Chart row over bands' charity act

JOHN McKIE

The record was inspired by a comment from John Lennon while recording his hit "Instant Karma". He had remarked that the best kind of record was one recorded on a Friday, in the shops on Saturday and number one by Sunday. But chart authorities have decreed that the first record like this in decades, featuring many of Britain's top bands, will not be number one in the main album chart - although it will the week's biggest seller.

The charity War Child asked 20 of #Britain's leading pop acts, including Blur, Oasis, Stone Roses, Sinead O'Connor and Paul Weller, to record a track each in 24 hours. The result is Help, an album raising money for children in the former Yugoslavia, and expected to sell more than 100,000 copies today alone. Most number-one albums sell about 90,000 over a week. Help will almost certainly top the compilation album chart but not the more prestigious main artists album chart. The multi-artist compilation chart was introduced in 1988, when bands complained that compilation albums were depriving them of chart placing and publicity. Now organisers claim Help will be denied that chart placing and publicity.

One organiser, Anton Brookes, said last night: "You'd think they could have bent the rules on this. Everyone else on the record has bent the rules and worked through the night. It's disappointing."

Catharine Pusey, chair of the Chart Supervisory Committee, which decided not to include Help in the main albums charts, defended the decision. "There have been equally deserving compilation albums and this is not the first charity album. Rules have to be applied. On Sunday we will send the media press releases about both charts not to deprive the album any publicity. If it sells 100,000, that's what's important."

The record company Go! Discs was last night still trying to persuade committee members to change their minds. Tracks on Help, released today, were all recorded on Monday.

It was an eventful day. Oasis were joined by the actor Johnny Depp on their song, "Fade Away" in the early hours of Monday morning. Later in the day, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher, Depp and his model girlfriend Kate Moss joined Paul Weller, who was recording a version of The Beatles' "Come Together" at Abbey Road studios. At midday, Weller received a telephone call. Two hours later, Paul McCartney was at the studio playing guitar and keyboard on the track.

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