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Dec 8

Charts – 6 December 2019

Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2019 by Paul in Music

PREVIOUSLY ON THE UK SINGLES CHART: Annoyed by the way the chart is overrun with Christmas back catalogue material in December, the music industry changed the chart rules, so that anything which has been out for more than a couple of years is permanently subject to the “accelerated chart ratio” – the lower points given for streams of records that are meant to be on their way out of the charts. That will do it, they thought.

That will do it.

1. Tones & I – “Dance Monkey”

That’s ten weeks, and at this point it’s time to dust off the record books. Ten weeks at number one puts “Dance Monkey” joint ninth in the all time record, alongside “Umbrella” by Rihanna (2007), “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston (1992), and “Cara Mia” by David Whitfield (1954).

The rest of the top 4 is also static. “Roxanne” by Arizona Zervas climbs 7-5, and “Memories” by Maroon 5 from 8-7. Number 8 is… ah. This is the chart covering sales and streams from 29 November to 5 December, so naturally, it’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey, which entered at number 34 last week as a festive beachhead.

10. The Weeknd – “Heartless”
12. The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”

Two singles from his upcoming fourth album, released a couple of days apart, and charting pretty much in his usual range (particularly as he’s competing with himself). “Heartless” is pretty much his standard fare; “Blinding Lights” is more of an 80s pop track.

13. Wham – “Last Christmas”

Well, hello again. “Last Christmas” does have the added benefit of being promoted by a high profile film at the moment, but it’s been back every year since 2011, and it made the top three in the last two years.

14. Ellie Goulding – “River”

It’s not just back catalogue – someone else is still releasing new material! Well, kind of. “River” is a Christmas release – a cover of the Joni Mitchell song from her 1971 album “Blue”. The one that incorporates bits of “Jingle Bells.” This seems to be the first time anyone’s had a hit with it, though. The video shows Ellie making a zero-waste Christmas tree, which is apparently now sitting in the local primary school. Number 14 is her highest chart position since “Still Falling For You” in 2016.

“Pump It Up” by Endor climbs 21-20.

22. The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl – “Fairytale of New York”

Yes, again. Originally a number 2 hit in 1987 – it was held off Christmas number one by the Pet Shop Boys version of “Always on my Mind” – “Fairytale of New York” is back for the fifteenth straight year. Last year it got to number 4 (and then Christmas ended, and it plunged straight out of the top 100 – this happens to all the Christmas records come New Year).

23. Band Aid – “Do They Know It’s Christmas”

The Christmas number 1 of 1984. “Do They Know It’s Christmas” took a while to become a digital-era staple, but it’s been back every year since 2015 and last year it got to number 6. (Note: I’ve used the video above because it’s the one on the official Band Aid account, but you should be aware that it’s the 1985 re-edit of the video, which includes footage of the famine and is understandably listed as age-restricted on YouTube.)

26. Shakin’ Stevens – “Merry Christmas Everyone”

Every year I’m baffled by the inordinate length of time this video takes to get going. Where did they think it was going to be shown? Did nobody think it was maybe a bit bleak?

This is the Christmas number of 1985, and it started charting regularly again in 2015. It reached number 9 last year.

32. Michael Bublé – “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”

One of a number of lesser-known back catalogue tracks that have been propelled into the charts over the last few years by prominent listing on Spotify Christmas playlists (or the streaming service of your choice). This was released in 2011, didn’t make the top 40 until 2016, has charted every year since, and got to number 7 last year.

33. Ariana Grande – “Santa Tell Me”

Along similar lines, “Santa Tell Me” did absolutely nothing on its release in 2014, but then Ariana Grande graduate to the A-list, so it’s charted for three straight years now. (It’s also pretty good, as modern Christmas tracks go.) It got to number 13 last year.

39. Elton John – “Step into Christmas”

“Step into Christmas” reached number 24 on its release at Christmas 1973, but had an unexpected afterlife as a side-2-filler track on Christmas compilations. It’s back for the fourth year running, and got to number 10 last year. There’s more Christmas songs to come next week – there are five more Christmas songs sitting between 41 and 50 – but finally, a brief glimpse of normalcy:

40. Trevor Daniel – “Falling”

A year-old track which I gather has been doing the business as a viral video soundtrack. It’s reached number 3 in Latvia.

On the album chart: “The Christmas Present” by Robbie Williams manages the rare feat of climbing to number 1, though obviously there’s a seasonal dimension to that. This is his thirteenth number one album. Only one act has had more than 13 number one albums, and that’s the Beatles (they had 15). Thirteen puts Robbie in joint second along with Elvis Presley. And of course that’s not counting his Take That albums.

9. Cliff Richard & The Shadows – “The Best of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Pioneers”

It’s two and a half hours long, and it still doesn’t have “Apache” on it. Oh well, let’s have “Travellin’ Light” – a number 1 in 1961 where the Shadows actually got co-billing at the time. Nice jumper, Cliff.

20. Pete Tong, the Heritage Orchestra & Jules Buckley – “Chilled Classics”

That’s how the chart has it listed, anyway, though the Heritage Orchestra now seems to be going by HER-O on the actual cover. I’ve gone for the track that has a video, but this album also features a very questionable version of “Born Slippy”.

21. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – “Christmas With The Stars”

You know the deal by now – more old vocal tracks polished up with new orchestral backing. But for Christmas!

23. John Barrowman – “A Fabulous Christmas”

Believe it or not, John Barrowman has had five previous top 40 albums dating back to 2007. Sadly, only teaser videos are available on YouTube, but I think you’ll get the idea.

26. JME – “Grime MC”

JME hasn’t released an album for four years, and what a week he’s chosen. To be fair, not much competition from within his own genre, I guess… At present, this album is only available on physical media, so there’s nothing I can link to.

32. Pink Floyd – “The Later Years – 1987-2019”

Finally, the ideal Christmas present for the extremely obsessive Pink Floyd fan in your life. The version on Spotify is a modest 1h 19, but the full thing is a retrospective box set of 5 CDs, 6 Blurays, 2 7″ singles (!) and an accompanying book. It’s a companion piece to the 2016 box set “The Early Years” which, confusingly, only went up to 1972.

Bring on the comments

  1. Joe S. Walker says:

    Ten weeks is still a long way behind Bryan Adams. Back in 1991 it seemed as if he was going to be number one for the rest of our lives.

  2. K says:

    You say questionable version of Born Slippy and I ask – when was the last time you heard any cover version of Born Slippy at all?

    It’s rather taken for granted but it’s taken a while for the nostalgia cycle to reach this point.

    Also, the Pink Floyd album that’s charting now will be the 1h 19 version only because the “full thing” has been delayed. And the true obsessives know not to pay full price because they are waiting for the inevitable fire sale – there are not actually so many obsessive fans left as to think a “later years” boxset is a must-have.

    (Remember the “immersive” box sets? The albums people actually want will not be relegated to part of a box set when they can command entire box sets.)

  3. Joe S. Walker says:

    Pink Floyd’s later years will be remembered more for feuds and recriminations than for any music they played. The one exception, their performance at Live 8, isn’t even included on the box set.

  4. clay says:

    This may be a dumb question… in fact, I’m SURE it’s a dumb question… but if the chart rules have to be manipulated so heavily to achieve the “right” result, then what good are they actually for? And why does anyone care about them?

  5. K says:

    Aside from the rest of the record industry not topping the charts needing to justify its own existence, personally I like to think that they are for freeing us from the tyranny of most people just listening to the same handful of songs every year and then for two or three years after that.

    Even if most of those people don’t want to be freed.

  6. Alex Hill says:

    Do people (as in, the general public) still care about the charts? I’ll admit I’m out of the loop on this (this column is the extent of my exposure to the charts, since the commentary is interesting), but they don’t seem to be the massive thing that they were in my youth. I’m sure they’re important to some people, but they don’t appear to be anywhere near as relevant as they once were.

  7. Joe S. Walker says:

    I think the record business killed the charts in the mid-90s when they started marketing records for weeks before they were actually released, guaranteeing a surge of first-week sales. Suddenly everyone knew what was going to be number one next week, and where going straight in at one used to be a genuine sign that artists were really popular, it became a regular thing for unknowns to do it with their first (and sometimes only) hit. Who could care about a game that was so blatantly rigged?

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