being totally unlistenable - it's a minor blessing that the top seller was a decent R&B groove, even if it didn't actually go anywhere as a song.
My Sweet Lord George Harrison
75,000 copies of the ex-Beatle's solo number one, returning to the top 30 years on. Further discussion in superfluous.
Hero Enrique Iglesias (4 weeks)
Sales between 125,000 and 80,000 kept Enrique's maudalin ballad at the top for a month. See AC for further dissing.
World of our Own Westlife
A "mere" 85,000 copies sold for the Irish fivesome, with yet another vacuous, lightweight piece of trash for their devoted fanbase to buy.
Evergreen / Anything Is Possible Will Young (3 weeks)
Winner of ITV's humungously successful Pop Idle programme, and with the same hype machine as S Club 7 behind him, Young couldn't flop. From the point of the songs, a cover of a sappy Westlife album track and something Cathy Dennis must have written to end writer's block doesn't do. 1.1 million copies in the first six days makes it the third fastest seller of all time, behind Elton and Band Aid...
Unchained Melody / Evergreen / Anything Is Possible Gareth Gates (4 weeks)
...swiftly followed by the fourth fastest seller of all time. Gates finished runner up to Young in said Pop Idle, and shifted a "mere" 850,000 copies in his first week in the stores. Though it's only promoted as a single A-side, the version of the melody from UNCHAINED that he sung twice during the heats, the single contains versions of the two songs recorded for the final. This means that the writers of "Evergreen" - also behind Westlife's list leader - have spent eight weeks on top and received royalties from about 2.7 million sales. Who won this show, exactly?
The Hindu Times Oasis (1 week)
The first new number one in almost three months not to have a connection with Simon Cowell, and the first new single from this Manchester band since summer 2000. According to the fans, this is completely different from everything that has gone before. I can't spot any difference between this and just about anything they've released over the last two albums. First week sales of under 200,000 make this the lowest selling Oasis single not available on an album since "Some Might Say" seven years ago. Still enough to beat strong challenges from N'Sync and the Doves.
Are Freaks Electric Sugababes (1 week)
Record of the week. Beat off a challenge from S Club Juniors by barely 1000 sales in 88,000.
Kiss Kiss Holly Valance (1 week)
A cover of an obscure Turkish number by a former Australian soap star. It had been used as the introduction music by Irish comedian Graham Norton for a couple of years before. Clearly helped by the video showing the lithe Aussie wearing absolutely nothing, and not hindered by the complete lack of any attempt at building a proper song. Aussies having a hit with nothing but hooks? Shomemishtakeshurely.
If Tomorrow Never Comes Ronan Keating (1 week)
A cover. Another cover. We've only had one original record hit the top since February, and that sounded like a cover of an old Oasis track. This cover is of an old Garth Brooks track, and it goes to prove a point. Ronan only has two songs. One is an upbeat poppy track, written by Gregg Alexander, that is just crying out for a decent male vocal. See "Life Is A Rollercoaster" and "Lovin' Each Day". The other is a cover of an obscure country song that really would have been far better released on its own merits. See "You Needed Me" (Alison Krauss *years* before she went down to the river) and "When You Say Nothing At All". Some have remarked on how much this arrangement reminds them of Elvis Costello's "Good Year For The Roses". I don't hear it myself, but then I tune out whenever the bad karaoke singer comes on. 150,000 first week sales bettered Holly by 2:1.
Just A Little Flopstars (1 week)
This is getting the faintest bit ridiculous. In early 2001, the UK version of hit Aussie show Popstars put together a five piece band, Herasey. They had one number one, another best seller in stores, and two cash-in albums before their 30 weeks of fame ran out. The other half of the last ten were signed by V2 records, and put out a couple of anodyne singles under the name "Liberty." Enter the original group of that moniker, who sued the pants off the group, forcing them to change their name. This is the first single under the more accurate title, and it's been hyped to high heaven. I have no idea what anyone sees in this turgid mess of a track, but 160,000 people were conned into parting with £3 to take a copy home, outselling Ronan 16:9.
Without Me Eminem (1 week)
The third chart-topper for the freak-show silly Detroit rapper is more remarkable for what it's not. It's not a close race: he beat the Flopstars by slightly more than 2:1, compared with the 7% margin for 2000's "Will The Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up" over Samantha Mumba's "Gotta Tell You." And it's not going to be toppled by a novelty record in any meaningful sense of the record, the fate that befell "Santa" at the hands of Bob The Builder's epic "Can We Fix It?" It is, however, going to outsell the group that had only once failed to top this chart by almost 4:1. Westlife, who had only been kept from the top by the aforemention Mr The Builder, were relegated to #5 Volume Seller. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Light My Fire Will Young (2 weeks)
The winner of POP IDLE comes back for his second bite of the cherry. This is a song he performed a couple of times en route to winning the televised song contest. To say it's a cover of the Doors song is technically correct, but tells nothing. It's more a cover of Mike Flowers' loungecore version of Jos Feliciano's easy listening version of the Doors original. It's the last one that I still prefer. Outsold Eminem 4:1 in the first week, but lost 85% of his sales by week 2.
A Little Less Conversation Elvis Presley versus Junkie XL (4 weeks)
The facts: used in a commercial for trainers, outsold its nearest competition 9:2 in a big release week. The song was originally featured in the Pelvis' 1967 movie "Live A Little, Love A Little," which was not perhaps the best movie he ever did. It's the first time that the Presley Estate has allowed a remixer to get their hands on one of The King's tracks. Junkie XL (billed as JXL on the record) becomes the seventh Dutch act to top the charts, following the trail blazed in the 90s by such wonderful acts as 2 Untalented, Doop, and the Vengaboys.
The question: does this count as an Elvis release for statistical purposes? Sure, it's his vocal on the track, and the original is featured on one of the CD versions, but the original was deemed so pisspoor that it wasn't even released in the UK. My personal view is that this is a Junkie XL track, with vocals by Mr Presley. If it's counted as an Elvis track, it breaks the tie for the most Number One hits in this Best Sellers In Stores By Volume chart, giving Elvis his 18th topper against 17 for some group called The Beatles.
Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake) Gareth Gates (3 weeks)
The POP IDLE dominance extended to 12 weeks with what is probably the least rubbish single so far. It's a lush upbeat uptempo ballad, and in the hands of a more technically accomplished singer than Gates this would be a star record. As it is, the vocal performance remains limited, but I'm sure that someone will do a classy cover in a few years. Sold 170,000 first week out, winning "only" by 30% after Junkie XL's single was deleted.
Colourblind Darius Danesh (2 weeks)
The (count 'em) third POP IDLE contestant to hit the top of this list, and the (fast runs out of fingers) fifth from the Elite Eleven to release a single. But the first to chart with something he's composed himself. It's not going to set the world on fire, but it's a darn sight better than the sub-pub-karaoke that's been churned out by Gates and Young. Barely broke six figures first week out, presaging a slump in singles sales later in the year.
Round Round Sugababes (1 week)
Already a record of the week. Do keep up in stores, where you're selling 75,000 copies.
The Crossroads Blazing Squad (1 week)
How to thoroughly piss off the Weaver. Take a classic, mournful rap tune - in this case, a Bone Thuggs 'n' Harmony US #1 / UK #8 from 1996. Then recruit about a dozen "pretty" boys, and kit them out in what your advertising creative pillocks think is typical wear amongst "street" 16 year olds. Train them not to use correct English, and make them look ugly and sound thicker than two short planks. Buy huge amounts of time on any tv and radio station, and give huge bungs to have your piss-poor cover of said classic played on the radio. Count the earnings. Retire to nuclear bunker for when Real Music fans come looking for you and the 52,000 people (yes, just 52,000 people) who bought this trash. As recently as February, this would have struggled to make the top five.
The Tide Is High Atomic Kitten (3 weeks)
Dismal cover of Blondie's song. The original wasn't much cop, but this is a pedestrian reworking that drains away. Like last year's "Whole Again", this never sold in huge numbers, but shifted a solid 80-90,000 all three weeks.
Just Like A Pill Pink (1 week)
Record of the week for this week! 56,000 sales does not a massive hit make, and it's her lowest debut sale of the year so far.
The Long And Whining Road Will Young / Gagagagagareth Gates (2 weeks)
Tawdry cover of best-forgotten Beatles number. Still managed to shift 125,000 copies first week out, but slumped by 60% next.
Asereje (The Ketchup Song) Las Ketchup (1 week)
The obligatory cheap 'n' tacky Eurodance hit of the year. You'll cringe when you hear it in three years. If you hear it in three years. 92,000 bought it first week out.
Dilemma Nelly (2 weeks)
Already a Record of the Week. First record to top here and in the US since The Skanks'
Lady Marmalade in June last year. 62,000 and 58,000 copies.
Heaven DJ Sammy & Yanou (1 week)
A cover of a very minor Bryan Adams hit from 1985, done in a Eurodisco style, and already a top 10 hit stateside. The single contains the radio edit and full length version, but not the far superior trance / slow mix that picked up play at AC stations. 64,000 people wondered what the hell the video was about.
Unbreakable Pestlife (1 week)
Only one letter out, and "only" 72,000 copies sold. For an otherwise unavailable single (the Westlife ballad part whatever we're up to,) this is a disaster.
Dirty Christina Aguilera (2 weeks)
The sales slump continued apace, with Clitring selling barely 63,000 and 42,000 copies in her two weeks at the summit. It is the sort of pop that goes down far better in Europe than the US, where this single tanked at #48. Second week was an unexpected bonus, coming at the expense of the third solo single for Will Young.
If You're Not The One Daniel Bedingfield (1 week)
After his carry-over chart-topper at the start of the year, Bedingfield had been surprisingly quiet. The follow up single, "James Dean", didn't emerge until the summer, and this third single crept out of the woodwork a full year after his debut. As with all good teen acts, the third single is a ballad. It's one of the drippiest songs of the year, yet still sold 105,000 copies. Could these facts be linked?
Lose Yourself Eminem (1 week)
If you can't say something good, don't say anything. Second best seller in three releases, this one's taken from his movie soundtrack. Second consecutive US #1 to top this chart at the same time. Beat a novelty record by Romanian twins by just 6000 copies, and I think we got off lightly.
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word Blue & Elton John (1 week)
Elton took this track to #11 in 1976, and he works with the bore band of the moment on their note-perfect cover. It's a perfectly competent cover, but the song is twenty six years old. It bears no relevance to the youth of today. Thanks to the Blue hype machine, it gives them their fourth number one single in slightly more than 15 months. It's Elton's fifth topper, following hits with Kiki Dee (in 76), George Michael (91) and solo toppers in 90 and 97. The track outsold the Girls Cheeky by a comfortable margin.
Sound Of The Underground Girls Aloud (2 weeks+)
The last new topper of the year was completely manufactured by commercial television's POPSTARS: THE RIVALS show. With the format fast running out of steam, the gimmick here was to have a male vocal harmony group, and a female group. Both performed covers - the ladies, managed by Westlife manager Louis Walsh, covered the debut for Orchid, a girl group project he dropped in 2001. How will they survive without this gimmick? Rubbish.
Something Stupid Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman (4th in total)
The annual madness of Christmas throws up some really dumb records. This anodyne cover of Frank & Nancy Sinatra's original retained all the over-ratedness of the original, while keeping none of the charm.
Gotta Get Through This Daniel Bedlingford (2nd in total)
Get the Party Started Pink (3 weeks)
Another tune that's all hook and no filler, this managed to spend three weeks as a huge seller. Joins her work on the Lady Marmalade Skanks song from 2001 as her biggest hit. That's hit.
Hero Enrique Iglesias (3 weeks)
Whip down to the AC list. Then come back. It does get better, honest...
Evergreen / Anything Is Possible Will Young (2 weeks)
Whenever Wherever Shakira (1 week)
Overlooked in the whole Pop Idle shenanigans was this bouncy Latin-tinged debut from Colombian star Shakira. This was her English language release, and would have become one of the biggest hits of the year had it not been for the school talent show. A massive airplay hit, an insanely popular video (that she's not wearing much helps) and huge sales.
Unchained Melody Gareth Gates (2 weeks)
How You Remind Me Nickelback (2 weeks)
Six weeks on release before hitting the top ties the recent record for the longest climb with the Baja Men in late 2000, and TLC's "No Scrubs" in spring 99. The longest climb in recent years is the nine weeks for Steps' "Heartbeat" / "Tragedy" to top the list in 98-99. I'm not counting the 23 weeks for Santana's "Smooth", as that only hit the top on a re-release. A Record of the Week on Feb 25.
The Hindu Times Oasis (1 week)
Girlfriend N'Sync / Nelly (1 week)
A formless mess, all Nelly rap about how he wants to date celebs (not including Birtney's Pears) and that's about it. Took the top by 0.025% from Nickelback.
How You Remind Me Nickelback (Weeks 3-4)
Returning to the top in its ninth consecutive week in the top 3, the first four of those at #3.
Don't Let Me Get Me Pink (1 week)
Already a Record of the Week last week.
Escape Enrique Iglesias (1 week)
A return to the uptempo stuff for Enrique, who almost reprises his 2000 US chart topper "Be With You" here. Fun and funky stuff.
Light My Fire Will Young (1 week)
Without Me Eminem (3 weeks)
Only the second time he's led this particular listing, but a clear topper ahead of Willy. The pop idle's lack of airplay counted badly against him.
Hero Chad Kroeger / Josey Scott (2 weeks)
Mr Nickelback gets his second chart topper of the year. It's previously been a record of the week
Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake) Gareth Gates (1 week)
Foolish Ashanti (1 week)
It's been a record of the week...
A Thousand Miles Vanessa Carlton (2 weeks)
...as has this
In My Place Coldplay (1 week)
The lead single from the second album had already been a substantial airplay hit before release: adjectives such as "fabulous" and "wonderful" were justly applied to a song that takes a bit of getting used to, but is true genius.
A Thousand Miles Vanessa Carlton (week 3)
...and back for more.
Round Round Sugababes (3 weeks)
Already a record of the week.
A Thousand Miles Vanessa Carlton (week 4)
Is there no stopping this woman?
Just Like A Pill Pink (1 week)
Record of the week for this week! Unlike the sales-only chart, Pink has now had three toppers here, perhaps more accurately reflecting her status as one of the most genuinely popular acts of 2002.
Complicated Avril Lavigne (4 weeks)
Record of the week ages ago. Huge airplay, sustained sales.
Dilemma Nelly (7 weeks)
Record of the Week. Passed from "played" to "overplayed" in mid November.
Lose Yourself Eminem (3 weeks+)
The 900th topper on this particular list. The 800th came in October 1998, with Aerosmith's transatlantic chart-topper
I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing. Number 700 was Chaka Demus & Pliers at the start of 1994; 600 was T'Pau in November 87; 500 was Nicole in May 82. See how the chart has sped up and only really slowed down in the early 90s. Over on the sales listing, they're up to #956 on top, having passed 900 in June last year.
Addicted To Bass Puretone
Only kept off the top of the sales chart because street date violations cost 700 sales in early January. This is a thumping bass track, with a female vocal. Not particularly my cup of tea, but the song became a bit of a grower.
Hey Baby No Doubt
Just when Gwen and the lads were giving a perky number, who should pop up but a rapper who (shock) isn't ruining the record! Utterly irresistable stuff.
Ramp! The Logical Song Scooter
A hit in Germany late last year, Scooter's rave cover of the Supertramp number turned into one of the year's longest-lasting sellers, remaining in the top 10 by volume for ages. No airplay meant that it didn't secure the top slot, but it has to be included in any review of the year.
How You Remind Me Nickleback (weeks 3-5)
A Record of the Week in February, and UK #1 in April.
U Remind Me Usher (weeks 2-4)
The second consecutive chart topper for Usher was a softly spoken rap that could clearly be played over and over without growing old. UK peak: a #13 hit in Februry.
Always On Time Ja Rule / Ashanti (2 weeks)
Why Ja took top billing is beyond me. Ashanti delivers a funky light rap about her ability to remain punctual, with the chap adding a few choice comments without overpowering his colleague. Result! UK: #6 in March.
Ain't It Funny Jennifer Lopez (6 weeks)
A significant UK hit back in summer 2001, this was probably the least worst track on the album. Not that that's saying much, but it did rattle along at a rate of knots and came to a conclusion before it got too boggy. The version that topped the charts in the US was a completely new song, that had nothing at all in common with the original song. It featured Ja Rule's male vocals, and was written by that Ashanti lady. UK: #4 in April.
Foolish Ashanti (10 weeks)
And back she comes for more. Ashanti's first solo credit storms to the top spot in the same week her album sells 502,500 copies to top that listing. As if three consecutive number ones wasn't enough, she's also vocalising on Fat Joe's "What's Luv", which nested at #2 the first fortnight of Foolish's reign. I hadn't heard this by the time it hit the top; by the time it left, it was a mainstay of all decent playlists and looked to be massive in the rest of the world. A UK #1 in July.
Hot In Herre Nelly (7 weeks)
The first time in four months that the #1 single hasn't had anything to do with Ashanti. The rapper proves that he lost none of his credibility with his recent work with a boy band. While this isn't as immediate as last summer's anthem "Ride Wit' Me" it's an unpretentious piece of disposable rap. By the time August rolled around, Nelly was sitting pretty at #1 and #2 on his own bat, without relying on someone else's talent...
Dilemma Nelly (7 weeks)
...and hence joined the exclusive club (Beatles, Boys II Men) of acts that have succeeded themself at #1. The second topper in a row veers towards slow ballad, though one that contains enough oomph and woof to secure play at the most cynical urban stations. Note that the record company hadn't intended to promote this single; it was initially driven by radio stations acting on their own bat. "Hot In Herre" made #2 UK in July and August, perpetually behind Vanessa.
A Moment Like This Kelly Clarkson (2 weeks)
The winner of AMERICAN IDLE performs a belt-it-out-by-numbers power ballad. Nothing special, but the media hype ensures that it's a top seller. No UK release scheduled, which is a bit of a shame.
Dilemma Nelly (weeks 8-10)
As Kelly's sales drop, Nelly's hit makes it back. Been a Record of the Week in its absence.
Lose Yourself Eminem (9 weeks+)
The first chart topper in the schlock-rapper's career. A fan writes that it's all about growing up and being honest and such. If only he would talk in sensible language, I might be able to understand him.
Hero Enrique Iglesias (weeks 4-15)
Is there no shifting this man? The sickly sweet ballad originally rose to prominence when the US's good taste was diverted (and understandably so) in early autumn 2001. But that doesn't explain why, when normal taste returned a few months later, this was the most played record on AC radio. It's just Iglesias Jr whining into his microphone about how he promises to be good for his lovebird. Enough to make anyone puke. This is, of course, a seriously sappy love song with Iglesias selflessly offering to be someone's romantic saviour. He slowly and seriously intones the lyrics, sounding like a language learning course. The backing starts minimally but builds to an unsubtle conclusion with huge sweeping strings. It's as cheesy and synthetic as much of Iglesias' English language work. But the emotional romantic novel imagery of an exotic Latin lover clearly appealed to millions of women. And appauled millions of critics.
A New Day Has Come Celine Dion (1 week)
The logjam was finally broken by the comeback single from the Canadian chanteuse. This is a slightly different sound from the classic ballady Celine that we associate with the likes of "Think Twice," "Falling Into You," or "That Song From Titanic." Neither is it as clearly upbeat as "Misled" or "That's The Way It Is." It's with that last song, Celine's previous AC release and a #1 at the end of 99, that comparisons should be drawn. An interesting song, with a lot going on in the background, and plenty of depth.
Hero Enrique Iglesias (week 16)
Just for one week...
Superman (It's Not Easy) Five For Fighting (1 week)
...but it was so nearly two. FFF took the top slot on Billboard's survey by the odd play in 1923. This is a minor classic already - I first heard it on the 2nd Dawson's Creek soundtrack at the end of 2000, and it carried a 1999 credit then. The group - actually a duo, not a quintet - have a soft, angsty song that explains the difficulty of being oneself. A touch laboured in places, but very empathetically done and worth the pain. A pop hit in the aftermath of September's pain, it crossed over to AC towards the end of last year, and has been slowly rising through the ranks to reach the top now.
Hero Enrique Iglesias (weeks 17-18)
Oh no not again.
A New Day Has Come Celine Dion (weeks 2-4)
It's been a Record of the Week since it was last on top.
Superman (It's Not Easy) Five For Fighting (weeks 2-8)
Its UK single release stalled outside the sales top 40. Boo.
A New Day Has Come Celine Dion (weeks 5-10)
To Where You Are Josh Groban (2 weeks)
Light opera becomes the order of the day in our fourth new topper of the year. The sort of song that wouldn't be out of place in a Disney movie, sung by a baritone with a great pair of lungs. The song itself doesn't actually go very far, but it's a great marker for a talent with oodles of potential.
Do It For Love Daryl Hall & John Oates (2 weeks)
Well, it's about time! Hall & Oates have been recording for the past twenty-something years, yet never had an AC #1. Until now, as a simply smashing record does it for them. It's a celebration of life and soul, and if there's any justice, it'll help the twosome return to the major leagues after a decade or so away.
A Thousand Miles Vanessa Carlton (9 weeks)
As reviewed earlier
Can't Stop Loving You Phil Collins (1 week)
The sticksman's first solo effort since 1999's Tarzan theme, and following in the same slightly anthemic rock range.
A Thousand Miles Vanessa Carlton (week 10)
Cry Faith Hill (1 week)
First single from her album, and whaddya know! It's another schlock ballad! What an amazing turn up for the books. Not as classy as "There You'll Be" (2001), nor as obviously crossover as "Breathe" (2000's biggest single in the US), and so perhaps not destined to be as fondly remembered.
Can't Stop Loving You Phil Collins (week 2)
One week was never going to be enough, and he does deserve a little more. The sort of song that is a slow burner, which probably explains why it was chewed up and spat out by the More More More Now Now Now UK system.
Cry Faith Hill (week 2)
...and back comes the Faith...
Game Of Love Santana featuring Michelle Branch (4 weeks+)
...before being toppled by this pairing. Carlos Santana and his band has been making disks since the 70s, while Michelle Branch's debut was just a year ago. The combination, on a jaunty track that's already been #1 at Hot AC for a month, took the top in a very competitive week. Just 6% covered the top four singles, this and the three previous toppers.
Hero Enrique Iglesias (weeks 6-13)
See rant above.
Hey Baby No Doubt (1 week)
See the UK Near Misses section.
Hands Clean Alanis Morissette (5 weeks)
A Record of the Week on Feb 18.
How You Remind Me Nickelback (1 week)
Runners up for seven weeks before hitting the top. A Record of the Week on Feb 25.
A New Day Has Come Celine Dion (6 weeks)
The third consecutive Canadian to top the listings. See AC section for full notes.
Don't Let Me Get Me Pink (4 week)
Another former Record of the Week. The first non-Canadian act to hit the top in three months.
Without Me Eminem (1 week)
Hero Chad Kroeger / Josey Scott (8 weeks)
Complicated Avril Lavigne (11 weeks)
Notes here. Canadians have now taken the top slot for eight of the last nine months.
Dilemma Nelly (6 weeks)
Record of the Week and, finally, clear international megahit.
Jenny From The Block Jennifer Lopez (1 week)
In which the international media megahype asserts her claim to still be in touch with her roots, and fame hasn't changed her in any way. No, really.
Lose Yourself Eminem (1 week+)
Holding like a limpet to the summit in the US, performing very well in the UK, and a hit around the planet.