Rihanna's "Unapologetic" (Def Jam/Universal) sold nearly 100,000 copies last week to debut at No. 1 on yesterday's new U.K. album chart. But the real sales story of the week, and the year, came in the less-publicized compilation chart, where "Now! That's What I Call Music 83" (EMI TV/Universal Music TV) sold 295,000 copies, the highest tally for any album in 2012. Singles-wise, English pop hitmaker Olly Murs upstaged Girls Aloud's reunion by beating them to No. 1 with "Troublemaker" (Epic/Sony Music Entertainment), featuring Flo Rida.
Rihanna thus equals the record for a female artist of three consecutive chart-toppers, jointly held by Madonna, Norah Jones and Eva Cassidy. The Barbadian superstar first hit the U.K. album summit with "Good Girl Gone Bad" in 2007, but only reached No. 9 with the 2009 follow-up "Rated R." Her quickfire three-in-a-row sequence began in 2010 with "Loud" and continued with last year's "Talk That Talk." On the new singles chart, she falls 9-10 with "Diamonds," but enters at No. 36 with "Right Now," featuring David Guetta, No. 63 with "Nobody's Business" featuring Chris Brown, and No. 75 with "Half Of Me."
One Direction's "Take Me Home" (Syco Music/Sony Music Entertainment) fell to No. 2 after last week's best-selling debut, with 72,000 new sales, in a new top ten featuring four more new entries. Their Syco labelmates, female pop act Little Mix, arrived at No. 3 with "DNA" on 53,000 sales, with Led Zeppelin's "Celebration Day" (Swansong/Rhino/Atlantic/Warner Music) in at No. 4 (50,000 units) to extend the erstwhile rock giants' span of U.K. top ten albums to 43 years, since their self-titled debut reached No. 6 in 1969.
A new deluxe edition of Michael Bublé's "Christmas" album, which already has U.K. sales of 1.3 million from a worldwide total of 7m according to Reprise/Warner Music, took the festive set back into the chart at No. 5. Bublé is due to play no fewer than ten nights at London's 02 Arena next summer. Scottish vocalist Susan Boyle's "Standing Ovation - The Greatest Songs" opened at No. 7 to give Syco Music a third top ten title of the week.
The "Now! 83" set debuted at No. 1 on the compilation chart only four weeks after the 82nd volume completed a 13-week run at the top. The new hits collection's huge 295,000 opening tally was well ahead of the 267,000 for its predecessor.
2009 "X Factor" contestant Murs, now the anchor for its companion show "Xtra Factor," is proving a durable chart act, now taking his total of No. 1 singles to four. "Troublemaker" follows 2010's "Please Don't Let Me Go" and last year's "Heart Skips A Beat" and "Dance With Me Tonight," and the singer's third album, "Right Place Right Time," is released in the U.K. today (Monday). The single sold 121,000 copies last week, easily outdoing Girls Aloud's much-vaunted return at No. 2 with "Something New" (Polydor/Universal), which is in aid of the BBC's Children In Need appeal and sold 70,000 units.
One Direction's "Little Things" fell 1-3 in a top ten that featured one other arrival, Alicia Keys' "Girl On Fire" (RCA/Sony Music Entertainment) at No. 5. London quartet Rudimental followed their "Feel The Love" No. 1 with a No. 14 debut for "Not Giving In" (Asylum/Warner Music) and Columbia/Sony's release of AC/DC's entire catalog on iTunes gave the Anglo-Australian rock veterans a considerable chart presence. "Back In Black" made its singles chart debut, 32 years after its first release, at No. 27, with "Highway To Hell" at No. 40, "You Shook Me All Night Long" No. 42, "Thunderstruck" No. 42 and "Whole Lotta Rosie" No. 68. The new "Live At River Plate" album charted at No. 14 and "Back In Black" reappeared at No. 61.