Official Chart Flashback 2004: Usher's Burn beats Girls Aloud's The Show to Number 1

Usher delivered a stinging Burn to Girls Aloud on the UK singles chart this week in 2004.

Everybody loves a chart battle, right? Especially when it's between two artists who may have a past rivalry or similar fanbases.

Sometimes, though, races to Number 1 are even more interesting when the competitors couldn't be more different. And this week in 2004, the prince of US R&B took on the princesses of cheeky British pop – and, as with most contests, there could be only one winner.

Usher was no new kid on the block when it came to chart success. He scored his first Number 1 back in 1998 with U Make Me Wanna and six years later landed his second with Yeah feat. Lil' Jon and Ludacris. Could he make it a third - and two in a row - with Burn?

MORE: The closest battles for Number 1 on the Official UK Chart

Originally planned to be the first single from his Confessions album before Yeah! was leaked early, emotional slow jam Burn brough Usher back to his signature sound, co-produced by two greats of classic R&B, Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox.

Girls Aloud, however, only had 18 months of chart experience under their belts, but they had certainly made it count. All four of their first singles has gone Top 3 and the fivesome, who'd triumphed in TV talent show Popstars: The Rivals in late 2002, were poised to release their second album What Will The Neighbours Say?. 

Singing contest alumni hadn't had the best track record for longevity at the time, but Girls Aloud seemed determined to prove all the doubters wrong. Their weapon? Xenomania-produced banger The Show, which introduced the signature quirky, off-kilter pop sound that would stay with the group throughout their career.

Both big acts, with sizeable fanbases, and no doubt each thirsty for the Number 1 spot. In the end, however, Usher's silky tones on his breakup song proved too much for the sass of Girls Aloud's "thanks but no thanks" anthem, and he took the top spot, finishing over 20,000 copies ahead of the ladies.

To date, Burn is certified platinum in the UK with 664,000 chart sales, including 41 million streams, while The Show is on 136,000 chart sales.

MORE: Usher's Official Chart history in full 

Usher managed to hang on to the top spot for two weeks until he was deposed by dance outfit Shapeshifters with Lola's Theme. Girls Aloud wouldn't have to wait too long for a second chart-topper: I'll Stand By You, that year's Children In Need single, would go all the way in November.

Elsewhere on the chart that week, Kylie Minogue landed her 27th Top 10 single with Chocolate, while George Michael scored what would be his last Top 10 hit with Flawless (Go To The City), a track based on 2001 hit Flawless by The Ones. Blue also claimed a Top 10 smash with Bubblin', while Black Eyed Peas' Let's Get It Started (11) and Basemet Jaxx's Good Luck (14) entered just outside the top flight. 

View the Official Singles Chart Top 100 from this week in 2004

Listen to the UK Top 40 from this week in 2004 on Spotify below. Also available on Apple Music Deezer 

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