Official Chart Flashback 2014: Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne's game-changing Rather Be
2014 seems both a decade ago, and two seconds ago. A lot has changed - in music and in life - since 10 years ago this week, when newcomers Clean Bandit and a little-known singer called Jess Glynne topped the Official Singles Chart with Rather Be.
The first Number 1 for either act, Rather Be acted as a balm between music's past - being released just before streaming figures officially counted towards a song's chart position - and its future. Mixing the styles of classical and electronic music, Rather Be is a song that looks both backwards and forwards.
Clean Bandit - or Grace Chatto, Jack and Luke Patterson and Neil Amin-Smith as they were known at the time - had all met while studying at Cambridge. They had already experimented with classical music crossing over into the club, and already had one UK Top 20 hit under their belt with 2013's Mozart's House (which peaked at Number 17). But they had a brighter and buzzier single set to be released, for which they'd collaborated with a mostly-unknown but fastly-rising female pop vocalist.
Jess Glynne was already signed to a brand-new record deal at Atlantic Records, and recorded the vocals to future chart-topper My Love with Route 94, but Rather Be proved to be the perfect introduction to Glynne for the British public. On the bouncy track her voice - soft at first and then brittle as rock when the chorus hits - seemed to fit over it like a glove.
It was a match made in heaven.
WATCH Clean Bandit accept their Official Number 1 single award for Rather Be
You could very well call Rather Be a progenitor of the tropical pop movement that seemed to explode during the latter half of the last decade. Its influence may be overlooked though because, well, the sonics of Rather Be can now be seen and heard everywhere.
Arriving like a comet in the sky in the dying days of Januay 2014, Rather Be - bolstered by some serious hype - debuted at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart, giving both Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne their first UK chart-toppers, where it stayed for an impressive four weeks. According to Official Charts Company data, since its release a decade ago, Rather Be has earned 3.3 million chart units in total, including over 229 million streams.
With digital downloads reaching over 1.3 million, Rather Be is also a part of the (very exclusive) Million Sellers Club in the UK, and is recognised as one of the best-selling singles in the history of the Official Singles Chart.
Both Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne had very bright futures after the release of Rather Be; it was the first of four chart-toppers for the group; Rockabye with Sean Paul and Anne-Marie, Symphony with Zara Larsson and Solo with Demi Lovato. Although sadly it would be the last to feature Amin-Smith, who left the group following the release of their debut album, New Eyes.
As for Jess Glynne, she used Rather Be as a springboard to a career that, quite literally, made history in the UK. The track was the first of Jess's 7 UK Number 1 singles, the most for any female British solo act ever (overtaking previous record holder Cheryl, who claimed five during her solo career).