It has long been one of those strange chart quirks that despite many acts having had a go (23 at the last count), nobody has ever had a Number One single that references the chart position in its title.
Until today. Step forward Tinchy Stryder who along with N-Dubz storms straight to the top of the singles chart with the most appropriately named Number One single ever - Number 1. It is only the fourth hit for the young British grime MC and his second smash hit of the year, this single arriving as the follow-up to the enormously successful Take Me Back which peaked at Number 3 in early February. For co-stars N-Dubz, it is their fifth chart single and the first to even reach as far as the Top 10. Dappy, Tulisa and Rawson [yeah, I went "who?" as well. That's Fazer's real surname, although why I referred to him in that way is lost in the mists of time] first charted in 2007 with Feva Las Vegas which made Number 57 and had their first Top 20 hit at the tail end of last year when Papa Can You Hear Me? made Number 19. You suspect that this rather fortuitous collaboration with one of the hottest new stars of the year will give their own career that final push it needs.
Of all the other acts to chart singles with either Number One or Number 1 in the title, only two acts have come close to turning their singles into self-fulfilling prophecies. The Tremeloes fell at the final hurdle in 1969 when (Call Me) Number One peaked at Number 2 whilst almost exactly thirty years later S Club 7 landed the runners-up slot with You're My Number One. The latter track was actually the second half of a double a-side, the flip appropriately enough being Two In A Million.
If we want to be pedantic, just five other acts have released singles entitled Number 1 (the number is important). The first of these did not come until 1998 when the most alphabetically pronounced group in chart history A hit Number 47 with their single of that name. Just two of the five made the Top 10, The Tweenies creeping to Number 5 in November 2000 whilst the most recent act to attempt the coincidence are Goldfrapp who peaked at Number 9 with their take on the concept in November 2005.
The lyrics of Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz' single are actually referring to the place in the emotional pecking order of the object of their affections rather than chart positions. Even attempting to write songs about specific sales rankings can be a dangerous game and few and far between are the acts who have done so. One song that appears to be about chart positions is Pete Wingfield's 18 With A Bullet which made Number 7 in the summer of 1975, but the title is in reference to age rather than singles success. The dangers of attempting self-fulfilling prophecies are nicely illustrated by the fate of Lyn Paul's It Oughta Sell A Million which made Number 37 also in the summer of 1975. Its ultimate sales fate is sadly not documented here.
If the chart-topping single doesn't float your boat then it is quite possible that the second highest new entry at Number 12 will. Marmaduke Duke are described as a "conceptual rock duo" but are in actual fact a side project of Simon from Biffy Clyro and JP Reid of fellow Scottish rock band Sucioperro. The pair first floated the idea of teaming up for a trio of concept albums back in 2003 but it wasn't until two years later that the first instalment of the project The Magnificent Duke was released. Four years on and their respective schedules have permitted the release of part 2 - Duke Pandemonium which is due out in May. To herald that release, the pair celebrate their first ever chart single as Rubber Lover invades the singles chart agonisingly short of the Top 10. The track is short and sweet, clocking in at just under two minutes but in that 120 seconds manages to cram in enough musical joy to last you all week. Perhaps extraordinarily the single has at a stroke out-charted all but one of Biffy Clyro's own singles to date, only the Number 5 peak last summer of Mountains preventing this side project from inadvertently outgunning Simon Neil's main band.
The Top 20 also plays host to several other new hits, although first of all, we have to acknowledge the continuing rise of Pink's Please Don't Leave Me which vaults 23-13 this week in its fifth week on the chart. She hasn't scored three Top 10 hits in a row since 1996 when U + UR Hand reached Number 10 and competed for the trio. Cross your fingers for this single next week. Also climbing appropriately enough is Miley Cyrus who moves up eight places to Number 16 with The Climb. It now equals the peak of her last single Fly On The Wall to become her second biggest to date. I'm still dubious as to whether the teen appeal of her Hannah Montana role is going to cross over to even stronger record sales, but the promotional work she has put in this last week in advance of the release of 'Hannah Montana - The Movie' will have helped no end. The fact that The Climb has generated its own mini-halo hit in the shape of Number 43 single Hoedown Throwdown is a good sign in itself.
New to the Top 10 at Number 18 are The Prodigy with Warrior's Dance, the official follow-up to comeback single 'Omen' which made Number 4 back in February. The track is actually their third chart single of the year as album title track Invaders Must Die made a brief chart appearance in March when the long player was released and peaked at Number 49. In a nice nod back to their roots, the chorus of Warrior's Dance is based around a sample from an old rave hit which dates back to their own chart emergence. Take Me Away was originally released by True Faith with Final Cut but despite being a club smash at the time could only limp to Number 51 when granted a commercial release in March 1991.
Crashing onto the chart at Number 20 is Return The Favor (sic), the first official solo single for Keri Hilson after she has appeared on no less than five other hit singles as the guest of other stars. The title of the track is naturally a gift to lazy music writers like myself as the track is indeed a kind of favour returned thanks to a co-credit for producer Timbaland. I guess I need not point out that the singer on his own Number One hit The Way I Are two years ago was none other than a certain Keri Hilson. She also appeared alongside Nicole Scherzinger on another Timbaland single Scream in 2008 and has in the past had chart hits with Chris Brown and Nas. Her only other Top 10 appearance to date came in early 2005 when she guest starred on Hey Now (Mean Muggin') alongside Nas, that single peaking at Number 9. Something tells me with this momentum she will add a third to her chart log before too long.
Also climbing into the Top 40 from the lower reaches is I Love College from Asher Roth. The languid rap single is the first chart hit for the 25-year-old Pennsylvanian star and gains a chart boost thanks to the release of his debut album Asleep In The Bread Aisle which hit the stores last week and sits at Number 38 on the album chart.
Still on the climb are Girls Aloud who are now up to Number 27 with Untouchable, this chart position remember still based on sales of the six-minute album version which has a markedly different sound to the single edit featured in the video and which is stimulating sales thus far. It is a situation oddly reminiscent of will.i.am's Heartbreaker which last year shot up the charts in the album version which was devoid of Cheryl Cole's guest vocals - the main selling point of the UK single release. Making slightly slower progress is Britney Spears whose gigglesome If You Seek Amy can only rise a single place to rest at Number 24.
In what I guess is going to be a constant theme over the next few weeks, the TV show Britain's Got Talent keeps inspiring chart singles of the most obscure oldies. As Patti Lupone's I Dreamed A Dream dips to Number 62 following what we must now call the Susan Boyle effect, soul standard Who's Lovin' You arrives on the chart at Number 54 in what most people regard as its most famous version as performed by the Jackson 5. It was one of two songs performed on the show a week ago by 12-year-old Shaheen Jafargholi and now becomes a hit in its own right for the first time, a full 40 years after it first featured on the b-side of the Jackson 5's debut single 'I Want You Back'. On current form, one must presume that next week will see the chart arrival of a version of I Could Have Danced All Night thanks to the show-stopping performance on Saturday of child ballerina Hollie Steel. If the popularity bars on iTunes are any indication (which actually they are frequently not) then either the Marni Nixon version from the Original Soundtrack of My Fair Lady or bizarrely Jamie Cullum's version from his album Twentysomething could well grab a Top 75 slot next week.