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8 weeks on top for Clean Bandit, Little Mix top albums
8 weeks for the final #1 of 2016, Rockabye, on a week that saw the death of star George Michael (guest commentary by John/popchartfreak again)

Clean Bandit grab the prize for the final chart of 2016, and Little Mix on albums.

Suedey is still resting up in hospital over the New Year, as we say good riddance to 2016, but he had a walk with me down to the hospital shop to buy something good to read. Sadly the best thing on offer was the “i” newspaper, or the small print on the back of bars of chocolate, but he enjoyed the stroll! Fingers-crossed for getting out next week!

The tragic sudden death of George Michael on Christmas day at the far-too-young age of 53 has a muted effect on both the album chart, and to an even lesser extent the official singles chart thanks to huge Christmas Song streaming prior to that. The chart is also dominated by the Christmas Top Of The Pops giving a boost to several acts, most notably Clean Bandit who end up increasing download sales following a great closing performance on the show and snatching the number one on sales from Rag’N’Bone Man. As they were still topping on streaming, it was a foregone conclusion that Rockabye would get an 8th week on top. Once upon a time 8 weeks on top was very rare: age 11 my fave Sugar Sugar grabbed 8 weeks on top in 1969, and that was that for 6 years until Queen’s Bo Rap did a full 9 weeks. It was another 23 years before another track grabbed 8 weeks on top (Shakespear’s Sister). Despite 8 weeks on top, of course, it is entirely absent from the top 40 Sellers of 2016 (or as I like to call it The Top 40 Most Overplayed Tracks In The First 6 Months Of 2016, which is slightly more accurate than a chart that excludes a record that has been at 1 for 6 or 7 weeks on sales alone....)

Zara Larsson, who sounds a bit like a posh fire-starter, is up to 2 with I Would Like A Number One, though she needs to push Rockabye out of the way first. For now though she’s just a Number Two, and who wants to be called that?!. After dropping Bruno Mars gets a sales chart boost to 10, as does Louisa Johnson’s So Good at 18, ironically she’s now outdoing all of her fellow X-Factor acts (barring the unstoppable Little Mix, who now have two in the top 10), as they all tumble, despite having had the lowest-ever-charting Winner’s debut single.

George Michael may be missing from the top 40, but Wham!’s Last Christmas at least hits a 31-year peak of 7, it’s 3rd top 10 chart run. He would have had a much-bigger presence in the chart if sales counted for anything much, but as they don’t he has a less-impressive peak of 42 for his most-loved track Careless Whisper, Faith at 64 and his Elton John charity duet Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me at 91. As The Sun tries to capitalise on his death “for charity” (as in take away his families’ royalties because they said so, and they pay nowt towards it) that charity single title is rather apt, given the misery they gave him for most of his life.

Streaming is quite obviously going to subject us to eternal christmas chart invasions of the same songs until the end of time, as even more oldies enter the top 40, though at least Brenda Lee enters the top 40 for the first time in (gasp!) 54 years. Now that MUST be a chart record for longest gap between leaving the top 40 and returning! Plus, Elton is also back for the first time since it went top 30 in 1973. The OCC say it’s 42 years but it’s just under 43, so there! That same year saw Wizzard and Slade join it in the Christmas chart, so I can only say that it was a cracking chart, obviously, as they are all together again for the first time in 43 years. Now that also MUST be a chart record - to have two tracks chart again simultaneously 43 years after debuting is notable, for 3 to do it is incredible. If only Mott The Hoople’s Roll Away The Stone and Roxy Music’s Streetlife could have made it a glamtastic 5! Other oldies, fab Andy Williams, and overly-jolly Paul McCartney, complete the new festive re-entries. Macca is a hero, but sorry, John & Yoko’s is the classic (49 this week), and almost every other single Macca released in the 70’s was better than 1979‘s Wonderful Christmastime. Oops!

There’s great news though - Drake’s One Dance is out of the 40! The day has finally come (at least till the post-christmas resurgence), and it’s a real joy. Just to add to the pleasure, both Bieber guesting tracks are finally out too. I think we can all say we’d rather have decades-old tracks in the chart after what seems like decades of Drake and Bieber clogging up the chart, like a nasty bit of snot on your finger that just won’t shake off. Taylor Swift wrote a song about it (“Shake It Off”). Post-true fact!

Lower down, The Pretenders fab 2000 Miles gives them a chart position of 62 over 30 years on, and despite a great new single flopping a few months back. The late Eartha Kitt’s playful 1950‘s delight Santa Baby finally charts at a new peak of 63 giving her a chart span of 61 years and one of the longest waits to peak in the chart of all-time at an awe-inspiring 63 years, some 9 years after first charting (albeit lowly). Kylie’s version is also charting at 72.

Mud’s fab Lonely This Christmas is also back after a gap of 31 years for the third time since topping the chart christmas 1974. The Ronettes Sleigh Ride is also peaking at 68, having never charted in the 60’s, or any time since until the downloading streaming era, well over 50 years to peak. Meanwhile another Phil Spector classic from Darlene Love Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) from his classic A Christmas Gift For You album (still the best-ever chrissie LP) debuts at 74. Darlene’s other xmas goodie, All Alone On Christmas, charted in 1992, and she had hits as lead-singer of The Crystals, one of Spector’s biggest girl-groups of the early 60’s. More importantly (for me) I first charted Sleigh Ride and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - I bought the vinyl single - in 1974 in my charts, along with Mud’s Lonely This Christmas. It has taken the official charts 42 years to catch up with me. I set trends, I don’t follow them.....

That’s nothing though. Jingle Bell Rock finally debuts in the chart for Bobby Helms at 71. An American festive perennial, the UK has remained a bit unimpressed by the song for a whopping 59 years. Let’s just say that when I was born, the record was in the American charts, and it’s back again this christmas in the US charts. Has any record taken longer to debut? I certainly can’t recall one! Just to rub it in, Bobby Helms, who died in the 90’s, has a gap of 58 years between chart entries, and a chart span of over 59 years. Finally Elvis’ Blue Christmas is back at 75, 52 years on from peaking at 11. His chart span is now 60 years and 8 months or so.

Just missing the 75, it’s Jose Feliciano, who first charted in 1968 with the brilliant Light My Fire, and one I’ve been hearing on holiday in Gran Canaria the other week, but also in British supermarkets. Feliz Navidad (which it’s polite to say to Spanish folk this time of year) dates from a mere 1970, and seems to have come from nowhere - it certainly wasn’t around British radio during the 20th century!

On the album chart, it’s all those Xmas itunes and HMV vouchers that give Little Mix the last number one of the year, as they return after a couple of weeks away. George Michael gets a return to the top 10 of the chart for 1998 compilation Ladies And Gentleman: The Best Of George Michael. Another 5 albums make up the other posthumous re-entries: The Final (Wham!) at 40, Twenty-Five at 47, Faith at 62, Symphonica (his most recent chart-topper in 2014) at 73, and Older at 84. I’m hoping that his recent work with Naughty Boy will eventually be released posthumously as an album, assuming there are enough tracks. The rest of the chart? Teen-appealing record-voucher climbs for 2016 albums that under-sold, for the most part. I’d list them, but I can’t be bothered, yawn.

I’d give a full list of George Michael’s sales chart positions - but they haven’t been released yet, but judging by itunes during the week there should be a dozen or so featuring. TBC
Published on: 2016-12-30 by Izetta || 16932 Views
Comments (4)
30 Dec 2016 - 21:05
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a small correction, 'Rockabye' is in the year's top 40 sellers actually - although it is only at #37 and still behind their own #5 hit from earlier in the year 'Tears'.
30 Dec 2016 - 23:02
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Thanks Dan, I expect a few of the other "facts" may not stand up to scrutiny, i'm just crossing fingers!:D
30 Dec 2016 - 23:06
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I just thought of one - oldest track to debut? The wicked witch is dead from the wizrd of oz, of course! No doubt will rechart in about 30 years or so when another celebrated politician moves on....
31 Dec 2016 - 9:38
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Those George Michael download sales:

18. Careless Whisper
32. Faith
33. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
34. Last Christmas
47. A Different Corner
53. I'm Your Man
57. Club Tropicana
61. Freedom '90
62. Wake Me Up Before You GoGo
63. Fastlove
77. Jesus To A Child
80. As
81. I Knew You Were Waiting
82. Father Figure
91. I Can't Make You Love Me
95. Somebody To Love
98. Outside
100. Praying For Time

18 tracks in the 100, and many more inside the 200.

As Last Christmas shows, Christmas Playlist streaming dominated the Official Chart - I really find it impossible to believe for a single moment that teenagers CHOSE to play Bobby Helms, Jose Feliciano and so on. I doubt most have even heard of them. It illustrates just how inaccurate the streaming chart is as a reflection of actual public taste, what is really really reflects is the editorial decisions of Spotify and that is all - witness the popularity of Leona Lewis on sales, and Chris Rea higher up the sales chart than the official chart thanks to the Spotify removal. More of a radio station playlist than a sales chart......
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