Archives: 2018

It was God's Plan the year would begin with a 9 week Number One. Then Drake released even more singles and topped the charts each time. Calvin Harris enjoyed chart dominations of his own, video streams were added to the mix, and England's World Cup run propelled a 22-year-old oldie straight back to the top, revised chart rules be damned. The year belonged to movie soundtracks though, thanks to both bearded ladies and a revived Lady Gaga.

Roll up, roll up, for the greatest thing your eyes will ever devour. A chart where nothing falls and everyone makes a comeback.

I can remember Eminem topping the charts for the first time. When all the tabloids screamed it was the end of civilisation as we knew it. Almost 20 years later he is there for the ninth, even if that also means Ed Sheeran continuing to do extraordinary things.

No Eminem single has ever lasted more than a week at Number One. He's still waiting for that to change, as in steams Drake who once again proves himself a chart force to be reckoned with. And God comes along for the ride as well.

Drake is still top of the singles chart, of course he is. Craig David doesn't hit the album summit but still has his biggest hit single for years. Plus, the first ever Chart Watch graph as we track the progress of an extraordinarily long-lived hit.

It is time to stop being coy about it. The Greatest Showman has wound up as the phenomenon of the winter. The soundtrack is lodged at the top of the album charts as its singles continue to grow in popularity too.

If God has a plan to deliver us from Drake being stranded at Number One for many weeks to come, he is keeping it to himself. Meanwhile, the Greatest Showman continues to turn heads. People keep listening to it and discover that they like it. A lot.

The Brits effect: noticeable on albums, negligible on singles. Plus, the "does YouTube cannibalise streams?" question is sort of answered.

Ice and snow covers the UK and the top end of the charts are appropriately frozen. That does give Ed Sheeran room to set a fascinating new record. Meanwhile, the man who stole Drake's act arrives with a brand new single to challenge him at last.

Look, I cannot sugar-coat this. The Number One single is what you expect it to be. The Number One album is the same as it has been since all this was fields. Everyone is teaming up with country stars and the second biggest hit of the week is from a guy called Dave. It is official, the charts are trolling us all.

The Greatest Showman passes a milestone, its singles collide dramatically with chart rules, and the first new trend of 2018 is clear. If you want a hit, just borrow a star from Nashville. Yee-haw.

Percentage of official UK sales by format, Official Charts Company [pic credit:]

For two months now there's been no change at the top of either singles or albums chart. This situation, unprecedented in almost 40 years does mean some fascinating new records are being set.

The change was coming, and it happens in a whirlwind. Chart rules deprive Drake of the singles chart Number One but open the door to Jess Glynne setting a record. Meanwhile, George Ezra has the biggest album of the week. Or does he?

Hey guys, Lil' Dicky here. I've swapped bodies with James Masterton and am enjoying the way he is suave, good-looking, a hero to Zayn Malik fans and surprisingly well-informed about all matters to do with the UK charts. I've promised that if he talks about me in this week's column I won't tell the world about his pe

A week in which everything you expected to happen turned out not to. The midweeks lied (because of technical problems), everyone else took turns at the head of the market only for one man to come from behind and stand everything on its head. Kylie? Oh yes, she's in here as well.

Did you even notice him doing it? Only ten other acts have had more Number One singles than Calvin Harris. Only one has topped the charts as many times as he has in the 2010s.

Some fresh blood inside the Top 10 makes for a busy chart week, even if it turns out nothing can overhaul the Number One which accelerates into the distance. Ariana goes blonde, Anne-Marie channels Ed and sadly Avicii passes away.

I won't sugar-coat this. Nothing moves at the top end of the singles chart, although that does mean Calvin Harris gets to do something he's not managed in seven years. Post Malone released a new album this week and everyone with a Spotify login went utterly nuts for it. But your mum only cares about Paloma Faith.

A becalmed Top 10, but just below some very exciting things are happening. Jess Glynne is back for real, and Childish Gambino guns down a gospel choir whilst escaping just being known as that bloke on a Leona Lewis hit.

Be honest, of all the acts whose new album you would expect to be streamed out the door, would the Arctic Monkeys be one of them?

All hail the mighty cello. Grace from Clean Bandit plays hers to the highest new entry of the week, whilst the cheery teenager at Harry and Meghan's wedding saw his enthusiastic sawing land him a bigger hit album than anyone else has managed with the instrument.

Yeah, One Kiss is still at Number One. But is it completely accurate to just blame people streaming hits playlists without a thought? James isn't so sure. Meanwhile, attention turns to just which single could replace it - which could be as soon as two weeks time.

OH GOD THIS IS BORING. Eight weeks now for One Kiss at the top of the charts, although the good news is that circumstances may be about to bring it to an end. Kanye West doesn't care what you think of his tweets and lands his biggest hit album in years, but even he cannot shift the almighty Greatest Showman soundtrack. This column also features jangly guitar-pop, for the first time in what feels like forever.

Praise be! A new Number One single. Jess Glynne breaks her own records and takes pride of place as the most successful female artist of the decade so far. But could it be she just did so on a technicality? Plus The Greatest Showman is Number One again. Doing something no soundtrack has done for 50 years in the process. Will it still be there at Christmas?

This week's Chart Watch column is not one that could be tossed off in a hurry. That most exquisitely crafted of British acts Clean Bandit top the charts for the fourth time in their career with another immaculately conceived pop record. Dragging Demi Lovato along for the ride, they enjoy their biggest hit ever. Plus, The Greatest Showman does something few other albums have ever achieved, and Nicki Minaj has the biggest hit under her own steam in almost four years.

For the second time this year, a long-running Number One single is followed by a string of short-lived successors. The occupant of the week at the top of the charts is George Ezra who tops the charts for the first time after a five year wait. Meanwhile, could Panic! At The Disco land a Number One album of their own for the first time? Until the end of the week, it actually looked as if they could.

All change for the chart rules as video streams count towards the singles chart for the very first time. But these changes collide headlong with the release of a brand new Drake album, making the ultimate destination of the Number One single far from a foregone conclusion.

For the first time in 13 years, we have a single recorded more than 20 years ago at the very top of the Official UK Singles charts. Football fever swept the nation this week and in the process swept the England football team's 1996 anthem all the way to the top of the charts. It overcame what were supposed to be insurmountable chart handicaps to do so as well. Poor George Ezra.

Put it this way, if people were listening to you over 800,000 times a day on Spotify, you'd be top of the charts as well. We face the prospect of another Summer Of Drake, but meanwhile, last week's Number One single sets an unwanted if entirely appropriate chart benchmark of its own.

Just one look and I can hear a bell ring. No forgetting anything here though, Mamma Mia mania takes hold of the nation and the albums charts go soundtrack crazy.

An excitingly high new entry from DJ KHALED who does indeed do some YELLING on his hit record. An observant guy that Lil' Dicky.

Drake and Justin Bieber, record-equalling partners. Just pray they don't breed or we may never escape their chart stranglehold.

No, nobody could really believe their eyes when early midweeks suggested George Ezra was on a journey back to the top of the charts. Yet sometimes the impossible does happen. Let's ride a Shotgun together as something very special takes place.

George Ezra remains at the summit, but there's a genuine feeling of a hit era coming to an end as a slew of superstars (and superstar pairings) invade the chart with exciting new entries. Calvin! Smith! Glynne! Bastille (no, really)! They are all there. Ariana tops the album chart. Well, how could she not really?

The closest Top 3 race in more than a decade comes to a climax with the Number One single enjoying the second-narrowest margin of victory in modern-day chart history. It's a triumph for Benny Blanco as after 12 Number One singles as co-writer or producer he can finally claim one as a performer. Plus we go Korean crazy with BTS landing their first ever Top 40 hit single. But be warned, Baby Shark is in there too.

The UK charts keep their Promises and take Calvin Harris to brand new parts of the record books. I'm sorry but that's a bigger story this week than Eminem beating Abba for a record of his own.

Calvin Harris still has ten Number One singles - but perhaps even more, as the man himself begged to differ during the week. Inside I'll explain why. Plus Kanye West and Lil' Pump make the most deliciously rude two minutes you've heard all year. Except that it is a single which truly needs the video to be put into a proper context.

As you were at the top, but some amazing stories developing below. Machine Gun Kelly and Eminem are going to end up either fighting or copulating. That's generally how these playground fights play themselves out. Panic! At The Disco are Top 20 for the first time in 10 years, managing something precious few acts have ever done before.

Two men speak to us from beyond the grave, in a manner which is both poignant and surprisingly moving. Plus Jess Glynne moves within an ace of equalling an all-time record for Top 10 hits, but one of the existing holders seems about to put it just beyond her reach. See, there's more to life than an all-static Top 4.

The youthful, rebellious sound of rock and roll is embodied by two acts in their 70s at the top of the albums chart this week. Meanwhile, an emo band get their biggest hit ever and Lady Gaga goes all country rock on us. Thank goodness for Calvin and Sam sounding the same as ever to keep things grounded.

Gotta get down on Friday, as a great woman once said. The single which trailed the competition all week storms past them at the death to become one of the more surprising Number One hits of recent months. But it is very much a hit record of the new consumer age, the track at the top of the charts purchased by hardly anyone at all. Read all about the exploits of Dave and friends inside.

These things always come in pairs. For the second time this year a single rebounds to the top of the charts. The most successful X Factor winners ever continue their reign of terror glory. Plus, the mystery of Laga Gaga and Bradley Cooper's chart credit revealed.

She's maintained a poker face throughout the whole of the decade so far. Absent from the top of the charts since 2010, Lady Gaga this week turns Hollywood acclaim back into singles chart success. Our Number One single is from the biggest movie of the moment, and it drags a professional actor along for the ride for the first time in almost 17 years. Nothing Shallow about this hit record. Plus, movie hits abound in the Top 10 and there are decidedly mixed fortunes for former X Factor winners of all vintages.  

Britain remains in thrall to a singer and an actor performing together at the top of the singles pile. A deceased performer once more enjoys the biggest new hit of the week thanks to his celebrity mates. But the biggest splash is made by a veteran opera star, dragging classical music to the top of the albums chart for the first time in two decades.

Well who knew Ariana Grande had such a potty mouth on her? More to the point, who knew she chews up and spits out men like Taylor Swift at a boy band audition? A surprise release becomes a surprise Number One. Warning: this column also contains Fanditry.

It is one of those records. Ariana Grande's hit runs away with the chart race, eclipsing practically the whole of the rest of the market. That was possibly bad news if you were a former girl group star about to relaunch your career after four years away. Timing is everything in this business after all.

Let's hear it for the girls (and well, OK, one token boy) as they dominate the whole top end of the singles chart. Plus, what happens when you re-imagine the biggest selling album of the year? Dream a million dreams and find out inside.

Nobody of any note released any singles this week, so the past seven days belonged to Take That. A "reimagined" Greatest Hits collection saw them clock up the biggest one-week sale of the year and prove to the world that age ain't nothing but a number. Especially when you are singing the songs your mum grew up loving.

Ariana Grande marches boldly on at the top of the charts, but she is now having to face down the challenge from Christmas songs, the biggest of which are sticking two fingers up at chart rules designed to hold them back and swamping everything else anyway. The newest X Factor champion becomes the latest not to get anywhere near the top of the charts, and these boys you see here and just pulled off a chart hat-trick last done by the Arctic Monkeys a decade ago. Find out what it is inside.

It's the annual "Christmas chart but not quite" chart as everything enters a holding pattern before the one sales countdown that everyone cares about. Ariana storms ahead at the top but it is only a rule change that prevents a festive classic from stealing the crown instead. Surely it can't be all still to play for?

The Christmas Number One comes but once a year. But when it does it brings some amazing sales surges, social media superstardom and the kind of close(ish) chart race we haven't seen for some time. A tale of daring, romance and sausages. And a fair number of turkeys too [get on with it].

Just where do you begin? The most absurd, pointless, meaningless singles chart of the year means a listing almost totally dominated by Christmas songs as your mum puts Spotify on a loop to baste the turkey to and all contemporary artists wilt in the face of a festive onslaught. Mariah Carey sets a new streaming record as a result, but here's the extraordinary bit. She still doesn't reach Number One.