Amazing isn't it. I have had the best part of a week to work out just how to open this week's Chart Watch in a manner which conveys an appropriate level of astonishment at the Number One single this week. What has happened this week is so utterly unexpected that maybe mere words cannot do the job. Let's go for a sound instead.
When the Mint Royale track Singin' In The Rain crept onto the singles chart last week as a result of its use in the winning performance of Britain's Got Talent, it was at best a brief curiosity. Sure, we idly wondered whether any resultant sales from the final show would translate into a higher chart position this week, but the general feeling was that whatever impact the TV show had, it would quickly become yesterday's news. Little did we guess that the combined impact of the Saturday broadcast of the BGT final combined with a rush re-release of the single would result in the three-year-old dance track rocketing to the very top of the singles chart. A fortnight ago the track was a long forgotten novelty record. Now thanks to a teenage dancer and a rain machine lit in blue, it becomes a best seller.
As we mentioned last week, the track was originally a special commission from the ad agency responsible for a 2005 TV commercial for Volkswagen. In the ad, Gene Kelly's famous dance routine from the film Singin' In The Rain was re-imagined thanks to some state of the art CGI as a spectacular breakdance routine. Although it was never intended to be a single, the commercial had enough of an impact to lead to the music being released commercially a few months later. For all the hype however it was little more than a minor hit, entering at Number 20 in early September 2005 and rocketing out of the chart soon afterwards. As I wrote at the time: "The only mystery really is why it has taken so long for the track to hit the shops - releasing it at the same time as the commercial hit the screens would surely have guaranteed a much larger hit."
All good things come to those who wait I guess. It means that Mint Royale - originally a group but these days generally just producer Neil Claxton - have far and away their biggest single ever, over eight years since they first made their chart debut. Until today their first single remained their biggest, the rather sweet Don't Falter which peaked at Number 15 in February 2000 and which featured a guest vocal from Lauren Laverne, back when she was the singer of failed rockers Kenickie rather than the much talked of radio DJ. The uncredited vocals on Singin' In The Rain are of course sampled from Gene Kelly's (now out of copyright) performance from the famous Hollywood film and by my reckoning, this marks the only time in chart history that a recording from the soundtrack has made the charts, be it singles or albums. Indeed the only chart link with that most iconic of Hollywood musicals is the solitary chart entry for co-star Debbie Reynolds who managed a Number 2 hit with Tammy in 1957, the song taken from the film 'Tammy And The Bachelor'.
Meanwhile, the debate will rage as to whether this counts as the biggest ever "spontaneous" hit single. Whilst the chart entry of the track last week was a surprise reappearance and carried the catalogue number and chart history of the original 2005 release, the track is this week re-issued on the Syco Music label and so gets a new catalogue number and a new chart history. Instead of registering a 28-1 jump (which would have been the fourth highest ever), the single is instead listed as a "new" entry. Those who wondered out loud just how Simon Cowell was going to make money from a dancing teenager may well have just discovered the answer.
Now let's all be honest here, we know that Singin' In The Rain isn't set for a long run at the top. Even taking into account the transient nature of its appeal and the fact that BGT will be all but forgotten in a week or so, the single isn't actually much cop [Sorry Neil!]. Even hardcore clubbers would be hard pressed to find the appeal of a track that lurches from a fifty-year-old sample into a bass-heavy melody that might as well have been downloaded from a royalty-free loop site. Originally conceived as a 30-second commercial and stuck on Mint Royale's album as a curiosity piece at best, the height of creativity it is not. All of which does of course potentially leave the Number One position wide open.
Still in with a shot is Closer from Ne-Yo which edges ever closer to the prize of a Top 3 place whilst still only a digital single. The track moves 7-5 this week as the days until its eventual June 23 physical release tick ever closer. New into the Top 10 are the two gravity-defying singles from two hotly tipped female stars. Leading the way is Love Song from Sara Bareilles which charges 15-6 after finally going physical this week and nicely pays off the potential it displayed as a digital single. Less predictable are the prospects of Sweet About Me from Gabriella Cilmi which charges 14-7 to reach its highest peak to date. As we have mentioned in previous weeks, Sweet About Me was a single which actually flopped as a physical release, its sales and airplay only catching fire a month after the label assumed it was dead and buried. The single has now been charting for 14 weeks and its tale may well not be over yet.
Also moving in the right direction is Chris Brown with Forever which narrowly fails to enter the Top 10 this week and instead has to content itself with the Number 11 slot. With physicals still a couple of weeks away, he looks more or a less a lock in for a place among the elite next week. Keep a weather eye out too for Rhythm Is A Dancer from Snap! The sixteen-year-old track, reawakened thanks to a TV commercial , this week finally breaks free of its 40-30 purgatory and sneaks up to Number 23. That is now its highest chart placing since October 17 1992 and I bet you've all been counting the days since.
The very bottom end of the Top 30 is crammed with a parade of brand new singles. Leading the charge at Number 24 is Morrissey with All You Need Is Me, his second single of the year, the follow-up to That's How People Grow Up which had a cup of coffee in the Top 20 back in February. Needless to say as the second single from his Greatest Hits album, its release is one for obsessives and collectors only and is unlikely to be troubling us this time next week.
Instead, watch out for Watch Out which arrives at Number 25 for Alex Gaudino featuring Shena. The first hit in over a year for the Destination Calabria man. Like his previous hit, Watch Out just oozes originality, the trademark brass stabs this time the instantly recognisable melody from Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag, a hit for Pigbag in 1982 and revived in 1995 by the Perfecto Allstarz. Around as a white label since the back end of last year, the track made it online last week and will go physical next. Derivative it may be but you will be hard-pressed to find an anthem as addictive as this anytime before the summer kicks in for real. Featured singer Shena Winchester may not be all that familiar a name but she has a hit pedigree as long as your arm having sung on countless club tracks over the past decade and a half and in the last few years has featured on hits from De Souza, Junior Jack and Jurgen Vries. Her biggest ever chart hit was There's Nothing I Won't Do, a Number 4 hit for JX in the summer of 1996 although at the time she remained very much in the background, actress Karlina Grace hired instead to front the group's promotional appearances, leading to her being erroneously credited as the singer in many chart listings. Isn't dance music complicated?
Next up is Lil' Wayne whose American smash hit Lollipop appears to have stiffed rather on these shores, its physical release managing little more than a 39-26 climb. It means the rapper is still waiting for a major UK hit under his own steam, his only Top 10 appearance to date coming thanks to a guest line or two on Soldier from Destiny's Child which reached Number 4 in early 2005.
Also new in the shops this week were Mystery Jets with their single Two Doors Down. Their second single of the year, the track at least beats the Number 34 peak of its predecessor Young Love as it creeps to Number 27 but for all their appeal the New Romantic revivalists are still waiting for their first ever Top 20 hit.
Better things are I suspect in store for the single that arrives at Number 29, If I Never See Your Face Again performed by the potentially legendary combination of Maroon 5 and Rihanna. Originally the first track on their album It Won't Be Soon Before Long, Rihanna's vocals have been added for this single release and it almost goes without saying the track is set to end their rather poor chart run that has seen their last two singles Wake Up Call and Won't Go Home Without You fail to even reach the Top 30. June 30 is when this goes physical and if it isn't Top 20 at the least by then I'm going back to chart prediction school.
Fans of Scooter will be up in arms if I don't at least acknowledge the arrival in the Top 40 of Jumping All Over The World, their first such hit since way back in 2003, but a proper analysis of the track can wait until next week. Instead let us finish by noting the impact made this week by the long-awaited arrival online of the Radiohead back catalogue, accompanying the release of a new Best Of album which duly lands at Number 4 on the album chart. Their absence from online stores has been down to their belief that their albums are to be appreciated as a full body of work rather than being cherrypicked for the best bits. With the famous In Rainbows honour system release having now seen them embrace the digital age in their own unique way, they have finally relented to their catalogue being available for selection. Whilst a handful of their older singles arrive just outside the Top 75, top honours are reserved for their first ever hit Creep which lands way ahead of the rest at Number 37. Famously a hit in America before belatedly being appreciated on these shores, the single originally made Number 7 in September 1993, the first of what are to date their seven Top 10 hits.