Tuesday, May 1, 2012
"I got home that night and wrote a lot of the lyrics," he continues. "I wanted to write it so it sounded kind of upbeat, so you wouldn't really know what it's about, because it's quite a dark subject."
More specifically, Sheeran says the subject is hard drug use (and not a reference to the '80s TV show of the same name). "A drug like crack cocaine is called a 'class A' drug. That's in the same category as heroin. Instead of making it clear and just saying what [a person's] problem [with addiction] was, I'd say, 'She's in the 'class A' team.' It was kind of my way of covering it up, making it a bit more subtle."
In the tradition of folk/rock hits like Suzanne Vega's "Luka" (about child abuse) or Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" (alcoholism) that shade heavy topics under a melodic canopy, "The A Team" has gotten fans singing along to its sunny sound. Last summer, the track soared to No. 3 on the Official Charts Co.'s U.K. singles chart, It has since reached the top 10 in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Norway.
This week, Sheeran's worldwide hit makes its first appearance on a U.S. Billboard chart, debuting at No. 30 on the Triple A radio airplay tally. Chart reporter KTCZ (Cities 97) Minneapolis leads all panelists with 143 plays through April 18, according to Nielsen BDS. Among all monitored stations, adult top 40 KLLC (Alice @97.3) San Francisco leads with 345 plays, having been the first to spin it stateside on Jan. 27.
Honored at this year's BRIT Awards as British breakthrough act and British solo male artist, Sheeran returns to his No. 17 peak on the Folk Albums chart with EP The A-Team. As he continues his first North American tour with Snow Patrol, the five-song collection sets up the June 12 U.S. arrival of his debut full-length, +. The Asylum/Warner set was No. 1 on the U.K. chart for three weeks last year,
Before then, Sheeran will throw fans a curve: the Slumdon Bridge EP (due April 24 on Elektra) with Shady/Interscope tapper Yelawolf, whom he's long admired. "I reached out, he said yes," Sheeran says. "We had 10 hours in a studio together and made four songs, which I love. The EP is a good fusion of both worlds."
For exclusive video content with Ed Sheeran, go to Billboard.com//chartbeat.
Trust, Gary. "'A' Ok: British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran's global hit 'The A Team' charts in the U.S. at last." Billboard 28 Apr. 2012: 35. Fine Arts and Music Collection. Web. 1 May 2012.
Gale Document Number: GALE|A287867528