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Sam Smith returns to the chart at number one
Sam Smith gets his sixth number one single while The National top the albums chart for the first time.

Sam Smith returns to the chart at number one. The National get their first number one album.

The two-week stranglehold of female artists at the top of the chart ends this week as Sam Smith makes his return. He enjoyed huge success with his debut album In The Lonely Hour with three of the singles going to number one. He followed that with another number one in the form of a remake of Lay Me Down for Comic Relief before becoming the first act to have a number one single with the theme to a James Bond film, something even the might Adele was unable to do (albeit hampered as she was by a mid-week release).

This week he gets his sixth number one single as Too Good At Goodbyes goes straight to the top of the chart. There have, not surprisingly, been many hit songs with the word goodbye in the title but this is only the third to use the plural form. The previous best chart position for such a song was Julian Lennon’s Too Late For Goodbyes which reached number seven in 1984. His father - who was just a little more famous - was involved with the first of the two number one songs with the singular form in the title.

Dua Lipa’s New Rules spends a third successive week at number two. The song that replaced it at number one, Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do, falls to number three after two weeks at the summit. Pink’s What About Us slips one place to number four.

The steady stream of singles by former members of One Direction continues this week with the arrival of a new single by Zayn Malik at number five. Dusk Till Dawn is Malik’s sixth top forty hit as a solo artist and the third to reach the top ten. He is joined by Australian songstress and writer Sia Furler who takes her tally of top forty singles to eleven. Just two of them have failed to reach the top ten. Anybody else think it sounds like Read All About It at times?

In the week that linguists at the University Of York unveiled a list of thirty English words that have fallen out of use, X Factor has returned to teen us with their usual dross. On the opening show of the latest marathon run, somebody inflicted Kelly Clarkson’s Piece By Piece on the audience. While I do not wish to be seen as a momist, this is pretty awful, albeit not as tremblable as some of her earlier efforts. It enters at number 27 so some people must like it even though they clearly missed it when it was released last year. Maybe they were rouzy-bouzy when they bought it or were the sort of sillytonian who believes the hype surrounding a new series of Simon Cowell’s man-millinery.

For definitions of the ancient words, see the end of this commentary.

There are always risks involved in using a phone number as the name of a single. The potential for some unsuspecting soul receiving a string of unwanted phone calls can be mitigated by using just part of the number as City Boy did in 1978 with 5705. On the other hand, publicising the number may be the whole point of the song as is the case with the song that enters at number sixteen. American hip hop artist Logic gets his second UK top forty hit with 1-800-273-8255, the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the USA. The song also features Alessia Cara (last heard on Zedd’s Stay) and Khalid who entered the chart last week with Silence.

Stephanie Allen, performing as Steflon Don, made her chart debut earlier this year as the featured artist on Jax Jones’ Instruction. She now has her first hit as the lead artist with Hurtin’ Me at number 28. The song features French Montana who gets his second top ten of the year following Unforgettable.

American band The National joined the long list of bands to be compared with Joy Division when they emerged at the beginning of this century. However, unlike some other such bands, they had to wait a while before getting any chart success in the country that gave the world classics such as Love Will Tear Us Apart. They made a breakthrough of sorts when their fourth album, Boxer, reached number 57 in 2007 before reaching the top ten with their next two releases, High Violet (2010) and Trouble Will Find Me (2013). Their upward trajectory continues this week with the arrival of Sleep Well Beast at number one.

The Essex resort of Southend-on-Sea (popularly pronounced Sarfend) is not thought of as one of the leading towns in the UK music industry although it has not been as unproductive as some might think. Procul Harum (best known for A Whiter Shade Of Pale) and Busted (best known for being Busted) came from there as did Eddie and the Hotrods and the Kursaal Flyers, the latter band being responsible for the line “Little does she know that I know that she knows that I know she’s two-timing me”. It is also just a few miles from where I was born. The town has also spawned the band Nothing But Thieves who get their second top ten album with Broken Machine at number two.

Ed Sheeran’s ÷ drops out of the top two for only the second time, dropping to number three. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s Human climbs back up to number four after a television appearance last weekend. The Script’s Freedom Child falls to number five after a week at the summit.

Canadian singer Neil Young released his first solo album in 1969 after making his name as a member of Buffalo Springfield. In 1976 he recorded an album’s worth of songs in a single night. Many of those songs made their way on to subsequent albums, either as originally recorded or with some changes. Now they have been gathered together for release on an album of their own, Hitchhiker. It counts as his 38th studio album and becomes his biggest hit for over twenty years as a new entry at number six.

Fans of the late Douglas Adams will recall that in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy the name of the spaceship stolen by Zaphod Beeblebrox was the Heart Of Gold, thus sharing its name with one of Neil Young’s best-known songs.

One evening in May 1974 the American band Sparks, fronted by brothers Ron and Russell Mael made their first appearance on Top Of The Pops performing their hit This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us. After the show a number of parents complained to the BBC that their children had been frightened by Ron Mael’s sinister Hitler-like appearance and manic stare. That image - and the humour present in many of their songs - helped to see Sparks labelled as something of a novelty band which is a great pity.

In their forty-plus years together - still with the Mael brothers to the fore and free of the sibling rivalry that has plagued bands such as Oasis and The Kinks - Sparks have released a string of innovative albums even if some of them have used dreadful puns as a title, Kimono My House being a prime example. Sadly, they have not had the commercial success that their music deserves although they still have a loyal band of fans in the UK, more so than in their home country. They have had very few chart hits since the Giorgio Moroder-produced Beat The Clock in 1979.

Their British fans were rewarded in 2008 when, to mark the release of their 21st studio album, Exotic Creatures Of The Deep, they played a series of gigs in London where they performed each of their albums in full. I was only able to attend one of those shows, the one were they performed their 1997 album Plagiarism. That album comprised reworked versions of some of their older material including a version of No 1 Song In Heaven featuring Jimmy Somerville (of Bronski Beat and The Communards, the latter with the not-then-reverend Richard Coles) who reprised his role at the gig.

Before that, in 2006, they had marked the release of Hello Young Lovers by playing the album live followed by a set of their most popular songs. The performance of the album featured the Mael brothers in front of a screen with the rest of the band behind it. The screen was used to show a video for each song including an extremely camp one for the brilliant (Baby, Baby) Can I Invade Your Country, arguably the band’s first political song.

In 2015 they joined forces with Scottish band Franz Ferdinand to form FFS. The album of the same name reached the top twenty. However, Sparks have not entered the top forty albums chart on their own since Indiscreet reached the top twenty in 1975. That finally changes this week as Hippopotamus, album number 23, enters at number seven. Om;y Kimono My House has charted higher, reaching number four in 1974.

Over the course of UK chart history there have been many bands exploring Celtic roots for their sounds. In the mid-1980s early 1990s we had The Waterboys from Scotland. They had their biggest hit in 1991 with a re-release of The Whole Of The Moon, a song originally released in 1985. They enter at number eight with their twelfth studio album Out Of All This Blue. It is their first top ten album since Dream Harder reached number five in 1993.

American singer-songwriter Tori Amos enters at number sixteen with Native Invader, her 13th top forty album in 15 releases. Nick Mulvey, best known for the rather pleasant Cucurucu single, enters at number 25 with his second album Wake Up Now.

When I was taught to write (back in the mid-1960s, after moving away from Essex) we were taught the Marion Richardson style of forming letters. That style tended to use a lot of curves and the w took its name literally so that the letter looked like two Us. After a couple years the head teacher retired and a new man took over. He didn’t like the Marion Richardson style so he decreed that we should all learn a different style of writing. Henceforth a w was to look more like two Vs. The band Alvvays presumably were also taught the latter style in their native Canada, hence their decision to spell their name with two Vs. Their eponymous debut album fell short of the top 100 ib 2014 but they fare rather better with album number two. Antisocialites lands at number 28. Norman Blake, best known as a member of the wonderful Teenage Fanclub contributes to the album on vocals and glockenspiel.

Two rather contrasting Swedish bands are in the top forty this week. Arch enemy, described by Wikipedia as a melodic death metal band which sounds like an oxymoron, arrive at number 37 with their tenth studio album Will To Power, The rather more successful band Abba climb to number 32 with their Gold collection. Beeny Andersson announced this week that the band would be embarking on a tour in 2019. Don’t get too excited though, it will be a virtual reality tour.

Floridian rock band Alter Bridge have a new entry at number 36 with a collection af live recordings and rarities almost ten years after they first hit the UK albums chart.

Jack Savoretti returns at number eleven with a revamped version of Sleep No More which reached number six last year. Following the release of his new single, Sam Smith’s debut album In The Lonely Hour returns at number 20. Oasis’s classic (What’s The Story) Morning Glory re-enters at number 39. Their main songwriter Noel Gallagher was one of the performers at the concert to mark the reopening of the Manchester arena after May’s terrorist attack. It will probably be the only time he and Rick Astley appear on the same bill.

Those words explained...

Teen - verb, to irritate, annoy, inflict suffering upon.
Momist - noun, a person who habitually finds fault, a harsh critic.
Tremblable - adjective, dreadful.
Rouzy-bouzy - adjective, drunk.
Sillytonian - noun, a gullible person.
Man-millinery - adjective, suggestive of male vanity or pomposity.
Published on: 2017-09-15 by Suedehead2 || 24744 Views
Comments (5)
15 Sep 2017 - 20:29
BuzzJack Platinum Member
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well that review discombobulated me!

Hooray for Sparks, I was an instant mad-keen fan when the record This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us got it's first-ever radio play, on Rosko's Roundtable most-likely Spring 1974. I mention this because I got my photo taken in Bournemouth Square on Tuesday with fresh-from-USA Emperor Rosko, back on digital air, The Last Pirate Radio Station.

Surely Sam Smith has just made number one 6 times with the same song? That may be factitious...
15 Sep 2017 - 21:08
BuzzJack Legend
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Yes, I was a big fan of This Town... from the first time I heard it was well. It was just so different from anything else at the time.

Is Emperor Rosko still alive? laugh.gif

Oh, and discombobulated is a great word biggrin.gif
16 Sep 2017 - 11:20
BuzzJack Platinum Member
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Are those words inspired by a recent article I read in the i newspaper which said these words were deemed appropriate to return to common usage?

There was also 'betrump' meaning to deceive or cheat.
16 Sep 2017 - 14:40
BuzzJack Legend
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They were inspired by that very same article so I'm doing my bit to reintroduce them. Sadly, I couldn't find a use for betrump!
16 Sep 2017 - 22:35
BuzzJack Platinum Member
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I would have been most impressed had you managed to sneak quacksalver in there somewhere too biggrin.gif
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