Two months we've been waiting for the new Ed Sheeran single. Two months in which his much-heralded new recording Sing has been available in territories across Europe and across the world, topping charts in Australia and Ireland, becoming a Top 20 hit on the US Hot 100 but not, to the teeth-gnashing frustration of many of his fans, in Britain where the promotional tactic has been to delay it until just a few weeks before the imminent arrival of his brand new album x. British fans have in the meantime had to be content with instant-gratification release One which peaked at Number 18 a fortnight ago.
Having run the risk of the loss of both popular goodwill and inevitable sales to pirated copies of the track, the brinksmanship of Asylum Records is this week rewarded. Finally released, Sing stormed into an unassailable chart lead right from the very start, at times outselling its nearest rivals by a margin of almost 3:1 to give Ed Sheeran his highest charting single ever and his first ever Official UK Singles Chart Number One record as a performer (he wrote One Direction's 2012 Number One Little Things). And what a single to do it with as well. From a man who built a wildly successful career with a succession of gentle ballads almost devoid of memorable hooks but which buried themselves into your mind regardless, Sing is as dramatic a change in pace as you could wish for. Sheeran has openly admitted that his aim was to ape Justin Timberlake, and assisted on vocals and production duty by a certain Pharrell Williams he does appear to have pulled it off.
Is it his greatest hit single ever? Probably not. But in terms of single week chart sales (124,000) and ultimate chart position, it will inevitably go down as far and away his biggest. [I literally could not have been more wrong there, could I?]
Just one other single makes a Top 10 debut this week, the ten place climb of Wiggle by Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg lifts it to a new peak of Number 9, a fortnight after the track appeared to have peaked at Number 16. The track is taken from, as far as British purchasers are concerned, the special edition re-release of Derulo's Tattoos album which came out back in April although in America it is considered part of the Talk Dirty album after Tattoos was released over there as a 5-track EP rather than a full-length album.
Proof that the singles chart is a marathon and not a sprint comes with the Number 16 debut of Hope Ain't A Bad Thing by the Neon Brotherhood, a single which was making headlines earlier in the week thanks to sales which had propelled it to a Top 3 placing by the time of the midweek update. The truth of the matter is thought that the track's popularity was very much a flash in the pan, a record released by friends of cancer patient Stephen Sutton whose efforts to raise money whilst on his deathbed made him a national celebrity last month. All proceeds from the track go to fund cancer research in his name, but its sales had all but dried up by the time the weekend arrived.
New at Number 22 is what is possibly the second most striking new single of the week, the rather extraordinary new Kasabian single eez-eh. The first single from the Leicester band's forthcoming fifth album 48:13, the single is a nod back to the electronic space-rock with which they first made their name ten years ago whilst at the same time being a raucous end of the night party singalong which has divided opinion and which you will genuinely either love or hate. It may not be the hottest of starts, but it is still enough to become the highest charting Kasabian track since Fire lit up the charts at Number 3 back in the summer of 2009. Confusingly its release was preceded by instant gratification single Explodes which charted at Number 52 five weeks ago and this week returns to the Top 75 for the first time since at Number 71.
On the Official UK Album chart, there is no change at the top for Sam Smith who successfully holds off Coldplay to land a second week at Number One with In The Lonely Hour. The two top sellers thus relegate Clean Bandit to a third place start for their eagerly anticipated debut album New Eyes. The other big new arrivals this week are all from veteran stars, Paul Weller, Hark Marvin and the inevitable D-Day anniversary tie-in from Vera Lynn all jostle for position - the latter incidentally setting yet another chart record, at the age of 97 becoming the oldest living star ever to have a Top 20 album, adding to her 2009 record of becoming the oldest ever living chart-topper at the then comparatively young age of 92.
All of this, however, is nothing compared to the mini chart invasion of the first three Led Zeppelin albums which this week were re-released in new special editions. Led Zeppelin leads the way at Number 7 (one place behind the Number 6 peak it achieved when first released in 1969), followed by Led Zeppelin III at Number 10 (originally Number One in 1970) and Led Zeppelin II at Number 12 (a chart-topper as well, also in 1969).