James Bay cracks the US

CHART ANALYSIS: Russell Iliffe gives us a view of the pop charts on both sides of the Atlantic, with James Bay, The Prodigy, George Ezra, Jess Glynne and more…

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 13 Apr 2015
  • min read
The Brits Critics’ Choice Award certainly comes with high expectations, with past winners including Sam Smith, Adele and Ellie Goulding, all of whom have gone on to achieve global chart domination.

This year’s winner, 24-year-old James Bay, is off to a flying start with debut album Chaos and the Calm recently giving him a UK chart topper, with first week sales of over 64,000 copies.

Bay’s success has already gone worldwide, with the set reaching number 15 in the States, as well as a strong showing across Europe and in Australia. The album includes current UK top fiver Hold Back the River, which has clocked up an impressive 20 weeks on the chart.

Meanwhile, Essex dance veterans The Prodigy had a happy Easter when they scored their sixth UK number one album with The Day Is My Enemy, their first studio offering for six years.

The group shot to fame with their number three single Charly back in 1991 and of course scored back to back chart-toppers in 1996 with Firestarter and Breathe.

However, the Official Charts Company’s UK number one album this week comes from American pop-punk outfit All Time Low, with their sixth studio set Future Hearts. The position easily beats their previous British high of number nine, achieved by their 2012 long player Don’t Panic.

Elsewhere, only two singles have topped the US Billboard Hot 100 this year with Taylor Swift’s Blank Space succeeded by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, who now notch up a mighty 14th week at the summit with Uptown Funk.

The disco anthem ties with six other singles, (among them Elton John’s double A-side Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight, plus wedding reception favourite Macarena by Los Del Rio), as the second longest running chart-topper in Hot 100 history.

Only Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s 1995 ballad One Sweet Day has enjoyed a longer run at the top, notching up a whopping 16 weeks.

Uptown Funk also finally exhausted a very strong challenge from Ed Sheeran, whose Thinking Out Loud recently held the US runner-up spot for eight consecutive weeks behind Ronson.

Another British star making a US chart impact is George Ezra, with single Budapest moving nearer the top 40 this week. His debut album Wanted on Voyage also climbs, meaning that Ezra could very well duplicate the success of fellow countrymen Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran soon.

Over on the UK singles chart, mid-week sales indicated that this year’s winner of BBC1’s The Voice UK might finally deliver a number one hit for the show. However, Scottish firefighter Stevie McCrorie, finished up entering at number six with Lost Stars, originally a hit for Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine across the Far East last year.

Stevie still easily outstrips the TV show’s previous best chart placing by a winner - a number 30 peak for 2013 champion Andrea Begley, with her cover of Evanescence’s My Immortal.

Instead, it is Jess Glynne’s Hold My Hand which holds steady at the summit for a third week, with US star Nick Jonas jumping a massive 111 places to number two with Jealous.

Finally, it seems that audiences are reluctant to Let It Go, as the power of Disney’s Frozen shows no signs of thawing. The soundtrack to the all-conquering box office phenomenon recently broke through the four million sales barrier stateside.