Happy by Pharrell Williams is Number One on the Official UK Singles chart once again.
It may be appropriate to take a moment to let that sink in because, with that one single place chart climb, the American singer and producer has just set a whole new set of modern day chart benchmarks.
For a start, it has been five weeks since the track was last at the top of the charts. Despite not being out of the Top 3 for the whole of this period, Happy has still sat patiently whilst Clean Bandit had four weeks at Number One, followed by Sam Smith's moment of glory last week. For a single to return to Number One after such a long period away is pretty much unprecedented in modern terms, beating by one week the 3 week gap endured by Bruno Mars' Just The Way You Are (Amazing) back in 2010. The only single in the whole of chart history which can boast a more extended interregnum between spells at Number One is She Loves You by The Beatles which had seven weeks between its two chart-topping appearances at the end of 1963.
However, those who have been keeping track will note that this is now Happy's third separate spell at the top of the UK singles charts. For a single to return to Number One after twice being deposed is utterly without precedent in modern day chart history. In fact, just two other singles have managed the feat - both in the 1950s. I Believe by Frankie Laine was the first in 1953, followed by Singing The Blues as performed by Guy Mitchell in 1957 although his final week at the top was as a joint Number One, coinciding with the reign of Frankie Vaughan's Garden Of Eden at the top of the charts.
As regular followers of the podcast will be aware, thanks to its extended run at the top end of the singles chart the Pharrell Williams single has been marching towards its millionth sale in some considerable style, a benchmark it finally achieved at the end of last week. This makes it extraordinarily the third millionth selling single Williams has been involved with in the last eight months, hard on the heels of his guest turns on both Daft Punk's Get Lucky and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines. Whilst it should be noted that only one of the three million-sellers is his own record, he is still only the second act in chart history to perform on three records that have sold seven figures in the space of the year, the others just happening to be The Beatles. Rihanna is the only other act to can claim a presence on as many as three million-selling singles.
Finally, as if that wasn't enough, this is now Happy's fourth week at Number One and comes in its 14th week as a Top 75 single. No single has been at the top of the charts this deep into its chart career since Think Twice by Celine Dion climbed to Number One in its 16th week on sale in early 1995.
[With some joy I note that at the time of uploading it is still possible to watch each hour of the "24 Hours of Happy" project on YouTube. So in celebration of both this and this unprecedented third spell at the top of the charts, here is "5am" - the one with the Minion costumes].
This, therefore, makes it one of those strange weeks where the biggest new singles of the week are actually mere footnotes to events above them, but acknowledge them we must. Dutchman Tijs "Tiesto" Verwest has been active as a DJ and producer since the late 1990s, coming to prominence first through remixes and then through his own single releases. Despite six Top 40 hit singles since he first charted with Urban Train in 2001, until today his highest charting production was C'Mon (Catch 'Em By Surprise) in conjunction with Diplo and which climbed to Number 13 in almost exactly three years ago. This week he finally has a Top 10 hit single to call his own as new release Red Lights storms the singles chart at Number 6. A dramatic departure from his usual trance style, this track is a more Avicii-esque pop track featuring the now standard acoustic-led vocal chorus leading into instrumental breakdown formula which is currently dance music's defining sound.
One place behind at Number 7 is the first ever Top 10 single from the much-acclaimed Foxes, Let Go For Tonight the follow-up to Youth which hit Number 12 in November last year. The enormously appealing single not only beats that peak but also those of the Zedd track Clarity and the Rudimental single Right Here with which she first made her name last year.
It has been five years since John Legend released a solo album, not counting his 2010 collaboration with The Roots on their Wake Up! Album. Since then, however, he hasn't been completely absent from the charts, largely thanks to the latter-day revival of his 2005 single Ordinary People which had talent show-led revivals in both 2012 and 2013, taking the track to a brand new peak of Number 4 after it had originally stalled at Number 27. The wait for new material was finally filled last summer with the release of new album Love In The Future although it has taken until now for the first hit single to appear. After finally making the Top 40 last week, All Of Me this week makes a flying leap from 29-9 to give him not only his second ever Top 10 single but more pointedly the first which has become a hit entirely on its own merits and contemporaneously with the album from which it is taken.
One final Top 10 new arrival goes to Paloma Faith and Can't Rely On You, the first hit single from the distinctively-voiced star since her TV-commercial cover of INXS' Never Tear Us Apart charted in October 2012. Taken from her forthcoming new album A Perfect Contradiction it is notably only her second ever Top 10 hit single following Picking Up The Pieces which made Number 7, also in 2012. It seems entirely apt to note the identity of the man who both co-wrote and produced the single after he saw her performing her old hit New York at the Met Ball last year - a certain Pharrell Williams.
The UK albums market remains as moribund as ever, although this is to the benefit of last week's BRITS stars, particularly Bastille who see Bad Blood remain at Number One as it celebrates a year on release. Much attention was paid last week to the big comeback releases from two stars whose careers both began over two decades ago. Beck first made his breakthrough almost exactly 20 years ago and this week lands his highest charting album ever as new release Morning Phase enters at Number 4. Neneh Cherry on the other hand first began her solo career 25 years ago this year but her new album is only the sixth highest new entry of the week, Blank Project landing at Number 41, her first chart album since 1996's Man. Whilst her first solo album Raw Like Sushi came out in June 1989, Cherry can trace her chart career even further back than that, dating to the 1982 appearance of the second Rip Rig + Panic album I Am Gold which saw the avant-garde jazz and punk collective reach Number 67.
Finally in this most momentous of chart weeks, we need to take time out to acknowledge the latest head-scratching chart entry, this time the apparently random reappearance at Number 26 on the singles chart of Starship's We Built This City (originally a hit in 1985) which charts following its use in a TV commercial for mobile network 3 - this you may recall coming a year after the same company's advertising propelled Fleetwood Mac's Everywhere back into the charts in a similar manner. Extraordinarily We Built This City (still to this day a rock radio staple) is the second Starship hit from the 1980s to return to the Top 40 thanks to a telecoms company in a recent months, hard on the heels of Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now which reached Number 39 in September last year thanks to a Talk Talk advertising campaign.