Hear'Say Causes Commotion On U.K. Singles Chart

Registering the third highest first-week in U.K. singles chart history, pop quintet Hear'Say soared to No. 1 yesterday (March 18) with its debut Polydor release, "Pure And Simple." Thanks to unprecede

Registering the third highest first-week in U.K. singles chart history, pop quintet Hear'Say soared to No. 1 yesterday (March 18) with its debut Polydor release, "Pure And Simple." Thanks to unprecedented exposure via the documentary series "Popstars," the single sold almost 550,000 copies, more than three times that of its nearest rival, Westlife's "Uptown Girl."

The opening week sales total is exceeded only by Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" and Elton John's "Candle In The Wind 1997." Hear'Say's first album, "Popstars," is due next Monday (March 26) in the U.K.

Meanwhile a much more low-key, but almost equally remarkable, sales phenomenon took place on the album chart, where the extraordinary posthumous popularity of U.S. vocalist Eva Cassidy culminated in a No. 1 perch for her 1998 collection "Songbird" (Blix Street/Hot).

The album not only unseated Dido's "No Angel" (Cheeky/Arista) from the top after six weeks, but restricted the hot favorite for No. 1, Daft Punk's "Discovery" (Virgin), to a No. 2 entry. Aerosmith's "Just Press Play" (Columbia) arrived at No. 7, while Nelly Furtado's "Whoa, Nelly!" (DreamWorks/Polydor) entered at No. 9.

The singles chart also featured a top-10 pop crossover for the club smash "I Wanna Be U" (Cream/Parlophone) by Chocolate Puma, and a career-best No. 11 debut for modern rock act Muse with "Plug-In Baby." Also new is sisterly act Alisha's Attic at No. 24 with "Push It All Aside" (Mercury), and Rod Stewart at No. 26 with "I Can't Deny It" (Atlantic).

Dido's album retained pole position on Music & Media's European Top 100 Albums chart for the March 24 issue, but was strongly challenged by Eric Clapton's "Reptile" (Duck/Reprise), which arrived at No. 2 with an initial pan-European shipment of close to 850,000, according to the label. Outkast's "Ms. Jackson" (LaFace/Arista) made it four weeks at the top of the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles survey, with "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy featuring Ricardo "RikRok" Ducent (MCA) moving in 3-2.