This week's Official UK Singles Chart

OK well, this shouldn't take long. The now traditional slow start to the new year continues as for the second week running virtually no new singles have been released. The result is a chart with heavy emphasis on the old and well established, current hits fighting for position not with a wash of newcomers but with older songs still doing good business online. It is all set to change soon of course but for the moment the UK market remains very much becalmed.

All of this is to the benefit of the current Top 3 which holds firm, Shayne Ward, Nizlopi and the still-resurgent Madonna dominating the top end of the chart. The chart placings don't quite tell the full story of course for whilst Ward and Nizlopi are selling in semi-decent numbers, sales begin to tail off sharply after that, Madonna having only sold enough copies last week to give her a Top 20 placing in any "normal" week. Still, the chart placings are all that the record books will show - and they will now show that Hung Up has spent a ninth week in the Top 10, equaling the 1990 run of Vogue as her most consistent chart record since the start of her career. Whether she can equal her own all-time record next week when sales start to return to normal remains to be seen. The only Madonna track to have a longer consecutive Top 10 run is Like A Virgin which had 9 weeks in the Top 10 at the end of 1984 and start of 1985 - a total which Hung Up can equal next week. Her longest running Top 10 single in total surprisingly isn't Holiday which despite 3 separate chart runs has only ever spent 7 weeks in the Top 10. No, the champion is Crazy For You which during its two chart runs in 1985 and 1991 has managed 10 weeks in the upper reaches of the chart.

The biggest chart winner of the week is the now three week old George Best - A Tribute from Brian Kennedy and Peter Corry. The collection of tracks (effectively a good old fashioned EP) soars 11-4 this week. Even when it first charted, the single was Brian Kennedy's biggest ever hit and it now finally and deservedly takes him into the Top 10 for the very first time.

Honours for the biggest new hit of the week go to the Editors who, using the same tactic as Hard-Fi last week, have released their latest single at the quietest time of the year in an attempt to give their chart records a bit of a boost. Munich has of course already made one chart appearance for the Birmingham group, hitting Number 22 when first released back in April. This timely re-release of the track has had the desired effect, giving them their first ever Top 10 hit single and in the process helping their album The Back Room up the albums chart as well, the long player leaping 39-18 this week.

Just as last week, the Top 20 sees a long-standing former Number One single experience a handy surge in popularity. Last week James Blunt, this week the Pussycat Dolls. Current single Stickwitu is still doggedly clinging on to a Top 10 slot at Number 8 this week but their first release Don't Cha now takes a 23-17 leap thus returning to the position it last occupied on December 4th - the same week in fact that Stickwitu itself debuted at Number One. Don't Cha had previously dipped as low as Number 40 before making its Christmastime return to form.

Just two more singles enter the Top 40 this week, both of them from clubland. Aaron Smith and Luvli slide in at Number 20 with Dancin' whilst at Number 39 is Phat Beach (I'll Be Ready) from Naughty Boy [for clarity, it should be pointed out that this was Bass Bumpers adopting a new alias for this single, based on the Baywatch theme. Nothing to do with the 'real' Naughty Boy who was still four years away from his chart breakthrough]. In past years the new year slump would see several seasonal club favourites invade the chart but even these two hits cannot seem to beat the slump in form experienced by the whole of clubland. Some have pointed the blame at the arrival of downloads into the chart for club tunes struggling to chart so high, the reason being of course that for the moment at least dance singles still sell primarily in physical form. Nonetheless, it is worth pointing out that Dancin' and Phat Beach are both available online and in a full complement of remixes too.

Finally, we should follow up last week's look at some of the more long-running singles still clogging up the bottom end of the chart. James Blunt's You're Beautiful still has the longest-running consecutive chart career of the moment, spending a 32nd week on the Top 40 this week. Lower down Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz sits pretty at Number 52. The single first charted 39 weeks ago but spent 3 weeks outside the Top 75 during this period, thus this week marks the singles 36th week on the chart in old money. It is thus beaten for the moment by I Like The Way by the Bodyrockers which is at Number 57 with 38 weeks to its name in total, a massive 37 of those having been inside the Top 75. Just one more week is all that it needs to be added to the all-time Top 20 long runners list. [We are at this point three months away from a new set of rule changes, instigated at the behest of the high street retailers, which would for a brief period kill off long-running download-only chart hits. Their final bit of influence before withdrawing from the singles market altogether].

Two more Top 75 singles appear to have long runs to their name this week. Dakota by the Stereophonics is now 45 weeks old but this weeks appearance at Number 66 is actually its first Top 75 run since the summer. Performing slightly better is Tony Christie's Amarillo which this week is at Number 58 after 43 weeks on release but the single, in fact, vanished from the Top 75 at the end of September and only reappeared three weeks ago. Thus this is actually only its 28th week on the Top 75 chart.