Ed Sheeran’s ‘Bad Habits’ Reigns Over U.K.’s Year-End Singles Chart

It’s official: Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” was the U.K.’s biggest song of 2021.

The first single lifted from Sheeran’s latest chart-leading set = (equals), “Bad Habits” led the Official U.K. Singles Chart for 11 weeks during the year, amassing more than 1.7 million combined sales along the way, the OCC reports.

Of that sum, “Bad Habits” was streamed 204 million times and amassed 142,000 sales.

Sheeran rules the year-end U.K. singles chart, ahead of two Olivia Rodrigo songs, “Good 4 U” (167 million streams) and “Drivers License” (nearly 156 million streams), respectively.

The California teen ties with Sheeran for the most entries on the year-end survey, with three each.

Other acts landing multiple entries in the 2021 Top 40 include The Weeknd (“Save Your Tears” at No. 4 and “Blinding Lights” at No. 9); Dua Lipa (“Levitating” at No. 6 and “Cold Heart” (Pnau Remix) with Elton John at No. 21), Lil Nas X (“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” at No. 5 and “Industry Baby” at No. 32) and Joel Corry (“Head & Heart” with MNEK at No. 17 and “Bed” with Raye at No. 18).

The Official Charts are collated by the Official Charts Company, a joint venture of labels body the BPI and Entertainment Retailers Assn. (ERA), and based on sales of downloads, CD, vinyl plus audio and video streams.

The hits impacting the year-end singles charts reflect the surge in music consumption across the U.K., and, in particular, the ongoing rise in streaming.

According to new data published by the OCC, total recorded music consumption lifted by 2.5% in 2021, powered by streaming.

Brits played more than 147 billion tracks over the course of the year, up 5.7% from 2020, the report finds, as streaming now accounts for 83% of all U.K. music consumption.

Official U.K. Top 10 biggest songs of 2021:

1. “Bad Habits”, Ed Sheeran
2. “Good 4 U”, Olivia Rodrigo
3. “Drivers License”, Olivia Rodrigo
4. “Save Your Tears”, The Weeknd
5. “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, Lil Nas X
6. “Levitating”, Dua Lipa
7. “Stay”, Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber
8. “Heat Waves”, Glass Animals
9. “Blinding Lights”, The Weeknd
10. “Body”, Tion Wayne & Russ Millions

Gayle Charging to U.K. No. 1 With ‘Abcdefu’

As Christmas tunes tumble out of the U.K. chart, Gayle takes pole position for the first time with “abcdefu.”

The Dallas-born, Nashville-based teen leads the chart blast with her viral hit, which lifts 14-1 in its seventh week on the survey. If it holds its position, the break-up song will give Gayle her first U.K. leader.

The breakthrough singer-songwriter topped Billboard‘s Emerging Artists chart (dated Dec. 4) with her global hit, which she wrote with Sara Davis and Dave Pittenger and which Ocean Park Standoff drummer Pete Nappi produced.

“Abcdefu” was initially powered by TikTok, having been featured in over half a million videos on the short-video streaming platform.

Several singles vault up the U.K. chart blast as Christmas tracks make their exodus. DJ Acraze is on track for his first U.K. Top 10 appearance with “Do It To It” girlband Cherish, which flies 42-2, while British rapper ArrDee’s “Flowers (Say My Name)” and rising star Sam Fender’s “Seventeen Going Under” occupy positions No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.

Finally, Ed Sheeran could land three tracks in the Top 10 when the Official Singles Chart is published late Friday. Former leaders “Shivers” (No. 5) and “Bad Habits” (No. 7) are on a burst, while “Peru” with Fireboy DML is up 28-10, and is on track for a new peak. Those tracks all appear on Sheeran’s = (equals), which returned to No. 1 on the current Official U.K. Albums Chart. 

Supergroup GOT the Beat Debuts ‘Step Back’ at Record-Breaking SMTOWN Live Concert

GOT the Beat, a new seven-member supergroup made up of BoA, Girls’ Generation‘s Taeyeon and Hyoyeon, Red Velvet’s Seulgi and Wendy and Aespa’s Karina and Winter, rang in 2022 with their debut single, “Step Back.”

The group brought the song, which has Yoo Young Jin and Dem Jointz among its producers, to the stage for a special performance at SMTOWN Live 2022 on New Year’s Eve. “Step Back” was officially released as a single on Jan. 3.

GOT the Beat is the “first unit” of a new SM Entertainment project known as Girls on Top, set to bring together and highlight the company’s female artists in various groups.

SMTOWN Live 2022, a free event for fans around the world that took place at the “SMCU Express Station” in a virtual space known as “KWANGYA,” featured a big lineup from SM Entertainment’s roster. A 40-song setlist featured “Step Back” and had a number of other collaborative performances, like “Ordinary Day” by Super Junior’s Kyuhyun, SHINee’s Onew and NCT’s Taeil, and “Zoo” by NCT’s Taeyong, Jeno, Hendery and Yangyang and Aespa’s Giselle.

SM Entertainment reports the concert set a new record with the highest number of views for a Korean concert online, with 51 million global streams, surpassing their own record for last year’s SMTOWN concert.

Soo-Man Lee, the event’s chief producer, gave an opening speech that explained, “SMCU [SM Culture Universe] shares stories of each artist across the virtual space and reality. In other words, it is a concept that encompasses the worldview and the universe containing the identity of each team. KWANGYA, therefore, represents a new world that transcends and coexists without boundaries. This worldview is being newly named and developed as ‘Metaversal Origin Story’ and each artist’s ‘Metaversal Origin Story’ comes together, intersects and coexists with each other in KWANGYA, which will unfold a new world.”

Watch GOT the Beat perform “Step Back” below.

Adele’s ‘30’ Spends Sixth Week at No. 1 on Billboard 200, ‘Encanto’ Hits Top 10

Adele’s 30 holds court atop the Billboard 200 albums chart for a sixth consecutive, and total, week at No. 1 (chart dated Jan. 8, 2022). The effort earned 99,000 equivalent album units (down 53%) in the U.S. in the week of Dec. 24-30, according to MRC Data.

30 is the second album released in 2021 to spend at least six weeks at No. 1 in total on the Billboard 200, following Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album (with 10 weeks atop the tally).

Also in the new top 10, a pair of albums hit the region for the first time: the new Encanto film soundtrack bounds 110-7, while the classic holiday compilation A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector jumps 11-10.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Jan 8, 2022-dated chart (where 30 spends a sixth week at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on Jan. 5 (one day later than usual, owed to the holiday week). For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.

Of 30’s 99,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Dec. 30, album sales comprise 71,500 (down 60%), SEA units comprise 26,000 (down 13%; equaling 35.45 million on-demand streams of the set’s tracks) and TEA units comprise 1,500 units (up less than 1%).

30 debuted at No. 1 on the chart dated Dec. 4 with 839,000 units earned. It then saw its second through sixth weeks tally 288,000; 193,000; 183,000; 212,000 and 99,000 units, respectively.

30 logs the biggest sixth week for any album since Roddy Ricch’s Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial logged 110,000 units in its sixth frame on the Jan. 25, 2020-dated tally.

Michael Bublé’s former No. 1 Christmas holds at No. 2 with 53,000 equivalent album units earned (down 31%). The set also spends its 100th nonconsecutive week on the chart, Bublé’s third album to reach that threshold, following 2007’s Call Me Irresponsible (113 weeks) and 2005’s It’s Time (143).

Three more former No. 1s round out the top five, as Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) is a non-mover at No. 3 with 47,000 units (down 39%), Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour rises 5-4 with 46,000 units (down 25%) and Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double album returns to the top 10 after a one-week dip outside the region. It climbs 12-5 with 43,000 units (down 10%).

Dangerous spent its first 49 weeks on the chart in the top 10, after debuting at No. 1 on the list dated Jan. 23, 2021. It fell out of the top 10 in its 50th chart week, when it dropped 6-12 on the Jan. 1, 2022-dated list. With its climb back to the top 10, Dangerous now has a total of 50 weeks in the top 10. It’s one of only four country albums with at least 50 weeks in the region in the 65-year history of the chart. Among country sets, Taylor Swift’s Fearless has the most weeks in the top 10, with 58, followed by Shania Twain’s Come On Over (53), Dangerous and Garth BrooksRopin’ the Wind (the latter two each with 50). (Country albums are defined as those that have hit Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart).

Among all genres, Dangerous is just the seventh album released since 2000 to spend 50 weeks in the top 10. Among all albums released since 2000, only Adele’s 21 (84 weeks), Swift’s 1989 (59), Swift’s Fearless (58), Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) (53), Lady Gaga’s The Fame (51), Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding (50) and Dangerous have logged at least 50 weeks in the top 10.

Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song climbs 8-6, matching its peak first achieved on the Jan. 2, 2021-dated chart. The set earned 42,000 equivalent album units in the latest tracking week (down 23%).

The soundtrack to the Walt Disney animated film Encanto vaults 110-7 for its first week in the top 10. The set earned 41,000 equivalent album units (up 220%) in its fifth week on the chart. The soundtrack album, with songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, was released on Nov. 19, before the film arrived in U.S. theaters on Nov. 24. The movie was released via the Disney+ streaming service a month later (Dec. 24, the first day of the chart’s latest tracking week). Encanto is the most recently released soundtrack to reach the top 10 since Frozen II jumped 15-3 on the Dec. 7, 2019 chart, on its way to No. 1 a week later.

Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack to the animated TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas dips 6-8 with 41,000 equivalent album units earned (down 33%), and Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas falls 7-9 with 39,000 units (down 30%).

The classic holiday compilation A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector, released in 1963, reaches the top 10 for the first time, as it steps 11-10. The set earned 39,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Dec. 30 (down 21%). The album, produced by Spector, includes familiar favorites heard during the holiday season – and featured prominently in playlists on streaming services – such as The Ronettes’ “Sleigh Ride” and Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home.”

The Weeknd Collaborator Jim Carrey Calls Singer’s ‘Dawn FM’ Album ‘Deep and Elegant’: ‘It Danced Me Around the Room’

Jim Carrey is a huge fan of The Weeknd‘s upcoming album, Dawn FM.

Shortly after the R&B singer-songwriter officially announced the album’s title and release date on Monday (Jan. 3), the famed actor and comedian — who is listed as a collaborator in a cryptic video teaser for the project — praised the forthcoming release on social media.

“I listened to Dawn FM with my good friend Abel @theweeknd last night. It was deep and elegant and it danced me around the room. I’m thrilled to play a part in his symphony,” Carrey tweeted in response to The Weeknd’s announcement.

The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye, then thanked Carey for his mysterious involvement in Dawn FM. “It’s kismet. Full circle,” the singer replied, adding a smiling face with a tear emoji.

Billed as “A new sonic universe from the mind of The Weeknd,” Dawn FM also features collaborations in some form with Quincy JonesTyler, the CreatorLil Wayne and Oneohtrix Point Never. Further details about the guest appearances were not provided.

The Weeknd opened up about his friendship with Carrey during an interview with Variety in April 2020. The mutual fans were introduced through text and the singer later invited the actor to his home to hear some music.

“I texted him the address of my condo in L.A., and he said, ‘I can literally see your place from my balcony,’ and we got out telescopes and were waving to each other,” The Weeknd told Variety, noting that he was a huge fan of Carrey’s 1994 film The Mask. “Jim Carrey was my first inspiration to be any kind of performer, and I went to breakfast with him on my first day of being 30.”

Dawn FM is the follow-up to The Weeknd’s fourth album, After Hours, which debuted atop the Billboard 200 in March 2020. The blockbuster set featured the record-breaking single “Blinding Lights,” which recently became the top Billboard Hot 100 song of all time, surpassing Chubby Checker‘s “The Twist.”

See The Weeknd’s response to Carrey’s flattering tweet about Dawn FM below.

 

Jay Weaver, Bassist for Big Daddy Weave, Dies at 42 from COVID-19

Jay Weaver, the bass player and a vocalist for Big Daddy Weave, has died from complications of COVID-19. He was 42.

His brother, Mike Weaver, frontman of veteran Christian band, announced the sad news on Sunday (Jan. 2) through social media.

“My brother Jay went to be with Jesus just a couple hours ago,” Mike Weaver said in the emotional video clip on Instagram, adding that Jay died from “complications with COVID-19 on top of everything else that he already had going on.”

He continued, “You’ve seen him walk the uphill battle and you guys helped carry him through so much. The Lord used him in such a mighty way out on the road for so many years. Anybody who’s come in contact with him knows how real his faith in Jesus was. Even though COVID took his last breath, Jesus was right there to catch him.”

Formed in 1998 in Mobile, Alabama, Big Daddy Weave has released nine studio albums to date. The group’s latest set, 2019’s When the Light Comes, peaked at No. 14 on Billboard‘s Top Christian Albums chart. Last year, the band notched its sixth leader on Billboard‘s Christian Airplay chart with “I Know.” The band’s other chart-topping songs include include “Alive,” “My Story,” “The Only Name (Yours Will Be),” “Redeemed” and “Every Time I Breathe.”

Jay Weaver was hospitalized in late December due to complications from the coronavirus, according to an Instagram post from Big Daddy Weave. The musician’s health problems date back to 2016, when both of his feet were amputated in an effort to save his life from an infection. In August 2020, the Big Daddy Weave said on social media he was undergoing dialysis to help with kidney function.

“My heart’s broke for my family here, but (also) for Jay’s family in Florida,” Mike Weaver added in his video. “But we all just really wanted to thank you for walking with us through so much, you know, for so long.”

Jay Weaver is survived by his wife, Emily Weaver, and three children, Makenzie, Madison and Nathan Weaver, the Tennessean reports.

Watch Mike Weaver’s emotional announcement about his brother’s passing below.