I'm not going to lie to you, we were all expecting something a little different this week. A closely fought battle between the follow-up singles by two British acts to two of the bigger hit singles of the summer. A struggle which would inevitably result in another Top 2 dominated by new entries.
Oddly enough it never ended that way, with one of the combatants fading and effectively withdrawing from the battle before we had hit the weekend, however the race for the top of the charts turned out to be one of the closest chart battles in history. According to official figures, just 266 copies separated the Number One and Number 2 singles this week, the sixth smallest margin in modern chart history and the narrowest since Lady Gaga's Poker Face topped the charts by a margin of 221 in March 2009.
The winner of this narrow squeak? Stay Awake by Example which gives the star his second Number One single in quick succession, hard on the heels of Changed The Way You Kiss Me which topped the charts 12 weeks ago and is still a Top 40 hit single, sitting pretty at Number 33 this week. Both tracks feature on his album Playing In The Shadows which, in a typical masterpiece of timing is in the stores this week. Meanwhile the frantic turnover of Number One singles we have seen this summer continues apace, Stay Awake is the seventh different single in as many weeks to top the charts, a run which curiously enough is close to duplicating the 11 weeks of turnover we saw between June and September last year. More pertinently Example is the 8th British-led act in succession to top the singles chart, the longest such run since 1991/1992 when George Michael and Elton John, Queen, Wet Wet Wet, Shakespear's Sister, Right Said Fred, KWS, Erasure and Jimmy Nail all followed each other at the top, the December to August run only broken in the end by Rhythm Is A Dancer by German act Snap!
So at Number 2 it is rather curiously not a new entry, but instead the three week old Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera which is rapidly turning into one of the most successful singles of the back end of the summer. After two weeks at Number 3 the single advances to its highest chart position yet, increasing its sales to a level which most weeks would indeed have seen it top the charts, never mind being denied by such a tiny margin. With a three-pronged assault of some of the most anticipated pop records for some considerable time hitting the online stores this week, it appears to be circumstances more than anything else which will for now deny Moves Like Jagger a spell in pole position - which in a way is something of a shame. [And indeed at Number 2 it would remain, for a record-equalling amount of time. None of which I'd end up writing about sadly. Because circumstances].
So what of the record that could have been a contender but which instead was reduced to shouting at itself in the mirror? You Need Me I Don't Need You is the second hit single for Ed Sheeran, the follow-up to the enormously popular The A Team which is still selling in considerable quantities after 13 weeks around. Indeed Sheeran can count himself unlucky to not land two Top 10 hits side by side, with his first single finally dipping to Number 13 this week after three months in the upper reaches. His second hit charts at Number 4, one place below the initial opening mark of The A Team. His album is the enigmatically titled + which is due for release on September 12th.
Also new inside the Top 10 at Number 9 is the tremendously named Lick Ya Down from Cover Drive. The gaudily dressed foursome hail from Barbados and their dancehall-pop record appears to have translated neatly to British ears in some style, giving them a Top 10 single with their very first release. Lick You Down is apparently a Bajan expression meaning to knock someone down, so any other interpretation is just in your filthy little minds, sorry.
Speaking of tropical Islanders, the American-born but Jamaican-bred Sean Kingston also takes a flying leap into the Top 10, climbing 8 places to Number 10 with Party All Night (Sleep All Day). The single thus gives him back to back Top 10 hits for the first time in his career, this his biggest single since the Justin Bieber duet Eenie Menie reached Number 9 in June last year. The singer was most recently in the news after being injured in a jetski accident earlier in the summer, resulting in some extensive hospitalisation and, you suspect, a delay in the release of his forthcoming new album from which this new single is lifted.
It seems entirely appropriate this week to make one last mention of the Adele single Set Fire To The Rain which it appears was destined never to make the Top 10 but which is still a Top 20 fixture after all these weeks. Up two places at Number 15 this week, the third single from '21' first made the Top 40 on the chart dated June 25 and since has moved 25-23-21-12-11-11-12-13-13-14-17-15. Meanwhile the ubiquitous Someone Like You moves 43-27 this week which is coincidentally its highest chart placing since, yes, June 25th when Set Fire To The Rain' made its debut. The reason for this surge? Well it is X Factor audition season after all…
Turning to the album chart now, and for a group who theoretically had their heyday back in the 1990s, the 21st century has been very kind to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Back with a newly tweaked lineup, the group charge to Number One with their brand new album I'm With You which becomes their third studio album in a row to top the charts following By The Way in 2002 and Stadium Arcadium in 2006. The album is their fourth Number One overall, the group currently owning the distinction of being the last act to top the charts with a live album, Live In Hyde Park having reached the summit in August 2004.
Perhaps unexpectedly then the Number 2 album this week is David Guetta's Nothing But The Beat, an album which has had its release hyped up nicely thanks to the series of promotional singles his label has been drip feeding over the last few weeks. Now the long player is out for real, a handful of its tracks also arrive on the singles chart to give him a rather impressive sprinkling of current hit singles. Totting them up he has Little Bad Girl at Number 18, Turn Me On brand new at Number 20, Where Them Girls At at Number 32, Night Of Your Life at Number 51, Without You at Number 56 and Who's That Chick at Number 73, with plenty more floating around outside the Top 75 as well.
Some of the other new entries on the album chart this week hand brand new hits to two hard veterans of the C&W scene. Leading the charge is Dolly Parton at Number 9 with Better Day. At the age of 65 she has only the second Top 10 album of her career, and her first ever of brand new material. Her only other release to chart higher was 2007 The Very Best Of which peaked at Number 8. Lower down at Number 27 is Glen Campbell with Ghost On The Canvas, a release which he has flagged up as his last before retiring to battle Alzheimer's disease. Campbell is 75 years old, making him second only to John Lee Hooker as the oldest living solo artist ever to make the album chart.
As I mentioned, next week on the singles chart should be an intriguing one, with new singles from Pixie Lott, The Saturdays and Leona Lewis all battling for top honours. Sadly I'm teasing you with that thought as with the imminent closure of Yahoo! Music this is the last Chart Watch UK to appear on these pages. I hope very much to continue bringing you all the weekly comings and goings in another place very soon - but for the moment keep an eye on my own site for where I pitch up next. For the moment however, it is time to sign off after seven and a half years here on Yahoo! with eight and a half before that on the old dotmusic site which merged with this one.
[And here endeth the Yahoo! Music UK era of Chart Watch UK. As the original piece noted, my contract ended and the site closed down a few weeks later to be replaced by a vacuous celeb-focused blog. I spent the next few weeks pitching, writing to editors and generally hoping something would turn up to give me a reason to keep writing. Had nobody bitten I genuinely might have called it a day there and then. But an unexpected new home for the column was only just around the corner].