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Chart Watch Weekly - June 6th 2022

James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
Who could have predicted the Queen we were all celebrating this weekend would turn out to be the lady from Bexleyheath with a song we haven’t seen in the charts since, well, around the time of the last Jubilee. I’m not doing a Stranger Things joke here, you’ve already done it in your heads.
Also hiding marmalade sandwiches in strange places this week:
  • Basically the whole world has its Bush out.
  • Another flop British single finds unexpected popularity in Holland.
  • Midweeks: The Queen sends Sam Ryder back into space.

The Rubberband Girl
I unpicked the long history of “spontaneous” hit singles emerging since the dawn of the digital era in the full Chart Watch piece this week. But the TL:DR version is that Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill this week appeared as a key part of the plot of the new series of Stranger Things prompting an extraordinary worldwide surge of interest in the track that marked her own musical comeback some 37 years ago.
Such spikes of interest after random incidents of media sync are far from uncommon, but what was extraordinary is that the spike moved beyond the usual “few hundred additional downloads on iTunes and Amazon” and crossed over into some extraordinary streaming numbers. Enough to ensure the track would go beyond a minor chart entry and end up making a significant impact.
The first glimmer of that came on Friday morning UK time when the Australian charts announced she’d reached… well, we’ll come to that in a moment.
There was potential for this to look a tiny bit awkward for the British charts, especially when Running Up That Hill began to approach a million streams a day on Spotify by the end of the week. As we all know catalogue products (those over 36 months old) are relegated to permanent ACR status, and it was this rule in particular that restricted Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams to a mere No.35 revival when it enjoyed its own social-inspired resurfacing in 2020.
What would have happened if the Kate Bush track, established out of nowhere as one of the biggest surprise hits of the moment plopped limply onto the British charts due to the unique way we calculate them? While Official Charts can (and do) override their own rules where circumstances merit, to do so for an otherwise unpromoted catalogue product would have raised some awkward questions as to why this never happens to Last Christmas et al every December.
Fortunately for everyone that didn’t come to pass. Even with the ACR handicap Running Up That Hill made an impressive No.8, making the Top 10 for the third time (after 1985 and 2012). Without it the single would have been a comfortable No.2, beating out its original chart peak.
But last week appears to have been no one-off, the single doing this on Spotify (as of Sunday):
As of the Monday midweeks Running Up That Hill is officially No.2, around 5,000 sales behind the market leader.
My favourite take of the moment though has to be one dedicated bunch of fans who are carefully making up their own special chart criteria to garnish her with another achievement. I’m not quite sure this has ever actually been a thing before, but congratulations to Kate Bush for making it a special first anyway:
katebushnews.com
Kate has entered the Official UK Charts at NUMBER 8! This means (as far as we can gather!) that Kate is the first female artist to have had Top 12 UK hit singles in 6 consecutive decades; the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s! Amazing - congratulations, Kate! https://t.co/Kpv0pKRvup
Let Loose The Dogs Of War
Kate Bush’s other chart feat of the week was to not quite make the Albums Chart Top 75 (the full extent of Music Week’s printed licence). Her Greatest Hits collection The Whole Story (a No.1 album in January 1987) popped up at No.76 in its first chart showing since 2015, this as a direct result of the streams of what has now become one of its most notable tracks.
This does of course highlight the slightly odd way the way streams are calculated for albums chart purposes has an inbuilt bias toward hits compilations. After all, why you might ask has a hits collection charted and not The Hounds Of Love, the Kate Bush album from whence the single came.
This is all down to the flattening rule, designed primarily to ensure that a massive hit single doesn’t have a wholly disproportionate effect on the registered “sales” of its parent album. The albums chart is supposed to reward popularity across multiple tracks after all. So to quote the official chart rules:
The 2 album tracks attracting most streams are neutralised to the level of the average of the next 14 highest streamed tracks associated with the album (or all tracks where album has < 16 tracks).
Those same rules also say that a track which appears on both a studio album and a hits collection has its streams contribute to both. This meant that streams of Running Up That Hill (huge) were flattened to the same level as the other tracks on Hounds Of Love (bugger all) but flattened to the far higher average of the other hits on The Whole Story. Which is why the compilation charted and the studio album didn’t. Simple really.
This, incidentally, is why the two classic studio albums which seem to be chart perennials are Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and What’s The Story (Morning Glory) by Oasis. Both albums with a higher than usual proportion of evergreen classics. Meaning all their tracks are streamed in relatively even proportions.
Yee-Haw They Are Back
Ah, Billboard charts how we missed you last week.
To fill in the gaps, Harry Styles landed himself, inevitably, four Top 10 hit singles on the Hot 100 last week after the release of Harry’s House. This week then is startlingly the first US Top 10 for a month that actually has a diversity of acts inside. Well, as diverse as international charts ever get these days.
Well bloody hell. Kate Bush is No.8 on the Hot 100 as well, all down to Stranger Things naturally. Quite incredibly this is far and away her biggest American hit single EVER. Although actually it already was, its prior No.30 peak the full extent of her American chart success.
Just a few weeks after Glass Animals celebrated one of the slowest Hot 100 chart journeys of all time, a fellow Brit now sets a new record. Her wait of 36 years and nine months one of the longest any single has ever gone between chart debut and first appearance in the Top 10. And most of the rest are golden oldie festive songs (Run Rudolph Run by Chuck Berry made it there in 2020 fully 62 years after it first charted).
Oh yes, and in another illustration how the rules on album streams vary from one place to another, Kate Bush has an entry on the Billboard 200 this week. It’s The Hounds Of Love which lands at No.28, two places above its original April 1986 peak.
A Land Down Under
So yes, here’s what Kate Bush did in Australia this week, soaring to No.2 and beating the No.6 it reached on the old Kent Music Report charts the first time around.
Running Up That Hill is No.18 in France, No.14 in Germany, No.62 in Italy (never change Italy), but impressively No.3 in Lithuania.
Funny Dutch Line Goes Here
Nederlandse Top 40
🥇 Voor de zevende week staat As It Was van @Harry_Styles op nummer 1 in de Nederlandse Top 40! > https://t.co/wq1KyFzQhf https://t.co/uXLXIXVtpU
“Zevende” is Dutch for seventh if you couldn’t quite work it out. Harry Styles still comfortably top of the charts in the Netherlands as he is in many other places. Purple Disco Machine, who were doing the business in Holland the last time we swung this way about a month ago, alas never quite managed to make it to the top and peaked at No.3.
But lo, there is another track from a British act that has gone almost ignored back home but is utterly huge in the low countries right now. James Hype is a one hit wonder in Britain, known solely for his 2017 single More Than Friends which reached No.8. But he is presently Top 3 on the Dutch charts with this cut, featuring the vocals of fellow Brit Miggy Dela Rossa. I’ve no idea whether it will make it to the British charts in this form. I smell a remix coming down the line or at least a repurposing by someone else.
James Hype, Miggy Dela Rosa - Ferrari
James Hype, Miggy Dela Rosa - Ferrari
Midweek Teases
It is a fascinating set of midweeks to report this week, the numbers inevitably reflecting the immediate aftermath of the Platinum Jubilee Concert which saw 16 million people tune in to the special live celebration on The Mall on Saturday night and which featured among the legends and West End stars a fair number of contemporary acts performing some current and recent hits.
Harry is still destined for No.1, and Kate Bush may well end up No.2. But that’s not the interesting stuff.
Sam Ryder after falling out of the Top 10 last week could well be back in the Top 5 with Space Man. George Ezra is now on the cusp of the Top 10 with Green Green Grass, the track he cheekily performed ahead of obvious crowd pleaser Shotgun even if he did have to self-censor the lyrics and omit the line from the chorus about “the day that I die”.
Lower down we should see even more of these effects (the midweek update only publishes as far as the Top 40), but Mimi Webb’s House On Fire seems set to climb at least that far. And remember none of these numbers include streaming data from Sunday as yet, reflecting what people woke up to the next morning and wanted to play again.
The highest new entry to the Top 40 seems set to be the suddenly viral Afraid To Feel by LF System, No.69 on the present chart but destined for a massive leap into the Top 20.
LF SYSTEM - Afraid To Feel (Official Lyric Video)
LF SYSTEM - Afraid To Feel (Official Lyric Video)
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The new UK charts are announced by Radio One from 4pm every Friday, can be seen in full on officialcharts.com and musicweek.com, and I’m now back on chart-watch.uk with my own detailed charts analysis later that same evening.
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James Masterton
James Masterton @chartupdate

From the world famous chart analyst, a weekly roundup of everything fit to print from charts worldwide. Considered coverage of the stories generated by the UK charts along with a summary of events taking place on pop charts in Europe, across the Atlantic, and on the other side of the world.

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