It is as you were at the top of the chart this week, at least in a listings sense. Behind the scenes, Gnarls Barkley's Crazy spent the last week going from headline-grabber to genuine popular phenomenon. As expected the release of the track on CD single provided a huge boost to its sales but at the same time, the online sales of the track also soared through the roof. Not only did the track sell over 120,000 physical copies but it moved over 73,000 copies online, the highest weekly sale for any digital track since records began. The resulting total of over 194,000 copies gives the track the highest weekly sale of the year. Of course this pales into insignificance next to the three-quarters of a million sold by Shayne Ward in Christmas week but of course, those were special circumstances - the last track to shift these kinds of numbers in a "normal" week was Tony Christie's Amarillo which did two successive 250,000+ weeks around this time last year.
Making possibly fewer headlines but just as significant is the Number 2 single this week. Also boosted by the arrival of the CD single in the shops, One by Mary J Blige and U2 makes a 17 place leap to occupy the runners up slot. In the process, it becomes the biggest ever hit for the "Queen of hip hop soul", beating the peak of her 1998 duet with George Michael on As. One marks the third time that U2 have charted alongside another act on a new version of an old song although it is the first time they have participated in the re-recording. The previous occasions were in June 2001 when Musique remixed New Years Day into New Years Dub with the group getting a co-credit. It was a similar situation in February 2004 when LMC released Take Me To The Clouds Above which thanks to its extensive sampling of With Or Without You also gave U2 an artist credit on the track - and in this case, the reward was an unexpected Number One hit.
The only new entry inside the Top 10 this week is a very welcome appearance for The Zutons. Why Won't You Give Me Your Love is the first single to be released from their forthcoming second album Tired Of Hanging Around. Their 2004 debut album spawned no less than five Top 40 hit singles, the biggest of which was Don't Ever Think (Too Much) which hit Number 15 in October of that year. With the album not set to hit the shops until next week, there is a chance the single will have at least one more week of life in it too.
Whilst this week may well have been a sparse one for big new releases, there is still a welcomingly fresh look about the singles chart, with the oldest track in the Top 15 being Corrinne Bailey Rae's Put Your Records On which is now seven weeks old and which holds firm at Number 11.
The next new single is three places below, Franz Ferdinand landing their latest hit with a double A-side of The Fallen/L Wells. It's another frustrating mid-table single for the group who miss the Top 10 for the second time in succession with this single, last hit Walk Away similarly making Number 13 just before Christmas.
Gnarls Barkley aside, the first big club hit to make the charts since the new rules kicked in makes an interesting debut at Number 16 this week. The record in question is Speechless by Mish Mash and was of interest due to the way it would show how the market for club records (traditionally popular in physical rather than digital form despite the burgeoning trend for iPod-based DJ sets) behaved. As it turns out, this is still the case, the single making a lowly non-canon Number 83 last week on online sales alone, its rise into the Top 20 this week due to its arrival on the high street. So what does this indicate? Well for the moment it least it seems that even a much-touted club track won't necessarily shift huge numbers online and even once fully available, dance tracks just aren't the chart force they were a decade ago.
I'm starting now to get the hang of the way the Michael Jackson re-releases are working. Although at first the schedule of releases just looks like a random sample of hit back catalogue, there is indeed a logic to them. Consequently this week we skip over Man In The Mirror owing to the fact that a) it was a relative flop and cool.gif didn't really have a proper video as such, just cut together stock footage of starving children. Instead, we move on to 'Dirty Diana' which was first released in July 1988 as the fifth single from the Bad album and as a herald to the arrival of his world tour on these shores. As such the video itself is little more than concert footage, albeit performed especially for the single and so eminently watchable. Dirty Diana itself was to Bad as Beat It was to Thriller, the token rock track, the guitars this time performed by Billy Idol's guitarist Steve Stevens. Originally a Number 4 hit, the DualDisc release limps into the Top 20 as is par for the course for these reissues.
Finally, for this week, let's take a moment to lament for now the latest low point in the career of 90s survivors The Charlatans. Heralding their new deal with Sanctuary Records, their new single Blackened Blue Eyes is their first release for almost two years and as a brand new track should have been in high demand. Instead the single has made a lowly Number 28 on both shop sales and online purchases, their lowest charting single since My Beautiful Friend made Number 31 in December 1999.