Suite For Viola Alone
Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin were Viola Beach. Their burgeoning career brought to an abrupt end by the late night car accident in Sweden on February 13th 2016, one which also claimed the life of their manager Craig Tarry. Since the band's passing their two previously released singles have both had a run in the UK charts, Swings And Waterslides hitting Number 11 the week after the group's passing and Boys That Sing reaching Number 50 in June in the wake of Coldplay's endorsement of the track during their Glastonbury set.
Now seven more tracks, the sum total of the group's studio work during their lifetime, along with the two singles have been compiled into a self-titled Viola Beach album and one which inveitably becomes the most in demand release of the week, flying straight to the top of the Official UK Albums chart. It is a triumph tinged with poignancy, not least for the friends and family of the five men who died.
In an statement relased through the Official Charts Company their families have said:
"The tragedy that ended Craig, Jack, Kris, River & Tom's lives in Sweden and the pain and sense of loss will never leave us. By sending the Viola Beach album to Number 1 the public have sent out an important message to the world. The tragic circumstance that met Viola Beach and their manager Craig that fateful night in Sweden will not now define their lives. What will now define their lives and what they will be remembered for, forever, is the music they were so passionate about making together. For that, we will be eternally humbled and ever thankful to every single person who by buying this glorious album has invested in their lasting musical legacy. The pain will never leave us but neither will the affection shown by every fan. Maybe one day that affection will live longer in the memory than the pain. So from us all, a simple but heartfelt 'thank you'."
Meanwhile the Official Charts Company themselves have commissioned five special 'Number One' awards, each one dedicated to each of the five men to commemorate the occasion.
All very touching, although you do have to marvel at the way our overwhelming need to virtue signal has turned the group into the second coming of Coldplay rather than the yet to prove themselves band of strugglers they were before February. All sentiment aside, for our purposes as chartwatchers the arrival of Viola Beach at the top of the charts is a unique first. There have been several acts whose entire chart career has been posthumous. Eva Cassidy is the obvious one who springs to mind, alongside the likes of Warren Zevon and Nick Drake. But never before has an act debuted posthumously at Number One with their first (and effectively) last release.
Cold Water On Your Hopes
After last week's excitement of the first new Number One single of the millennium things rather calm down a little on the Official UK Singles chart. This week's Top 10 singles are last weeks Top 10 singles, just with a few of them in a slightly different order. It is apparently the sixth time this year this has happened, I confess to not having personally been keeping count. Inevitably though there is no change at Number One as Major Lazer and friends consolidate their position at the top of the charts to grand Cold Water a second week on top. Taking over the runners up slot this week is Calum Scott who edges forward one place further with what is surely destined to now be a famous take on Dancing On My Own. As friends of mine noted during the week, there is great fun to be derived now from visiting the YouTube video for the Robyn original and watching the parade of milennials complaining that it is not as good as the current hit single. Which of course is nonsense.
Patience Monty, Climb The Ladder
Of big new hit singles there are precious few (how many times have we heard that so far this year) but naturally that leaves room for other singles to have the kind of upward momentum that would have been denied them in the past. Amongst them are Bastille which Good Grief moving 15-13, current Number One backing singer MØ with Final Song lifting 17-15 (another two place climb) and just behind M.O. with Who Do You Think Of moving 25-18.
Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots was one of a number of singles charting earlier this year which threw into sharp focus the sudden disconnect between the streaming market and the steadily declining sales universe. A hugely popular purchase, it never quite gained the online momentum to have its singles chart position reflect that popularity, peaking at a still none too shabby Number 21. This week the duo land themselves a second Top 20 hit single as Heathens finally starts to make good on its initial promise and rises 34-20, in the process finally eclipsing the Number 33 peak the single originally scaled in its first week on sale. As ever there is a reason behind this movement, the long awaited release of the "Suicide Squad" movie to which it forms an integral part of the soundtrack naturally giving the track some brand new exposure.
Also on the rise, Anne-Marie's Alarm up 10 at 22 and also making slow but steady progress is Charlie Puth's We Don't Talk Anymore (with a guest starring role for Selena Gomez) which is another single seemingly rising two places at a time, having now moved 30-28-26 in the last fortnight.
Just two new singles enter the Top 40 this week, both of them near the basement. Only one is a brand new release, Closer entering the chart at Number 33 giving Chainsmokers simultaneous Top 40 hits with their existing single Don't Let Me Down locked in place at Number 4. Guest singer on this track is online star Halsey who has yet to land a hit single of her own but who has now guested on two minor (for now) chart singles following her presence on the Justin Bieber album cut The Feeling which made Number 34 in November last year.
Three places below are American girl group Fifth Harmony with their current single All In My Head (Flex) reaching for the sky at last after three weeks languishing down the lower end of the singles chart. The single jumps 46-36, still a few places lower than its smash hit predecessor Work From Home which is in gentle burn-out mode, down four places to Number 28. Guest on the single is Fetty Wap, this giving him his first substantive chart success of 2016, his first chart entry of any kind since his appearance on Natalie La Rose's All Around The World which made Number 14 in October last year. Which all seems such a long time ago. Oh yes, and if you had a bet on how long it would take them to do a swimsuit video, go collect your winnings now.