For those continually bemoaning that even in this age of upward mobility you still need to enter at the very top to make Number One on the singles chart, there is some welcome news this week as a record instead makes an impressive six place climb to the top. Naturally, things are never that quite straightforward, for the record in question is When Love Takes Over by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland which only charted at Number 7 last week thanks to a midweek rush release to counter the effect of a spoiler cover version. With all formats of the single now available its presence at the top comes as little surprise but it is still a moment to savour nonetheless. This track is without a shadow of a doubt one of the anthems of the summer, one of the tracks by which the holiday of 2009 will be defined - and naturally, it is a tremendous uplifting pop record to boot. It is the first ever Number One single for David Guetta and with this track, he becomes the first Frenchman to top the UK charts since Romain Tranchart and Yann Destagnol of Modjo in September 2000. For Kelly Rowland, it is her second extra-Destiny's Child Number One single and arrives almost seven years after her first, Dilemma on which she duetted alongside Nelly.
The only new arrivals inside the singles Top 10 are both singles motoring up from the lower reaches. Leading the charge is Paparazzi by Lady Gaga which moves 13-8, its surge in support coming not as I erroneously suggested last week thanks to its physical availability (which is due in a couple of weeks) but for the rather more straightforward reason that its video finally went into widespread circulation and thus ensuring it gained TV airplay. The single is naturally now her third Top 10 single in a row.
One place behind at Number 9 is Said It All from Take That which surges up the singles chart from its rather lowly Number 48 placing last week. The epic ballad is the third single lifted from their album Circus and niftily beats out the Number 14 peak of their last single Up All Night. The single is their 18th Top 10 hit, a statistic which naturally kind of pales into insignificance next to their 11 Number One hits. Whilst writing this on Sunday night I was entertained to note that the Wikipedia entry for the song contained the wonderfully optimistic line: "there is speculation that it will make number-one in the UK Singles Chart". Needless to say, there is no source or attribution for this, so let's give them some speculation that can be referenced back: it won't.
It is clubland that provides us with the highest new entry on the singles chart, with Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer) smashing into Number 15 for the Freemasons and their special guest star Sophie Ellis Bextor. Fans of the singer will be instantly familiar with the track as it premiered online well over a year ago as an example of some of the work in progress of her as yet untitled fourth album. With said long player still yet to surface, Heartbreak... has instead emerged commercially with full credit given to the production wizards who have helped to create it. Make no mistake though this is every inch a starring vehicle for the pouting singer herself, an intoxicating mid-tempo Eurodisco track which knocks just about everything she has put her name to in the last few years to the ground. The single is Sophie Ellis-Bextor's first chart hit since 2007 and her biggest hit single since Catch You was a Top 10 hit in February that year. The Freemasons have only once had a Top 10 hit as a credited act, 'Uninvited' hitting Number 8 in October 2007. Make no mistake, this single is set to join those ranks in seven days time.
Yet another hot new female act takes a bow this week, Paloma Faith arriving at an impressive Number 17 with debut single Stone Cold Sober. The singer and actress is another Winehouse-alike with a yowling jazz voice which wraps itself around this brass-soaked single in a far from unpleasant manner. It isn't the most conventional pop record you will hear all summer but is no less brilliant for all that, so have another gratuitous video embed so you can appreciate it properly.
Lower down the bottom end of the Top 40 there is a new entry for Jack Penate with Be The One, his second single of the year landing at Number 35 following April hit Tonight's Today. This new track suffers the same fate as the first, sounding scrappy and thrown together compared to the joyous slices of music that heralded his 2007 debut. Meanwhile, just one place below at Number 36 is 15 Minutes, the debut chart single from next big thing act The Yeah You's. The duo comprises guitarist Nick Ingram and keyboard player Mike Kintish and both combine their voices in an intoxicating harmony which in truth isn't a million miles away from that of Gary Barlow and the rest of Take That. For an act which had gathered its fair share of praise in the credible press, they are almost startlingly commercial with 15 Minutes more than holding its own as one of the best pop singles you have heard all week in a chart which is fairly stuffed full of them. I'm hoping this chart placing isn't reflective of a here today and gone tomorrow chart run. 15 Minutes deserves to be Top 20 with some amount of urgency.
There is no change at the top of the album chart with Kasabian sitting pretty for a second week. Instead, the biggest surprise is the Number 4 arrival of Let It Roll, a retrospective hits collection of the entire solo career of the late George Harrison. The album features all of his solo hits as well as some live recordings from the celebrated charity Concert For Bangladesh which he staged in 1971. The collection is his highest charting album since Living In The Material World made Number 3 when first released in 1973. Even his 1987 "comeback" album Cloud Nine (and source of Let It Roll's' lead track Got My Mind Set On You) only reached Number 10.
Finally it would be wrong to let this week pass without a brief acknowledgement of the widely reported news story that another possible change to the way record charts are compiled is on the way, with the Official Charts Company only too aware of the growing popularity of online streaming services such as Spotify and We7 and the need to somehow take online listens rather than actual purchases in order to assess the relative popularity of pieces of music. In typical sensationalist fashion the BBC headline "Top 40 faces new digital shakeup" suggests that this integration is almost a fait accompli and will be happening now, quotes later in the piece from OCC director Martin Talbot pointing out that the actual inclusion of streaming figures might be as long as five years away, the presence of the services in the market simply being something they are aware of and working towards tracking officially [proof there that OCC boss Martin Talbot can read the future given that audio streams became part of the singles chart almost exactly five years later]. Nonetheless, if streaming data does ever come onstream it will be possibly the most dramatic sea change in the British charts ever. For a long time in the 80s and early 90s there were calls from some quarters for airplay data to be used as part of the chart compilation process as it is in America, the industry instead electing to retain the principle that the chart tracked actual permanent purchases and nothing else. The possibility does exist now though that physical (or even digital) ownership of music is going to become less and less necessary with a vast cloud of music able to follow you everywhere to be heard on demand [or maybe it is I who can predict the future, not that this wasn't hard to see]. It is that kind of future that the whole industry will have to embrace. In the meantime the digital sales of tracks just keep on rising... Music purchasing to own isn't going to go away just yet.