Back in 2010, Eminem's album Recovery contained a track called Love The Way You Lie, a duet with Rihanna which was subsequently promoted as its second single. The combination of the two superstar names plus the poignant subject matter of the track proved irresistible to record buyers worldwide, no less so in the United Kingdom where the track spent a total of four weeks at Number 2, 14 weeks in the Top 10 and made a small piece of chart history when it became the biggest selling single of the year despite never once topping the charts.
Sometimes it seems you can capture lightning in a bottle. No matter that it is no less than the fourth single Eminem has charted in as many weeks and comes just one week ahead of the long-anticipated release of his Marshall Mathers LP 2 album. Three years on from that global sensation Eminem's on-record reunion with Rihanna The Monster outperforms its three immediate predecessors by some margin and this week storms to the top of the Official UK Singles chart, despite not being released until Tuesday and thus giving the rest of the market a two-day head start.
The single marks the eighth time the often controversial rap star has topped the UK charts, his first such single since his guest role on Akon's Smack That topped the charts two weeks short of seven years ago. His last Number One single as a lead artist was over a year earlier than that, the single Like Toy Soldiers landing a week at the summit in February 2005. For Rihanna, it is her eighth Number One single although her first as a guest star since she received a co-credit on Jay-Z's Run This Town in September 2009. 2013 is set to be the first year since 2008 that Rihanna has not had a new album of her own in the shops in time for the holiday period, but her presence on The Monster means she now sets a quite extraordinary chart benchmark - appearing on at least one Number One single every year for the last seven - a run stretching back to Umbrella in 2007. The only other acts in chart history to pull off this feat of longevity and consistency? The Beatles, between 1963 and 1969 and Elvis between 1957 and 1964.
Right, now this is where it gets complicated. A close scrutiny of the singles chart will reveal that the arrival of The Monster rather strangely coincides with the disappearance of Berzerk, Rap God and Survival. This is all down to our old friend the Instant Grat promotion, with all four tracks last week being presented to advance purchasers of The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Required to nominate just one track for singles chart inclusion, Eminem's label Interscope went with the final release and have neatly been rewarded with a Number One track. Incidentally, it is Interscope records who are also responsible for Lady Gaga's music releases, the eccentric star also in the middle of a drip-feed release of Instant Grat singles. Regular readers will be aware she is doing it in reverse, her first released track Applause (a 50-36 climber this week) the sole nominated chart-eligible track leaving both Do What U Want and this week's new arrival Venus to languish in chart limbo, despite sales for both suggesting that they would be registering places in and around the Top 10 had the label not chosen to break the rules.
Those wondering why such stunts are deemed necessary for major stars such as Eminem and Gaga only have to look at the continuing depressed state of the album market. This week's album chart champions are Arcade Fire with Reflektor, leaving no less a star than Katy Perry to sit at Number 2 in the second chart week of her Prism album, selling barely more than 20,000 copies in the process.
The gatecrashing of the market by the Eminem/Rihanna single rather upset early week predictions that the two other big new releases of the week would be battling neck and neck for the Number One position. In the event neither can even make the Top 2, runners-up slot on the singles chart taken by Royals by Lorde which seems set for an extended chart run despite its spell at the top of the charts being for now restricted to a single week. Her consolation prize is the second highest new entry of the week on the album chart as Pure Heroine enters at Number 4.
Instead, the second highest new entry of the week arrives at Number 3 to give a longstanding chart veteran his first hit single in over seven years. Norman 'Fatboy Slim' Cook appeared to have pretty much retired from recording, perhaps instead content to expand his reputation as one of the world's most in-demand performing DJs, his most prominent musical output in recent years being a hand in the production of tracks by fellow Brighton residents Rizzle Kicks. This week, however, he lands his first chart hit since 2006 as Eat Sleep Rave Repeat featuring Rivastarr and Beardyman becomes his first Top 3 single since 1999. Rather amusingly the man whose talents not only took him to the top of the charts but which turned dull album tracks by the likes of Cornershop and Missy Elliott into barnstorming chart hits is not above requiring a small sprinkling of fairy dust from the younger generation. Eat Sleep Rave Repeat has become a hit, not to due Norman Cook alone, but thanks to a Calvin Harris remix which heads up the single package.
The release of any new One Direction single is inevitably turned into an event by their vociferous army of online and real-world fans, yet this can sometimes contrive to load their singles with a sense of popularity rather disconnected from reality. Their new single Story Of My Life, the follow-up to Number 2 hit Best Song Ever was leading the chart race at the start of the week but mysteriously only debuts at a final chart position of Number 4, their smallest hit of 2013 so far. A quick glance at their sales tally tells you why. After selling a widely advertised 29,000 copies in their first two days on sale, their final total of suggests they averaged no more than about 5,000 copies per day during the rest of the week. Credit where credit is due though, this is still the former X Factor group's ninth Top 10 single since their debut just over two years ago.
In a busy week for new singles, there are still two more new entries inside the Top 10 to deal with. Tinie Tempah teams up with former Swedish House Mafia collaborator John Martin on his new single Children Of The Sun and is rewarded with a Number 6 new entry, his second Top 10 single of the year after Trampoline peaked at Number 3. His last chart hit was actually the track Don't Sell Out, like the other two taken from his new album Demonstration but which reached Number 70 at the start of October in a live version made available as promotion for his current arena tour.
A brief attempt was made to cast this week as the ultimate battle of the boybands with the brand new The Wanted single Show Me Love (America) going head to head with the One Direction single. This tactic was quietly abandoned when despite the theoretical help of an X Factor results show appearance, The Wanted debut at a lowly Number 8, at the very least their second highest placing of the year and a two-place improvement on the chart peak of last single We Own The Night from back in August.
With so many stories to tell this week, it seems almost a shame for the debut single of Foxes (aka Louisa Rose Allen) to be relegated to an afterthought. After guest appearances on hit singles by Zedd and Rudimental earlier this year the 24-year-old singer-songwriter makes her first ever solo chart appearance with Youth this week but despite early week promise it just fails to become the sixth Top 10 new entry, landing instead at a perfectly respectable Number 12, two places higher than the Number 14 peak scaled by the Rudimental single Right Here for which she supplied vocals in April.
Finally, as you might expect the sad death this week of Lou Reed inevitably prompts a brief surge of posthumous interest in his most famous works. His famous 1973 album Transformer enters the charts at Number 35, its highest placing since a 2001 re-release saw it reach Number 16 whilst on the singles chart his original version of Perfect Day becomes a chart hit for the first time ever at Number 45, with Walk On The Wild Side at Number 53, its first chart run since it peaked at Number 10 over 40 years ago.