Darkness, Black Eyed Peas Lead U.K. Charts

In a week of many high-profile new entries on the U.K. singles and album charts, Black Eyed Peas and the Darkness nevertheless maintained their No. 1 spots. The Peas' "Where Is the Love" (A&M/Merc

In a week of many high-profile new entries on the U.K. singles and album charts, Black Eyed Peas and the Darkness nevertheless maintained their No. 1 spots. The Peas' "Where Is the Love" (A&M/Mercury) leads the singles chart for a third week, while the Darkness' "Permission To Land" is No. 1 on the album tally for a fourth.

The singles chart was one of the busiest of the year for newcomers, led by 25-year-old former S Club singer Rachel Stevens, whose solo career had a strong start at No. 2 with "Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex" (19/Polydor). Irish pop act Westlife came in at No. 4 with "Hey Whatever" (S/BMG), while Louise, a one-time member of U.K. pop/R&B act Eternal, scored her ninth top-10 hit since going solo in 1995 with "Pandora's Kiss"/"Don't Give Up" (Positive) at No. 5.

There were also top-10 debuts for two top North American rock acts, Nickelback's "Someday" (Roadrunner) at No. 6 and Limp Bizkit with "Eat You Alive" (Interscope) at No. 10. U.K. R&B acts Jamelia and So Solid Crew also started well: the former at No. 8 with "Superstar" (Parlophone), a vast improvement on the No. 37 peak of her last single "'Bout," and the latter with "Broken Silence" (Independiente) at No. 9.

Debuting outside the top-10 were Justin Timberlake's "Senorita" (Jive) at No. 13; the Chemical Brothers' collaboration with Flaming Lips, "The Golden Path" (Virgin) at No. 17; and Mary J. Blige's "Love at First Sight" (Geffen) at No. 18. Sting's "Send Your Love" (A&M) could only manage a No. 30 start, ahead of the international release today (Sept. 22) of his new album, "Sacred Love."

The Darkness' achievement in holding onto No. 1 on the album chart was underlined by the major names that debuted below the rock act. Starsailor's second album, "Silence Is Easy" (EMI), debuted at No. 2, while David Bowie's "Reality" (ISO/Columbia) landed at an impressive No. 3. It's Bowie's best showing since "Black Tie White Noise" debuted at No. 1 in 1993, and brings his total of U.K. top-10 albums to 27.

Seal's "Seal IV" (Warner Bros.) also had a good first week, following its No. 3 entry on The Billboard 200 with a No. 4 debut in his home country. Seal reached No. 1 in the U.K. with his first two albums, but struggled with his third set "Human Being" in 1998, which only reached No. 44.

There was a No. 6 start for DMX's "Grand Champ" (Def Jam), which is expected to debut atop The Billboard 200 this week. New Zealand-born, 16-year-old classical starlet Hayley Westenra opened her chart account in style with a No. 8 debut for "Pure" (Decca), already a smash success in her own country and Australia. A North American release of the album is planned for next spring.

Further down the chart, there was a No. 57 entry for "The Wind" (Rykodisc) by the late Warren Zevon, remarkably, his first-ever album chart appearance in the U.K.

Europe-wide, veteran British rock outfit Iron Maiden powers straight to No. 1 on the European Top 100 Albums chart with "Dance of Death" (EMI). On the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles roundup, Dido's "White Flag" (Cheeky/BMG) climbs 7-1, teeing up the Sept. 29 international release of her second album, "Life for Rent."