Ed Sheeran’s 2017: King of the charts, Glastonbury and an MBE
This has truly been the singer’s annus mirabilis.
Ed Sheeran has had a career-defining year and has ended it by landing the Christmas number one single.
The 26-year-old kicked off 2017 with the release of Shape Of You, the lead single from his third album Divide.
The catchy song took over the charts from its release, hitting the number one spot straight away and remaining there for 13 weeks.
In March Sheeran did the charts double when the hotly-anticipated Divide was finally released.
The record topped the charts and became the fastest-selling by a male artist ever, shifting 672,000 in both sales and streams in its opening week.
Another coup came when nine of Divide’s songs were inside the top 10 while the rest of the album’s tracks were within the top 20 as the record reached the chart summit.
Popular song Castle On The Hill peaked at number two, and at one point Sheeran held the top two spots of the singles chart with both that and Shape Of You looming over everything else.
Sheeran scored the charts double whammy again in December, when his song Perfect – featuring Beyonce – reached number one as Divide enjoyed another peak at the top of the albums chart.
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Final day of work for the year today. Been the best professional year of my life, but it's flown by. Seems like a week ago that Shape of you and Castle on the hill came out. Thank you to everyone who has supported everything I did this year, amazing way to start the year and an amazing way to end it. Hope you all have a very merry christmas, happy holidays, and a good break. See you in 2018 xx
The song then went on to claim the Christmas number one accolade, fending off competition from Eminem’s River, on which Sheeran also features, and Wham! classic Last Christmas.
Since its release in March, Divide has enjoyed 18 non-consecutive weeks in pole position and it hit one million sales in the UK after just 16 days.
His success has been global, as this week Divide surpassed one million sales in the US, only the second album to do so in 2017 behind Taylor Swift’s Reputation.
Streaming service Spotify recently revealed that Sheeran is the most-streamed artist of the year and remains the most popular artist with 47 million monthly listeners.
Divide was streamed 3.1 billion times, and Shape Of You became the most-streamed track of all time on Spotify, with more than 1.4 billion streams.
Away from the charts, Sheeran stormed the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury with a headline set on the final night of the music festival.
As he closed his set, he told the crowd that performing at the iconic event was a dream of his, but that he “never thought I would even get to the point where I was playing this stage, let alone headlining it”.
Sheeran achieved another goal of his when he appeared in a cameo role in hit TV series Game Of Thrones, although he suffered a backlash from unsatisfied viewers and ended up taking a break from Twitter.
His role involved just two lines – “It’s a new one”, in reference to a song that Maisie Williams’ character Arya Stark heard him singing, and “Worst place in the world”, about King’s Landing.
Another low moment came when Sheeran injured himself in a cycling accident.
He was left with a broken wrist, elbow and rib and was forced to cancel a number of concerts in Asia.
On a more positive note, this year Sheeran was named the third richest celebrity under 30 in the UK, with his fortune estimated to be £52 million, up from £45 million last year.
He was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list with an MBE for services to music and charity.
Asked about the secret of his success while picking up the honour at Buckingham Palace in December, the humble star played down his achievements as just being “persistence”.
He added: “I don’t have a vast amount of talent compared to other people, I think talent is like 30% of it and persistence, drive and self-belief are the other ones, which I guess are all the same thing.”