Melua-Cassidy duet tops U.K. singles chart


LONDON -- An "electronic duet" charity version of Louis Armstrong's 1968 U.K. No. 1 "What a Wonderful World" by Katie Melua and the late Eva Cassidy has repeated the feat of the original and gone to the top of the British singles chart.

Released on Dramatico and available exclusively through retailer Tesco, all profits from the single are going to the British Red Cross. Cassidy has topped the U.K. album chart three times and Melua twice, but neither has had a No. 1 single before.

The track ended Leona Lewis' seven-week run at the top of the singles survey with "Bleeding Love" (Syco Music/Sony BMG). That fell to No. 2 as "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" (Interscope) by Soulja Boy climbed from No. 10 to No. 3. In a chart full of festive titles, Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (Columbia) rose from No. 8 to No. 4 and "Fairytale of New York" (Warner Bros.) by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl climbed from No. 12 to No. 8 to become a top 10 hit for, remarkably, the third year running, and fourth time in total.

Other Christmas favorites given new life via download sales were Wham!'s "Last Christmas" (Epic), up from 23rd to 14th; Wizzard's "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" (EMI, 27-16); Andy Williams' new hit with 1963's "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" (Sony BMG, 25-21); Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody" (Polydor, 37-22); Shakin' Stevens' "Merry Christmas Everyone" (Sony Music, 33-23); Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" (Mercury, 38-27); Chris Rea's "Driving Home for Christmas" (Atlantic, 51-35) and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by John & Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir, up from No.  60 to No. 40.

The 41-75 section of the published chart contains further Yuletide recurrents by Bing Crosby, Boney M, Perry Como, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Jona Lewie. A new Christmas entry, the Killers' "Don't Shoot Me Santa" (Vertigo), rose from No. 44 to No. 43.

Other nonseasonal singles doing well on the new top 40 included Cascada's "What Hurts The Most" (All Around The World), up from No. 16 to No. 10; the novelty release "Life's a Treat" (Gut) by Shaun the Sheep, in at No. 20; Scottish singer/songwriter Amy Macdonald's "This Is the Life" (Vertigo), up 46-28; Stereophonics' "My Friends" (V2), new at No. 32; Scouting For Girls' "Elvis Ain't Dead" (Epic), up from No. 53 to No. 33; Rihanna's "Don't Stop The Music"(Def Jam), which climbed from 68th to 37th; the same artist's indefatigable "Umbrella," featuring Jay-Z, which returned to the top 40 in its 31st chart week, 50-38; and indie newcomers Foals with "Balloons" (Transgressive), which arrived at No. 39.

Meanwhile, Lewis' fifth week at the top of the album bestsellers with "Spirit" kept it ahead of Westlife's "Back Home" (S/Sony BMG), which stayed at No. 2. Canadian crooner Michael Buble had a stellar week, racing from No. 21 to No. 3 with the "special edition" of his current "Call Me Irresponsible" album (Reprise). The original single-CD release reached No. 2 in the U.K. in April and has sold 3.5 million copies worldwide, according to the label. The new version adds a second disc of new recordings, Christmas songs and exclusive mixes and is selling well after Buble's recent British tour and a live performance on the Dec. 8 edition of ITV's mass-audience talent series "The X-Factor."

Buble also has a presence on the new singles chart, with "Lost" back in at No. 19 and "Home"/"Song For You" returning at No. 45. Westlife's version of "Home," which Buble co-wrote, is still in the U.K. top 20, down from No. 15 to No. 17 after peaking at No. 3.

Also responding to a recent high media profile was Led Zeppelin, whose "Mothership" compilation (Atlantic) climbed back from No. 8 to No. 4 after the band's reunion show at London's 02 on Dec. 10. Other big sellers on the way back up the new album chart included Take That's six-times platinum "Beautiful World" (Polydor), up from No. 10 to No. 8, and Mika's triple platinum "Life in Cartoon Motion" (Casablanca/Universal Island), up from No. 19 to No. 11.

On Billboard's Europe-wide sales compilations, the Eagles' "Long Road Out of Eden" (Polydor) is in a third week (and second consecutively) atop Billboard's European Top 100 Albums chart, while "Apologize" (Mosley/Blackground/Interscope) by Timbaland presents OneRepublic is in a fourth week at No. 1 on the Eurochart Top 100 Singles list.