TikToker's sea shanty Wellerman reaches No 3 in UK charts

Scottish postal worker Nathan Evans scores hit amid viral shanty craze, while convent choral group Poor Clares of Arundel reach Top 5 of album chart

The unlikely craze for sea shanties surges ever onward, as Scottish postal worker Nathan Evans reaches No 3 in the UK singles chart with his rendition of Wellerman.

The hearty, ultra-catchy shanty about a group of dogged whalers looking forward to their shore leave has been at the centre of the TikTok viral trend, with users harmonising with one another using the app’s duet function.

Evans’s shanty and folksong performances have earned him more than 760,000 followers on TikTok, and after Wellerman’s popularity grew, he was signed by major label Polydor. His version of the song, performed with just vocals and a simple drum beat, was further boosted by an energetic dance remix from 220 Kid and Billen Ted.

Evans called his chart success “absolutely amazing and so surreal. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d have gone from a postman to having a song sitting third in the charts in the space of two weeks. It’s incredible!”

An a cappella version of Wellerman sung by Bristol band the Longest Johns reached No 37 last week, and falls to No 52. The band have had a big career boost from the shanty craze, getting signed to a major label and a global touring agency.

Elsewhere in an idiosyncratic chart week, a group of singing nuns, Poor Clares of Arundel, have reached No 5 in the album chart with their choral collection Light of the World. Released in October, the 23-strong Sussex convent community were the UK’s biggest selling classical artist debut of 2020, and have had a further boost from a newly released deluxe edition.

Also jumping back up the album chart thanks to a physical release are Sheffield pop-metal band Bring Me the Horizon, who re-enter at No 1 this week. Their EP Post Human – Survival Horror reached No 5 in October when it was released digitally. Isles, the second album from Northern Irish dance duo Bicep, reaches No 2 in its debut week.

Neil Diamond’s 80th birthday helps two of his albums, All-Time Greatest Hits and 2020 live collection Classic Diamonds, re-enter the Top 20.

Topping the singles chart for a third week is Olivia Rodrigo with her ballad Drivers Licence. Australian emo rapper The Kid Laroi reaches his highest chart position yet, at No 2 with Without You.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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