All you can do is take your hat off to him. Basshunter's run at the top of the singles chart now stretches to a quite impressive five weeks, as once again no single comes close to even challenging the sales domination of Now You're Gone. The track is now the most successful club track since Call On Me by Eric Prydz had a five-week total run at the top in 2004 (a non-consecutive run made up a three-week stay followed a two week one). The track is also now the fourth single in the last twelve months to spend longer than a calendar month at the top, hard on the heels of Mika, Rihanna and Leona Lewis who all had extended runs in 2007. The only similar period in recent chart history came in the early 90s when between Feb 22nd 1992 and Feb 13 1993 no less than five different singles had Number One runs of five weeks or more - and to cap it all off, the record that moved to Number One on that final date - No Limit from 2 Unlimited - also went on to spend five weeks at the summit.
One can't even point to lower than average new year sales for the ease at which Now You're Gone has run up its total. Its highest sale in one week came in early January in its second week at the top when it shifted 48,000 copies. Indeed during the single's five weeks at Number One, it has sold an average of 40,000 copies each week, not too far away from the 53,000 copies that were the average sale of a Number One single during 2007.
Intriguingly the record that came closest to deposing Basshunter from the top was not Chasing Pavements, which instead dips to Number 3. The runners-up slot is taken by Rockstar by Nickelback which now grabs its highest chart placing to date. It does raise the intriguing possibility that the single could still have enough legs to sneak a week at Number One which would enable it to set a chart record of its very own. Rockstar first charted at Number 64 on October 27 last year, making this week its 17th as a Top 75 single. If it tops the charts next week it will break the all-time record for the slowest continuous climb to Number One, a record currently held jointly by The Power Of Love by Jennifer Rush and Think Twice by Celine Dion which both hit the top after a 16-week climb. The one other relevant chart record which Nickelback are in no danger of breaking is that set in early 1998 by All Saints with Never Ever. Their single hit the top after just a nine-week wait, but not before they had already sold over 900,000 copies of the track, the highest ever sale clocked up by a single prior to topping the charts.
It seems to be quite the week for intriguing chart tales, and none are more startling than that of the highest new entry of the week, Weightless by Wet Wet Wet which makes a quite unexpected debut at Number 10. The Scottish soulmen had been inactive since the late 90s following an acrimonious breakup and the descent of lead singer Marti Pellow into drug addiction. Cleaned up and reconciled, they reunited for a Greatest Hits collection and tour in 2004 and were rewarded with a Number 14 comeback hit All I Want. After the tour, they promised a brand new album, but it was slow arriving, finally released at the back end of last year. They also released a single, but Too Many People struggled for airplay and audience and bombed out of the chart after just one week at Number 46 in November last year.
So what on earth has caused the turnaround? Well, of course, tireless promotion and the loyalty of their fans goes without saying, but Weightless has also benefitted a clever exploitation of chart rules which allow multiple download versions of the same song to all count for its chart position. Thus during the week, it was possible to buy the track in its full-length album version, a shorter single edit, an acoustic version, a demo version and in live performances from London, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Belfast, Cardiff and Birmingham. Needless to say the cumulative effect of dedicated collectors shelling out for several different renditions will have contributed enormously to this elevated chart placing, the first Top 10 hit for Wet Wet Wet in almost 11 years, their 1997 Number 4 cover of Yesterday being their final single release before they split.
Before anyone starts filling my mailbox with outraged emails about this "cheating" let's consider that for the moment this is all perfectly legal and indeed merely mirrors a similar stunt pulled by McFly at the end of last year with their The Heart Never Lies single. It is also worth noting that I can at this moment buy Now You're Gone in a Radio Edit, Video Edit, Sound Selectaz Remix, DJ Alex Extended Mix and Fonzereli Mix - all of which would contribute to its chart position.
Just outside the Top 10, Mark Brown and Sarah Cracknell move 24-11 with The Journey Continues, one place ahead of the second biggest new hit of the week. The Feeling were some of the big breakout stars of 2006, steadily inveigling their way into the national consciousness with singles such as Sewn, Fill My Little World and especially Never Be Lonely and Love It When You Call. With every track from debut album Twelve Stops And Home sounding like it was lifted straight from a Guilty Pleasures compilation they quite understandably took the crown as the most played act of 2006 on British radio. Of course, their big challenge is now following it up. Some early reviews of their new album Join With Us have questioned the wisdom of moving away from the gentle easy listening style of their debut, but lead single I Thought It Was Over is simply blow-away superb. The guitars are chunkier than before but the song is still an uplifting and inspiring pop record that is every bit 2007 as it is 1974, with the ghosts of ELO, Supertramp and Crosby Stills Nash and Young bursting from every note. Charting at Number 11 after its first full week as a download is a tremendous start. Look for this as a Top 3 hit in very short order.
The week's third new entry is the return of yet another veteran. Riding the wave of his best critical reception in years, Morrissey marks what is perhaps astonishingly the 20th anniversary of his debut as a solo artist with a new Greatest Hits collection and a new single That's How People Grow Up which slides in nicely at Number 14. I figured out not long ago that my own personal ear for melody rather than clever lyrics is at the root of my lukewarm attitude to artists such as Mozza, the very core of his appeal being a deep appreciation of his poetry and his songwriting skills. Strangely enough, as he gets older it becomes easier and easier to take him seriously as a performer and to watch him perform That's How People Grow Up is to watch a musical legend in total command of his stage and capable of totally captivating an audience. The single is now his tenth straight Top 20 hit since his 2004 comeback and as referenced above arrives just one week shy of the 20th anniversary of the chart debut of his debut solo single Suedehead.
If you prefer your music with a bit more of an electronic bite, then look no further than Number 18 which sees Goldfrapp return to the singles chart with brand new hit A&E. It is their first hit since Fly Me Away reached Number 26 in May 2006. New album Seventh Tree is reported to eschew the commercial pop feel of their last album Supernature in favour of a more downbeat approach. Will that make for fewer and smaller chart hits perhaps? Next week will be the acid test as it gets a physical release.
Another act who of course is in the middle of their 20th anniversary is Kylie Minogue and the agonisingly slow rise of her latest single Wow now hits a new peak as the still download-only track edges its way to Number 20. A far more appealing pop single than her last hit 2 Hearts, the slow creep of the single has started to make some fans nervous as to its ultimate fate. The problem is, of course, it charted far too early, bouncing onto the Top 40 at the back end of December in the wake of her performance of the track on the final of X Factor, before it had even been officially confirmed as her next single. Only now has the video been put into TV rotation, the original edit reportedly rejected for breaking broadcast regulations on the use of strobe lighting. For now, the track is charting as an album cut for an eighth straight week, both CD and E-singles being released simultaneously on Feb 18th.
Towards the bottom end of the Top 40 we have a new entry for Biffy Clyro at Number 27 with Who's Got A Match and the start of what looks like once again being the inexorable rise of Timbaland's latest single Scream which charts at Number 36, a full month before it is released properly as a single.
Of special note, however, is the rather sluggish 48-32 move of the now fully released The Girl Is Mine 2008, the lead single from what looks like being an ill-fated attempt to mark the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' by updating its tracks with some modern day acts. The original version of The Girl Is Mine was a dream ticket duet between Jackson and Paul McCartney and was Thriller's first single release, hitting Number 8 here at the back end of 1982. The new version retains little of the original save for Jackson's vocals, McCartney replaced by an all-new rap from will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. Now in truth, this new rendition isn't at all bad and had it emerged as a brand new piece of work it would most likely have been hailed as a masterful meeting of the ageing legend and a hot young hip-hop talent. Of course, it isn't, and instead is a tired rehash of old material, material which lest we forget was re-promoted worldwide as recently as 2006. Hearing old songs "transformed" in this way merely raises the question of who needs the money more? Jackson or his label?