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Music

The Week in Number Ones: Beyoncé and Harry Styles climb the charts

Welcome back to The Week in Number Ones, where all the biggest movers from the US and UK charts get condensed into one article. Last week, we observed how Drake could just do whatever he wanted and still get chart success as John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John belted their way into our hearts with ‘You’re The One That I Want’.

Let’s return to last week’s newly-established segment: ‘How Did Glastonbury Effect Each Headliner’s Chart Performance?: Is The Glastonbury Effect Real, or Just Total Hogwash?’ If you can’t find a catchy title, just make a really long one instead.

With a solid week to let the Official UK charts catch up to people’s listening habits, we’re going to see if any of the Glastonbury headliners managed to grab any momentum from their performances and translate it into chart success. Glastonbury is the premiere UK summer music festival, after all, so surely there has to be some reflection on the charts, right?

Wrong! At least nothing major, that is. Billie Eilish did manage to bring her 2021 LP Happier Than Ever back into the top ten on the album charts, but your other two headliners didn’t really manage the same movements. Kendrick Lamar brought Mr. Morale and the High Steppers from number 24 to number 20, while Paul McCartney doesn’t even have a solo album in the top 100.

In fact, the artist with the biggest “Glastonbury Effect” might be Wet Leg. The Isle of Wight duo made their Glasto debut this year, and the pair’s previous number one self-titled debut rose from number 77 all the way up to number 29. None of these artists could compete with more-recent chart successes, so the observations around the scientific accuracy of the “Glastonbury Effect” are still inconclusive.

This week, we take a look at a hot new up-and-comer in the music world named Beyoncé and her new single ‘Break My Soul’, welcome Harry Styles back to the top in the US on ‘As It Was’, and revisit Carole King’s sole number one solo hit with ‘It’s Too Late’. All that and more as we round up all the best chart news of the modern-day and recent past.

Current UK Number One: ‘Running Up That Hill’ – Kate Bush

I’ll be perfectly honest because that’s what people do on the internet: I wasn’t sure if the Beyoncé moment had truly come to pass or not.

That’s a ludicrous thing to claim, given that Beyoncé Knowles isn’t just one of the biggest artists of the modern day but also one of the biggest artists of all time. Everything Beyoncé does becomes relevant in the world of music. She could dress up like a tennis ball, as she did at this year’s Oscars, and it would still be major news.

So how did a new Beyoncé single debut at number 21 last week? Where is the Beehive sending up this new single into the top ten? Where’s the major red carpet rollout for Renaissance, her first album in over half a decade? Where’s the pomp? Where’s the excitement? Am I blind or just going crazy over here?

Well, never fear, because ‘Break My Soul’ is starting to make its push to the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The Jay-Z co-written track has risen all the way to number four this week. That’s not enough to challenge Kate Bush, who remains at number one for the third week in a row, but it’s a solid climb for an artist who I assumed just lived in the top ten at all times. Patience, it seems, was the truest test of all.

Speaking of Bush, all of the stars aligned for ‘Running Up That Hill’ to stay at number one as the world got to experience the madness of Stranger Things 4‘s final two episodes. Now that the season is officially over will Bush fall off the charts once again? Or is the shock of the season finale still fresh enough to keep her hanging around the top?

UK Singles Top Ten (Week of July 6th, 2022):

  1. ‘Running Up That Hill’ – Kate Bush
  2. ‘Afraid to Feel’ – LF System
  3. ‘As It Was’ – Harry Styles
  4. ‘Break My Soul’ – Beyoncé
  5. ‘Green Green Grass’ – George Ezra
  6. ‘Go’ – Cat Burns
  7. ‘About Damn Time’ – Lizzo
  8. ‘Massive’ – Drake
  9. ‘IFTK’ – Tion Wayne & La Roux
  10. ‘Late Night Talking’ – Harry Styles

Current US Number One: ‘As It Was’ – Harry Styles

Easy come and easy go for your boy Drake this week. While Honestly, Nevermind netted another gaggle of hits for the Canadian rapper, the one-week run of ‘Jimmy Cooks’ at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 appears to be just that: a one-week run.

In its place, we get an old favourite: ‘As It Was’ by Mr. Olviai Wilde himself, Harry Styles. Anyone paying attention to the charts should see no surprises in Styles’ return back to the number one position, considering how Styles has been hovering at or around the top spot for most of the spring and summer months this year.

But with its placement back at number one, ‘As It Was’ has accomplished a singular feat – it has made its third return trip to number one, the most from any single song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Plenty of songs have made return trips or even second return trips up to the top, but Styles is officially the first artist to reach number one, get knocked out, return again, get knocked out again, return yet again, get knocked out yet again, and then come back up again for another round. Confusing, isn’t it?

Styles’ four non-consecutive trips to number one are impressive, and along with Kate Bush being the oldest woman to ever achieve a number one hit in the UK, we’re seeing two simultaneous chart records occur this week. Pretty cool if you ask a nerd like me.

US Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten Singles (Week of July 9th, 2022):

  1. ‘As It Was’ – Harry Styles
  2. ‘First Class’ – Jack Harlow
  3. ‘Wait For U’ – Future ft. Drake & Tems
  4. ‘About Damn Time’ – Lizzo
  5. ‘Jimmy Cooks’ – Drake ft. 21 Savage
  6. ‘About Damn Time’ – Lizzo
  7. ‘Break My Soul’ – Beyoncé
  8. ‘Me Porto Bonito’ – Bad Bunny & Chencho Corleone
  9. ‘Heat Waves’ – Glass Animals
  10. ‘Glimpse of Us’ – Joji

This Week in Number Ones: ‘It’s Too Late’ / ‘I Feel the Earth Move’ (#1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Week of July 3rd, 1971)

Carole King had many number one hits, but Carole King only had one trip to number one. Technically, she had two number one hits at the same time. It’s complicated.

As a songwriter, King is one of the undeniable legends of American pop, with classic number one hits like ‘The Loco-Motion’ and ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ being penned by her and her husband Gerry Goffin at the Brill Building in New York City. Her songs made it all the way to The Beatles, who recorded a version of the Cookies’ ‘Chains’ for their debut Please Please Me.

When King went solo, the hits weren’t immediate. 1970s Writer came and went without much attention, but it would be King’s follow-up, 1971’s Tapestry, that would catapult her into the mainstream as a singer in her own right. Riding the wave of Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters that included James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, both of whom appear on the album, Tapestry was an instant classic that solidified King’s place in pop culture.

It was King’s declaration of independence, but she also had some help putting it together. King dipped back into her previous collaboration with her then ex-husband on ‘Smackwater Jack’ and recorded new versions of their old hits ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ and ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’. The other prominent contribution came from Toni Stern, a songwriter who was going through a breakup with Taylor around the time of Tapestry‘s recording.

Stern contributed lyrics to two of the songs on the album: ‘Where You Lead’ and ‘It’s Too Late’. The latter would be tapped as the album’s first single, but just as she was beginning to step into the spotlight, King learned that Taylor would be releasing a version of her song ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ as a single at nearly the same time. The two were friendly enough for King to not see it as competition, but the fact that King had to compete with one of her own songs on the charts was going to show whether the public truly saw her as her own artist or as just a songwriter.

The public chose both: ‘It’s Too Late’ hit number one on June 19th and stayed there for another four weeks. After a brief number one stay by The Raiders, Taylor’s version of ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ hit number one for one week. Other artists were breaking, but it’s hard to argue against anyone having a better 1971 than Carole King did on the Billboard charts.

But ‘It’s Too Late’ wasn’t the only song that hit number one – due to chart rules at the time, if a double A-sided single has both sides get significant airplay, then both songs would be countered together on the chart. The flip side to ‘It’s Too Late’ was ‘I Feel the Earth Move’, a funky piano rocker that also happened to be a major hit in its own right. Since the two songs shared a single, ‘It’s Too Late’ and ‘I Feel the Earth Move’ were both number ones, even if Billboard technically only credits King as having one career solo number one.

That didn’t really matter though: King really could feel the earth move under her feet. She was one of the most popular singer-songwriters at a time when you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting one. King sat without competition at the top of the pile, justifying her decade-and-change of time spent in the music industry by being rewarded with her own chart-topping single.

Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten (Week of July 3rd, 1971)

  1. ‘It’s Too Late’ / ‘I Feel the Earth Move’ – Carole King
  2. ‘Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) ‘ – The Raiders
  3. ‘Treat Her Like a Lady’ – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
  4. ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ – Carpenters
  5. ‘Don’t Pull Your Love’ – Hamilton, Joe Frank, & Reynolds
  6. ‘Want Ads’ – The Honey Cone
  7. ‘Brown Sugar’ – The Rolling Stones
  8. ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ – James Taylor
  9. ‘When You’re Hot, You’re Hot’ – Jerry Reed
  10. ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ – Ringo Starr