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More chart records for Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran has nine songs in the top ten from his new chart-topping album.

Ed Sheeran has his third number one album and every track from the album is in the singles chart.

This week’s chart news is all about Ed Sheeran as he dominates the singles chart in an unprecedented fashion. At the start of last year Justin Bieber became the first artist to occupy the top three positions in the singles chart. This week Sheeran doubles that by filling the top six places.

Shape Of You continues its reign at number one. For the first time in chart history a nine-week number one (Clean Bandit’s Rockabye) has been followed immediately by another one. For the benefit of anyone who has forgotten, the last-but-one chart-topping single was Little Mix’s Shout Out To My Ex which spent three weeks there starting in October 2016. We have had just eight number one songs in the last twelve months.

The Sheeran song at number two, Galway Girl, has clearly become genuinely popular. It has reached the top of the iTunes chart and is at number three in the sales-only chart. That makes it an illustration of why limiting the singles chart to songs designated as singles by record companies is not a good solution to any perceived problems with the current chart rules.

The second of the two official singles released simultaneously two months ago, Castle On The Hill, stays at number three. Two more album tracks, Perfect Unumber four) and New Man (number five) complete the Sheeran top five. The former song is the sixth occasion when a song called Perfect has reached the chart. The title has previously provided hits for Fairground Attraction, The Lightning Seeds, PJ and Duncan (aka Ant & Dec), The Smashing Pumpkins and One Direction.

This hasn’t happened because Sheeran’s record company has decided to release a string of singles. It has happened because he released his third studio album ÷ last Friday. As noted last week, if somebody listens to the whole album on a streaming site (whether they are a paying subscriber or not), those streams count towards both the singles and the albums chart. This led to several Stormzy songs in last week’s top forty. This week, with many Sheeran songs also being cherry-picked from the album, the chart looks ridiculous.

As one of the biggest stars in the music industry today, Sheeran’s chart dominance doesn’t end with the top five. All sixteen tracks from the album are in the top twenty with nine of them in the top ten.

Happier is at number six, Dive at number eight, Supermarket Flowers at nine and What Do I Know lands at number ten.

Calvin Harris previously held the record for the most top ten singles from a studio album with nine. Sheeran has beaten that record as ten tracks from ÷ have now reached the top ten. As well as the nine in this week’s top ten, How would You Feel spent a week at number two at the end of last month.

Outside the top ten the Sheeran takeover continues. Tracks from ÷ are at numbers eleven (How Would You Feel), twelve, (Barcelona), thirteen (Nancy Mulligan), fourteen (Eraser), fifteen (Hearts Don’t Break Around Here), eighteen (Bibia Be Ye Ye) and nineteen (Save Myself). He has now had twenty top ten and 35 top forty hits in a little under six years.

The one song bravely flying the flag for other artists in the top ten in Chainsmokers and Coldplay’s Something Just Like This at number seven. One of the few non-Sheeran songs in the top twenty is Stormzy’s Big For Your Boots. That got a massive boost with the release of the album last week. This week it slumps fourteen places to number twenty. Rag’n’ Bone Man’s Human’s 13 week run in the top ten comes to an abrupt end as it drops twelve places to number sixteen. Katy Perry’s Chained To The Rhythm would normally have been expected to get a decent run in the top ten as well. It may yet return there but for now it is down to number seventeen.

The last two songs are still getting respectable “sales” figures and would, therefore, normally remain in the top ten but the current rules means that their chart performances will look less good than they should do.

As well as becoming the first artist to take up the top five positions in the singles chart Sheeran has broken a number of other chart records. The record for the most songs in the top ten has stood since the very early days of the chart. In 1953 Frankie Laine had a relatively modest four songs in the top ten. For over sixty years no act matched that feat. Now Sheeran has smashed that record with his nine entries in the top ten. His sixteen songs in the top twenty is also, not surprisingly, a record.

Even without streaming Sheeran would have dominated this week’s chart news. Thirteen of the tracks on ÷ are in the sales-only top forty with four of them in the top ten, equalling Frankie Laine’s record. That still makes the chart look odd, but at least the songs are there because of real sales to people who have parted with their money specifically to buy those tracks.

Greatest Hits albums seem to have fallen out of favour recently. Record companies seem to have decided that people can effectively create their own album by setting up a streaming playlist. Perhaps some of those record companies will now be tempted to rise to the challenge and see if a Greatest Hits set can achieve an even greater domination of the singles chart. They might even choose to remix all the songs to encourage more people to stream them or re-record them with a featured artist, Ed Sheeran perhaps. Unless, of course, the OCC decide that a change in the rules is in order.

While some songs will have been blocked from entering the top forty by the preponderance of Sheeran tracks, there is still some room for two other new entries. Geographically the higher of the two could hardly come from someone further removed from Sheeran as it is by New Zealander Lorde, known in her early years as Ella Yelich-O’Connor. Mind you, her surname does rather give away the fact that, like Sheeran, she is of Irish descent. Perhaps all this should really have been happening next Friday, St Patrick’s Day. Lorde enters at number 28 with Green Light to give her a third top forty hit, the first to have a second word in the title following Royals and Team. It is also rather harder this time to find a link between the title and Reading FC.

The week’s other new entry comes from Little Mix. No More Sad Songs is at number 39. Shout Out To My Ex is one of the many songs to have dropped out this week while Tuch has survived the cull, falling to number 29.

Among the songs leaving the chart, temporarily at least, are some long-runners. Chainsmokers and Halsey drop out after 31 weeks with Closer while James Arthur’s Say You Won’t Let Go ends a 25-week run. The longest-runner left in the chart is Clean Bandit’s Rockabye which has been around for 20 weeks. Unusually, it is the only former number one in the top forty.

There are also some spectacular falls down the chart. Chainsmokers’ Paris crashes out of the top ten, falling all the way to number 26. Dua Lipa’s Be The One is the biggest casualty, tumbling twenty places to number 33. Anne-Marie’s Ciao Adios avoids the carnage, falling just five places to number 24.

After that little break, it’s back to Ed Sheeran. Almost as predictably as every Friday being followed immediately by a Saturday, ÷ has gone straight to number one in the albums chart with sales well in excess of 400,000 in its first three days.

Only three albums have sold more copies on the first day than Sheeran’s latest opus. Intriguingly, two of them were also the artist’s third full studio album. Oasis’s Be Here Now (1997) holds the record followed by Adele’s 25 (2015) and Take That’s Progress (2010). Sheeran’s final “sales” total for day one will include streaming data but omitting streams comes closer to a like-for-like comparison. It is worth pointing out that Oasis’s total will have been entirely made up of people going out to buy the album on the day of release (a Thursday) and the following two days. There were no legal download sites at the time and online shopping hadn’t reached the UK. By the end of the week it had sold well over 650,000 copies, more than the rest of the top 500 combined. It is also the biggest-selling vinyl album since that format started to make a comeback.

His previous two chart-topping albums are also in the top five. His debut + is back up to number five while × actually falls one place to number four. What a flop.

Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s Human holds steady at number two. Stormzy’s Gangs Signs & Prayer falls to number three after a week at the summit.

With a mere three Sheeran albums taking up residence in the albums chart there is room for a number of other new entries. The highest of them comes from blues and country singer Alison Krauss. She released her first album back in 1985 but her chart career didn’t really take off until she recorded an album with Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame. That album, Raising Sand, reached number two and raised Krauss’s profile enough for her next studio album, Paper Airplane, to get close to the top ten. She now reaches the top ten for the first time as a solo artist as Windy City enters at number six.

Like so many of their predecessors talent show graduates Collabro continue to suffer from diminishing returns. Their debut album Stars topped the chart in 2014 while the follow-up Act Two fell one place short. Their latest offering, Home, enters at number seven so they can’t simply blame the Sheeran invasion for their lower position. The album contains songs from musicals such as Miss Saigon, Les Miserables and Wicked. The inclusion of December 1963 (Oh What A Night) as a song from a musical might be considered to be cheating slightly. It does feature in a musical, Jersey Boys, but in common with the rest of the songs from that show it was not written for that purpose. They might just as well have thrown in songs by Queen and Abba.

After falling just short of the top ten with their last album Sleaford Mods have done it again as English Tapas enters at number twelve. Neither of the members come from Sleaford (a town near Grantham) and they are not mods, but who cares?

Two veteran Irish acts - both dating back to a long while before Ed Sheeran was born - have new albums in the chart this week. Daniel O’Donnell has had at least one album (often more than one) in the top 75 every year since he made his debut in 1988. He now charts for a 30th successive year with Back Home Again at number fourteen. As the album comprises 32 tracks, perhaps we should be grateful that he isn’t quite as popular as Sheeran. Foster & Allen made their chart debut even earlier, 1983. Their latest set, yet another Best Of compilation, this time entitled The Gold Collection, is at number 34. Both albums contain a song with Galway in the title. Perhaps flautist James Galway should have made a comeback this week.

Californian band Grandaddy first made an impact (albeit a fairly small one) when their glorious song The Crystal Lake was a modest hit in 2001. They split up in 2006 but have now re-formed and released a new album Last Place. It enters at number eighteen to beat their previous best position of number 22 achieved by Sumday in 2003.

Perhaps the most bizarre entry of the week is We Are X, the soundtrack to a documentary about a Japanese heavy metal band, X Japan. Somehow it has made it to number 27. Temples enter at number 23 with their second album Volcano.

Celine Dion’s Essential Collection re-enters at number 38. The Very Best Of Fleetwood Mac returns at number 39.
Published on: 2017-03-10 by Suedehead2 || 15932 Views
Comments (1)
10 Mar 2017 - 21:57
BuzzJack Platinum Member
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Posts: 12,286
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Having listened to the chart show driving to Wimbledon, I think it's safe to say a lot of the streaming success of Ed Sheeran must have been word of mouth - as in people saying to their mates "Listen to the new album, you wont believe how soppy it is!". I certainly can't see any other reason for listening to it... (Hi Ed fans!:lol: )

Now I've a lot of time for Ed the man, (even he has said the chart rules need changing) he's good for the Brit music industry, a nice bloke, but as an artist he's at his best when he's paired with a professional songwriter/producer. Say, Ryan Tedder.

That said, as Suedey says he's big on sales (dont have a problem with that) but the singles SALES chart is a much more accurate barometer of which songs are actually popular. Is Katy Perry really the 17th most-popular song this week? Nah. Top 5 or thereabouts, guaranteed.

Poor old Lorde is 12 on sales, and looks like a minor rather than a middling success thanks to Eddie. Overall, quite probably the worst top 40 chart for ooh, 57 years or so, based on what's in it and going up. IMHO of course.

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