Official Chart Flashback 2010: Cheryl's Promise This beats Rihanna to debut at Number 1

The strange, propulsive lead single from the former Girls Aloud star's second album came out fighting.

Say the words 'Cheryl' (Cole, Fernandez-Versini, Just Cheryl) and 'X Factor' to a pop music fan of a certain age and two images will immediately rush into their head. 1. Newcastle's favourite daughter in her tidiest soldier outfit performing Fight For This Love, and 2. The star with cherry-red hair dancing in spiralling, striped tights as the opening bars to Promise This blast out. 

Watch the live performance of Promise This now, and it's a succinct reminder of just how popular Cheryl was at the time. When she stepped out on that stage, she was the biggest pop star in Britain, bar none - the reception she got felt equal to that of a gladiator entering the Colosseum. 

The theatrical lead single from Cheryl's second album Messy Little Raindrops, Promise This takes its subject matter from her near-fatal brush with malaria earlier that year, as well as her divorce from ex-husband Ashley Cole. Like Fight For This Love before it, Promise This became a smart way for Cheryl to address and respond to the media speculation surrounding her life, without comprising herself in any way. 

But there's no denying that Promise This is a strange pop record. With dramatic production flourishes, choppy French middle eights and lyrics about "dying before I wake," it's the antithesis of the Cheryl we were introduced to during her first album. Most impressive of all is how the song's many grating parts manage to work in tandem with each other, instead of ripping each other apart. Funnily enough, more than any other Cheryl single. Promise This would most easily fit in with Girls Aloud's sonically innovative back catalogue. 

MORE: View Cheryl's Official Charts history in full here

In its opening week, Promise This debuted at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart with first week sales of just over 157,000. It beat its nearest rival, Rihanna's invigorating Only Girl (In The World) by over 30,000 chart sales (although Riri would overtake Cheryl the next week and take the top spot for herself).

The second of Cheryl's five UK Number 1 singles, Promise This now has chart sales totalling 499,000 - 435,000 of these consisting of digital downloads - as well as total UK streams of 6.3 million.

After Promise This, Cheryl would top the Official Singles Chart on three more occasions - with Call My Name (2012), Crazy Stupid Love feat. Tinie Tempah (2014) and I Don't Care (2014) - which made her at the time the first British female solo act to achieve five UK Number 1 singles. Jess Glynne has since overtaken her, with a total of seven Number 1s to her name

Elsewhere on the chart that week, Nelly's Just A Dream and Michael Buble's Hollywood would reach their peaks of Number 8 and Number 11 respectively. There were also new entries in the Top 20 from Tim Berg (the first moniker of the late DJ Avicii) with Seek Bromance, Peter Andre with Defender and Devlin's Runaway featuring Yasmin.

View the Official Singles Chart Top 100 from this week in 2010

Listen to the UK Top 40 from this week in 2010 on Spotify below. Also available on Apple Music Deezer 

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