With the kind of commanding lead he had last week, it should really come as no surprise to still see Sean Kingston at the top of the singles chart for a second week with Beautiful Girls. The single even survives the potential spoiler of the major label release of his self-titled debut album, although this seems to have come out with almost indecent haste. Popular though the single and artist are, this is as much due to his novelty value as his obvious talents as a performer. Not enough people were prepared to gamble on liking an extended collection of his work and so although it performs respectably enough, the album still eases into the chart at a mere Number 8, leaving its lead single to lead the way in sales.
Also new in on the album chart are Plain White T's with Every Second Counts entering at Number 3. This still does not hold back its lead single Hey There Delilah which advances one place to a brand new peak of Number 2. This is enough to match the peak of the only other Top 3 hit to mention the lady in question, that single, of course, being Tom Jones' famous Delilah which was a Number 2 hit early in 1968.
New physical releases account for all but one of the remaining new entries inside the singles Top 10. First up is James Blunt who moves 10-4 with 1973 after it arrived in the shops. This is now enough to make the song his second biggest hit to date, beating the Number 9 peak scaled by Goodbye My Lover in December 2005 but of course still nowhere near the peak of a certain other single that I'm sure he's sick of people referring back to.
Girls Aloud had a rather understated start to the chart life of their new single Sexy! No No No thanks to an ill-advised record label decision to experiment with a Thursday release. With the single having hit the shops for real last Monday, it easily reverses that disastrous start and charges 64-5. It is their first single release since the release of their Greatest Hits collection last Christmas and heralds the release of a forthcoming new album, their fourth of original material. Five years into their career they are of course now at the crossroads faced by all pop bands, namely just how long can they maintain their success as their core audience grows up with them. Their strength, of course, has always been the songs they are given to sing, Girls Aloud having long been the favourite tool of producers Xenomania for pop experimentation which has resulted in some of pop's most memorable moments of the last half a decade. In its defence Sexy! No No No shows that the standard is as high as ever, an effervescent rock/dance fusion track that picks up where Something Kinda Ooh left off. They may not command the kind of instant sales that result in Number One hits all the time but let's face it that would quickly get boring. They could have hoped for better this time around, but Number 5 still makes this their third Top 5 hit in a row and extends to 15 their run of consecutive Top 10 hit singles, a 100% strike rate since their career began. Assuming the new album maintains the standard there appears little to stop them maintaining their dominance as the best girl group on the planet. Someone hurry up and sign Stonefoxx so we get some competition.
The one Top 10 new arrival still to hit the shops is the single at Number 8, the ever advancing Ayo Technology from 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake. Four weeks around now, the single still has one more chart week as a download only hit to go, finally arriving in the stores on September 17th. This latest chart move reverses the surprising decline it experienced a week ago and helps the single to its highest chart position to date. 50 Cent hasn't had a chart hit this big since Outta Control made Number 7 in September 2005, a chart record he should have surpassed by this time next week.
The most enthusiastically received Top 10 arrival will I suspect be reserved for Scouting For Girls who see She's So Lovely move 19-9 after its physical release. Needless to say, it is the first ever Top 10 hit for the group. Other physical releases this week don't fare quite so well. Reverend and the Makers only manage Number 16 with He Said He Loved Me, Armand Van Helden only moves 38-19 with I Want Your Soul and The Editors make a lowly Number 27 with An End Has A Start.
The two highest Top 75 debuts of the week are both what you might call golden oldies, one from a very unexpected source indeed. The first was expected, Elvis single of the week is (Let Me Be Your) Teddybear which debuts at Number 14. As twee as the images conjured up by the lyrics may sound now, the single was released at the height of Elvis-mania in 1957, topping the US charts and making Number 3 on these shores. The original release was one of only a handful of singles to have had both sides listed on the chart, thanks to the rules in use by the NME at the time. Technically the b-side to Loving You it was nonetheless Teddy Bear which was listed on the chart for a 19 week run in July 1957, the A-side only receiving a chart credit when it appeared for its own mini run in November when it peaked at Number 24.
As for the chart surprise, well that arrives at Number 24. The sad death of Luciano Pavarotti at the end of last week inevitably sparked a surge in sales for the music of the legendary tenor. So it is that online sales have pushed his famous rendition of Nessun Dorma into the singles chart for the first time in 17 years. Used as the BBCs theme to their coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, this was the track that made him a household name and when it peaked at Number 2 it became the highest charting "proper" classical single of all time (ie ignoring the abomination that was 'Hooked On Classics').
Pavarotti actually managed a good handful of chart singles during his lifetime, two of them being singles releases from the famous 3 Tenors concerts in 1994 and 1998. Perhaps more interesting are the three hits he scored alongside more contemporary hitmakers. Italian star Zucchero invited him to appear on his single Miserere which made Number 15 in 1992 whilst he also had an uncredited cameo on Miss Sarajevo by Passengers (a one-off charity project by U2 and Brian Eno) which made Number 6 in 1995. Special mention must, however, go to Live Like Horses a duet between Elton John and the maestro which somehow sneaked to Number 9 in December 1996. Reportedly neither man could stand the song but did not admit it to the other, and the pair enthusiastically promoted it around the world each thinking they were doing the other a favour by performing the song they thought was so wonderful.
Keep your fingers crossed for good things about the track at Number 31. Don't Mess With My Man is the third single for remake specialists Booty Luv, the girls this time taking on the song that R&B supergroup Lucy Pearl took to Number 20 back in 2000. It is a rather lowly start to the single after a week available online. Better things should be in store with a physical release to follow.
Finally, for this week, a few eyebrows could well be raised at the sight of the song at Number 42 on the singles chart. 26 years after it was first released and over 19 years since it was last in the charts, In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins storms back into the listings. It is all thanks to a drumming gorilla, the star of a TV advert for Cadbury's which is the latest must-have cult viral hit online. With the Collins track soundtracking the 90-second commercial, copies have been snapped up online to make it just the latest in a series of unexpected hit singles so far this summer.