What A Difference A (Mid)Week Makes
Never trust the midweeks.
Don't get me wrong, the idea of an official midweek chart update is a nice way of ensuring the early sales performance of certain new releases grab their fair share of headlines and offer a way for the Official Charts Company to contribute to the news cycle outside the regular Friday unveiling of their most important charts, but in accuracy terms they suck the big hairy left one.
Part of the problem is technical, the ongoing inability of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple to furnish the compilers with their data in time. Very often the Monday update is put together lacking streaming information for the weekend, or indeed at times for the whole of the week so far. This can make the whole listing seem rather artificial and not the most accurate reflection of reality. The other issue is the increasing tendency for certain fan-led releases to concentrate their entire sales life into the space of just 48 hours, unable to sustain anything like that momentum across a full seven days. This front-loading effect caused at least one of this week's hot new singles to "pop a midweek" and generate excited headlines in a manner which bore absolutely no relation to its eventual resting place. As we shall discover shortly.
The midweek update also suggested that a long overdue changing of the guard at the top of the charts was not only imminent but an apparent racing certainty. Again, that makes for sexy headlines, but it simply turned out not to be the case. In third place apparently on Monday, One Dance by Drake, Wizkid and Kyla retains its crown and spends its tenth week at Number One.
One Dance is now one of only seven singles in the whole of UK Singles Chart history to spend at least ten consecutive weeks at Number One. For years that was just two, and two specific hits from the 1950s to boot - Rose Marie by Slim Whitman which had an 11 week run and Cara Mia by David Whitfield (and orchestra) which lasted for 10. Then came the 1990s and everyone was at it. First Bryan Adams and the record-shattering 16 week stay of Everything I Do (I Do It For You) in 1991, Whitney Houston's 10 weeks with I Will Always Love You and Wet Wet Wet's similarly epic 15 week spell at the top with Love Is All Around. All taken from film soundtracks you will note. The final addition to the parade is the record that was hitherto the only single in the 21st century to make it into double figures, Umbrella by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z which was also finally toppled after 10 weeks. It is amongst this exulted company that Drake now sits.
Once again the single is propped up by its streaming power. On the old fashioned sales-only chart One Dance languishes at Number 9, the lowest chart placing to date on this table for a single that sits atop the combined chart, eclipsing the previous record of Number 7 occupied by Justin Bieber's What Do U Mean when it spent its final week at the top in autumn 2015. Rather fascinatingly however Alan Jones in Music Week notes that One Dance has accumulated paid-for sales of over 366,000. In comparison the last ten week Number One, Umbrella had only managed to accumulate 256,000 sales by the end of its spell at the top of the charts.
The Honourable Failures
The single which was initially slated to be the one to finally end Drake's reign does at least manage to insert itself into what for the last month has been an entirely becalmed Top 3. That Girl by Kungs featuring Cookin' On 3 Burners is the one with all the momentum right now and whilst it did not quite have enough gas in the tank to reach the top is now the Number 2 single of the week, bringing to an end Justin Timberlake's glorious run as singles chart bridesmaid. The gap was a close one, the Kungs single falling short by the small matter of just 1,773 copies. Streams of the Drake single have now fallen to 'just' 4.77m. Surely it cannot cling on any longer.
The Cup Of Life
The fad for official football team songs appears to be well and truly over, but that doesn't mean there isn't room on the Official UK Singles Chart for one soccer-themed record. This One's For You by David Guetta and Zara Larsson has the distinction of being the official anthem of the current Euro 2016 football championships. Unusually it also has the distinction of being actually quite good. A brand new track, its creation was the subject of an app-based crowdsourcing with participats invited to send in recordings of chants, many of which were combined to feature in the final mix. Performed at the opening ceremony to the tournament, it was also the centrepoint of Guetta's free concert under the Eiffel Tower which took place before the football commenced. On the rise, the single rockets 46-16 to count as the highest Top 40 new entry of the week.
Two places below is another fast riser, Hotter Than Hell by the London-born Kosovan singer Dua Lipa. She has already made waves across Europe with her previous single Be The One having made the Top 10 in many territories across the continent. With this Number 18 single she makes a chart debut in the country of her birth.
Dropping Like A Rose
So what then of the single which inspired breathless headlines based on its midweek run? Well the record in question is Beautiful Thing by The Stone Roses, their second brand new single in recent months from the former 1990s musical legends. Just like its predecessor, the new release made a huge impact on the sales market from the moment of release, rocketing to the top of the iTunes sales tallies and prompting at least one friend of mine to note with excitement that "The 'Roses could be top of the charts on Friday". Really no, that was never going to happen.
Naturally enough the sales surge lasted less than two days and the single was already making its merry way down the live tables by the time the Monday midweeks came out. These weekend sales and the small matter of missing streaming data was enough however for Beautiful Thing to claim the Number 3 slot on the update, and this in turn was enough to inspire excited headlines about how the veteran rock band were 'about' to land their first Top 10 hit since 1994. Which to be frank was bollocks. The single eventually falls victim to the same circumstances as All For One exactly a month ago, charting at a rather less impressive Number 21. I'll lay you odds it will do the same as its predecessor and exit the Top 75 next week as well. Ah well, it was nice to dream.
Britain's Got Neales
The parade of finalists from the 2015 series of Britain's Got Talent has already produced one singles chart star, that naturally being Calum Scott's whose cover of Dancing On My Own is still loitering proudly near the bottom of the Top 40. He is joined this week by the act who may only have placed ninth that night just over a year ago but who now can boast a chart single of their very own. Entering at Number 22 are The Neales, a family group consisting of father Laurie and his three sons. Their signature track during the series was the Everly Brothers' When Will I Be Loved although their debut hit I'll Be There is a totally original composition. The release is all in aid of charity, proceeds going to the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK and appropriately enough has a Father's Day theme too.
Only Old People Buy Albums Any More
The one chart battle of the week which did actually pan out as advertised was an odd two-way tussle at the top of the Official UK Albums chart. Beating out Tom Odell's Wrong Crowd is no less a chart legend than Rick Astley, these days more of a broadcaster than a performer but who has clearly been able to leverage his Magic FM exposure to propel 50 to the top of the charts. His first studio album in 11 years, it returns him to the top of the charts for the first time since his debut release Whenever You Need Somebody topped the charts upon release in late 1987 - an extraordinary gap of nearly 29 years. That's not quite the record - still for now held by Black Sabbath whose album 13 made Number One three years ago this week, their first for 43 years.