This week's Official UK Singles Chart
Well that was - unexpected. We have a brand new Number One single, the second in as many weeks, although in a manner which catches many of us out it is not the one that was widely expected.
Beating the Saturdays' charity single into second place is none other than Flo Rida who clocks up a huge sale of over 71,000 copies to see Right Round become the biggest selling single of the week. It is only his fourth chart hit and arrives just a few weeks shy of a year since his debut hit Low peaked at Number 2. The track also gives a chart debut to co-star Ke$ha who is herself being primed for great things with a Max Martin/Dr Luke penned album set for release later this year. With Right Round also the current Number One single Stateside, it means that for the second time this year the UK and US charts are in perfect synchronisation, Just Dance also having also done the transatlantic double back in January. Indeed with Kelly Clarkson's My Life Would Suck Without You having just had a spell at the top, it means that of the five singles to have topped the Hot 100 already in 2009, three of them have managed the same feat on these shores. The two that have missed out - Crack A Bottle and Single Ladies have both been major Top 10 hits here instead.
In a strange coincidence, there is a 1980s callback linking both the Number One and Number 2 singles this week. A large part of the appeal of Right Round is the fact that it is based heavily on samples from Dead Or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) which itself was Number One exactly 24 years ago this week. The first-ever chart-topping production for Stock, Aitken and Waterman, the single is now regarded as one of the all-time 1980s pop classics and was last seen three years ago when it was re-released and climbed back to Number 5 on the back of lead singer Pete Burns appearing in Celebrity Big Brother. In America the track peaked at Number 11 in the summer of 1985 and although it is reasonable to presume this was where Flo Rida knows it from, he was a mere five years old at the time which suggests that the idea for the sample probably came from co-producers Dr Luke and Timbaland who are of a more appropriate generation.
So then to the record that was supposed to be Number One instead. It is an odd-numbered year so it must, therefore, be time for the Comic Relief charity appeal, a series of events backed by some of the biggest names in comedy, all culminating in a charity telethon later this month. Over the past few years, thanks to the semi-official efforts of Peter Kay the now traditional charity tie-in music release has turned into two official Comic Relief singles - one by comic stars and the other by a "real" pop act. The comedy record is set to follow, but for the moment leading the way are The Saturdays with the now traditional updated cover of a 1980s classic. Song of choice this time around is Just Can't Get Enough, originally a Number 8 hit and the first ever Top 10 single for Depeche Mode way back in 1981 (way before any of the members of the Saturdays were even born). Whilst it may have missed out on topping the charts, the single does at the very least become a bigger hit than any Depeche Mode single ever, the legendary synthesiser group having famously fallen short of ever having a Top 3 hit, instead hitting Number 4 on three separate occasions - most recently in 2005 with Precious.
A bubbly pop record in marked contrast to much of their later output, Just Can't Get Enough was one of a number of their early hits penned by Vince Clarke and indeed was to be their last single before he departed and Martin Gore took over songwriting duties, taking the group to rather darker areas. By failing to top the singles charts with this cover, the Saturdays continue a rather bizarre jinx on Vince Clarke songs. Although over his long career he has written hits for Depeche Mode, Yazoo, The Assembly and Erasure and had his songs covered by the likes of Dollar, Bjorn Again and Wheatus the only act to have ever had a Number One hit with one of his compositions are the Flying Pickets whose version of Only You was the Christmas chart-topper in 1983. Yazoo's original version of the track peaked at Number 2 a year earlier whilst the only Number One single ever achieved by Erasure in their 22-year chart career was the Abba-Esque EP in 1992 which consisted entirely of covers of Abba songs.
Back to the Saturdays though, and despite this near miss the single does at least give them their fourth straight Top 10 single and their biggest hit to date. Presuming it gets no further, it will have the dubious honour of being the first official Comic Relief tie-in single to fail to top the charts since Right Said Fred's Stick It Out way back in 1993. Bring on Bryn and Nessa say I.
Aside from the two big new entries, the rest of the Top 10 is devoid of significant action, so down to the Top 20 we go to note the continuing rise of Akon's Beautiful which shoots 30-13 on its way to becoming another sizeable hit for the hip-hop crooner. Continuing the fascination with recycled song titles, it is worth noting that this is now the ninth different chart single in history to use the title with no less than 8 of them bizarrely coming in the 21st century. Not until 1995 did anyone chart a single with the title, that honour going to Marillion whose song of that name peaked at Number 29. Akon's single is only the third Beautiful track to make the Top 20, the biggest using the name since Christina Aguilera took the title to Number One in 2003.
Making slow but steady progress upwards are Take That who reach a new peak with Up All Night which climbs to Number 14. Whilst it has now eased past the disastrous Number 17 peak of 2007s I'd Wait For Life, the single still seems destined to become one of their smaller hits, in marked contrast to the chart-throttling longevity of some of their more recent offerings. Meanwhile, 2007 release Rule The World dips out of the Top 75 this week, the first time it has been absent since it returned for an extended wander around the lower (and occasionally upper) regions 17 weeks ago. Since its release the single has spent all but 11 weeks as a Top 75 hit, giving it a grand total of 64 weeks on the chart to make it the fourth longest-running chart hit of all time.
New in at Number 21 is precocious 18-year-old grime star Chipmunk who on the back of high-level praise from those who count lands himself his first ever hit single Chip Diddy Chip. Known to his mum as Jamaal Noel Fyffe, Chipmunk was releasing his own mixed tapes at the age of 15 and from there on embarked on a meteoric rise that saw him become the youngest ever winner of a MOBO award last year. Thanks to the patronage of Wiley and copious exposure by Tim Westwood (who even has a cameo role in the video for his single) Chipmunk is now well placed to fulfil his potential as the next big thing of grimecore. My only concern really is the precociousness that comes with his age. As if to emphasise his youth the video for the track is set in school, Chipmunk and crew performing in uniform throughout. It all raises the question of whether he actually has all that much to say, for all the talent he possesses. Can a kid from Islington really offer much in the way of social comment and confront the realities of inner city life in the way that grime is theoretically supposed to? He'll grow on you nonetheless but for the moment this the most vacant British rap hit since Verbalicious.
Also new to the Top 30 are Kings Of Leon who shoot 55-29 with Revelry. The appearance of the single means that the American group can now claim a 10% domination of the Top 30 with both Use Somebody (at Number 11) and Sex On Fire (Number 22) still refusing to go away. As you may have read, the latter single was this week certified as the biggest selling download single ever, surpassing 547,000 online sales.
Kings of Leon are by no means the only act with a trio of hit singles this week as they are joined by Beyonce who is at 17 with Single Ladies, 39 with If I Were A Boy and also at Number 40 with her new hit Halo which charges into the Top 40 on its way presumably to becoming another sizeable hit.
Finally, after all this singles talk we should also acknowledge U2 sitting pretty at the top of the album chart with new offering No Line On The Horizon. That now puts them level with both Madonna and the Rolling Stones on the all-time list of most successful album chart acts. Only Elvis and The Beatles have more Number Ones to their name.