Rant Of The Day
Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

THIS RANT 23/07/2002

When fruity chart calculations go wrong

For reasons that passeth all understanding, one of the biggest hits so far this year has been the Black Eyed Peas sappy rap ballad 'Where Is The Love'. The success of this track -- the longest-running number one in the UK since Cher's 'Believe' -- inspired the Guiness Book Of World Records to assemble a list of the most successful artists in the UK with names inspired by either vegetables or fruit. This is what they came up with:

  1. Black Eyed Peas
  2. Olive
  3. Neneh Cherry
  4. Kid Creole And The Coconuts
  5. Appleton
  6. The Red Hot Chili Peppers
  7. Bananarama
  8. Peaches & Herb
  9. Strawberry Switchblade
  10. Jasper Carrott

The criteria used for this list was simple: it's a ranking by the highest chart position achieved by each artist. This is an easy calculation to make, but it's also a stupid one -- and I'm not just saying that because I'm a Bananarama fan (although that comes into it).

Coming up with any ranking of chart performance is difficult. What do you do about artists who sell lots of singles, but not many albums, or vice versa? What about someone like Robbie Williams who sells everywhere but the US, or someone like Dave Matthews who sells nowhere else? How do you factor in the changes in chart behaviour (songs now typically debut high and stick around for a short period of time)? And what about seasonal variations?

Quite how you'd solve the problem in this case isn't clear. What is clear is that of the artists listed, only three would have a legitimate claim to be remembered for more than one song: the Nanas, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Neneh Cherry. As it stands, this ranking seems to have gone to seed.

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