This week's Official UK Singles Chart

This week's Official UK Albums Chart


I've never really had that much time for awards ceremonies. Until the miraculous day comes that I actually win at one myself, the events of any gong-giving be they the BAFTAS, the Oscars, the Grammies or the Brit are of pretty much zero interest. I've generally got better things to do with my life than sit through any of them.

There is however no escaping the fact that they are of huge importance to the entertainment industry. As well as creating a spectacular showcase for the great and the good, with consequent impressive TV ratings, the bestowing of an award by a supposedly impartial jury on a film, TV show, act or piece of music has a demonstrable and more or less instant positive impact on the public reaction to the recipient of the honour. Put simply, as an exercise in marketing, award ceremonies work.

So it proves as the music charts in the UK this week are bristling with the direct impact of the annual Brit awards ceremony which was shown live on national TV during the week. Up and down the charts there are jumps, leaps and surges which can all be credited to the Brits effect.

Hence the movements on the Top 10 of the album chart. Triple award winner Lady Gaga sits comfortably at Number 2 with The Fame whilst Best British Album Lungs by Florence and the Machine leaps to Number 3. Following his show-closing medley as the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution trophy, Robbie Williams jumps to Number 8 with Reality Killed The Video Star and Best International Male Jay-Z moves to Number 10 with The Blueprint 3.

Lower down the chart there are even more impressive moves. Best British Group Kasabian soar 63-20 with West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, Robbie Williams' Greatest Hits jumps 101-38 and Best British Female Lily Allen sits pretty at Number 19 with It's Not Me It's You. In an age when the music industry is looking nervously over its shoulder at the declining tendency for record buyers to focus on individual tracks rather than more profitable long playing CDs, mainstream boosts such as these which the Brits effect inspires come as very welcome news indeed.

It is also the Brits effect which inspires most of the interesting movement on the singles chart. Everybody Hurts by Helping Haiti sits firmly at Number 1 for a second week with a sale significantly down on last week's total but still enough to smash the competition out of the park. Really this is old news compared to the activity below, for arriving at Number 2 is an entirely new Brits innovation. A single that didn't even exist until the night of the ceremony.

Live Brits performances are often an excuse for acts to do something unusual or different with the long-established hits they are performing. Some of these performances have rightly become legendary and often find their way into the shops as b-sides or bonus tracks - Kylie Minogues Can't Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head mash-up from the 2002 ceremony being a well known case in point. Never before though has an act released their live Brits performance straight after the ceremony. Until today.

The track in question is the hair-raising but somehow perfectly logical fusion of Florence + The Machine's take on You Got The Love and Dizzee Rascal's Dirtee Cash. Never mind that both tracks are covers of songs made famous by others, the two singers joined forces on Tuesday night and crashed their hits together in one of the more show-stealing moments of the show. Released online on Wednesday morning, the live recording of their performance of You Got The Dirtee Love swiftly raced up the download charts and so with the benefit of just four days sales sits comfortably on the chart as the second biggest selling single of the week. With proceeds from the track going directly to the Brits trust, it means that the Top 2 singles in the UK this week are both charity records.

It is something of a rarity for a live recording to chart this high. Live releases are by and large minority interest novelties, live singles being tossed into the market as throwaway promotional tools for live albums by the acts in questions, these themselves being little more than cash-in fillers. You Got The Dirtee Love is the first genuinely live recording to hit the Top 3 since Satan (Live) by Orbital made Number 3 in January 1997. It is furthermore the highest charting live single since the Five Live EP by George Michael and Queen topped the charts way back in 1993.

Five Live is one of only seven live singles to have topped the UK charts since 1952 (full list at the bottom of this page). For the moment it is only the rapidly sinking Haiti charity single that is preventing Florence and Dizzee Rascal from grabbing themselves the eighth.

As well as the strong entry for Dirtee Love, there is a strong chart boost for at least one of its constituent parts as Florence + The Machine's You've Got The Love charges back up the chart to Number 12 this week. For some odd reason Dizzee Rascal fares less well on the singles chart, the only other indication of his Brits accolades being a 130-79 move for his 2009 hit 'Bonkers'.

Also performed live on the Brits show was the original version of Empire State Of Mind with Jay-Z and Alicia Keys dueting for the invited audience. The result is a 25-16 climb for the track, all this whilst Alicia herself actually slips slightly with her solo version of the song, falling this week to Number 5. Lady Gaga potentially had the chance to give some of her latest songs a huge boost but on the night cancelled her lavish stage show in favour of some rather self-absorbed acoustic versions of Telephone and Dance In The Dark. She might as well not have bothered, with Telephone making a limp 39-34 climb. Instead oddly enough it is Bad Romance which gets a boost thanks to the increased interest in its parent album, moving 20-15. Also following the Brits effect Cheryl Cole's Fight For This Love returns to the Top 40 at Number 36 however it is outshone by her current single Parachute which breaks into the Top 20 at Number 19. Kasabian's performance of Fire at least gave it a tangible boost, the single rocketing back to Number 42, its highest chart position since last summer.

Bored of Brits talk? Well at the very least there is one new single in the Top 10 with no Brits connection whatsoever. Step forward Lemar who enters at Number 8 with his brand new single The Way Love Goes. Seven years on from his now almost forgotten reality TV origins, the British R&B star is celebrating the seventh anniversary of his career this year with his first ever Greatest Hits collection, set for release next week. The Way Love Goes is one of two brand new tracks to feature on the album and instantly becomes his seventh Top 10 single, his biggest hit since It's Not That Easy made Number 7 in 2September 2006. That is not the say the single isn't a bit of a puzzler as producers Stargate have seen fit to drench his usual chocolaty vocals in the dreaded autotune, the now tired production trick here only serving to irritate and distract from a man whose singing talents have over the years been proved beyond doubt. Such gripes aside, the single is an effortlessly bubbly and eminently hummable pop record that may well turn into a classic down the line. Just turn the damn machines off.

Just one other new single of note arrives on an otherwise quiet Top 40 this week. Arriving at Number 28 is the much heralded new single from The Courteeners, You Overdid It Doll. Taken from their second album Falcon which hits the shops this week, the dutifully becomes their fifth Top 40 hit single and their highest charting since Not Nineteen Forever hit Number 19 in April 2008.

Finally it may well pass as little more than a footnote in most media, but there is a fascinating disparity between the UK and US charts this week - and it is all down to charity. Whilst Everybody Hurts may be the big single of the moment on these shores, attention Stateside is focused on what is if anything an even more star-studded charity recording, a brand new recording of We Are The World which was written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson for the USA For Africa charity project in 1995. Whilst the original version topped the charts all over the world, for the moment the appeal of the 2010 version is confined to America where it crash lands at Number 2 on the Hot 100, only denied a spot at the top for now by Ke$ha. In the UK We Are The World 25 For Haiti by Artists For Haiti makes a miserable and somewhat derisory chart entry at Number 50. Indeed such as been the radio and press silence about the project here, it is entirely possible most people in Britain have no idea that the single exists. Heaven forbid we should detract attention from the official Sun-backed single after all.

Oh yes, and the seven live Number One hits since 1952? Go on then:

Gamblin Man by Lonnie Donegan, 1957
My Old Man's A Dustman by Lonnie Donegan, 1960
The Wonder Of You by Elvis Presley, 1970
My Ding A Ling by Chuck Berry, 1972
Special AKA Live EP by The Specials, 1980
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me by George Michael and Elton John, 1991
Five Live EP by George Michael and Queen, 1993