Top of the pops II: Liam and Damon square up again

Industry sources suggest that Albarn's current band, Gorillaz, is poised to snatch the number one position from Oasis, although it is still too close to call. According to the midweek chart data, which remains a closely guarded industry secret, "Dare", the new release from the Gorillaz is just 300 sales ahead of Oasis's "The Importance of Being Idle".

But this re-heated Britpop party could be gatecrashed by the 17-year-old singing star Rihanna, whose club hit, "Pon De Replay", broke into the charts at number two last week, just behind Oasis. She is outselling the Gallagher brothers, but the gap between the two acts is said to be as little as a dozen copies.

This is a crucial week for the UK singles chart. Two of the biggest retailers, HMV and Virgin, are preparing to launch their new digital download services on Monday. After a decade of steady decline, the singles chart has been revitalised by the emergence of music downloading technology, which has doubled the volume of tracks sold.

It was a different market in 1995. The battle between Blur's "Country House" and Oasis's "Roll With It" marked the opening salvo in a new type of marketing campaign which promoted singles through pre-release radio and cable television promotion.

Blur won the battle that week, outselling Oasis two to one. But it may have had less to do with their stereotypically middle-class, southern fanbase proving more loyal than the northern working-class support of their rivals, than first appeared. Blur's record company, Food, cleverly engineered excitement about the single by moving the release date to coincide with "Roll With It", and offered retailers heavy discounts. This allowed them to sell Blur at £1 cheaper than Oasis, often next to each other in the record stores. Blur also had the advantage of an award-winning video directed by Turner Prize-winning artist Damien Hirst and featuring Keith Allen and Matt Lucas.

In the following years, record companies successfully raised the profile of the number one slot. And as the excitement over Britpop died down, executives sold millions of Spice Girls, Robbie Williams, Boyzone and Westlife records.

But with the hype came a generation of other hits that crashed into the charts at number one only to sink like a stone the following week. Gennaro Castaldo of HMV Stores, said: "Downloading will keep sales up in the two to three weeks that follow release and could make the chart more like that of the 70s and 80s when singles hung around for a lot longer."

At the end of the day Oasis won the war against Blur, even if they lost the battle of August 1995. Their album of that year (What's the Story) Morning Glory outsold Blur's The Great Escape.

1995: That was then

* January Serial killer Fred West hangs himself

* February Collapse of Barings Bank after their broker Nick Leeson racks up $1.4bn losses

* March Sarin gas attack on Tokyo subway leaves 12 dead

* April Oklahoma City bombing kills 168

* May Gedhun Choekyi Nyima declared reincarnation of the Panchen Lama

*June Shell abandons controversial plan to sink Brent Spar oil rig at sea

* July John Major defeats Tory leadership challenge

* August Death of the mountain climber Alison Hargreaves on K2

* September Trial of former Italian prime minister Guilo Andreotti over alleged Mafia connections begins. Convicted but later won appeal

* October O J Simpson found not guilty of murdering former wife and her male friend

* November The human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa is hanged in Nigeria

* December Dayton peace agreement signed in Paris ends war in Yugoslavia

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’


Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'


Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from


Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Arts and Entertainment


These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

Arts and Entertainment
The kid: (from left) Oona, Geraldine, Charlie and Eugene Chaplin

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album