One Over The Eight
Nine weeks. Back in the early days of my pop music appreciation, when I was a dynamic and thrusting young buck of a chart nerd, this was the gold standard of Number One singles. Sure, there were a couple of discs which had made it into double figures, but they were obscure fifties oddities and of an age that bore little resemblance to the modern one of pop shows and music videos. No, nine weeks at the top of the charts was what the biggest hits of all time had clocked up. Mull Of Kintyre spent nine weeks at Number One. So did You're The One That I Want. So did Two Tribes. They were the biggest deals of all.
This week it is the turn of Drake, Wizkid & Kyla to join the elite club. One Dance remains simply immovable at the summit of the Official UK Singles chart and in the process writes itself into chart history. Just eight other singles ended their Number One runs at nine weeks. Only eight more have made it into double figures. One Dance is now a part of a still exclusive club of chart hits. And there still seems no stopping it.
Yet with every week the single remains at Number One the gap between the old methods of tabulating popularity and the bold new era of the music industry grow ever wider. One Dance peaked as a purchase some time ago. This week it is merely the sixth biggest selling single in the land, shifting the (very) small matter of 16,000 copies. As an audio stream however it remains as big a deal as ever, still well past its peak of course, but its 5.6m plays this week are enough to put it ahead of the nearest competition by a nose.
Since the incorporation of streaming data into the British charts we've seen a number of flagged up milestones come and go. The first Top 75 single on streams alone, the first Top 40 record not to sell a single copy and naturally enough the first Number One single to reach the top of the charts without outselling all the others. It will not be too long before we add another to the list - the first ever Number One single to not even be Top 10 in sales
Stillness In Time
The Top 3 remain locked in place yet again this week, so as well as Drake with a ninth week at the top we have Justin Timberlake spending a fourth straight week at Number 2, ditto Calvin Harris and Rihanna at Number 3.
Nobody enters the Top 10 this week, but this is all to the benefit of Kungs vs Cookin' On 3 Burners as This Girl has the burner under it moving 10-4 whilst Clean Bandit and Louisa Johnson rise a place to Number 5 with Tears. This becalming of the Top 10 is to the detriment of Cheat Codes' Sex which lifts 14-11 and bangs its head on another newly installed glass ceiling.
If I Could Light The World Up
Ever since it debuted I've had this strange fascination with Just Like Fire by Pink. Released well ahead of the "Alice Through The Looking Glass" movie which it soundtracks, the single looked for all the world like it would end up a great lost hit. Copious airplay and a healthy level of sales (Top 10 at times) counted for naught as the single just failed to force its way onto any live playlists. Consequently after a Number 32 chart debut it exited the Top 40 and spent a month bubbling around the lower reaches of the Top 75. The release of the film has however given the track a new lease of life and this week it climbs the chart for the fourth week in a row, lifting to Number 19 to claim a new chart peak for the second week running. Thus Pink's perfect record of Top 20 hits this decade is maintained, her last track to fail to reach these heights being 2009 single I Don't Believe You which crashed out at Number 62.
The Evil Sod Is Back Again
Not content with locking down the top of the charts, Drake this week inserts himself into the chart commentary in a different way by having a presence on the highest new entry of the week. For Free is the creation of veteran Miami hip-hop producer DJ Khaled, the product of a brand new record deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation but its major draw is undoubtedly the presence on guest vocals of the man of the moment. DJ Khaled has made the Hot 100 in American on 15 different occasions but this marks his first ever UK chart appearance.
Heard This Before Surely
Also making waves at the lower end of the Top 40 chart, Send My Love To Your New Lover the latest and surely superfluous single release from 25 by Adele whilst there is what is at first light a rather startling rebound for Calum Scott's take on Dancing On My Own. The former talent show star jumps 42-27 with his Robyn cover which now rests at a brand new peak after previously spending three weeks locked at Number 36. The reason for this surge? Nothing more complicated than being heavily discounted during the week.
The second highest new entry of the week goes to Shawn Mendes, he of Number One single Stitches and the rather less well regarded I Know What You Did Last Summer. New single Treat You Better lands at Number 33 although the causal listener could be well forgiven for doing a double take. The track is so much of the moment that it features the exact echoing plucked bass effect which underpinned Zara Larsson's Lush Life, the two tracks practically cousins to each other.
Does Anybody Buy Albums Any More?
Another week, another new Number One. This time the lucky beneficiary of the mature demographic who make up most long player purchases is no less a legendary figure than Paul Simon. His brand new album Stranger To Stranger, the 13th of his solo career, storms to the top of the Official UK Albums chart. He was last at the top a year ago with The Ultimate Collection but as far as original studio works are concerned this ends a 26 year barren spell, his first chart-topper since The Rhythm Of The Saints reached the top of the charts in 1990. Perhaps most significantly at the age of 74 years and 8 months Simon breaks Bob Dylan's year old record as the oldest solo male artist ever to score a Number One album,