20 Glorious Years
Reader Robin Tucker gets in touch to comment:
"OK, so this fact is a little weird .. but seems to have passed most people by.
But Rihanna has currently spent 1050 weeks on the UK Single Chart - which is more than 20 years.
(This works out even if you count an extra week for 53-Friday/Sunday years).
And it's all the more impressive when you consider it's only been eleven years since her first hit single 'Pon De Replay' charted in September 2005".
No Robin, that's not weird. That's actually a pretty glorious revelation although I'm never a great adherent to the theory that counting up total chart weeks allows you to rank artists by success. Treating one week at the top and one week at Number 75 the same can skew things a little. Hence the methodology used by the chaps at the "other" Chart Watch UK (the magazine) which allocates points based on chart position.
Quibbles aside, the net result in Rihanna's "billion hits at once" runs of the past means she has managed to spend two decades worth of weeks on the UK singles chart in a little over 11 years. Mind you, she has worked hard at adding to that total in 2016. In the first eight and a bit months she has spent 107 weeks on the singles chart (this being the Top 100 as logged by Officialcharts.com rather than Music Week's Top 75 as used by Robin in his calculation above). That still pales in comparison to Justin Bieber who by my reckoning was on 152 Top 100 weeks as of last week's chart and who adds a further five this week. At this rate he'll end up with more weeks on chart than he has actually been alive.
Closer To A Total Halt
Those scanning the Official UK Singles chart this week and slightly fearful of a repeat of last week's unprecedented sweep of non-movers from 4 through to 14 will view the brand new one with a small degree of relief. Although that is itself limited by the fact that instead the entire Top 7 on the chart remains locked in place as the biggest hits of the moment are indeed those who were the biggest hits of earlier on this month. To spell this out this means Closer spends a second week at the top; Let Me Love You a fifth in a row at Number 2 (only two short of the all-time record); Dancing On My Own a fourth in total at Number 4; Don't Let Me Down a third at Number 6 and Cold Water, Heathens and Perfect Strangers a second in a row in their current berths.
The Chainsmokers and Halsey's second week at the top is by no means by default however as the single increases its combined sale and shifts almost six figures this week to comfortably remain the biggest selling single of the moment. For the first time it is the most streamed track of the week as well as the most purchased. It has passed almost without comment that in the last week Isaac Slade and Joe King of The Fray have been added to the writing credits of the track, this after similarities between it and their own Over My Head (Cable Car) were pointed out with the aid of some legal muscle.
It's Not All Still Water
One single does at least break into the Top 10 to give us some fresh music. It is a track I mentioned last week, Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha's In The Name Of Love which moves 17-10. The single is duly Ms Rexha's second Top 10 hit following her guest role on Cash Cash's In The Name Of Love in 2015 whilst Garrix lands in the upper reaches for the fourth time in his career and the second this year.
Meanwhile my endless fascination with Olly Murs' You Don't Know Love and the continuing need for the now nine week old single to be given promotional boosts to ensure he doesn't open the account of his latest album with a disappointing flop continues unabated. At the start of this week he found himself in the dizzying heights of the iTunes Top 3, his sales boosted this time not simply by a 59p discount but also a chance to perform live on the big Strictly Come Dancing launch show. Whilst demonstrating that prime time TV appearances can still power large numbers of clicks in their wake the singles chart itself demonstrates that the clicks are at least for now of the wrong kind. Olly has the 6th most purchased single of the week but only the 39th most streamed. You Don't Know Love does at least manage the highest chart position of its life to date, but for all that it is still only at Number 15 as his online listens grow sluggardly rather than at the kind of pace to match his purchases.
The highest 'new' entry to the Top 40 chart this week is actually a track which has been charting lower down for the past three weeks. Side To Side by Ariana Grande featuring Nicki Minaj finally has a fire lit under it and vaults 72-24 thanks to a discount-inspired sales surge (propelling it to Number 10 on the sales chart) to be well on its way to becoming a much needed exciting new hit. Grande performances can be hard to watch, someone I know likening them to "discovering your 12 year old sister behaving inappropriately" but her three year chart career to date has shown she is capable of commanding an audience when the timing and the song is right. Rather fascinatingly though her biggest chart hits to date have all been with female MCs in tow. She's been at Number One twice, first in July 2014 with Iggy Azalea in tow on Problem and then later that same year with her performance on Bang Bang the latter alongside lead artist Jessie J but also not entirely coincidentally the lady with whom she shares vocal duties on the dancehall-flavoured Side To Side, one Nicki Minaj.
Also new is a lady who during 2016 has managed to become one of the few new true breakout stars of the year. Zara Larsson charts at an impressive Number 30 first week out with new single Ain't My Fault, hailed as formally the lead single from a still untitled new album which will be her second overall. The track is her fourth new chart hit of 2016 although confusingly only her second as a solo artist, officially the follow-up to long running smash hit Lush Life which peaked at Number 3 in the spring and which is still floating around the singles chart, down five places to Number 57 this week. Since that hit she has also featured on Tinie Tempah's Girls Like (Number 5) and was the voice of David Guetta's anthem for the Euro 2016 football tournament This One's For You which did an England and crashed out in the first knockout round at Number 16.
There is no official video for Ain't My Fault to be found online at the time of writing, so this promotion still has a while to run.
Ring Out The Old
Whilst we are perfectly entitled and full justified to moan constantly at the logjam at the top end of the singles chart, even at the basement end of the Top 40 there are pleasing signs of green shoots. The new hits are there, you just have to look for them. Moving 60-31 is Trouble from Offiah, 46-35 False Alarm from Matoma & Becky Hill, 42-36 Millionaire from Digital Farm Animals and Cash Cash, 43-38 Let Me Hold You (Turn Me On) from Cheat Codes & Dante Klein and finally The Ocean by Mike Perry featuring Shy Martin. That's an impressive total of seven new entries to this week's Top 40. Only the lack of any inside the Top 20 prevents this chart from having a more old school charm. Plus those seven movers at the top of course.
Where Is The Point
One of the most talked-of single releases of the last week was the all-star reworking of the Black Eyed Peas track Where Is The Love, which was starting its six week run at the top of the charts this week back in 2003. Re-recorded (and it must be said sounding significantly different) and now featuring contributions from the likes of Usher, Diddy, Nicole Scherzinger as well as a full credit for the first time for original co-vocalist Justin Timberlake the single was released in aid of will.i.am's own I.Am.Angel charity. A huge seller (in purchased terms) at the start of the week the track is duly the 11th most downloaded single of the week. On the combined chart? A mere Number 47.
Another huge seller on the digital market was the surprise new Sia release The Greatest. Featuring Kendrick Lamar on co-vocals it was only available for three days at the end of the chart survey but was still the 14th most purchased track of the week. When streams for the single kick into gear next week you can expect a strong climb from its current berth at Number 49.
Does Anyone Buy Albums Any More
Another new genre benchmark is set in the increasingly erratic album market this week as family duo Ward Thomas crash straight into Number One with their second album Cartwheels and become officially the first ever British country act to top the British charts. At least so the hype tells us, the notion that two English girls can somehow perform music that stands side by side with the traditional Nashville sound is stretching things slightly. It is all a matter of perception and branding really, the music of Ward Thomas not a million miles removed from that of say, Lukas Graham or even Ed Sheeran who are classed as rock and pop and remain viewed as such. Actually the two sisters are simply incredibly nice to listen to, as this second single from the album neatly demonstrates.
Ward Thomas are one of six acts to enter the album Top 10 this week, amongst them Jamie T, Wretch32 and Divine Comedy. 2000s pop legend Sophie Ellis-Bextor has to miss out sadly, her new release Familia can only reach Number 12.
I'll save my favourite cool chart stat of the week for the very end though. Last week you may remember Britney Spears charted with yet another Number 2 album as her latest release Glory shot straight into the runners up slot. This week it sets a brand new record, dipping to Number 41 as the biggest fall from Number 2 in Official Album Chart history. The previous record holders were Nine Inch Nails who tumbled 2-36 with Hesitation Marks in September 2013.