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The Week in Number Ones: Glass Animals, Luude, and Kate Bush storm 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 trekked the continued dominance of Encanto, tried to pinpoint how Mimi Webb was going to chart in the future and investigated just who the hell this Harry Nilsson guy was anyway.

Over on the album charts, five artists have landed new LPs in the top ten in the UK. That includes Central Cee, whose sophomore mixtape 23 lands the English rapper his first number one album. The next three positions are also taken up being new records: Tears for Fears’ The Tipping Point lands at number two, Avril Lavigne’s Love Sux comes in at number three, and Johnny Marr’s Fever Dreams Pts. 1-4 lands at a solid number four (Gang of Youth’s Angel in Realtime also debuts at number ten, a solid showing for the indie rockers).

Interestingly enough, the remaining five albums have all been previous number ones: Ed Sheeran’s = (which was at the top of the album charts last week), Adele’s 30, Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, Dave’s We’re All Alone in This Together, and Eminem’s Curtain Call: The Hits. Why the Detroit rapper has seen a major resurgence is anyone’s guess, but he recently became the artist with the most gold and platinum single certifications in the history of the RIAA, so obviously Eminem is still a major draw. Maybe the Sper Bowl love is still going strong, or maybe Marshall Mathers’ work just continues to translate in its third decade.

This week, we see a surprise jump from Luude and his drum and bass take on a Men at Work classic, Glass Animals break the ceiling and finally ascend to number one, and Kate Bush joins a rare club of artists whose debut singles reach all the way to number one. All of that and more as we round up all the best chart news of the modern-day and of the recent past.

Current UK Number One: ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ – The Cast of Disney’s Encanto

Yup, it’s still Encanto time. Even as the rest of the world appears to be moving beyond Disney’s latest cross-cultural phenomenon, the Brits just can’t seem to let go of the intertwining sing-alongs of ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’. That’s perfectly fine, but every hit has a shelf life, and it appears as though Encanto is gaining on its own inevitable fall, with a horde of challengers to the throne just waiting to take it down.

One of the most surprising of those challengers? Australian DJ Luude, who has crashed the top ten and is currently climbing the singles chart with a remixed version of Men at Work’s seminal hit ‘Down Under’. The song is literally Luude’s national anthem, and he’s added a drum and bass-heavy makeover to the 1980s singalong. It’s a bit strange that an artist with no real popular music history is now suddenly making a real run at number one with a hyperactive version of a laid-back MTV-era hit.

Even more strange is the fact that Luude’s version of ‘Down Under’ blows. Technically, the song features Men at Work frontman Colin Hay, but the version of ‘Down Under’ currently making its way up the charts is just regular ‘Down Under’ we all know and love with hyperpop beats and bizarre synthetic bass flourishes added on top of it. It’s the kind of remix that a seven-year-old with Garageband could create, and yet it’s a genuine cross-continent hit.

I’m not the biggest remix stan, but the UK Singles chart absolutely loves the art form. Junkie XL scored a number one hit in 2002 when he souped Elvis Presley’s ‘A Little Less Conversation’, while Cornershop were able to hit number one when they let Norman Cook, AKA Fatboy Slim, crank up the RPMs on ‘Brimful of Asha’ in 1998. There is a long history of remix culture permeating the charts, but usually, there are some fun new additions included in the composition. Here, there doesn’t seem to be anything interesting to flesh out a club version of ‘Down Under’.

The original Men at Work version of ‘Down Under’ hit number one for three weeks back in 1983, and the UK Singles Chart is notorious for having cover songs land on the chart with alarming frequency, especially during the idol days of the early 2000s. Remixes are a bit rarer, but surely they can be better than the half-assed pap that Luude is currently serving up.

UK Singles Top Ten (Week of March 9th, 2022):

  1. ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ – Disney’s Encanto Cast
  2. ‘Peru’ – Fireboy DML & Ed Sheeran
  3. ‘Where Are You Now’ – Lost Frequencies/Calum Scott
  4. ‘Make Me Feel Good’ – Belters Only ft. Jazzy
  5. ‘Surface Pressure’ – Jessica Darrow (from Disney’s Encanto)
  6. ‘Down Under’ – Luude ft. Colin Hay
  7. ‘Seventeen Going Under’ – Sam Fender
  8. ‘House on Fire’ – Mimi Webb
  9. ‘Overseas’ – D-Block Europe ft. Central Cee
  10. ‘The Family Madrigal’ – Stephanie Beatriz (from Disney’s Encanto)

Current US Number One: ‘Heat Waves’ – Glass Animals

After five weeks at number one, the reign of ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ and Encanto is over. At least for now… specifically in the US. With the way songs can bounce around the charts these days, repeat appearances at number one are not uncommon. In fact, the first two number ones of 2021 – Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ and Adele’s ‘Easy on Me’ – had both previously made number one runs before returning to the top of the charts.

But I have a feeling that Glass Animals might just stick around. Or at the very least, ‘Heat Waves’ might stay at number one for more than one week. That’s because the British pop rockers, whose song is an unrivalled TikTok sensation, have been on the Billboard Hot 100 for 59 weeks now. In fact, with this being the first week they’ve hit number one, Glass Animals officially hold the record for the longest continuous climb to number one in Billboard chart history, a record previously held by ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’.

For 42 of those 59 weeks, ‘Heat Waves’ wasn’t even in the top ten. But back in November of 2021, it finally cracked through and has stayed in the top ten for three straight months. After being just on the heels of ‘Easy on Me’ and ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ for months, ‘Heat Waves’ is now officially the most popular song in the country.

Sleeper success stories are some of my favourites when it comes to chart history. Even if you never want to hear it ever again, ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ is a fascinating look into how streaming changed the music industry and how long it took for the charts to adapt. The unmatched run on The Killers’ ‘Mr. Brightside’ is a testament to how one band can create a song so catchy that it will theoretically never leave the singles chart. It’s still there this week, hovering at number 78 right below its strongest competition for UK Singles Chart longevity, The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’.

I can’t tell if my joy is for Glass Animals or just in relief that Encanto no longer has a monopolised stranglehold over the singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic, but in either case, I will celebrate the variety it brings. Congratulations, Glass Animals. Now comes time to take on the most daunting task an act like this can confront: not becoming a one-hit-wonder.

US Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten Singles (Week of March 12th, 2022):

  1. ‘Heat Waves’ – Glass Animals
  2. ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ – Disney’s Encanto Cast
  3. ‘ABCDEFU’ – Gayle
  4. ‘Super Gremlin’ – Kodak Black
  5. ‘Stay’ – The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber
  6. ‘Easy On Me’ – Adele
  7. ‘Ghost’ – Justin Bieber
  8. ‘Shivers’ – Ed Sheeran
  9. ‘Bad Habits’ – Ed Sheeran
  10. ‘Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)’ – Elton John & Dua Lipa

This Week in Number Ones: ‘Wuthering Heights’ – Kate Bush (#1 on the UK Singles Chart, March 11th, 1978)

From 2000 to 2019, exactly 110 debut singles reached number one on the UK Singles Chart. Everyone from Harry Styles to Lady Gaga to Bob the Builder managed to land their first-ever single at number one, and a debut single would hit number roughly five and a ahalf times every year. But before the new millennium, you either had to already be an established figure from a prominent act (most likely a member of a band going solo) or a charity single to have your debut reach number one. The air was more rarified back when the music industry involved more of a slow burn.

A true cultural takeover, going from unknown to number one, was nearly impossible before the internet. Acts like Frankie Goes to Hollywood (‘Relax’) and David Soul (‘Don’t Give Up on Us’) largely remained tied to the specific time and place of their number one songs, failing to find greater recognition or acclaim outside of their biggest hits. It would take a rare artist to hit the top of the charts with their debut and have enough staying power to make themselves an all-time legend.

Really, it’s a category that contains only one: Kate Bush. Signed to EMI at age 16, Bush studied interpretive dance and indulged in intellectual pursuits before finally releasing her debut album, The Kick Inside, in 1978. She was only 19 as the album’s first single, the Emile Brontë inspired ‘Wuthering Heights’, began climbing the charts. Before her 20th birthday, Bush landed a number one hit in her home country.

Bush actually had to push for ‘Wuthering Heights’ to be her debut single. EMI wanted ‘James and the Warm Gun’ to be her introduction to the public, but Bush refused and insisted that ‘Wuthering Heights’ be issued instead. Even when the record company agreed, Bush became unhappy with the planned cover art and insisted a photo mirroring that of The Kick Inside be inserted in its place. After some delays to accommodate her wishes, Bush got her way, setting a precedent for how she dictated her career.

Despite the meteoric success of the song in Britain, ‘Wuthering Heights’ failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Instead, the US charts were invaded by the Brothers Gibb: during the four weeks that ‘Wuthering Heights’ was number one in the UK, Andy Gibb’s ‘(Love Is) Thicker Than Water’ and the Bee Gees’ ‘Night Fever’ sat at the top of the American charts. It wouldn’t be until 1985 that Bush would land her only top 40 hit in the US with ‘Running Up That Hill’.

Even in her home country, Bush’s success as a singles artist topped out with her debut. She notched seven more top ten hits over her career, including her follow up ‘Man with the Child in His Eyes’ landing at number six, but ‘Wuthering Heights’ would prove to be Bush’s one and only number one hit in the UK. Still, the influence she would have on popular music would extend beyond the singles chart, making her one of the few artists who was able to live inside and outside the mainstream in whatever ways she wanted.

UK Singles Chart Top Top, Week of March 11th, 1978:

  1. ‘Wuthering Heights’ – Kate Bush
  2. ‘Take a Chance on Me’ – ABBA
  3. ‘Come Back My Love’ – Darts
  4. ‘Wishing on a Star’ – Rose Royce
  5. ‘Denis’ – Blondie
  6. ‘Stayin’ Alive’ – Bee Gees
  7. ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’ – Eruption
  8. ‘Baker Street’ – Gerry Rafferty
  9. ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ – Electric Light Orchestra
  10. ‘Just One More Night’ – Yellow Dog