Billboard Hot 100 Fest

Elton, Darkness Lead U.K. Charts

Elton John has achieved only the third solo No. 1 of his 32-year U.K. chart career, with a song recorded 26 years ago.

Elton John has achieved only the third solo No. 1 of his 32-year U.K. chart career, with a song recorded 26 years ago. "Are You Ready for Love," released on the indie dance label Southern Fried, powered to the top of the British charts after huge airplay and further exposure via its use as a music bed on a Sky Sports TV commercial.

The track was part of John's recordings in 1977 with Philadelphia soul producer Thom Bell, which were never released apart from a "Thom Bell Sessions" EP in 1979. The sessions yielded the U.S. top-10 single "Mama Can't Buy You Love" in 1979, but the three-track single released in the U.K. with "Are You Ready for Love" as the lead song reached only No. 42.

After the song started to be played in clubs some months ago, remixers X-Press 2 prepared a new mix of it and John, enthusiastic about the new interest in the track, gave permission for Southern Fried to give it a commercial release.

"Love" became John's third entirely solo U.K. No. 1, after "Sacrifice"/"Healing Hands" in 1990 and "Candle in the Wind 1997"/"Something About the Way You Look Tonight." He has also topped the U.K. chart with Kiki Dee on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in 1976, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" with George Michael in 1991 and "Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word" with Blue last year.

Elsewhere on the singles chart, dancehall artist Sean Paul continued his hot run with a No. 3 debut for "Like Glue" (VP/Atlantic). Abs, a former member of chartmakers Five, came in at No. 5 with "Miss Perfect" (BMG). Kelly Clarkson opened her U.K. chart account with a No. 6 start for "Miss Independent" (S/BMG) and Scottish pop/rock ingenues Speedway enjoyed a No. 10 arrival for their version of Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle," combined on a double-A sided release with "Save Yourself" (Innocent/Virgin).

On the U.K. album chart, the Darkness climbed 3-1 with "Permission To Land" (Must Destroy). The group's debut set entered the chart in July at No. 3. There was a No. 3 debut for "Take Them On, On Your Own" (Virgin), the second album by U.S. rock trio Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, while Mary J. Blige's "Love & Life" (Geffen) entered at No. 8. Paul Weller's "Fly on the Wall -- B-Sides & Rarities" (Universal Island) arrived at No. 22, while the start of the U.K. leg of the Rolling Stones' tour helped "Forty Licks" (ABKCO/Decca/Virgin) leap 54-23.

Europe-wide, Evanescence's "Fallen" (Wind-Up/Epic) extends its run at No. 1 on the European Top 100 Albums chart to three consecutive weeks and five overall, while Lumidee's "Never Leave You (Uh Ooh, Uh Oooh!)" (MCA/Universal) leads the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles tally for a second week.