Two weeks on from his passing and the frenzy of interest in the life's work of David Bowie shows no sign of abating. His final album Blackstar spends a third week at the top of the Official UK Albums chart this week, extending still further its run as his longest serving Number One album for a generation, equalling the three weeks spend at the top of the charts by Let's Dance back in 1983. Four weeks at the top will see it equal the chart-topping run of Diamond Dogs from 1974.
And yet that isn't even the half of his achievements this week. 1971 release "Hunky Dory" climbs 12-9 whilst just behind it his celebrated 1972 breakthrough The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars moves 19-10. Coupled with the two Greatest Hits collections still vying for attention at 3 and 5 respectively, David Bowie this week has 5 of the Top 10 biggest selling albums. Needless to say the last act to manage this kind of domination also did so posthumously - Michael Jackson landing 6 out of 10 in 2009.
Bowie albums account for 12 of the Top 40 albums this week, equally the record set by another late star - Elvis Presley back in 1977.
For the first time in 10 weeks the most streamed track of the week is not performed by Justin Bieber. Instead the plays champion is Shawn Mendes' Stitches, and alongside his continuing run as sales champion helps him comfortably retain his crown at the top of the Official UK Singles chart with a second week at Number One.
Not that he was always destined to have it all his own way and indeed the sales market this week pitched in some dramatic directions over the course of the last seven days. In the first instance this is all to the benefit of a tropical house cover of a very famous 1980s hit. Jonas Blue's reworking of the Tracy Chapman classic Fast Car may not be to everyone's taste but it has become one of the most talked about singles of the moment and this week races to 61-3 to give the young producer and his guest singer Dakota the fastest moving hit of the moment. In the process this eclipses the two peaks of the original version, its composer having taken the song to Number 5 in 1988, the single subsequently climbing to a new peak of Number 4 in 2011 off the back of a performance by a Britain's Got Talent contestant. Fast Car is currently the subject of a covers battle of its own with similarly themed takes on the song from Swedish producer Tobtok and British singer Jasmine Thompson also currently available. For now however Jonas Blue has the only version commanding any kind of interest.
Yet neither Stitches nor Fast Car ended the week as the hottest single of the moment. The recording of Rihanna's eighth album appears to have been one fraught with more difficulty than usual, over three years having elapsed since her last collection of songs. Despite two single releases last year there appeared to be no prospect of her new work appearing any time soon. At least until Wednesday. That was the day that the complete album Anti appeared as an exclusive on Tidal and its official lead single Work made a dramatic midweek appearance. Global release day be damned, this was a record that was coming out the moment it was ready.
To give you some indication as to what a sensation this was, those 48 hours of the sales week the single was available was enough to help it to a Number 13 debut, in a stroke beating the rather limp Number 27 peak of Bitch Better Have My Money which was her last chart single of note. Work marks the third time the singer has teamed up with Drake on a chart hit, hard on the heels of her own What's My Name in 2010 and the rapper's Take Care which found its peak in early 2012. With the album now fully available and eligible to chart next week and with streams of the track cranking up dramatically you would fully expect Rihanna to be gate-crashing the Top 3 next week. Number One might well be beyond her though, thanks to the imminent arrival of a single which if anything has been even more eagerly awaited.
Also making a chart splash this week is American singer-songwriter Elle King whose US Top 10 hit Ex's and Oh's finally escapes over here and charges 64-15. Amongst a plethora of other new Top 40 arrivals are Danish group Lukas Graham's 7 Years at Number 24, Here from Alessia Cara (another Canadian teenager) at Number 28 and Dessert from Dawin which creeps to Number 35. It took a while, but the new year cobwebs are finally starting to blow away. Pop music just got interesting again.
Oh yes, and although I flagged it up last week it is worth noting that What Do You Mean from Justin Bieber does indeed this week spend its 22nd straight week as a Top 10 hit single, breaking the modern day record help by Bryan Adams since 1991. The only record in the whole of chart history to last longer is Frankie Laine's I Believe which came in what can be termed the pre-rock era - although that does make Bieber's record merely the first record holder in the new post-sales era of the charts.