This week's Official UK Singles Chart

Let's face it, was there ever any doubt? The full release of Beautiful Girls by Sean Kingston sends it surging past the competition to claim pride of place as the nation's Number One single. Agonisingly it has this week been deposed from the top of the Hot 100 by Big Girls Don't Cry by Fergie - had it remained in place it would have become no less than the third single this year to have topped both UK and US charts simultaneously (Give It To Me and Umbrella the other two).

'Beautiful Girls' does however have the strange honour of being one of the few Number One hits to be based on a previous chart-topper (as opposed to being a straight cover), qualifying for this thanks to its use of the bassline from Stand By Me by Ben E King which hit the top in 1987. This last happened in 2004 when we actually had two examples back to back. First was Frankee with F.U.R.B., based directly on the single it replaced at the top, F**k It I Don't Want You Back by Eamon, her single then being followed by I Don't Wanna Know by Mario Winans based on Ready Or Not by The Fugees (although that itself was constructed from samples of three other singles). [Then then 17 year old Sean Kingston also has the distinction of becoming the first person born in the 1990s to have a UK Number One single, making him this decade's Billie Piper].

With Kanye West slipping down a place to Number 2, the Top 3 is rounded out by the Plain White T's who as expected capitalise on the full release (finally) of Hey There Delilah rise three places, their highest chart placing after seven weeks around.

Also properly released this week was Shut Up And Drive from Rihanna which appeared to have peaked three weeks ago at Number 11. After two straight weeks heading down it rebounds to claim Number 5, becoming her fifth Top 10 hit. To date, the other four all peaked at Number 2 or higher but after seven weeks as a download single I'm not sure Shut Up And Drive has quite the momentum it needs to match that record.

The highest "new" entry technically isn't but is at the same time. Having charted for two weeks as The Creeps (You're Giving Me), the full physical release of the single by Freaks is now listed as The Creeps (Get On The Dancefloor) and so appears as a new product to the chart computer, landing as a new entry at Number 9.

For those less concerned with semantics, the most significant new entry of the week arrives at Number 10. For the last two years, James Blunt has had to contend with the fact that he is in danger of being eclipsed by his biggest hit. Number One for five weeks in 2005, You're Beautiful because of its sheer ubiquity is loathed by as many as it is loved, but still is the song by which he will forever be defined. Followups High, Goodbye My Lover and Wisemen all charted respectably but you will struggle to find anyone who can sing along to them. Thus the former Guardsman has a great deal to overcome as he launches his forthcoming second studio album All The Lost Souls. Well so far so good. Lead single 1973 appeared online this last week, ahead of a full studio release this week (September 3). Sounding more like Leo Sayer by the minute, the single has stormed to Number 10 to instantly become his third biggest hit to date. I'd hate to think it will challenge for Number One with physical sales added next week, but it would be very foolish to rule out the possibility. In the meantime, I'm going to marvel at the strange coincidence of a record titled 1973 appearing in a singles chart released to the world on September 2nd. I'll leave the curious to work out why.

So to the Elvis single of the week which lands at Number 14 - Hound Dog. Another of his most famous signature songs, it was his fourth chart single in this country, hitting Number 2 in October 1956. Just like last week's hit Blue Suede Shoes, although most famous as an Elvis song he was by no means the first to record it, Willie Mae Thornton having made a blues version in 1952 with various C&W renditions following in 1953. This week marks its first chart appearance since a 1971 re-release helped it back to Number 10.

As expected, physical sales help Kano and Craig David into the Top 20, This Is The Girl moves 24-18 but the next new entry arrives one place below. The latest group to be shot to fame by word of mouth, Scouting For Girls first appeared on the chart back in June when their debut EP It's Not About You crept to Number 31. Following extensive airplay for their new single, they look set for their first ever smash hit as She's So Lovely lands at Number 19, one week ahead of physical release. A breezy, piano-led pop single, it is easy to see just why the big radio networks have been airing it to death over the last few weeks. I'm going to be contrary and confess to liking It's Not About You more but if this is to be the single that pushes the boys mainstream then it will be no bad thing at all. One more hit single and I'll be shocked if their self-titled debut album isn't a Top 10 fixture from now until Christmas.

Now, did you know this year has marked the tenth anniversary of Natalie Imbruglia's entry into the music business? Admittedly the Australian popstrel has only released three albums in that time but that hasn't stopped her label from marking the anniversary with a compilation of her nine hit singles to date. OK, so it is easy to snigger but at the very least she has released her fair share of quality pop moments. Debut single Torn shattered airplay records when first released ten years ago and even her last little-remembered album contained the ever lovely Shiver, her last Top 10 hit from April 2005. The collection is rounded off by this brand new single Glorious, taken from sessions for her fourth album which is currently on hold while the hits collection is promoted instead. Released in both shops and online this week, the breezy nu-country inspired track staggers to Number 23 which if you want the truth is actually rather an outrage. Natalie Imbruglia attracts more than her fair share of nerdy obsessive fanboys online which puts me off being a fan of hers rather, but despite the stench of desperation, the hits collection will actually be worth snapping up.

As for the also-rans, well the release schedule for August 27th initially threw up a string of potentially hot new releases, many of which have failed to fulfil their potential. KT Tunstall moves 39-21 with Hold On, the first single from her forthcoming new album but she is the best of a bad bunch. Hurricane makes Number 31 for Athlete, Maroon 5 just Number 33 with Wake Up Call and even The Twang can only hit Number 34 with Two Lovers. Watch out though for Reverend and the Makers and He Said He Loved Me which makes Number 30 on download sales and should leap up the chart next week with physical sales, so too Armand Van Helden and I Want Your Soul which is at Number 38 and also hits the shops shortly.

Meanwhile don't be too alarmed at the Number 64 placing for the brand new Girls Aloud single Sexy No No No which was made available as an experimental Thursday release this week, their parent label Universal leading a campaign to persuade the industry to switch to midweek release dates to breathe life into the singles market. With just three days sales to its name, it barely registers for the moment but will inevitably leap into the Top 10 seven days hence.

Finally, for this week, a hugely significant milestone is passed by the single at Number 61. Said record is Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol which has been a more or less permanent resident on the singles chart since its release in July 2006. Its initial chart run lasted 17 weeks before it fell foul of the deletion rules which applied until the end of last year. With restrictions on chart eligibility lifted in January, the single stormed back into the chart and has remained on the Top 75 for all 35 weeks since. A bit of elementary mathematics will tell you that this week thus marks its 52nd week in total on the canonical (ie Top 75) charts.

Although it is a record that looks set to be rewritten plenty of times as the new download era progresses, for the moment Chasing Cars is only the 8th single in history to clock up a full calendar year on the chart and the first to breach the total since New Order's Blue Monday celebrated its 53rd week in August 1995 (a total that has now swollen to 54 thanks to a brief reappearance in March last year). The all-time record holder has been for some time now My Way by Frank Sinatra which spent 122 weeks on the singles chart via a series of chart runs in the late 60s and early 70s, a 1994 re-release pushing it up to 124.

Similarly, the all-time record for consecutive chart weeks has not been broken for a generation, Release Me by Englebert Humperdinck has only been a hit once, but it was a Top 50 record for no less than 56 straight weeks. Needless to say that Chasing Cars would almost certainly have exceeded that total by now, but for the fact that it was disqualified for two months at the end of last year. Similarly one suspects You're Beautiful by James Blunt would have been headed for a year-long chart run had it not been forcibly removed from the chart after 40 weeks when the ill-starred deletions rule came in early last year.

Two more current hits are also heading for impressive totals. Gold Digger by Kanye West this week celebrates its 44th week as a Top 75 hit (a total made up of three different chart runs) but slumps to Number 71 this week suggesting it will dip out of the chart very shortly. Rehab by Amy Winehouse for good or ill is also going strong. Since its release 10 months ago it has only spent five weeks outside the Top 75 and this week is at Number 54 with 43 total chart weeks to its name. Just four more and it will perhaps amazingly become one of the Top 10 most charted singles of all time.


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