Sugababes' 'Freak' Tops U.K. Chart

U.K. female pop/R&B trio Sugababes completed their successful renaissance yesterday (April 29) when their first single for Universal-Island, "Freak Like Me," went straight to No. 1 on the U.K. sin

U.K. female pop/R&B trio Sugababes completed their successful renaissance yesterday (April 29) when their first single for Universal-Island, "Freak Like Me," went straight to No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart. The single is the group's first since being dropped by the London label and replacing a member.

Thanks to much airplay and considerable media acclaim, the earlier incarnation of Sugababes reached No. 6 on the chart in September 2000 with "Reload," and enjoyed further top-20 success with "New Year" and "Run For Cover." But "Freak Like Me" represents not only a new sound for the retooled trio, but a record that has been a talking point for several weeks.

The track is an unusual blend of R&B and rock. The lyric and melody come from the 1995 Adina Howard U.S. pop and soul smash from which it takes it name (and which only reached No. 33 entry in the U.K.), while the instrumental synthesizer motif is taken from Tubeway Army's 1979 British No. 1 "Are 'Friends' Electric?" Various radio stations have recently reflected, and in some cases helped to create, public interest in such "cross-breed" tracks.

S Club Juniors -- eight youngsters who as their name suggests are a pre-pubescent version of S Club 7 -- entered the singles chart at No. 2 with "One Step Closer" (Polydor). The track was co-written by Cathy Dennis, the former chart artist in increasing demand after writing No. 1 hits for S Club 7 and Kylie Minogue. The five girls and three boys in the "junior" S Club division recently supported the older act on its U.K. arena tour.

Idlewild's "You Held The World In Your Arms" (Parlophone) arrived at No. 9, while last week's No. 1, Oasis' "The Hindu Times" (Big Brother) fell to No. 4. Heavenly/EMI trio Doves, which debuted at No. 3 last week with "There Goes The Fear," suffered one of the sharpest descents in chart history for a top-5 single. The seven-minute single, which retailed for 99p ($1.40), fell to No. 34 as it was released and deleted on the same day.

On the album chart, "All Rise" (Innocent/Virgin) by the four-man pop outfit Blue reached No. 1 after 22 weeks on the tally. U.K. dance outfit X-Press 2, recently at No. 2 on the singles chart with the Skint single "Lazy" featuring David Byrne, scored the highest new entry with "Muzikizum" at No. 15.

Epic's female artists continue to dominate Music & Media's pan-European sales charts, with Celine Dion's "A New Day Has Come" (Epic) is in its fourth week at No. 1 on Top 100 Albums, ahead of Shakira's "Laundry Service" and Anastacia's "Freak of Nature." Additionally, Shakira's "Whenever Wherever" extends its run at the top of Eurochart Hot 100 Singles to nine weeks.