Charts analysis: Rolling Stones score first Christmas No.1 with a resurgent Hackney Diamonds

Charts analysis: Rolling Stones score first Christmas No.1 with a resurgent Hackney Diamonds

Eight weeks after debuting at No.1, Hackney Diamonds returns to the summit for The Rolling Stones following the release on CD and digitally of a new ‘live’ edition featuring an additional seven tracks recorded at an October gig at New York’s Racket club. Overall consumption of the album of 16,460 units is the lowest on record for a Christmas No.1 album, and comprises 13,204 CDs, 2,536 vinyl albums, 43 blu-ray discs, 252 digital downloads and 425 sales-equivalent streams.

Hackney Diamonds is the first Rolling Stones album to be No.1 at Christmas, and their first album to return to No.1 since 2020 when an expanded version of 1973 chart-topper Goats Head Soup did so. It is also No.1 for Christmas in Germany. 

The only seasonally-themed artist album ever to top the chart at Christmas is Michael Bublé’s Christmas, which did so in 2011. It came close to doing so again this week, but ultimately remains at No.2 on consumption of 15,307 units.

A fortnight after reaching its previous peak of No.8, Christmas bounces 15-5 (7,905 sales) for Cher. With DJ Play A Christmas Song speeding 41-20 on the singles chart, the 77-year-old is the oldest artist ever to have simultaneous Top 20 success on both charts. Amazingly, the first time Cher was in the Top 20 of both charts simultaneously was when her debut solo single All I Really Want To Do retreated 11-17 simultaneous with the debut at No.20 of her debut album of the same title in October 1965, when she was just 19. For her to still be doing it at 77 is remarkable. Christmas is Cher’s 27th studio album, and her third in a row to make the Top 5, following 2013’s Closer To The Truth (No.4) and 2018’s Dancing Queen. It is the first time in her career she had achieved such a trifecta. She’s just getting into her stride…

Four weeks after debuting at No.12, Jewels Of Romance rallies 19-8 (7,311 sales) to become the 14th Top 10 album for Dutch violinist and bandleader Andre Rieu and The Johann Strauss Orchestra. 

The rest of the Top 10: 1989 (Taylor’s Version) (4-3, 12,559 sales) by Taylor Swift, Pink Friday 2 (3-4, 8,057 sales) by Nicki Minaj, Stick Season (10-6, 7,446 sales) by Noah Kahan, Guts (8-7, 7,365 sales) by Olivia Rodrigo, The Highlights (7-9, 7,246 sales) by The Weeknd and Curtain Call: The Hits (11-10, 6,490 sales) by Eminem. The Kahan album matches the peak it previously achieved five weeks ago. 

Hits albums used to dominate the Christmas market, even supplying the No.1 album at Christmas for three years in a row between 1990 and 1992. If The Killers’ new compilation Rebel Diamonds had hung on this week – or if it was released a week later than it was with the same consumption – it would have been the first such set to wear the Christmas crown since Eminem’s Curtain Call: The Hits in 2005. Instead, it plunges 1-16 (5,658 sales), falling past the 18-year-old Eminem title as it goes. In America, Rebel Diamonds debuts at No.74. 

Also freeing up space in the Top 10 are: This Life (9-17, also 5,658 sales) by Take That and Think Later (5-20, 5,232 sales) by Tate McRae. The only Take That album to have a shorter initial run in the Top 10 than This Life – which spent three weeks there – was their 1992 debut set Take That & Party, which dipped 5-19 on its second frame but ultimately amassed 13 weeks in the Top 10.   

Six weeks after it debuted at No.14 on its only previous Top 75 appearance, Gregory Porter’s Christmas Wish is re-energised by his appearance on The Graham Norton Show where he chatted and performed the title track from the set. Increasing consumption 164.01% week-on-week, it jumps 115-24 (4,599 sales). It seems unlikely to become his fifth straight Top 10 album here at this juncture. In his native America, the 52-year-old singer/songwriter’s highest album chart position on the Top 200 came in 2016 when Take Me To The Alley reached No.82. Christmas Wish has not made that list as yet, although it is No.23 on the jazz album chart. 

The 2022 version of Now That’s What I Call Christmas is No.1 for the third week in a row, and fourth time in total (8,255 sales, including 4,734 CDs, 1,124 vinyl albums and 2,397 digital downloads). Total sales of all versions of Now That’s What I Call Christmas and Now That’s What I Call Xmas, since an album with the latter title replaced Now: The Christmas Album in 2005 stand at a whopping 3,636,586 units.

The three biggest-selling albums on vinyl in the 21st century add upwards of 1,000 sales in the format this week, and in each case it fuels an improved chart placing. Rumours revives 20-14 (6,059 sales, including 3,097 vinyl) for Fleetwood Mac, while The Dark Side Of The Moon revolves 53-34 (3,685 sales, 2,284 vinyl) for Pink Floyd and Back To Black blasts 98-67 (2,449 sales, 1,332 vinyl) for Amy Winehouse. Their overall 21st century vinyl tallies are: Rumours – 267,355, Back To Black – 217,786, The Dark Side Of The Moon – 203,960. They help vinyl sales to increase week-on-week by 14.11% to 276.935, eclipsing the Kantar (Millward Brown) era (1994-2023) record of 246,649 previously set in the week before Christmas in 2017. Vinyl album sales so far this year, at 5,947,773 units, are 9.26% ahead of full year 2022 sales of 5,443,586, with one more week to go. We have come a long way since 16 August 2008, when 2,684 vinyl albums were sold – the lowest weekly total on record – with Bon Iver’s For Emma Forever Ago the biggest-seller, with 42 copies sold.

Overall album sales are up 0.53% week-on-week at 2,697,286, 15.56% above same week 2022 sales of 2,334,008. The last time album consumption was higher was in Christmas week 2019 - 210 weeks ago – when consumption was 2,798,545. Physical product accounts for 679,.127 sales, 25.18% of the total.

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