Clean Bandit's 'Rather Be' Makes Off With Big-Selling U.K. No. 1

English electronic quartet Clean Bandit, featuring Jess Glynne, scored the highest sales total for a January No. 1 single for 18 years with “Rather Be” (Atlantic/Warner Music), when the new U.K. sales charts were unveiled Sunday (Jan. 26). Ellie Goulding’s “Halcyon” (Polydor/Universal) returned to the top of the album bestsellers, in a top ten featuring new entries for Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Warpaint and Mogwai. 

“Rather Be,” which combines electronic pop with classical strings, sold 163,000 in the week to Saturday night, the best weekly total in the traditionally slow first month of the year since Babylon Zoo’s “Spaceman” shifted 383,000 copies in 1996. Clean Bandit had their debut U.K. hit last spring, when “Mozart’s House” reached No. 17. The group formed at Cambridge University in 2009.  

Their banner week sent Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” (Back Lot) back down into runner-up spot on the singles chart, with Vamps following their No. 2 hit of last autumn, “Can We Dance” (EMI/Universal) with a No. 3 entry for “Wild Heart.” RCA/Sony Music girl quartet Neon Jungle’s sequel to last September’s No. 12 success “Trouble” with the No. 5 debut of “Braveheart.” There was also a first U.K. top ten appearance for Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy, who climbed 18-10 with “Riptide” (Liberation/Atlantic/Warner Music).

Goulding’s album returned to the summit to limit Bruce Springsteen’s “High Hopes” (Columbia/Sony Music) to one week at No. 1. That fell to No. 2 as its fellow Columbia release “Beyoncé” held at No. 3. Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Wanderlust” (EBGB’s) comes after her fourth-place finish in last December’s finals of the BBC TV hit “Strictly Come Dancing.” The higher profile of the British pop singer, who had scored six U.K. top ten singles between 2001 and 2007, helped the new album to a No. 4 start, while its single “Young Blood” rose 100-55. 

Los Angeles indie rockers Warpaint arrived at No. 9 with their self-titled second album on Rough Trade, while Mogwai’s “Rave Tapes” (Rock Action) opened at No. 10. Warpaint’s previous release “The Fool” peaked at No. 41 in 2010 while Mogwai have eight earlier chart albums to their name, the previous best showing being the No. 23 peak in 2001 of the release that inspired their current label name, “Rock Action.” Meanwhile, “The Trevor Nelson Collection 2” (Sony CG) started a second week atop the compilation chart.

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