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Ed Sheeran makes singles chart history
Ed Sheeran makes chart history with new entries at numbers one and two in the singles chart. Little Mix remain at the top of the albums chart.

Ed Sheeran wins a battle with himself at the top of a historic singles chart. Little Mix hold on for a fifth week atop the albums chart.

In a return to the days before streaming was included in the singles chart there was a battle between two new entries at the top of the chart this week. What made it unique was that the battle was between two new songs by the same artist. The artist in question was Mr Ed Sheeran leaving plenty of scope for bad puns abut him going Ed to Ed with himself. This commentary rises above such silliness.

The favourite of the two songs - at least in the short term - has proved to be Shape Of You with Castle On The Hill relegated to the runner-up slot. Both songs have achieved “sales” (real sales plus the pretend sales that streams represent) well above anything seen for some time. By the time of Monday’s chart update (covering the three days up to the end of Sunday) both tracks had already accumulated “sales” of 100,000 copies. Shape Of You had achieved more real sales than any number one single last year with Castle On The Hill achieving the same some time on Monday. It is worth pointing out that we are not quite comparing like with like. Last year’s figures were calculated with 100 streams representing one “sale”. Now it takes 150 streams.

Sheeran is not the first artist to occupy the top two positions in the singles chart although he is the first living British solo artist. Justin Bieber did so several times just a year or so ago. The Beatles, John Lennon and Frankie Goes To Hollywood (all from Liverpool) were the first three artists to achieve it with Madonna completing the list. It could be argued that The Shadows managed it several times, but it was always with one of their own songs and one as Cliff Richard’s backing band. Therefore, the Official Charts company do not count them and neither do I. With that in mind, this is the eighteenth week in singles chart history with a top two comprising two songs by the same artist.

Artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Guns ‘n’ Roses have had new entries at numbers one and two in the albums chart. However, Sheeran is the first to achieve this feat in the singles chart. Back in the days of physical releases, the two songs might have been released as a double a-sided single but that concept is now history. Whether other artists attempt to repeat Sheeran’s trick (or even try for a hat-trick) remains to be seen. Probably only Adele, Justin Bieber and - perhaps - Little Mix would stand much chance of succeeding in the immediate future.

Before Ed Sheeran’s double release there was a real prospect that Rag ‘n’ Bone Man could finally ascend to the top of the chart. Sadly, it now looks like Human will be added to the list of songs to have spent time at number two without ever reaching the summit. The Sheeran songs have pushed it down to number three.

After a marathon nine week stay at the top, Clean Bandit’s Rockabye drops to number four. Little Mix’s Touch falls one place to number five.

There are a number of significant climbs into the top ten. You Don’t Know Me by Jax Jones feturing RAYE climbs a hefty 24 places to number nine after breaking in to the top forty last week. Another lf last week’s new entries, Starley’s Call On Me, soars eighteen places to number eight. JP Cooper’s September Song has a slightly more modest climb of nine places to number seven.

Of the songs leaving the top ten, Weeknd and Daft Punk’s Starboy is perhaps the big surprise. That slumps nine places to number fourteen after fourteen weeks in the upper tier. Also leaving the top ten - after fifteen weeks - is James Arthur’s surprise hit Say You Won’t Let Go which falls to number thirteen.

The excitement doesn’t end there. We also have some other new entries in the top forty.

For those of us of a certain age the name Richard Baker means a former BBC newsreader who also presented television coverage of the Prom concerts from the Albert Hall. It is fairly likely that 25-year-old Richard Baker from Cleveland, Ohio has never heard of his namesake. Equally, it is unlikely that the 91-year-old former newsreader has heard of Machine Gun Kelly, the name adopted by the Cleveland rapper. The younger Baker enters at number 23 with Bad Things on which he is joined by Camila Cabello.

After a number of recent hits as a featured artist (not always credited), Sean Paul returns to the chart as lead artist on No Lie at number 28. The (credited) featured artist is Dua Lipa, recently heard on Blow Your Mind (Mwah).

Robin Schulz, accompanied by David Guetta and Cheat Codes, enters at number 32 with Shed A Light. It brings Guetta’s total of top forty hits up to 31and the number of top forty hits with the word Shed in the title up to two, not including Carter USM’s After The Watershed.

British due Snakehips made their singles chart debut in 2015 with the top ten hit All My Friends. They returned last year with Cruel on which they were accompanied by Zayn Malik. Now they gain their third top forty hit with Don’t Leave at number 33. The song can also be added to MØ’s list of hits as a featured artist.

Drake’s One Dance was one of the many songs to be pushed out of the top forty by the mass invasion if festive songs before returning last week when they all disappeared without trace (apart from Matt Terry who clung on to a top 100 place at number 96). It’s still there this week, bringing its total run up to 38 weeks. Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling has clocked up 32 weeks. Calum Scott’s solo dance has come to an end (or has it?) after 33 weeks.

It is unusual for a band manufactured for a television show to enjoy a new peak of success with their fourth album. However, Little Mix have proved to be an exception to this rule, hence their inclusion, albeit a qualified one, in the list of artists who could emulate Ed Sheeran. The album, Glory Days, spends a fifth week at number one, five more than the previous three managed between them.

Pete Tong’s Classic House remains at number two.

The inevitably short list of new entries is headed by You Me At Six who enter at number three with Night People. The rock band from the decidedly unrocky Surrey town of Weybridge reached number one with their previous album Cavalier Youth in January 2014 and would have hoping to repeat the trick with another January release.

When George Michael died on Christmas Day it seemed likely that a number of his albums would return to the top forty. The fact that we have now entered a period of low sales and few new releases made that even more likely. However, as has happened when other singers have died, the demand was for physical copies rather than downloads. Once again, these physical copies were in short supply immediately after Michael’s death. Well, the CD pressing plants have been busy and two of the albums are now selling in reasonable numbers.

Not surprisingly, the most popular George Michael album is a greatest hits set, the 1998 collection Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best Of George Michael. The track listing is an impressive one, including songs such as Careless Whisper, Faith and Jesus To A Child. It took some time for Michael’s songwriting talents to be recognised (as a member of Wham! he was largely thought of as the “pretty boy” singer), but this collection showcases his talent very well even without any Wham! material. On its original release, the album spent eight weeks at number one. This week it is at number four, up seven places from last week.

A 2008 collection, Twenty Five, re-enters the top forty at number nineteen.

The last week has seen a number of tributes to David Bowie to mark both the first anniversary of his death and what would have been his 70th birthday. His Legacy collection climbs to number five this week, a new peak for the album. Blackstar, released just before his death, re-enters at number 30.

The number of living artists to have had a number one single fell by one this week with the death of Peter Sarstedt who topped the chart for four weeks in 1969 with Where Do You Go To (My Lovely). He continued to record until a few years ago, but never matched the success of that classic single. He was also a part of chart history when two brothers (Robin Sarstedt and another brother recording as Eden Kane) also had hit singles becoming the first set of three brothers to record solo hit singles.

Reading band Sundara Karma have a good musical pedigree. One of them has the surname Lulu (ask your parents) while the drummer’s forename is Haydn. When the Guardian made them their new band of the week last august they compared the band with Bruce Springsteen and Arcade Fire which is a pretty impressive pairing. Their debut album, Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect, is our only other new entry at number 24.

The release of his first new material for some time has uncovered some new buyers for Ed Sheeran’s two previous full studio albums. His second album, 2014’s × which spent a total of 13 weeks at number one, is back in the top ten at number eight. His debut set, + from 2011, a chart-topper for three weeks, returns at number twenty. Several of his singles have returned to the top 100 although none have made it as far as the top forty. Yet.

Finally, I would like to thank John (popchartfreak) for his thoroughly entertaining commentaries over the past few weeks including one, such was his dedication, filed from the Canary Islands.. His spell as commentary writer happened to contain more chart activity than I had seen for many months!
Published on: 2017-01-13 by Suedehead2 || 18443 Views
Comments (7)
13 Jan 2017 - 18:56
BuzzJack Gold Member
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"The number of living artists to have had a number one single fell by one this week with the death of Robin Sarstedt who topped..."

I'm sure you really mean Peter Sarstedt.
13 Jan 2017 - 19:14
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Oops, I've killed the wrong brother.
13 Jan 2017 - 19:22
BuzzJack Platinum Member
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Good to have you back on board the commentary train, Suedey! Thanks for the kind words cool.gif

I'd add (cos I still view the sales chart as the "real" chart) that David Bowie's new EP has allowed him to grab a new top 40 sales hit from his goodbye-to-everyone material (No Plan) at 32, for a chart span dating back to Space Oddity in 1969. The late Peter Sarstedt also returns to the chart at 48 after a break 4 weeks longer than David Bowie's entire singles-sales-chart career, as Where Do You Go To returns to the top 75 - the fab Frozen Orange Juice dropped out of the chart in August 1969. 4 weeks later Space Oddity entered the UK charts and I left the country for 2 years. Consequently I adored both Peter Sarstedt singles and had no idea David Bowie even existed until I saw him do Starman on an ITV kids pop show in 1972.

Sadly, thanks to streaming, even reduced-ratio-streaming, neither track features in the Official Top 100, instead we have streaming-led re-entries galore from Ed Sheeran - I presume Spotify have set up an Ed Sheeran playlist, I can't think of any other reason for all the dreary ballads coming back at the expense of his best track "Sing" (though the new number one is pretty good too).tongue.gif

13 Jan 2017 - 19:31
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'Shed A Tear' - Wet Wet Wet. I claim my prize!

More importantly, welcome back! I hope you are well on the way to recovery.
13 Jan 2017 - 19:43
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I assume Bowie's No Plan has been dedicated to Theresa May.

The prize for getting the other Shed song ought to be a Shed Seven CD.
31 Jan 2017 - 5:29
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Oh Little Mix. I should have find something to pull you off. w00t.gif
1 Feb 2017 - 14:07
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I'm not ungrateful, but I already have a few Shed Seven CDs, so I'll just take the money, thanks. :-)
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