Official Charts Analysis: Pharrell Williams hits No.1 with 106k sales

Official Charts Analysis: Pharrell Williams hits No.1 with 106k sales


It’s a Williams double whammy at the top of the charts this week, with Robbie of that ilk continuing to dominate the album rankings, while Pharrell registers his first solo number one single, with latest hit Happy advancing 2-1 on sales of 106,904 copies.

Williams’ Happy ending caps a great year for the singer/rapper/producer/songwriter who also co-wrote and sang on the year’s two biggest hits – Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell) and Get Lucky (Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams) – which spent five and four weeks at number one respectively, while selling 1,472,681 and 1,308,007 copies.

Williams’ accession to the throne is at the expense of new X Factor champion Sam Bailey’s coronation song, Skyscraper, which dips 1-2 (85,283 sales). Off 42.70% week-on-week, Skyscraper is one of only four songs in the Top 40 to suffer declining sales, the others being seasonal releases One More Sleep by Leona Lewis (3-15, 31,726 sales), Fairy Tale Of New York by The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl (14-24, 18,672 sales) and All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey (13-30, 15,851 sales).

With the majority of the week falling after Christmas day, sales were clearly and massively boosted by the exchange of gift vouchers for music at the main online stores. Soaring 46.53% week-on-week to 4,532,613, they reached a 2013 high – but were worryingly 20.43% down (more than 1m) on same week 2012 sales of 5,696,413.  It is the 20th time in a row that sales have been down on the same week last year.   

Looking up rather than down, we should say that those 5,696,413 sales were a giddy all-time high for singles, and in historic terms last week’s tally was still one of the highest ever.

Pharrell and Sam Bailey apart, the Top 10 saw a new peak for Jason DeRulo’s Trumpets (8-4, 59,465 sales); resurgences for Avicii’s Hey Brother (5-3, 73,928 sales), Eminem’s The Monster (feat. Rihanna, 9-5, 51,361 sales) and One Direction’s Story Of My Life (10-9, 41,758 sales); re-entries for Katy Perry’s Roar (15-8, 42,107 sales) and OneRepublic’s Counting Stars (22-10, 39,365 sales); and stoic staticity from Lily Allen’s Somewhere Only We Know (6-6, 48,057 sales) and Ellie Goulding’s How Long Will I Love You (7-7, 44,590 sales).  Former chart-topper Roar’s return to the Top 10 after a seven week absence contrasts with follow-up Unconditionally’s slide from its peak of 25 to 27 (16,999 sales). Also a number one, Counting Stars has been absent from the top tier for six weeks.

With the biggest hits of the year all over TV and radio during the holiday season, lots of 2013’s finest were  resurgent but there were also new peaks for developing hits – Little Me advances 39-19 (21,078 sales) for Little Mix, Drunk In Love soars 57-29 (16,143 sales) for Beyonce feat. Jay-Z, Let It Go jumps 67-57 (8,209 sales) for Idina Menzel and Mine moves 89-65 (7,615 sales) for Beyonce feat. Drake.


There is a little post-Christmas cheer in the news that album sales last week, at 3,585,935, were up 2.24% on same week 2012 sales of 3,507,479, ending a run of 19 consecutive weeks in which they were below comparable previous year levels. However, while at their third highest level of 2013, they were off 22.02% week-on-week . The likely reason they were up versus 2012, incidentally, is because this week last year included only one pre-Christmas day (Monday 24th), while 2013 included two (Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th).

Robbie Williams’ Swings Both Ways tops the artist album chart for the third time in a row, and the fourth time in six weeks, selling a further 90,938 copies.  

Gary Barlow’s solo excursion Since I Saw You Last also remains much in demand, and rises 3-2 on sales of 78,729 copies. The two are the first bandmates in chart history to occupy the top two positions simultaneously with solo releases.

After two weeks at number one and a further fortnight at number two, One Direction’s third album, Midnight Memories, dips to third place on sales of 75,822 copies. It is enough – JUST enough – for the album to claim the honour of being 2013’s biggest selling album preventing, at the very last gasp, Emeli Sande’s Our Version Of Events from topping the list for two years in a row. Sande’s album sold 682,908 copies in 2013 to raise its career (98 week) tally to 2,075,777. Midnight Memories has sold 684,754 copies in five weeks. Completing the top five for the year, Michael Buble’s To Be Loved sold 631,224 copies, Swings Both Ways sold 626,465, and Olly Murs’ Right Place Right Time – which dips 4-5 on this week’s chart on sales of 62,609 – sold 622,643 copies to increase its career (57 week) tally to 1,193,055.

After two weeks at number five, Beyonce’s eponymous fifth solo album reaches a new peak, climbing to number four. Its sales remain remarkable stable – it sold 67,858 in two days on digital alone following its surprise release a little over a fortnight ago; 67,856 (two fewer) the following week, with CD sales kicking in; and 67,463 (a further drop of 393) last week.

With her latest single, How Long Will I Love You, showing unusual stamina for a Children In Need release – it holds at number seven on its seventh week in the Top 10 – Ellie Goulding’s second album Halcyon continues its recent rally, and holds at number six on sales of 61,278 copies. In the chart continuously since its release 64 weeks ago, with a high of number two on its debut week and a low of number 61 just eight weeks later, it was – like Olly Murs album – relaunched in an expanded edition during 2013. Its sales last week were almost twice the 33,425 copies it sold on its debut, and the second highest of its career, trailing only the 64,208 copies it sold the week before last. Overall sales of Halcyon now total 627,186 – putting it on track to eclipse Goulding’s chart-topping 2010 debut Lights, which has a to-date tally of 738,752.

After diving 9-14 last week to end its introductory six week run in the Top10, Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 rebounds to number seven, selling 38,726 copies.

Michael Buble has two albums in the Top 10 for the third straight week, with Christmas rallying 9-8 (38,302 sales) at the expense of his latest album To Be Loved (8-9, 36,490 sales). This week in 2011, Christmas slumped 1-15, and this week in 2012 it collapsed 4-115. Its resilience this year is, like overall sales, likely due to it having an extra day of pre-Christmas sales to cushion its decline. Expect to see it make an even more dramatic dip next week, however. Christmas has now sold 2,025,864 copies, becoming Buble’s second to sell upwards of 2m, following Crazy Love (3,043,536). 

The Killers’ Direct Hits remains at number 10, despite its sales falling 35% week-on-week to 34,471.

The only album to lose Top 10 status this week is Celine Dion’s Loved Me Back to Life, which slides 7-13 (33,178 sales).

In the Top 40 and climbing 10 places or more: Bastille’s Bad Blood (26-11, 34,080 sales), John Newman’s Tribute (27-16, 26,325 sales), Avicii’s True (34-19, 23,222 sales), Tom Odell’s Long Way Down (31-20,22,945 sales), Emeli Sande’s Our Version Of Events (45-31, 15,283 sales), The 1975 (53-32, 14,333 sales). Lorde’s Pure Heroine (52-33, 14,113 sales),  Rudimental’s Home (46-34, 13,953 sales) and Calvin Harris’ 18 Months (62-35, 13,932 sales).

The only new album to make its Top 200 debut is Justin Bieber’s Journals. Released only in digital form, it contains all 10 of the singles which Bieber charted in consecutive weeks between October and December in his Music Mondays series of releases, and five new songs. Debuting at number 46, it sold 11,247 copies last week.

Topping the compilation chart for the sixth straight week, and remaining atop the overall album chart, Now That’s What I Call Music! 86 sold a further 138,364 copies last week. Becoming the only million selling album of 2013, it has a to-date sales tally of 1,111,701 – but trails same stage sales of 1,330,276 of 2012 equivalent Now! 83 by 16.43%.

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