Oh, this makes me so happy. Things were, you see, on the verge of getting just a little silly. According to most reliable predictions, we were all set for our third Elvis Presley Number One single in as many weeks. Whilst this might have set a whole raft of new chart records and given Elvis Presley a status even his most fervent supporters could never have dreamed about it was also in serious danger of making the singles chart look a total joke.
Therefore what we see at the top this week is something to be celebrated. A Fool Such As I, Elvis single of the week is not Number One. Instead, the honour goes to new US R&B star Ciara with her debut single Goodies. The formula for her single isn't actually anything we haven't heard before - she wears very little, sings huskily over some popping synths with some macho rappers backing her up in the mix. It is basically Kelis-lite and breaks little in the way of new ground but as a response to the tidal wave of 1950s Rock 'N' Roll that was threatening to engulf us, the single stands proud as proof that pop is far from dead and in truth as something of a breath of fresh air. Number One single number 1001 is neither a charity record, nor a manufactured boy band, nor from a dead cheeseburger addict. For that alone, we should actually stand up and celebrate it.
So what happened with Elvis? Well, actually that is easily explained. All of these re-releases are strictly limited edition runs (so strict in fact that Sony BMG have had to up the number of copies pressed with some shops complaining they were being given just two copies each to sell). Almost all are thus selling out immediately and with singles sales having dropped to record low levels, a sale of 25,000 copies has been enough in the past few weeks to send each single soaring to the top. The same could well have happened this week but for the fact that with so many singles with "Elvis Presley" on them arriving in shops it is possible for mistakes to happen. So it was that copies of A Fool Such As I went on sale a week early, resulting in the single charting at Number 84 last week. These early sales were enough to ensure there just weren't enough copies around to send the single straight to Number One like its two immediate predecessors and so the run of Elvis Number Ones has come to a shuddering halt almost as soon as it began. Funnily enough, the same thing could happen again next week with It's Now Or Never, copies of which mistakenly appeared on the shelves during the week.
Meanwhile, previous Elvis releases continue to make spectacular falls as sales of the limited editions dry up. Last weeks Number One One Night/I Got Stung now sets a new record of its own by tumbling 1-20 as the biggest ever fall from Number One, although having said that it still fares better than last weeks Number 2 hit Empty Souls from the Manics which slides 2-26. It is as if they just aren't trying anymore.
Anyway, let us press on with the rest of the Top 10 as the whole of the Top 6 this week is taken up with brand new singles. Second biggest "new" hit of the week comes thanks to the Chemical Brothers, the dance producers making their long awaited return to the chart after taking all of 2004 off. So it is that Galvanise becomes their first chart single since The Golden Path made Number 17 in September 2003 and spectacularly becomes their first Top 5 hit since Hey Boy Hey Girl hit Number 3 back in June 1999. Guest of honour on the single is rapper Q-Tip who hasn't been seen in the chart since 2000. The deliciously retro and startlingly commercial Galvanise marks his own biggest hit single to date, beating Breathe And Stop which gave him a Number 12 hit almost five years ago.
Next up are the highly regarded Athlete whose journey to the mainstream has been long and painful. Despite a succession of singles released from their 2003 major label debut album Vehicles & Animals the best they managed was a Number 31 hit with El Salvador in April 2003. Now after a year off to think again they stand on the verge of greatness with the enormously appealing single Wires. OK, there isn't much in their sound that distinguishes them from any other members of the Britpack but as part of the wave of exciting British acts poised to fill the vacuum created by pop music's currently predicted demise their presence in the Top 10 is to be welcomed and celebrated.
Let us move on instead to what easily has to rank as the single of the week. Feeder are another act who took 2004 off to prepare for what they hope will be one of their most successful years yet. New album Pushing The Senses is already being lined up to be one of the best albums of the year and it's lead single shows just why that is. Tumble And Fall combines their trademark chugging guitars with a more low key tempo and some decidedly 60s harmonising - all of which combines to make a quite magical single and one which gives them what is only their third ever Top 10 hit and their biggest since the seminal Buck Rogers gave them a Top 5 smash way back in January 2001. Coldplay can be forgiven for bricking themselves as first Embrace and now Feeder have effortlessly stolen their wistful rock clothes to quite glorious effect. [Kind of get the feeling they'll be just fine].
The parade of Top 10 new entries continues with Lucie Silvas chalking up her second Top 10 hit, the sparky Breathe In serving its purpose well as the follow-up to What You're Made Of which made Number 7 in October 2004. Those expecting a power ballad along the lines of her first may be slightly disappointed but there is little to criticize in a record that features a powerful voice backed up by an immaculate production. Even if there is little here in the way of soul.
Second only to the Chemical Brothers as the biggest out and out club hit of the week is the single which nicely grabs a record-equalling seventh Top 10 new entry this week at Number 9. Said record is Stonebridge's Take Me Away, the follow-up to the slightly more memorable Put Em High which landed at Number 6 in August last year and went on to become one of the defining soundtracks of the summer. Singer on the track is once again Swedish diva Therese who began her career as a backing singer with Dr Alban.
Of the three residents of last weeks Top 10 who maintain their status seven days on, two of them are from last weeks parade of new hits in the shape of The Killers and Rooster but most impressively of all the third is Out Of Touch from Uniting Nations. Released well before Christmas, the single continues to hold its own nine weeks on and indeed this week climbs a place to occupy the Number 8 position. Since its release, the track has moved 12-16-13-15-13-7-10-9-8 to rank as the true victor of the post-Christmas shake out.
The only other Top 20 new entry this week goes to Ian Brown, here with Time Is My Everything, his second single from his latest album following on from Keep What Ya Got which hit Number 18 back in October. His best chart performances have always come at the start of the year, his solo career having been kicked off by a Number 5 appearance for My Star in January 1998, that chart position being matched by Dolphins Were Monkeys two years later.
Moving towards the bottom end of the chart now and of all the other also-rans the most interesting is at Number 21. Lackey is the second Top 40 single for The Others and their third in all, the follow-up to Stan Bowles which crept into the bottom end of the chart back in November. Those bemoaning the ever slowing tempo of UK music will regard these boys as a breath of fresh air as they channel the good old fashioned spirit of punk with a record that sounds like it has been thrown together in five minutes, the single being a breathless, enjoyable rant about crap jobs. The band have been making headlines by the practice of guerilla gigging, turning up and playing spontaneously at various locations, footage of their most famous stunt so far (the Abbey Road zebra crossing) appearing on the DVD version of the single. [And which is actually well worth a watch, thanks to some enterprising soul putting it on YouTube for us].
So next week we do have something to speculate on then. Number One could well be Elvis, but for the first time since the new year it possibly might not. See you in seven.