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Grand time for the charts, but do they really count?


Hodgepodge: Robbie's new album  Swings Both Ways made chart history

Hodgepodge: Robbie's new album Swings Both Ways made chart history

Hodgepodge: Robbie's new album Swings Both Ways made chart history

DEAR God, did it have to be him? During the week the landmark of the 1,000th collection to top the UK album charts went the way of Robbie Williams.

His Swings Both Ways, a half-cocked hodgepodge of oldies and dismal newies, which includes a duet with Olly Murs on I Wanna Be Like You, became the 999th chart-topper since Frank Sinatra first reached the summit back in 1956 with the classic Songs for Swingin' Lovers.

There were some half-wits in the media who commented that this juxtaposition just goes to prove that swing is one of the most enduring musical forms of the past century. What utter nonsense.

Sinatra was a true original and vocal phenomenon, whereas anyone can stick on a tuxedo, distress a dickie bow slightly and pretend they're in the Rat Pack.

Apart from one iconic photo taken in Las Vegas, the whole Rat Pack thing is a load of nonsense anyway, being little more than Frank and his pals mucking about on stage while shooting the appalling Ocean's Eleven. Jesus, even Westlife had a go at this crack.

Quite aside from Robbie Williams looking even smugger than usual this week, you'd have to wonder if the album chart really counts for much any more.


The very notion of an actual chart is probably alien to anyone under the age of 20, while anyone over the age of 40 probably ceased caring at least a decade ago.

Sure, when people went into shops and actually bought physical albums and CDs there was an element of a level playing field to a certain extent, and it did mean something to fans of an act if they beat off the competition.

Hell, even I recall being rather pleased for U2 when War reached the top in 1983, making them the first Irish rock act to do so. For a while.

Still, it's nice to think that unsold copies of Robbie Williams' 2006 chart-topper Rudebox were shipped off to resurface roads in China. Something tells me that Swings Both Ways will play a part in the Chinese transport infrastructure in the not too distant future.