This week on the Official UK Singles chart we had a chance to witness something of a first: what was potentially a two-horse race to the top of the charts between two newly purchasable singles which were already established in the streaming market and indeed had both already made the Top 40 on the basis of their logged streams alone.
In the end however, this wasn't so much a race as a procession. Nothing was going to stand in the way of the march by See You Again by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth to the very top of the charts. The achingly beautiful rap song taken from the soundtrack of "Furious 7" and doubling as a moving tribute to actor Paul Walker who died in a car accident during the production of the movie storms to Number One (climbing 21 places in the process) with a colossal combined sale of 193,000 copies. That is enough to make it the fastest selling single of 2015 so far, eclipsing the 172,000 sales notched up by Ellie Goulding and Love Me Like You Do back in February. Once more the biggest single of the moment sets a new benchmark for logged audio streams. Last week See You Again blew all previous records out of the water, listened to a massive 3.68 million times - amounting to an incredible 36,000 sales contributing to its chart total.
Whilst guest singer Charlie Puth is a new name to the charts, American rapper Wiz Khalifa is a slightly more familiar face. You will see this single trumpeted as his second Number One hit in this country which is strictly true, although this is to elevate his brief cameo on the Maroon 5 single Payphone in 2012 to a significance it really did not have at the time. In all, it is the sixth Top 10 single he has either performed or contributed to in some way since he made his chart debut in March 2011 with the Number 5 hit Black And Yellow
It is therefore hard not to feel sorry, at least for now, for Omar Pasley, better known professionally as OMI and singer of the lilting and rather charming reggae track Cheerleader. Originally released in 2012, the track came to mainstream attention earlier this year thanks to a respectful remix by German DJ Felix Jaehn and its imminent British release has been one of the more eagerly anticipated moments of the spring so far. Except that it wasn't supposed to happen this week, Cheerleader originally slated for a full release in early May. Yet the demand for the track had reached such a peak (to the extent that a copycat cover version narrowly missed the Top 40 last week) that a week ago it was announced that the record (already a Top 40 hit on streams alone) would be brought forward as a rush release. Under most normal circumstances this would be enough to see the record fly to Number One but on this occasion, the label's timing could not have been worse. Cheerleader is simply blown away by the unstoppable force of the Wiz Khalifa single and so despite also making a dramatic chart climb of 25 places it becomes the unluckiest Number 2 single of the year to date.
The actual highest new entry of the week lands at Number 4 in the shape of club smash Can't Stop Playing (Makes Me High) from Dr Kucho, Gregor Salto and Ane Brun. This is actually a track even longer in the tooth than the OMI single, first released a full ten years ago when it became a moderate chart hit in the Benelux countries. This 2015 comeback is all thanks to a well-received Oliver Heldens remix which has catapulted the 42-year-old Spanish DJ and producer to mainstream European stardom over two decades after he first began performing.
Also new to the Top 10 with a one place climb this week is Firestone by Kygo featuring Conrad Sewell, a chart move which frustratingly denies grime star Lethal Bizzle a Top 10 entry with his latest single Fester Skank. Having previously topped out at Number 11 with both his 2005 debut Pow! (Forward) and last summer's RariWorkOut the affable performer seemed set for his first ever Top 10 hit single this week. With supreme irony, he instead enjoys his third Number 11 hit single to leave him bashing awkwardly on the ultimate of glass ceilings.
Last week I noted the presence on the cusp of the Top 40 of three of what I regard as the better hit singles of the moment and it is pleasing to note that all of them make strong progress this week. Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson's Trouble soars 47-21 this week, almost but not quite the third Top 20 hit of Hudson's British chart carer. Kodaline's achingly beautiful The One reaches a new peak of Number 27 and just behind at Number 29 is Meghan Trainor's Dear Future Husband which climbs 11 places to make slow but steady progress as her third chart single. Keep the faith all.
It has been a while since we celebrated the achievement of a veteran act at the top of the Official UK Album chart, so this week step forward no less a musical legend than Paul Simon who this week released a new hits compilation The Ultimate Collection to coincide with his recent set of UK tour dates alongside Sting. The album charges straight to Number One to give the 73-year-old singer his first Number One album in 25 years - a barren spell stretching back to the release of The Rhythm Of The Saints in 1990. Simon is you will note the second septuagenarian performer to top the album chart this year, hard on the heels of the identically aged Bob Dylan back in February. Simon's album you will note is a collection of old material dating back to the 1960s in some cases, whereas Dylan's album was a set of brand new recordings.