This week's Official UK Singles Chart

[Something of an exclusive here. As noted at the end of last week's post, the Dotmusic website had essentially closed on Christmas Eve, with all remaining staff transferred to work on its replacement. But nobody had told me. So I wrote and submitted anyway, even though this piece never actually saw the light of day. Until now].

1 MAD WORLD (Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules)

You know in some ways this is my favourite week of the year and one which beyond a doubt produces the strangest singles chart of all. This is, of course, the unofficial New Year chart, this year covering a sales week between Sunday 21st December and Saturday 27th. Nobody even attempts to release singles during the holiday week and effectively the entire music industry has taken the week off. Prior to the 1980s, there would not even have been a chart published this week (the record books all assume that Week 52 is an exact duplication of Week 51) but in the age of electronic measurement, there is little to stop the data being gathered and a chart flung out for the world to study.

This year, however, things are quite interesting as Christmas Day fell exactly in the middle of the sales week. As a result, a large proportion of the sales registered here were a part of the last minute rush of shopping before the big day itself, and it is this fact that makes the very top of the sales chart so interesting.

First to the Number One single which sees Michael Andrews and Gary Jules confirmed as the season's biggest seller, sales of Mad World actually increasing from the total they notched up last week. The presence of such a morose song at the top of the charts for Christmas attracted more than its fair share of comment at the start of the week, but the pedigree of the song is beyond question.

Tears For Fears, the original performers of Mad World, went on to become genuine global superstars during the mid-1980s, filling stadiums and topping even the US charts with anthems such as Shout and Everybody Wants To Rule The World. This then makes it all the more fascinating that the song that has brought their songwriting abilities back to the fore dates from the early part of their career when they were a very niche, and oh so very British electronic band.
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2 CHANGES (Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne)

This, however, is the biggest surprise. After being narrowly knocked into second place in the Christmas Number One race, you would have expected The Darkness to at the very least maintain their position near the top of the charts. Instead they have the indignity of slipping to third place this week, eclipsed in sales terms this time around by Ozzy and Kelly's former Number One, last week shunted down to Number 3 by the two big new releases of the week but which now shows it still has sales legs, ascending back to the Number 2 position.
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13 HEY YA (Outkast)

Elsewhere amongst the movers, honourable mention should go to Outkast who once again continue their upward momentum. Hey Ya raised plenty of eyebrows last week when despite the massive Christmas rush it reversed its chart decline to return to the Top 20. Now the single rises yet again, just three places this time. Could it be that it will make a sensational Top 10 return next week?
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15 SWING LOW (UB40 and the United Colours Of Sound)

...and back up they go once more. Is there no end to the chart run of Swing Low Sweet Chariot? Now nine weeks old, the single appeared to have finally peaked once and for all two weeks ago when it hit Number 17 after having been rescued from the depths of the charts by England's World Cup victory. Last week in the middle of the Christmas rush the single dropped back to Number 19 but it appears there is still life in the track yet, this new Number 15 placing represents its highest peak so far. Surely there cannot be more to come?

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25 STUNT 101 (G Unit)

Another single with its star in the ascendant is G Unit's debut track Stunt 101. A new entry on the Christmas chart last week at Number 29, the single rises four places this week.
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28 CRASHED THE WEDDING (Busted)

A small three place climb for Busted this week, returning their single to the Top 30. Crashed The Wedding has the honour of being the lowest place of no less than six current or former Number One singles on the Top 40 this week, Gary Jules, Ozzy and Kelly, Will Young, Westlife and Fatman Scoop all making up the others.

With that, there isn't much more to say although I may end up being the first person to wish everyone a very happy new year. See you on your monitor in seven days time when we get the chance to get our teeth nicely into the return of Posh Spice. I can hardly wait...


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