This week's Official UK Singles Chart

This week's Official UK Albums Chart


It barely seems necessary to type these words, but for the record - if nothing else - I do so anyway. Number One on the Official UK Singles Chart this week is Hello by Adele. It is her second single to top the British charts, following Someone Like You in February 2011. Only the fifth song in UK chart history with this title, she's the second to make Number One with a song called Hello - Lionel Richie famously the first back in 1984.

So far, so unremarkable. The first single from her first new album since the global-straddling behemoth that was 21 was always going to make an immediate impact. However, it is the manner in which this new single has arrived on the charts that practically takes one's breath away.

Last week Hello was streamed 7.32 million times via services such as Spotify, Deezer, Apple and Google. Put simply that obliterates the previous record of 3.2 million as notched up by Justin Bieber's What Do You Mean a few short weeks ago. It is hard to conceive of any song in the next 12 months or so which will come close to matching that kind of total. This is a record to be chipped away at and will remain unbroken for some time to come. [And yet One Dance did so as soon as the following summer. Then in January 2017, Ed Sheeran managed 13.7m. Such did the market grow]

In terms of paid-for downloads, Hello managed what in any era would be a staggering total of 259,000 copies. Its combined sale is over 330,000 - the highest weekly total achieved by any single since X Factor winner James Arthur sold 490,000 copies at Christmas 2012. Indeed if one applies what I once termed the "yeahbut" rule and ignore charity, Christmas and IdolFactor singles then Hello has achieved the biggest single week sale of any "normal" pop record since Shaggy sold 345,000 copies of It Wasn't Me in a single week back in 2001.

330,000 sales is more than 3.5 times the mean average sale for any Number One single this year. You will be hard-pressed to find any single in the last three decades that can boast that kind of market bucking ability.

With Hello apparently settling in for a long run at the top, the anticipation will of course now switch to the imminent release of its parent album 25. Although this has clocked up a healthy pre-sale (apparently 'selling' more copies last week than the biggest selling available album by some distance) in the absence of any actual new product the return of Adele has instead prompted a new surge of attention for her previous releases. Both 19 and 21 storm back up the Official UK Albums chart this week, her debut release nestling at Number 31 and its follow-up at Number 11, its highest chart placing since its last appearance in the Top 10 in August 2012.

These extra sales could actually prove significant. 21 is but a few thousand copies short of becoming one of only a handful of albums to have sold over 5 million copies in the UK alone. If it sells over 5.1 million it will overhaul Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to become the biggest selling studio album of all time in this country. The only releases to sell more are both compilations - Abba Gold and Queen's Greatest Hits.

It took a bold act to even contemplate releasing a new record of their own in opposition to Adele. Naturally enough that person was Justin Bieber whose latest new single Sorry is, needless to say, the Number 2 record of the week. Mind you he too arrives on the singles chart having done something rather extraordinary, smashing his own previous streaming record with 4.48 million plays - contributing almost 49,000 chart sales to his combined total of 102,000. Amazingly that's a higher total than What Do You Mean managed in any of its five weeks at Number One although curiously it is only the fourth highest total achieved by a Number 2 single so far in 2015.

Finally, for this week it is worth noting that the Q4 sales rush continues in the album market with every single one of the Top 5 albums in the UK this week being new releases, headed up by Sounds Good Feels Good by 5 Seconds Of Summer. Of most interest is the Number 5 entry The Hank Williams Songbook from Irish crooner Daniel O'Donnell, an album which maintains his record-breaking run of 28 consecutive years in which he has charted at least one record on the long players' chart.