RSS Feed
Dec 26

Charts – Christmas 2017

Posted on Tuesday, December 26, 2017 by Paul in Music

It’s Christmas, and yes, I will, at last, get started on clearing that review backlog.  You might also want to pop down a post and vote in our end of year poll for the podcast.

But first the Christmas Number One, because it’s topical and because it won’t take long, since nobody releases anything in Christmas week.  Well, almost nobody.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Perfect”

Your 2017 Christmas number one, and boy, Ed Sheeran has not been subtle about making clear that he wanted it.  This reflects the combined sales of at least three versions – the original, the Beyonce version and the Andrea Bocelli version – which isn’t that unusual in itself, particularly when an album track is promoted to single status.  But the snow-filled video, the bizarre choice of collaborators to reach crossover audiences… that’s a bit obvious.  I’d say it carries a note of hard-edged cynicism which rather cuts against Sheeran’s humbly sentimental persona, but it doesn’t seem to have put people off.

With Clean Bandit last year, and now Ed Sheeran, we are finally past the era of the Christmas number one being a reality show track, a charity release, or a novelty campaign.  When Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” was the Christmas Number One in 2009, as a download campaign to spite Simon Cowell, you had people claiming it as a victory for real music.  But if by that you mean that the years of X Factor domination were objectionable because they elbowed aside the music that people actually bought normally, then Ed Sheeran is a rather better representative.  This is “Perfect”‘s third week at number one, and Sheeran’s seventeenth week at number one this year; his album has been number one for eighteen weeks and has spent 42 weeks on chart without ever dropping below 6.  He swept the board on the singles chart to the point where they had to change the rules to stop it happening again.

In short, if you want a Christmas number one that’s representative of pop music in 2017, Ed Sheeran is about as 2017 as you can imagine.  All he’s missing is a tropical house mix.

2.  Eminem featuring Ed Sheeran – “River”

But wait, there’s more!  Eminem has a new album out this week, and Ed Sheeran has a track on that too.  This is not technically a single, but it’s the one that’s being cherrypicked, and it’s fairly obvious why.  This isn’t all that strange a collaboration; Eminem is the guy who sampled Dido, after all, and Sheeran’s own interest in rap surfaces from time to time.  The song itself is one of Eminem’s disastrous relationship songs were everyone winds up miserable, and there’s an abortion at the end.  It’s his biggest hit since “The Monster” reached number 1 in 2013.

“Revival” enters the album chart at number 1, which is entirely predictable because every Eminem album has gone to number 1 except for his debut back in 1999.  A couple of other Eminem tracks also make the top 40 (which is the limit under current rules): “Walk on Water” re-enters at 21 (it also has a video now), and “In Your Head” is at 19.

And yes, “In Your Head” is indeed based around “Zombie” by the Cranberries.  Eminem’s musical interests these days seem entirely divorced from modern rap and more concerned with heartfelt rock samples.  Ploughing his own furrow, I guess… but “Zombie”?

The original reached number 14 in 1994.  The Cranberries charted fairly regularly in the nineties, but never made the top 10.  Their highest-charting singles were “Salvation” and “Promises”, both of which got to 13, but they were fan-base records that fell out of the chart pretty quickly.  “Zombie” at least hung around for five weeks.  Their biggest hit in practical terms was probably “Linger”, which also got to 14, but spent ten weeks in the top 40.

Eminem is not the first person to take on “Zombie” – for some reason, it’s also been subjected to some dance covers.  The only one to chart in Britain was by an Italian outfit called A.D.A.M. featuring Amy, and reached 16 in 1995.  “Zombie” was intended as a protest song about the Troubles, but A.D.A.M. interpreted it as a perky little number about dancing in a car wash. Strangely, the only version on YouTube or Spotify seems to be the “Rockin’ With Zombie” mix, which I haven’t heard before but, um…

It’s still a better version than Ororo’s take, which was apparently a hit in Spain in 1994, and is genuinely dreadful.

And… that’s pretty much all the activity we have.  Even my prediction of more Christmas singles doesn’t come to pass, as they all remain pretty much where they were last week.  There are a few climbers – “Let You Down” by NF edges up a place to enter the top 10, Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” moves 15-14, “Merry Christmas Everyone” by Shakin’ Stevens climbs 16-15, “Barking” by Ramz jumps a more substantial 27-17, “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John is up 19-18, “Driving Home For Christmas” by Chris Rea climbs 23-20 (the highest ever place for those last two), and “Beautiful Trauma” by Pink moves 31-27.  The Christmas records likely have one more chance next week – the chart that covers Christmas itself – after which they’re likely to plunge out of the chart leaving a void that something will have to fill.  Last year, that was a bunch of re-entries from year-in-review playlists, but we’ll see.

Over on the album chart, “Revival” by Eminem is number 1 (as already mentioned), and way, way further down, there are a couple of new entries.  Quiet week, so…

32.  Linkin Park – “One More Light – Live”

Not to be confused with “One More Light”, which was Linkin Park’s last studio album.  It was also the name of their 2017 world tour, which was cancelled when singer Chester Bennington committed suicide just before the US leg was due to begin.

39.  John Williams – “Star Wars – The Last Jedi – OST”

Film scores don’t often chart, but Star Wars has unusually devoted fans.  Williams has the unusual distinction of having got a track into the singles chart: the Theme from E.T. reached number 17 in 1982.  Unfortunately, the Official Chart Company database can’t tell its John Williamses apart, so it also credits him with “Cavatina”w, from The Deer Hunter, which reached number 13 in 1979.

Bring on the comments

  1. Joe S. Walker says:

    The Star Wars theme was also a hit single for somebody called Meco in the Seventies, in a disco version.

Leave a Reply