Are we witnessing the return of rock music to the Official Singles Chart?

Are we witnessing the return of rock music to the Official Singles Chart?

Olivia Rodrigo’s pop-punk Number 1 Good 4 U is ushering in a new wave of rock into the mainstream.

While the charts have been dominated by rap and pop in recent years, Olivia Rodrigo’s four-weeks-and-counting spell at Number 1 with Good 4 U on the Official Singles Chart appears to be ushering in a wave of rock-inspired hits to the Official Singles Chart.

Rodrigo’s pop-punk hit is now the longest-reigning rock influenced chart-topper since 2003, when Evanescence spent four weeks at Number 1 with Bring Me To Life.

Two more entries in this week’s Top 40 are waving the flag for the genre: Italian rockers and Eurovision winners Måneskin climb into the Top 10 for the first time at 7 with I Wanna Be Your Slave, and Willow (as in Willow Smith) enters at Number 33 with pop-punk track Transparent Soul ft. Travis Barker. Originally released in April, the song has rocketed up the Top 100 over the past three weeks and is set to become Willow’s first Top 40 single in 10 years, since 2010’s Number 2-peaking Whip My Hair.

While the Official Albums Chart has continued to showcase the best that rock has to offer, it’s certainly more rare in recent years for these acts to find success in the Official Singles Chart.

The likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Yungblud and rapper-turned-pop-punk artist Machine Gun Kelly have enjoyed several stints in the Top 100 over recent months and years, but it’s a significant moment to see three guitar-driven songs in the Top 40 in 2021, two of which are firmly situated in the Top 10.

Discussing the recent trend, Martin Talbot, Chief Executive of the Official Charts Company said: “It has long been anticipated that rock would one day return to the Official Singles Chart, but few would have expected it to be pioneered by an ex-Disney Channel actress and a Eurovision winning act. But that’s what appears to be happening, thanks to Olivia Rodrigo and Italian Eurovision winners Maneskin.”

The pop-punk sound last had mainstream success between 2002-2009, led by acts such as Avril Lavigne, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Fall Out Boy and All American Rejects.

While Rodrigo is the latest artist to top the charts with a pop-punk song, a whole wave of up-and-coming acts appear to be inspired by the sound – including Filipino-British singer-songwriter Beabadoobee, Baby Queen, and Girl In Red.

On the Official UK Singles Chart, since 2000 there have been around 30 Number 1s that broadly fall under the pop-rock-punk sound. Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers topped the chart in 2000 with political anthem The Masses Against The Classes, while acts including Oasis, Limp Bizkit, and Stereophonics all landed chart-topping rock songs in the early 2000s.

The arrival of Sheffield band Arctic Monkeys, who scored two Number 1s between 2005-2006, brought a wave of indie-rock back to the upper echelons of the Top 40, including Razorlight’s America and Kaiser Chief’s Ruby.

The arrival of Good 4 U at the top of the Official Singles Chart ends a particularly long absence of pop-rock-punk Number 1s. The last was over a decade ago, when Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name upset the The X Factor’s Christmas Number 1 bid. Check out the full list of ‘rock’ (encompassing pop, rock, emo and punk) Number 1s below:

Every pop-punk-rock Number 1 on the Official Chart since 2000

W/E                        TITLE                                                                                    ARTIST                                 WKS AT NO.1

22/01/2000           THE MASSES AGAINST THE CLASSES                   MANIC STREET PREACHERS     1

19/02/2000           GO LET IT OUT                                                                 OASIS                                                    1

27/01/2001           ROLLIN’                                                                               LIMP BIZKIT                                      2

26/01/2002           MY SWEET LORD                                                            GEORGE HARRISON                       1

27/04/2002           THE HINDU TIMES                                                          OASIS                                                    1

28/09/2002           JUST LIKE A PILL                                                            PINK                                                      1

14/06/2003           BRING ME TO LIFE                                                         EVANESCENCE                                 4

22/11/2003           CRASHED THE WEDDING                                            BUSTED                                               1

28/02/2004           WHO’S DAVID                                                                   BUSTED                                               1

10/04/2004           FIVE COLOURS IN HER HAIR                                    McFLY                                                  2

03/07/2004           OBVIOUSLY                                                                       McFLY                                                  1

07/08/2004           THUNDERBIRDS/3AM                                                    BUSTED                                               2

12/03/2005           DAKOTA                                                                              STEREOPHONICS                             1

28/05/2005           LYLA                                                                                     OASIS                                                    1

03/09/2005           THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING IDLE                         OASIS                                                    1

29/07/2006           DON’T STOP ME NOW/PLEASE, PLEASE                McFLY                                                  1

29/10/2005           I BET YOU LOOK GOOD ON THE DANCEFLOOR                ARCTIC MONKEYS          1

28/01/2006           WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN                                    ARCTIC MONKEYS                          1

25/03/2006           NO TOMORROW                                                               ORSON                                                  1

14/10/2006           AMERICA                                                                            RAZORLIGHT                                    1

21/10/2006           WELCOME TO THE BLACK PARADE                       MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE          2

04/11/2006           STAR GIRL                                                                         McFLY                                                  1

03/03/2007           RUBY                                                                                    KAISER CHIEFS                                1

28/06/2008           VIVA LA VIDA                                                                  COLDPLAY                                         1

09/08/2008           ALL SUMMER LONG                                                      KID ROCK                                           1

20/09/2008           SEX ON FIRE                                                                     KINGS OF LEON                               3

11/10/2008           SO WHAT                                                                            PINK                                                      3

26/12/2009           KILLING IN THE NAME                                                 RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE   1

03/06/2021           GOOD 4 U                                                                            OLIVIA RODRIGO                            4


By Rob Copsey

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