As expected, no matter how much PC posturing went on, no matter how many panic-stricken promises to donate the extra profits to the cause were extracted from the artists involved, the aftermath of the Live8 concerts has resulted in some interesting boosts in sales for the performers. On the albums chart, although Coldplay have wound up surrendering top slot to James Blunt, the Live8 effect has kicked in beneficially for the likes of Keane, Razorlight, Mariah Carey, The Killers and most especially Joss Stone, REM and Pink Floyd who all see their albums make spectacular leaps.
The singles chart is by no means immune either, despite Saint Bob's rule that plugging your existing product was a no-no and that the focus should be on catalogue. One artist who flouted that particular rule with impunity was Mariah Carey who closed her set with new single We Belong Together and is rewarded for this defiance by watching it charge in at Number 2. Although expected to land top slot midweek, the single eventually lost out to 2Pac and Elton John who thus land a third straight week at the summit with Ghetto Gospel.
We Belong Together is the second single to be taken from her well received Emancipation Of Mimi album, following on from It's Like That which hit Number 4 back in April. The single is far and away her biggest hit for some time, only her second Top 3 single in the last five years and her highest chart placing since she topped the charts in conjunction with Westlife on Against All Odds way back in 2000. The mid-tempo ballad plods along inoffensively enough but is by no means her greatest ever musical work. OK, to be honest, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Mariah Carey singles that have actually made me excited to hear them but the fact that after 15 years and 32 hits she is still capable of pulling off a Top 3 hit (concert performances notwithstanding) is pretty damn impressive.
Just below her at Number 3 is the still solid James Blunt whose single You're Beautiful is still holding firm despite the runaway success of his album. The single is now six weeks old and has moved 12-6-2-3-3-3 during its time on the chart.
The second biggest new hit of the week goes to Kelly Clarkson who shoots in at Number 5 with her impressive new hit Since U Been Gone. The original American Idol winner has been a consistent hitmaker back home but has seen her international career falter somewhat along the way. Her US debut single A Moment Like This wasn't granted a UK release but she charted in September 2003 with the follow-up Miss Independent which hit Number 6. The follow-up Low reached a dismal Number 35 a few months later and that seemed to be all that she was going to achieve as far as the UK charts were concerned. All that changes with the imminent release of her second album which has proved to the States that she is no one-season wonder. Following its US success the single charges into the charts here to give the bright eyed singer her biggest UK hit to date. OK so it treads the same neat female pop-rock groove that the likes of Avril Lavigne and Ashlee Simpson have followed and doesn't say anything new musically but given that the other week we were bemoaning the lack of pure pop in the charts, its re-emergence is welcome whatever the source. [A hugely significant release this, not only for the way it propelled Kelly Clarkson into a new realm of global success, transcending her Idol win in 2002, but also for the manner in which it kick-started a new dawn in American pop music and in particular the domination of Max Martin and Dr Luke as writers and composers of just about every hit going. It is also, if you are paying close enough attention, actually a straight musical rewrite of Maps by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Starting a process which would cement that particular track as one of the most influential compositions of the decade].
Then again maybe hip-hop has something to say about that. The third biggest new hit of the week is Kanye West's Diamonds From Sierra Leone which hits the ground running at Number 8. It is his first hit of 2005 following his spectacular debut year last year which saw him chart with three of his own hits, plus a further guest starring role on Brandy's Talk About Our Love. New single Diamonds... has the honour of becoming his biggest solo hit to date, beating the Number 9 peak of Through The Wire from April last year, although the Brandy single can rank as his best chart performance to date having peaked at Number 6 last June. Diamonds From Sierra Leone appropriately enough samples Shirley Bassey's Diamonds Are Forever which gave her a Number 38 hit in early 1972 and indirectly marks her first chart appearance since she performed World In Union for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, creeping to Number 35 in the process.
Rounding off the Top 10 is a new entry for an artist who wasn't at Live8 but who did make a high profile concert performance of her own this week, appearing to a muted crowd reaction at the Trafalgar Square party that marked the Olympic bid verdict. With the S Club 7 lustre that propelled her to solo stardom gradually wearing off, Rachel Stevens badly needs more killer material along the lines of Some Girls to make her stand out from the crowd. Last single Negotiate With Love wasn't the business and in truth neither is her new single So Good which takes a Eurobeat turn to bump and grind its way through four minutes but somehow without the style that you suspect Kylie would have graced it with. Her career isn't going to be finished by two successive Number 10 singles, not by a long way, but at the risk of repeating what I said back in April when Negotiate With Love came out, with two near-classic singles under her belt in the shape of Sweet Dreams My LA Ex and Some Girls she has actually set herself an impossibly high watermark to live up to. With every new Rachel Stevens single that comes out, we will be anxiously waiting to see if it is even half as good as those hits. When it falls short (just as So Good does) you cannot help but feel a little deflated.
Just one other new single enters the Top 40 this week, Joss Stone's Don't Cha Wanna Ride slotting in nicely at Number 20. Whilst she stuck to the "no new product" rule at Live8, her impressive mid-evening performance will have done this single no harm at all and after the disappointing Number 35 peak of her last single Spoiled this marks an impressive return to form.
Below her, the Live8 factor really starts to kick in with many older singles from acts who performed last week making some quite startling turnarounds. After leading the crowd in a singalong, Peter Kay helps Tony Christie's (Is This The Way To) Amarillo climb 27-23, Coldplay see Speed Of Sound further arrest its decline with the single having moved 29-25-24 in the last three weeks. Thanks to a show-stealing performance in Philadelphia, the Kaiser Chiefs soar 39-29 with Every Day I Love You Less And Less but the most astonishing chart leap of all goes to Razorlight whose Number 2 hit Somewhere Else which first charted back in April makes a massive 61-30 leap to return to the Top 40 for the first time in six weeks. Also making Top 40 re-entries are U2 with City Of Blinding Lights leaping 43-37 and perhaps most comfortingly of all Signs by Snoop Dogg which moves 45-39 following his jaw-dropping performance that saw him break the all-comers record for most frequent use of the Oedipal compound on pre-watershed television.