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The Official Charts Company’s physical singles chart, based on CD and vinyl sales, paints a very different picture to the ‘real’ Top 40 – and a much more attractive one
What a great top 10 singles from the Official Charts Company. A leading solo artist at No 1, a great British group at No 2, Radio 2 favourites at three, three hot young acts, one veteran band propelled there by fanbase sales, one beloved pop institution, and one proper wildcard. Admittedly, that’s nine, and the 10th song is by the bloke who’s at No 1, but never mind, because it’s David Bowie rather than Ed Sheeran, and this is a chart that paints a picture of pop in the UK that those who grew up watching Top of the Pops would recognise.
That chart – with Bowie joined by Depeche Mode, Take That, London Grammar, Rag’n’Bone Man, Deep Purple, Ed Sheeran, Blondie and Cigarettes After Sex (the wildcard) – is the physical chart, the one calculated by the old rules. The one where each of your sales was calculated by the fiendish method of counting the number of physical manifestations of an artist’s music that had been bought: the records, CDs, cassettes and anything else you can think of. No downloads, no complicated formula involving streams and their equivalence to sales.