This week's Official UK Singles Chart

Welcome one and all to the annual gift token chart. Although covering "normal" sales on December 23rd and 24th, this chart is mainly concerned with the shopping habits of the public from December 26-29 plus of course these days the irregular surge in traffic that always passes through the online stores during Christmas time itself. New material just doesn't get a look in as instead catalogue product gets a second wind and provides several acts with some unexpected surges.

First of all at the top however and inevitably Leon Jackson retains his Number One crown with his X Factor victory single When You Believe. Even without the commanding lead he had over the competition last week, the odds were that Jackson would spend a second week at the top. In fact only twice in the last decade has the Christmas Number One surrendered its crown the week immediately following the holiday, first in 1998/1999 when Chocolate Salty Balls overcame Goodbye from the Spice Girls and more recently in early 2005 when the belated release of Against All Odds by inaugural X Factor winner Steve Brookstein shouldered Band Aid 20 out of the way.

Perhaps more surprising (although equally predictable) is the rapid drop-off in sales of What A Wonderful World by Katie Melua and Eva Cassidy. Entirely reliant on special displays in Tesco stores, most of which needed the space for sale items, the single has more or less dropped off the shopping radar and demonstrating all the staying power of a McFly single plummets 2-14. Find a bookmaker prepared to offer odds on it vanishing from the chart altogether in two weeks time and you should be quids in.

The void at Number 2 is thus filled by Leona Lewis who rebounds back with Bleeding Love, giving us the spectacle of an X Factor duopoly at the top end of the chart, both singles released through Simon Cowell's own Syco Music label. With sales of over three-quarters of a million, Bleeding Love is far and away the biggest selling single of 2007, runner-up Umbrella having only just squeezed past the 500,000 mark. As a curious aside it is interesting to note that no less than eight of the top ten best sellers of the year are charting on the Top 75 this week, the only absentees being The Proclaimers and The Fray (who nonetheless only just miss out with How To Save A Life ranking at Number 84.

Catalogue sales this week result in large surges for some of the biggest R&B stars of the year. Timbaland does particularly well with Apologize climbing back up to Number 4, The Way I Are (the years seventh biggest seller) back up to Number 27, Give It To Me reappearing at Number 73 and 50 Cent's Ayo Technology on which the producer had a starring role, back up at Number 34.

Also winning the battle in the post-season sales frenzy is Rihanna whose still unreleased Don't Stop The Music surges to Number 16 to be joined on the ascendancy by the evergreen Umbrella at Number 18, Hate That I Love You at Number 22 and Shut Up And Drive at Number 45.

Keeping up the UK end of things is the man who has been a chart ever-present since the very start of 2007 - Mika. His hit tally this week runs to Happy Ending at Number 32, Grace Kelly at Number 48 and forthcoming single Relax Take It Easy which debuts at Number 49 ahead of a physical release this week (December 31). The other unexpected winners of the week perhaps surprisingly are the Hoosiers who surge 29-10 with Goodbye Mr A and also have Worried About Ray re-entering the Top 40 at Number 25.

Just two acts were bold enough to release brand new physical singles last week and one of them actually charts, Some Kinda Rush from Booty Luv which surges 54-29 to give them their fourth Top 40 hit single. Unlike its predecessors, it is a brand new song with writing credits from Nadia and Cherise themselves.

This week should, of course, be the final hurrah for the Christmas classics which as expected take a tumble compared to their high point of last week. The biggest survivor is Fairytale Of New York which clings on at Number 9. If any of them are selling in sufficient quantities to register a Top 75 placing next week it will be a huge shock to say the least.

Finally, for this oddest of all chart weeks, we should take time to welcome back a pair of old favourites which return once more. Although outsold by both Valerie and Back To Black this week, Amy Winehouse's Rehab storms back onto the chart at Number 42, its first chart appearance for six weeks and its highest chart placing since it was last in the Top 40 back in the spring. With this sale, the track now joins the elite club of singles to have clocked up 52 weeks in total on the Top 75 and is now the ninth most charted single of all time.

Still a little way ahead, however, is Chasing Cars which reappears after a four-week absence at Number 50. This is now its 66th week as a chart hit, leaving it just one place behind Amazing Grace by Judy Collins which has for decades had second place in the all-time table. Its chances of equalling this record next week are reasonably good. Although some new singles are released this week, potential big hits are few and far between, the industry content to wait until January 7th when everyone is properly back and work and things can be promoted properly. Whereas this time last year we had the brand new chart system to look forward to and the extraordinary changes that resulted, this time around things are destined to remain quiet. Bring on 2008, I'm bored of holidays.