If it is excitement and dramatic moves that you desire, you will scan the British charts in vain this week. Whilst the arrival of Black Kids at Number 5 on the albums chart with Partie Traumatic and the much-heralded return to form of Beck with Modern Guilt at Number 9 provides some measure of activity on the long players list, the top end is very much as you were with the trio of Coldplay, Duffy and Chris Brown all holding firm in the Top 3.
This is still a veritable hive of activity where just two singles penetrate the Top 20, a plethora of older hits simply refusing to die and effectively gumming things up for everyone else. Even last weeks dramatic debutants contribute to the logjam as both Dizzee Rascal and Basshunter sit locked together in the Top 2. This doe, of course, give Diz and his companions a second week at Number One, Dance Wiv Me effectively winning its second battle over All I Ever Wanted with both singles having turned physical last week.
In an age where no album is complete without at least one track involving a "featured guest star" we are quite spoiled for chart-topping duets between various acts. Indeed based simply on chart credits alone, 2008 has already seen three duets top the listings, Madonna and JT being preceded by Estelle and Kanye West and with Basshunter's first hit being listed as "featuring DJ Mental Theo". What sets Dance Wiv Me apart is, of course, the fact that it is a three-way dance between two acts who were already established as chart names (Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris) and a third (Chrome) who is doubtless set for a future run of hits of his own. Nonetheless even this complex combination is far from rare in recent times. 2007 saw two hits from creative trios top the charts, both of them thanks to Timbaland's collaborative urges. First came GIve It To Me which credited Timbaland, Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake alongside each other and then The Way I Are which saw him joined on the credits by DOE and Keri Hilson. Still, this is nothing compared to the all-star collaboration on Nasty Girl which had a two-week run at the top in early 2006, that single officially listed as being performed by Notorious BIG, Diddy, Nelly, Jagged Edge and Avery Storm. Although the existence of famous charity ensembles such as Band Aid tend to skew matters slightly, no discussion of collaboratively performed Number One songs can go without acknowledging the existence of 1997 charity release Perfect Day which featured in excess of 30 different performers each taking a line of the song and supplying instrumentation. It stands unique as the only single credited to "Various Artists" to ever top the UK singles chart. As for the Number One single with the longest performers credit of all time, the individual Number One artists with the longest name remain to the this day The Pipes And Drums And Military Band Of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards who had a five-week run at the top with Amazing Grace way back in 1972.
Back to the present day, and the most spectacular move on the singles chart has to be the 40 place jump which gives Kid Rock far and away his biggest ever hit single on these shores. Despite several attempts to launch him in this country, the man born Robert James Richie is perhaps better known here for his brief spell inside Pamela Anderson rather than the unique blend of rock, rap and country with which he has had a Stateside recording career since the early 1990s. Prior to today, he had only managed three chart singles in the UK, with only American Badass penetrating the Top 30 (it peaked at 25 in September 2000) and with even his onstage DJ Uncle Kracker having had a larger hit single than his employer. With the album Rock And Roll Jesus having given his career a much-needed shot in the arm back home, it seems only appropriate that its most popular single now becomes far and away his biggest ever UK hit, launching him into the Top 10 for the first time ever. All Summer Long wears its influences on its sleeve, borrowing both the piano melody from Warren Zevon's Werewolves Of London and the guitar melody from Sweet Home Alabama, the samples just for a change an integral part of the storyline of the lyrics. An entire world away from much of his earlier work, this is easily the most accessible and mainstream radio-friendly single he has ever released. A Number 6 hit on downloads alone, the single is notably available across all online stores, including iTunes despite the fact that back home the performer refuses to allow the biggest online store to stock his work. Physical release this week should send this memorable hit skyrocketing even further. Dare I even suggest this has Number One potential?
The other new arrival in the Top 20 isn't exactly new at all, having not only been on the chart for several weeks already but also here for its second wander round the high numbers of the singles chart. Step forward Photograph from Nickelback, re-promoted from the belatedly successful All The Right Reasons album thanks to the late-blooming success of previous hit Rockstar. Photograph began life as the albums first single release, hitting a rather disappointing Number 29 back in October 2005. Now reappraised and re-evaluated, the single surges now jumps to Number 18 to become for the moment their biggest ever non-Top 10 hit. I'd doubt its ability to go any further, based on the fact it has been on the chart for six weeks already and had actually fallen back to Number 29 a couple of weeks ago. As Rockstar proved, however, it seems where these guys are concerned, just about anything is possible.
As ever, when very few new hits arrive on the chart we have to look at the release schedule to work out who didn't make it. This week's honourable failures include The Kooks who limp to Number 25 with Shine On and Last Shadow Puppets who only arrive at Number 30 with Standing Next To Me. Maybe even more of a disappointment is the first ever solo single from Texas frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri with great things having been expected from her gorgeous single All The Times I Cried. The lavishly constructed soul track sounds as if it should neatly fit in with the current trend for sixties diva throwbacks but it seems this might have been her undoing. With the likes of Duffy having it seems cornered the market, for all her own chart pedigree it is almost as if Sharleen Spiteri is just trying to make up the numbers. Having languished outside the Top 40 as a download, All The Times I Cried limps to Number 26 as a physical release and seems destined to go no further, although given that she is inevitably going to sell her fair share of albums hit single or no hit single this isn't quite the disaster it seems.
Finally, for this week, the chart curiosity of the moment has to be the entirely appropriate appearance at Number 55 of Sweet Home Alabama from Lynyrd Skynyrd thanks entirely to its namechecking and sampling by the Kid Rock single. Of Werewolves Of London there is presently no sign in the Top 100 although with the track readily available online it would be foolish to rule out the possibility of it becoming a chart hit for the first time ever. First recorded in 1978, despite several single releases and having famously featured on several film soundtracks it has never once appeared on the singles chart. We'll talk about this some more on the podcast later this week, as well as looking at just why chart turnover is suddenly way, way down.