This week's Official UK Singles Chart

This week's Official UK Albums Chart


Well, it is fair to say that wasn't in the script. Do They Know It's Christmas, the big charity event of the year, the sensational 30th anniversary re-recording of the most famous ensemble song of all time knocked off the top of the Official UK Singles chart after just one solitary week.

To be fair, for those of us tracking the live data during the week this wasn't such a surprise when revealed on Sunday, but nonetheless for a single to sell over 300,000 copies in a week and then not have enough in the tank to overhaul the competition seven days later is pretty much unprecedented. Do They Know It's Christmas simply fell off the proverbial cliff. In truth though, this fate is not uncommon - just look at the way the record it replaced at Number One - Children In Need single Wake Me Up - has also tumbled, dropping 1-7-54 in the last three weeks.

As for the single that replaces Sir Bob and friends at the top of the charts - well that is a quite sensational story in itself. It is now eight years since 1990s boy band re-formed in what turned out to be one of the most successful musical comebacks ever. Since 2006 they have topped the charts three times and even carved out more headlines thanks to a 2010 reunion with erstwhile member Robbie Williams who joined the group on an album for the first time since 1995. Now the pack is reshuffled again as for new album III the group are reduced to a trio, Robbie having long since departed to do his own thing once again and founder member Jason Orange tiring of fame once again to leave Take That now down to a rump of Gary, Mark and Howard.

Their new album has however coincided with a pleasing upswing in the songwriting skills of Gary Barlow with the result that new single These Days is one of their best recordings for some considerable time, as reflected by its status as the biggest selling single of the week. Thanks to the failure of Robbie comeback single The Flood to climb higher than Number 2 four years ago it is their first chart-topper since 2008, Greatest Dayhaving debuted at Number One exactly six years ago this week. In all, it is the group's 12th Number One hit single in a run now spanning over 21 years. That puts them level with The Shadows (on a technicality, as this includes both their 'solo' works and ones where they received a co-credit as Cliff Richard's backing group) as the third most successful group in chart history. Only Westlife (14) and The Beatles (17) can boast more Number One hit singles.

The only other new Top 10 arrival this week is Labrinth whose last single Let It Be made an uncharacteristically muted appearance at Number 11 back in October. His new single, the dark and soulful Jealous performs slightly better and crashes in at Number 7, the sixth Top 10 hit of his career and his highest charting single since 2012 Number One smash Beneath Your Beautiful. New album Take Me To The Truth is promised for some time in the new year.

New at what is a possibly surprisingly low Number 12 is something of a chart first - the product of a musical corporate merger. The concept of McBusted first reared its head last year on an alternative take of the last McFly hit Love Is On The Radio. A year after McFly and what remains of their musical predecessors Busted announced they would unite for a concert tour, the hybrid group released their first single last week, the hit Air Guitar being the result. Technically where the single landed (and after a much publicised pre-sale several weeks ago) was always going to be irrelevant given that it is inevitably going to trace the same path as every McFly single ever released and exit the singles chart post-haste, but nonetheless the failure of even the still loyal fanbase of both acts to propel the single into the Top 10 is something of a surprise. Presuming that the single extends the chart line of both acts involved, Air Guitar is the first Busted-related single to chart since Thunderbirds/3AM topped the charts in the summer of 2004.

The most intriguing new entry of the week is the track which sits at Number 14 this week. Credited to composer James Newton Howard The Hanging Tree is taken from the soundtrack of the latest instalment in the Hunger Games series of films, setting to music a verse that featured in the original novels on which the films are based. The appeal of the track is based entirely on the fact that it features the singing debut of actress Jennifer Lawrence who reluctantly performed the track in character for the movie but who now finds herself the owner of a rather unexpected and intriguing hit single.

The announcement this of the shortlist for the Brit Awards' "Critics Choice" award, handed in the new year to an up and coming new act has led to two of the named acts making their Top 40 now. Singer-songwriter James Bay lands at Number 18 with Hold Back The River [a brief initial chart run this one, prior to it returning to become a genuine smash in the new year] whilst Years And Years hit Number 22 with Desire, following on from their soft landing guest spot on Sunlight by The Magician which was a Top 10 hit in October.

On the Official UK Album chart this week, Olly Murs makes a comfortable debut at Number One with new album Never Been Better, home to current hit single Wrapped Up. His fourth release, it is now his third chart-topping album in a row.

That relegates David Guetta's new collection Listen to a rather lowly Number 8 although the album does spawn a cherry-picked Top 40 hit in the shape of What I Did For Love with Emeli Sande on lead vocals and which charts at Number 24 following a performance of the song by the pair on last week's X Factor results show and is Guetta's second chart hit in as many weeks following the debut of Dangerous last week.

The release of a new Platinum Edition of Beyonce's self-titled album rather surprisingly fails to help the collection to chart any higher than Number 41, most sales it seems being of individual downloads or streams of the new tracks involved. Most attention focused on the track 7/11 which charts at Number 36.

Next week? I'm making no bold predictions, although the new Union J single seems certain to give yet another set of X Factor alumni a run at the top in seven days time. Meanwhile, we wait to see just how far Do They Know It's Christmas will sink before its physical release next week.