Dec 08

Chartmythwatch: “Hallelujah” Special!

FT10 comments • 505 views

On two separate news reports last night I saw it mentioned that – if the Facebook campaign to get Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” to No.1 is a success (or a near-miss) – this week we might see the first instance of the same song being No.1 and No.2 in two different versions. This would be historic, said a dude from HMV.

Except, as all Popular readers doubtless know, the claim is COBBLERS.

This feat has been achieved at least once before, in 1967, when Petula Clark’s version of “This Is My Song” kept Harry Secombe’s reading off the top. You’d be forgiven for forgetting this, Mr HMV buyer, as both are godawful. Interestingly, researches suggest that a similar campaign to the Facebook one raged in 1967 in the letters pages of Disc And Music Echo, with the following excerpts from missives received:

“Help keep this manufactured crap off No.1 GO HARRY GO”

“Secombe is a legend m8 his versh cant be betered buy it and keep this no talent bird out the charts”

“In 31 years time who will remember this so called cover NOBODY THATS WHO Harry FTW.”

Ploo sa chawnge, eh readers!


  1. 1
    Tom on 18 Dec 2008 #

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this had happened plenty of times in the 50s too, but I don’t have my copy of the Good Book here for further investigations.

  2. 2
    Geoff on 18 Dec 2008 #

    There’s a letter in the Guardian today about that: the 50s apparently gave us Tommy Steele vs Guy Mitchell (Singing the Blues); Eddie Calvert vs Perez Prado (Cheery Pink & Apple Blossom White); Jimmy Young vs Al Hibbler (Unchained Melody) and David Whitfield vs Frankie Laine (Answer Me).

    On a more recent note, both Rick Astley & Nat King Cole hit the top 5 in Christmas ’87 with ‘When I Fall in Love’ (I seem to remember that the Nat King Cole version was rush-released in horror at the upstart cover) – allowing the PSBs to sneak through the middle and claim Christmas number one with Always on my Mind, which they may not have done had there only been one When I Fall in Love in the charts.

  3. 3
    mike on 18 Dec 2008 #

    This also happened twice in the 1984 German singles charts.

    Firstly, when Nino De Angelo’s “Jenseits Von Eden” was tailed by its English language version: “Guardian Angel” by Masquerade.

    And secondly, when Laura Branigan’s “Self Control” kept RAF’s “Self Control” at #2.

    (Hello again, by the way. Been a bit busy and I got a bit behind.)

  4. 4
    Tom on 18 Dec 2008 #

    Hi Mike!

    There have been dual-language 1/2s in the UK chart too I think.

  5. 5
    tommy on 18 Dec 2008 #

    First time at christmas, though, right?

  6. 6
    Alan on 18 Dec 2008 #

    Not according to a chap writing a letter in the Guardian today. He says that the xmas ’53 no 1 “Answer Me” which was consecutively #1 for David Whitfield and then Frankie Laine, had Whitfield officially at #2 over the period 19Dec-9Jan


  7. 7
    vinylscot on 19 Dec 2008 #

    I had a look at that Christmas ’53 chart; gosh things were exciting back then!

    Apart from “Answer Me” at #1 and #2, “Swedish Rhapsody” was at #4 by Ray Martin and #5 by Mantovani, and #7, #8 and #11 were all versions of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, bythe Beverley Sisters, Jimmy Boyd, and Billy Cotton respectively.

    Our charts now may be full of crap, but thankfully it’s usually unique crap!

  8. 8
    mike on 19 Dec 2008 #

    Here’s a handy at-a-glance version-by-version lyric guide, that I knocked up a couple of days ago:


  9. 9
    Matthew on 20 Dec 2008 #

    Cripes, “You say I took the name in vain” doesn’t get much love in that convenient guide. I was momentarily excited when Google suggested to me that it was in the Sheryl Crow rendition, but on investigation this is probably a VICIOUS LIE. What’s not to like about a verse of abstract maunderings on the subject of Old Testament guilt and commandment-breaking?

  10. 10
    vinylscot on 23 Dec 2008 #

    Looking back to the 1967 charts, Petula Clark’s version didn’t keep Harry Secombe off the top – his version entered at #44 on the last week of her stay at #1.

    By the time Harry got to #2 Petula was down at #8 and it was Engelbert Dumpertruck at the top with “Release Me”.

    Sorry to point out an error, Tom, but I kept hearing conflicting reports from the talking heads on TV (not D.Byrne et al), so decided to investigate.

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