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Ed Sheeran scores a Perfect chart double
Ed Sheeran's Perfect gets a second week as the number one single. Sheeran returns to the top of the albums chart with ÷.

Ed Sheeran scores a chart double by climbing back to the top of the albums chart while remaining at number one in the singles chart.

To nobody’s surprise Ed Sheeran’s Perfect gets a second week at number one with the version featuring Beyoncé accounting for the bulk of sales and streams. He launches his assault on the Christmas number one spot today (Friday) with the release of another version, this one featuring Italian classical singer Andrea Bocelli.

Without Beyoncé’s contribution to Ed Sheeran’s latest hit we might actually have seen Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You climb to number one 23 years after it was released. In the event, it climbs three places to number two, matching its original peak.

Wham! move up to number three with Last Christmas. With Christmas Day marking the first anniversary of George Michael’s death there is inevitably a campaign to get the song to number one next week. Rumours that Adele would be launching a bid for the Christmas number one by releasing a version of George Michael’s Fastlove have, so far, come to naught.

Camilla Cabello and Young Thug stay at number four with Havana. Rita Ora’s Anywhere is at number five.

Ramz enters at number 27 with the excruciatingly dull Barking. The teenage singer, also known as Ramone Rochester, comes from Mitcham, an area of London some miles from Barking. The song emulates Mike Oldfield’s Moonlight Shadow by containing a tautologous time-related lyric, in his case referring to 7am in the morning (repeatedly).

I think I’d rather listen to Billy Bragg, also known as the Bard of Barking despite having lived in Dorset for nearly twenty years. This is an opportune moment to mention the fact that Bragg will celebrate his 60th birthday on Wednesday (20 December).

Billy Bragg’s best-known song is probably A New England, a version of which gave Kirsty MacColl her first top ten hit. She, in turn, is best remembered for her contribution to The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York which climbs to number seven this week.

It is often forgotten that Billy Bragg has actually had a number one single. His version of The Beatles’ She’s Leaving Home was half of a double a-side with Wet Wet Wet’s cover of With A Little Help From My Friends. Christmas is probably the only time of year that we could see two singles by former members of The Beatles in the modern-day chart.

Happy Christmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir was released in the USA in 1971, but did not come out in the UK until the following year when it reached number four. With its anti-war message it was not a surprise when it re-entered the chart in 1980 in the immediate aftermath of Lennon’s murder. On that occasion it peaked at number two, finishing behind Lennon’s Imagine. In the download era it has only returned to the top forty once, reaching number 40 in 2007. This year it is back at number 35.

In a recent poll among shopworkers Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime was voted the most irritating Christmas song. The song is not at all bad, but it is not hard to believe that its general cheeriness might get a little grating for anyone forced to listen to it several times a day for a few weeks. The song reached number six in 1979 and first returned to the top forty (in the anchor position) last year. This year it returns at number 39.

This week sees eleven Christmas songs enter the top forty bringing the total up to seventeen. They include one newcomer. That is, it is a newcomer in top forty terms having been released three years ago when it failed to reach the top 75. The song in question in Santa Tell Me by Arianna Grande which enters at number 29. It has, of course, been a harrowing year for Grande with the appalling terrorist attack at the end of her Manchester concert in May. One of the victims of that attack, Martyn Hett, should have been celebrating his 30th birthday today.

The highest of the festive re-entries lands at number fifteen. Brenda Lee released Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree in 1962 when it became her fourth top ten hit. She went on to have a further three top ten hits and had a total of 19 top forty singles. It has re-entered the top 75 each year since 2009 although it only returned to the the top forty for the first time last year, reaching number 31. Mel Smith and Kim Wilde (born Kim Smith) took the song to number three in 1987.

When Wizzard (supported by their cast of thousands) released I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday in 1973, they went head-to-head with their fellow Midlanders and glamrock rivals Slade. Slade won that battle with Merry Xmas Everybody spending five weeks at number one. However, in recent years Wizzard have been getting the upper hand and that continues this year. Wizzard are at number 22 while Slade re-enter at number 30.

Michael Buble’s It’s beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas charted as a track from his Christmas album in 2011 but didn’t enter the top forty until last year. It comes back at number eighteen, beating last year’s peak of number 27.

Michale Buble is a modern-day crooner. Two crooners of a rather older vintage also enter this week. Andy Williams is at number 37. with It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of They Year while Bing Crosby is at number 39 with White Christmas. The latter is the oldest song in the chart this week having first appeared in the 1942 film Holiday Inn. It wasn’t a hit in the UK until 1975, the year Crosby died, when it peaked at number five. Williams would have turned 90 earlier this month if he hadn’t died in 2012.

Leona Lewis returns at number 36 with her 2013 hit One More Sleep. The song hasn’t come anywhere near returning to the top forty since its initial number three placing. Elton John is at number nineteen with Step Into Christmas, another 1973 release. He was at number one fifteen years ago, along with Blue, on a revamped version of his 1976 hit Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.

Middlesbrough-born singer Chris Rea had to cut his current tour short last week after collapsing on stage in Dundee. His Driving Home For Christmas missed the top forty when it was released in 1988, finally making it to number 33 in 2007. It has returned to the top forty on four occasions, getting to number 26 last year. This week it reaches another new peak, entering at number 23.

White Christmas is, of course, one of the most famous Christmas songs of all time. It is generally accepted as the best-selling song in history. However, the idea that tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of people are actively seeking out the track to stream it is ridiculous. There can be no doubt that a very high proportion of its streams come from curated playlists.

It must surely be possible to detect whether songs have been cherry-picked or if the listener has simply selected a playlist and played all (or most) of it. Therefore, it would be possible either to exclude these streams entirely or for them to count for less than cherry-picked streams. They could even count albums as just another type of playlist and do the same for streams of a whole album. They might then be able to scrap the three-song limit imposed earlier this year.

There is a more general issue here - one which was also raised by the success of Drake’s One Dance last year. Ever since the early days of the charts there have been ways the record companies could try and manipulate them. When the charts were based on sales from a small number of record shops, anybody who knew which ones were used could send people to buy copies in those shops.

When Radios 1 and 2 had a near monopoly on playing pop music, record labels would do all they could to get their releases on to the playlists. That didn’t guarantee them a hit, but it did give them a far better chance. Now record companies will try to get their songs included on as many streaming playlists as possible. If there are times of the year, such as Christmas, when people are more likely to listen to playlists rather than selecting individual songs or where there is a heavier concentration on a smaller number of playlists, it becomes even more important for companies to get their songs included on these lists.

We have now reached the time of year when very few new albums are released. As a consequence, the number of new entries this week is a big fat zero. In the absence of any new competition Ed Sheeran’s ÷ returns to the top for an eighteenth week at number one. While there are plenty of artists who have topped both charts simultaneously, relatively few have done so with an album and two different singles. That, of course, is an invitation for somebody to provide a list!

Sam Smith’s The Thrill Of It All falls to number two after returning to the summit last week. Pink’s Beautiful Trauma is at number three while Michael Ball and Alfie Boe are back up to number four with Together Again. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s Human (the best-selling debut album of the year by a comfortable margin) is back up to number five.

The Killers re-enter at number 34 with their tribute to epizeuxis, Wonderful Wonderful. Niall Horan is back at number 39 with Flicker and Tom Chaplin’s Twelve Tales Of Christmas is back at number 40.
Published on: 2017-12-15 by BuzzJack.com Suedehead2 || 23743 Views
Comments (1)
 
Popchartfreak
15 Dec 2017 - 20:58
BuzzJack Platinum Member
Group: Moderator
Posts: 12,504
Member No.: 17,376
Joined: 18 Jul 2012 - 10:05
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Hooray for the spitify playlist chart comments. Im heartened to hear that 14 year olds are actively searching a dreary xmas ballad sung by a crooner who died 40 years ago (typo - what did elvis and marc bolan get for xmas 1977? Bing Crosby)

Elton John failed to make the top 20 in 1973, and now that he has a new peak i am guessing that his ranking higher than the 1973 xmas biggies for the first time ever is due to him being at the front end of the playlist...?

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