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Dave and Fredo enter at number one
Dave and Fredo each get their first number one single with Funky Friday. The new version of A Star Is Born becomes the third soundtrack album to top the albums chart this year.

Tight races at the top of both charts with Dave and Fredo topping the singles chart and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper triumphing in the albums chart.

There was an unexpectedly close race in the singles chart this week. In the first published update on Monday Calvin Harris and Sam Smith held a clear lead over a new entry from Dave and Fredo but the gap narrowed as the week went on.

Television viewers might think that Dave’s Funky Friday referred to a particularly groovy set of repeats of QI and Have I Got News For You. However, it is more relevant here that Funky Friday is the new single from Dave whose top forty career to date has consisted of relatively minor hits with No Words, How I Met My Ex and Hangman. He is joined by fellow Londoner Fredo who has also had a fairly modest chart career so far. His only to forty hit was a one of a cast of many on the dreadful Ay Caramba earlier this year. This makes the instant success of Funky Friday, a new entry at number one, all the more surprising.

It is the second song with Friday in the title to reach number one this year and also only the second ever following Lil Dicky’s Freaky Friday in April. The only other day of the week to have featured in the name of two number ones is Saturday - in the abysmal Saturday Night by Whigfield and Saturday Night At The Movies, one of Robson & Jerome’s dire cover versions. Neither of the two Friday songs are a patch on The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love and, obviously, the best Saturday Night song is the one by Suede.

That means Calvin Harris and Sam Smith’s Promises falls number two after five weeks at the top. It became Smith’s longest-running number one a few weeks ago but it is only Harris’s third longest-runner. It is one week behind his Rihanna collaboration We Found Love from 2011 (although that song had two three-week spells at the top) and lags behind One Kiss (with Dua Lipa) which spent eight weeks at number one earlier this year. Harris and Drake have spent a total of 27 weeks at number one so far this year.

Marshmello and Bastille slip to number three with Happier. Kanye (or Ye) West and Lil Pump fall one place to number four with I Love It. Rita Ora climbs one place to number five with Let You Love Me.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper climb seven places to number six with Shallow from the A Star Is Born soundtrack. Following the release of the album the pair also enter the top forty at number 35 with I’ll Never Love Again while a solo Gaga enters at number 39 with Always Remember Us This Way.

It’s a case of one out, one in for Eminem. With the release of a video Venom’s sales and streams are now ahead of those of the rest of the album, so it enters at number sixteen. Because of the limit of three songs by any artist Fall crashes out of the top 100 from last week’s number 34. Venom is Eminem’s 41st top forty hit and the first by anyone to feature the word venom in its title.

After number one hits alongside Chainsmokers and Benny Blanco Halsey has her first top forty hit as lead artist with Without Me at number 24. Halsey was born Ashley Frangipane which sounds rather like a technical challenge in an episode of Bake-Off. The only previous song called Without Me to enter the chart became Eminem’s third number one in 2002. Two versions of Without You have also topped the chart, Nilsson’s classic version in 1972 and Mariah Carey’s demolition job in 1994.

They year 2018 is rapidly becoming the year of the Lils. With Lil Peep and Lil Pump already in the top forty (and Lil Wayne dropping out this week) they are now joined by Lil Baby. This particular Lil also joins the list of former jailbirds to have a top forty hit this year. He enters at number 28 with Drip Too Hard, a track from his newly-released album with Gunna. Gunna, not an Arsenal supporter as far as I know, seems to have a thing about Lils. His most recent mixtape also featured Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty. Perhaps he is trying to appeal to both football camps in north London. After all, Tottenham are sometimes known as the Lilywhites. This paragraph must be one of the weirdest I have written for a while.

Another performer to have had run-ins with the law, 6ix9ine enters at number 34 with the aptly titled Stoopid. He is joined by Ackquille Pollard who styled himself Bobby Shmurda for professional purposes. Shmurda was in the top 100 earlier this year with a song whose title is best left unsaid. Oh, and he is currently serving a sentence fo conspiracy to murder and weapons possession. Perhaps the fact that the Daily Mail have not yet devoted the first twelve pages of an issue to a story on how depraved they are these days is another sign of the charts’ diminishing importance.

Pinkfong re-enter at number 36 with their Baby Shark thing.

It has long been the case that album sales tend to peak in a release’s first week. Furthermore, those first week sales (and, more recently, streams) albums tend to be concentrated in the first few days. Therefore, if the race for number one is between two new releases and one of them starts the week with a lead of 5,000 copies, it is reasonable to assume that the album with the early advantage will win the race. The one type of album that tends to buck this trend is the soundtrack album. Two such albums have topped the chart this year but neither of them entered the chart at number one. Therefore, the fact that the soundtrack to the remake of A Star Is Born was at number two in the early updates did not rule it out of the race for the top against the new album from Twenty One Pilots.

As stated last week, the 2018 version of A Star Is Born is the third musical version of this film following previous releases in 1976 and 1954. Even the 1954 version was a musical remake of a 1937 film. Each of the first two musical interpretations had their own soundtrack and now the latest remake adds a third soundtrack to the canon. The new soundtrack is written by the film’s two main stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in collaboration with country musicians such as Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson, and more pop-oriented composers such as Mark Ronson.

Lady Gaga’s music career started with two number one singles and a massive number one album in 2009. By the end of the year she had had two more chart-topping singles. Album number two was another big success but subsequent releases suggested her career had already peaked. Her third album did make it to number one but its chart run was nowhere near as long as its predecessors and her fourth solo album missed the top altogether. Her venture into acting seems to have paid off as A Star Is Born looks set to be a big success. The album gets off to a perfect start by entering at number one.

American duo Twenty One Pilots, by contrast, started rather more slowly. Their first two albums failed to chart in the UK. Their third album, Vessels, just about managed a week in the top forty (at number 39) but spawned no hit singles. Album number four, Blurryface, fared slightly better with two weeks in the top forty when it was released in 2015. Their fortunes finally took a significant turn for the better the following year when Stressed Out became their first hit single. That breathed ne life into the album which spent five weeks in the top ten and over a year in the top forty.

Their new album, Trench, has not had any hit singles before its release but still reaches new heights for the duo as a new entry at number two.

Rod Stewart’s Blood Red Roses falls to number three after a week at number one. The Greatest Showman soundtrack crashes to number four after 39 weeks in the top three. Eminem’s Kamikaze is down one place to number five.

My niece will be six next month. Somehow I suspect a copy of AA Milne’s lovely collection of poems Now We Are Six would be a more appropriate present than the new album by You Me At Six. What is rather more frightening is that I am just two years away from qualifying for the 2003 parody Now We Are Sixty. Anyway, back on track, the rock band from Weybridge get their fifth consecutive top ten album with VI at, appropriately enough, number six. I think we can assume the album is named after the Roman numerals for six rather than a woman called Vi.

Most bands named after a member tend to be named after the singer. After all, he or she is the most visible member of the band. Notable exceptions include sixties band The Dave Clark Five (named after the drummer) and Echo and The Bunnymen (named after a drum machine). Formed in Liverpool they Echo and the Bunnymen were regularly championed by fellow Liverpudlian John Peel on his radio show. They had their first chart success in 1980 with the album and single Crocodiles. They continued to have a reasonable degree of success before they had two top ten singles in 1983 with The Cutter and, my own favourite, The Killing Moon. Singer Ian McCulloch left the band in 1987 before rejoining them a decade later. His return to the band saw them back in the top ten with their album Evergreen. That title had nothing to do with the Barbra Streisand song from the 1976 version of A Star Is Born.

Subsequent albums have done less well which may be one reason for them revisiting their old material. However, this is not just a lazy way of getting a new hit album. They have totally reworked (or transformed in their words) songs such as the two top ten singles mentioned above and others including Bring On The Dancing Horses and Nothing Lasts Forever. They have even added a couple completely new songs including the brilliant new single The Somnambulist. The album, The Stars, The Ocean And The Moon, enters at number eleven.

Echo And The Bunnymen were among the guests on Later this week. Next week’s guests include Joe Bonamassa. Surely he doesn’t have yet another new album out already.
While KT Tunstall’s chart career peaked with her debut album Eye To The Telescvope, even that took a while to take off. It was released in December 2004 - not an ideal month for a little-known Scottish singer to release an album - it didn’t reach the top forty until the following February, albeit briefly, before finally climbing into the top ten in May. Its ultimate success - it eventually spent a total of 19 weeks in the top ten - was helped by singles such as Black Horse And The Cherry Tree and Suddenly I See.

After an acoustic album in autumn 2006 flopped, she returned to the top ten with Drastic Fantastic in 2007. While her albums have continued to do reasonably well, her days of singles chart success appear to be behind her. Her latest album, Wax, enters at number fifteen.

American singer Charlyn Marshall started he career in a band called Cat Power. When that band ceased to be, she continued using the name for her solo career. This week sees her get her highest charting album in the UK as Wanderer, her tenth release, enters at number 29. Her previous top forty albums charted at numbers 32 (Jukebox, 2008) and 33 (Sun, 2012).

Matt Berry is best known as an actor from his roles in The Mighty Boosh and as the grotesque boss Douglas Reynholm in The IT Crowd. He is less celebrated for his musical career which has seen him release eight albums without many people noticing. He also wrote the music for his series Toast Of London and a rock opera with Richard Aoyade. It is perhaps worth noting here that Aoyade has also directed music videos including at least one for Vampire Weekend. Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy got together with other musicians to record a version of Vampire Weekend’s first album. Hannon also wrote the theme tune to The IT Crowd.

This talk of theme tunes brings us to Matt Berry’s new album, Television Themes, a new entry at number 38. The album comprises versions of television themes, mostly from around the 1970s - among them The Good Life, Blankety Blank and The Liver Birds. It also, rather bizarrely, includes a version of the music played to accompany the station idents for London Weekend and Thames Television, tracks that clock in at eight and seven seconds respectively. Younger readers may have no idea what I’m babbling on about here. To summarise, ITV used to be a collection of regional franchises. London, uniquely, had two with London Weekend taking over from Thames on Friday evening before Thames returned on Monday morning.

The album also includes a version of the theme from Rainbow. Contestants on quiz shows such as Pointless often say that some questions are “before my time”. Questions about children's’ television, on the other hand, can often be “after my time”. After all, I was twelve by the time Rainbow started so that definitely counts as after my time. The show was back in the news recently following the death of presenter Geoffrey Hayes. The fist actor to wear the costume of Bungle (a bear) was John Leeson who later provided a voice for K-9 in Doctor Who, another programme whose theme is included here. The second actor to proved the voice of Zippy was Roy Skelton who also voiced Daleks on many occasions. Maybe that paragraph about Lils wasn’t quite so weird after all.

While we are briefly back on the subject of Lils, the aforementioned album by Lil Baby and Gunna, Drip harder is a new entry at number twelve.

When Charlie Simpson left Busted he attempted to reinvent himself as some sort of rock god by forming Fightstar. Two members of that band, Alex Westaway and Dan Haigh, went on to form Gunship, a band they describe as synthwave. Their first album, also called Gunship, failed to reach the chart but the follow-up, Dark All Day, enters at number 34.

American rock band Coheed and Cambria enter at number 36 with Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures. The title makes it sound like part of a series of albums and, apparently, it is. It supposedly continues the bands Amory Wars concept - a concept that seems to have passed most people by. Still, if it keeps the fans happy…

Steve Perry, previously a member of Journey with whom he co-wrote Don’t Stop Believin’, enters at number 40 with his third solo album, Traces. His two previous solo releases cn be said to have more or less disappeared without trace, along with most of Journey’s output apart from that one song.

This week should have seen the 78th birthday of John Lennon. To mark the occasion a new remastered copy of his 1971 album Imagine has been released. The title track was originally a hit in 1975 before topping the chart in early 1981 in the wake of Lennon’s assassination. The full six-CD boxed set includes five CDs of the usual mish-mash of alternative versions, demos etc. The album spent two weeks at number one when it was first released in 1971 following chart-topping albums from other former Beatles George Harrison and Paul McCartney; the re-issue enters at number nineteen.

Korean boyband BTS have been performing some shows in the UK this week and their public relations people have been busy persuading news outlets that this counts as news. The attendant publicity sees their album Love Yourself - Answer re-enter at number 24.
Published on: 2018-10-12 by Suedehead2 || 48747 Views
Comments (4)
12 Oct 2018 - 17:50
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Can I just say you said Bradley Walsh not Bradley Cooper
Darwin Turretson
12 Oct 2018 - 18:00
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Wow! Surprise number one from Dave!
A Star Is Born. Another soundtrack album reaching number one (lots of these happening recently. The Greaetest Showman, Mamma Mia sequel). I have a feeling that it's going to linger on to the top for 20 more weeks
12 Oct 2018 - 20:44
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I must have had Doctor Who on my mind when I wrote the Bradley Walsh bit!
14 Oct 2018 - 5:21
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