Deck Of Cards
If ever there was a moment a changing of the guard at the top of the Official UK Singles chart could have taken place, this was it.
Ed Sheeran's announcement following his Brit Awards performance of The Joker And The Queen that he was to release a brand new version of the song, turning it from a solo work into a duet with his old mate Taylor Swift, immediately made us go "yeah, that's probably going to be No.1". Only for the market to make fools of us all. Because it most decidedly isn't.
Instead, We Don't Talk About Bruno is still top of the charts, this now week number 5 for the soundtrack hit as its continuing popularity grows ever more astounding. Chart sales of the song dip for the first time, but only slightly down to 59,175 but that is still more than 20,000 ahead of its nearest rival.
That means The Joker And The Queen is the highest new entry of the week at No.2, the berth it first occupied for the Sunday night sales flash, although it had dipped as far as fourth place by the final midweeks. It duly becomes the third Top 3 single from Ed's Equals album, following in the footsteps of chart-toppers Bad Habits and Shivers. This is the epic ballad's first official appearance on the singles chart, although this is naturally only because it was one of many disqualified hits in the album's first few weeks on sale.
The Joker And The Queen is still credited to Ed Sheeran solo, this despite the overwhelming majority of the track's consumption being for the new Taylor Swift version. A useful reminder that unless there is a compelling reason not to, Official Charts will add sales of any new version to the chart run of the original, meaning just like Perfect four years ago an Ed Sheeran song that becomes a hit in a duet version remains credited to the singer alone. They may seem an odd couple but Teddy and TayTay have a long history of collaborations, reaching No.7 together in 2013 on Everything Has Changed and No.49 in 2018 with End Game, both of them Taylor Swift cuts. It would have been awesome to see this top the charts (although of course it still could) and drag Swift to the top for only the second time in her career. But of course technically it woudn't. Because she isn't credited.
It is otherwise a quiet Top 10 this week. Just two singles exist, ArrDee and Aitch's War turns out to be a bit of a one-week wonder and slides to No.12 while former No.1 ABCDEFU from Gayle slides to ACR and so crashes 4-20, replaced in the Top 10 by Luude and Colin Hay as Down Under climbs back to No.10.
Ashlee Did It First
A link to the world of Disney grants us the second-highest new entry of the week as Boyfriend lands at No.14 to give Dove Cameron her first UK hit, this the song she debuted as a nine-second clip on TikTok and rush-released as a full length single due to the overwhelming reaction it received. The 26-year-old American first came to prominence as one of the stars of Disney Channel comedy series Liv and Maddie (playing both titular characters) although she has a long list of other acting credits to her name. She's no stranger to music, having released no fewer than four soundtrack albums during her time on the series, but this is her first internationally-promoted pop single, and for now appears to have got off to a flying start. Even if you will spend four minutes waiting for it to go somewhere.
Central Cee's drip-feeding of tracks from his new mixtape continues with Khabib making No.22 just a fortnight after Cold Shoulder reached No.25. One place below him Adele makes a startling 75-23 leap with I Drink Wine, the track unhooking itself from ACR status following the brief surge of interest when she performed it at the Brit Awards two weeks ago. Meanwhile there are still zero Little Simz tracks on the chart.
We wondered just how well George Ezra's Anyone For You would do following its understated debut a fortnight ago. Well this week it climbs for the second week in a row, the single now up at No.26. And speaking of slow climbs, a ten place lift for Jax Jones and MNEK's Where Did You Go is at the very least the first sign that it is edging towards the huige hit status we boldly predicted for it a week ago.
Bringing up the rear on the Top 40 is this week's token grime hit, Reggae & Calypso containing elements of neither, but it is still No.32 for Russ Millions, Buny and YV and the debut hit single for the latter two performers (Buni is Russ' brother for those not up to speed with the endless soap opera).
All Good Things
On the albums countdown, champion of the week is Frank Turner with FTHC, this notable for taking the British punk revivalist to the top of the charts after nine previous albums fell short (his last four releases all peaked at either 2 or 3). This prompted a short debate (inspired by his management asking Official Charts the question) as to what the record was for most releases without previously topping the charts. By my reckoning the answer is 43, the number of albums released (if Wikipedia is a guide) by Slim Whitman who first reached the top of the charts with The Very Best Of in early 1976. Honourable mentions should go to Johnny Mathis whose chart-topping Hits collection in 1977 was the 42nd album of his career - and also Barbra Streisand who had topped the charts with a Greatest Hits collection of her own in 1979 but who enjoyed her first studio No.1 a year later with Guilty, officially the 22nd full-length album she had made.