As expected, “Wherever You Are” (Decca/Universal) by the Military Wives with Gareth Malone was confirmed on Christmas Day as the U.K.’s festive No. 1 single. It smashed the record for best first-week sales by any track in the market in 2011, sellling a mighty 556,000 units to the week ending on Christmas Eve at midnight. Michael Bublé, also in record-breaking form, topped the album chart with “Christmas” (Reprise/Warner Music), recording the best weekly sale for any artist album this year with 317,000 copies sold and becoming the U.K.’s fourth million-selling album of the year in the process.
The Military Wives’ achievement means that the previous 2011 first-week singles record of 210,000, recorded last week by Little Mix‘s “Cannonball” (Syco Music/Sony Music Entertainment), lasted just seven days. That single fell to No. 2 on the new chart with 117,000 new sales. “Wherever You Are” also sold more than the next 11 titles on the singles chart combined.
Official Charts Company data also reveals that the Military Wives’ track logged the seventh highest opening U.K. total since sales were first electronically recorded in 1994. That list is headed by Elton John‘s “Candle In The Wind 1997″/”Something About The Way You Look Tonight,” with a gigantic 1,983,000, followed by 1,108,000 for Will Young‘s “Anything Is Possible”/”Evergreen” in 2002. Gareth Gates‘ “Unchained Melody” opened with 851,000 the same year, Shayne Ward‘s “That’s My Goal” 742,000 in 2005, Alexandra Burke‘s “Hallelujah” 576,000 in 2008 and Leona Lewis‘ “A Moment Like This” 571,000 in 2006.
The late Lou Monte‘s “Dominick The Donkey” (Cinquenta Musica), recently championed by BBC Radio 1 morning drive presenter Chris Moyles, debuted at No. with nearly 93,000 sales. YouTube favorite, unsigned artist Alex Day’s “Forever Yours” (Nermie Army HQ) came in at No. 4 with close to 53,000 units sold. The Facebook campaign to propel Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Geffen/Universal) to No. 1 for Christmas, in support of the children’s charity Rhythmix, ended with a No. 11 entry and some 30,000 new sales.
Below Bublé on the album chart, Amy Winehouse‘s “Lioness: Hidden Treasures” (Universal Island) held at No. 2 while Olly Murs moved back 4-3 with “In Case You Didn’t Know” (Epic/Sony Music Entertainment). Coldplay‘s “Mylo Xyloto” (Parlophone/EMI) fell 3-4 and Rihanna‘s “Talk That Talk” (Def Jam/Universal) held at No. 5. “Now! That’s What I Call Music 80” (EMI TV/Universal Music TV) leads the compilation chart for a fifth week.