Week 2 then and a very tight battle at the top end, possibly the last one ever to be swung by a Top Of The Pops appearance. Not only does last week's Number One slip down to Six, but the track that topped the first set of midweeks ends up in fourth place.
01. (2) Tori Amos - Professional Widow (It's Got To Be Big)
As the only track in the Top 4 that wasn't a new entry this week, it had the advantage of a showing on TotP (presumably just the video) late in the week, which must have swung it on the Saturday.
02.(NE) Backstreet Boys - Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)
They'd had Top 75 hits as early as 1995, but success elsewhere in Europe let to a relaunch over here in the second half of 1996 and by now they were within a thousand copies of their first UK chart-topper. Still effectively unknown in the US at this point, though this would eventually peak at 2 there as well.
03.(NE) East 17 - Hey Child
Since Take That had split in 1996, they might have expected to take over as Britain's biggest boyband, but in truth they were nearing the end of their own journey too, and this second single from their greatest hits was the last release by the original line-up. It probably would have been, even were it not for the controversy about Brian Harvey's supposed endorsement of drugs shortly before it was released. Ironically enough, this is their one hit with Tony Mortimer singing lead.
04.(NE) Lisa Stansfield/Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - People Hold On (Bootleg Mixes)
Stansfield's vocal from Coldcut's 'People Hold On' played over the instrumental version of the Tori Amos remix. Would have been funny if these had ended up as the Top 2 I suppose; but now we end up with an odd parallel to the chart 15 years later with fundamentally identical tracks by Flo Rida and Avicii at 1 and 4 in the chart. I remember Mark Goodier playing an interview clip from one of Coldcut who wasn't best pleased about this release.
One of the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels did upload the official video to YouTube, but in unwatchable quality.
05.(10) Madonna - Don't Cry For Me Argentina
Boosted by the release of a remix, several weeks into the chart run. That's a practice that was falling somewhat into disuse by now, with the increased focus on first-week chart positions.
06. (1) Spice Girls - 2 Become 1
07.(NE) Texas - Say What You Want
One thing we're going to see a fair bit of in 1997 is big comebacks or breakthroughs by struggling acts. Here a new image and slick, more modern sound rescue the Scottish group from one-hit-wonderdom. And there's more to come.
08. (4) Toni Braxton - Un-Break My Heart
09. (5) En Vogue - Don't Let Go (Love)
10.(NE) No Mercy - Where Do You Go
One of Frank Farian's less fondly remembered projects.
11. (3) Orbital - Satan (Live)
12.(NE) The Lightning Seeds - Sugar Coated Iceberg
His/their highest-charting original song not to mention lions. Co-written by Babybird, but I still liked it.
13.(NE) Erasure - In My Arms
Their chart-dominating phase (and, to be honest, most of the songs people actually remember) were already past; but even ten years after 'Sometimes' they could still pull off a significant hit by selling to the fans.
14. (8) Kavana - I Can Make You Feel Good
15.(NE) MC Lyte - Cold Rock A Party
Apparently she'd been around for years, but it took the production of Sean "Puffy" Combs and his Diana Ross samples to get her a major UK hit.
16. (6) Robert Miles - One And One ft Maria Nayler
17. (9) Mark Morrison - Horny
18.(13) Whitney Houston - Step By Step
19. (7) The Prodigy - Breathe
20.(NE) Puff Johnson - Over And Over
Another key motif of this era would be the gradual arrival of urban RnB as a part of the British musical mainstream, rather than a cult interest.
21.(NE) QFX - Freedom 2
Reissue of a near-hit from 1995. According to Wikipedia "They were featured on over 20 compilation albums world wide."
22.(NE) 3 Colours Red - Nuclear Holiday
At the time, this was the most successful debut single in the history of Creation Records.
23.(NE) Mary Kiani - 100%
Very much in the category of people whom I remember being pop stars, but don't remember any songs by.
24.(NE) Chakra - I Am
One of the early big trance hits to cross over. I have to admit most of this stuff was in one ear and out the other for me at the time.
25.(19) The Beautiful South - Don't Marry Her
26.(14) Damage - Forever
27.(12) Terrorvision - Easy
28.(11) Boyzone - A Different Beat
29.(18) Jamiroquai - Cosmic Girl
30.(24) Kenickie - In Your Car
31.(21) Warren G - What's Love Got To Do With It ft Adina Howard
32.(32) Spacehog - In The Meantime
33.(16) Celine Dion - All By Myself
34.(25) Faithless - Salva Mea
35.(NE) The Kinks - The Days EP
[Days; You Really Got Me; Dead End Street; Lola]
Second version of this song to rechart within a couple of years, Kirsty MacColl having narrowly failed to return to the Top 40 a couple of years earlier. Both re-issues were for the same reason, the tracks having been featured in adverts.
36.(17) The Woolpackers - Hillbilly Rock Hillbilly Roll
37.(29) Lighthouse Family - Loving Every Minute
38.(NE) The Absolute - I Believe ft Suzanne Palmer
39.(10) 3T - I Need You
40.(33) Chicane - Offshore
52.(NE) Geoffrey Williams - Drive
56.(NE) OMC - On The Run
See, he did have another hit. If you count 56 as a hit.
57.(NE) Serial Diva - Keep Hope Alive
71.(RE) Madonna - You Must Love Me
74.(RE) Garbage - Milk ft Tricky