Enrique Iglesias, the Spanish hearthrob and international superstar whose burgeoning career had produced only one solo top-10 hit to date in the U.K., conquered the territory in emphatic style yesterd

Enrique Iglesias, the Spanish hearthrob and international superstar whose burgeoning career had produced only one solo top-10 hit to date in the U.K., conquered the territory in emphatic style yesterday (Jan. 27) with his Interscope single "Hero." After peaking at No. 3 on The Billboard Hot 100 and Music & Media's Eurochart Hot 100 Singles survey, "Hero" went straight to No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart, while his "Escape" album, which made a belated chart debut there last week at No. 68, raced up to No. 21.

Iglesias was previously in the U.K. top-10 with "Bailamos," a No. 4 hit in September 1999, but his only other chart appearance as a solo artist was with "Rhythm Divine," which peaked at No. 45 that December. His duet with Whitney Houston, "Could I Have This Kiss Forever" (Arista), reached No. 7 in October 2000.

"Hero" thus deposed George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" from No. 1 after one week, knocking it down to No. 4. Meanwhile, teen favorites A1, whose new Columbia single "Caught in the Middle" has been hailed as its most mature pop release to date, debuted at No. 2. Britney Spears' "Overprotected" (Jive) landed at No. 5. It was an excellent week in the U.K. for rapper Ja Rule, who scored his first major single with "Always on Time," featuring Ashanti (Def Jam) at No. 6, while his double-platinum U.S. album "Pain Is Love" moved 16-7 in its 11th chart week.

Also making top-10 singles debuts were "True Love Never Dies" by Flip & Fill featuring Kelly Llerenna (All Around The World) at No. 8 and Afroman's "Crazy Rap" (Universal/Island) at No. 10. The Flip & Fill track with Llorenna (who is also the vocalist with dance outfit N-Trance), is a reissue of a single that reached No. 34 last March. Afroman's single is the follow-up to his gold-certified (400,000 copies sold) "Because I Got High" U.K. chart-topper from last October.

Stereophonics' "Just Enough Education To Perform" (V2) is still on top of the U.K. album chart, on which there was more posthumous glory for Aaliyah, as her self-titled Blackground/Virgin album climbed 22-5. Howard Shore's soundtrack album to "The Lord of the Rings" (Reprise) jumped 15-10.

The soundtrack also holds at No. 3 on the European Top 100 Albums chart, where Robbie Williams' "Swing When You're Winning" (Chrysalis) is on top for a ninth week, while his duet with Nicole Kidman on "Somethin' Stupid" rules the Eurochart singles tally for a second week.