Thursday 19 October 2017

Loaded: John Meagher

Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams
John Meagher

John Meagher

The first album to top the UK chart was Frank Sinatra's Songs for Swinging Lovers back in 1956, so there was a certain symmetry to the news that another swing album, Robbie Williams' Swings Both Ways, would be the 1,000th album to go to number one.

It's unlikely that Mr Williams' efforts will be hailed as a classic of the genre in the way that Ol' Blue Eyes' album is, but it says something of the enduring pulling power of the Take That man that he comfortably beat the young pretender, Jake Bugg, who was seeking his second number one album. He also managed to dislodge Lady Gaga and her heavily promoted album, Artpop, from the summit.

Contemporary chart fans are used to seeing a slew of different acts take number one spot over the course of a year, but it was all so different between May 1963 and April 1965: in that two-year period, the only artists to top the chart were The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Incidentally, the biggest selling number one of all is Queen's Greatest Hits from 1981, which shifted a whopping six million units. The biggest selling album of this century so far is Adele's second album, 21, which is the only album released in the 2000s that makes the top 10 in terms of sales.

* Excitement over the news that Bruce Springsteen would be releasing his 18th studio album was soon tempered when it emerged that it wouldn't be quite as new as many were expecting.

High Hopes, which will be out on January 10, will be largely comprised of covers and reworked versions of his own songs. He's set to rework his The Ghost of Tom Joad, the title song of his 1995 album, and provide a first studio version of American Skin (41 Shots) which has become something of a staple of his live shows. When the latter song was aired at his Thomond Park, Limerick show this summer, he dedicated it to the memory of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old whose murder sparked race rows in the US.

* Thirty years ago Michael Jackson's Thriller showed the scope of the music video: the seven-minute John Landis film remains a defining achievement.

But even the King of Pop could hardly have imagined a 24-hour music video -- which is what Pharrell Williams has just released to promote his new single, Happy. The NME had one of its writers sit through the entire thing.

Irish Independent

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