The dawn of a brand new year meant the traditional reveal by the Official Charts Company of Britain's biggest selling singles of 2014, the listing also taking into account the addition of streaming totals from the summer onwards and thus for the first time making this countdown distinct from the all-time bestsellers tables which for the moment does not include streams.
To no general surprise, Happy by Pharrell Williams was easily the year's top seller, although its total of 1.6 million some way short of guestimates which had put it much closer to a combined sale of over two million. For those interested, Rather Be by Clean Bandit, All Of Me by John Legend and Waves by Mr Probz made up the rest of the Top 4, all of these singles credited with a 'sale' of over 1 million even if it is only the first two which have been officially certified as million "sellers". Yes, that is phenomenally confusing and an issue which hopefully will be resolved in the new year.
The tenth biggest seller of 2014 in the UK was Let It Go by Idina Menzel, a notable achievement given that the single never once climbed higher than Number 11. Along with Happy the single managed an historic chart first, spending an entire calendar year on the Top 75 singles chart - both singles having made their chart debut in the final weeks of 2013. Others have come close - Chasing Cars spent the whole of 2008 as a Top 100 single, as did I'm Yours by Jason Mraz in 2009, but both singles dipped out of the Music Week published Top 75 chart for a handful of weeks during this period.
But anyway, that is all so last year. What about the present? Well, the truth is this second week of festive holiday meant yet another holding pattern for the singles market with brand new releases few and far between. This meant a more or less clear run for Uptown Funk at the top of the Official UK Singles chart with the Mark Ronson track spending its third week in total at Number One. For anyone desperately searching for a headline the track once more breaks its own streaming record, the Official Charts Company crediting it this week with 2.56 million streams to add over 25,000 sales to its total sale of 156,000. That's more than the 138,000 (in download sales alone) notched up by Pitbull and Ke$ha with Timber exactly one year ago this week which was itself the largest early January sale achieved by any single since the original Band Aid track at the very start of 1985.
Still, there was at least one exciting new single to divert attention and although it never really stood a prayer of reaching the very top, Wish You Were Mine by Nottingham-based DJ and producer Philip George makes a storming debut at Number 2. The single itself is on the face of it a fairly standard 90s house revival club track as appears to be the trend at the moment, but its unique selling point is the extraordinary vocal line, made up entirely of a speeded up sample of Stevie Wonder's voice as taken from My Cherie Amour. One of several bedroom-created tracks the up and coming creator had posted to Soundcloud over the course of the last year, it seems almost astonishing that the one which has been granted a full commercial release is the most legally problematic of all. Yet apparently Stevie Wonder loves it and personally authorised Motown records to grant a licence for his vocals, raising the possibility that a forthcoming American release of the single may well end up being through a Motown-connected imprint.
The one other new arrival in the Top 10 this week is actually a well-established chart single. Take Me To Church by Hozier first charted back in September and has been a Top 40 ever-present since its third week on sale. Its chart career to date has been defined by a series of frustrating false dawns as the single has climbed to 26, 25 and 20 in various sales surges before falling back outside the Top 30 each time. The single's last peak and its first visit to the Top 20 came on the Christmas chart but after falling away once more to Number 23 last week, this time around the track races to Number 10 to finally become what you might call a 'proper' hit single. Fascinatingly this chart surge can be attributed to the over 1 million streams it managed during the week. Take Me To Church was the third most streamed track of the week but only the 15th biggest selling download.
The most talked-of single this week was needless to say Kanye West's extraordinary new track Only One which sees the hip-hop star scurry back to blow the dust off his autotune machine but this time with the best intentions of all. It is so he can successfully hang with co-star Paul McCartney whose participation on the ballad makes for one of the most unexpected musical collaborations of the decade so far, never mind this nascent new year. Released on new year's day, it was always going to be an uphill struggle for the track to make a full impact but it still sold enough to register a place at Number 35 on the singles chart this week, one which is almost certain to be bettered in seven days time. Festive re-entries for Wonderful Christmastime aside, the single marks Paul McCartney's first Top 40 hit since Dance Tonight reached Number 26 in June 2007. His last Top 20 single was two years prior to that and charity singles aside his last Top 10 visit was way back in December 1987. For that reason alone the chart prospects of Only One will be watched with a great deal of fascination.
Finally to albums, with the year-end album chart making headlines of its own for featuring a Top 10 made up entirely of British acts. Ed Sheeran naturally enough led the way with X although it cannot further extend its Number One run this week, making way instead for 2014's third-biggest seller Wanted On Voyage by George Ezra which climbs to Number One for its third week at the top of the charts. This to add to the fortnight it spent at the summit back in October. For those wondering, the biggest selling album by an overseas star in 2014? 1989 by Taylor Swift, the year's 11th biggest seller.
Oh yes, and a large clue as to one of the bigger hit singles of the coming weeks could well be lies at the lower end of the Top 75. Having seen her debut All About That Bass become the first track ever to enter the Top 40 on streams alone, Meghan Trainor's follow-up Lips Are Movin' rises to Number 26 on the streaming chart, enough for the single to reach Number 73 on the main table without a single sale to its name.