Ed Sheeran could replace himself at the summit of the U.K. singles chart, with a little inspiration from the late Michael Gudinski.
The superstar British singer and songwriter last week unveiled his fourth solo studio album = (equals), and released a new song from it, “Visiting Hours.”
Based on sales and streaming data from the weekend, “Visiting Hours” blasts to No. 3 on the First Look chart, behind Sheeran’s current leader “Bad Habits,” and The Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber’s “Stay,” respectively.
“Visiting Hours” is no ordinary record. Sheeran wrote while in quarantine en route to Gudinski’s state memorial in Melbourne on March 24, and he premiered the emotional number on the night.
Also joining Sheeran on stage that evening was Gudinski’s good friends and signings Kylie Minogue and Jimmy Barnes. Both are credited as backing singers on the single.
Following his passing March 2, aged 68, Gudinski, the founder and chairman of the indie powerhouse Mushroom Group, was crowned Billboard’s International Power Player.
Sheeran has described the Aussie entrepreneur as a “father figure” and a “tornado of joy,” and those memories will pour out in the new album, due out Oct. 29. The forthcoming LP is “a really personal record and one that means a lot to me,” Sheeran said last week. “My life changed greatly over the past few years – I got married, became a father, experienced loss, and I reflect on these topics over the course of the album. I see it as my coming-of-age record, and I can’t wait to share this next chapter with you.”
Two more tracks are flying high on the chart blast.
British rappers Tion Wayne and ArrDee’s “Wid It” is new at No. 16, while Perth, Australia singer-songwriter Clinton Kane is on track for his first U.K. Top 40 hit with “I Guess I’m In Love.” It’s new at No. 19 on the First Look survey. “I Guess I’m In Love” is the followup to “Chicken Tendies,” which debuted at No. 88 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Official U.K. Singles chart is published late Friday.