It has been 20 years since Pink Floyd last released a studio album and topped the charts. 19 years since they were last at Number One, with live album Pulse their last release to reach the summit. Today, therefore, is a significant moment for many people as the legendary rock group's new album The Endless River, a collection of mostly instrumental atmospheric tracks assembled from the detritus of past recording sessions.
Those who persist in bemoaning the dearth of rock acts from the singles charts will note that the three biggest new album releases this week are all from long-serving axemen. Alongside The Floyd are The Foo Fighters who enter at Number 2 with Sonic Highways and Queen who land at Number 5 with Forever. This all makes for a rather limp arrival for the new album from the lady who last week was being hailed as the queen of all she surveyed. Cheryl NotCole can only manage a Number 7 entry for her fourth album Only Human, the lowest first-week position of any album she has been associated with in her career, save for Girls Aloud's 2005 album Chemistry which could only reach Number 11.
Cheryl is no longer Number One on the singles chart either, not that this came as much of a surprise as the already sinking sales of I Don't Care at the end of last week mean that the single dips 1-4 this week in what seems set to be a rapid decline. In truth though no single no matter who performed it was in a position to stand in the way of the behemoth of a track which charges to the top of the Official Singles Chart in her place.
In the build-up to last Friday's Children In Need Telethon the BBC aired a documentary charting the progress of choirmaster Gareth Malone's latest project. Assembling an unlikely band of television personalities - the likes of Jo Brand, Craig Revel Horwood and Linda Robson feature on the record - Gareth Malone created what has been dubbed the All Star Choir to record a new version of Wake Me Up, the Avicii track which topped charts worldwide last year. Last Monday saw the broadcast of the programme, the release of the track as a single and inevitably a huge sale as Gareth Malone's All Star Choir charge to Number One with the charity record. 120,000 copies of the track have been purchased and streamed since the start of the week, with an unusually large number of these being in physical form too. That was enough to utterly obliterate all competition.
Wake Me Up is the first 'official' Children In Need single to top the charts since JLS' Love You More in 2010 and the seventh Number One single overall to donate its proceeds to the charity. The bespectacled and rather bookish Gareth Malone is the most unlikely of chart stars, but it cannot go unremarked upon that almost without trying he has now been the brains behind three different Number One singles having reached the top with the Military Wives Choir for Christmas 2011 and as the arranger of Gary Barlow's Commonwealth Band who reached Number One with Sing in June 2012.
It will also not go unnoticed that this new choral rendition of Wake Me Up tops the charts just 16 months after the Avici-performed original did likewise. For two different versions of the same song to reach Number One is far from unusual, but the gap between these two hit versions is rapid to say the least - the smallest between two lyrically identical versions of the same song since the three year gap that elapsed between the All Saints and Christina Aguilera/Mya/Lil Kim/Missy Elliott versions of Lady Marmalade in 1998 and 2001.
I say 'lyrically identical' because there were almost exact two-year gaps between both the re-versioned Three Lions performed on both times by Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds in 1996 and 1998 whilst both Lou Bega and Bob The Builder reached Number One in 1999 and 2001 with their own re-writes of Mambo No.5. Honourable mention must, however, go to both Eamon and Frankee who had back to back Number One hits in 2004 with the combinations of F**k It (I Don't Want You Back) and F.U.R.B (F**k You Right Back) which were technically two different songs but both based on identical melodies with only the lyrics changed between each one.
Assuming the Children In Need single hadn't appeared this week then Ed Sheeran would almost certainly have returned to Number One with Thinking Out Loud. Instead, he remains locked at Number 2 but sets another brand new record for audio streams in a single week with 1,721,000 which add a further 17,000 sales to his chart total. One Direction round out the Top 3, shooting 9-3 with the erratic Steal My Girl, which thus returns to the chart peak it first occupied four weeks ago. This rebound is partially due to their X Factor live performance the weekend before last but also thanks to the pre-release anticipation for their new album Four reaching fever pitch. The group released what seemed like one new instant gratification track a day last week, resulting in One Direction tracks this week occupying 3, 45, 47, 54, 65, 69, and 74 on the full singles chart. And all this before the album is actually available for sale.
Mind you even One Direction only have one Top 40 hit single this week. Not so the plethora of other big names whose hits are currently gumming up the singles chart. Multiple hitmakers include Calvin Harris (6 and 15), Ed Sheeran (2, 26 and 34), Sam Smith (9,10 and 16), Taylor Swift (11 and 12), George Ezra (21 and 22), Nicki Minaj (13 and 29) and Ariana Grande (13 and 32). Yes, you read that right, three different acts all have back to back hit singles on this most extraordinary of singles charts.
Some of these multiples are down to newly arriving hits, such as Sam Smith's Like I Can which debuts at Number 9 thanks to an X Factor performance, just ahead of his still smouldering previous hit I'm Not The Only One. Similarly, Taylor Swift's Blank Space saw its video premiere this week and so rockets to Number 11, one place ahead of Shake It Off which dips out of the Top 10 at long last.
Also new to the Top 10, and quite pleasingly so, are The Veronicas, the Australian sisters having been absent from the charts since their brace of hit singles back in 2009. Their new single You Ruin Me lands at Number 8, thus matching the chart peak of their debut British hit Untouched which entered at the same position in June 2009 and then proceeded to spend a further four weeks in the Top 10 without ever climbing beyond that initial placing.
The parade of new arrivals inside the Top 20 is completed by hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar who makes his solo Top 40 debut at Number 20 with the minimalistically titled I. His only other high profile singles to date have been in collaboration with others, first as the guest on Robin Thicke's Give It 2 U which reached Number 15 a year ago and the Alicia Keys track It's On Again which crept to Number 31 back in June.
At just one letter long, I naturally enough matches the record for the shortest ever title of a chart single, established back in 2001 by fellow rapper Xzibit who reached Number 14 with X. The shortest titled Number One single in chart history remains Telly Savalas' 1975 narration If. Although that still has two more letters in its title than the Paul Hardcastle track from 1985 - 19.
Oh yes, and history of sorts is also made just outside the Top 40. This week marks the first for 50 weeks that Happy by Pharrell Williams is not a Top 40 hit single, the track sliding finally to Number 43.