What was at first a two-way battle for the honour of becoming Number One on this week's Official UK Singles chart took an unexpected twist at the end of the week with a strong third contender entering the fray - of which more in a moment, naturally.
In the first instance, however, we have to welcome a brand new Number One single as the truth of the matter was that it was no race at all - the early week leader sold well into six figures to make one of the strongest debuts at the top of the charts for some weeks. Drum N' Bass foursome Rudimental made a storming start to their chart career in June last year when their single Feel The Love shot to Number One and then proceeded to spend 11 weeks in the Top 10 including a rather crazy 3 consecutive weeks at Number 6 followed by five a row at Number 7. They kind of struck out with second single Not Giving In which limped to Number 14 in December but with their third release Waiting All Night they hit paydirt once more.
The single is particularly notable for being our first chart glimpse of hotly tipped new talent Ella Eyre who was the subject of something of a bidding war between record labels last year and who is now considered one of Virgin Records' priority acts for the latter half of this year. A guest slot on dance or urban records appears to be the weapon of choice for bringing hot new female talent along and the buzz around Ms Eyre has only been enhanced by her presence as part of Rudimental's live shows (along with the singer on their last two hits John Newman) for the last six months.
Trailing in around 40,000 copies behind is a superstar pairing which under normal circumstances might have been expected to dominate proceedings in their own right. Continuing his tradition of picking the most unlikely chart bedfellows is will.i.am who teams up on his latest single #thatpower with the King of Tardiness Justin Bieber. For now the single just fails to give Will his fourth Number One single in a row, although based on the success of both Hall Of Fame and Scream & Shout in hanging on tenaciously until their time came it would be foolish to discount totally the prospects of this single making it some time down the line. For now the single gives Justin Bieber his second chart runner-up, a Number 2 hit to match the peak of Boyfriend 53 weeks ago. Will.i.am can boast no less than three singles in the Top 40 this week as both this hit and the still slowly burning out Scream & Shout are joined at Number 34 by the unexpected arrival of Fall Down, another cut from his much delayed and finally released album #willpower featuring a guest vocal from Miley Cyrus and which was unleashed midweek as a final album teaser. The release of both singles and the album come conveniently just as Mr i.am is back on TV screens in his role as one of the judges of The Voice UK. Almost as if he planned it that way.
So that was to essentially be the story of the week, Rudimental easily at Number One, will and Justin crawling in at second and everybody else lining up in turn. That was until the surprise international release on Friday of a track that blew everything else off the agenda. Daft Punk duo Guy-Manuel and Thomas Bangalter have been more or less dormant since the middle of the last decade, their last chart singles having been a pair of minor Top 40 entries in 2005 and their last studio work as a duo being the songs they contributed to the 'Tron: Legacy' soundtrack in 2009. Despite their chart heydey being in 1997 and 2001, their return was greeted by many akin to the second coming of David Bowie with new track Get Lucky breaking online streaming records across the globe and perhaps most significantly flying to the top of live digital charts almost from the moment it was made available.
The sale of Get Lucky in the 48 hours it qualified for the singles chart was impressive, but some distance short of becoming an unexpected Number One single overall, although its 50,000 sales to midnight Saturday were enough to ensure the single arrives at Number 3 to complete an all-new Top 3 on the singles chart this week. It is the highest charting Daft Punk single since One More Time made Number 2 in November 2000 and only the second Top 3 hit of their career. Guest singer on the 70s funk inspired track (the most extraordinary throwback since er, the Justin Timberlake single) is no less a figure than Pharrell Williams who thus receives his first chart credit since appearing on the Swedish House Mafia single One (Your Name) in August 2010. Number 3 also for now equals his own highest chart placing ever as a solo performer, his track Can I Have It Like That with Gwen Stefani in tow also peaked in third place in November 2005 although you get bonus trivia points for also knowing that his was the male voice on SWV's Right Here (Human Nature) which also made Number 3 in September 1993.
Also new to a very busy Top 10 this week are Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding whose collaborative effort on I Need Your Love sees it jump 11-7. Taken from Harris' 18 Months album the single is now no less than the seventh cut to make the Top 10, equalling the all-time record set by Michael Jackson's Dangerous album between 1991 and 1993 although pedants will note that no less than five of Harris' hit singles preceded the release of the collection whereas the Jackson album was beaten into the shops by just one of its hit singles. [You'll notice that a few weeks earlier I'd trotted out that exact same stat, having now concluded that the Rihanna track no longer counted as one of the tracks from Harris' album. This will develop as a theme of debate].
Psy must have watched the Top 3 success of the Daft Punk single after just two days of sales with some envy, his own late-week release of Gentleman only lifting it to Number 61 last week. With a full seven days of sales behind it and with the video for the new track creating as much interest as Gangnam Style did before it, the Korean star's second single climbs this week to Number 10 to at the very least justify the effort. I'm still not totally convinced the track is appealing enough to have been a hit without the afterglow of its predecessor to give him a helping hand but fair play, he could so easily have been a novelty one hit wonder. Now at the very least, he has two.
On the album chart, there is a comfortable Number One debut for Michael Buble with his new album To Be Loved to give him a third chart-topper after both Crazy Love and Christmas both made it to the top. Tucking in behind at Number 2 are Fall Out Boy with Save Rock And Roll which beats the Number 3 entry position of their 2007 album Infinity On High to become their highest charting album ever.
At Number 3 on the album chart is Emeli Sande who will make a few headlines of her own with Our Version Of Events by dint of the fact that it is spending its 62nd consecutive week inside the Top 10. It might be one of those rather obscure chart records which get pulled out of the ether every so often but as you will read it elsewhere it is worth noting that this beats a longstanding record held by The Beatles for the most enduring Top 10 run by a debut album ever. So now you know. Of slightly more relevance is the fact that her last hit Read All About It Pt 3 is back on the singles chart at Number 26 this week after being used as the soundtrack for a performance by a shadow dance troupe on one of the most recent audition shows of Britain's Got Talent.
No room left to properly note the further forward progress of the second Macklemore hit Can't Hold Us up at Number 12 this week, nor the new singles chart entries for the likes of Clean Bandit [which is a superstar debut klaxon of sorts, even if the format of the column meant I was never properly able to acknowledge the first chart appearance of the most important pop act of the decade], Mat Zo and the failure of the Little Mix single to advance beyond Number 23 plus the way last week's Number 2 single dives to Number 65 in one of the biggest chart collapses of all time. Good job you all subscribe to the podcast and will get to hear all about it later in the week.