Some records just don't quite have the legs do they? What looked at one stage to be developing into an intriguing two way battle for Number One on the singles chart ultimately ends in disappointment as the challenge to LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem fades away and they spend Easter Sunday at Number One for a second week. That is one week more than they managed a little under a year ago when they made a cameo appearance on David Guetta's Getting Over You and intriguingly makes them the first American group to spend longer than a week at a time at Number One since Kings Of Leon had a three week run with Sex On Fire way back in 2008. Whilst the Black Eyed Peas have had two two-week Number One singles in the intervening period, both did so with non-consecutive spells at the top.
So what of the single that was supposed to be Number One but ultimately, er, wasn't. Well it is the Number 2 single of the week, Unorthodox, the second Top 10 hit single in a row for Wretch 32, the follow-up to Traktor which peaked at Number 5 back in January. Like a large number of the Top 10 singles of the moment, Unorthodox borrows heavily from the past for its inspiration, the single making plenty of headlines for its use of the bassline and drum beat from Fool's Gold as famously recorded by The Stone Roses back in 1989. Nicking the loop is far from a new idea, Run DMC having used the beat on their 1990 single What's It All About as did Bananarama on Only Your Love in the same year but it remains an inspired choice by dint of the fact that nobody appears to have done so for decades. Actually it is more than a little unfair to define the Wretch 32 single by its sample, particularly when you consider how far down the mix it is buried. Better instead to admire a smash hit record that cements his place firmly as part of the Britpack, credit also surely due to Example who provides guest vocals on the single and so gets a co-credit on what is also his highest charting single ever.
One final point of intrigue - the 1989 sampling Unorthodox sits one place higher on the chart than Jennifer Lopez' On The Floor which itself interpolates Llorando Se Fue which became 'Lambada' by Kaoma, also one of the biggest international smashes of 1989. All we need is a hit from 1988 to sit alongside it to make this a true late 80s throwback chart.
*does double take*
Well just look at that. I mentioned at the end of last week's column the rather startling reappearance of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman at the lower end of the Top 75, its placing coming based on just a few hours sales after the song was performed by Britain's Got Talent hopeful Michael Collings. Fast forward seven days and with the benefit of a full week of sales behind it, the 23 year old single is now lodged at Number 4 in one of the most unexpected chart comebacks for some considerable time. Whilst we are used to songs performed by X Factor wannabes creeping back to the lower end of the singles chart from the auditions stage onwards, this is the first time the more generally pitched talent show has ever seen one of the songs it has featured storm the singles chart in quite a spectacular manner since the 2008 revival of Mint Royale's Singing In The Rain which shot to Number One after being used by dancer George Sampson. Even Susan Boyle didn't manage to generate this level of chart interest in her material back when she was making worldwide headlines.
The renewed success of Fast Car is all the more puzzling when you consider it is hardly a lost classic to begin with, a listen to Magic FM or one of its regional variants will demonstrate that it comes round in rotation once every couple of hours, or so it seems. Yet for all that it appears that a huge chunk of the ITV1 audience two Saturdays ago saw the performance and fell in love with the song all over again. Not that it isn't rather appropriate for Fast Car to become a hit in this manner as its original 1988 success was also due to a fortuitous television performance. The then unknown American star had been booked to appear down the bill at the Nelson Mandela birthday concert at Wembley stadium on June 11th 1988 and indeed had trotted through a handful of songs from her self titled debut during the course of the afternoon. Later in the evening, planned surprise guest Stevie Wonder briefly walked out after discovering the computer discs for his performance had gone missing and in a panic Chapman was ushered out on stage again - this time with a huge prime time audience watching as she performed Fast Car alone with her acoustic guitar. The rest, as they say, is history.
Back to the present day and Fast Car beats its original Number 5 peak by one place to further cement its status as Chapman's most famous hit. Despite selling millions of albums worldwide, this was her only Top 40 single and so she returns to the charts this week for the first time in almost 23 years - not quite the longest gap in chart history but certainly up there with one of the biggest. Her only other connection with the top end of the charts is with the song Baby Can I Hold You which limped to Number 94 when released as a single in December 1988 but which became a Number 2 hit for Boyzone nine years later in December 1997.
A hit of a slightly more contemporary kind arrives inside the lower end of the Top 10 as Lady Gaga's Judas shifts five places to Number 9, again as a result of a full week of sales after its rush release to land on the chart seven days ago. Given the hurried nature of its push into the market we once again have to keep an open mind as to its ultimate chart prospects. Given the failure of Born This Way to capitalise on its own flying start, Gaga badly needs another Number One single to continue to support the view that she is not just about ever more shocking photoshoots.
At Number 15 there is a new entry for Bruno Mars, singer of one of the biggest hits of the year to date. With both Grenade still hanging around at Number 27 and even Just The Way You Are (Amazing) still on the chart at Number 61 after 31 weeks on release, his new single The Lazy Song runs the risk of merely adding to his current pile of hits rather than standing out in its own right. Fortunately the latest single from Do Wops And Hooligans has plenty going for it to ensure it will become just as memorable as its predecessors, a breezy and lilting reggae track which has somehow had the good fortune to be promoted in the middle of a mini heatwave in the UK. I'm a firm believer in the notion that the better the weather, the more perfect some hits sound and The Lazy Song fits the template perfectly. A guaranteed smash hit [a future Number One no less] - at least until it starts raining again.
More superstar power arrives at Number 18 with the brand new single from Beyonce Run The World (Girls). It is the first single from her as yet untitled fourth studio album and sees the diva strike out in an intriguing new direction with the track sampling heavily from the dancehall track Pon De Floor to make this a world removed from her more conventional R&B tracks of the past. As an eye opener it works a treat and whilst the lyrical theme of female empowerment might be a well she has gone to once too often before, the track's irresistible call for one to get up and shake some booty ensures that another smash hit is here in the making. Its rather subdued chart entry is once again down to a midweek release, the track having only appeared online on Thursday morning, so expect this to soar into the Top 5 seven days hence.
Down in the Top 30 there is a new entry for Starboy Nathan with Diamonds. The name may be unfamiliar but this single is in fact something of a comeback for the British star who charted two singles in the middle of the last decade as simply "Nathan". Come Into My Room was the biggest of the two, the single creeping to Number 37 in March 2005. In the intervening years he has hardly been inactive, promoting his debut album relentlessly for two years before retreating to the studio to work on the second. After much delay it is due for release and hopefully with a slightly more distinctive performing name he may well finally get the attention his hard work deserves. Assisted by a support slot for The Wanted, Diamonds charts at Number 23 to become his biggest hit to date. We await a release date for its parent album.
Keep an eye out as well next week for I Need A Dollar by Aloe Blacc which leaps 49-29 to poke its head into the Top 40 for the first time. The gloriously retro soul track from the California based star was a popular hit on the continent when first released last year but has only now belatedly come to the attention of UK audiences. With airplay steadily increasing, expect the single to be Top 20 this time next week.
Also worth noting are a handful of other breaking singles from established stars -leading the charge is Jessie J with new single Nobody's Perfect, the third track from her debut album which arrives at Number 32 as its airplay exposure kicks into gear. Hard on her heels, Simply Unstoppable from Tinie Tempah which opens its chart account at Number 33 is a track from Disc-Overy which wasn't originally intended to be released as a single but which has appeared due to public demand for a remixed version which was initially created for use in a TV commercial. Finally there is a new entry at Number 35 for Pitbull and a cast of several guest stars with Give Me Everything, the follow-up to his last single Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor) which peaked at Number 38 back in January. [And by a strange coincidence the second future Number One single to make a quiet and rather understated debut on this week's singles chart.]
Finally to the album chart where - yes, you guessed it, Adele is back at Number One with 21 for what is now its 12th week at the top in total as the Foo Fighters slip down to second place. Whilst the sensation of its unbroken run at the top has come to an end, in its sights now is a total of 15 weeks at Number One to equal the post-1980 record set by Phil Collins and the Spice Girls in the 80s and 90s respectively.