The unprecedented run of new Number One singles on the Official UK Singles chart (which continues this week) has for the moment spoiled some of the fun of chart-watching, so it is always nice to have a week when some rather fascinating things happen.
First of all, though we must acknowledge the Number One single of the week, as Ghost by Ella Henderson advanced into an early week lead she was ultimately never to relinquish. Although a new name to the charts, she is by no means a total unknown thanks to her moderately successful run on the 2012 series of X Factor as a 16-year-old which saw her fight her way to sixth place, despite the smart money being on her victory at the very start. Nonetheless, she was considered to have enough potential to be signed to a deal by Syco, even if it has taken a full 18 months for her first release to finally emerge. Still, what a release it is - the track co-written and co-produced by Ryan Tedder with all the hit potential that name alone implies. An attention-grabbing pop anthem, she performed the single during the semi-final shows of Britain's Got Talent at the end of last month to create a demand for the track which was finally fulfilled with its release this week. The latest in a long, long line of Number One singles it may be, but unlike some over the past few weeks, this is a chart-topper worth of the accolade.
Ed Sheeran then never really stood a chance, although he gave as good as he got and clung on to Ella Henderson's tale to slip just a single place with last week's Number One hit Sing. Oddly enough he ended the week outselling himself thanks to the Friday release of another new track Don't which duly lodged itself in second place on the live charts. You will search the new chart in vain for the track however as it is only available on instant grat terms to pre-purchasers of his new album and thus disqualified in favour of One which is the nominated chart hit. I only bring it up here thanks to the inadvertent juxtaposition of the titles of the two tracks which resulted in the live charts on many music retailers proclaiming "Ed Sheeran: Don't : Sing".
Brand new at Number 3 this week is Tiesto who lands his second Top 10 hit of the year as a follow-up to Red Lights which peaked at Number 6 back in March. His latest track is Wasted, a perfectly timed summery trance anthem which is notably the third and biggest collaborative hit so far for the much talked about Matthew Koma. The hotly-tipped singer-songwriter has already had a Number 18 hit with Hardwell on Dare You and a Number 29 hit thanks to his vocal role on the Showtek and Justin Prime track Cannonball (Earthquake). Meanwhile, the Dutch producer continues his own chart run, now with two straight Top 10 hit singles after 13 years of never once climbing this high in the UK chart.
TV exposure can help in so many ways. After five weeks milling around the lower end of the singles chart during which time it appeared to have peaked at a lowly Number 35, the latest Little Mix single Salute finally snaps to attention following (naturally) their performance of the track during the interval of Britain's Got Talent the weekend before last. The immediate aftermath of their performance was enough to send it to Number 24 last week and now with a full week of sales behind it the track vaults to Number 6 to give the former X Factor winners their sixth Top 10 single and second of the year.
After weeks of build up the FIFA World Cup finally kicked off at the end of last week, although up to this point you would unusually not have noticed simply by looking at the charts. The fad for themed singles based around football tournaments appears to have died off from its high point of 8 years ago, with no 'official' single released by or on behalf of the England squad. It, therefore, seemed unlikely the tournament would be marked by a supporter's anthem loitering near the top end of the charts, but for the opportunity to pay tribute to a comedy legend.
Actor and comedian Rik Mayall passed away suddenly on Monday at the tragically young age of 56. Known primarily for his character roles on television comedies, his only connection with the music business was as a member of the cast of The Young Ones whose remake alongside Cliff Richard of his own track Living Doll became the first ever Comic Relief record in 1986, famously topping the charts to launch the charity in the best way possible. Whilst reviewing his later output it was noticed that four years ago for the 2010 World Cup he had participated in a football record of his own, a track called Noble England on which he made a stirring patriotic monologue in an attempt to motivate a struggling football team. Ignored upon first release, the single was quickly the subject of a "let's get this to Number One in tribute" movement online - one that was inevitably destined to end in failure but which generated enough sales to send the hitherto unloved single crashing into Number 7. Out of the blue, we do have a celebratory hit single with which to mark the England team's campaign in Brazil - but unspeakably tragic that the man behind it had to pass away in order for it to happen.
Without the Mayall track, it would have been left for older football classics to fly the flag so to speak. The Baddiel/Skinner/Lightning Seeds track 3 Lions makes the best show, reappearing at Number 27 in its first chart appearance since 2006. Originally recorded for the 1996 European Championships, its chart position is now thanks to combined digital sales of both the original and the 1998 reworking with modified lyrics to mark the World Cup of that year. 3 Lions topped the charts both times, making it one of only two songs to have reached Number One in two different versions by the same artist. The other? Living Doll, thanks to Rik Mayall's contribution to the remake.
There is a further new entry on the chart at Number 21 for Skepta and JME with That's Not Me but by far the most intriguing minor hit of the week is Stronger Than Ever by singer and actor Raleigh Ritchie, best known at present for his role in Game Of Thrones. His hit single first came out earlier this year as a track on the second of two low profile EPs he has released to date, but has now found a new lease of life thanks to an MJ Cole remix which features in promotions for the new TV channel ITV Encore and which now prompts its 58-30 move to give the star his first ever hit single.
High profile football fans Kasabian slide 22-23 with ee-zeh but this is actually to be applauded given the competition the single faced from its parent album 48:13 which storms to the top of the charts this week to become their fourth Number One album, their only studio release to fail to top the charts being their self-titled debut which stalled at Number 4 in 2004.
A busy week for new albums sees 11 debuts at various places inside the Top 50. Amongst them notably are Blue Smoke a new hits collection from country legend Dolly Parton which at Number 6 becomes her highest charting album ever. Oddly enough she's only ever had two previous Top 10 hit albums in this country, both of them since 2007. FInally, in a fun coincidence the debut release from another former X Factor contestant Whilst Ella Henderson signed with Syco and has been groomed for stardom, fifth place contestant from 2011 Janet Devlin was left to self-fund her own career. Her debut album Hide And Seek was recorded with money from online pledges last year and was made available exclusively to those who had contributed in June 2013. One year later with new and reworked tracks and retitled Running With Scissors it now gets a full commercial release and belatedly debuts at Number 43.